As I now watch Juan Rincon pitch, one has to wonder what other teams may also be seeing in this once potential closer and once solid set-up man.
And what is his potential for staying with the Twins.
Sadly, baseball has this great salary system where you can only cut a player's salary so many percent if you do wish to resign him. Or they must face arbitration. Or they must allow him to become a free agent to negotiate with many other clubs before getting a shot with the old team at what never seems to happen -- a reduced rate salary.
Who says the Twins wouldn't have happily signed David Ortiz back in his $500.000 heyday with the Red Sox. They just didn't feel like gambling $1.2 million or so on a guy who was turning out to be a part-time player at the time.
So even though we all worry about a player becomign a free agent, you have to worry more when they are arbitation eligible and not playing up to snuff. Or they are those mid-level veterans who start to appear overpaid (I rememebr the griping of Denny Hocking becoming a millionaire utility infielder, and I'm sure people are questioning the dollar worth of Nick Punto at this time).
So, teams are forced, in a way, to try and trade players that still have potential, but are mainly role players on the team and possibly replaced by a rookie (i.e. cheaper) model, or some aging veteran who wants a major league paycheck before finally announcing their retirement.
Yes, the Twins should trade Baker...otherwise their option is keeping him all-year next year. That's fine if there is a place for him.
The Twins need to make a decision on Rincon. Is he worth more money on the Twins payroll, or should he seek a higher salary elsewhere. Imagine the same question will arise on Matt Guerrier sooner rather than later, too.
It's just sad that union salary regs often keep a player from staying put.