Friday July 16, 2004
TWINS MINOR LEAGUE REPORTS
Yesterday, I posted many of your thoughts on the the Twins, what happened in the first half and what might happen in the second half. I shared my thoughts and you had some great ideas and opinions as well. Keeping in that theme and giving you a voice, I have received a number of other really great e-mails on the Twins and other topics. I have been very poor at actually responding to e-mail of late. So today, I will attempt to empty out my mailbox.
On Wednesday, I proposed two trades that I think the Twins should try to make before the July 31 trade deadline. They were:
Jacque Jones and C Jose Morales to the St. Louis Cardinals for Steve Kline and Dan Haren.
Doug Mientkiewicz, Michael Restovich and Adam Johnson to the Toronto Blue Jays for Miguel Batista
My reasoning for the deals were:
Kline would be a left-handed reliever to pitch out of the 'pen along with JC Romero. The Cardinals have Ray King doing a wonderful job as the Cards lefty reliever. Dan Haren was solid in 2003 making a few starts for the Cardinals. He pitched well much of this season at AAA, but was crushed in one start with the Cardinals and sent back down. He would be a solid 5th starter for the Twins. Or, if the Twins acquire a more veteran starter, Haren would be a good long-reliever (in place of Roa) The Twins would still have Shannon Stewart in left and move Lew Ford over to right field.
Miguel Batista would come in and be a great #3 pitcher for the Twins. Rumor had it that the Blue Jays want Justin Morneau, but he should be a completely untouchable in any deal. I would think that JP Ricciardi would want more than just Michael Restovich in return for Batista. Mientkeiwicz, despite his struggles to this point, is a Ricciardi/Moneyball kind of player. He has a good plate approach and usually a high on-base percentage because he can take a walk. Let's not forget that it is possible that the Jays will trade Carlos Delgado as well, opening up 1B for Mientkiewicz.
So, the Twins get an upgrade at the #3 spot in the rotation, moving Carlos Silva and Kyle Lohse down to the 4th and 5th spots. Adam Johnson would almost be a throw-in. I just don't think he'll ever get a chance with the Twins again, so it would be good if he could be included.
And finally, here becomes the Twins 25 man roster at that point:
C - Joe Mauer, Henry Blanco (they're paying him $750,000, they won't get rid of him)
1B - Justin Morneau
2B - Luis Rivas, Nick Punto
3B - Corey Koskie, Michael Cuddyer
SS - Cristian Guzman
LF - Shannon Stewart, Michael Ryan
CF - Torii Hunter
RF - Lew Ford
DH - Matthew LeCroy
Starting Rotation - Johan Santana, Brad Radke, Miguel Batista, Carlos Silva, Kyle Lohse
LH Relievers - Terry Mulholland, JC Romero, Steve Kline
RH Relievers - Juan Rincon, Grant Balfour, Jesse Crain
Closer - Joe Nathan
So, there is the background information. Some of you agreed. Others disagreed. Here are some of the e-mails I received:
Sorry, but you're way overpaying for Batista, who isn't the kind of power arm the Twins really need for the #3 spot. I prefer Benson just because he has more potential (and more injury risk).
My real complaint with your trade analysis is that it overlooks the team's biggest need - punch. Half the season's over and it's unlikely the dreadful four (Koskie, DM, TH, and JJ) will all turn their seasons around. So if TR's going to pull off a difference maker, get a middle of the lineup thumper. For example:
1. Rivas, Resto, Ballfour(or Crain) for Jeff Kent. I'd try to unload Dougie but with Bagwell I doubt there would be interest. If Houston were interested, them they should throw in one of their #5 starters.
2. DM, Resto, Crain and ? for Delgado. A big price tag here but there's your cleanup hitter! Carl says he'll open the purse strings and this move should help bring people back to the park. If possible, add Rivas to the mix and get Bloom or Batista.
3. DM, Guzman and Resto (?) for Nomar. Again, a big move here to help the middle of the order and bring some fans into the hole - I mean dome.
Obviously, DM has to go to make room for Morneau. We've added two good hitters for two weak ones by getting rid of Rivas or Guzman. One caveat. Don't bring someone new on board you're not prepared to sign for several years. We can't afford a rent-a-player!
Lastly, would Terry pull the trigger? Absolutely not! He's too afraid of making a mistake, which is why any aggressive ownership would have fired him a long time ago. His trades (not his minor league pickups) have backfired, e.g., Lawton, Erickson or have not produced any major advantages, so he's gunshy. But we can all dream, can't we?
Mike, you say that my trades lack the addition of offensive punch and that it is too much to give up for Batista. I guess I disagree. With my Batista deal, what are the Twins really losing out of it? Mientkeiwicz's glove and sub-par offense? In this scenario, Morneau replaces Mientkeiwicz in the lineup and suddenly there is and improvement in the every day lineup. Michael Restovich... when is he going to play for the Twins? This year? No. Next year? No. Adam Johnson... he won't contribute to the Twins. They've given up on him. Now, from the Blue Jays perspective, they could use all three of them, if they do, in fact, trade Delgado. And, Batista is a very solid pitcher.
Jeff Kent would certainly improve the offense, but he's not coming to Minnesota. A lot of SABR people say that chemistry means nothing. I disagree and Jeff Kent would be a terrible chemistry guy for the team. Don't forget, when he was a Giant, he was the 'bad guy' on a team with Barry Bonds. Kent would be a rent-a-player
Carlos Delgado would be a good power hitter. I guess it would only be a half season, but Pohlad's willingness to spend probably does not extend to a guy making $17 million this season (even if the Twins would probably only have to pay him about $6-7 million of it... for 2 months). Delgado would be a rent-a-player.
Nomar Garciaparra is not going to be a Twin. He may be a decent hitter, but he won't re-sign with the Twins. And, we think Cristian Guzman is a bad defensive player, imagine what we'd say about Nomar?! Nomar... say it with me... would be a rent-a-player.
No, I wanted to propose realistic trades. Trades that if I were GM, I would strongly consider.
Twins get: Randy Johnson, Steve Finley
D'Backs get: JD Durbin, Adam Johnson, Mike Restovich, Jacque Jones
The trade propels the twins into immediate World Series contenders - not just AL Central contenders. Carl needs to take on additional salary for the year, but if the two veterans leave, we again get many compensation picks and continue to stockpile the minors. The Twins give up a solidified veteran in Jones, but need to clear his space anyhow.
The D'backs, aside for Jones, get 2 top prospects, and one very good prospect. Durbin is a Phoenix kid so that always helps the local attention. Resto would team with Jones to immediately give them a solid outfield. And Adam Johnson has actually had a very good year, putting himself solidly back to prospect status, even if in a relief role.
The twins hate to deal prospects, but with the likes of Kubel to now back up the promise of Resto, and the MANY young arms the Twins not have in their system - they can afford it.
I honestly think that the Twins would have the pieces necessary to entice the Diamondbacks to trade them Randy Johnson. Unfortunately, I really don't think that Johnson would have any interest in playing for the Twins. I agree with your assessment that acquiring Johnson would suddenly make the Twins a legitimate championship-caliber team. A playoff rotation of Santana, Johnson and Radke would be very solid. It is important to remember that a team that acquires Randy Johnson will owe him another $24 million over the next couple seasons.
I really wish the Twins would take a look at it this way. Randy Johnson will make about $12 million next season. Corey Koskie's contract ($4.5 million) will be off the books. Cristian Guzman's contract ($4.25 million) will be off the books. Luis Rivas' contract ($1.5 million) will be off the book. Doug Mientkiewicz's contract ($3.75 million) will be off the book. Jacque Jones and his contract ($4.25 million) would be in Arizona. Brad Radke's contract ($10 million) would be off the books. (Although, I would like to see the Twins re-sign him for about half that amount). So, looking at those subtractions, the Twins payroll would be down $28.25 million. The four infield spots would be manned by near-minimum salary players (whose offensive production would be equal, if not better). In other words, I really think that the Twins could justify acquiring Randy Johnson and his contract. However, that does not change the fact that I don't think that he would accept a trade to the Twins organization.
I would give a long thought to your proposal IF Steve Finley was not included. That said, Steve Finley is a very good hitter. But, where will he play? LF? RF? Torii Hunter is going to play CF?
Just one more thing to think about... Yesterday, we heard that the Diamondbacks have talked to five teams about a potential trade. They are the Yankees, the Red Sox, the Cubs, the White Sox and the Cardinals. How are these three-man playoff rotations?
Yankees - Kevin Brown, Javier Vazquez, Randy Johnson (with Mussina, Contreras and Lieber in the 'pen)
Red Sox - Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling, Randy Johnson
Cubs - Mark Prior, Kerry Wood, Randy Johnson (with Carlos Zambrano, Matt Clement and Greg Maddux)
Ryan Maus - Twins Chatter
First, I have to point everyone in the direction of Twins Chatter. If you haven't already bookmarked their site, you really should. They have great Twins analysis.
Seth, when I read your post for today I just had to e-mail you and respond. The possible trades you talked about today intrigued me a lot. They both make a ton of sense, which is probably the reason that neither will come true. I've heard that the Cards regard Haren very highly, so I don't think it's likely that the Twins could get both Kline and Haren for just Jones (even with Morales thrown in). I think we could possibly get Haren and someone else, but I can't imagine that the Cardinals would trade away a guy with a 1.97 ERA in the middle of the season--especially not when they have WS aspirations. I like your other trade much more, but like Ricciardi said the other day (in an article I read), why would they trade a good young starter when they have him at such a good price already? They're going to As far as the package of Mientkiewicz, Restovich, and Johnson is, it probably isn't enough to make the Jays give up on Batista.
This is what I love about getting responses from readers. One person tells me that the package of Mientkiewicz, Restovich and Johnson is too much to give up for Batista and another tells me it isn't enough.
I am sure the Cardinals think highly of Haren. They should. He did a lot at the major league level last season, and has put up impressive numbers (and strikeouts) at AAA this year. I would agree that he is a big piece that may make the trade unrealistic for the Twins. But, I guess we would find out just how much the Cardinals feel they need a left-fielder. And yeah, Kline would be a great pickup for the Twins bullpen. With trades these days between teams with playoff chances, they don't just give away players for prospects; they have to give up major league guys too. Would the Cardinals need for a LF outweigh their need for a second lefty out of the bullpen? The Twins walk the line of trying to win this year, while trying to keep a line of minor leaguers. That's where Haren comes in. I admit that the Cardinals would need something more than Jones to 'sweeten the pot'. Since their OF seems pretty solid with the addition of Jones, they still have older guys in the OF in Jim Edmonds and Reggie Sanders. Maybe the Twins could throw in a Trent Oeltjen who could be in their OF in two years. I went with a Class A catcher in Jose Morales because I do think that catcher is a weak position for the Cardinals.
I have been on the record a few times saying that I really, really don't like the idea that the Twins could get Kris Benson. Others disagree with me on this. My reasoning is that he has been a solid, but unspectacular pitcher with a major arm injury history. That's a lot of risk for minimal reward. Now, Pabs may have altered my opinion with one e-mail:
I know it's about the pitcher, but seriously, when you look at his wife's website you have to wonder if it wouldn't be worth it...
Point well made, my man. Point well made!!
Well, as I mentioned yesterday, I was very much looking forward to the second half and last night's game. Last night became a night of ups and downs. Of goods and bads.
The Bad - Before the game even started, we found out that the Twins would be without the services of three of their starters.
Cristian Guzman had some nose surgery to help him with excessive nose bleeds. He came to the ballpark feeling nauseous and could not play.
Doug Mientkiewicz figured the All-Star break would be enough time for his injured wrist to heal. Well, when taking batting practice last night, he realized it wasn't better. So, he will be seeing a specialist and was put on the Disabled List.
And worst, Joe Mauer had an MRI during the break and they found that his knee still showed some damage. So, he will not be able to catch every day as he has been the last few weeks. Let's see... 21 year old catcher who is the top prospect in baseball. Tears his knee and has knee surgery. Goes through about 2 months of rehab. Finally gets called up. Plays pretty much every day for his first month of play. Hmmm... makes sense, doesn't it. The really bad part about this is we'll have to see Henry Blanco catching more! ICK!
The Good - Not that I am at all happy about Doug Mientkiewicz going on the Disabled List, because I'm not. However, it did mean that the Twins kept Justin Morneau off of the Canadian Olympic baseball team by calling him up to the Twins. He will be in uniform and likely at 1B tonight when the Twins and Royals continue their four-game series.
The Best Scenario - Justin Morneau at 1B, Matthew LeCroy catching, and Michael Cuddyer DHing. Henry Blanco and Jose Offerman remain on the bench!
The Bad - The Twins get almost no offense last night against the Kansas City Royals and lose the game. The Twins managed just one run and five hits against the likes of Zach Grienke (no shame there), Scott Sullivan, Jaime Cerda, Nate Field, Dennys Reyes and Nate Bukvicz.
The Good - Shannon Stewart came back and was the Designated Hitter. He collected two of the Twins five hits.
The Bad - Kyle Lohse threw 100 pitches (only 59 strikes) in just five innings. Just too many pitches. He gave up the three runs on eight hits and two walks. Again, he's not that far off, just enough. Unfortunately, the Royals are the one team that Lohse has actually beaten this year.
The Good - Joe Roa pitched two scoreless innings. JC Romero struck out two in his scoreless inning.
Bonus Good - Zach Greinke seems to be the kind of pitcher that I will really enjoy watching. Great control. Fastball in the low-'90s, a changeup in the low '70s and something that comes in at about 64 mph. That's impressive.
The Score - Before I forget to mention it, the Twins did lose 3-1.
The Rest - The Twins and Royals play three more games this weekend. Here are the pitching matchups:
Friday night - 7:10 - Brad Radke (5-5, 3.47, 1.17, .278) vs Darrell May (6-9, 5.24, 1.52, .302)
Saturday - 12:15 - Johan Santana (7-6, 3.78, 1.07, 2.21) vs Jimmy Gobble (3-4, 4.53, 1.27, .269)
Sunday - 6:10 - Carlos Silva (8-7, 4.51, 1.48, .318) vs Mike Wood (1-2, 6.32, 1.72, .323)
Any more thoughts on the Twins, please e-mail me.
TWINS MINOR LEAGUE REPORT
I missed a couple of Class A box scores this week, but I just take a look at yesterday's. I missed excellent starts by Scott Tyler, Francisco Liriano and Andy Swarzak.
Justin Morneau was called up to the Twins. Jason Bartlett was activated from the Disabled List. Michael Restovich returned to Rochester when Shannon Stewart was activated. Victor Moreno was sent back down to AA. Brian Simmons was released after yesterday's game.
Redwings 3, Charlotte 6 - Matt Guerrier falls to 4-7. He gave up three runs on six hits in four innings. Moreno then gave up three runs (1 earned) in one inning before Brent Schoening pitched a scoreless inning with a strikeout. Luis Rodriguez led the offense. He was 3-4 with a double. Brian Simmons was released after his 3-3 performance last night. Alex Prieto was playing 1B in the place of Morneau and went 2-3.
NEW BRITAIN ROCKCATS
The Rockcats had four players play in the AA All-Star game. OF Kevin West went 0-3. Luis Maza was 1-2. Scott Baker gave up no runs in an inning. JD Durbin gave up a home run.
Rockcats 2, Reading 0 - Henry Bonilla recorded his 7th win of the season. He pitched 7 1/3 innings of scoreless baseball. He gave up seven his and two walks. Jason Miller came in and got the final two outs of the inning with strikeouts. Bobby Korecky then came in and picked up his 18th save with a scoreless ninth inning. New Britain had just four hits in this game. Luis Maza's double was the lone extra-base hit. Kevin West knocked in his 72nd RBI of the year.
FT. MYERS MIRACLE
Miracle 3, Dunedin 2 (10) - Matt Yeatman gave up two runs in seven innings. He gave up five hits and three walks, and struck out six. Levale Speigner picked up the win with three shutout innings. Trent Oeltjen went 2-5 with his second homer. Felix Molina was 2-3 with his third homer. Danny Matienzo was 2-4 as well.
SWING OF THE QUAD CITIES
Swing 9, Kane County 3 - Chris Schutt picked up his 5th win. He gave up three runs (2 earned) in five innings of four hit, four walk ball. Kevin Culpepper pitched two scoreless innings despite allowing two hits and three walks. Tristan Crawford and Billy Mauer each pitched a scoreless inning to close the win. Brock Peterson had two doubles in five at bats. Kyle Phillips had a double and a homer (his 9th) in four at bats. JR Taylor was 2-5. Scott Whitrock and Omar Burgos were each 2-4.
E-Twins 5, Bluefield 4 - OK, this Deacon Burns guy could be pretty good! At least his professional career is starting out very well! Last night, he was 2-5 with his 6th home run of the short-season. He is also hitting .422. Landon Burt went 3-4 with two doubles. Tarrance Patterson went 2-4. Alexander Smit started and went 4 1/3 innings. He gave up three runs (2 earned) on six hits and three walks. Jason Bowlin came in and didn't allow a run in 1 2/3 innings. Jay Sawatzki gave up a run in 2 innings to record the win. Frank Mata got his third save with a one-hit ninth.
Alex Belth over at Bronx Banter has posted another terrific interview. He sat down with Alan Schwarz. Schwarz has just written a book, The Numbers Game, he writes for ESPN and Baseball America. It sounds like a great book and this is really a wonderful interview. Check it out here. Alex has interviewed a lot of great baseball people over the past couple of years.
And on that note, I am going to call it a day and a week! Have yourself a great weekend! As always, if you have any questions or comments on anything, please e-mail me.
Back to Archives Home