Wednesday, December 06, 2006

You Must Be Kidding

I can no longer withhold my bewilderment at the absolutely ridiculous contracts being signed this off-season. Three years and $34 million for Vicente Padilla? Gil Meche wants 4 years/$40 million?! Outrageous. I've heard much complaining about Alfonso Soriano's $136 million mega-deal, but at least that guy has done something to deserve a big payday. Padilla and Meche are career mediocrities. How could they possibly be worth upwards of $10 million per year? All these ridiculous pitching deals have got to be making the Twins feel good about having a wealth of young cheap starters who have shown an ability to pitch at least competently at the major-league level.

From everything I've read and overheard during the past few weeks, I have formulated a prediction for the Twins' off-season. I think they'll trade Juan Rincon and Scott Baker to the Rockies for Jason Jennings. That sets up the first four starters for their 2007 rotation: Johan Santana, Jennings, Boof Bonser and Carlos Silva. That would leave the fifth spot open for either Matt Garza or Glen Perkins, and it would probably depend on which young hurler has a better spring.

I believe that that will be the extent of the Twins' involvement in winter transactions. I think they'll re-sign Rondell White to return at designated hitter and then they'll concentrate on hammering out some multi-year deals with their middle-of-the-lineup hitters.

That might not be a very exciting off-season haul, but it would be a very typical one for Terry Ryan and the Twins. Personally, I'd be perfectly happy with the rotation laid out above, which could be very solid outside of Silva. It's worth keeping in mind that Garza is something of a wild card; he was very much rushed to the big leagues in 2006, but his dominant numbers in the minors would suggest that with the experience he collected and with an off-season of preparation, he could do some impressive things in '07. I don't foresee a Liriano-esque breakout, but Garza's got electric stuff and he knows how to pitch.

Of course, while I do expect the Twins to bring in Jennings and to perhaps add a couple bargain-bin free agents, I don't think any of these moves are particularly imminent. As La Velle E. Neal III notes in today's Star Tribune, Ryan is perfectly content with sitting back and patiently waiting for things to fall into place. That might not be ideal for us Twins fans who are antsy to see the 2007 Twins team start to fall into place, but we'll just have to make due.

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