Thursday July 31, 2003
DISCUSSION QUESTION OF THE DAY
TRADE DEADLINE THOUGHTS
Hey, the Twins won last night! They even got a very strong starting pitching performance from Brad Radke. Jacque Jones knocked in the first three runs. Doug Mientkiewicz made a great diving play to end the game! Good win for the Twins!
Ever since the day when the Chicago White Sox traded six minor leaguers for Roberto Alomar and Carl Everett, I have been on the Twins for making a deal, for doing something to show the players that they are willing to bring in players they believe will help the organization win. I have mentioned time and time again that the Twins just can’t stand pat and stick with their current roster.
But, I may have to slightly fall back on my theory. Terry Ryan did make one trade, bringing in OF Shannon Stewart from Toronto for 1/3 of a season in exchange for the future of Bobby Kielty. Shannon Stewart has played quite well, being a spark in the leadoff spot and taking plenty of pitches. But, even with his successes, the Twins are just 8-6 since the break and have made up just two games in the standings in two weeks since that deal. The White Sox added Scott Schoenweis to their bullpen yesterday and are really playing well right now.
The Twins have really put general manager Terry Ryan in a very difficult situation. They are now 5 ½ games behind the Royals and 3 games behind the White Sox. Do they still have a chance to win the division? That is the question that Terry Ryan has to ask himself. Depending on how he answers that question makes a big difference in what he does in terms of trades before today’s 2:00 p.m. trade deadline.
If he believes that the Twins can win the division, and just need a player or two to do it, he can trade a couple of prospects for some needed players. Those players need to either be middle infielders or pitching (starting or relief).
If he does not believe that the Twins will be able to catch both the Royals and the White Sox, Ryan needs to think long term and think about the 2004 season and beyond. That means probably trading off some of their high-priced talent for more prospects.
The truth of the matter is that at this point, we just don’t know. The trade deadline comes at a very bad time for the Twins this year. They play a very weak schedule for the next couple of weeks, so the standings could be much different at that time. That is why, I am now of the opinion that it may be smartest for the Twins to just stand pat, for Terry Ryan not to make any major deals, or give up any top prospects.
Why my sudden change of heart? Well, there are actually two reasons. It may just be time to tell the team, we believe that you’re better than you are playing and we expect you to start playing like it. If things don’t get better and the Twins are out of contention, they can still trade players before the August 31st trade deadline. And, the other option is to just wait until the end of the season and make some deals in the off-season, when they may be able to get more for their players.
But, those of you who have read this site for awhile know that I can’t just leave it at that. So, I want to throw some ideas out there for you to read and respond to; ideas from both sides of the line.
First, if the Twins are looking to add talent that can help them win this year, we’ve mentioned a need for middle infield help and pitching. I’ve said for awhile that they need a left handed relief pitcher. And, in my opinion, based on what I’ve seen in other deals teams have made for left-handed relievers, they can be had for a mid-level prospect. So, that may be a deal the Twins could make regardless of which way they chose to go.
Middle infielders? Luis Castillo is certainly off the market in Florida as they are playing very well and competing for the NL Wild Card. Jose Vidro may be more available now than a while back, as the Expos are 6 games out of the Wild Card race. But he has been hurt and missing time of late. Also, Luis Rivas has been playing quite well since getting off to a very slow start. The concern I would have is at SS, with Cristian Guzman.
So, I would propose that the Twins go after Expos SS Orlando Cabrera instead of the above second basemen. My proposal would be:
Cristian Guzman, Adam Johnson and Brandon Marsters for Orlando Cabrera.
Twins upgrade at SS offensively and defensively; Twins get rid of Johnson (who with a new start for the Expos could still do well for them); Twins lose Marsters, but with Rob Bowen and Joe Mauer around, Marsters is expendable. The Expos get an adequate replacement for Cabrera (who with a new start, could start playing hard again), and two prospects who could both contribute at the major league level this year, or certainly next!
I would like to put one more potential trade proposal out on the table, and then explain my thought process.
Twins trade Eddie Guardado to the Atlanta Braves for IF Wilson Betemit and one of their non-Adam Wainwright pitching prospects (Bubba Nelson, Macay McBride, or Gonzalo Lopez OR maybe even a member of their current relief corp, like Trey Hodges or Jung Bong)
· Why it may not appear to make sense?
Well, obviously the Twins would lose their closer, an All-Star representative the last two years, a guy who has been in a Twins uniform since 1993.
· Why it makes sense for the Braves?
The Braves have one of the worst bullpens in the league (before Smoltz). So, if they need anything, it’s relief pitching. Eddie Guardado would be a very solid pitcher to fill that role. Betemit has been a top prospect for 4 years, but Furcal and Giles will stay in Atlanta for some time. And, in my proposal, they still don’t give up their best prospect in Wainwright.
· Why it makes sense for the Twins?
Closers are, frankly, incredibly over-rated. Guardado wants prime-time closer money next year, so there’s no way the Twins give him that, or should give him that! The Twins would get Betemit, who, although he’s been a top prospect for 4 or 5 years, still is just 22 years old! He could play SS, 2B or 3B for the Twins as early as next year, and not be any worse than Guzman is this year. He also has 5-tool potential. A pitching prospect is needed in the Twins organization, so getting either a great pitching prospect, or two good pitching prospects, in addition to Betemit, would be good for the Twins. What could the Twins do at closer for the rest of this year? One option is obviously LaTroy Hawkins. He’s a far better pitcher now than when he lost his closer job to Guardado in 2001. But, I think the Twins should take a shot and call up Jesse Crain! I would love to have a guy come in to close games who throws 98! He’s moved quickly up the Twins farm system and is continuing his dominance in AAA. It’s time! I see this trade as the Twins saving some money, not losing much in their bullpen, and getting a couple of prospects as well.
But, you know what? That won’t happen. I do think it makes sense. Terry Ryan wouldn’t, and I even conceded above, probably shouldn’t make a deadline deal. I believe the White Sox and Royals will probably both make deals today to bolster their pitching staffs and/or lineups. ESPN is airing a trade deadline show today from 2-4 central time! I wish I could take time off of work and watch that! Send me an e-mail and let me know what you think the Twins should do, and maybe as important, will do.
Justin Morneau last night hit a 2-run homer for the Rochester Redwings, the Twins AAA team. It was his 14th at that level on the season, despite playing 3 weeks at AA and 6 weeks in the big leagues! For comparison’s sake, Michael Restovich hit 16 there this season, and he’d been there the whole season.
Yesterday, I discussed the numerous trades that took place on Tuesday. I expected there to be as many on Wednesday, but that wasn’t the case. But, there were two:
The big move was made by Billy Beane and the Oakland A’s:
Acquired outfielder Jose Guillen from the Cincinnati Reds for pitchers Aaron Harang, Jeff Bruksch and Joe Valentine.
Seth’s Analysis -
The Reds are dumping everything. But, this one is a little strange to me.
From the Reds perspective, they’re selling high! Makes sense in that Guillen has never had this kind of season, despite having the “tools” to have this kind of year. He’s always been an egotistical, me-first kind of player, which he showed earlier in the season when Ken Griffey, Jr. came off the DL, and Bob Boone announced that Guillen would become the 4th outfielder. But, Guillen is an inexpensive player who isn’t costing the Reds much. But, he becomes a free agent at the end of the year, and based on their unwillingness to spend any money, they won’t be able to afford him next year anyway.
From the A’s perspective, they get a good RF whose 23 home runs this season would be tops on the A’s. The A’s offense has been terrible this year so far, and Guillen can provide some hitting, to go along with Eric Chavez and Miguel Tejada. With Jermaine Dye out, and getting little offense from Chris Singleton and Terrance Long, Guillen is a huge improvement to the A’s Outfield! And, as I said earlier, he’s still cheap. With Rich Harden now up in the big leagues and pitching well, Harang was expendable!
Winner - A’s.
The other move was pretty minor, and involved the Cubs and the Rangers.
Acquired center fielder Doug Glanville from the Texas Rangers for minor league outfielder Jason Fransz and cash;
Seth’s Analysis -
The Rangers are in a drop money mode too. From their perspective, they add a minor prospect and some money for a guy who doesn’t really even play that much for them.
From the Cubs perspective, I guess it adds some depth and a solid defensive outfielder. Glanville’s 200 hit seasons are long gone, so he’s not much of an offensive threat. I don’t see him being any more than a 4th or 5th outfielder who can spell Lofton once in awhile.
From all reports (And again, Peter Gammons is my hero!), there should be lots of activity before today’s 2 p.m. deadline throughout the league! The Reds are dumping plenty of contracts. Do you have an opinion on what the Reds are doing? Let me know. I think it’s just wrong!
DISCUSSION QUESTION OF THE WEEK
I would like to start a Question of the Week portion of this website. I will ask a question (probably on Mondays) and would like for you to think about how you would answer it, and send me an e-mail, and let me know what you think. At the end of the week, I will put together a “mailbag” section that will have some of the best responses I get to the question.
This week’s question comes from a loyal reader named Kirk. He asked me the below question yesterday via e-mail and it really made me think. This week’s question is actually a 3-part question, so here you go:
1.) If you could go back in time and have a conversation with any former major league player, who is now deceased, who would you most want to talk to, and what questions would you ask?
2.) If you could talk to one former big leaguer, who is still alive, who would you talk to, and what would you most want to know?
3.) If you could talk to one current major league ball player, who would it be, and what would you ask?
I think these are really interesting questions. I have asked a couple of friends these questions already and have had some varying, very interesting responses. Some of the players were the same as the ones I chose, but the questions that they would ask are different than the questions I would ask.
So again, here are the “rules”:
1.) Think through the above questions.
2.) Send me an e-mail with your thoughts.
3.) That’s it! It’s that simple. You can then just keep checking back to this site for an upcoming article where I will use some of the responses I get.
If I get some good feedback, I will come up with a weekly discussion question.
Well, tomorrow’s posting should be filled with transactions, and hopefully a segment on Kenny Rogers shutting down the Orioles for another Twins win!!
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