An Answer to Jesse's DH Crisis: Wily Mo

I was going to post this as a comment to Jesse's "DH Crisis" featured article, but oh how long it grew.  This deserves it's own diary...

Anyway, I think that Ubelmann was the one who suggested this first here, but I really do think that the answer is a trade with the Red Sox, sending them Rincon for Wily Mo Pena.  It makes sense for several reasons...

1. Wily Mo deserves to get a shot at a starting DH role, but has never really been given the chance.  He was in the NL with Cincinnati for a few years (no DH), and now he is stuck behind some "Papi" guy in Boston (you may have heard of him).  He's also stuck behind some "Manny" guy in left field.  His lack of defensive prowess has kept him from ever getting even 350 AB's in a season.  Obviously, that wouldn't be an issue at DH.  He has a ton of power, but he's not much for getting on base.  Here's his career AVG/OBP/SLG: .259/.314/.474.  He's still developing and could turn into a consistent 30 HR, 100 RBI guy.

2. He's 25 years old, and he's not too expensive.  I think he's making $1.875 mil this year (according to  That's less then Rincon's $2 mil, so don't worry about our payroll.  As I stated above, he has the potential to be a real solid DH for the future.  -And because of his lack of experience, he wouldn't be very expensive to re-sign.

3. If you consider the good chance that the Twins will lose Hunter after the season, the Twins will be needing a right-handed power bat anyway.  Span might end up being a good defensive center fielder, but he won't slug.  The Twins will miss his bat behind Morneau if/when he leaves.  No I'm not convinced Hunter's gone yet, but you have to consider the possibility if you're Terry Ryan.

4. Rincon's stock is fading with the Twins, but he does still have a lot of value.  Let's remember that Rincon has shown over a 3 year period that he can be a top set-up guy.  That's real attractive to a team looking for help in the pen.  Neshek and Guerrier are also rising stars, and that makes Rincon expendable.  The Twins probably also believe that Glen Perkins and/or Jason Miller are ready to be a second lefty and long man in the bullpen.  Our bullpen may seem a bit thin now with injuries, but (except for Crain) people are getting healthy and we do have a great 7th-8th-9th inning combo plus a LOOGY.  That's not even including Rincon.

The more I think about this, the more I think this could be the perfect trade.  For the Twins, this trade would essentially be giving up a year and a half of Juan Rincon (they wouldn't re-sign him) for a young bat that could turn out to be a solid, everyday DH at best.  At worst, he'd be a powerful pinch-hitter (something we also need).  For the Red Sox, they'd be giving up a power-heavy pinch-hitter (who is stuck behind better hitters) for a proven set-up man (which they need).

There are a few drawbacks, though.  The Red Sox might want to keep him in case Manny does depart.    They might see potential to replace Ramirez's bat with Pena's pull-heavy swing aimed at the Green Monster (though Wily Mo couldn't fill his shoes).  Boston might also think that Rincon's best days are behind him.  He is having an off year.  Perhaps Boston could be wary that they would be getting a lemon.

If I were Terry Ryan, I would be calling Theo Epstein on a regular basis and asking him what the Twins need to throw in to get this deal done.  Lew Ford?  Take him.  I'd even throw in Carmen Cali or Julio DePaula (but not both).  Better yet: Scott Baker.  The bottom line is that this proposed deal makes a lot of sense for the Twins, and if Boston is looking to put a shotgun blast in the undead/zombie Yankees (and go for another World Series this year), it probably makes sense for the Red Sox as well.

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