I'm not going off of any particular rumors with this trade proposition; I sort of just made this one up myself, so it's possible I don't know what I'm talking about. What I do know is this: the Rockies have a very nice 3B prospect named Ian Stewart knocking at the door in Triple-A, and as such Atkins is expendable to them. I also know that Swarzak and Sosa are very good prospects, and that Sosa's ground ball tendencies would play well in Coors Field.
This would be a tremendous deal for the Twins. They'd solve their long-standing issues at third base with an excellent right-handed hitter in Atkins. And while they'd be losing arguably their best pitching prospect in Swarzak, the Twins could absorb that hit having acquired Kershaw in the Santana deal.
Would the Rockies make this deal? I know that their organization is always looking for pitching, although they might be looking for more major-league-ready talent having turned themselves back into contenders this season. Still, if I was in charge down in Colorado this is certainly an offer I'd consider.
4) Sign Barry Bonds to one-year, $18 million deal.
Alright, this one might seem like a bit of a stretch. But, here's my reasoning:
We know that Bonds won't be playing in San Francisco next year, as the Giants officially ruled out that possibility recently. We think he still wants to play somewhere next year, preferably as a designated hitter since he'll be 43 and has bad knees. Minnesota would make sense for Bonds for a couple of reasons: 1) there is a huge need for a DH here; and 2) it's not a huge market so he'd be able to stay out of the spotlight to some degree, which I'm guessing would appeal to him given his hatred for the media. He also would probably like to join a team with realistic championship aspirations, as opposed to, say, Texas.
With Hunter and Santana both departing, the Twins would have a ton of extra money to work with next season. The beauty of a one-year contract is that there is very little risk involved. Even if Bonds drops off due to old age or is hampered by injuries, the Twins will have no commitment past the 2008 season. Additionally, getting that big salary off the books after one year would allow the Twins to work on extending guys like Justin Morneau and Michael Cuddyer. Bringing the Home Run King to Minnesota would almost certainly have a positive effect on ticket sales, and Bonds's presence in the No. 3 spot could completely change the complexion of the Twins' lineup. From competitive and financial standpoints, this acquisition is almost a no-brainer.
The question is whether the Twins would be willing to make the logical gamble on Bonds. Would this generally conservative front office be willing to look past the dark cloud that hovers over Barry's head and see the positives he would bring? And, more importantly, could an organization that has always greatly valued personality bring itself to bring in one of the worst clubhouse characters in baseball history?
Incidentally, while I have been pondering this idea for some time now, Joe Christensen wrote a story for the Star Tribune today indicating that the Twins may give consideration to signing Bonds.
5) Re-sign Carlos Silva for three years/$21 million
I feel weird suggesting this, because up until this point I have consistently said that the Twins should let Silva walk this offseason without thinking twice. However, if all the above situations were to play out, I think it would be wise to re-up Silva as long as he's still willing to give a hometown discount. With Santana gone, it would be nice to have a guy with some experience to help anchor what would be a very young rotation. No doubt Ron Gardenhire would like to have his veteran presence.
This deal supposes that Silva is still willing to give the Twins a discount, which may be less likely with his buddy Santana gone. If Silva is looking for around $10 million/season, which I have hypothesized he could get on the open market, then it would be best to show him the door.
With all of these moves, here is how I'd envision the Twins' 2008 roster coming out of spring training:
1. Jason Bartlett, SS
2. Joe Mauer, C
3. Barry Bonds, DH
4. Garrett Atkins, 3B
5. Justin Morneau, 1B
6. Michael Cuddyer, RF
7. Jason Kubel, LF
8. Matt Kemp, CF
9. Alexi Casilla, 2B
Mike Redmond, C
Nick Punto, IF
Brian Buscher, IF
Lew Ford, OF
Jason Tyner, OF
1. Francisco Liriano, LH
2. Matt Garza, RH
3. Carlos Silva, RH
4. Scott Baker, RH
5. Glen Perkins, LH
Joe Nathan, RH
Pat Neshek, RH
Matt Guerrier, RH
Dennys Reyes, LH
Boof Bonser, RH
Juan Rincon, RH
There is some room for change with the bullpen and rotation. Even though Bonser struggled in a relief appearance earlier this week, I like the idea of him utilizing his stuff out of the bullpen. I chose Perkins as the No. 5 starter, but that spot could just as easily go to Kevin Slowey. If Liriano has a setback or one of the youngsters struggle, Nick Blackburn and Brian Duensing are waiting in Triple-A to step in. I picked Casilla as the starting second baseman, but it seems Punto could end up in that spot; either way, the other one starts the season as a versatile bench player and pinch-running option.
By my admittedly quick and sloppy calculation, the payroll on this roster adds up to around $70 million, which is right around where they are this year.
So what do you think? Am I out of my mind or does plan of action make some sense?