Archived Story

What to do Mr. Smith

Published 8:45pm Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Ok, so I was about to write a blog and then the Twins traded Delmon Young so I had to kind of rethink a few things. Then I thought my theme can remain the same only I will insert the Delmon trade into the picture. Twins General Manager, Billy Smith, has some fans out there and I can see why because he has done some things to try and help especially at the July trade deadline in the past when the Twins had a chance to win or improve. He also has made some questionable moves or non-moves as well. This winter may well be the defining moment for Mr. Smith as the Twins are really a mess. They haven’t played well, they have had injured star players, and they have some free agents to decide on. Yes the winter will be interesting. The Twins go into the winter with Michael Cuddyer and Jason Kubel as free agents, and if we can believe everything you read in the paper, the Twins have made some low ball offers to both. Cuddyer has been one of the better players on the team this season and yet a lot of people think he was over paid. Statistically Cuddyer has decent numbers but not star stats. His value is that he does keep himself relatively healthy especially compared to everyone else, and that he can play multiple positions. He is also a team leader and more of a face to the franchise than the golden boy Joe Mauer, at least to Twins fans. Cuddy made some big money with his last contract and I’m sure he isn’t going to settle for much less. With his age I’m not sure the Twins will want to give him as much as he can maybe get from another team. If reports are correct there were more than a couple teams interested in him around the trade deadline. If he does sign elsewhere the Twins end up with nothing except a draft choice which the Twins haven’t faired all that well with in recent years. This is why I would have traded him at the deadline and then if they still wanted him back then try to sign him. At least they would have gotten something and should have brought more home than Delmon did. Kubel is another guy. He is a dang good hitter when he is healthy and not a bad outfielder either. I’m not sure Thome will play again, at least not with the Twins, next year so the team could use him at DH again. He too will demand a pretty good salary so with the big contracts for Mauer and Morneau can the Twins afford one, both, or any of the two outfielders? With Young now gone and if they lose Cuddyer and Kubel for nothing the outfield doesn’t look all that good. A couple of other free agents are Joe Nathan and Matt Capps. I know most people wouldn’t care if we got a case of beer or a bag of battered baseballs for Capps I still don’t like the idea of letting him go for nothing hence a deadline trade would have been nice. Nathan is the all time leader in saves now for the Twins but he is in his late 30’s and coming off Tommy John surgery. By the way, Tommy John should be in the Hall of Fame for not just his stats but for having one of the most famous surgeries in baseball history. So do you give Nathan a multiyear year contract, which I am sure he is going to want, or let him go, again for nothing? Besides the free agent decisions, the Twins really don’t have a shortstop. (Insert the Hardy deal as one of Mr. Smith’s worst). Even though I haven’t given up total hope on Nishioka I don’t have a lot of it and unless he goes through some miracle transformation over the winter he is just not Major League ready. The Twins bullpen is also a mess even if they keep Nathan. The starting staff had one good streak early but has failed in the second half. I don’t think Liriano is ever going to get any better than he is now. Now would be the time to trade him before anybody else has the same feelings I do. Blackburn is another guy I am not too high on and the Twins seem to be a little worried about Baker’s arm. Pavano hasn’t had that great a year either and the two minor leaguers they had hopes for, Gibson and Wimmers have done very little. Gibson may face Tommy John and Wimmers has had control problems. The Twins two MVP players Morneau and Mauer have been hurt a lot in the last couple of years. Mauer has also brought concerns about his heart. A couple of comments that bothered me a little were when he said he didn’t want to play until he feels 100% and the reason he gave for not hitting any home runs was that he just hasn’t felt very good. Ok, so what is going on here? I will leave that question open because I haven’t got a clue. So Mr. Smith has a lot of things to decide this winter with free agents and lots of holes to fill and a minor league system that isn’t all that good. Quite the challenge eh Mr. Smith?

  • Tracy Mitchell

    What to do? – the central question for Mr Smith. Cuddyer, Kubel, Nathan, the middle infield, the bullpen, the rotation, the outfield! My head hurts. All intriguing conundrums. I expect we can fill the next 6 months of this blog with thoughts on all of this.

    First, though, I’m not sure I really grasp the Delmon move yet. Apparently the consensus is that there is no reasonable likelihood of Delmon reaching what has been thought to be his potential any time soon (like in my parakeet’s lifetime). They really sold low on him – addition by subtraction? Why now? My best guess is that they decided that he is not part of the Twins future and trying to show-case him is a losing proposition. Turn the page and move on. Hard to argue with that, but I hope he doesn’t spend 10 years in Detroit clubbing on the Twins.

  • Tom Grout

    I don’t understand the Delmon deal either Tracy. With a possibility of losing both Cuddy and Kubel it doesn’t look all that good. I just hope this doesn’t turn out to be another David Ortiz thing and have Delmon develope into a darn good player, and in our own division no less.

  • Tracy Mitchell

    In terms of re-signing Kubel & Cuddyer, I take the dumping of Delmon to be a good sign. Delmon was making about $5 million, and with arbitration could get up to 7.5 million for next year. That’s a lot of money freed up. Additionally, there is now one less outfielder competing for AB’s and playing time.

  • Dean

    Delmon Young had a decent year last season, had his salary doubled from $2.6 million to $5.375 million, and promptly came into this season with the extra pounds back on, and seemingly no desire to play hard. I think the Twins were willing to put up with his streaky bat, but their patience finally ran out with his awful play in the field. His poor play this year, and his less-than-impressive career numbers means he’s not worth much to anyone else, either. For being such a big, strong guy… 21 homers is not that great… and 13 was his high before that. This year? Maybe …. 8? That, and four strikeouts for every walk means it’s better for us that he is somewhere else. So, good riddance, I say. My guess is that Kubel will see some time in LF when Cuddyer’s neck feels better.

    I don’t see this as being anything similar to the David Ortiz deal. Everyone knew Ortiz had power, and could easily be a 30+ HR guy… I think that the Twins really wanted to keep him …. he just could not stay healthy here… and it appeared that would be the case indefinitely.

  • Tracy Mitchell

    Looks like they’re calling up Joe Benson. It doesn’t sound like he’s ready yet, but I think this guy is a real prospect. He’s a big guy that turned down a football scholarship to Purdue (running back). They say he’s the fastest guy in the organization behind Revere, and has the arm of a right fielder. He hit a ton of HR’s last year between 2 levels. Apparently K’s are a problem. Maybe he’ll be ready in a year or two, but we get a look-see now.

    & how about Tosoni? He’s been under the radar for some time, but looks like he earned his call-up, and is trying to take advantage of the chance. Nice looking fielder — but maybe that’s just from looking at Delmon too long. When TK was broadcasting several weeks ago, he had great things to say about Tosoni. Good source.

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