Blog Entry

GM for a Day: Minnesota Twins

Posted on: December 1, 2008 1:51 am
Edited on: December 1, 2008 1:55 am
Untouchables on the MLB roster:
Justin Morneau, Joe Mauer, Francisco Liriano, Delmon Young

Elite Prospects (for these I will only be listing those not on the major league roster):
You could say Aaron Hicks and Ben Revere, although I don't see them as stars on the major league level.  Deolis Guerra had a rough year, but probably has the highest ceiling in the organization.

Holes to fill:
3B, SS, RP

Potential major losses:

Major Free Agents after 2009:

Bad Contracts:

Large arbitration increases:
Jason Kubel will get a decent raise, but nothing off the charts

Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer are set.  Alexi Casilla is decent at 2B.  But there are giant holes on the left side of the infield.  One of which should be a middle of the lineup bat to protect Justin Morneau. 

Delmon Young and Carlos Gomez are two young talents with tremendous upside.  I don't see how you can trade Young when you won't be getting full value after last season.  Michael Cuddyer is reasonably priced for a veteran with 2 years $16 million left on his contract.  Payroll is also increasing by $7.5 million in raises to Mauer and Morneau alone, which in itself cancels out any free cash available from expiring contracts.  When you look at the numbers Cuddyer is the obvious guy to go, not Young.  Denard Span will fill in just fine.

The rotation is set with 5 pre-arbitration players in Liriano, Scott Baker, Kevin Slowey, Nick Blackburn, and Glenn Perkins.  They also have Boof Bonser and Phil Humber waiting in the wings.  I don't see either as more than a bottom of the rotation fill in, but Blackburn and Perkins both performed over their heads last season in my opinion anyway.  I don't think trading either when their value is highest would be a bad move.

Joe Nathan is one of the most underrated closers in the league, but the bullpen took a major hit as Pat Neshek is expected to miss the entire 2009 season.  They need another arm or two to team with Jesse Crain and Matt Guerrier.  Guerrier broke down in August last year after 3.5 very good seasons.  I think limiting his innings early in the year could help a lot down the stretch.

and the moves to make.....
1.  Trade Michael Cuddyer to the Rays for Reid Brignac.  With Bartlett and Beckham he probably won't get a legitimate shot at SS in Tampa.  He is the top major league ready SS prospect right now and he may be available.  Cuddyer would solve the hole the Rays have in RF.  Would also clear the payroll needed to improve 3B and the bullpen.

2.  Trade Nick Blackburn to the Padres for Kevin Kouzmanoff.  Talks have been rumoured and it makes sense.  He hit .292/.329/.473 on the road last season, so there is reason to believe the numbers can improve when he gets out of a park where flyballs go to die.  Also that .802 road OPS is higher than both Casey Blake and Adrian Beltre's career numbers.

3.  Spend the cash saved from moving Cuddyer on the bullpen.  I'll pick Juan Cruz and Doug Brocail, but their is a lot of names to fit here.

I just don't get where all of these Delmon Young rumors are coming from.  There really isn't any legitimate bats to protect Justin Morneau on the market at 3B or SS (that's right Adrian Beltre), and I really don't know what else they could trade him for.  No he hasn't showed the power yet but at 23 he is a .292 career hitter in 1300+ AB and got better after the break.  He still has superstar talent, which is something you won't get back in a trade for him.  Also, Young doesn't need to have a superstar breakout to give the team what it needs, just a little more power.  Assume that Young and Kouzmanoff both end up with about 20 HR and 85 RBI, and Liriano is healthy all season and the Twins are easily much better than the team that lost the division in a one game playoff last year.

2009 lineup
c.  Joe Mauer
1b.  Justin Morneau
2b.  Alexi Casilla
3b.  Kevin Kouzmanoff
ss.  Reid Brignac
lf.  Delmon Young
cf.  Carlos Gomez
rf.  Denard Span
dh.  Jason Kubel

1.  Francisco Liriano
2.  Scott Baker
3.  Kevin Slowey
4.  Glenn Perkins
5.  Boof Bonser/Phil Humber

Since: Dec 10, 2008
Posted on: December 10, 2008 1:08 pm

GM for a Day: Minnesota Twins

The reason nobody has mentioned the DH is it isn't a big concern.  Kubel is an underrated player.  Last year was his first year without injury and all his numbers spiked.

The twins have a very unique rotation.  Let's keep it the same.  See if we can flip Humber and Mulvey for Yunel Escobar, at SS.  

Let's give Luke Hughes a look at Third before we go outside the organization.

Delmon Young is a unique player.  Give him another year before we dump him. 

Since: Aug 16, 2006
Posted on: December 9, 2008 7:30 pm

GM for a Day: Minnesota Twins

I've always liked Jason Kubel personally, but then I lived in Rochester the year he hit .343 with 16 HR and 71 RBI in 90 games at AAA so I may be a little biased.  Before all the injury problems he was supposed to be a superstar.  I doubt he'll be one now.but he can be a solid 25+ HR player (he did hit 20 in only 463 AB last year).

Since: Nov 24, 2008
Posted on: December 9, 2008 10:03 am

GM for a Day: Minnesota Twins

I think if the Twins just decided, this once, to spend some money -- they could really soar this year!
One position none of you have discussed is DH.  The Twinkies were definitely below average in terms of Power last year and I am not all that impressed with Kubel.  I think they should spend the dough ($11-13 mil per for 3) to get ADAM DUNN!  The guy is a beast and would rip up the 'Homer Dome!'  He has five straight seasons with 40 or more dongs and his 100+ walks really compensate for his low average. (his OBS is good!)  The Twins Top 2 Homer guys totalled 40 last year ...
Besides that, I like the Kouzmanoff idea cuz Kevin has shown some solid improvement.
I'd also re-sign super-sub Punto.
The other deal I'd pursue is to ship off some pitching prospects to try and wrestle JJ Hardy away from the Brewers.  They have a young stud in the minors itchin' to play SS in the Show, so I hear Hardy may be available.


Since: Aug 16, 2006
Posted on: December 5, 2008 5:44 pm

GM for a Day: Minnesota Twins

Before Brignac was called up to the majors last season he was leading the international league in doubles and hitting well.  Reports said he took the demotion back to AAA hard and slumped after.  The point is probably irrelevant now that Tampa is supposedly shopping Bartlet.

Since: Nov 20, 2007
Posted on: December 5, 2008 10:27 am

GM for a Day: Minnesota Twins

I like your rationale a lot.  People are ready to run Delmon out of town after last year.  Cuddyer's more personable with the media and for some reason, that matters with the fans.  Delmon's ceiling is Manny Ramirez/Vlad.  Cuddyer's ceiling is Michael Cuddyer.

Since: Dec 2, 2008
Posted on: December 4, 2008 10:43 pm

GM for a Day: Minnesota Twins

I think this is pretty well thought out. Not sure about which of these 5 pitchers one would want to let go. Baker is probably the surest long-term bet with Liriano being the one who would generate the most return were you to trade him. Doubt very much the Twins could land Kouzmanoff at a 'reasonable' price. Do the Dodgers have a kid coming up for 3B?
As a .290 hitter, Delmon may be ready to hit after Morneau next year. Talk of trading him at this point is ridiculous.
Brignac hit .260 in a full year at AA, .250 in a full year at AAA. Not enough to light my fire, but that's all I really know about him.

Since: Aug 16, 2006
Posted on: December 3, 2008 8:35 pm

GM for a Day: Minnesota Twins

and I know Cuddyer isn't the guy.  A .785 career OPS and only one season of over 16 HR is not enough to protect Morneau.

Also it's like I said, they need to fill multiple positions (3B, SS, and RP), and are already at last year's payroll.  They need to make some room somehow, and he is the most dispensable player with a big salary.

Since: Aug 16, 2006
Posted on: December 3, 2008 8:29 pm

GM for a Day: Minnesota Twins

Kouzmanoff actually got a lot better defensively last season.  Not that fielding percentage is the best indicator of defensive skill, but he did have a higher fielding percentage than both gold glove winners (Wright and Beltre) and perennial winner Scott Rolen.  No he'll probably never be a gold glover (especially not for a Minnesota team that pitches mostly to contact), but he isn't going to be a guy that throws a lot of games away either.

And no I'm not just a guy that looks at internet stats.  I get extra innings every year and watch games everyday.  Although I watched barely any San Diego games with how bad they were.  I can remember watching one Peavy/Oswalt game and one Peavy/Webb game and that might have been it for last season.

Since: Aug 26, 2006
Posted on: December 3, 2008 6:01 pm

GM for a Day: Minnesota Twins

GM for the Day-

Have you ever thought that perhaps Cuddyer himself might, if healthy, provide the protection you believe Morneau needs? I mean, Delmon isn't going to stand much room for improvement if he continues to swell, like his brother.

Also, you're focus at third base is way too offensive-oriented. Although we do need added pop from the position, Kouzmanoff  is a waste; he's a horrible third baseman. I know. I live in SD and see him every night. He'd be worth 38 errors in the dome.

I think you're probably of those people that looks at offensive stats on the Web and decides who should play your positions. That doesn't work.

Since: Oct 18, 2006
Posted on: December 1, 2008 1:04 pm

GM for a Day: Minnesota Twins

Good writing - I like the Rays trade idea a lot if it's available.  I don't foresee the Rays ever wanting to spend that kind of money though. 

I think a lot of the Young rumors are coming because he still has a very high trade value despite his lackluster season last year and the Twins will probably see much better offers for him than they would for Cuddy.

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