Monday, November 10, 2008

Bad Things Come in Threes

Usually, I have a fairly sunny disposition. I tend to look on the bright side, or at least downplay the downside of news. But not today. Maybe it's the weather, or the fact that I just got back from Disney World, or the harsh reality of rejoining the real world. Whatever is was, I'm looking at three fairly big stories in the world of MLB, and I can't help but think that none of them are good news for our hometown nine.

1. Pat Neshek is getting an MRI
Commence gnashing of teeth and rending of garments. It's becoming a basic tennant of my baseball philosophy that very successful relievers are undervalued by both traditionalists and statisticians, but this isn't the time to vent over that. Still, it's fair to say that the best wishes I can send to Neshek aren't purely magnanimous - losing him would hurt my favorit team a lot.

The temptation is to say that Neshek should've just had Tommy John surgery back in May when this thing was diagnosed. In fact, there is no shortage of people who have been saying that since May. But it should be really, really hard to be too critical of pursuing a less invasive procedure over a surgical one. People don't always bounce back from TJ surgery, and the percentage that don't regain their full effectiveness is higher than most fans want to admit. And in the case of a side-armer, exhaustng other options is probably especially prudent.

Good luck Pat.

2. Rockies trade Matt Holliday
Rumor had it that the Rockies wanted to trade Holliday away before considering trading 3B Garret Atkins, in whom the Twins have interest. So that's the good news. But it's offset by a pair of bad news.

First, they received a pretty good haul for Holliday, which sets the bar a little high. Atkins isn't as valuable as Holliday, but also isn't too terribly different. The Rockies got back Carlos Gonzalez, a center fielder with enormous upside whose first exposure to the majors resulted in stats that are reminiscent of Carlos Gomez. They also received starting pitcher Greg Smith, who posted a 4.15 ERA (albeit with a 7-16 record) last year. He profiles as a decent #3 pitcher who relies more on control than power, similar to Nick Blackburn.

And on top of all that, they got Huston Street, the A's closer who struggled last year but still seems like a capable reliever. That's a lot more than the Twins will (or should) consider for acquring just about any third baseman, let alone Garret Atkins.

And not only did they get a lot, but they got exactly what the Twins could most likely offer. They picked up a center fielder, a starting pitcher, and they may have even replaced their departing closer. The Rockies might still trade Atkins, but it no longer appears that they need to trade Atkins. For the Twins, that's unfortunate.

3. The Marlins dump some more salary.
The Marlins traded a couple of players to the Nationals for some minor leaguers - blah, blah, blah. I should probably detail the players the Marlins lost and the prospects they got back, but the truth is I (and most Twins fans) shouldn't really care. What I (and most Twins fans) should care about is the name that is missing from the transaction wire.

That name is "Dan Uggla", who plays second base for the Marlins, is right-handed, has hit 90 homeruns in his three-year career, and is about to get very expensive. So expensive that there were plenty of rumors that the Marlins might need to trade him this season if they couldn't dump enough salary. Those are rumors which the Marlins denied, saying that they would trade some other names.

This trade is their second salary dumping trade this offseason that involved some of those other names. It appears they are doing exactly what they said they were going to do, and that includes keeping Uggla. And at the very least, like the Rockies, it appears they certainly don't need to make a trade.

So there we have it. Three downers to start out your week. Kinda like the rain, sleet and cold that a good chunk of our readers are experiencing this morning too. Let's hope for sunnier days ahead.


Anonymous said...

Personally, I consider our diminished chances of trading for Garrett Atkins GOOD news. This guy is headed downhill fast (check his 2007 and 2008 hitting lines), will be 29 next season, and will be overpaid for his production. I say platoon Buscher and Harris at third and use our limited trading chips to acquire Hardy or Escobar.

Jack Ungerleider said...


Here's a what if for you...

What if there isn't a big trade or free agent signing? What if the money is plowed back into the organization in the form of multiyear deals for the guys who deserve them? How much gnashing of teeth and rending of Bill Smith's garments will there be?

I'd rather roll the dice with the group we have then pay too much (either in salary or traded players) for someone who might be great but might not.

TT said...

I agree with Jack. They should take any opportunities to improve their offense from third base and shortstop, but they don't need to do a big trade.

The biggest hole last year was the bullpen in the 8th inning. Its possible one of the guys they have will take that challenge, but they ought to be looking to add a few more options. That is especially true now that Neshek looks like he may not be ready to help.

I don't really think Holladay and Atkins are very comparable. Holladay is an elite player, Atkins is not. Its the difference between Justin Morneau and Michael Cuddyer.