Bill Mueller Rumors
Here's a look at the latest column from Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe.
- Interestingly, the Red Sox are reportedly Derek Lowe's preferred destination. It's unknown whether the Sox intend to add a starter this winter, but they may lose free agent Paul Byrd (and will have to decide on Tim Wakefield's $4MM option). Cafardo names a dozen other clubs interested in Lowe: the Yankees, Mets, Tigers, Indians, Cardinals, Cubs, Angels, Braves, Phillies, Rangers, Astros, and Blue Jays.
- Bill Mueller, 38 in March, admits he'd like to play again. Medically, it's a long shot because he'd need to regrow cartilage in his knees.
- One of Greg Maddux's teammates feels he'll retire. Maddux could return to the Padres as a player/coach (specifically, he'd prefer a bench coach gig).
- The Brewers as a sleeper for Jake Peavy? They're not on his list, but he's named other midwest clubs.
- Cafardo believes catchers Bengie Molina and Ramon Hernandez will be available this winter. Makes sense, given the weak free agent market at the position.
It's well known that the Twins lineup at present is woefully devoid of power hitters. While noted Twins blogger Aaron Gleeman seems very receptive to a second baseman who can actually get on base, he acknowledges Luis Castillo's complete lack of punch.
So who's on the radar? Well, you can cross Bill Mueller off the list. He's planning on signing with either the Dodgers or Pirates. Mueller is a nice player, but he's exactly what the Twins don't need at third. Mueller is a fragile on-base machine. Sure, the team could use more players who take walks, but A)they don't have the depth to back up Mueller if/when he gets hurt and B)he doesn't produce the power they need. The average AL third baseman slugged .428 this season, and Mueller's career SLG is .430. The Twins need above average power at the hot corner.
The Twins have long been interested in Mike Lowell, but he no longer has the power they're looking for. There's no use acquiring him on the off chance he recaptures his swing in Minnesota. The Twins already tried that with Bret Boone, and it was a waste of 53 at-bats. (Of course, "many insiders believe the three-time All-Star Lowell will bounce back." Curious that all of these insiders chose to remain anonymous.)
Hank Blalock could be had, and he's still good for 20 HR without Ameriquest Field. Given that it could take a Francisco Liriano or Scott Baker to convince Jon Daniels to part with Blalock, the deal is better left alone. A lot of third basemen can hit .260 with 20 HR.
For example, Andy Marte would probably hit .260 with 20 HR (or better) if he was given 550 at-bats at third base for the Twins. As mentioned yesterday, the Braves might part with Marte for Jesse Crain, Kyle Lohse, and prospects. Crain was the author of a bizarre plumetting strikeout rate once he reached the Majors, but he still posted a 2.53 ERA in 106 career innings. In that Hardball Times article, Gleeman mentions how Crain's success is likely not sustainable. Wonder if John Schuerholz learned his lesson with Dan Kolb? Lohse is the definition of average, and his ERA could top 5 next season.
While Marte is the perfect fit for Minnesota, it seems they'd have to pony up a lot more than Crain and Lohse. If they really want Marte, it will probably require Francisco Liriano or Scott Baker.