Monday, June 04, 2007

One More Damn Bat

Sometimes you want to write, and sometimes you want to research something, and just see who wants to go along for the ride.

Yesterday I mentioned that just about anyway you slice it, the Twins are going to need one more productive bat if they can't count on Rondell White. And, frankly, they can't. Even if he gets healthy, you don't want your team's future resting on his fragile hamstrings. So let's see what might be out there for the trade deadline.

Here's the ground rules - for now, we'll limit ourselves to the team which look like they're clearly out of this thing, which means only seven teams, and one of them is questionable. By the end of the month, there could be a lot more, but it's not like I got a lot of time tonight. And we'll look for the player on that team which seems like the best fit for the Twins AND who might be available in a trade. That player can be just about any position, because the Twins need a designated hitter.

Starting with the worst record in the majors and working our way upwards....

Texas Rangers (20-37)
Wow, did that season go to hell in a hurry. Texas leads the American League in runs allowed, and it isn't hard to find the blame - there isn't a starting pitcher with an ERA less than 6.28, which is like having an entire pitching staff of Sidney Ponson's, only without the cool curly mullets. They were supposed to have some young talent in Brandon McCarthy, Robinson Tejeda, and Brandon Loe, but they've all been terrible, and behind them the cupboard is bare. So the Twins could probably dig up a pitcher or two the Rangers might like, but it will either need to be someone proven (like Bonser) or with a very high upside (like Matt Garza), especially if they were going to move a big name.

And big names they gots. In fact, they probably have the biggest name that will be bandied about at the deadline. Mark Teixeira is 27 years old, has average 35 home runs and 112 RBI over his four-year big-league career, and is a switch-hitter to boot. When Gardy goes to bed at night, this is the guy he dreams about batting between Mauer and Morneau.

However, his long-term deal with the Rangers ends this year, so his salary for 2008 will be determined by arbitration. And he'll be a free agent in 2009. Oh, and his agent is Luci - er, I mean Scott Boras. Which means he'll squeeze about $15 million out of whatever team he plays for next year and be hopelessly out of the Twins comfort level in 2009. The Twins would also need to figure out how to handle moving Teixeira or Morneau from first base to designated hitter. (And did I mention that Teixeira has won two gold gloves?)

The Twins would not be alone in their desire to get him, so get visions of sending Silva or Baker out of your head. It's going to take Bonser or Garza. Would you do it?

Kansas City (21-37)
Talk about going out on a low note - I picked the wrong team to cover last tonight, because there just isn't much here. Mike Sweeney is in the last year of his contract, but he's also not hitting much better than Jason Kubel, who I'm starting to believe is personally taunting me everytime he starts an at-bat with two strikes. So Sweeney might be an addition, in the same way that Phil Nevin was an addition - call it "new math".

Other names? Someone will throw out Mark Teahan's name because Alex Gordon was supposed to come up to the majors and take over third base for a generation, except he hasn't, and Teahan is hitting and cheap, which is the kind of guy the Royals need. I openly pined for Ryan Shealy last year because he was cheap, right-handed power, but while the Rockies might not value that, the Royals do. He'll stay there, and if he doesn't the Royals won't tempt fate by sending him to the Twins.

And while we're pointing that out, the Twins will also be hesitant to send the Royals anything that that club could use in the future. Like I said, we're ending with a whimper today.

Tomorrow I hope to be back with some other names from the next three teams on the list. Hope to see you then...


Kyle Eliason said...

Jason Botts from from the Rangers farm system?

He's getting too old to be a prospect and doesn't really have a position other than DH.

The Rangers had a similar player in the past and traded him for Einar Diaz. Not saying Botts is the next Halfner, but he can hit some and could be had fairly cheap, I assume (maybe I'm wrong here).

This season's stats.

Previous seasons' stats.

Keep in mind Botts has played his Triple-A ball in the PCL and Double-A ball in the Texas leagues, which aren't friendly to pitchers.

brianS said...

I'd trade Bonser for a year and a half of Teixeira in a heartbeat.

And I'd trade Baker for Teahen. Unfortunately, he's a lefty, but on the bright side, he can play 3b

what about wilson betemit or andy marte? Betemit has really struggled in LA (and lost his job). He'd probably come fairly cheap. At age 25, the clock is running out on him to live up to his "potential" tag. Might be worth a flyer.

Marte has been a total mess in Cleveland. Only 23, so he still has time to get it together. He ripped lefties during his AAA stint this year (1030 OPS in 21 AB), however.

John said...

Good idea Kyle. Botts turns 27 this year, but I'd be intrigued by bringing him, provided he didn't cost much. a 'make good' trade between him and Baker would makes sense. But the Twins are going to be looking for a sure-fire upgrade at the trade deadline. I wouldn't dismiss the idea in the offseason though.

I've mentioned Betemit in the past, but he won't appear in these stories because the Dodgers aren't one of the teams I'm looking at yet. The same problem applies to him as Botts - not a great deadline deal, but maybe a good offseason deal.

And I'd love to roll the dice on Marte, but there is no way the Indians ship someone with that potential to a division rival.

Good comments today...

David Wintheiser said...

sorry if I'm late to the party, but I like the idea of the Twins acquiring Teahen.

Teahen may not be a Gold Glover, but he fills a need, and his offense is an absolute upgrade over Punto, which would also help deal with the Twins' depth problem.

More significantly, it seems that both Oakland and KC have viewed Teahen as a guy who will develop into a power hitter, and have been somewhat disappointed in his lack of projected power as a result. Teahen's style is a near ideal fit for the 'piranha' style the Twins like to play, though.

Lastly, Teahen might prefer to play for the Twins, at his natural position, than with the Royals as YA utility outfielder.

What would the Twins have to give up? Heck, what *don't* the Royals need?

As for not wanting to make a division rival better, it's something to ponder, though in a different sense it might work out to the Twins favor if they can help the Royals improve to the point where they might be able to take a few extra games away from the Indians and Tigers. As we saw last year, every game counts, after all.