Monday, November 09, 2009

The Off-Season Twins Manifesto, Part 3: The Players

Folks who read this blog may remember The Black Freighter for his Twins predictions and analysis at the beginning of the just concluded season. He knows, on any given week, who is playing well in the Triple AAA and Double AA farm teams. It is possible he's a lunatic. And he's back with a blueprint/manifesto for what the Twins need to do this offeseason. This is part three. In this section, The Black Freighter looks at potential players that could join the Minnesota Twins. Part two is here.

spoiler alert: The Black Freighter predicted that the Twins would trade for J.J. Hardy during the course of the regular season last year. He was sure it had to happen, because of the inherent logic of the deal. Later on in his 2009 Off-Season Manifesto, he predicts the starting line-up for the Minnesota Twins when they take Target Field for the first time, and he's got J.J. Hardy in there at shortstop. He wrote it in a full 24 hours before the Twins pulled the trade. So there you go. The Black Freighter Knows Things. Enough! The Black Freighter Speaks:

Ace Pitcher

There are certainly some nice names available… Javier Vazquez and Derek Lowe in Atlanta, perhaps Roy Oswalt in Houston or Brandon Webb in Arizona, but each of these guys are going to come with a hefty price tag. If I am the Twins, I am going to target two young studs who aren’t nearly expensive… Cole Hamels of the Phillies or Josh Johnson of the Marlins.

Hamels had a tough year and struggled down the stretch for the Phillies. With J.A. Happ pitching great as a rookie, Pedro Martinez eager to return, Jamie Moyer locked in and 2008 Cy Young winner, Cliff Lee needing an extension, this might be a perfect time for the National League champions to sell high on the young lefty. With the Phillies in need of bullpen help, perhaps a deal centered around Matt Guerrier, a younger and cheaper lefty starter in Brian Duensing and a possible replacement for Ryan Howard in 2006 first round draft pick, Chris Parmelee gets it done.

Another possibility would be Josh Johnson. Florida is looking to lock-up Johnson to an extension, but word is that he will be out of the price range for the notoriously cheap Marlins. The 2009 all-star went 15-5 with a 3.23 ERA and will only be 26 next year. With Mauer now locked up, this is the time to trade high on catching prospect Wilson Ramos. The young kid is nearly ready and profiles to be a possible all-star down the road. A package centered around him, Brian Duensing and Alexi Casilla (the Marlins are looking to deal Dan Uggla so they could use the depth) would actually make quite a bit of sense.


While it might be farfetched to believe the Twins can find a suitable trading partner for an ace pitcher, J.J. Hardy of the Brewers is out there for the taking. The Brewers have made it abundantly clear that Hardy no longer fits in their future plans and he had a horrible 2009 that saw him demoted to AAA, however Hardy was quite solid in 2007 and 2008 and appears to be a logical bounce back candidate at only 27. Hardy is an above average fielder and has the ability to regularly hit 20+ homeruns. A package of Glen Perkins and Twins Minor League Pitcher of the Year, David Bromberg should get the deal done.

Trim the Fat

Finally, the Twins have two players who should be attractive to other clubs in Delmon Young and Matt Guerrier. Young was fantastic in September, but his defense is awful and his plate discipline has not improved. He certainly could still be a wonderful player, but the Twins should sell high on his September performance and see if they can net a quality prospect or two for Young. Some might argue that Gomez should be dealt, but I find his defense and speed incredibly valuable and he improved his plate discipline in 2009.

Matt Guerrier has led the league in appearances the last two seasons and has generally been quite good. Guerrier had his best season yet last year, but is getting a little older and more expensive so the Twins should deal him at his peak. With what teams pay for quality relievers these days, it would not be shocking if the Twins netted a nice-looking prospect or two in return.

Ideal and Feasible 2010 Twins Opening Day Roster:

Projected Roster Cost: $88 million + Mauer signing bonus

Starting Lineup:

1. Denard Span LF

2. Placido Polanco 2B

3. Joe Mauer C

4. Justin Morneau 1B

5. Michael Cuddyer RF

6. Jason Kubel DH

7. J.J. Hardy SS

8. Joe Crede 3B

9. Carlos Gomez CF


C Jose Morales

IF Nick Punto

IF Matt Tolbert

OF David Winfree

Starting Pitching:

RH Josh Johnson

RH Scott Baker

RH Kevin Slowey

RH Nick Blackburn

LH Francisco Liriano


RH Boof Bonser

LH Ron Mahay

RH Jesse Crain

LH Jose Mijares

RH Jon Rauch

RH Pat Neshek

RH Joe Nathan

* Note that in this formula, I have not tendered a contract to Brendan Harris, instead sticking with a cheaper Matt Tolbert. The loss of Delmon Young opens a spot for rookie, David Winfree who brings a strong bat off the bench. The losses of Duensing and Perkins clear away unnecessary competition in the starting ranks, but Manship and Swarzak remain if ineffectiveness or injury strikes again. Finally, with Guerrier gone, Boof Bonser and Pat Neshek maintain cheaper spots in the pen and are arguably just as effective.

With this roster, overall defense has improved with nearly every position containing an average or above average fielder. I was able to deal Delmon Young, Matt Guerrier, Alexi Casilla, Brian Duensing, Glen Perkins and two nice prospects for JJ Hardy and Josh Johnson. Hardy gives us a young shortstop we can count on for several years and Johnson is the ace we desperately need anchoring our staff. I’ve also picked up 2-4 prospects for Young and Guerrier who may potentially turn into big leaguers down the road. Alright, Mr. Bill Smith… get to work!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You are high.