Yesterday a reader named Nato asked this question in the comments section: “Saw in the [Star Tribune] that it’s time for a firesale to get the team competitive for 2008. What are your thoughts on who to keep, who to deal, and why?”
I think that the person who is most likely to be traded is Luis Castillo. The Mets’ 2B broke his leg and will miss a lot of the rest of the season and they were interested in Castillo before he came here. The Phillies’ Chase Utley just broke his hand and is out for an unknown amount of time, but it’s unlikely that Castillo would go there. Also, Alexi Casilla was taken out of Wednesday’s game and did not play yesterday for AAA Rochester; maybe he’s going to get promoted to play second for us?
Castillo definitely is not the most talked-about player as far as trade rumors go. That honor would go to Torii Hunter. He’s due for a pretty big increase in pay and his current pace of having a career year do not help the Twins. There is no CF at any level in the organization to even sniff Hunter’s production. Denard Span was supposed to be the future but his career numbers thus far have been a disappointment. Brandon Roberts was received in a trade last year and can play center, but I believe the Twins have Span ahead of Roberts on the “replacement for Torii Hunter” list. They just drafted Ben Revere, but I don’t know if he’s even 19 yet. It’s clear that either Torii needs to be re-signed (he says he’ll take a hometown discount, but nobody except him really knows how much he’s willing to budge) or be involved in a trade that brings an adequate CF to the team. I have to admit that it’s a terrible idea to not re-sign Torii if no clear replacement is available. Even if there is a clear replacement, some other moves need to be made at (take your pick) the 3B, LF, and DH positions. It’s obvious that the production for the team at all of those spots is severely lacking, and chances are a replacement for Hunter is not going to have a stat line in the .270/30/100 range, and in order to compete for a World Series title, Torii’s production has to be matched by other players. I kind of rambled there so if I confused you, this is what I’m trying to say: if Torii isn’t on the team, the Twins are certainly not going to make the playoffs because of Torii’s stats. However, they can be a playoff team if they add players at the 3B, LF, and DH spots to match and/or exceed Hunter’s production.
I think that Scott Baker and Carlos Silva are both expendable, along with Juan Rincon. I think we could get a decent position player for Baker and Rincon or Silva and Rincon (preferably the latter) but it’s very doubtful that anything will happen. Terry Ryan has expressed his dislike of trading away pitching, but he needs to be willing to let young guys like Matt Garza, Kevin Slowey, and Glen Perkins learn and pitch at the Major League level. Really, I don’t think any one of those three guys could do worse than Silva and, to some extent, Boof Bonser. Unless Boof can lose some weight, I don’t think he’ll ever have the stamina to consistently last beyond the 6th inning. He seems to be a perfect fit for a long reliever, but Ramon Ortiz is currently that guy.
So if you have any other questions, or some thoughts on what I said (please pitch your own ideas for moves the team could make, if you want to) just post a comment.
edit: The Twins demoted Darnell McDonald (collected 1 hit in 10 at-bats with the team) and called up 3B Brian Buscher. Seth from sethspeaks.net thinks he’s an upgrade over Nick Punto, and it seems like Buscher will get the start this weekend in Cleveland (game starts tonight at 6:05).