Friday Quick Notes

2 Jan

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net -

Things are pretty slow with the Twins to this point in the offseason, at least in terms of major league moves. Likewise, things are a little slower during this time with Twins blogging as well. But there are a few things going on that people should be aware of, so here are some links and thoughts for today:

·         Josh Johnson, at Josh’s Thoughts, is working very hard on his Top 50 Twins prospects. He is trying a new format that I really like. It includes some background, stats, and video on the player, if available. He has posted his choices for #47-50, and none of the four made my Top 50, although I happen to think all four of these names are very intriguing and all about potential!

·         Nick Nelson, at Nick & Nick’s Twins Blog, is a bit disappointed that the Twins did not acquire Mark DeRosa. Cleveland got the infielder/outfielder from the Cubs in exchange for three minor leaguers. Jeff Stevens is a reliever who apparently has better stuff than Anthony Slama. John Gaub has apparently lost some velocity since he was drafted out of the University of Minnesota. Chris Archer is the other player. None of them even ranked  in Cleveland’s Top 10 prospects. Could the Twins have beat that offer, if they wanted to? Certainly, and easily. But unlike many Twins fans, this doesn’t bother me at all, for several reasons. One, Mark DeRosa hit 20 homers last year in hitter-friendly Wrigley Field, but the 34 year old has just 69 career home runs, so he isn’t the power hitter that the Twins would need. He isn’t as good as Casey Blake or Ty Wigginton. In fact, I am of the belief that if Brendan Harris got the number of at bats in 2009 that Mark DeRosa would get, Harris would have equal, if not better, numbers. I think that it would have minimally helped the Twins in 2009. That said, I think it was a great trade for Cleveland. They will be able to play DeRosa at 2B while finally being able to move Asdrubal Cabrera to SS and Jhonny Peralta to 3B. Of course, you’ll also want to check out Ubelman’s take.

·         Happy Birthday to Aaron Gleeman this weekend!

·         Over the Baggy did a really good article on The Curious Case of Matt Guerrier.

·         Jesse at Twinkie Town posted a very difficult Who Am I, Minor League edition.

·         Over at Blogonoscopy, you can read an entertaining Brief History of the Fashionability of the Moustache.

 

Are there other Twins stories, articles or links that you’ve read, please link them in the comments. Please leave your comments or links here.

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14 Responses to “Friday Quick Notes”

  1. Doofus January 2, 2009 at 11:40 am #

    DeRosa could have played 2b moving Casilla to SS and put Punto on the bench. That would have been a big upgrade. I guess the Twins decided to pass on DeRosa when they signed Punto. Still I think DeRosa is a more stable player with the bat then Punto.

  2. Rosterman January 2, 2009 at 12:01 pm #

    I doubt that the Twins are thinking “Punto” and “Bench” in the same sentence, after giving him a fairly big contract. Besides, what with the talk last season about moving Casilla to shortstop, which didn’t happen much at Rochester, he’s more established at second base. There would be a bit of a learning curve to re-configure him in the infield at the moment.

    The issue is still getting another bat into the lineup. Can Span hit better than Young. If he can’t, then we need an upgrade at third base, period. Someone who can give us more than 10 home runs and 50 rbi power, as well as field.

    Still waiting to see how the Young/Span/Cuddyer/Gomez/Kubel mess plays out. My own personal thought, which won’t happen…start Gomez at Rochester and keep Young. None of the above deserves to be a major league bench player, unless they play themselves into that position.

  3. roger January 2, 2009 at 2:27 pm #

    Seth,

    Totally agree that there isn’t anything to get to anxious over not getting DdRosa…as I agree that Buscher/Harris will probably do as well and possibly better.

    Did you see LeVelle’s post about Mauer having kidney surgery. Sounds somewhat minor, but anytime you go to the Mayo clinic and they start cutting one has to be a bit concerned.

  4. mike wants wind January 2, 2009 at 9:21 pm #

    Seth, you didn’t want to give Blake three years, you don’t want to pay Wiggy what he wants, and you don’t want to trade for anyone if the Twins have to give up players (DeRosa being the latest example) this year (at least I can’t remember you being for any of the rumored deals). Are you satisfied this team is that good that you won’t do anything that costs actual money or players to achieve?

  5. mike wants wind January 2, 2009 at 10:47 pm #

    btw, I like Harris, but Gardy gave him less at bats pretty much every month, with only 37 in September. While we may like him, Gardy does not appear to share that trust.

  6. Seth January 2, 2009 at 10:51 pm #

    I like this team… I really do, and I anticipate several people getting a little better, a couple being similar, and hopefully one or two showing significant improvement. There is so much youth on this roster, and so much talent, that as I’ve said all along, I don’t think significant changes need to be made. Do I think this team can win the division in ’09? Absolutely.

    What should the Twins do? Blake and Wigginton don’t add much, at significant amounts of money. DeRosa adds very little, if anything. I’m fine with going after high-end talent at positions of need. I’d like Adrian Beltre, but would you deal Francisco Liriano and more for one year of him? Same for JJ Hardy. I don’t know what the Braves would want for Escobar, but if it made sense, they would probably do it. Brian Roberts? Sure, but would you give up Baker and 2-3 others for him?

    I get your theory of making changes just to make changes, but it has to make sense.

  7. Seth January 2, 2009 at 10:52 pm #

    agreed on Harris’s playing time… I would like him to play more, with Buscher more of a DH/Spot starter.

  8. mike wants wind January 3, 2009 at 11:15 am #

    I’ve never espoused making changes to make changes.

    I’m not sure what I’d give up for Hardy. I’d rather have him, at this point, than Beltre. Trading for one year of Beltre does not make sense (it made a ton of sense to get him last year, but the Mariners are insane if they think they can get that much for him).

    My preference remains Pat Burrell or Adam Dunn for DH. All they cost is money, which they have plenty of. Then they deal 1-2 of their other OFers.

    Liriano is the ultimate “gaborik” of this team, I think. He’s been injured, could be again, and could have been traded for a great player. I don’t think he’ll re-sign with this team (assuming he stays healthy and is very good again) given the way they treated him last year (I, and his agent, think they kept him down to keep him from being a super 2). He could be great, he could get hurt again (twice already, that’s how they got him in the trade), he could be mediocre. I’d keep him, but I would not scream if they traded him (as long as they got more than they did for Santana – terrible trade for the best pitcher in baseball) because of the risks he offers.

  9. scot January 3, 2009 at 4:06 pm #

    I agree Seth the change has to make sense for the team.

    Burrell or Dunn for DH? Kubel is our DH for 2009. period.

  10. roger January 3, 2009 at 5:20 pm #

    I am guessing that the Twins have explored many deals and would have pulled the trigger if anything made sense. Much like Seth, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to me to trade good young talent or spend a lot of dollars for minimal or less improvement over what we have at third base. I expect the Twins will spend a few million before the winter is over, hopefully, on a solid major league short reliever.

    Then, if they have $5,000,000 or more available under their self imposed 50-52% budget…I see them doing what they did last year. What does everyone think about spending $7mm on a marginal improvement at third if instead they used it as a signing bonus to get Scott Baker and Jason Kubel under contract for the next four years and then using the remaining $2-3mm as a signing bonus for a nice two year extension for Joe Mauer? That is what I would do!

  11. Jim H January 3, 2009 at 8:59 pm #

    To Mike Wants Wins. You make a lot of good comments, here and elsewhere but I agree with Seth, sometimes you and others seem to want changes for the sake of change. None of the potential 3b trade targets this off season excite me much. One year of Beltre doesn’t do much for me either unless you don’t have to give up much. I do think 3b is the place to upgrade, I doubt that Valencia will be ready before the end of the 2010 season assuming he reaches his promise. It seems that it might be awhile before Hughes’ glove will let him be a major league regular.

    A lot of people want to deal from the Twins “strength” and trade some surplus pitching. This is the first year ever, that the Twins have been able to put 5 young, capable pitchers on the field at the same time. The few times in their history they have tried to put a bunch of very young pitchers on the field at the same time, it has blown up in their faces. Nobody in baseball can do it very often because of how hard it is to develop good young starters that stay healthy and can make adjustments at that level. At this point I think the Twins should hold on to what they have and keep most of the young developing minor league pitchers as well.

    My guess is that over the next year or so, it will become more oblivious who the Twins should hold on to and who could be traded. Maybe Hughes or Valencia will develop quickly making a trade for a 3b unnecessary. I would like to see if somebody near ready for the majors(Plouffe, Tolbert, Singleton, Tolleson) can step up and force Punto to the bench.

    I am afraid that a trade that fills the perceived holes at 3b or ss would ultimately open other holes that would than be even harder to fill. Let’s see which outfielders step up this spring. Lets make sure Castilla is the answer.

    Maybe bringing in a short reliever would be a good idea. It might also mean trading or releasing Humber or Bonser and later being sorry for that.

    Personally, I think one the strengths of the Twins organization is patience. They are willing to wait for talent to develop, are willing to give them their shot when they have(see Span). I think that patience is probably the right thing, right now.

    Getting to the post season is, should be the goal. The Twins are reasonally well positioned for that, not only now but over the next few years. I would hate to see the Twins give up too much talent in a trade that may not help that much or commit too much money to long term contracts. Both of those could mess up keeping what is shaping up to be a very strong core of young talent.

  12. twinsmvb January 3, 2009 at 10:49 pm #

    Great chat today Seth. Glad I could catch the end of it. As always, thanks for the shout out. I’m hoping to actually get some people to participate in what I’m calling the “Show Your Fanhood” campaign. I’ll be posting the entries as the come on the site.

    Happy New Year to you!

  13. mike wants wind January 4, 2009 at 1:07 pm #

    When they’ve really been winners, it hasn’t been with 5 good pitchers – it has been with 1-3 very good to great pitchers. Pitching depth is not the key to winning. It MAY get you far in the regular season, but it isn’t the key to winning. Did the 91 or 92 or 87 teams have 5 great pitchers? How about earlier this decade when they were winning and making the playoffs? How about last year’s WS teams, or playoff teams? It isn’t about depth, it is about a few great players and luck.

    Roger, they were that far under last year, and have not added payroll (and can’t count the signing bonuses they counted last year). They are probably closer to $15MM under their supposed budget (plus the $5MM they were under last year). That gives them plenty of room to do something, if they really want to.

    I’m against getting Beltre, at this point. He made sense last year, when they were contending and you could add to a team that was in good position. But, giving up one of their current starters for one year of him is not a good return, I don’t think.

    Signing Burrell costs them nothing but money. He may also cost Young/Kubel playing time, but that’s not a bad thing. The guy is a hitter, proven hitter. Same with Dunn. Neither of those depletes all this depth (which they can’t use, only 9 guys play at any time).

  14. Jim H January 5, 2009 at 8:56 am #

    Actually, pitching depth has been the key to the Twins winning year after year this decade. It is true that the Twins didn’t get 5 good starters every year. But, the really good starters changed every year. Often some important starts were made by fill ins like Kinney. When someone like Mays got hurt, the Twins were able to find someone to fill in. Again, I hope the Twins aren’t in a big hurry to trade their starting depth.

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