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Be sure to read my StarTribune.com TwinsCentric blog today for discussion on the Cliff Lee rumors, but here today, I want to focus on the later rumor, that the Twins have allegedly offered Wilson Ramos and Aaron Hicks to the Mariners for Cliff Lee. More accurately, it would be for two months (and hopefully a strong October run) of Cliff Lee in a Twins uniform. The question has to be asked: as good as Cliff Lee is, how much is too much? As Fanatic Jack pointed out on last night’s SethSpeaks.net Weekly Minnesota Twins Podcast, Cliff Lee fits the Twins to a T. The Twins need a true Ace. But they also love pitchers who don’t want batters. Cliff Lee walks basically no one. He would really, really help the Twins tremendously the rest of this year. But it is impossible not to at least consider the negative affects of giving up two such highly touted prospects for just two months. But you can’t mention the two months without adding the part about October. It’s a vicious cycle to consider this question. It could be debated all day. How much is too much? Is there such a thing as too much? What does that question mean to you?
For me, I have to start with the minor leaguers in the package, and what I would consider to be the Twins “Untouchable” players. In the past, we could say “untouchable” but it always had the unwritten reality that the player was untouchable except if someone like Albert Pujols would become available. Well, Cliff Lee might fit into that category at this stage, right? I mean, we can all see that his impact on the Twins might be at that high level. So, when we are saying “untouchable”, we actually mean ‘untouchable.’
Here was my most recent Top 20 Twins prospect list, to use as a reference. Remember this list is a month old and could very easily be updated and altered again.
- Kyle Gibson – RHP
- Aaron Hicks – OF
- Miguel Sano – 3B
- Wilson Ramos – C
- Adrian Salcedo – RHP
- Angel Morales – OF
- Joe Benson – OF
- David Bromberg – RHP
- Ben Revere – OF
10. Danny Valencia – 3B
11. Deolis Guerra – RHP
12. Alex Burnett – RHP
13. Trevor Plouffe – SS
14. Liam Hendriks – RHP
15. BJ Hermsen – RHP
16. Carlos Gutierrez – RHP
17. Rene Tosoni – OF
18. Bruce Pugh – RHP
19. Jeff Manship – RHP –
20. Chris Parmelee – 1B/OF
After that point, there are players that I would rather the Twins not trade, but it would be hard to call them untouchable, with the probable exception of my #21 prospect, Max Kepler.
Seth’s Untouchables – Kyle Gibson (who could only be a player to be named later at this time anyway), Miguel Sano and Joe Benson. That’s it for me.
Aaron Hicks is right on that next level. I could trade him, but I really, really would rather not trade him in any scenario in this deal unless the Twins and Lee are able to come to a long-term extension, which is not going to happen. So, although I understand the Mariners asking for Hicks and Ramos, I believe it is WAY too much for a rental player.
Wilson Ramos is obviously someone I would prefer that the Twins keep. I think he’s much better than he has played in 2010 to this point, but I also understand the reality that Joe Mauer is going to be around for a long time, so Ramos is expendable.
Let me say this, I think that if two high prospects are required, the above comments remain true, but that the top two prospects in the deal should not add up to less than 12. In other words, if Wilson Ramos is made available and is one of the players to go to Seattle, the second player should not be any of the team’s top 8 prospects (4 + 9 = 13). So, Wilson Ramos and Ben Revere, I would probably be comfortable with it, but that is a hefty price to pay. However, consider that Michael Cuddyer and Denard Span will certainly be back in 2011, and I would think that Delmon Young would be tendered another contract. In 2012, it could get interesting, but I don’t think they’ll miss Revere since there are a lot of quality outfield prospects needed for likely just one outfield spot.
So, I am not a fan, at all, of the Ramos/Hicks rumors (Because of Hicks), but I’m not against giving up two very good prospects.
Now, what do you think? What would you trade? Who is untouchable in this scenario?
And don’t forget to listen to Fanatic Jack and I talk Twins on last night’s SethSpeaks.net Weekly Minnesota Twins podcast. Oh, and be sure to scroll down for information on the upcoming TwinsCentric project and the Viewing Party on Wednesday at Park Tavern in St. Louis Park which should be quite the event. Feel free to leave your questions and comments here.