Minnesota’s Trade Deadline Wish List

La Velle E. Neal of the Minneapolis Star Tribune examined the Twins' biggest needs (starting pitching, third base, bullpen) and threw out a few names that the current AL Central leaders are known to be looking at, or could potentially look at as the calendar turns to July.  Let's examine the likelihood of some of Neal's possibilities…

  • Roy Oswalt.  Thanks to Target Field, the Twins have raised their payroll to account for such big moves as Joe Mauer's extension.  Absorbing the rest of Oswalt's contract, however, could be a bit much for the club.  He is owed a little more than $9MM over the rest of this season, $16MM in 2011, and $16MM in 2012 with a club option for a $2MM buyout.  As noted over the weekend, Oswalt could demand that that option year be automatically picked up in any trade, making it an even bigger financial pill for the Twins to swallow.
  • Cliff Lee.  Neal notes that acquiring Lee will come at a hefty cost, given the two compensatory draft picks that the soon-to-be free agent could bring back in the winter.  Neal raises the possibility that Lee might be enough to entice Minnesota into swapping touted (and Mauer-blocked) prospect Wilson Ramos.
  • Rich Harden, Dan Haren, Ben Sheets.  Neal doesn't delve into detail about these three, probably because Harden and Sheets don't fit the profile of the "big workload" ace that Neal thinks the Twins need to complement Francisco Liriano.  Haren has a cleaner injury history than the other two, but he's struggled this year and is due to earn $25.5MM in 2011-12 (plus a $3.5MM buyout of his $15.5MM club option for 2013).
  • Mike Lowell.  We heard about Minnesota's interest in Lowell over the weekend, and how Twins management had obvious concerns about Lowell's health and his big salary.  Boston's catch-22 with Lowell seems to be that teams will want to know he's healthy before dealing for him, but the Red Sox can't find a way to showcase him without taking a hot player like Adrian Beltre, David Ortiz or Kevin Youkilis out of the lineup.
  • Michael Wuertz.  The Austin, Minnesota native was pursued by the Twins last summer, and we heard last week that the Twins were looking for bullpen help.  Neal points out that the Twins' bullpen is pitching well already and they have some good relievers in the minors, so Wuertz would strictly be a depth pick-up.  Also, if Oakland remains in the AL West hunt, the A's may not be willing to swap the right-hander.

43 Responses to Minnesota’s Trade Deadline Wish List Leave a Reply

  1. MnTwins7 5 years ago

    God I hope they can acquire Lee, I know its a long shot but he beat the yankees twice last year in the WS and thats something the twins cant do. Lets just pull the trigger on this deal so we can bring home the championship in Target Fields inaugural season.

  2. 04Forever 5 years ago

    Just release Lowell. Id rather keep the productive players in rather then “showcasing” Lowell to get a half-baked prospect. I love the guy, but its inevitable that he will be released unless someone gets hurt, like this week

    • lollardfish 5 years ago

      They aren’t going to release Lowell. He’s a great insurance policy and is being paid 12 million dollars to provide a nice backup option for three players.

  3. oremlk 5 years ago

    Why do people keep saying Oswalt would demand his option year be picked up? He has said nothing which even hints at that. In fact, every time he talks about how much longer he will play, he has said “a year and a half”, meaning the rest of this season and the next one. He has been saying he will probably opt out of his contract and retire after 2011 for years.This is a nonissue and people need to stop bringing it up.

    • Zack23 5 years ago

      He didn’t say Oswalt would, he said Oswalt could- there’s a difference. All he’s saying is that there is a possibility, which any reasonable person understands.

      What he’s said in the past doesnt mean much, athletes say stuff all the time and usually it means nothing.

      • oremlk 5 years ago

        Lots of things are technically possible, buddy. That something is technically within the realm of possibility doesn’t make it likely or worthy of discussion. I suppose it’s technically possible that I could walk out of my house this morning to go to work and get eaten by a bear, but I’m not going to stay home for fear of killer bears.Fact is, there is no evidence to suggest that Oswalt will demand his option be exercised; he has never said anything of the sort. But there is lots of evidence to suggest he WON’T demand it be exercised. He wants to be traded yesterday; he’s made it clear that his number one priority is to go to a contender. He won’t make it even harder for himself to be traded. From dozens of interviews of the years he has made it clear that his default perspective is that his contract will be over after 2011, and that he even plans to retire at that point.When there is actually a reasonable report from a reliable source which suggests this might become an issue, then it’ll be worthy of discussion. Right now, it’s so incredibly unlikely that it doesn’t deserve a breath of attention, let alone as much credence as people have been giving it.

        • Zack23 5 years ago

          Calm down buddy.
          He’s an athlete with a 16m club option, an option that is not going to be picked up. It is not some unreasonable thought that he could say he wants that option picked up if traded. You just brushing it off is your choice, doesn’t mean no one else should talk about the possibility of it.

          And again he didnt say Oswalt said that, or is definately going to say that- he said he COULD say that. Ok, he’s just putting the different options on the table for people to know.

          • oremlk 5 years ago

            I’m calm. And reasonable. Are you?

            He’s the one who asked to be traded so that he could go to a contender. He’s not going to essentially make it impossible for a trade to happen. It’s pure, unfounded speculation to keep bringing up the made-up idea that he would demand for his option to be picked up.

          • Mauerneau 5 years ago

            Jeeeez, read what he’s saying man.. He’s not saying he willdo anything… it is a fact that it’s possible for oswalt to demand his option to be picked up.. Of course it doesn’t make sense for him to do that but it’s possible.. Baseball players are not like clockwork, millions of dollars can makepeople make some bad/odd decisions (see heyward, Tony of BP). Don’t get all upset when people bring up options on a discussion board.

  4. I think Ramos would be a great place to start with for Lee. They need a catcher, and some power.

    • CrisE 5 years ago

      Ramos hasn’t been all that this season. Right now he’s hitting .229/.262/.346 at AAA with only 4 HR and a 33-7 K-BB ratio in 179 AB, so he’s definitely still a prospect, not a player. If a team traded for him looking for performance in 2010 they’d be disappointed, but as a prospect he’s still dreamy.

  5. Steve_in_MA 5 years ago

    I disagree with the idea of releasing Lowell and with the notion that he is hard to showcase. Outright releasing Lowell is a stupid idea because he has been there to back up Papi and Youk, and it is inevitable that someone will agree to pay a couple million of his salary for his bat down the stretch. Just recently, Big Papi was 1 for 27. There are obviously opportunities to have Lowell hit in the DH slot, which Tito is inexplicably skipping. Youk has shown some vulnerability to back spasms and Lowell has been stepping in as needed. Still, Tito has inexplicably missed clear opportunities to pull Youk out early, when up by 3 or more runs in the 7th. These missed opportunities are just plain stupid. The guy needs at bats to showcase. Every chance you have to get him in the lineup should be taken. Tito is totally botching this.

  6. Rashomon 5 years ago

    Why trade for anybody when Jarrod Washburn and Joe Crede are available?

  7. IF the Twins were to offer Ramos for Lee (again, I say IF), I would think the M’s would jump all over that deal in a heart-beat. Throw in some fringe prospect and it’s a done deal.

    • Mauerneau 5 years ago

      I would hope the Twins would jump all over that too. Ramos and Perkins.. okok, we’ll even throw in tolbert, casilla or one of our other “utility” hacks

      • xSenorChucklesx 5 years ago

        If Lee goes to the Twins, I think everyone in baseball wins. Angels and Twins ALCS 😉

    • Nicolas_C 5 years ago

      Nope, they wouldn’t. Not only is Lee one of the top pitchers in the game and getting paid extremely little, but he’ll be a type A free agent and there’s a 99% chance he declines arb, netting the team 2 1st rounders.

  8. Zack23 5 years ago

    Haren isn’t really struggling this year, his BABIP is just 40 points higher than his career average. His K9 is his best ever, and his BB9 is as good as ever.

  9. MLBrainmaker 5 years ago

    I don’t see why they don’t Youk in left. I know he’s started at least 20 games in the OF over his career, and in Fenway he wouldn’t have much ground to cover. Meaning they’d get some production out of Lowell at 1B. I’m not saying every game, but at home possibly.

    That said, I think Lee to the Twins makes sense. But only if there is a 3B solution also. I mean I think its clear the Twins are just a few pieces short of competing for the AL title. Liriano’s success has narrowed the gap more, but they need production out of 3B and another front line starter to shut down the Yankees. It sucks Lee is a one and done, but if that one is WS, I think its worth it.

    • oremlk 5 years ago

      Only one Lee and everyone wants him… and he might not even be on the market, if the M’s prefer the draft picks to what they’re being offered.

      • j6takish 5 years ago

        Youk is a butcher in the outfield, probably worse than Manny…except he dosen’t have a 1.000 OPS to show for it. Lowell is no spring chicken at 1b either, and I really don’t see why a club in a playoff race would do that to themselves just to save 1-2mm on a guy every team knows is about a week from being DFA’ed

        • lollardfish 5 years ago

          They aren’t going to DFA Lowell. There’s absolutely no reason to do so.

    • johnsilver 5 years ago

      Have you ever watched a LF at fenway not familiar with the wall, or LF corner play balls in LF? it’s not a pretty sight watching the corner play them, or seeing balls take bounces from the wall over their heads, them getting to close to the wall and totally misplaying it, since in some cases, balls hit off the wall can only be singles. Why would the Red Sox take one of the best fielding 1b in the game and put him in LF like that? 3B maybe, since he is a plus 3B, but only an emergency corner OF.

      It’s a fair enough idea to look for AB’s for Lowell, but with the defense 1st strategy Boston has employed, taking the GG’er Youk away from 1st, sticking him in left, moving Lowell only learning 1B there, it just makes them weak at 2 positions and hurts it for a few AB’s extra.

  10. Yankees420 5 years ago

    Why not Ty Wigginton? I know his defense at 3B is bad, but his OPS on the year is .862, he can be replaced by a defensive guy in the later innings if need be.

    • Yankees420 5 years ago

      Checked out his numbers and realized he hasn’t played much 3B over the last couple years, so maybe not…

  11. Add Ted Lilly to this one

  12. TwinsVet 5 years ago

    LEN3 misses the mark with “Twins need a big workload ace”. Carl Pavano has been precisely that man; he’s averaging almost 7 IP per start, and only two bad outings are pulling that down and inflating his ERA.

    An ace like Lee is a want, not a need.

    This club has shown all season long they’re the #3 team in baseball. No reason to deplete the farm for a marginal improvement.

    • raffish 5 years ago

      Lee a marginal improvement over Pavano?

      Don’t get me wrong, Pavano is a nice #3 this year.

      But Lee is an Ace. A shut down Ace who makes the Twins a force.

      For that you pay the price of a few prospects and like your chances against the AL Beast.

      • TwinsVet 5 years ago

        Put it this way…

        Without Lee = 94 wins
        With Lee = 96 wins

        Either way, Twins are making the playoffs. Is depleting the farm really worth, what, Lee starting against NYY instead of Slowey for 1-2 games? I don’t think so. But I’ll probably change my answer if the Twins lose in the playoffs and the difference is 1-2 poor pitching performances out of Slowey.

        • Lee starting against the Yankees once, perhaps even twice, in a short 5 game series would easily make the difference between the Twins going to and not going to the ALCS.

          I’ll admit it as a Yankee fan-If Cliff Lee were the starting pitching in a series that went 5 games, and he pitched twice, I’d be EXTREMELY worried.

    • $1529282 5 years ago

      “Ace” is not a word I’d ever use for Pavano, but he’s been effective this season and provided our bullpen with ample rest by going deep into a lot of games, yes. I agree, I’d be looking far more into offensive upgrades than defensive ones, if for no other reason than to solidify our bench. Can you imagine a championship team that rosters Alexi Casilla, Brendan Harris, AND Nick Punto (and Matt Tolbert, in the event of an injury)? I can’t.

      Valencia has been OK at third base so far, though it’d be nice to see him start slugging a little bit (granted he’s missed out on three different doubles/triples by a matter of inches). I say give him his fair shot for now, but if he hasn’t really stepped things up by the Trade Deadline, third base may very well be an area to look into.

      Still, when we’re talking about making a deep run in the playoffs, there’s no question that I’d rather have Cliff Lee in there making starts over a guy like Nick Blackburn or Kevin Slowey in our rotation.

      • TwinsVet 5 years ago

        Pavano is obviously a poor-man’s Lee. But if Pavano were playing for, say, Cleveland still, he’d be a much better target than Lee.

        I’m not comparing Pavano to Lee, so much as saying “we’ve got a guy who is pretty much performing exactly as LEN3 says we need”.

        Anybody would be stupid not to take Lee, or to want him. I’m just saying we don’t need him. And certainly not at the cost I’m guessing it will be.

        • raffish 5 years ago

          A team goes out and gets a Carl Pavano to shore up a rotation hole. A team goes out and gets a Cliff Lee to kick the other team across the carpet two or three times in a playoff series.

        • wintwins 5 years ago

          you must not be interested in winning a world series cause what do all of the world series champs have?

          a dominating ace

          the twins dont have that

          • but but Mike Scoscia said last year you don’t need a number 1 to win!

            At least I think it was him who said that.

  13. Playing wish list I would much rather see a guy like Josh Johnson targeted by the Twins….a true #1 for a few years with a team friendly contract…..also from MN

    • $1529282 5 years ago

      We’d all rather see Johnson than anyone, I’m sure, but there’s no chance the Marlins move him any time in the next two years. Fun to dream about though, agreed…

  14. lefty58 5 years ago

    Given the fact that the Twins could sleepwalk to a division title this year in this division, it’s nice to see that that isn’t enough for them and they are looking to make a legit run at the series.

  15. Jose Bautista to the Twins???

    The guy can play third, and has shown power this year, BA maybe a little low. But could be a cheaper upgrade than Lowell and could be there for a few more years

  16. Dan_O62 5 years ago

    What about Cantu or Uggla? The Fish are suffering in the catching position and if one of them was able to fill that void at 3b I think a Ramos deal would get done lickety-split. Of course, that’s if the Twins aren’t overvaluing Wilson like all their fans are…

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