Let the Names Roll In…

3 Nov

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net -

Just a few quick notes for you. Players are filing for free agency. We have seen some trades already. And this time of season is all about rumors. How many will be true? Probably very few. But that’s what makes the Hot Stove season so fun. Everyone has an opinion, and then once the deals start happening, everyone will have another opinion. So, here are a few:

·         Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors has put out his predictions for their top 50 free agents. A few are Twins related:

o    He lists Casey Blake as the #18 free agent as predicts he will go to the Twins. First, the Twins could use a veteran 3B. If signed Blake would play against lefties and righties. That would make Matt Macri worth taking off the 40 man roster. Blake could also occasionally play some 1B. I like Casey Blake. It would be a neat story for the Twins to bring him back after he was never really given a chance to play 1B or 3B earlier in the decade because of Corey Koskie and Doug Mientkiewicz. But Casey Blake is what he is. He’s a solid, but not young 3B. Defense is certainly not his best quality. As I have mentioned with the likes of Adrian Beltre, I would like a guy with a one year contract. I just do not believe that Blake would be willing to sign a one year contract. I have heard rumors that he could get as much as 3 years and $24-27 million. That is FAR too much. How high would I go on the Iowa native? I would offer a one year, $8 million deal, with an option for a second year at $7.5 million with a $1 million buyout. If Luke Hughes or Danny Valencia are deemed ready for a starting job in 2010, they do the buyout. If they’re not, you pick up the option. Would Blake sign for less to come back to the Twins?

o   At #21, he lists Orlando Cabrera going to the Twins. I really was a big fan of Cabrera’s back in his Expos days. I always thought he was greatly underrated. But he is no longer young and the speed he once possessed is just not there anymore. He doesn’t have great range, and his offense would, at best, be league average. Now, that would be an improvement from what the Twins have received from the SS position over the past few years, but does Cabrera expect a three year deal that will take him to age 37? Does he expect more than $8 million a year? If so, I think I’d rather take league average for much, much less money.

o   Finally, the #42 free agent according to the list was Nick Punto. He predicts Punto heading to the Tampa Bay Rays. I’m not so sure I agree. They have an infield of Evan Longoria, Jason Bartlett and Akinori Iwamura. They have Ben Zobrist already playing a Super-Utility role. As Dierkes says, if Punto wants playing time, much less ‘craves a starting job’, I don’t see Tampa as an option at all. I am very curious what the free agent market will do for Punto. Can he really get a two or three year deal? Will he be able to make the $2.4 million that he did in 2008? If not, he might as well stay with the Twins. That said, it will be interesting to see just how much the Twins want Punto back.

·         Hall of Famer Tracy Ringolsby wrote his opinion of the needs for each of the big league teams. For the Twins, he says”
TWINS
have young nucleus in place but need to add bullpen depth. RHP Pat Neshek (strained elbow) is expected to be ready for spring training. LHP Jose Mijares could be late-inning factor, but a veteran middle reliever would be welcomed.”
Could the Twins use a solid middle reliever? Sure, I guess it wouldn’t hurt, but I certainly wouldn’t make it a priority, certainly not the top priority.

·         This was discussed some in the Comments section over the weekend, but Baseball Prospectus’s Joe Sheehan posted Five Radical Moves to be made this offseason. It included this one:
Minnesota trades Francisco Liriano to Texas for Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Elvis Andrus, Hank Blalock and Omar Poveda.

I can see the thinking, but in my mind, it isn’t a trade to make. That said, it would be hard to not at least consider. I still see Liriano coming back to be an All Star caliber starter, but there is still a lot of risk in him. A year ago, the Rangers acquired Saltalamacchia, Andrus and more for Mark Teixeira. “Salty” could be a solid backup catcher and a DH option, but I wouldn’t rank him ahead of Kubel at this point. A year ago, I may have. Andrus would be nice to have, but he is one of those guys who has always been very young for his level of competition. He has performed adequately, but not spectacularly. Blalock is pretty worthless at this stage, in my opinion. A year ago, we talked about how he couldn’t hit outside of Texas and against left-handed pitching. This year, add in the fact that he hasn’t been healthy for two years and the fact that he probably can’t play 3B anymore and you’ve got yet another 1B/DH option which does no good. I’m not completely against trading Liriano. I understand trading him if you get a great offer… and I mean really great… but this certainly is not the right offer as Andrus is the only player that could help the Twins and he wouldn’t for at least two years.    

·         What other rumors are you hearing?

 

Here are some additional notes:

·         Alex Burnett was voted the Twins #29 prospect (with Tyler Ladendorf finishing #30) at Twinkie Town. The voting for 31-50 will continue, starting here.

·         Granny Baseball gives its choices for the Twins Top 11 Prospects.

 

Arizona Fall League Wednesday Update

·         Jeff Manship was named the Arizona Fall League’s Pitcher of the Week last week.

·         This afternoon Phoenix beat Mesa 5-2.

·         Danny Valencia went 0-4 with three strikeouts and also grounded into a double play. Not a good day.

·         Dustin Martin went 2-4 and is now batting .307.

That’s it for now! Any thoughts? E-mail me or leave your Comments here.

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27 Responses to “Let the Names Roll In…”

  1. TT November 4, 2008 at 12:04 am #

    I can see the thinking,

    Can you really? Because he is seriously suggesting trading a potential ace, which the Twins lack, for two players whose only position is DH, which is already filled by Kubel. Then he throws in two prospects several years away from helping at the major league level. Did Andrus even get out of A-ball this year? Poveda struggled when promoted to high-a ball and the Twins are hardly short of talented young, unproven pitching prospects.

    This is a team that was one win away from being in the playoffs with one of the youngest rosters in the major leagues. They lack any real pitching depth that is ready to help immediately. This wouldn’t be a “radical move”, unless radical is a euphemism for stupid beyond belief. Is BP that hard up for something new to say?

  2. Seth November 4, 2008 at 12:11 am #

    I can understand the thinking regarding trading Liriano IF you get a great package for him. There is an injury concern. This is not a Wow Trade offer for Liriano, so I definitley wouldn’t consider it. But based on injury history and concern, I can understand thinking about seeing what you could get for him.

    Personally, I think he’ll keep getting better, so it would take a lot for me to trade him.

  3. TT November 4, 2008 at 12:11 am #

    Having calmed down, I think the Twins trying to sign Blake makes some sense. He will probably get a three year contract and end up being overpaid in the last year of it. With Buscher and Harris available, that probably isn’t a price worth paying.

    Signing Punto is really a no-brainer. Even if they signed Cabrera, Punto is still valuable as a utility player. He has the ability to play shortstop every day if he could stay healthy.

  4. TT November 4, 2008 at 12:14 am #

    But based on injury history and concern, I can understand thinking about seeing what you could get for him.

    Any team taking him has to consider that same injury history. The Twins are actually a team that ought to be taking on that kind of risk, not trying to shed it. They need an ace and Liriano has the potential to provide that.

  5. cmathewson November 4, 2008 at 9:23 am #

    I can’t see the thinking. Trading Liriano at this point would be like trading Santana in 2003, before he has a lot of value or is expensive. That’s the time you hang onto players. If we were to trade Liriano, we would need to fill holes with him. Hank Blalock is no better than Brian Buscher and he’s more expensive. Salty doesn’t have a position on this team. Niether does Andrus. It is quite possibly the stupidest trade suggestion I have seen in years.

  6. mike wants wind November 4, 2008 at 9:33 am #

    Heh, I thought I was down on the deal. If they deal him, they must get a SS or 3B that is one of the top 10-15 in the league, not old, and at least one other player likely to contribute. Even then I would be hesitant to do it.

    That said, he has a pretty solid injury history at this point, so if they could get an every day player at 3B or SS I’d have to strongly consider it.

  7. mike wants wind November 4, 2008 at 9:35 am #

    just a nugget from ESPN today:

    Statistician John Dewan’s plus-minus system ranked Abreu as the second-worst right fielder in the game in 2008 (ahead of Colorado’s Brad Hawpe) and Burrell as the second-worst left fielder in the game (ahead of Minnesota’s Delmon Young.

  8. Funkytown November 4, 2008 at 9:48 am #

    Stay away from OCabrera. Not only is he a guy that will cost a lot of money,but he’s one of the Type players, so the Sox will get a draft choice or 2. No way do i see the Twins helping out a division foe like that.

    And, if he’s a problem in the clubhouse? No way he comes to MN…they have to be one big happy family, you know!

  9. gobbledygookguy November 4, 2008 at 10:01 am #

    if trading liriano is an option go after a player like chase headley. possibly has same high up side fills a big hole, throw in boof and pick up green. fixs our infield and replaces peavey for them. right now liriano isn’t a sure thing and headley hasn’t lived up to his hype yet. would make sense for both teams, also a big chance for egg on the face.

  10. mike wants wins November 4, 2008 at 10:36 am #

    btw, I posted taht earlier post for anyone that was thinking about those two FA OF (for a RH DH option, and if they deal DY to get an IF), not for the comment on Delmon. I had, at one point, thought Burrell was an option, but reading that, you’d have to say only if he is the DH.

  11. jama November 4, 2008 at 11:04 am #

    Looking at the Liriano deal that is proposed. If the Twins did that deal they could then turn around and trade Salty to the Red Sox for Lowell. Would that make the deal any better? I think the Twins absolutely need to trade for an everyday SS and I would like them to improve their 3B situation.

  12. gobbledygookguy November 4, 2008 at 11:27 am #

    this would make mike happy!

    The Twins’ Bill Smith is in Los Angeles for baseball’s general manager meetings, and it would be surprising if he doesn’t talk to the San Diego Padres about a deal of third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff for left fielder Delmon Young.

    St. Paul Pioneer Press

  13. mike wants wins November 4, 2008 at 12:18 pm #

    Not sure that would make me happy. I don’t know a ton about KK, but reviews on him are pretty mixed.

    I’m also leery about Span, Gomez, Cuddy all being healthy and productive. As I’ve said, you can only trade DY if you get a “sure fire” 3B or SS (which many believe KK is).

  14. thrylos98 November 4, 2008 at 12:42 pm #

    Would Blake sign for less to come back to the Twins?

    I seriously doubt it. The Twins burned their bridges with him the same way they did with the Ortiz. If you haven’t read it yet, Ortiz’ book with Tony Mazzaroti (Big Papi: My Story of Big Dreams and Big Hits) provides an interesting view of the Twins in the Kelly/Gardy transition years…

    Rumors? The one that has been whispered around here (Mid-Atlantic) is a Cuddyer for Mora swap with the Orioles. Would do that in a heartbeat, but not sure whether it is anything more than a rumor.

    That Liriano to Rangers trade would be just crazy. The Twins do not need another ML-catcher this year, Andrus would not be an improvement right away at SS and I am not sure that he is a better prospect than Plouffe at this point and Blalock does not offer more than Buscher/Harris at 3B. Poveda is a good pitching prospect but the Twins have a few of those. I just don’t see Liriano moving for that. On the other hand, I would do a Liriano-Longoria swap in a heartbeat ;)

  15. gobbledygookguy November 4, 2008 at 12:48 pm #

    young;
    10 hr-69 rbi, .290/.336/.405 ops+ 100
    kouz;
    23 hr-84 rbi, .260/.299/.433 ops+ 97
    kouz has much better #’s away from petco more in line with young and better power. he’s also older 26 so-so in the field. it could make sense and it could blow up in their face. kind of makes sense the padres have headley a 3b playing left, we have an extra of’r, maybe, i think i’d rather take a chance on headley, probably higher ceiling. of course span could fall on his face next yr or gomez could fail to improve and smith would look really stupid or young could not improve much and we could get 25-30 hr and 100 rbi guy. tuff call.

  16. thrylos98 November 4, 2008 at 12:56 pm #

    Kevin Kouzmanoff for left fielder Delmon Young

    that came out of Charlie Walters’ you-know-what again. For some reason he (and Sid Hartman) is dead set against Young. These are the only 2 places those rumors are being generated. Kouzmanoff is not much better than Buscher/Harris at this point. His OPS+ is normalized for part factors & league. Buscher’s OPS+ was 97 and Harris’ 94, in the tougher league and Kouz’ defense is just about as good as Buscher’s…

  17. gobbledygookguy November 4, 2008 at 1:35 pm #

    thrylos how about headley or has his star already tarnished? he was as highly touted as young at one time.
    it seems walters, sid and souhan all want young gone real bad, maybe to much. seems kind of odd really.

  18. thrylos98 November 4, 2008 at 2:46 pm #

    Walters, Sid and Souhan do this because Cuddyer is their boy. If you do not believe me look at the number of quotes per player in those columns the last 3 years. Cuddy would be ahead by 50% more than the second frequent quoter. They know that with Young in the Twins club, Cuddyer will be in his way out sooner or later so they will lose their inside man as far as players are concerned…

  19. ben November 4, 2008 at 4:43 pm #

    I don’t get why everyone assumes Young should be the outfielder to go. Of the 4, there are 2 corner fielders and 2 CFers. Why trade one of the corners and make a CFer play a corner? Especially when you have a lot of talent coming up in CF in the minors. I think you choose between Gomez and Span, or keep all of them. Unless you aren’t sold on Young’s upside, I guess.

  20. Jake November 5, 2008 at 1:37 am #

    Off on my own tangent, Danny Valencia is a Jerk. Everyone else in the AFL for the Twins are humble and nice. But Valencia is a Mediocre Prima Donna. I hope the Twins trade for Beltre because Twins fans don’t need an arrogant a$$ like Valencia playing for them.

  21. brad November 5, 2008 at 11:09 pm #

    Seth, any chance the Nats would part with Zimmerman? He could be a long term solution at 3B for the Twins. I know he has had some injury history but he is a hard nosed player and is great with the glove. Gomez, Swarzak & Rainville or another mid level could get it done.

  22. brad November 5, 2008 at 11:10 pm #

    Jake, I just read your comments…what happened with you and Valencia? Is it the SoFLo attitude or what?

  23. Jake November 6, 2008 at 1:35 pm #

    I don’t know how people are in South Florida so I can’t say it is a SoFlo attitude. He was just a jerk. Everyone else in AFL was real cool with the fans on Tuesday (election day). There was a crowd of about 50 people (Three of which including myself Twins fans)in the stands so it was hardly packed. I guess there is an unwritten rule that they can’t sign autographs during a game. But as Seth Stohs stated in his Podcast none of the Twins players were playing until Lahey pitched in the Ninth. I was sitting next to the Tunnel that the Desert Dogs were walking through. All the other Twins players saw me with my hat and I asked and they obliged. But Valencia just sneered kept walking and stated ‘It’s during a game, man.’ Now there are ways to say things and ways not to. If he had said ‘We have policy that we can’t sign during a game’ I would have been fine with that; but the way he said it just shows he thinks his sh!t don’t stink. The last time I got an attitude from a player like that was Vikings Training Camp 1998, Matthew Hatchette. A few minutes after that incident I ran in Randy Moss and he gladly autographed for me. Say what you will about Moss but he is good to the fans and even if he was a jerk to someone he is a Superstar so he gets some leeway. But for a player who is not performing offensively in AFL when it is considered a premier league of some of baseballs future talent to feel he is too good to sign he sounds like a future cancer to the team I love.

  24. East Coast Twin November 6, 2008 at 4:18 pm #

    “Seth, any chance the Nats would part with Zimmerman? He could be a long term solution at 3B for the Twins.”

    Not a chance. The Nats are building for the future and Zimmerman is a big part of that plan. Guzman would be a more realistic choice.

  25. East Coast Twin November 6, 2008 at 4:22 pm #

    The Nats would also throw in 300 lb Dimitri Young and his $5M contract.

  26. Bill in Sarasota November 6, 2008 at 4:47 pm #

    Give Valencia a break. He’s not doing great and probably disappointed or frustrated.

    ‘It’s during a game, man.’ is not a harsh comment.

    What are you going to do with an autograph anyway?

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