Billy Ray Valentine: Yeah, we got to kill the motherf****** - we got to kill 'em!
- Dan Akroyd (when he was funny) and Eddie Murphy in Trading Places
You might hear the dread silence of three days without meaningful baseball. I hear an opening bell.
I suppose some would say the trade deadline “season” really begins around June 1st, but the All-Star break signifies when things get serious. For Twins fans that should be doubly true. Check that – triply true. Let’s count the positive signs for a deal getting done.
1. The Twins have at least one position of extreme need
2. There are plenty of trade candidates available
3. The Twins have financial flexibility, both this year and next.
Add them up, and I don’t think I’ve been this sure about the Twins making a trade since the Johan Santana death watch.
The Twins rank 30th in the league in OPS at second base, and they’ve done so while having a below average defense. Finding a mediocre middle infielder, both offensively and defensively, would provide a significant lift to this team’s performance and to Twins Territory’s morale.
Fortunately, there are several middle infielders who qualify available, and some of them are considerably better than mediocre. Joe Christensen has broached the subject of acquiring Freddy Sanchez, and there’s also his teammate Jack Wilson. And there are plenty of others, depending on what you’re looking for.
Looking to do no more than plug a hole? How about infamous Twins killer Adam Kennedy from the floundering Athletics? Those willing to gamble a bit might favor the upside of Felipe Lopez on the Diamondbacks. For those interested in a three-way deal, there’s the Braves Yunel Escobar. For those willing to take back a little salary, there’s Cristian Guzman and Julio Lugo.
Every one of those guys is a realistic trade target. If you want to dream bigger, how about Dan Uggla or Brian Roberts? (Emphasis in that last sentence should be on “dream”.) And of course we haven’t even talked about the various relievers that might improve the beleaguered bullpen.
So I suspect that’s going to be the focus of TwinsGeek.com for the next few weeks, or until the first big need is filled, whichever comes first. To kick it off, I’ve partnered with Seth Stohs, Parker Hagemann, and Nick Nelson to offer the Twinscentric 2009 Trade Deadline Primer. It is 65 pages and 30,000+ words breaking down the trade deadline from a Twins fans point of view. It includes:
• Breakdowns of the Twins organization, looking at strengths and needs, both now and in the future.
• Team Reviews on the other 29 teams, looking at whether they are buyers or sellers, and what they need and have.
• Profiles on over 100 players that the Twins could, or should, have interest.
• Essays on the Twins payroll situation in 2009 and 2010 and internal options they have.
I’m responsible for about one-quarter of the content and had in editing almost all of the rest. It’s available for download for $9.95 using this button.** And if you aren’t satisfied with it, let us know and we’ll refund your money.
So while today represents a little vacation for major league baseball, it also represents an awfully fun season for the fans. The closing bell rings on July 31st. Given all the opportunities the Twins have to make a significant move this year, I’m hopeful they won’t end up like Mortimer and Randolph Duke.
President of Exchange: [Randolph Duke has just collapsed with shock] Mortimer, your brother is not well. We better call an ambulance.
Mortimer Duke: F*** him! Now, you listen to me! I want trading reopened right now. Get those brokers back in here! Turn those machines back on!
[shouts - it echoes pathetically throughout the trading hall]
Mortimer Duke: Turn those machines back on!
** I anticipate some people will be disappointed that some of the bloggers who you’ve supported for years are offering a project but demanding payment for it. I understnad it, but I have no reservations whatsoever about doing this, and here’s why:
This is the eighth year I've operated this site, and during that time I’ve seen a lot of very good Twins blogging sites go away. Actually, I’ve seen so many go away I’m hesitant to mention names, because I am going to forget them. But off the top of my head, I miss Will Young’s extensive analysis of the organization. I miss Twins Junkie’s interviews. I miss TwinsTerritory.com’s community and the Dickie Thon Twins Board discussions. And I miss Bat Girl’s sass.
I miss them, but I don’t blame them for stopping. This is a labor of love, but it IS ABSOLUTELY A LABOR, and we all have other loves too. I walked away from this site in October of 2005 because my energy was giving out and I didn’t see a future. And it’s worth noting that even after I returned I post roughly half as much as I used to.
This project represents an attempt at finding the future I couldn’t find in October 2005, not just for myself, but for the entire Twins blogging community. I’m not saying I want people to buy this to support the bloggers whose content they read every day. But if you value their work enough to give them your attention every morning, perhaps you might like special content from them a few times a year. If you enjoy their writing, you’re almost guaranteed to enjoy this book.
And by the way, I also hope you’ll care enough to give us feedback on it. We have a email address that we can all access at TwinsCentric@gmail.com, and I would love any thoughts you have on the idea, the project, the book, or future endeavors.