Friday, November 30, 2007

Get To Know 'Em: Yankee Trade Scenario

By M. Pillsbury

We have all heard the trade rumors involving the Twins and Johan Santana. Even though nothing is certain it is becoming more and more clear now that he will be traded and his suitors have been narrowed to a handful. I will breakdown the most likely scenarios and the possible new Twins we could be seeing next year. With the addition of Delmon Young the Twins now have at least 4 outstanding MLB hitters, and 2 or 3 (Kubel, Harris, Casilla) guys who will be very capable at the least in the near future. So adding Cano would give the Twins another outstanding hitter and that’d be great, but the main thing is adding depth with good quality MLB hitters, not necessarily outstanding players, 'cause we know there is only a slim chance of that. I don’t mean to be redundant, but I will continually harp on adding lineup depth with good quality hitters.

The first possibility I will breakdown is the dreaded New York Yankees. They have the prospects and major league player ready package to get Santana and the money to resign him. I believe the trade will end up happening with the NYY. Here is a look a brief look at the possible parts of the deal. It will probably be a package of one guy from Group 1, and two or more guys from Group 2.
Stats Line =Avg./OBP/OPS/ HR/RBI/SB

Group 1:

Robinson Cano 2B: .306/.354/.854 19/97/4

He would be a great addition to the Twins lineup. He could play second base as he has and is a good fielder there, or could move back to the position he came up playing, third base. This would help the Twins significantly, but a couple times this off-season Cano has said he would not like to play third. If he stays at second he is so far above league average offensively, dare I say it you could justify Nick Punto and his awesome bat playing everyday. The major holdup here is that the Yanks are very reluctant to give him up and have even said he is untouchable, which is now being debated. Another thing that makes him a little less attractive is his three years of major league service, meaning he would be getting more expensive in a hurry in the proceeding years. He is the most established, best current player being mentioned in a Santana trade (unless you count Jose Reyes, which in some ways is being mentioned in the same category of availableness as Cano).

Phil Hughes, SP: 72.7 inn/4.46 ERA/1.28 WHIP 5-3 in 13 MLB starts

Hughes is thought of as the #1 pitching prospect in all of baseball. He is just 21 years old and would challenge for the #1 starter, right along side a healthy Liriano. He has stormed through the minors, dominating at every level. He also had a no-hitter through six innings this year before leaving the game with a bad hamstring. He is the type of dominant starter who could replace Johan Santana in couple years and make people say, 'Garza who?' The Yanks are very reluctant to include Hughes and would much rather include Ian Kennedy, but it is thought that the Twins would not do a deal that doesn’t involve either Hughes or Cano.

Group 2:

Ian Kennedy, SP: 19 inn/1.89 ERA/1.158 WHIP 1-0 in 3 MLB starts

Kennedy is a very good young pitcher the Twins would love to have, but he is not as good as Hughes, and sometimes doesn’t get the credit he deserves. He still projects as a very good #2 or 3 starter, and would be placed immediately into the starting rotation. Kennedy is a Kevin Slowey type control pitcher who would fit the Twins philosophy. If the Twins got Cano, it is thought they would want Kennedy as well to help alleviate the loss of Santana and Garza.

Melky Cabrera, OF:.273/.327/.718 8/73/13

Cabrera is a good young outfielder, who could come in and fill the void in CF. He is not a superstar by any means, but at the same time, he is better then people have been giving him credit for in talks about this deal. He is only 23, and will continue to get better. He could be the Twins leadoff hitter, but his OBP is a bit scary. I think he would develop into a better leadoff hitter if he was given the duty full-time and his maturation would help as well. You can not build a deal around Cabrera, but he would be a nice piece to fill a hole the Twins have, and would give more depth to Twins lineup which last year it did not have much of.

Austin Jackson, OF:.345/.398/.964 10/34/13 in 258 AB's in High A ball

Jackson is a 20 year old, right-handed hitting outfielder who dominated High A ball for Tampa last season. He's really young and raw but is thought to have a big future. I do not know as much about him, but based on his numbers, granted it is A, he looks to hit for great average, power and possess speed as well. He would give the Twins a bona fide superstar positional prospect which they are greatly lacking, and would be a very nice secondary piece in a trade while, possibly paying big dividends down the line.

Jose Tabata, OF: .307/.371/.763 5/54/15 in 411 AB's in High A ball

Tabata is another young, right-handed hitting outfielder, who had a great year in High A ball. He was 18 during the season and it was just his second full season of pro ball. Like Jackson, he is a highly touted outfield prospect. It was even mentioned that Tabata could be a possible replacement for Bobby Abreu at the end of 2008 when his contract was up. I also do not know as much about him, but it appears he’s another young player who has a bright future that would help the Twins down the line.

Alan Horne, P: 114.1 inns/2.97 ERA/125 K 12-4 in AA

Horne was the Eastern League (AA) pitcher of the year as a 24 year old last year. He has very impressive statistics and would look to add to our already deep pitching corp in the minors.

Jeff Marquez, P: 155.3 inns/3.65 ERA/1.35 WHIP 15-9 in AA

Marquez pitched for the same team as Horne, as 23 year old RHP. He is thought to be closer to MLB ready then Horne but his numbers were not as good. I do not know much about him either but he, like Horne, would add pitching depth to the Twins.

By the way, it sounds like there are a couple scenarios that are more likely then others. The best scenario for the Twins would be Hughes, Cano and one of the prospects. However, I do not think the Yankees include both. With the Garza trade it is certain that Hughes or Kennedy would be part of the package.

Scenario #1: Hughes, Cabrera, Jackson and Horne
Scenario #2: Cano, Kennedy, Tabata
Scenario #3: Kennedy, Cabrera the 4 other prospects mentioned.

I think either scenario 1 & 2 would be the best, as they would help bolster the line-up and give the Twins another great MLB ready young pitcher. I do not think the Twins will do a trade not involving either Cano or Hughes. Both trades would still leave the Twins with holes that would have to be filled through free agency, or a possible Joe Nathan or Bonser trade; they would just be at different positions. And as much as I hate to say it, but at least one IF position will be filled by a combo or mix of Harris/Punto/Casilla. I know you may not agree with me but I do not feel this is a total disaster. With the increased depth in our lineup, we could make this work: Harris is a good offensive infielder and will help lineup depth; Punto is a good defensive player and as a SS isn’t too far below MLB average hitte,r and he could be tolerated in the lineup if surrounded by two more parts (and it’s not possible for him to be as bad as he was this year); Casilla is still very young and talented and will be much better in the future.

The Twins would still have a giant hole in the infield or CF depending on the two trades. This could be addressed by adding a free agent third baseman, the options aren’t great, but one option that I think could help the Twins greatly would be Pedro Feliz. He’s not Miguel Cabrera or David Wright, but at the same time, he’s not Pick Nunto either. Feliz is a very good fielding third baseman, who over the past four years has consistently hit .250-.260/20-22 HR/72-98 RBI. He would be 33 years old early next season and would cost about $6 million, but could be a very good depth player and a significant upgrade over what we had last year. If we landed Cano it would leave a hole still in center. This could be addressed many different ways. Young could play out of position, Kubel/Monroe in left and DH, or we could add a center fielder through free agency, such as Corey Patterson. Patterson is good defensively, who has averaged about .270/12 HR/ 48 RBI and 50 SB over the last three years. He is 28 and would probably cost the Twins about $2-4 million. He could hit leadoff (despite a low OBP) and upgrade our running game single handedly. Adding Feliz and or Patterson or others and the parts in this Trade would give us this prospective team for 2008:

CF Cabrera/Pridie/Patterson
2B Harris/Cano
C Mauer
LF Young
1B Morneau
RF Cuddyer
DH Kubel
3B Feliz/Punto/Harris
SS Punto/Casilla/Harris

BN Punto/Casilla
BN Redmond
BN Pridie
BN Buscher
BN Jones

SP Hughes/Kennedy
SP Liriano
SP Baker
SP Slowey
SP Bonser/Perkins/Blackburn

RP Neshek
RP Guerrier
RP Rincon
RP Crain
RP Reyes
RP Nathan

This would give the Twins a very good, DEEP(yeah I said it again) lineup and a very good defensive ball club. The rotation would be really young, but also very very talented and our bullpen would look a lot like the good bullpen we’ve had for years. With the trades, the Twins would have a payroll of about $55 million. I would assume they would not spend more then $10 million if any on on free agents, leaving them a great deal of flexibility to lock-up Morneau, Cuddyer, Young and/or the new guys from trade. This would give us a strong nucleus for many years to come and a great deal of flexibility for for free agents in the future. They could also move Nathan, Rincon, or Boof for another bat. Hopefully this gave you an idea of what the 2008 Twins could look like based on a trade with the Yankees.


TwinsWin83 said...

Wow. Impressive coverage Pills.

It would be great to get Lester from Boston but I dont think Coco Crisp would be the offensive solution the Twins are looking for and he would be the other major part of that deal.

I heard that the Twins were in talks with the Brewers about a trade involving Nathan for Corey Hart. That would be pretty solid. An outfield of Cuddy, Hart and Young would be something to look forward to for years to come. I assume the Twins would like to move Neshek into the closer role eventualy anyways. I think the outragous contract that Cordero signed a couple weeks ago pretty much rules out the Twins being able to resign Nathan.

Good article.

tfrezac2002 said...

I don't know who they will get, but I have to trust the front office folks over there at 34 Puckett Place that they will make the right call. Johan is just too damn good to not get a boat load of talent, that can step in and perform in the next couple seasons, in return.

haasertime said...

good coverage.

the offer now is hughes, kennedy and cabrera.

sounds good to me. i bet this will get done soon. kudos to billy smith for getting hughes onto the table and squaring the bosox and yankees off against eachother.

soup said...

what about a multi team deal?

I really think we need a third baseman over a new center fielder.

how about this wishful thinking trade:

twins get: hughes, melky, and Miguel Cabrera
Astros get: Joe Nathan
Marlins get: kennedy, scott baker, nick blackburn, astos prospects
yankees get: santana

Twins 08:

1. cf melkey
2. c mauer
3. 3b miguel
4. 1b morneau
5. lf young
6. rf cuddy
7. dh kubel
8. 2b harris
9. ss casilla



TwinsWin83 said...

Red Sox are now saying they would include Ellsbury in a deal. I think if they offer Lester and Ellsbury you have to take that deal. Both not only have great futures ahead of them but they can contribute big things right away.

haasertime said...

the word is that they will not include lester AND ellsbury in the same deal. but so far, the twins have been good at squeezing those two empires into including former untouchables hughes and ellsbury. so we'll see..

i think this thing will be done soon. i think they are leaning red sox.