Valencia for Cabrera? Seriously?

28 Jul

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Before jumping into a couple of Twins topics, I do want to mention that Twins first round pick Kyle Gibson joined me again on the Weekly Minnesota Twins podcast last night and updated us on his arm, his negotiations, his golf game and much more. It was a lot of fun. I had a listener call in and talk about a few Twins topics and then just answer question from the chat room the remainder of the show.  


In Joe Christensen’s postgame blog, he wrote that the Oakalnd A’s were asking for Danny Valencia in return for Orlando Cabrera. Seriously? Does anyone believe that Billy Beane would insult the Twins front office enough to really ask for Valencia? Here’s how that conversation would go:

Bill Smith: Hey Billy, any update on the Moneyball movie?

Billy Beane: Nope!

Bill Smith: So, I’d really like Orlando Cabrera as my team’s SS. What do you want?

Billy Beane: How about Valencia? … And how about Hicks too? … And, throw in Baker… Ha Ha Ha!

(Smith had hung up after Valencia was mentioned, not realizing that Beane was joking. Beane just kept talking, not noticing that Smith had hung up.)

Do people really believe that Billy Beane would insult the Twins intelligence by requesting Valencia for Orlando Cabrera? Cabrera doesn’t have much value. The A’s know that they messed up by signing him. They aren’t expecting a top prospect for him, much less a team’s top, most major league ready prospect. But from the Twins perspective, letting their fan base think that Valencia was requested allows them to look smart when they don’t acquire Cabrera (although I would argue that anything involving acquiring Cabrera can’t be deemed terribly smart). They have the built-in excuse about Valencia being requested. Or, when the Twins give up a mid-range prospect for Cabrera, and many of us think that it’s still too much, they can say that they were able to talk them down from Valencia.

Earlier, Joe C had Tweeted that the Twins had called the Blue Jays about Roy Halladay and were told that they were not on his list of teams he would agree to be traded to. I can understand that. Minnesota isn’t necessarily the top destination for many players. However, I think that if Joe Nathan, Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer contacted him, he would have to consider. Opportunity for the playoffs these next two years, and to play in the new stadium next year. Minneapolis is a quick flight from Colorado. I think that the Twins could talk Halladay into changing his mind. Now, that said, if the alleged rumors of who the Blue Jays are turning down is any indication, the Twins do not have the prospects to make such a deal a reality. All along, we knew that Halladay was only a dream. I only asked that the phone call be made and just see if there was a possible match.


If the Twins or another team had a player sent to AAA, and that player proceeded to go 2-2 with a 0.96 ERA, a 1.10 WHIP, an opponent batting average of just .209 and 48 strikeouts in 37.1 innings, we would be pretty excited, wouldn’t we? Well, that is what Ian Snell of the Pirates has done since he was demoted to AAA. He certainly fell out of favor in Pittsburgh with poor performance and questionable attitude. He might be the definition of a player who needs a change of scenery. People talk about his contract being overwhelming, but that isn’t really the case. He is making $3 million in 2009, and $4.25 million in 2010. Beyond that, he has two years of club options. In 2011, he could be signed for $6.5 million. And then in 2012, he could make $9.25 million.

In my fantasy leagues this weekend, I was checking on Snell’s availability. Apparently the Yankees have had scouts watching him of late. When Dave Mona, host of The Sports Huddle with Sid and Dave, e-mailed me yesterday and asked me why no one was talking about Snell being someone that the Twins should consider, I couldn’t find a reason why they shouldn’t. Talent-wise, Snell is blessed. Those strikeout numbers in AAA are not a fluke. He has great stuff. Simply, he needs a change of scenery and could blossom. He is still just 27 years old. And the contract is not bad at all. It’d be only about $1 million for this year, and $4.25 million for next year. If he pitches well, the 2010 option at $6.25 million will make a lot of sense, and same thing in 2011.

As much as I would like the Twins to make a move to acquire any combination of Freddy Sanchez, Matt Capps and John Grabow, I hope they are also inquiring about the availability of Ian Snell.  


After a really rough previous start in Oakland when he gave up eight runs and got just three outs, Glen Perkins needed to come back with another good start. Perkins went the first seven innings and gave up just three runs. He gave up six hits and walked one. All three runs he allowed came via the home run, first a solo homer to Gordon Beckham and then a two run homer to Paul Konerko. Then Matt Guerrier pitched a perfect 8th inning. Joe Nathan had a 1-2-3 ninth inning for his 27th save. The first out came on a double-saving leaping catch by Denard Span in left field. But that is the intended, ideal situation for the Twins. Starter gives them seven innings, Guerrier in the 8th, Nathan in the 9th.  

The offense wasn’t exactly hitting on all cylinders. They managed just six hits in the game. Nick Punto had one of the hits and was then picked off. They were helped by a couple of early unearned runs. But then down 3-2, Michael Cuddyer provided the Twins with a huge hit, a long, two run homer that gave the Twins the 4-3 lead. It was hit 17th homer of the season.

It was a much needed start by Perkins personally, I’m sure. But it was also a much needed quality start for the Twins on a day in which they announced that Kevin Slowey will have surgery on his wrist and likely miss the rest of the season. That is horrible news for the Twins, but the emergence of Anthony Swarzak helps sooth that some. Tonight, it will be Scott Baker headed to the mound against Mark Buehrle who will be attempting to throw his second straight perfect game.

Here are some more Twins-related articles for you to peruse:


Monday – Hitter of the Day – Ramon Santana, Beloit Snappers

Monday – Pitcher of the Day – Jeff Manship, Rochester Red Wings – David Bromberg, Ft. Myers Miracle 


Monday –Rochester 2, Charlotte 3  – Jeff Manship pitched great! In eight innings, he gave up two runs (1 earned) on seven hits and three walks. He left that game with a 2-2 tie. Tim Lahey came in and the first batter he faced homered to end the game. David Winfree went 2-3 with a walk and his 25th double. The Red Wings managed just three hits total in the game. For Charlotte, Michael Restovich went 2-3 with a walk and his 26th double.     


Monday – New Britain/New Hampshire– Postponed due to a power outage.      


Monday – Ft. Myers 1, Brevard County 0 David Bromberg continues to impress. He improved to 9-1 and reduced his ERA to 2.69 with 6.2 shutout innings. He gave up eight hits, walked one and struck out eight. Joe Testa came in and gave up just one hit in 2.1 innings for his first save. He struck out three. The Miracle had just six hits. Jair Fernandez hit his third home run.   


Monday – Beloit 1, Lansing 10 Liam Hendriks gave up six runs (5 earned) on 11 hits and a walk in six innings. He struck out six. Kyle Carr gave up three runs on three hits (2 home runs) in his inning. Michael Allen gave up a run in his inning. Thomas Wright then pitched a scoreless ninth frame. The Snappers managed just four hits. Ramon Santana went 3-4 with his 21st double.          


Monday – Elizabethton 2, Johnson City 5 Josmil Pinto (7th) and Derek McCallum (2nd) each hit solo home runs for the E-Twins, but that was it for the E-Twins scoring. Anderson Hidalgo went 2-4. Miguel Munoz gave up four runs on nine hits and a walk in four innings. Edgar Ibarra went the final five innings. He gave up a run on four hits. He walked one and struck out seven.       

Please feel free to Send me an e-mail, or leave your questions or comments here.


29 Responses to “Valencia for Cabrera? Seriously?”

  1. Dwade July 28, 2009 at 1:41 am #

    Kevin Goldstein from BP pointed out that Valencia is worth a ton more to the Twins than he is actually worth in the real world.

    I agree with him not only because he’s their most ML-ready prospect, but because he is the third base option fans have been clamoring for since Koskie went down. If the Twins had a player X who could give you exactly Valencia’s production from the OF or from SS, I wonder if he would be valued so high.

    (In that case, of course, there would be a huge push to call up that player, so as to fill the MI void).

    I guess all this is to say, I thought it was completely insane for Beane to ask for Valencia too, but the more KG and I chatted about it, the more I came to see his point: Beane is looking to maximize his return for Cabrera and looking at it from a non-fan standpoint, it isn’t a completely out of control request.

    Now, that doesn’t mean the Twins should accept it; its an asinine deal at best, but I don’t think its out of control for Beane to ask for Valencia.

  2. Bill in Sarasota July 28, 2009 at 6:54 am #

    A GM has to gauge the value of a prospect to his team and to the prospect’s major league team. Beane knows Valencia is untouchable because he’s expected to fill 3rd next year.

    Obviously Beane wants to start as high as possible so that he can make Smith feel like they both compromised when Smith agrees to Beane’s 2nd or 3rd choice.

  3. brad July 28, 2009 at 7:25 am #

    Looking at the A’s roster, they have depth at 3b, IF, OF and SP. They could really use catching, 1B and RP. Would Slama be enough for Cabrera? Manship & Slama for Cabrera & Weurtz? How is that when the Twins trade guys, ie Castillo, we end up with no upside guys Martin & Butera??? Beane flips Holliday for one of the top 5 minor league prospects and he gave away 2 borderline prospects and an erratic closer.

  4. mike wants wins July 28, 2009 at 8:24 am #

    Did Beane really ask for that, or did the Twins lie? Seth, are you suggesting they lied? That’s kind of how I read your post.

    why would you deal Manship and Slama for Cabrera (rent a player that isn’t all that good) and Weurtz (relief pitchers are pretty hit and miss and inconsistent for the most part). What makes Weurtz more likely to succeed than both Slama or Manship over time? I wouldn’t do that deal. I’d do that for Sanchez and another player (maybe Sanchez straight up), but not Cabrera. No way.

    Um, because Holliday is about 100x the player Cstillo was/is?

    • brad July 28, 2009 at 10:38 pm #

      Why not just promote the minor leaguers then? You deal minor league talent for major leaguers b/c you need a track and production right now! You don’t have time to wait for a kid to get over the jitters or hope they play on the big stage.
      No sh-t Holliday is 200x times the player is you Dumb-ss, that wasn’t the statement! He is asking for one of our top players for their crap, i.fricking.e. Cabrera, and we got dog squat leftovers for Castillo who is still productive. Please read before posting Mikey likes wins

  5. tv July 28, 2009 at 8:44 am #

    If I was Billy Bean I would ask for Valencia too. Why not? Smith was already suckered once with Delmon-Harris for Bartlett-Garza. Why not try again?

  6. Cory July 28, 2009 at 8:53 am #

    The Twins should really make a play for Snell as well as Sanchez. Snell is a power arm who still has good years left and if he can figure himself out, could be a great option as a starter or could even be a great power arm out of the pen. You don’t find someone with Snell’s stuff very often and it looks like his bridge in Pittsburgh is burned. He reminds of Kyle Lohse as he was about to leave the Twins. Very talented but just needs a change of scenery. And we need arms.

  7. TT July 28, 2009 at 9:05 am #

    Yes, I can imagine Beane asking for Valencia. Cabrera is almost certain to be a Type B free agent, which means the A’s will get a supplemental draft choice next year.

    Valencia has less than 150 plate appearances at AAA. The fact that he started AAA with a hot bat does not make him major league ready. If the Twins really needed a major league shortstop, I can imagine them giving up Valencia for Cabrera. But they don’t. Shortstop is a defensive position and they have Punto who is more than adequate defensively. The real problem is second base.

    Morales is by far the Twins most major league ready prospect. He’s ready now. Its not clear Valencia will be ready even next year.

    I think it is smart to question whether media reports really reflect reality. The Strib reporters, in particular, can’t seem to distinguish between fact, rumor and their own inventions. It may be someone is feeding them disinformation or they may be feeding themselves disinformation. But whatever it is, you need to take their “reports” with a grain of salt. I think they are desperately trying to hang onto their audience as it drains away to the internet.

  8. TT July 28, 2009 at 9:11 am #

    Who would Snell replace? The fact that he can get AAA hitters out is not an indication that he is any better than any of the current Twins starters. Blackburn, Baker, Perkins and Liriano have all been struggling. Before yesterday, Perkins would have been on the top of some people’s list for Snell to replace. Now, its probably Liriano. At least until his next start. But Snell is no more likely to be successful than any of them.

  9. mike wants wins July 28, 2009 at 9:44 am #

    Well, since Liriano has been one of the worst starting pitchers in all of baseball this year, I’d see if Snell can be better than him for a starter. It would be almost statistically impossibel for him to be that bad (since Liriano is currently 88th out of 91 pitchers that qualify for the ERA lead. He has the 4th worst ERA in all of baseball among those that qualify for the ERA league.

    So, Snell would need to be one of the 3 worst pitchers in all of baseball to be worse. That’s certainly possible (Kevin Mulvey so far), but it’s not likely. And even if it does happen, it’s not really worse. An ERA of 7 isn’t really worse than an ERA of 5.56, in terms of predicting if your team will win the next game or not – neither is likely to win.

  10. TT July 28, 2009 at 10:14 am #

    Based on his performance before he was sent down, if he was still in the big leagues Snell would be giving Liriano competition for 4th worst. His major league ERA is slightly lower, but his WHIP is slightly higher. The grass is not always greener.

    • Cory July 28, 2009 at 3:55 pm #

      Snell did not pitch well but he has put together a good season in the past. I’m not saying he’s a great solution but he’s an option with a live arm, a reasonable contract, and a past history of success. This club is seriously lacking arms that can pitch at the major league level either in the pen or as a starter and Snell represents a much better option then anyone we could call up at this point.

      The fact that he could be brought back next year under a reasonable salary is a huge bonus also.

      • TT July 28, 2009 at 4:15 pm #

        Liriano has had good seasons in the past too …

        The Twins are looking for help this year and the last time Snell pitched well was three years ago. He has had two bad seasons since then which is why he is in the minor leagues. His contract guarantees him $4.25 million next year regardless of how well he pitches.

      • Cory July 28, 2009 at 4:38 pm #

        It likely wouldn’t take a very good prospect to acquire Snell so I see very little downside. Why is it a bad thing to add someone who could potentially be a valuable arm down the line?

      • TT July 28, 2009 at 5:49 pm #

        Cory –

        Snell can probably be had for nothing by any team that is willing to pay his salary next year. The downside is that you may be paying a guy over $4 million dollars to pitch in AAA.

      • Cory July 28, 2009 at 6:08 pm #

        That’s true, his salary is the hold up. But this franchise has no track record of acquiring players who would provide more upside then what Snell offers through free agency so to me it is a worthy gamble. I’d rather see 3.5 or 4 million invested in Snell then given to a 36 year old pitcher who will be released in June.

  11. mike wants wins July 28, 2009 at 10:26 am #

    Agreed, but he’s also young and has great stuff. His upside is there (and yes, I get how this may be inconsistent with some of my other posts over time). Liriano does not seem to have that upside since his surgery (though he surely could). I’d say they are a wash for now, but Snell might (or might not) have a higher upside. Plus, I’d really only try to get Snell if I was getting Sanchez.

  12. thrylos98 July 28, 2009 at 10:32 am #

    Perkins plus someone like Dinkelman and someone like Lis for Snell and Sanchez with the Twins eating all the money makes a lot of sense. The money is what balances this trade out.

  13. gobbledygookguy July 28, 2009 at 10:40 am #

    nearly everyone wanted livan run out of town last yr.
    23 gms 10-8, 5.48 era, 1.632 whip
    liriano-09, 20 gms 4-10, 5.56 era, 1.50 whip
    not a heck of a lot to pick from there. at this point liriano is a aaa pitcher.
    trade liriano for snell and hope both turn it around with a change of scenery.

  14. mike wants wins July 28, 2009 at 11:00 am #

    thrylos is correct, a lot of what makes deals for Sanchez do-able is the money. I don’t think Sanchez will move until the deadline, though, as the Pirates will be trying to maximize their return (and could still move him in the offseason, if they want to, assuming his option vests).

  15. TT July 28, 2009 at 11:34 am #

    “Perkins plus someone like Dinkelman and someone like Lis for Snell and Sanchez with the Twins eating all the money makes a lot of sense.”

    Why would anyone make a trade a for two non-prospects. Neither Lis nor Dinkelman have a major league position.

    Taking on Snell and Sanchez contracts may “make sense” for some teams, but not for the Twins. They have Joe Mauer and hopefully several other young players that they are going to need to pay in the immediate future. With all their young starters, it makes no sense for the Twins to take on the salary of a struggling pitcher like Snell.

    The real problem with a deal for Sanchez is that you aren’t going to get him for nothing. The Pirates are going to want someone with the potential to be a future equivalent major league star in return.

    Perkins may fit, but with Slowey out the Twins don’t have extra major league starting pitching to trade right now. Even without salary considerations, switching Snell for Perkins/Liriano/Blackburn/Swarzak/Baker in the rotation for the rest of the year would be a huge gamble.

    A Kubel for Sanchez deal might work, but I don’t think the Twins want to let Kubel go. Same with Span or Gomez. If you are looking to deal minor leaguers, it is going to take more than one guy. Wilson Ramos might get the deal done along with a couple AAA pitchers. It really depends on the Pirates evaluation of the Twins prospects and finding a match.

  16. mike wants wind July 28, 2009 at 12:16 pm #

    TT: same question I asked months ago: which young player needs to be signed for more than a year at this point? Mauer and maybe Span. NOT ONE pitcher deserves a multi-year extension at this point. Casilla, Harris, Young don’t. While we all realize they’ll need to re-sign these guys, none of them other than Mauer and maybe Span are looking to break the bank next year.

  17. TT July 28, 2009 at 12:39 pm #

    If the info at Cot’s is correct the following players are arbitration eligible next year:

    No Contract:

    Newly Eligible:

    Whether they “deserve” it or not, those folks are all up for substantial salary increases. I think if the Twins win the division this year they are going to want all those guys back with the possible exceptions of Crede and Redmond.

    And then there are guys like Slowey, Blackburn, Gomez and Span who may need to be signed while they are still cheap.

    Mauer alone will likely eat up any extra money the Twins have. Taking on $12+ million for Snell and Sanchez next year is a pretty big bite.

  18. mike wants wins July 28, 2009 at 12:52 pm #

    That is one reason I’d deal Young now, btw. He’ll hardly play next year (year 4; barring injury). If it takes him a year (year 5) to be good, they’ll have him for one year when he’s good (year 6) and he’ll be a FA. Yup, it’s selling low, but at least it is selling.

    If Dickey wants real money, he’s not worth it, cut him. Neshek has been injured for two years, I can’t see him getting a real increase (same with Boof). If Boof wants real money, cut him, you can’t take the chance on paying him “real” money at this point, probably the same with Neshek.

    Harris, if you trade for Sanchez, you don’t need anymore, but I’d keep him around. As a mediocre player, his salary may rise by about $500K or so (even if its more, see below), I’d guess. Liriano, if he gets real money, trade him. Can’t afford a big gamble on him at this poing, so I see him getting another $500K or so at most.

    Crain, who cares? Redmond, let him go (save money there). Crede, let him go (save money there). Guerrier, sign (probaby gets a decent boost).

    Of those, only Guerrier and Harris are likely to see any real bump. Crain is replacable if he’s costly. They likely pay for Harris and Liriano by cutting Redmond and Crede.

    That leave them millions under their budget, millions. Yes, they’ll need to sign Mauer, but if their situation does not allow them to have more than 4-5 players on their roster earning seriuos money, then they should just close up shop now.

    IMO, to be competitive, they should be able to afford 4-5 star types, 5-10 medium priced guys (3-7MM per year), and the rest just above or at the minimum. Of course, I could be way off on that calculation, that’s just off the top of my head w/o doing a ton of math.

  19. PD July 28, 2009 at 3:45 pm #

    Thankx! Seth great info

  20. Jesse H July 28, 2009 at 4:20 pm #

    Here is a detailed projection for the team next year based on Cott’s site and some arbitration projections. Based on this we have about $20 million available to upgrade the team.

    Role Player Status Salary ($M)
    C Mauer Contract $12.500
    1B Morneau Contract $14.000
    2B Casilla Serfdom $0.425
    3B Buscher Serfdom $0.425
    SS Punto Contrct $4.000
    RF Cuddyer Contract $8.500
    CF Span Serfdom $0.425
    LF Young Arbitration $2.200
    DH Kubel Contract $4.100

    BKUP MI Harris Arbitration $1.500
    BKUP CI Tolbert Serfdom $0.425
    4TH OF Gomez Arbitration $1.800
    BKUP C Morales Serfdom $0.425

    STARTER 1 Liriano Arbitration $2.400
    STARTER 2 Blackburn Serfdom $0.425
    STARTER 3 Baker Contract $3.000
    STARTER 4 Perkins Arbitration $1.600
    STARTER 5 Slowey Serfdom $0.425

    Closer Nathan Contract $11.25
    RH SETUP Neshek Arbitration $1.000
    LH SETUP Mijares Serfdom $0.425
    MR Crain Arbitration $2.000
    MR Dickey Arbitration $0.750
    LONG MR Bonser Arbitration $1.000
    LONG MR Guerrier Arbitration $2.500

    TOTAL SALARY $77.50 $77.50
    AVAILABLE $22.50

  21. mike wants wind July 28, 2009 at 5:42 pm #

    Awesome. Trade DY and save another $1.8MM. There are plenty of guys in the minors that can sit on the bench for nearly every game, at $400K.

  22. TT July 28, 2009 at 7:48 pm #

    Jesse –

    The Twins payroll this year is $65M, you are assuming a 50% increase next year. I don’t think that is realistic. In fact, I doubt it is desirable. They need to keep some payroll room to pay the young players as they prove their worth.


  1. The Trade Front Rundown - July 28, 2009

    […] target is A’s shortstop Orlando Cabrera who has caught fire in July. But Billy Beane’s asking price is apparently too high. The Twins also asked the Blue Jays about Roy Halladay but the Twins aren’t one of the Doc […]

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