Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Leftovers

Yesterday, Mr. Nelson wrote up an article discussing a potential opening day roster for the Twins and which players are likely to be there. While reading this post, it occurred to me that there are a few players that might not be necessary. For instance, Lew Ford essentially duplicates what Jason Tyner does on the bench. Same for Juan Rincon in relation to Jesse Crain.

The difference between each is that one (Crain, Tyner) is still pretty cheap, while they other costs a pretty penny for this small-market team (Ford wants $1.3 million, Rincon is looking for $3.2 million).

Both Ford and Rincon disappointed last year. Ford was an absolute mess at the plate, hitting .226/.287/.312 with 4 home runs, 18 RBI, and 9 stolen bases. Tyner hit .312/.345/.353 with no homers, 18 RBI, and 4 stolen bases. Ford's advantages are his better plate discipline, power, and base-running ability. But he isn't significantly better in any of these departments to make him essential to the team's success. His defense and ability to play center and right is important, but Tyner can step over and do just as well as Rondell.

Rincon was 3-1 with a 2.91 ERA, but his strikeout rate was down to 65 in 74 1/3 innings, while allowing 76 hits. Crain, on the other hand, was 4-5 with a 3.52 ERA, striking out 60 in 76 2/3 innings while allowing 79 hits. The difference is that Rincon started well and ended terribly, while Crain had a disastrous April (like the team) but was much better and struck out a lot more hitters in the second half.

Why mention these two players? Because its clear that many teams are desparate for outfielders and relievers and the Twins have a few redundant players on the team. Look at this story in the Miami-Herald (credit CarterHayes from over at SBG for coming across this story):
(Shannon) Stewart, who turns 33 next month, could be considered an option to play center field. But he has played just 98 games at the position during a career that began with Toronto in 1995, none since 2000. And he has been plagued by ailments in both feet in recent years.
Florida is apparently so desperate for a center fielder that they'll give Stewart, who should only be a DH at this point, a shot. Now, the Twins wouldn't get the Marlins' top prospects or anything, but they certainly might give up a decent or potentially good prospect for a guy like Ford. Of course, there's always a good market for good relievers, and Rincon's good overall numbers from last year probably mean he has some trade value and could bring in a hitting prospect or two. Since it's apparent that the Twins lack a ton of hitting in their minor league system, they could use it. And the money saved by trading Ford or Rincon (or both) of these players may help to make up for the $3.1 million wasted on Ramon Ortiz.

Now, it's apparent that Terry Ryan and the Twins aren't looking to make any big moves before spring training. But they might want to consider using other teams desparation to their advantage by getting rid of some of their extra pieces they can afford to lose.

6 comments:

Diamond Cutter said...

I couldn't agree more about moving Ford and Rincon (especially Ford). Nice suggestion with the moving him to the Marlins bit. If they are hard up enough to try to start Stewart, Ford would be a nice fit.

Nick M. said...

Right. We don't really need these guys, so why not try to get something for them. I would say, however, that if anything like this does happen, it will happen in Spring Training, when teams get desperate after they've seen holes. Marlins are a good trade partner simply because they have so many good young players, but there are sure to be other teams emerging by then.

Lichty said...

I think Ford is more likely to go than Rincon.

The Twins bullpen as constituted means that the the shaky starting rotation really only needs to go five or six then turn it over to Neshek, Crain, Rincon and Nathan. Guererrier is a luxury that few teams have and will come in very handy with this rotation.

Ryan will only trade pitching once it has become too dysfuntional to perform (and not even then). See, e.g., Romero, Lohse. Ryan is risk averse and the Twins believe you can never have enough depth in the bullpen (and I can't say they are wrong). They will not make a move like that unless it will improve the big league club or unless they are out of it.

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