I know that a while ago, I said that Jim Souhan – who is normally one of the Official Punching Bags of Off The Mark – actually wrote a good article that caused me to be in total agreement. I had said that I would write about the article, stating why it was so good. For all you people that love reading Souhan’s articles… this post is not about that article. Rather, it’s about one that Souhan just recently wrote, which was inadvertently pointed out to me by Eric Olson of Call To The ‘Pen. That’s fine, because while I never wrote for Fire Joe Morgan, I can certainly pretend that I have.
Today, Delmon Young culminates the best half-season of his big-league career.
I know, isn’t it sweet? This Souhan article is starting out great!
Today, Young should be culminating the last half-season of his Twins’ career.
Wait, what? Dammit, Jim, you were doing so well!
This is the right time for the Twins to trade Young — while he’s healthy, hitting like an All-Star and prepared to crush them in arbitration this winter.
Well, ok, that’s not that ridiculous of a proposition. It’s true, he’s got ridiculous value right now, and this year will lead to a lot of cash in his pockets for 2011. But for the healthy comment, Young has never been hurt. I think it would take a collision with another player for him to be sidelined. Oh, wait…
A farm system filled with unpolished prospects cost the Twins a chance to trade for Cliff Lee, the best pitcher available via trade. Finishing no better than third in the competition for Lee while watching their rotation crumble like aged bleu cheese should nudge our newly ambitious franchise toward these realizations:
There are places for near-trades? I thought this was Talladega Nights. “If you ain’t first, you’re last!” Sorry Jimmy, but the Twins, Yankees, Reds, and every other team that does not have a nickname that is basically the equivalent of Americanizing a Canadian Mountie finished in last place for Cliff Lee.
• It’s time to trade hitting for pitching.
I suppose that’s not a bad idea.
• The Twins can’t afford to miss on another opportunity to acquire an ace, not if they’re serious about winning this year.
Yeah, I suppose that’s true.
• They need an ace for next year just as much as they need one this summer.
Well, that’s also true. Cliff Lee wouldn’t have stayed for next year. So, you must be hinting at someone else then…
• The Summer of Love at Target Field could become the Fall of Frustration if the Twins allow a calendar year of good feelings to dissipate with a third-place finish in a winnable division.
Jim, have you gone around Target Field after a Twins loss? Every loss is treated like the season is over by some of these fans.
• The lousy play of top catching prospect Wilson Ramos at Class AAA Rochester has damaged his value as a tradeable asset.
Yeah, but Yankees minor league catcher Jesus Montero is NOT having as bad of a season as Ramos, and the Mariners didn’t completely want him, either.
The Twins just lost a competition for Lee to a bankrupt team not known for its farm system.
Whoa, whoa, whoa. I’m going to stop you right there, Jimmy. Have you been in Jack Steal’s Fantasy Land recently? I’m just curious, because MLB Fanhouse ranked the Rangers farm system as being #2 in MLB. I guess only this guy from MLB Fanhouse knows about the Rangers farm system, huh?
They can’t afford to lose again unless they’re willing to write off this season, and I doubt that owner Jim Pohlad, known within the organization for his intense desire to win, is willing to write off what promised to be a historic season in his new ballpark.
I understand that the season started off great, but was there ever a time this season where the majority of fans truly believed that this season was “historic”? It’s the first season in Target Field, so it’s already historic, but if you mean “historic” like the Twins would make a World Series run, I think we all knew that the Twins were still at least one piece short. Also, what’s this about “they can’t afford to lose again unless they’re willing to write off this season” business? Should we read this as “If the Twins lose again, the season is over!”? Sorry Souhan, but as I said before, plenty of Twins fans at Target Field already treat every loss like it’s the end of the season, and one more loss won’t mean that the Twins are finished. All it would mean is that their new record would be 45-43.
Which leaves one possibility for the Twins to explore: trying to make Young the centerpiece of a trade to Houston for righthander Roy Oswalt.
Roy Oswalt, the same guy that has said that he would veto trades to the White Sox and Tigers, no? How could he veto them but accept a trade to Minnesota?
This would be an uncharacteristic move for the Twins, trading an affordable, young, everyday player for an expensive pitcher. The deal would make sense for these reasons:
5 minutes ago, Young was going to be expensive in arbitration. Now, he’s affordable.
• Young may never have more value, and whatever wonderful reviews he has prompted this season, he still may not be worthy of the franchise’s trust, considering that his fielding has again become shoddy and that he’s still less than a year removed from the day when he tried to charge into his own dugout to beat up Jose Mijares.
Hey Jimmy, I can use bullet points too!
- Young’s fielding, while below average, has been the best it’s ever been as a Twin. It’s currently a -5.4 UZR/150 in left field, which seems bad until you realize that he had a -18.6 UZR/150 his first year with the Twins and a -22.7 UZR/150 last year. Not only has Young’s offense improved, but his defense is vastly better. He’s finally a passable fielder in left field.
- You know, I had forgotten about that spat with Jose Mijares until you brought it up. You wanna know why Young was so pissed off? Because Mijares unnecessarily plunked someone earlier in the game, which led to Young getting hit by a pitch as redemption. If Mijares didn’t go all Vicente Padilla that day, Young would have kept his cool. Since then, there have been no reports of any problems between these two players. Besides, just like his weight, it seems like Young’s attitude has changed this year.
- Who exactly is going to replace Young in the outfield? Cuddyer and Kubel are two of the worst outfielders in the league, so putting them both out there full time will make the team’s defense worse.
• Replacing a corner outfielder is much easier than finding an ace, especially in an organization with Michael Cuddyer, Jason Kubel, Ben Revere and Aaron Hicks in the fold.
Oh look, he’s seriously considering making Cuddyer and Kubel both full-time outfielders. Ben Revere may be ready for the majors, but there’s no guarantee that he’ll perform well. He might disappoint just like Wilson Ramos. As for Aaron Hicks…he’s still a few years away from even being considered for the major league team. Plus, there’s this Joe Benson guy that’s sort of good.
• The Twins’ rotation is awful now, and it may not be better next year. The Twins’ most reliable starter is Carl Pavano, the one starter who isn’t guaranteed to be here next year, and there are no starting pitching prospects who promise to dramatically upgrade the rotation by Opening Day 2011.
That won’t stop fans from begging for Kyle Gibson.
• Oswalt is expensive — he’ll cost $16 million next year — but trading Young would save the Twins money next year, and the Twins have made a huge profit at Target Field.
In the same sentence, you managed to say that Oswalt’s contract will and won’t be a problem for the Twins. I guess I should have expected that, though, considering you said that Young was both expensive and affordable earlier.Plus, if the Twins are making a huge profit, then they should clearly just keep Young and add Oswalt.
Landing Oswalt would take some work, perhaps even some recruiting. He has a no-trade clause, probably favors pitching in the National League and the Mississippian probably wants to stay in the South.
Ah yes, another lifetime National Leaguer coming to the AL. Isn’t that a bit risky? Now how do we recruit Oswalt to the Land of 10,000 Complaints? First, we can’t tell him that we suck. That’s a turn off. Second, let’s tell him we can give him tons of run support. Pitchers love run support. Third, we still do those little things, just like National League teams. Finally, let’s build a hill in center field, and move one of those flagpoles from Gate 34 to in-play. Roy will think he’s still in Houston. Hopefully.
So there’s no guarantee that even a good Twins offer would land Oswalt. But the Twins have to do something before one of the most promising seasons in franchise history becomes a bigger embarrassment than Pavano’s mustache.
The Twins need to treat Young the way they treated Bobby Kielty, another talented young hitter coveted by other organizations. After Kielty played horribly in right field during a series in Anaheim before the All-Star break in 2003 (much the way Young kicked the ball around in Toronto this week), the Twins traded him to Toronto for Shannon Stewart.
Is that really why Kielty was traded, because of one series of poor defense? Oh dear.
That remains one of the best trades in Twins history.
All because Kielty pissed off some coaches with his poor defense over the span of three days, apparently.
The 2010 Twins need that kind of talent upgrade and emotional jolt, and Young may never be more valuable than he is today.
Or you gamble, decide that he’s still only 24 and could still have many more years of improvement, and end up with some justification for letting Michael Cuddyer leave after 2011.
Signing Mauer to a $184 million contract proved that Jim Pohlad is committed to keeping his best players. Trading for Oswalt would signal that, with Target Field becoming a limestone-and-glass ATM, he’s willing to go after other teams’ best players, an attitude that could elevate this cute little franchise to elite status.
Because Pohlad totally proposes trades and decides who the Twins should acquire. I thought the Pohlad family decided to keep their opinions out of the front office unless they were asked for their opinions.
Jim Souhan, this is a radical idea, and it certainly is working on getting yourself some attention, but I think the Twins can keep Young while acquiring a starting pitcher.