It’s Time for the Twins to SellPublished 8:44am Tuesday, July 26, 2011
With the end of July trade deadline approaching, Major League baseball teams have to decide if they are in the buyer or seller mode. They have to evaluate their chances of winning their division and if adding someone else to their roster will help them achieve that goal.
In the most recent past the Twins have always put themselves in a buyer’s mode because they were either ahead in the division or reasonably close. This year they lie somewhere in that Twilight Zone area. They have played like contenders at times and like bottom dwellers at other times, like last nights Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
I could maybe support either side, the buyer or seller, but I am going to take the seller side.
First of all the Twins are 7 games out of first place and are not only chasing one team they are actually chasing 3 teams which makes things just a little more difficult. The Twins have also not played all that well against Detroit and Cleveland and they happen to be two of the teams they are chasing. Both those teams will be in the buyer’s mode so the chances are they will improve from where they are right now.
Even though 7 games back isn’t the end of all ends and could yet be made up as the Twins still have a lot of games left with the top teams in the division, the way they have played the game this year it doesn’t bode well that they will be able to pull it off.
A monkey on a rock could tell you that the Twins have not played very good baseball this year. At most they have looked like a mediocre triple A team which makes sense since that is what players they have had to play with this season. Yes we all know that injuries have played a big part of it but some of the bad play has come from the guys who have not been AAA guys.
The Twins middle infield is really a mess. Alexi Casilla has improved but I still don’t think he is the answer at second base. Tsuyoski Nishioka has proven to not be a Major League ball player yet. I’m not sure he is even a AAA a player at this time as he seems over whelmed at the plate and his defense is a little below average.
Scoring runs has also been difficult for this team this year. This is mainly due to injuries but the reality is that they did get injured and have missed a lot of games and that has put the team in the position it is now. Some of the players have come back but haven’t performed enough to score any more runs than before.
Along with the middle infield mess the bullpen has been a mess all season. Matt Capps alone has lost 6 or 7 game for the team and you add what the rest of the pen has lost and the Twins could be in 1st place.
The only thing that has kept the team in any kind of contention at all is the poor division, a stretch of good starting pitching, and a little clutch hitting. Now the team is going through a bad stage again and it is getting late so in my evaluation they should be the sellers.
There are plenty of teams in both leagues who are looking to improve for the stretch drive. In most cases teams will give up some good stuff during this time especially their good prospects. Last year the Twins traded their best catching prospect in Wilson Ramos to get Matt Capps and how nice would it be to have him now. But the point is this is a good time to trade if you have value to trade and the Twins do have that.
The Twins have some outfielders who are either free agents or arbitration cases. Kubel and Cuddyer are free agents and Young is the arbitration player. The Twins take the chance of losing the two free agents and get little or nothing for them which they have done in the past like Torii Hunter and in some way Johan Santana. It might be best to trade them now and actually get something of value than letting it go and get nothing. Denard Span or Ben Revere could be other outfielders I would let people know were available.
The team has said it will not trade Cuddyer and I’m not sure why they said that. I happened to love the guy but the team could trade him because he is a wanted commodity. Trade him to a contender so he has a chance to get to a World Series and if you want him back sign him again in the off season.
Other Twins players who I think should be on the trading block are; Alexi Casilla, Drew Butera, Matt Capps, Joe Nathan, Nick Blackburn, Kevin Slowey, Fransisco Liriano, Carl Pavano and any of our AAA guys.
Some of these guys may not be wanted but I would think Capps, Nathan, Blackburn, Pavano, Slowey and Liriano could bring back some prospects. Mind you I’m not saying that all of these guys should be traded, you need to have somewhat of a core group to rebuild from, I am just saying if it was up to me these are the guys I would dangle out there for other clubs to think about.
What do I expect in return? I feel our minor league system has taken a hit the last few years. I am sorry but I am just not as high on our minor leaguers as some people are. Therefore if we could rob some top prospects from other teams now would be a great time to do it and I don’t care what position it is. I remember Bud Grant would always draft the best player available no matter what the position. The Twins should go after the best from other teams. If they could get Major League bullpen pitchers that would be one thing I would go after. There rumors of some selling teams that have good bullpen pitchers who are available maybe this would be the time to go after them rather than this winter. If we end up trading a starting pitcher or two then top pitching prospects would be what I would want in return.
Bottom line is this is a good time to start a rebuilding process. The Twins have a good core group of players and since the division is always up for grabs this is a good time to get things started before next season. Use the winter to fill in some more of the gaps.
As a footnote on why I think it is time to sell I got this. Last Saturday I was watching the Twins game and it was the game of the week so they had their network announcers doing the play by play. In this one at bat they were being very complementary of Michael Cuddyer. They said he was having this really great season and gushed about him a bit, which since I like the guy I thought was nice. Then they showed is stats on the year: .290 batting average, 14 home runs and 47 rbi’s. The next half inning when the Tigers were up they had two guys who are not thought to be the MVP’s of their team and quite frankly some people I have barely heard of, come to the plate and their stats were around the same as Cuddyer’s and actually were better in the run production part. It was at that moment I knew it was time for the Twins to sell; they will not catch the Tigers this year.