Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Trade Targets

Tuesday, after all kinds of rumors, we learned that Jake Peavy is being made available by San Diego Padres this offseason. Peavy won the NL Cy Young last year, and followed it up with a 2.85 ERA this year.

Add those stats to Peavy's age(27) and contract, which pays him "just" $56 million over the next four years, and he might become the most desirable starting pitcher on the offseason market. Before yesterday, that title probably belonged to CC Sabathia, but there probably aren't a half dozen teams that could chase him given the probably size of his contract. There are at least another half dozen teams that would consider making a run at getting Peavy.

The effect on the Twins is minimal, but what effect it has is probably negative. One of the Twins better trade chips this winter is going to be one of their young arms, and this adds one more chit to the supply side. And it's a chit at the top of the list, and one that bumps everyone else down a notch.

But it made me wonder - just what teams might be looking for a starting pitcher this offseason? So let's find out, going through the five worst team in the league as ranked by their starting pitchers' ERA:

Texas - 5.51 ERA

Huh. the name everyone talks about is 3B Hank Blalock, but he's left-handed, and doesn't hit away from Texas.

I wonder if they would ever consider trading shortstop Michael Young? Young is 31 years old, batted .285/.339/.402 last year, and is right-handed. He's under contract through 2013, at $16M per year. His production has slipped the last two years, and that contract is a lot longer than I would like, and it's no bargain. Still, I'd need to think about an offer like that.

Baltimore - 5.51 ERA

Wow. Another team that traditionally needs pitching, and another team that has some infielders worth considering. Third base is manned by Melvin Mora, who looked cooked around midyear, but ended the season hitting .285 (825 OPS) with 23 HR and 104 RBI. He's also right-handed, but he's also 36, and the really bad news is his contract. It's cheap, but it lasts just one more year, and it has a full no-trade clause. It's thought to be unlikely that Mora would waive it, since he has something like centuplets or something.

The other premier piece they could offer is second baseman Brian Roberts. Roberts is mone of the top leadoff hitters in the game, sporting a .397 on-base percentage and 40 stolen bases last year. He's 31 years old, a switch-hitter, and becomes a free agent next year. He would be a great piece to add, but he would likely be a rental, and the Twins could probably use the power more than the another disciplined on-basse guy.

Pittsburgh - 5.36 ERA

The Pirates essentially began their rebuilding process once again midway through last year when they traded Jason Bay for a package of players headlined by third baseman Andy LaRoche. He's perfect - right-handed, projecting power, cheap, young - but they won't be trading him, and the rest is just filler.

Colorado - 5.14 ERA

This is the one team that was desperate enough last year to take Livan Hernandez, don't forget. They have two third baseman, but no second baseman, so it remains to be seen if either is really available.

Garret Atkins hit .286 (780 OPS), is 28 years old, bats right-handed and will be a free agent two years from now. The concern usually expressed about him is that he hasn't hit much away from Coors field.

Ian Stewart hit .259 (804 OPS), is 23 years old, bats left-handed and is two years away from arbitration. He struck out 94 times in 266 at-bats last year.

I wish I could believe in Atkins. I really wish I could. He would be a great fit for this team if I just believed he could hit outside of Coors. Looking at years 2005-2007, he posted a 790 OPS on the road, and I'd sign up for that in a second. But this year it was back down to 661. I'd love to talk to some people who cover the Rockies a bit more and see what they think about him.

Seattle - 5.07 ERA

I and every other Twins blogger has beat Adrian Beltre into the ground. My take is here, and I'll leave it at that, so I can watch the end of this Phillies game.

When I started this, I planned on going through the 15 worst teams, but the truth is I just found too much. We reviewed five teams, and I found seven candidates, and the only one that is probably completely out of bounds is Mora because of his no-trade clause. It's been fun to look at the specifics, and I think I'll take another stab at this later next week. But the more valuable lesson might be just how marketable the Twins young, cheap, and good pitching could be.


vodkatang said...

Wow, I think you completely mixed-up 3B Andy LaRoche with 1B Adam LaRoche. The latter is probably the one you're talking about, hence not a trade target since he plays 1B.

John said...

doh! I guess you can tell I was trying to watch the Phils game at the same time, huh?

It's fixed now. That makes a lot more sense. I started out thinking there was nobody there to trade for, and then I look up LaRoche, just to find out his age and which way he hits. And I'm thinking to myself - "I know the Pirates traded for LaRoche. Did they really trade for a guy the ex-Brave that's been in the league for five years? They must have got something else big in that package of player, right?"

SoCalTwinsfan said...

Why shouldn't the Twins go after Peavy? You just know they will want to go after a veteran. Why not a star like Peavy instead of some washed-up vet like Livan? Just imagine a rotation of Peavy, Liriano, Baker, Slowey and Blackburn/Perkins with one of those two going to the bullpen or being a part of the trade. I would tell the Padres to take their pick of Carlos Gomez or Delmon Young, and then the package could include three of Anthony Swarzak, Jeff Manship, Shooter Hunt, Mike McCardell, Phillip Humber, Kevin Mulvey, Brian Duensing, Ben Revere, or Aaron Hicks. I would think about including Luke Hughes or Danny Valencia, but third base has been such a black hole for the Twins since Koskie left, I would try to avoid that.

I think the Twins have a good mix of major league ready prospects and high-end prospects in the low minors. What they don't really have is a high-end prospect ready to jump to the majors for a bad team. Gomez and Young both have more than one season in the majors, so they'll get expensive pretty quick, but scouts believe they have high-end potential, but the Twins could get outbid by someone with a top prospect with no service time but ready to play in the majors in April, or at least by June.

TT said...

I think the Twins should go after Peavey. Adding him to the top of the rotation would solidify the pitching better than any other move. But I don't think you are going to get him without giving up one of the current starters.

I don't think they should deal either Gomez or Young. Those two guys have the potential to be Mauer and Morneau's successors as the face of the franchise.

Auto Parts said...

He think the Twins should go after Peavey. Adding him to the top of the rotation would solidify the pitching better than any other move

Auto Parts

drivlikejehu said...

Peavy isn't going to waive his no-trade clause for the Twins, who wouldn't make that kind of deal anyway.

So far as who they should trade, the reality is that Twins don't have many trading chits of real worth. Fans tend to think that tons of minor leaguers are noteworthy prospects, but in reality the Twins have at best 3 or 4 minor leaguers with any real cachet to other clubs.

On the 25 man roster, the picture is no better. There are several core players who are untouchable. And after that, a bunch of question marks. I'm all for trading marginal guys like Young and Blackburn but I doubt the Twins could get much in return.