14 Oct

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net

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. 


33 Responses to “Untouchable”

  1. Dome Dog October 15, 2008 at 8:33 am #

    If a David Wright type guy were to become available, wouldn’t you have to consider offering up Joe Nathan? I think I’d pull the trigger on that one! I know that puts our bullpen in shambles, but I think a bullpen is easier to rebuild than any other on the roster. Besides, you’d be getting a young, in the prime of his career, right-handed power bat to team up with Mauer and Morneau. And if the last 2 years showed up anything, it’s that the Mets could sure use a sure thing at the back end of their bullpen (Johan would appreciate it, I bet!).

    That is the only situation that I would consider Nathan tradeable though…

  2. tborg October 15, 2008 at 9:15 am #

    I think David Wright goes into the same category as Longoria or Pujols. Not gonna happen. How about this one though? JJ Hardy? Seth are you really saying you wouldn’t trade any of those you are deeming untouchable if the Brewers dangled Hardy?

  3. Seth October 15, 2008 at 9:25 am #

    I agree on Wright, but I have read that, and that’s why I put “unfounded” because there is no reason for the Mets to do that.

    JJ Hardy – Yes, I am really saying that I wouldn’t trade any of the untouchables for JJ Hardy. The Brewers are going to ask for so much for him. He’s a very good player, inconsistent, but very good. I just don’t know if he’s a guy you break the bank for. He’s certainly not in the Wright, Pujols, Hanley category… not close.

  4. Matt October 15, 2008 at 9:26 am #

    Nathan becomes a 5 & 10 guy after next season, so you have one year to trade him, after that, he isn’t going anywhere. I wouldn’t trade him though. There is some psychological advantage to having that stopper at the end of games, and there are only a handful of teams that have one equal or better.

    Untouchable is too strong a word for many of these players. This whole team, while solid and still a work in progress, is not a team of franchise-level stars. Any deal you make you want to feel you are getting better value than the other team, so perhaps there aren’t many of those deals to be had. But that doesn’t make them untouchable.

    Mauer, Morneau, Nathan and maybe Baker are the only untouchables in my mind.

    I would have to be wowed to deal Gomez, Young, Casilla, Liriano and Mijares. They have good contracts and too much potential upside to deal now.

    I could deal Kubel, Cuddyer, Slowey, Blackburn, Perkins, Span if the deal were an upgrade, or if losing an OF and starting P gives us an above-average 3B for once.

    The other guys are trade filler that could be added to get a 3B (for example using a couple of the above players: Cuddyer, Perkins and then Bonser or Humber and a mid-level prospect for David Wright). That’s not to say they don’t have value, but to get value you have to give value. That was why I liked the Delmon Young trade last year, even though we lost value in Garza and Bartlett.

  5. gobbledygookguy October 15, 2008 at 9:29 am #

    i think i may be alone on this one but i don’t see the beltre trade that highly anymore. giving up a lot for one yr? last july i’d have been for it.
    the guy i think would be cheap (or less expensive) is kouzmanoff. he is still under club control for 3 yrs and is only 26. look at his away #’s (petco is a pitchers park) 12 hr, 46 rbi, .292/.329/473. double those 24 hr and 93 rbi that’s a very good yr.
    compared beltre 25 hr, 77 rbi, .266/.327/.459
    imo don’t trade a blackburn or perkins unless the player will be around for at least 3 yrs.
    having said that if we could get hardy for one or the other and kouz for a couple good+ prospects that would really improve our entire team and add about 50 hrs.

  6. tborg October 15, 2008 at 9:30 am #

    Whoops, I see that the Hardy question was addressed on Nick’s site. I would add that I would trade any of our current starters, including Liriano or Baker, straight up for Hardy. I’d even throw in one of the outfielders if the Brewers threw in a prospect.

  7. Seth October 15, 2008 at 9:43 am #

    For JJ Hardy??? What am I missing on Hardy? Educate me… I just don’t get it.

  8. Dome Dog October 15, 2008 at 9:47 am #

    Is Adam Dunn going to get a ridiculous sum of money in free agency? He’s a 40+ home run guy that you don’t have to give up any prospects for!!

    : )

  9. Dome Dog October 15, 2008 at 9:53 am #

    I also think Hardy is very overrated for what the Brewers will probably be asking for in a trade

  10. mike wants wins October 15, 2008 at 10:03 am #

    I’ll say again that Brandon Wood and Matt Kemp are two guys I’d rather have dealt Garza for. Given that, I’d be super happy to deal Young and a medium prospect for either. You can only play so many OFers at a time. If you keep gomez, span, cuddy and Kubel, I’m not sure why you aren’t willing to deal Young to get a 3B or SS (or, heck, deal cuddy and Young for a proven great OFer if you can find one). Depth is super great and all, but you win by having more good players on the field, not in AAA or on the bench (clearly an oversimplification, but true none the less).

    I feel the same about the starting pitchers. I’d not deal Baker for sure. Liriano, probably not, but his injury history makes me nervous so if I was whelmed by a great offer I’d have to consider it. I don’t think any of the other 8 starting pitchers (the other 3 in the majors and the others in AAA and AA) are untouchable, though I like Swarzak’s stuff….Having 8-10 starting pitchers, all of whom are young, does you no good, unless you turn them into something else. Yes, it is risky (check out the return so far for Garza), but they aren’t going to win because they have 5 good starters in AAA and no 3B, SS or LF, they are only going to win if they have 4+good starters in the majors and a real 3B and SS, or one more great player and adequacy at those positions. It would be different if the starters in the majors were in the middle or end of their careers, but they aren’t.

  11. Seth October 15, 2008 at 10:26 am #

    “though I like Swarzak’s stuff”

    Can I ask this… how do you know? reports a year ago said good fastball, good curveball. No third pitch. I’ve heard he may have added a solid third and even a fourth pitch this year. But how do you know Swarzak will be as good as Slowey or even Blackburn or Perkins?

  12. Seth October 15, 2008 at 10:27 am #

    and secondly, what has Brandon Wood done at the big league level to this point that makes him such a can’t miss guy?

  13. sonny October 15, 2008 at 10:34 am #

    The Twins do need to get better; in 2010 the Twins will open a new ball yard and the cash will flow from a winning team. Their options are open, but a SS and some RH power would help. Only M & M are untouchable; Nathan is close but what do you do if Reyes is available? Ideally, the Twins gamble and possibly lose big on the FA market. Furcal is a player but a possible bust as well. I am interested to know what possibilities are available from the Marlins, Rockies, Giants, or Padres. These teams need players and we match up in various formats. Some as gamble (Rockies), others as long shots (Giants), and then as reasonable chances (Padres/Marlins).

  14. thrylos98 October 15, 2008 at 10:48 am #

    I think that the Hardy talk is interesting, but it does not make sense, since 3B should be a higher priority than SS and what would take to get Hardy (a package centered around a Perkins) would be enough for a hard hitting RH 3B.

    The one guy who makes sense at SS is Khalil Greene. San Diego is dropping payroll by 35%, his relations are strained (and this is putting it mildly) with the club and even in a down year he had decent numbers away from Petco. I think that Boof + a B prospect would be enough for Greene…

    Cuddyer can be traded in a basketball-like trade (one bad contract for another). A name that might make sense for both sides is Bill Hall as a backup DH/3B/1B/OF

    The Casilla situation is interesting and it will require watching (btw. his production declined linearly even before his injury.) An interesting thought would be to trade for Uggla with a package based on Casilla and someone like Humber and prospects. It will fit the needs of both teams, but I am not sure how popular it would be with the Twins’ fans

  15. gobbledygookguy October 15, 2008 at 11:04 am #

    hardy should have 2 more yrs left and would certainly be better then what we have in punto who will cost about the same salary wise, and will want at least 2 yrs to resign and give us less then 1/2 the production. it all depends on what hardy costs in a trade.
    greene isn’t really much better then everett so resign him and don’t waste the trade bait.
    uggla would be ideal but he will be expensive and there will be 4-5 other teams in the biding.
    any decent 3b or ss will cost us players we don’t want to give up. there is no reason for anyone to give a good quality player up for nothing.

  16. mike wants wins October 15, 2008 at 11:12 am #

    Wood has proven about the same as Delmon, nothing. It’s just a risk I’d be willing to take, especially as he can play SS or 3B, positions where Valencia might be the future at 3B, but the Twins don’t have the depth there they do in the OF (assuming you like cuddy and young). I’d just be willing to trade from a position of strength to fill a position where the Twins don’t seem to have a definite future. Plus, he’s RH and has power potential unlike anyone in the system not named Morneau (at this point).

    As for Swarzak, it’s based 100% on things I’ve read online, and probably shouldn’t have been written. I don’t KNOW anything about the future, if I did, I’d be making money doing something else. All of this is based on projections, hypotheses, theories, hopes, emotions….

  17. Seth October 15, 2008 at 11:12 am #

    I’ve mentioned Khalil Greene before… I know he’d love out of SD. We also know he’s significantly better than he was in 2008. He would probably be a better option in my mind than Hardy when factoring in the cost to obtain him.

    I think SS is significantly more of a need for the Twins than 3B over the next 2-3 years. 3B is only a one year concern for me, but not a huge concern.

  18. thrylos98 October 15, 2008 at 11:25 am #

    Khalil Greene is much better than Everett with the bat. His career IsoP outside Petco is .214 (and this is in Justin Morneau territory) and his fielding is solid.

    Seth, long term SS is indeed a higher need, but I think that short term a 3B will be able to propel the team to the next step faster than a SS, next year.

  19. gobbledygookguy October 15, 2008 at 11:28 am #

    mike at least you’re objective when it comes to young!
    young, 22; 1346 abs, .292/.326/.413
    wood, 23; 183 abs, .191/.212/.317
    i can see how you would compare then as being about the same.

  20. mike wants wins October 15, 2008 at 11:34 am #

    I didn’t say they were the same, I said they’d proven nothing yet.

    I think Young will get better, but he hasn’t proved he’s a legit big time player yet. Wood hasn’t even had 200 ABs yet, so he’s also proven nothing yet.

    Now, if you think Young has proven something, it isn’t a good thing he’s proven.

  21. mike wants wins October 15, 2008 at 11:35 am #

    Also, given that the Twins have no SS coming up soon, and have 5 OFers according to you all, wouldn’t it make sense to trade 1 OFer for a SS?

  22. gobbledygookguy October 15, 2008 at 12:35 pm #

    mike he’s proved over the course of 2 full major league seasons that he can hit over .290 which by most assessments is a good batting average.
    “Wood has proven about the same as Delmon, nothing.” a .292 ave over 2 full yrs shows me he has proven more then a .191 ave over 183 ab’s.
    what exactly would he have to do for you to be happy with his hitting other then being traded away? once you decide then go find out how many 22 yr olds have done that.

  23. Seth October 15, 2008 at 12:53 pm #

    well put Gobble!

    Note – I like Brandon Wood too and think it’d be great to get him… for SS.

  24. mike wants wins October 15, 2008 at 12:57 pm #

    The Twins don’t need a .292 slap hitter in left field, if they are also going to employ one in center and in right (if Span stays there) and at 3B and at SS. In combination with the other players, it won’t win many championships.

    I think I’ve answered this numerous times, so far, he’s in the mid to low 20s in terms of ranking offensively compared to LFers in the majors. Looking at one offensive statistic at the exclusion of all the others is not very infomrative.

    Again, so far he’s proven he’s a .290 slap hitter. His stats are about league average – meaning that if you factor in the good hitting positions (corner OF, 3B, 1B, DH) and the less good ones (C, SS, 2B, CF), he’d be an average hitter, assuming what he has done so far is proof of what he’ll do in the future. I don’t believe that. I think he’ll hit more doubles and HRs. But, I don’t think he’ll hit all that many, and I think the Twins have a surplus of OFers, and no real good alternatives at SS.

  25. mike wants wins October 15, 2008 at 1:04 pm #

    And, as I’ve said in nearly every post where we’ve had this discussion, I’ve been judging him on his performance, not his potential. If your arguement is that I should forgive his less than average performance (compared to other LFers) because he’s young in age, then maybe he should be in AAA or AA with all the other 22 year olds.

    There were 6 23 or younger players that had enough ABs to qualify for the batting title in all of the majors last year. Maybe the problem isn’t that he’s not going to be good, but that he’s not yet really ready to contribute in a meaningful way.

    Interestingly, when you add the 24 year olds in, most of them were better than Young this year.

    Again, this is about Young in combination with the rest of the roster, and the fact that they have (according to most of you) 5 OFers on their major league roster that need playing time. I’d rather have 4, and a legit 3B or SS.

  26. Seth October 15, 2008 at 1:08 pm #

    I think that they can do both. I think they can find a way to get both a legit 3B and legit SS without taking any of the core, or of the 5 OF. That means, taking Greene instead of Hardy cuz the Brewers are asking for too much. It means insisting that the Mariners understand that they aren’t going to compete this year and get them to accept A and AA prospects for Beltre instead of asking for one of the starting five. (see Nick Nelson where he wrote a great article on this today) I think it can be done without the Twins giving up the future too.

  27. gobbledygookguy October 15, 2008 at 2:02 pm #

    20 something listed as lf in al: hope i didn’t miss any.
    twins-young, 22; 10 hr, 69 rbi, .290/.366/.405
    tor-lind, 24; 9 hr, 40 rbi, .282/.316/.439
    boston-ellsbury, 24; 9 hr, 47 rbi, .280/.330/.394
    chi sox-quentin, 25; 36 hr, 100 rbi, .288/.394/.571
    tb-crawford, 26; 8 hr, 57 rbi, .273/.319/.400
    clev-fransico, 26; 15 hr, 54 rbi, .266/.332//438
    kc-de jesus, 28; 12 hr, 73 rbi, .307/.364/.452
    oak-cust, 29; 33 hr 77 rbi, .231/.375/.476
    as the youngest of the group it would appear he compares fairly well. having said that if he doesn’t improve his production (to me the # of rbi mean more then hr’s, i’d like to see 85+) next yr it would then be a time to look at him, gomez or span to make a move for a little more production. probably can’t get by with only slap hitting of’s i agree.
    now i have to stop this and get some work done!

  28. Seth October 15, 2008 at 2:21 pm #

    If he can hit the same number of doubles as he hit in his rookie season and jump from 10 to 18-20 home runs (reasonable considering it took a long time to get #1 this year), his slugging percentage jumps quite a bit, into the upper 4s, and no one is even worried about it. I don’t think that’s at all unrealistic.

  29. Nick October 15, 2008 at 2:46 pm #

    One of the more interesting interviews I heard in a while was with Robin Yount, who said the hardest year he had at the plate was his sophmore year. After his first full year (500+ AB’s) in 1975 (age 19) he posted a line of .267/.307/.367 and 8 homers, the following year he dipped to .252/.292/.301 with a whopping 2 homers (in an extra 80 AB’s). Yount attributed this to added pressure of performing, pitchers adjustments, etc. However, check out the bulk of Yount’s HOF career and these early struggles and lack of homers are largely forgotten. Not saying Delmon is HOF bound, and the weight progression of older brother Dmitri does worry me, however it is far to early to give up on a guy who can still come back and make the re-adjustments to the league.

  30. Dome Dog October 15, 2008 at 3:28 pm #

    If we are all worried about having too many slap hitters in the lineup (which we do) why not make a run at Adam Dunn? Plug him in as the DH and then trade Kubel + ? to fill the infield holes. ( I know it’s a pipe dream, but c’mon. If we are worried about having slap hitters – which is pretty much what we’ve had for the whole decade – and want to switch it up, let’s talk about the biggest bopper out there!)

  31. gobbledygookguy October 15, 2008 at 3:33 pm #

    i pointed out a while back his #’s are very close to what kirby had in his 2nd yr. kirby hit 4 hr then jumped to 31 in his 3 rd yr. i think this next yr is critical for young to take that next step. trading him at this point seems short sighted. he’s the youngest reg left fielder in the al and his #’s are in the ball park with these other guys. i just don’t understand why some many people hate him and can’t wait to trade him away. i still have fresh memories of lew ford and jason tyner!

  32. TT October 15, 2008 at 6:24 pm #

    Kirby was still playing in the minor league’s at Delmon Young’s age. Kirby was already the same age as Denard Span his first year in the majors.

    It may shock people, but if you make every decent player on the team “untouchable” its unlikely that you are going to make a deal that really improves a young team that is already a contender. Mauer and Morneau are really the only untouchable players. There are a few guys, like Nathan, who would be hard to replace. But that anyone can be had for a price.

  33. Smitty October 15, 2008 at 7:44 pm #

    Being a Smith, I wouldn’t trade Mauer, Morneau, Span, Kubel, Casilla, Baker, Slowey, Liriano, Nathan, Neshek, Redmond or Crain.

    Everyone else is fair game. Harris, Young, Cuddyer, Gomez, all would be available for the right deal. I’ll take anything for Harris.

    I’m really not sold on Young. I don’t feel he’ll come around, or fit on this team. Not sure Cuddy will ever stay healthy, and unsure as to Gomez, although he did improve some. But with the surprise of Span, one of the other 3 mentioned have to bring back a 3rd baseman or shortstop. Those two positions must be filled.

    I’m also not all that interested in JJ Hardy.

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