Thursday, July 1, 2010

Free Agency: The Cheaper Options

With the Twins payroll sitting right around $100M for this season, it's unlikely that the Twins will be major players in the Cliff Lee/Dan Haren/Roy Oswalt sweepstakes, mostly because of price. It's not impossible, but it's unlikely. That said, there are a couple of cheaper options out there that would help to solidify the starting rotation a bit.

Ted Lilly - SP - Cubs
With the Cubs falling further and further behind in their division, there comes that inevitable point where their best strategy will be to shed some of the ridiculous payroll they have. Ted Lilly is set to make $13M this year, the final year of his current contract, of which the Twins would only pay a pro-rated portion of. Since the Cubs would be looking to dump the salary anyway, it probably wouldn't cost the Twins all that much. Lilly was on the DL for the first part of the season, but has performed well since:

86IP    3.12ERA    1.06WHIP    61Ks    22BBs

Fausto Carmona - SP - Indians
Coming off back-to-back rough seasons, Carmona has rediscovered a little of the magic he had in 2007 season which saw him finish 4th in the Cy Young race. The Indians always seem to deal away anyone who is performing well and it wouldn't surprise me if Carmona goes somewhere before July 31st. Best of all, if he came to Minnesota, the scenery wouldn't change all that much in terms of the opponents he's facing. In fact, White Sox batters hold a lifetime average of .219 against Carmona and Detroit isn't that much better at .243. It might be worth bringing him on just for his experience (and success) against those two clubs. Another thing to consider is the cheap price tag. He's set to make just over $5M this season and $6.2M next season with an option for 2012. In other words, he wouldn't just be the 2nd half rental that Lilly would be.

102IP    3.68ERA    1.28WHIP    54Ks    36BBs

Those are a couple of the cheaper options that this Twins might pursue. The Twins did have a scout at Dan Haren's last start and some have speculated that the Twins might be front-runners for Cliff Lee considering the Mariners desperate need for a catcher, but I don't expect them to land either of these studs. Don't get me wrong, I would love it if they did, but I don't expect it. I love this time of the year.

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