Saturday, December 1, 2007
Six (or Seven) Questions
with Coffeyville Whirlwind
Here is another Six Questions with another Twins blogger. This one is with Scot of Coffeyville Whirlwind, another blog that does a terrific job of covering the Twins, particularly their great history.
SethSpeaks: You’re the GM, what do you do about Johan Santana? To trade, or not to trade? If your answer is “To Trade”, what would it require in return to make it happen?
Coffeyville Whirlwind: I think the Twins did the right thing in letting Torii Hunter go. That said, I would prefer to keep Johan Santana. In an ideal world, he would be willing to meet the Twins about halfway between the figures that are being reported. If Santana and his agent stick to the reported $126 million figure, then I might start entertaining trade offers because it is silly to devote that much money to one player given the financial limitations of this team.
SethSpeaks: The Twins have been hesitant in the past to trade young pitchers. It sounds like that theory may be somewhat altered this offseason. Are there any of the Twins young pitchers that you would call untouchable?
Coffeyville Whirlwind: No player is untouchable in my estimation, and I would entertain offers for any of the young pitchers. That said, there are certain players that I would be more careful about. Francisco Liriano would be a near-untouchable, but given his arm injury and uncertain future, if another team wanted to offer some major league power and empty out the farm for him, I'd listen, though it would take an awful lot to pull the trigger (so much that I doubt there would be any takers).
SethSpeaks: As of today, where would you rank the Twins in the AL Central?
Coffeyville Whirlwind: I still like Cleveland and Detroit better than the Twins at this moment, so I guess that makes them third. Right now they are closer to fourth than they are to second, but that could change with a good offseason.
SethSpeaks: What would you consider the top three things that the Twins need to do this offseason?
Coffeyville Whirlwind: First, I think it would be wise to take care of the Santana situation one way or another. Then, there are a few gaping holes in the lineup that need addressing, namely center field and third base. Between the two, I think it would be worth devoting more money to sure up third base with a bat, and then maybe gamble on a center fielder that won't break the bank. If it becomes necessary to trade Santana, it is possible that all three of my priorities could be taken care of with one deal (and hopefully a boat load of prospects thrown in).
SethSpeaks: On a scale of 1 to 10, how confident are you that Bill Smith will be able to do the things that the Twins need to compete?
Coffeyville Whirlwind: I think that Smith has the experience and is well-regarded enough that I am comfortable with him in the GM position. That said, the financial handcuffs he seems to be working with might be too much to overcome, particularly when other teams in the division are starting to spend more money (it's not 2002 anymore...). History has shown that Twins' ownership is pretty firm about tying payroll to revenue, so until the new ballpark revenue starts to roll in, I don't expect there to be any major changes in how the GM is allowed to go about his business. There is precedent, however, for a team with payroll limitations to continue to compete with success against the big spenders (see A's, Oakland circa 2000-2006), and I think the jury is still out on Smith in that regard. Short answer: about a five or six.
SethSpeaks: Tell us a little about what you do on your blog, where we can find it and what you write about during the offseason?
Coffeyville Whirlwind: The great thing about blogging history is that there is always something to write about. At Coffeyville Whirlwind, I am chronicling the 1988 Twins game-by-game for those who need a hot stove baseball fix, and I am continuing to plug away at the history of all 100+ years of franchise history in season capsules - I just recently finished 1944 and am working on 1945. I am also doing some writing for Tony...the Killer and Carew, the blog run by Blake and the TwinsCards.com staff.
SethSpeaks: (The Twins/Rays trade went down, so I asked Scot for his thoughts on the deal and if it altered any of his previous answers)
Whirlwind: This is a hard deal to get behind. I
think that of the two centerpieces, Garza has a higher potential ceiling. Young
is a decent hitter, and certainly makes the Twins' lineup better; but he lacks
plate discipline and doesn't get on base enough for my liking. I'm a Bartlett
guy as well, but I don't think his skills will ever be fully appreciated in this
organization, so a change of scenery might be the thing for him. Still, his
departure doesn't make the Twins better in my estimation, particularly if
Harris is the plan at shortstop.
In the big picture, I'm not sure that this trade can be fairly judged without the context of future deals. There are still several major question marks that need to be addressed, and based on the rumors, it appears they might still be. I'm okay taking a wait and see attitude at this point, but overall I'm skeptical.
Update on Santana trade question: In a perfect world I would prefer to keep him, but it appears the asking price is going to be just too much for the Twins. With Garza on his way to Tampa Bay, all of the rumors that included pitching prospects coming to the Twins make a little more sense. It's a good sign that all of baseball's big spenders are rumored to be interested in Santana, hopefully that will drive the trade value up a bit. I would hate to see a deal done just to move him, because getting one more year out of Santana would still have some value (along with the draft picks the Twins would get for compensation).
SethSpeaks: (He gave the above answer, and then wrote me back with some additional thoughts on it.)
Coffeyville Whirlwind: Now, with the news that Rincon is no longer included, the deal looks even worse from a Twins' perspective. It was one thing to unload Rincon, which was actually part of the deal I liked. Instead, the Twins are parting with a decent prospect in Morlan. It all feels like just a little too much to give up for Young and a couple of supporting players.
Thank you to Scot from Coffeyville Whirlwind and everyone for stopping by this site. Keep checking back throughout the weekend. If you have any questions, comments or ideas for future postings, please e-mail me.