We’ve been awfully insular for the last couple days, gazing at our Twins navels. Meanwhile, the offseason is rolling along. Let’s catch up on some news from around MLB and see how it affects the Twins:
In the “Grass is Greener” Category
San Francisco Giants pitcher Jonathan Sanchez was traded to the Royals for center fielder Melky Cabrera on Monday, hours before the Twins made their change at GM. Sanchez is a guy that we have profiled as a target for the Twins in the TwinsCentric Offseason GM Handbook, though it was last year, not this year. He’s a big arm with little control, exactly the kind of pitcher that the Twins haven’t historically targeted, but to whom they seem to be warming.
Cabrera was one of the names bandied about back when the Twins were talking to the Yankees about Johan Santana. He’s bounced around a bit since then, and was available for peanuts last offseason, when the Royals paid $1.25 million for him. He rebounded nicely with them, becoming a legitimate asset.
The Royals are selling high with Cabrera and the Giants are selling low on Sanchez, which could be praised and criticized. But context is important here: the Royals could afford to take a chance on Cabrera – they weren’t going anywhere anyways. And the Giants are looking for another championship and unwilling to hope that Sanchez turns things around. Both teams are doing what they should do, given their situations.
Michael Cuddyer reportedly visited the Phillies yesterday. I didn’t think he was a good fit for them after they traded for Hunter Pence. He probably wasn’t up until the last at-bat of the NLDS where Ryan Howard hurt his achilles. Now Cuddyer’s flexibility becomes a factor as he can play first base with Howard out and the outfield when Howard returns. I wouldn’t be shocked to see him play around the infield a little this season too, given how banged up the Phillies have been recently.
Cuddyer and the Phillies have been linked pretty closely for a week now, with the only question seemingly being how much and for how many years they’ll sign him. That likely depends on other teams’ interest. The Red Sox reportedly were interested in Cuddyer at the trade deadline, and if they follow through on their attempts to dump Carl Crawford, he would be a great fit there. In fact, he might be anyway, unless they see Josh Reddick taking a big step forward. Those two free-spending teams chasing Cuddy is depressing enough for Twins fans, so, I’ll apologize if the next news feels like piling on.
Remember When WE Had Money? That Was Fun.
The Phillies are also apparently close to re-signing reliever turned closer Ryan Madson. That, by itself, wouldn’t seem to be big news: while the Twins are probably also shopping for a closer, there are still plenty left. ([clear throat.] As you could find out, if you were to purchase the TwinsCentric Offseason GM Handbook. [clear throat.])
But what’s shocking is how much they’re paying for him. The deal was rumored to be for four years and $44 million dollars, significantly higher than we predicted in the Handbook. There are a couple of negative implications here:
1. It means the Phillies are ready to spend, which brings us back to Cuddyer.
2. It may mean that they perceive the closer market to be a lot tighter than we had hoped, bad news if you’re hoping the Twins re-sign Joe Nathan.
The good news? These moves are happening early in the offseason. If Cuddyer (or Nathan) are going to be signed, I’m quite sure the Twins would love to see it happen early, so they can focus on backup plans. For Cuddyer, that might mean taking a longer look at Jason Kubel.