Wednesday, June 20, 2007
PLEASE READ - you're going to want to go over to Twins Cards (specifically Tony, Killer and Carew), they have post part one of a very entertaining and honest Q&A with former Twins reliever Doug Corbett. It is totally worth reading!
Hello everyone! Twins 9, Mets 0. That was everything the Twins needed, and really, it was a performance that I think we have almost come to expect from the Twins. I mean, if you read a lot of sites and many comments, you would almost expect the Twins to have this type of performance every night, and that isn't fair.
Well, Johan Santana got more than enough run support, and Santana gave the Twins exactly what they needed. He gave the team nine great innings. Nine shutout, four hit innings. He gave the bullpen a complete game off. He threw a lot of zeroes on the board. Now, I suppose some stat heads will be disappointed in the fact that Johan managed just one strikeout. That will really hurt his strikeout rate! (Sorry Aaron, I had to throw a little jab in there! I haven't done that in a while.) But the team needed a big time pitching performance, and they needed Johan to eat some innings, so pitch efficiency was very important. 92 pitches in 9 innings is very impressive. That said, of course some luck was involved. There were a lot of deep fly balls that were caught near the warning track. There were some line drives right at Jason Bartlett. So it wasn't the dominating Santana, and we will likely see him pitch much better during the season, and in the end it is the results that matter, right?
A five run second inning certainly is helpful too! Those first two runs came after hits from Jeff Cirillo and Jason Tyner, guys at the bottom of the order, guys who really just need to be decent for the Twins to be successful. Cirillo led the Twins with three hits and I really hope we will see a lot more of him at 3B. But Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau and Jason Bartlett each had two hits, and those were guys that we entered the season with high expectations of. So the Twins got solid performances from everyone. Everyone in the lineup had at least one hit with the exception of Luis Castillo who went 0-5, and is now three for his last 30.
With the current Twins roster, I actually like this lineup the best with the exception of Jason Kubel in place of Jason Tyner. And, as tempting as it would be to make Johan Santana the Twins DH, I would probably alternate Chris Heintz, Mike Redmond and Luis Rodriguez as the DH and nine hitter. Heintz may be a surprise name to many, but let's not forget that Heintz is known for his bat, not his glove. He would likely hit as well as Redmond, and if he's going to be on the roster, use him! And, as always, I will back up Luis Rodriguez as a quality at bat guy.
PS - Come on Scott Baker! Come up big in the Big Apple!
Alright, there is a lot of trade talk. Here are some names that I think that the Twins should inquire about. I'm not interested in guys like Jorge Cantu or Kevin Mench. I'm not real high on Ty Wigginton. Mike Lowell would be nice, but that requires the Red Sox acquiring Mark Teixeira first, so that's not worth thinking about until that time. So, here are the bats I think that the Twins should consider:
Dmitri Young - DH - Washington Nationals - The Twins reportedly are not interested in Young because of his past issues. First, he is signed to a one year deal for less than a million dollars, so he would be cheap and the Twins would have no obligations to him beyond this season. He is hitting well this year on a team that does not have much protection for him. He can provide power, but also is a good all-around player. The Twins concern is some of his past issues. Until the Tigers let him go late last season (reportedly due to drinking), he had always been known as one of the league's good guys. Plus, can't Torii Hunter's perceived leadership make Young's issues a mute point? Young could DH, leaving Jason Kubel out in LF. I think this deal makes a lot of sense. The Nationals likely would want to trade him for pitching. The Nationals farm system isn't exactly strong, so I think that the Twins could make this deal without costing them one of their better pitching prospects. And of course, I am sure he would like to get back at the Tigers for dropping him last year.
Jonny Gomes - Tampa Bay Devil Rays - The Twins need a DH and another right handed hitter with some power. Jonny Gomes hit 21 homers in 2005 and 20 homers in 2006. He has five homers in just 68 at bats with the Rays this year because the Rays have an outfield that includes Delmon Young, Carl Crawford, Rocco Baldelli and Elijah Dukes. The Rays actually don't have a lot of holes to fill. They have a lot of quality young players. Carlos Pena is playing well so far at 1B, and he could be a guy who the Rays could dangle as well while he has value. So, the Twins could include a 1B prospect like Garrett Jones or Brock Peterson (not sure I would deal David Winfree for Gomes). The Rays actually have several high level pitching prospects throughout their system, but adding another pitcher wouldn't be a bad deal. I bet the Twins could get Gomes for a package including Garrett Jones and someone like Oswaldo Sosa or Ryan Mullins.
Tony Gwynn, Jr. - CF - Milwaukee Brewers - This isn't so much a move for 2007, but for the future. It would provide the Twins with an actual CF replacement should they lose Torii Hunter after the season to free agency. The Brewers have an OF of Geoff Jenkins, Bill Hall and Corey Hart and still have Gabe Gross and Kevin Mench on their bench, so there was little time for Gwynn to play. Following Sunday's game, he was returned to AAA. In an e-mail exchange with Al Bethke of Al's Ramblings, Gwynn could be traded near the trade deadline for a solid left-handed reliever. Unfortunately, the Twins don't have one of those. I don't think Bob Melvin is dumb enough to deal Gwynn for Dennys Reyes. If the Twins find themselves out of contention, maybe a Juan Rincon and Dennys Reyes for Tony Gwynn and Grant Balfour deal could be made! I realize that Gwynn Jr is not the second coming of, well, Tony Gwynn, but as Al said, "he's better than Juan Pierre, and very comparable to Dave Roberts." I'm not a fan of Juan Pierre at all and think he is horrible, but Gwynn is certainly a better option than Denard Span, and he is big league ready. I think he can hit between .280 and .300, and I think he will get on base enough to be a solid leadoff hitter.
Chad Tracy - Arizona Diamondbacks - He recently spent time on the Disabled List and while he was there, Mark Reynolds came up and proved he deserves to play daily. That may make Tracy expendable. That said, I don't think Tracy would come cheap. In 2005, he had a .911 OPS and had 34 doubles and 27 homers. He had a 'down' year in 2006 with a .794 OPS. However, he still had 41 doubles and 20 homers. Thus far in 2007, his OPS is at .874. Now the D-Backs have a solid, young infield right now that would include Reynolds at 3B, Stephen Drew at SS, Orlando Hudson at 3B and Conor Jackson and Tony Clark at 1B. However, their only backup infielder (if they were to trade Tracy) is Augie Ojeda. Ouch! Like Garrett Atkins, Tracy will be arbitration-eligible. I just don't think that the asking price for Tracy would be as high as it would be for Atkins. I still think it would require a package of solid pitching prospects. I wonder if a package including Brian Duensing, Anthony Swarzak and Matt Moses would be enough for Tracy, or if they would ask for Kevin Slowey or Matt Garza? I think it is worth investigating.
Pedro Feliz - San Francisco Giants - I know, he doesn't walk, ever, and over time, that would frustrate me to no end. However, he does have 10 homers. He can play 3B and would be a step up from Nick Punto. He likely wouldn't hit higher than 7th in the Twins lineup, so you can accept less than perfect, as long as there is some potential for something positive. Again, he signed just a one year deal with the Giants so the Twins wouldn't be on the hook for a long period of time. The Giants are two things. First, they're not a very good team. Second, they're old. So, I would guess that Feliz could be had for a package of two young, mid-level players/prospects.
SETH'S TRADE THOUGHTS
My opinion is that the Twins need to address 3B and DH. They are still close enough to contention right now that I think they need to give one more push to see how much ground they can make up by late July. Therefore, I think that Terry Ryan should go out right now and try to pick up either Young or Gomes AND either Tracy or Feliz (or maybe Jose Bautista?). The key, however, is to not give up top level prospects. If in a month, the Twins are out of contention, they can trade these guys again if they want along with their own potential free agents to more than replace the midlevel prospects they give up for them. I would prioritize the DH spot ahead of 3B because I would like to see Jeff Cirillo get a shot at playing four or five times a week at 3B. If in a couple of weeks that isn't going so well, then I would move the 3B guys up the list. One bat could legitimately help this team. Two bats would certainly help.
I'm not interested in trading Matt Garza, Kevin Slowey or Alexi Casilla. It would take a lot for me to give up Boof Bonser or Glen Perkins. I would prefer to acquire players with either less than four years of big league experience OR a veteran hitter who is signed for cheap for just 2007. I don't want older players who are 1.) expensive (Dunn) , 2.) just big names without big games any more (Tejada, Mora, Sosa) or 3.) are guys that the other team just wants to rid themselves of (Mench). I would love a guy like Andy Laroche who is near-major league ready and could stay with the Twins for multiple years. I just can't imagine that Laroche would be available whereas Gwynn likely would be.
So, what do you think of my five guys that I would target? Who would you target and who would you legitimately have to give up to acquire them? Leave your thoughts below, or send me an e-mail.
Minor League Updates
Here are the Twins updates from last night, including game reports of their minor league affiliates.
Tuesday SethSpeaks Player of the Day – Jose Morales, Rochester Red Wings
Tuesday SethSpeaks Pitcher of the Day – Yohan Pino, Ft. Myers Miracle
Tuesday - Red Wings 5, Columbus 4 – This was an interesting game. The Red Wings went into the bottom of the 9th with a 5-3 lead. Bobby Korecky was on to close the game out. He gave up a hit, then got an out on a sacrifice bunt, then gave up another hit to score a run and cut the lead to just one. Then it rained, and rained, and the game was called and Korecky had his 15th save despite not really finishing the game. Jason Miller started the game and gave up an unearned run on three hits in four innings. He walked two and struck out five. Julio DePaula picked up the win with 2.1 shutout innings (and four strikeouts). Ricky Barrett gave up two runs on three hits in 1.1 innings. Korecky got the final out of the 8th before getting just one out in the 9th... and still recording a save. Jose Morales led the offense. He went 3-4 with his 14th double and four RBI. Matt Tolbert went 2-4 with his 13th double. He is now hitting .370. Denard Span was also 2-3.
Tuesday - Rockcats 6, New Hampshire 7 – Brian Buscher led the offense with a 3-5 night, but it wasn't enough. Garrett Guzman went 2-4 with three RBI. Kyle Geiger went 2-4. Jesse Floyd went the first 5.2 innings. He gave up four runs on seven hits and two walks. JP Martinez gave up three runs in two innings, in part because of three walks. Frank Mata pitched 1.1 scoreless innings.
FT MYERS MEMOS
Tuesday - Miracle 2, Tampa 0 – Yohan Pino matched Johan Santana's performance last night. Pino threw nine shutout innings. He gave up just five hits, walked none and struck out seven. The Win makes him 2-3, but his ERA of 1.95 is quite impressive. Steven Tolleson went 2-4 with an RBI. Luis Ugueto went 2-3 with his fourth double and an RBI. Both Miracle runs scored in the bottom of the 8th.
Tuesday - Snappers – No game scheduled because the Midwest League All Star game was played. Jeff Manship started for the West team and gave up a run on two hits in his inning. He struck out two. Brian Dinkelman led off for the team and played 2B the first five innings. He went 0-3. In the 6th inning, Danny Valencia entered the game at 3B.
Tuesday - E-Twins, Kingsport – The E-Twins were set to begin their season last night. However, rain postponed the game, so the two teams will play their first two games of their seasons in a doubleheader tonight. Please check out Taylor's Twins Talk for a great preview of the E-Twins roster. This is the level where prospects can really start making a name for themselves. The only player on this roster that made my Top 50 prospect list was 3B Deibinson Romero, and he came in the upper 40s. I am looking forward to seeing how he does, but the big curiosity and question mark for me has to be big Henry Sanchez. Of course, it will also be interesting to see which pitchers find a way to dominate this level of competition. I would expect David Bromberg and Curtis Leavitt to have solid seasons. The players are all between the ages of 19 and 23.
GCL TWINS NOTES
Tuesday - GCL Twins – The team begins its season tonight!
Do you have any further thoughts on any Twins prospects, minor leaguers, or these summaries? E-mail me, or also feel free to leave comments below.
That is it for today. Have a great day!
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