Cubs Trade Nevin to Twins

Like a friend of mine said:  Hey...can't hurt.

Which is pretty much my sentiment on the whole thing.  All things being equal I'd rather have had a starting pitcher (NOT David Wells, thank you San Diego), but there's little doubt that the Twins bench is a little weak when it comes to extra bats.

Phil Nevin is what you might call "overpaid".  In 2006 he's getting paid something around $10,000,000 give or take, depending on where you look.  To make room for the 35-year old first baseman/designate hitter, the Twins shifted Shannon Stewart to the 60-Day DL, freeing up a roster spot.

The aquisition of Nevin, while not a game-changer, is the type of move that does two things.  One, it gives the Twins a much more preferable bat to defer to in the late innings, especially when compared to the likes of Lew Ford, Luis Rodriguez and Rondell White.  Two, it tells the fans (and the players) that the organization believes in the team.  No, it's not a ground-breaking move, but it's A move, and Terry Ryan doesn't make trades simply to make a trade.  Ryan obviously believes he's adding something positive to the club by picking up Nevin...and that belief is correct.

Season  AB  H 2B HR RBI SO BB   Avg   Obp   Slg
2006   355 87 12 21  64 91 38  .245  .321  .456

While the line in general isn't that...well, it's not even very good overall...but since he was traded to the Cubs earlier in the year by Texas, he was much better.

Season  AB  H 2B HR RBI SO BB   Avg   Obp   Slg
Cubs   179 49  4 12  33 52 17  .274  .335  .497

If Nevin can continue the style of production he had in Chicago, I'll be a happy Twins fan.  Whether or not he can be this productive, however, may have something to do with how much he's played.  Everyday duties in Texas wore him down, but split duties kept him fresh and effective with the Cubs.  Considering most of his duties with the Twins will be as a designated hitter and pinch hitter, I don't think being worn down will be an issue.  Speaking of splits...

Split         VsL            VsR
Season  .228/.323/.447   .253/.320/.461
03-05   .286/.377/.547   .262/.316/.411

As you can see, this is a bit of an off-year for our newly acquired DH.  Whether it has to do with age or simply is just "one of those years", I don't know enough to speculate with any certainty.  Looking at the splits is an encouraging sign, particularly if you're looking at the "03-05" side of the VsL column and are aware of the Twins acute weakness of not being able to hit southpaws in the recent past.  While it hasn't been as big of a problem this season as in the last couple of years, there are still players who struggle when put up against a lefty.  Having Nevin on the bench to use against a left-handed reliever may actually make a difference in the outcome of a game.

If you look to your right you'll see a couple of posts on the Nevin acquisition already.  Ubelmann breaks down the sabermetrics in ways I haven't, so be sure to read up on the finer points of the numbers I glossed over.

ESPN.com reports that Terry Ryan was hunting for starting pitchers as well as another bat, and while Ryan didn't mince words he still played it close to the vest.

"We could use a little offensive push here. [...] You do what you think is right. I know people were concerned about our pitching, but we've been pitching pretty well. This is just something to supplement our roster for September."

My sentiments exactly, Mr. Ryan.

Quick Notes On Callups

Scott Baker will be returning to the Twins for the 19th time in 2006, and will be available to start on Saturday in Yankee Stadium.  In addition, Chris Heintz Ketchup has been handed the spot of The Third Catcher, and New Britain infielder Alexi Casilla has had his contract purchased by the Twins.  Will Casilla actually get to play with the big club?  It certainly appears so.

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