Friday, November 30, 2007
Seven Questions with Josh Johnson
Before getting to these questions and answers, I think it is important to note that the Yankees have supposedly said now that they will include Phil Hughes in a trade for Johan Santana. That suddenly
Here is another Six Questions with another Twins blogger. You all know Josh Johnson of Josh’s Thoughts. He has done a great job analyzing potential Twins trades, but he also does a nice job with the Twins minor leagues. Here are his responses:
SethSpeaks: You’re the GM, what do you do about Johan Santana? To trade, or not to trade? If your answer is “To Trade”, what would it require in return to make it happen?
Josh Johnson: I'd trade Santana. Regardless of
the fact that he's one of my favorite players, but I think it's financially
irresponsible. The Twins have so many other needs than pitching, and as good as
Santana is, I can't justify paying one player close to $20 million a year or
1/4 of the teams total payroll, especially when we have incredible depth at
that position. I like him, but unless the Pohlad's
come out and say that things are going to definitely change as we open the new
stadium, then I'd have to trade him (which would mean locking up our current
players long-term and acquiring other impact players as well). The teams payroll is speculated to go up possibly $5-8 million
for next season, but I think that until we know for sure that the Pohlad's are committed to putting money on the table for
the payroll, I'd have to trade him.
In a trade, I'd demand one top prospect, one good major leaguer or mutliple fairly good prospects. I think that a couple top prospects would get it done too (perhaps Jacoby Ellsbury & Clay Buchholz). I think a deal with the Yankees seems most likely for Santana, so I think that a good trade would be Phil Hughes, Ian Kennedy, Kevin Whalen and Jose Tabata. Tabata would likely be ready in 2010 to take over center, but I don't really care for either Melky Cabrera or Austin Jackson. Hughes and Kennedy would be great replacements for Santana and now Garza in the rotation. Would the Yankees do it? Possibly. I don't know if they'd trade both, but I think that it will take more than Cabrera and Hughes which has been the hot rumor recently.
SethSpeaks: The Twins have been hesitant in the past to trade young pitchers. It sounds like that theory may be somewhat altered this offseason. Are there any of the Twins young pitchers that you would call untouchable?
Josh Johnson: I don't like the thought of "so and so is untouchable" especially when it comes to prospects. But right now, I'd prefer to see the Twins hold onto Kevin Slowey and Scott Baker (I'd mention Liriano, but I have not seen his name mentioned anywhere anyway), until we find out Santana's fate. If he's traded, I think we need to get at least one top pitcher in return if not two. Until then, I'd prefer to hold onto those guys, but by all means, if the deal is right, they're gone.
SethSpeaks: As of today, where would you rank the Twins in the AL Central?
Josh Johnson: Behind the Indians and Tigers and barely ahead of the White Sox and Royals.
SethSpeaks: What would you consider the top three things that the Twins need to do this offseason?
Josh Johnson: Find the direction we want to go in as we finish off our stay at the Metrodome (either re-building or trying to stay competitive). Acquire another impact bat. Trade Johan Santana and possibly Joe Nathan if he wants market value (which I think he does).
SethSpeaks: On a scale of 1 to 10, how confident are you that Bill Smith will be able to do the things that the Twins need to compete?
Josh Johnson: 7. I think that he has a lot on his plate right now, but the Young-Garza trade gives me optimism of what's to come. As long as the team is able to give him the resource (money) to acquire a couple quality players (A & B free agents, not C or D free agents as Gardy has referred to), I think we'll be alright.
SethSpeaks: Tell us a little about what you do on your blog, where we can find it and what you write about during the offseason?
Josh Johnson: I like paying attention to the minor leagues. It's definitely my favorite part of the game (development). I like hearing about possible deals with different teams. I like to look for ways to improve the team, any way possible. I know that most of the rumors will blow over and never happen, but it doesn't hurt to think about them. I have looked at a lot of rumors this off-season and I'll probably continue to do so.
SethSpeaks: Any further thoughts on the Twins/Rays trade?
Johnson: Well of course, I would be happier with
the original deal that had Juan Rincon going to the Rays instead of Eddie Morlan, but I'm still fairly happy that the Twins finally
moved a couple promising pitchers for a potentially great bat. Morlan was one of my favorite prospects, ever since I heard
that he has a fastball close to 100 MPH. I am still very surprised that the
deal went from Juan Rincon to Eddie Morlan, either
the Rays played the Twins or they just actually thought Rincon had that much
As for the acquisition of Young. I'm estatic. Although he's known as a "bad apple", but I think his potential is just far too high to let that play a role in anything. He's still very young, and I'm sure that he'll mature more quickly in Minnesota where he's surrounded by many veterans, opposed to in Tampa Bay where he's surrounded by younger players and of course, the beach. :)
I will miss Bartlett's defense, despite tying Ryan Braun for the most errors in '07 with 26. I think he's got the range to play short stop at an elite level, but just needs to work on routine plays and his accuracy could use a little tuning up as well. But with Harris coming in, I really am looking forward to see what he has. I can't get too "giddy" over him after just one full ML season, but I think that he's going to fill a nice second base this season. I say second because I think that Punto's and Casilla's range will ultimately make Harris the second baseman.
Overall, I'm pretty happy with this trade, but I think we're far from done. I do think that with Joe Nathan's situation up in the air, the team will regret trading Eddie Morlan down the road. But we'll have to wait and see.
Thank you to Josh Johnson and everyone for stopping by this site. Keep checking back throughout the weekend. If you have any questions, comments or ideas for future postings, please e-mail me.