Friday, December 14, 2007
Friday Night Notes
Thatíll teach me to step away from the computer for awhile. I left work and there was nothing new to report. I dared to actually stay away from the computer for about four hours and what happens? A lot! So, here is a quick update on the things that have happened:
1. Twins Sign Mike Lamb
a. I know I mentioned him as being the top free agent 3B on the market when the season ended. Of course, that was really (the top free agent 3B not including Alex Rodriguez).
b. That says a lot more about this years free agent 3B than about Mike Lamb as a player.
c. The Twins will pay Lamb $3.5 million in 2008 and $3.0 million in 2009. There are incentives and an option for 2010.
d. The Twins will give Lamb a real chance to be an every day player for the first time in his career. That said, it isnít as thought Lamb has really been a bench player either. The last three years in Houston, he has played in 125, 126 and 124 games, respectively.
e. I actually like this signing though for a couple of reasons.
i. †First, the Twins really do not have a great option at 3B. Sure, had they gone into the season with a Brian Buscher/Matt Macri platoon, I would have been fine with that, but I do like the potential of Lamb. Now, itís hard to talk about a 32 year old as having potential, but hear me out.
ii. Lamb has hit 14, 12, 12, and 11 home runs in the last four season and never had more than 381 at bats. Could he hit 15-20 given 500 at bats?
iii. His OBP has been over .356 in three of his last four years, including a very solid Isolated Discipline. That is pretty good.
iv. His OPS+ has been over 110 in three of the last four seasons. Some comes from the OBP, but he also has had a Slugging Percentage over .450 in those years as well. He has some extra base pop, which is a good thing.
v. The Twins donít have a 3B with this much upside that will be ready in 2008 or probably 2009. $3.5 million for your starting 3B is not a bad thing.
vi. Macri and Buscher can get every day at bats in Rochester and be called upon in case of injury. Depth on the bench is great, but depth in Rochester is something that has allowed the Twins to contend the last couple of years.
vii. Is he going to be a star? Probably Not. But an OPS of .780 to .820 from your likely #8 hitter is not a bad thing. And, if he is batting 8th, it is good to have a patient hitter because he could get a lot of walks hitting in front of Adam Everett.
2. Dan Haren traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks for 6 Minor Leaguers
a. The price for a high-level, All-Star caliber #1 pitcher was just set. We thought that a Johan Santana deal would set the market, but instead the Oakland Aís have set the market.
b. The Aís acquired LHP Brett Anderson (3), LHP Dana Eveland, LHP Greg Smith, IF Chris Carter (8), OF Aaron Cunningham (7) and OF Carlos Gonzalez (1). The numbers in parentheses are the rankings according to Baseball Americaís Diamondback Prospect List.
c. John Sickelsí posted his Boston Red Sox Top 20 Prospects, so if the Twins were to acquire their #1, #3, #7 and #8 prospects, the Twins would get Clay Buchholz, Jed Lowrie, Nick Hagadone and Ryan Kalish. I think that the Twins would be happy with that deal! I donít think that the team really has a chance to get Bucholz, but if he became available, I think the Twins would have to pull the trigger. However, I think it is quite obvious that the Red Sox prospects are much better than the Diamondbacks!
d. Of course, the market for Haren is much better than it is for Santana. First, because of Harenís long-term, reasonably priced contract, Billy Beane could discuss trades with the other 29 teams whereas because of Johan Santanaís contract situation, the Twins can only deal him to a few teams.
e. Great trade for the Diamondbacks in that they get a second ace to go along with Brandon Webb.
f. Great trade for a rebuilding Aís team in that they get a Top 20 in baseball prospect in OF Carlos Gonzalez. They get three pitchers and plenty of youth to build around.
g. Good trade for former Twins minor leaguers Alex Romero and Trent Oeltjen who should both be playing for Tucson, Arizonaís AAA affiliate, to start the 2008 season.
3. John Sickels posted his Boston Red Sox Top 20 Prospects.
a. I know, I already mentioned that, right? But I think it is something that Twins fans should know and understand.
b. Clay Bucholz is #1, and Jacoby Ellsbury is #2. No surprises there.
c. Also no surprise that Jed Lowrie is #3, but for him to receive an A- is certainly encouraging as he has been mentioned in all Twins trade rumors.
d. Justin Masterson ranks #6 on this list. He too has been linked to every deal. I have heard great reports on him. But the name I heard mentioned early that I really, really liked was Michael Bowden. Sickels ranks him 5th.
4. The Diamonbacks also trade Jose Valverde, to the Astros for Chad Qualls, Chris Burke and Juan Gutierrez
a. The D-Backs got a second ace, but traded their closer. Remember that Valverde led the National League with 47 saves. It was really his first full season as a closer. He started the 2006 season as the teamís closer but lost his job midway through the season before getting another shot in 2007. He made the most of it, and he is likely to become expensive.
b. This trade should give the Twins and their fans a little idea about potential return for Joe Nathan. First, Nathan is old, but second, he is far more consistent. Nathanís 2006 contract is low, so this would be the least they should expect. Qualls is a solid middle reliever. Burke is a 2B/OF who Iíve compared to Michael Cuddyer in that he has never really been given a shot at regular duty to this point. To me, that kind of return would not be enough for me to trade Nathan knowing that I could get two first round picks for him if I kept him through the 2008 season.
5. Josh Johnson finished his Thoughts on his Top 50 Prospects in all of baseball list. It is an interesting list. I made a few comments in his Top 20, so check those out too and let him know what you think.
6. I forgot to post it the other day, but Aaron Gleeman had a great write up on why Cordell Koskie is his #16 ranked Twins player of all-time.
8. I havenít linked for awhile, but be sure to check out BrentNet who has had updates on his site the last couple of days.
9. With the release of the Mitchell Report yesterday, I wanted to point out a couple of transactions that happened:
a. Gil Velazquez signed a minor league deal with the Boston Red Sox.
b. Grant Balfour signed a one year deal to stay with the Tampa Bay Rays. I think he will be a huge part of a very improved Rays bullpen.
c. Former Twin Chris Gomez signed a one year deal with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
d. This is now a week old, but I just saw that former Gopher 2B Luke Appert was taken by the Phillies in the minor league Rule V draft.
10. Finally, as I drove into work on Friday morning, I listened to XM Satellite Radioís Home Plate Networkís Baseball This Morning, like I always do. But on this morning, the Twins Michael Cuddyer was a guest host. He was on with Buck Martinez and Billy Ripken. He was really good. A career in sports talk, radio or TV, is in the cards should he want to do that. Seriously, Cuddyer is a great ambassador for baseball and for the Minnesota Twins. If the Twins donít lock him up for three or four years this offseason, I will be very disappointed!
Thanks again for stopping by this site. If there are more events in the next couple of days, be sure to check here. Have a great weekend! If you have any questions, comments or ideas for future postings, please e-mail me.