Showing posts with label Trade Speculation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Trade Speculation. Show all posts

Monday, July 2, 2012

A .500 Team?

After a pretty good weekend which saw the hometown club win 3 out of 4 against divisional rival Kansas City, the Twins are now 33-45 and 8.5 games behind the division-leading Chicago White Sox. The Twins' record still doesn't look pretty, but I'm here to tell you that it's not as bad as it looks. Since May 1st, the Twins have gone 27-29 thanks in large part to an offensive that has been out-producing some pretty horrible starting pitching.

Aside from Joe Mauer, the offensive production has come from a couple of unexpected performers in the likes of Josh "Hammer" Willingham and Trevor "Plouffda" Plouffe who both seem to have made it their mission to lead the team in homeruns this year. In yesterday's game against KC, both Willingham and Plouffe went deep and Trevor managed to have the upper hand at the end of the day, hitting two bombs in a 10-8 Twins' win. On the scorecard, Plouffe leads the team in HRs with 18 and Willingham is one back at 17 (Morneau is a distant 3rd place with 10 homeruns so far this season). In only 59 games so far this season, Plouffe has managed to rack up 31 RBI and 35 Runs and has asserted himself in the middle of what has become a very formidable lineup for the Twins. The 3, 4, 5, and 6 hitters for the Twins are Mauer (.324/.414/.445) and then some combination of Willingham, Morneau, Plouffe and Doumit, all of whom bring some thunder (or at least the potential for it) to the plate with them.

Getting back to the pitching; after owning an MLB-worst 5.64 team ERA in April, the staff as a whole has been slowly improving. In May the team ERA dropped to 4.96 and in June it dropped again to a mildly respectable 4.33 mark. Twins' starters have improved quite a bit as well. After posting a miserable 6.75 ERA in April, they posted a 5.74 mark in May and improved again in June with a 5.09 ERA collectively. A 5.00+ ERA is still pretty brutal, but at least they are moving in the right direction. It's possible that the Twins could get Carl Pavano back towards the middle or end of this month and I have a feeling that Nick Blackburn will begin to figure out his issues and start to pitch better as well. It would be hard to get much worse than his current 7.74 ERA...

With 4 teams ahead of them in the standings, it's impossible HIGHLY unlikely that the Twins will be contending for anything come September, but I think that over their past 50+ games, the Twins have shown that they are at least capable of competing on a night-in, night-out basis. It's been good to see some of the youngsters like Plouffe, Scott Diamond, Cole DeVries and Ben Revere step up. The result has been much more watchable than last year's 99-loss team and gives me a little more hope going forward. The only thing I hope this recent success doesn't lead to is hesitation on the part of the front-office to make the trades they need to make. Despite being "only" 8.5 games back in the standings, the Twins still need to be sellers and with players like Span, Willingham, and Liriano performing well of late, the team has some decent trade-bait to dangle out there.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

News vs. Speculation

The ridiculous rumors regarding Francisco Liriano got me thinking yesterday about the immediacy with which "news" is spread these days and just how fine the line is between speculation and true news. I was actually planning on writing about it today, but then I came across this excellent piece over at the TwinsTarget blog and, well, I thought it said exactly what I wanted to say so I'll defer to Mr. Kneeland.

I feel that the need for journalistic integrity is higher now than it ever has been. It used to be that the only way news was spread was via a newspaper or magazine, where articles would go through numerous editing and fact-checking sessions before they were seen by the public. Now someone can post a short message on Twitter and it is immediately seen by 1000's of people, many of whom retweet it to the 1000's they know. Granted, yesterday's rumor was actually spread in a 2nd hand sort of way (one guy tweets about what another guy said on a radio show), but still, that needed a little more explanation than 140 characters could provide. Turns out, the rumor doesn't hold much water...whew.

On the flip side, the discerning eye of the reader also needs to be more critical than ever. Because "news" gets to our faces so quickly, and often without a whole lot of explanation behind it, it falls upon us to try and separate truth from fiction. That's not as easy as it sounds and I'm just as guilty as everyone else who freaked out yesterday. Andrew Kneeland's piece is a good one, check it out (I think he has another installment upcoming too), it's good food for thought.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Twins Trade News Roundup

I was talking with (sic) the other day and we were in agreement that this year's MLB trade season has been rather tame so far. You've had the one big deal involving Cliff Lee, but aside from a couple of other very minor deals, there's been nothing but speculation. That speculation, however, has been wide-ranging and nearly constant, with this team and that team and this player and that player being talked about. In that vein, I thought I would make an attempt at rounding up that news for you Twins fans out there who don't want to scour the internet to find out what people think the Twins might be doing.

The latest and greatest news for Twins fans is that they appear to have officially joined the Roy Oswalt bidding circus. Both The Houston Chronicle and MLB Trade Rumors are reporting it. I have to think the Cardinals have a clear advantage in all of this mostly because Roy Oswalt is going to want to pitch in the National League. He's been a NL pitcher for his entire career and there are too many examples (Peavy most recently) that suggest that the AL is much more difficult. With it being the last year of his non-option contract, I'm guessing he will want to be in a situation where he can pitch as well as possible in preparation for the next contract. The one advantage the Twins have is the particular trade piece they have in Wilson Ramos. The two catchers who are currently on the roster for Houston are Humberto Quintero and Jason Castro...not exactly the cream of the crop. If the Twins offered up Ramos and say, a minor league pitcher for Oswalt, that might tip the scale in their favor as the Cardinals have reportedly offered two major-league players.

The Twins will not be pursuing Dan Haren, mostly because The Minnesota Twins are on his 'no-trade' list. Well good, we didn't want him anyway. Go give up homeruns somewhere else, like Detroit. I had my doubts about the Twins ability to get a deal done with the Diamondbacks anyway, particularly because they have a decent young catcher in Miguel Montero that renders the Twins best trading piece (Ramos) useless.

News on the Twins and Ted Lilly has been virtually non-existent for the past week or so. There are random bits and pieces out there stating there there is interest in Lilly from several teams, but nothing solid. Lilly, in my opinion, would be a great pickup for the Twins because of his mid-range salary and consistency. He is a fly-ball pitcher, yes, but Target Field has shown that it can hold mere fly-balls.

There has been some scattered talk about the Twins pursuing Ben Sheets, but it doesn't look like the A's are being too cooperative. There has also been very general talk about Fausto Carmona or Jake Westbrook, but Cleveland doesn't seem to be too active either.

The trade deadline is July 31st, a mere 8 days away. With the way Carl Pavano is pitching, the Twins could really solidify their rotation with the addition of a consistent 3rd starter, but with what teams are asking for, it's really hard to say whether the Twins will jump for someone Oswalt or even Lilly. I hope they do, I think it would be awesome to have an Oswalt, Lilly or Carmona on the team.

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.