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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Call me crazy... Twins should trade for Beltre

Yesterday's firing of Seattle GM Bill Bavasi got me thinking... the Mariners, with the worst record in baseball, are entering rebuilding mode. Virtually anyone on the roster not named Ichiro is for the taking. Maybe it's because I'm sick of watching Mike Lamb take horrible at bats, maybe it's because I think it's because I belive this 2008 Twins roster is only a player or two from winning the division, but I think trading for Mariner thirdbaseman Adrian Beltre would be a risky, yet potentially rewarding move that could be a difference maker in the central division.

Now I'll try to convince you. In 2004, Adrian Beltre had his career year for the Los Angeles Dodgers. It was a contract year and the young slugger hit .334 with 48 homeruns and 121 RBIs finishing 2nd in the MVP race behind Barry Bonds. It was a classic example of a fluke season in a contract year and the Seattle Mariners fell victim. That offseason the Mariners signed Beltre to an awful, 5-year $64 million deal. Beltre has never matched his '04 numbers or even come close.

So you may be asking, why would the Twins want a player like this? Well, for starters Seattle would be willing to give Beltre for roughly 30 cents on the dollar. They want to unload him, get rid of his bad contract, and start over. Yes I admit, the reason this deal will never happen is because the Twins won't want to take the $6.5 million Beltre is owed for the rest of the season and the $13 million he is owed next year, but what if they took chance. What if, we trade our own bad thirdbasmen Mike Lamb and his 2-year $6.6 million deal and a AA prospect. I truly belive that's all it would take to pry Beltre away from the Mariners. The remaining year and a half on Lamb's contract off the books would cover what the Twins would owe Beltre for 2008, and then we'd be taking a chance on his $13 million in 2009. I think Seattle would be so willing to part with Beltre we could even get them to pay part of Beltre's contract.

Besides the money, do I want the Twins to pull the trigger on some big named player with one good season? Well, although his '04 number were a fluke/performance enhanced, Beltre has alwasy been a pretty solid player. This year his batting average is suffering at .225 but he does have 14 HRs, 30 RBIs, and 34 runs scored. His homerun total would be leading the Twins and his offensive production would greatly outweigh that of Mike Lamb or any other Twins thirdbaseman. Beltre also brings a Gold Glove which he won last year at 3B. Despite his poor batting average this year, Beltre is a lifetime .269 hitter who has hit .276, .268, and .255 over the past three seasons since joining the Seattle Mariners. Over those same three seasons Beltre hit 26 HRs with 99 RBIs in '07, 25 HRs with 89 RBIs in '06, and 19 HRs with 87 RBIs. Beltre's current homerun pace would actually eclipse his past numbers as he is on pace for 33 homeruns.

Certainly, Beltre isn't as big of a player as his contract is, but I see this acquistion as a high risk/very high reward situation. I know this is the last type of deal the Minnesota Twins make, but part of me seems like it makes sense. This trade doesn't fit into the Twins 2010 projected plans, but Beltre's contract would be off the books after the '09 season. Plus, it's not like Lamb was the long-term solution at 3B either. The Twins have no forseeable quick solution at 3B in the minor leagues and I think Beltre could fill a huge void this year at 3B and in the lineup. Also, as hard as it is to believe since Beltre has been in the majors since 1998, the man is only 29 years old. Next year, he'll be 30 years old and in his contract year. He'll certainly never get a deal again like he did from the Mariners, but he will be hungry and looking to prove himself... who knows what type of numbers he could put up for Minnesota after leaving a pitcher's park in Seattle to the hitter friendly Metrodome.

I'm pretty confident that this random thought of a deal that came to my head last night will never happen, or even cross GM Bill Smith's mind, but it certainly makes me wonder what if... don't you???


Anonymous said...

hey its sax-

looks pretty good we could use him. i wish i had the time to update. im actually in the cities for the next week taking an insurance class; a couple of friends and i are going tomorrow night to the game. are you going to any this week? it would be nice to go with someone that actually knows something about them. let me know


Nick N. said...

I think Buscher could probably at least match Beltre's 730 OPS as a regular. Beltre is a much better defender, but I don't think that's worth the extra ~$11M that Beltre would cost.

I also strongly doubt the Mariners would deal Beltre for Lamb and a prospect, as you suggest. Why would they trade a mediocre third baseman with a bad contract with an awful third baseman with a less bad contract? They're not in such dire straits financially that they should be forced into such a move.

Anonymous said...

Lamb does have more RBI's and just as many homeruns as Young (that being 1) . . . but that only proves a lesser of two evils

Anonymous said...

not to mention there is no way beltre could fill the void that would be lost in the left field banner "lamb's flock" i mean his last name writes itself for marketing, there is no way beltre's bombers or beltre's boys could ring as true as lamb's flock does the hearts of millions of children each and every day

MVB said...

good point anonymous, i should really follow the ways of the lamb's flock. great marketing.

i haven't been to the dome yet since his release, but i'm curious to see what happened to rincon's kids???

neal said...

Beltre is entering the final year of his contract with the Mariners and this latest honor could increase his trade value as Seattle is expected to explore.There is reason to believe Beltre will be back on top of his game this season.


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