Friday, June 22, 2007

Twins Deadline Deals

While Terry Ryan may be one of the best GMs in baseball, he has always shied away from pulling the trigger on a deadline deal. Trades in general have never been part of what makes Terry Ryan great. He prides himself on building the team through smart free agent acquisitions and the farm system. The current team has starters Luis Castillo, Boof Bonser, Joe Nathan, Nick Punto, and Carlos Silva who were acquired through trade, along with injured starter Francisco Liriano. The difference is, none of these trades were done in season. Our last deadline deal was trading away deadbeat starter Kyle Lohse for Zach Ward, who is currently 2-9 with 3.05 ERA in single-A Ft. Myers. This was more out of necessity to get rid of a bad starter to make room for the young guns rather than acquiring someone to help the team.
In other words, history indicates that it is highly unlikely that Terry Ryan pulls the trigger on a deadline deal this year. This year, even more so than last year, the Twins NEED to make a deal. Last year, everything clicked in the second half of the year. Punto kept up his average, and everyone else on the team picked up their respective paces to put up a great second half and win the division. This season the Twins have struggled offensively at times, even failing to win three brilliant Carlos Silva starts 1-0. The most glaring holes in the offense are easily at left field, 3B and DH. While I confidently expect Jason Kubel to pick it up - he is hitting the ball too well to have his average and power numbers down - Nick Punto and Lew Ford have been dreadful offensively (and for Ford, defensively also), and Jason Tyner's lack of power make him nearly useless. With the Twins only 6.5 games back, they need production out of the aforementioned positions. Now, working under the assumption that Kubel will retain a starting spot, and seeing that Punto has already been benched in favor of a more productive Jeff Cirillo, the Twins are one impact bat away from a solid lineup. Here are a few players the Twins should be looking to acquire before the deadline:

  1. Adam Dunn - The Cincinnati Reds are shopping him, and then Twins should be looking to get him. As a left fielder and huge power hitter, with 20 home runs on the season, he could easily fill the Twins DH spot, and be a great power hitter after our 1-5 hitters. Although he would be a good fit for what the Twins need, he would be a free agent after the season (his option for next year is voided by trade), Ryan has never been one to take a flyer on a player for half a season.
  2. Ty Wigginton - At 29, one of the older players on the Tampa Bay roster, Wigginton lost his starting spot this year due to B.J. Upton winning the second base spot, and the Rays signing of Akinori Iwamura at 3B left him jobless. Wigginton has more power than most of the Twins lineup, and would be capable at 3rd or DH, and is able to play LF also. Although he, like Dunn, would be a half season player, he is more signable in the off-season. He is a better fit for the Twins in the sense he can fit any of the positions that the Twins need a productive player out of.
  3. Aaron Boone - Recently mentioned as a potential trade partner of the Twins, the Marlins wouldn't mind parting with Boone. He is a backup first/third baseman and is hitting .286 with 5 homers this season. Although it seems like this could help the Twins, I see it as more of a step sideways. Cirillo is capable of the mediocre power, average, and defense that Boone displays, and also fills in at first base occasionally. Also, don't forget the Twins had a failed experiment with the last Boone brother they tried.
  4. Mike Lowell - He has been mentioned in passing as tradebait for the Twins. This deal would only be possible if the Red Sox traded for Mark Teixeira. Without that happening, there is absolutely no chance of obtaining him. He would probably be the best potential bat for the Twins to obtain in terms of a mix of average and power, but I just don't see it happening.
While the Twins need to make a deal this year, I can't envision Ryan pulling the trigger. Teams often times need bullpen help, and with how Juan Rincon is pitching we wouldn't be losing much if we traded him. We could bring Carmen Cali back up for him if he was traded, and Pat Neshek could take over full setup duties (a role he 99%) has right now. The Twins have the pieces to make a trade, but not the guts to pull off a deal to pick up the bat they need. If the Twins don't make a deal, unfortunately the best they can hope for is the AL Wildcard.

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