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Be for we get started today, I wanted to mention again that the SethSpeaks.net Weekly Twins Podcast has moved to Tuesday nights during the offseason. Although it was mentioned here yesterday, I don’t know if many got the message. Last night was the first Tuesday night show and I had no guests and no chat room participants and no call-ins. That’s right… if you ever wanted to listen to a guy talk for sixty minutes straight, this is your opportunity. Check out last night’s podcast here, and let me know what you think. I talked about several Twins topics, commented on several Twins blogs, had some comments on the Twins 2008 draft and the signing bonuses they handed out, and I even discussed the big project I am working on. So, if that’s enough of a teaser, you will want to listen, if for no other reason.
Yesterday, Nick Nelson wrote an article called Who Not to Trade. It’s a terrific article and really got me thinking. In general, I agree with the point of Nick’s article, but wanted to briefly expand upon it and then get your thoughts. I want to pretend I’m Bill Smith or someone in the Twins front office. Who would I consider untouchable? Are there five guys on the roster you would not trade in any package? How many would you trade ONLY if you got a great return for? It’s an intriguing question in principle, but in practice, it probably is not so easy to be so cut and dry. So, here are my thoughts, starting with the area Nick discussed yesterday, the starting pitchers. Let me also express right up from that if Albert Pujols or Evan Longoria or Hanley Ramirez was an option, then I would trade even the Untouchables, but those types of things just don’t happen.
· Scott Baker – Untouchable… Lock him Up for the next five or six years now!
· Francisco Liriano – Untouchable… Lock him up for the next five or six years now!
· Kevin Slowey – Untouchable… Already we have heard unfounded rumors that the Mets could trade David Wright. That might be the one guy that I would trade Slowey to obtain.
· Nick Blackburn – In the Right deal – I like pitching depth probably more than anyone, but if Seattle offered Adrian Beltre straight-up for Nick Blackburn, I would take it. Blackburn is still a question mark to me long-term, Beltre is in a contract year which means he’ll have a monster season, and the Twins would get two extra draft picks for him in 2010.
· Glen Perkins – Maybe slightly less available than Blackburn. That means, it would take the right deal and terms and such to trade him. I think he’ll have a lot of big league success as a starter. It would take a JJ Hardy for me to trade him.
· Anthony Swarzak, Brian Duensing, Kevin Mulvey, Jeff Manship – All five of these guys could be dealt to help a position of need. But I would not give any of them away as they all have value to the Twins. Humber could pitch out of the bullpen. Swarzak and Duensing will have three years worth of options starting next season. Mulvey and Manship don’t even need to be added to the 40 man roster until after the 2009 season. In other words, there is a lot of value in those guys.
· Joe Nathan – Basically untradeable, unless the Twins could acquire two near-ready hitters at need positions and a couple more big arms for him. But it would have to be a lot. Money will not be an issue for the Twins in 2009.
· Pat Neshek, Craig Breslow, Jose Mijares – Sure, in the right deal. I wouldn’t label them untouchable, but none are worth trading at this point. They’re young, talented and can stick around for awhile.
· Jesse Crain, Matt Guerrier – Could be traded, but doesn’t make sense. The Twins would be trading them at 50 cents on the dollar. Both have ability and can help the 2009 bullpen. Neither is overly expensive. Both will be pitching for a 2010 contract, with one year of remaining arbitration after the 2009 season.
· Boof Bonser, Philip Humber – Both are out of options. Both have a lot of talent. Both have not fully lived up to their prospect status. Both could get bit parts in trades, and I would strongly consider trading at least one of them realizing that their role will be long relief, a role that they could fill with a veteran, or someone like Duensing or Swarzak. With Mijares ready to surface and Rob Delaney and Anthony Slama lurking, there is no need to keep both.
· Joe Mauer – Obviously Untouchable… Is there really any question about this one? They need to add two to four years to his current contract with ends after the 2010 season.
· Justin Morneau – Obviously Untouchable… Is there really any question about this one?
· Michael Cuddyer – see Joe Nathan – It would take receiving a lot for him for me to even consider dealing Cuddyer. First, due to injury and a sub-par season, his value is low. Second, his contract still isn’t that high. Third, he is a right-handed bat with some power, something the Twins do not have much of.
· Alexi Casilla – If you believe that the real Alexi Casilla is the guy we saw before the injury, he has to be real close to the untouchable level, at least the ‘you-better-get-something-for-him’ level. If you think 2008 may have been fluky, now might be the best time to deal him. I probably would keep him around because I think he can still get better and be a solid middle infielder, and cheap, for several years.
· Jason Kubel – Untouchable unless blown away – Sign him long term, four years.
· Delmon Young – Untouchable – I can’t believe how many are so down on him. There is no way I would trade him right now. First, I think his value may be lower than when the Twins got him a year ago. Second, I still believe that he will be a monster player. He just turned 23. Trading him would be crazy.
· Carlos Gomez – Untouchable – Turned 23 after Young. Crazy talent, athleticism, speed and skill. Needs to make better contact and harness his emotion at times. But he’s amazing defensively, and if you watch him, when he is focused, you can see that there is a lot of potential for him to get better, and all those hopes of him adding power actually make a lot of sense.
· Denard Span – Probably untouchable unless you think 2008 was a fluke. I don’t. I think he’s as good a leadoff hitter as the Twins have had since Chuck Knoblauch a dozen years earlier. His approach at the plate is remarkable. I like his power within context of a leadoff hitter. Tremendous defense and athleticism.
· Brian Buscher, Matt Tolbert, Jason Pridie – Sure, trade them if anyone wants them. I can’t imagine any opposing GM calling and first asking about these guys. But they are all replaceable. You just wouldn’t get anything for them.
· Mike Redmond – It’s hard to call a backup catcher untouchable, but there is little reason for the Twins to even entertain the idea of trading him. He’s as good as any backup catcher in baseball, solid offensively, very good defensively and clearly a positive leader on the team. Also, the Twins just don’t have any internal backup catching options ready right now. Why go out and get another veteran who won’t be as good and will cost just as much?
Arizona Fall League Tuesday Update
· The Phoenix Desert Dogs scored three runs in the top of the 9th and won 5-4.
· Tim Lahey came in to pitch the 8th inning for Phoenix and did not allow a run despite giving up one walk.
· With a one run lead in the 9th, the ball was given to Anthony Slama who worked a perfect inning, including a strikeout.
· Danny Valencia batted fifth and played 3B. He went 2-4.
· Dustin Martin batted sixth and played RF. He went 1-4.
· Steve Tolleson was used as a pinch hitter late in the game and struck out.
Again, be sure to stop by Twinkie Town to continue to vote for the Twins Prospect List. It’s fun and a great discussion. With that, I’m going to call it a day. I’d love to hear your thoughts, comments and ideas for the site, so please send me an e-mail or post Comments here. If you would like to help me with some sports-related market research, please e-mail me. I would appreciate it.