Sunday, December 2, 2007
Six Questions with
Heather from Win Twins
It has been a busy week at SethSpeaks. I didn’t think there would be a lot going on in the week leading up to the Winter Meetings… but I was wrong. The Twins made a trade and the Johan Santana rumors are rampant. I thought I would be able to give a little recognition to some other Twins bloggers by doing these Question and Answers with them and encouraging you to check out their sites. So, please be sure to check them all out if you haven’t, and be sure to include them all in your bookmarks. This posting comes thanks to Heather who writes the site Win Twins. She also writes about hockey, specifically some college hockey for the hockey fans out there. Enjoy!
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?
WIN TWINS: Well, I'm a big Johan Santana fan. I think he's done wonders for our team and he could now be considered "the face of the Twins" with the departure of Torii Hunter. If I'm the GM, I do everything in my power to sign him to a long-term deal this off-season. Trade rumors abound, as do rumors about what, exactly, the Twins have offered him. I've heard anywhere from 4 years, $80 million to 5 years, $93 million. Regardless of what was offered, clearly another offer needs to be made. Santana is a 28 year old pitcher who may not have yet reached his peak. He has a history of relative health, he tends to make all his scheduled starts and he rarely (if ever?) has been pulled after an inning or two because he's completely lost it. This is a dependable arm that cannot be replaced. ; We have some extra cash since Torii has left, sign the guy! I'm not uncomfortable with a long-term (ie. 5-6 years) contract for Santana because he's proven he can remain healthy over the long haul (unlike Hunter). 6 years would make him 34 years old for goodness sake. He could still have years of baseball left. It's a huge amount of money and a risk, but one I'm willing to take.
That being said, IF it is not possible to sign him to a contract this off-season, he must be traded. If we are going to get a return on Santana, we must receive a major-league ready pitcher, as well as someone who can play third base or a DH (and they should be a HITTER, as well). With that, a couple prospects that have potential are necessary in order for me to part with a Johan Santana. I don't think it's asking too much to get a couple of guys who can help my team today if I'm willing to part with a pitcher who is arguably, the best in the game. I also don't know that we will get that kind of return because Santana will only waive that no-trade clause if he is able to negotiate a long-term deal with the team that we want to trade him to. So, we are asking "someone" to part with 3-4 guys (two with Major League experience), as well as $120 million dollars and a gamble on a pitcher. There are teams who would be willing to do it, we'd just have to find them. If it's only an okay deal - it's NOT WORTH IT! Sign him!
The answer is clearly to re-sign Santana and wrap him up till 2013 or so. He can retire a Twin and make all Twins fans happy!
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?
WIN TWINS: No one is really untouchable these days. Prior to this week, I would have actually suggested Matt Garza as an option. This is a pitcher who has great potential, however his attitude has, at times, gotten in his own way. Maybe a change of scenery will be just what he needs. I think the Twins got a good deal in the Garza/Young trade. Delmon Young could do great things for us. And for crying out loud, he was a rookie this last season. He's no where near his full potential!! I am a little nervous about the Bartless aspect, however I do feel that we can throw Harris in at second (and get some hitting from him) and play Punto at short. Punto has proven that, though he lacks offensive skills (I still see him as better than 2007, but not as good as 2006), he is very solid defensively. I really don't think we have to go out there and search for a shortstop right now.
But, I've gotten off the track of the question. Liriano is untouchable this year. We need to see how he's going to recover from his TJ surgery and what his potential will be this year and next. Beyond that, the Twins need to start thinking about what they can do to better their team. If that means trading some of the plethora of young arms in our system, I say go for it. IF we can get a return that is going to help our team out, make some deals and use our strength (pitching) to acheive it. I'm not okaying the sale of the entire farm system for a one-time shot at the Series, but if we can make a few moves and get some good, solid guys to help us out, we have to do it!
SethSpeaks: As of today, where would you rank the Twins in the AL Central?
WIN TWINS: I would honestly put us in the middle of the Central Division. Clearly the Indians have the best chance of landing near the top. They don't have nearly the issues/holes that the Twins do and they had an extremely solid team last year. On paper, they would seem to have the upper hand. Detroit and the Twins come next. Detroit seems to have some of the same issues we have, but may have a hand up in some respects. KC is making obvious efforts to rebuild their team and is going to be making a surge some year soon, I predict. Chicago. Huh, what to say about Chicago. They have some issues to figure out down there and it seems like they're TRYING. Not sure how it's going to go for them. The Twins are semi-solid and if we can make a few additions this off-season, we'll be okay.
SethSpeaks: What would you consider the top three things that the Twins need to do this offseason?
WIN TWINS: (1) Johan Santana. (2) Center Field. (3) Third Base. The Twins have been trying to get Joe Nathan signed, however I think another year of being a set-up guy will truly show us if Neshek has what it takes to be our closer. The trade rumors regarding Joe Nathan make me cringe because I really don't think Neshek is ready yet. We could throw him in there and hope for the best, but I really think one more year and he'll be the guy! So, the contract of Joe Nathan can take a back-burner at this point. No way would I give him $12-15 million a year, as Mariano Rivera's contract did for him! CRAZY! Given that contract, Nathan is cheap labor right now. I can see giving him a raise, but if he can't be re-signed for relatively cheap, let him go play somewhere else and look within.
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?
WIN TWINS: I'm in the minority who feel the Garza deal was a decent one, so I'll say I'm at a 6 in my confidence in Bill Smith. Just a little beyond the unsure zone. He realizes he has a lot of work to do and has started making moves already, which already sets this off-season apart from recent years. He seems to be a little more willing to make moves then Ryan was the last few years. He let Torii Hunter go, which I agree with (given Hunter's request of a 5 year deal). If he can get Santana signed and land a power hitter in even one of the above positions (CF or 3B), my confidence in him will go up exponentially. I'm keeping an open mind. He's got Carl Pohlad's payroll constraining his efforts, so we'll see how he deals with that.
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?
WIN TWINS: I started my blog last year during the (short) playoffs at the urging of a friend who blogs about college hockey. She directed me to a few other blogs that she enjoyed and I thought it seemed fun. I kind of started it as a laugh for my few friends who read it, not realizing other people would read it. My blog is unique because I'm a girl and I actually do know baseball. I've been a fan for a lot of years and I think I add a little something extra because I'm a female writer. I'm not Bat-Girl, but I try to keep things funny and not get too riled up when people don't agree with me or harass me in the comment section! :)
During the off-season, I blog about hockey. College hockey and the Twins are a good combination because their seasons barely overlap. I'm a SCSU Huskies fan because I'm from St. Cloud. I didn't go to SCSU, but my first D1 hockey game was a SCSU game and I was hooked. I'm trying to keep up-to-date on baseball news as well, so there's alway the chance of catching Twins news when you stop by! :)
Find me at www.wintwins.blogspot.com.
Thank you to Heather from Win Twins 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.