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Thursday, November 29, 2007

Garza Out, Young In

As mentioned, the first domino has fallen, and it couldn't be a more clear sign that more are yet to fall.

Yes Twins fans, in what was a move that us Twins fans are not used to after old GM Terry Ryan's reign of standing pat and sticking to the plan, the Twins completed a 6-player deal with the Tampa Bay Rays today that I guess could be described as a blockbuster.


Twins trade: P, Matt Garza/SS, Jason Bartlett/P, Eduardo Morlan

Twins receive: OF, Delmon Young/SS, Brendan Harris/OF Jason Pridie


My initial reaction... I like the deal!

I like the Twins being in the headlines, I like the excitement, but let's analyze the deal a bit closer. The main component is Young for Garza. In Garza, the Twins lose a POTENTIAL stud and I emphasize potential. Garza has nasty stuff, great minor league numbers, and rocketed through the Twins minor leagues. BUT... he is a young pitcher who could blow out his arm, become the next "sure thing" like former Twins No. 1 pick Adam Johnson who lasted no more than 9 games in the majors, or simply become a solid No. 3 starter.

I like the deal because I truly think Young WILL be a stud. Former No.1 overall pick in 2003 and younger brother of Nationals' 1B Dimitri Young, Delmon Young is a 22-year old 5 tool player and future All-Star. In his first full season, where the durable Young played in all 162 games, Young batted .288 with 13 homeruns and 93 RBI's. Certainly, no All-Star numbers, but for 10 years younger and roughly 1/15 the cost, I'd say just fine numbers to replace Torii Hunter. With those numbers Young actually was the runner-up in the American League Rookie of the Year award.

Known most for his infamous 50-game suspension due to tossing his bat at an umpire during his stint in Triple-A, Young has some questions about his make-up but was an 18-year old No. 1 pick with lots of money and is believed to have grown up. Plus, Garza has had his own run-ins with Manager Ron Gardenhire. My only knock on Young is his plate discipline. Last year, Young walked only 26 times while striking out 127. Hopefully, his maturation as a hitter along with the coaching and emphasis on patient hitting from the Twins will serve Young well.

The second facet of the deal is the swapping of shortstops. The Twins surprisingly swap 28-year old starting SS, Jason Bartlett, for 27-year old SS, Brendan Harris. In Bartlett, you have a very solid defensive player with great speed and an adequate bat. In Harris, you have a bat with a little more pop and some power potential, but an average at best defensive player with average speed. This part of the deal is a clear sign to me of more trades to come. I would be shocked to see Harris as the Twins opening day shortstop, but he could be a great backup middle infielder or split some time with Nick Punto and Alexi Casilla at 2B and possibly 3B. Maybe trading Bartlett opens a spot for Jose Reyes in a Santana deal....maybe?

The 3rd and final part of the deal is the one receiving the most criticism from Twins fans. The original deal would have sent Twins pitcher Juan Rincon, which would have gotten his $4 million salary of the books and eliminated the concern over some arm troubles he has had. However, those arm concerns seemed great enough to the Rays that the Twins were forced to add minor league reliever, 21-year old Eduardo Morlan. Rincon is clearly a bigger name, but my research shows that Morlan is regarded as a stud prospect and could have been a potential replacement for Joe Nathan in the future. I don't know a lot about Morlan, but this a part of a deal that you can look back in 5 years and say Eduardo who? or... why did we ever get rid of that guy!?!?

No matter your feelings on the deal, it is a big and bold move for new GM Bill Smith and in my opinion, I can't get over the thought of a middle of the order consisting of Mauer, Young, Morneau, and Cuddyer!

La Velle E. Neal III, gives his thoughts with a glimpse of what is next to come.

Rob Neyer of ESPN asks, so who won?

I'd love to hear how you feel about the deal? Good/Bad/Ugly?

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Domino Effect

Twins fans... be prepared.

Torii Hunter was a tough loss to swallow. The trade of Johan Santana can no longer be discussed as if, but when. But as I said, be prepared.

It appears that Hunter's signing for mega dollars with the Angels coupled with Santana declining the Twins 4-year $80 million dollar extension was the opening of the floodgates for what will most definitely be a crazy offseason for GM Bill Smith and the Twins.


The list of suitors as of today appears to be the Yankees, Mets, Red Sox, Angels, and Dodgers. The Yankees have made the most headlines admitting they have had "preliminary discussions" with the Twins regarding Santana. Mets GM Omar Minaya has also stated they have talked to the Twins and is reported as saying he will "get creative" to try and acquire the All-Star lefty.

Names thrown around in talks with the Yankees include the big three of Yankee pitching prospects Joba Chamberlain, Phil Hughes, and Ian Kennedy as well as Yankee CF Melky Cabrera and 2B Robinson Cano. Any deal would certainly have to include one of the three pitching studs, one of the two Yankee starters, and one or two more minor league prospects. It has been reported that Chamberlain and Cano are nearly untouchable in any deal.

Minaya of the Mets loves to make a splash during the offseason and this season may actually need to after the Mets catastrophic collapse at the end of the season. One intriguing name quietly mentioned in talks about Santana is the Mets' electric shortstop Jose Reyes. To me, that may be the one player the Twins could acquire that would at least make up for Santana's presence and appease the fans. Reyes teamed with Mauer and Morneau could form an exciting young trio for years to come.

The Red Sox are reported as "actively pursuing" but seem to be very unwilling to part with young stars Jacoby Ellsbury and Clay Bucholtz. A deal for Santana would seemingly have to include one of the two, but Boston must be mentioned because where the Yankees are the Sox are always close behind.

The Dodgers definitely have the young players to make a deal but may be unwilling to sign Santana to a large extension and the Angels just joined the fray with the intriguing possibility of Santana teaming up with new Angel and former Twin Hunter.


To keep a long blog short, the rumor mill is swirling and almost every bit of news seems to include the Twins. Names include the obvious Santana, young Twins pitcher Matt Garza, and All-Star stud closer Joe Nathan with names returning to the Twins such as the Red Sox Coco Crisp, the Rays rookie of year runner-up Delmon Young, the Diamondbacks young outfielder Carlos Quentin, and more. It appears that if Santana is (sorry when) he is traded, Nathan will follow him right out the door. Check out the Fox Sports trade rumors to read the MLB hot stove rumors concerning the Twins.

For more news on Santana along with the new Nathan rumors, Star Tribune writer, La Velle E. Neal III writes in his Twins blog.

Also, what's your opinion? Star Tribune poll asks which team will give the return in a trade for Santana?

Friday, November 23, 2007

Life after Torii Hunter

So Thanksgiving is over, the leftovers are in the fridge, and Torii's days in Minnesota are officially over. As Twins fans begin to prepare for life after Torii, I've read many different reactions and responses to this move and what the Twins should do next.

Many fans claimed they where upset with Torii's "false promises." Throughout the entire offseason Hunter has said the Twins are still in the running and that they too have a chance to resign their star outfielder. Yet, when the Angels offer was on the table Hunter jumped ship without ever looking back. Fans were hurt by this and believed that the Twins never had a chance. Joe Christenson of the Minneapolis Star Tribune writes that Torii did want to stay.

Fans who weren't upset with Torii seemed to be upset with the Twins. In many comments people wondered why the Twins would just let Torii go? What happened to the extra revenue created by the new stadium? When are the Twins going to open up the wallet? But as I said in the last post a big 5-year deal is simply not the right move for the Twins. I do wish when the Twins open up their season at the Metrodome on March 31 against the Angels the man in centerfield is wearing a TC on his hat and not a red A. Jim Souhan of the Minneapolis Star Tribune explains the Twins decision best.

Now what happens next?

It has been reported that the Twins made on contract offer to Johan Santana last week of 5-years, $93 million. This tops the Chicago Cubs recent extension of their star pitcher Carlos Zambrano of 5-years, $91 million. However, Santana rejected this offer and countered with a proposal that would match San Francisco Giants ace, Barry Zito, and his mega-deal signed last offseason. Buster Olney, a favorite sportswrite of mine, writes a daily blog on ESPN.com that compiles the his insight with the lastest baseball news from major newspapers around the country. He offers his view on the Twins and Santana.

It is clear the Twins and Santana currently have a major gap of roughly $33 million. Given the ridiculous markets in professional baseball, it is also clear that signing Santana for 7-years for $126 million is a bargain (if the words bargain and $126 million can be used in the same sentence). However, it has also been reported that the Twins have quietly spoke to a few clubs and asked what they would be willing to trade for Santana. So it seems the Twins are trying to gauge the market for their star pitcher.

Who knows what will happen next? Do the Twins finally break the bank and sign arguably the best pitcher in all of baseball to a long-term deal? Or do they couple the loss of Hunter with a trade of Santana and start to rebuild for the new ballpark in 2010?

Only time will tell, but I want to hear 1) what you think the Twins should do? and 2) what you think the Twins will do? Leave me a comment and let me know.

The M.V.B. going down 1,2,3 in the 9th.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Torii and Turkey

Hi Twins fans,

I'm the Minnesota Twins M.V.B. (Most Valuable Blogger). I'm here to provide the most informative and entertaining blog on the web about all things Minnesota Twins. Come here for the latest Twins news, rumors, opinions, trivia, videos, pictures, debates, and more.

I figured there wasn't a better day to start off the 2008 season on than Thanksgiving. A day where we can give thanks to the Minnesota Twins. But not only can I think of a cheesy, pathetic way to incorporate the current season of harvest and giving of thanks between the pilgrims and the natives, but I have something newsworthy... INCREDIBLY newsworthy!

That's right Twins fans, no more than 15 minutes ago MLB.com's Harold Reynolds reported that "former" Minnesota Twins centerfielder and fan favorite, Torii Hunter, signed a 5-year deal with the "Los Angeles" Angels "of Anaheim" (aka the Anaheim/California Angels) worth an estimated $90 million dollars. That's something to be thankful for! Terms of the contract had not been released and as always was of course pending a physical. Do they ever think these professional athletes are going to show up and surprisingly can't run anymore? I guess it's protecting your $90 million dollar investment.

Anyway, the deal happened late Wednesday night early Thanksgiving morning. It comes as quite a shocker as Torii just announced yesterday he was going to take the weekend to mull over his options and make a decision. Even more surprising was that sources said his options were coming from 5 teams: Chicago White Sox, Texas Rangers, LA Dodgers, Kansas City Royals, and the Washington Senators. The Twins were rumored to be steadfast with their 3-year offer of $45 million. So the news of the Angels winning the Hunter lottery comes out of leftfield, not center, as their name had never been mentioned.

Hunter now joins a crowded outfield lead by stud Vlad Guerrero, Garret Anderson, last year's 5-year mega-deal signee Gary Matthew's Jr., Juan Rivera, and Reggie Willits. Rumors have it that the Hunter move could be a precursor to moving an extra outfielder on to another team. This free agent sign coupled with the recent trade of Angels shortstop Orlando Cabrera to the White Sox for pitcher Jon Garland could be two moves setting up a blockbuster deal for Marlins All-Star 24-year old thirdbaseman Miguel Cabrera. With one trade and one giant free agent deal under his belt, it has already been a big offseason for 1st-year Angels GM Tony Reagins.

What does this mean for the Twins...

Well, certainly a great player, great teammate, and most importantly a great man is leaving the Twins organization and the city of Minneapolis. It is safe to say that Torii Hunter and all that he has brought to the Minnesota Twins in his career cannot be replaced. Did I want to see Torii in a Twins uniform next year? Certainly, but only at the right cost. I'm not sure if I wanted the small market Twins to pay Hunter $18 million a season 5 years from now when he is 37 years old and still crashing into walls and swinging at any pitch he sees. But I did want Torii to run out to CF in 2010 when the new stadium opens.

In an ideal world, we could have signed Torii to a generous 3-year deal. He would play three great years for us, open the new ballpark as the face of the franchise, and allow 3 more years to develop a suitable replacement within the organization. BUT baseball is a business and Torii Hunter did what was best for Torii Hunter. A hometown discount could not have been expected and the time has come for a Twins great to move on.

It's a sad day in Twins Territory, but this is the first piece of big news in what will be a big offseason for the Twins. This deal is the first step in the process of the 2008 Twins roster taking shape. Do the Twins look to sign a free agent? (Andruw Jones, Aaron Rowand, Mike Cameron...not likely) Do they trade for a player like Coco Crisp...possibly? Or... GASP... frighteningly likely, do they fill this now huge hole with a player acquired in a trade of Johan Santana?

With the Baseball Winter Meetings starting at the beginning of December we may soon know. So continue to check this blog to see the latest news. Until then, leave a comment and let me know how you feel about Hunter signing with the Angels and life without Torii. Also, what should the Twins do next to fill their hole in CF?

This is the Twins M.V.B. going down 1,2,3 in the 9th.