This week, the Texas Rangers come to town, and they bring with them a bevy of good, young hitters. However, as much success as they've had scoring runs, they've struggled just as much to get outs. Same old story in Texas.
The Twins are, as usual, the opposite side of that coin. Yes, the Twins have a lot of good, young hurlers. They even have some young hitters with high ceilings, but the Twins have still struggled to score runs. Same old story, again.
For several seasons now, the Rangers have seemed like a good trading partner for the Twins. While no deal has been made between the teams, it's still fun to play "what if" and think of how our lineup could be improved with the addition of a Rangers hitter. -And so, along those lines, I give you the player I'm crying for the Twins to make a deal for: Ian Kinsler.
First off, let me say that I know this is likely impossible. The Rangers just signed Kinsler to a 5-year, $22 million contract with a $10 million option for 2013. They've stamped him as their second baseman for the foreseeable future, and it would take a hefty offer to make them consider dealing him. -But Bill Smith has already shown he's willing to dish a rising young pitcher to improve the lineup for the long term. Also, the Twins do have a farm system stocked with pitching talent. The Twins might be able to afford losing a good, young pitcher for the sake of run production.
-And they would get run production, too. Kinsler is in his 3rd MLB season, and he has a career OPS of .797. Last year, he was a 20 HR/20 SB guy, and he's going to do that year-in and year-out. He has decent power as a right-handed hitter, he draws walks, and he can steal bases. Offensively, he'd be like another Cuddyer with more speed.
So, let's pretend for the sake of innocent "what if" that this is something that could actually happen. What would the Twins have to give up to make this happen? My guess would be Brendan Harris + Nick Blackburn + minor league pitcher. It's my opinion that Harris is not a long-term solution at second. He could be productive for a season or two, but he's not going to be the anchor that Ian Kinsler would be. Of course, the Rangers might see things the same way, but this is a "what if" game after all...
Regardless of the package of young pitching that the Twins would part with, this opening day 2010 lineup would just make me salivate:
1. Carlos Gomez - CF - Age 24
2. Ian Kinsler - 2B - Age 27
3. Joe Mauer - C - Age 26
4. Delmon Young - LF - Age 24
5. Justin Morneau - 1B - Age 28
6. Michael Cuddyer - RF - Age 31
7. Jason Kubel - DH - Age 27
8. Matt Tolbert - 3B - Age 27
9. Alexi Casilla - SS - Age 25
I really believe that the Twins are 1 Ian Kinsler away from having a powerful lineup for the next 5 or so years. -And to me, that is worth giving up a couple of good, young pitchers for.