Some love for the middle infield early on a Tuesday.
#19 / Short Stop / Toronto Blue Jays
Oct 30, 1975
|2009 - Marco Scutaro||99||397||72||117||30||1||8||46||61||48||8||4||.295||.388||.436|
Positives: That offensive line sure looks nice, doesn't it? And for a pro-rated portion of his $1.1 million dollar salary (plus maybe another $200K in incentives), it looks like an absolute steal. He's played all three infield positions on the left side over the last couple of years, giving him that coveted tag of "versatile". His UZR/150 at third base last season (in just over 330 innings) was 24.2 (very, very good). As shortstop, which is where he'd be most likely to play for the Twins should a deal be swung (barring losing Joe Crede for the rest of the season, knock-on-wood), he posted a 20.3 UZR/150 in '08 (472.1 innings) while notching a still decent 8.1 rating this year as a full-time shortstop.
Negatives: He's 33, so he's younger than Orlando Cabrera, but he's never had this good of a season. His career year prior to this campaign was back in '06 when he hit .266/.350/.397 with the Athletics. Sure, that's still an upgrade, but to get to that point he'd have to play some pretty bad baseball the rest of the season. This great season at the plate has less to do with playing in Toronto (he's actually hit better on the road the last two years), but it's still realistic to expect some regression from Scutaro here on out. In the field, historically he's been a jack of all trades but master of none. He's had up and down years at short, third and second base, possibly because he's constantly shifted around, but it's still a fair point: it'd be hard to predict how he'd play on a turf that rolls faster than most.
Deal Maker/Breaker: It sounds like he won't be moved until after the Blue Jays find a suitor for Roy Halladay. Additionally, though he might not cost a pretty penny financially, he's currently designated as a Type-A free agent. And it's a solid designation; only a drastic fall-off over the last couple months would drop him. Trading a pair of good prospects might be too much, but considering the Twins might be able to recoup those picks at the end of the season there could be some strong push regardless.
My ideal world: P Kevin Mulvey, IF Trevor Plouffe/Steve Tolleson for SS Marco Scutaro. There's definitely no reason to risk any top-flight talent.
#12 / Second Base / Pittsburgh Pirates
Dec 21, 1977
|2009 - Freddy Sanchez||86||355||45||105||28||3||6||34||20||60||5||1||.296||.334||.442|
Positives: There isn't much to not like about Freddy Sanchez. He's a great contact hitter with good gap power and a history of hitting line drives, he's athletic and quick, and in spite of slowly declining defensive skills still posts an above average UZR/150 (6.3) at second base. Solid instincts and great mechanics should keep him a capable defender for the next two or three years, even if his range falls off.
Negatives: The Twins aren't just bidding with the Pirates, they're bidding against a lot of other teams as well. There's room to add payroll, but that $8 million dollar option (which will vest at 600 plate appearances since he was an All-Star, so just 218 to go) for 2010 will still play a large part in any negotiation. And no matter how that monetary issue is handled, Sanchez will still cost the Twins a good two or three pieces off the farm.
Deal Maker/Breaker: LEN III reported yesterday that "that not only is [Sanchez] willing to play for the Twins, he’s willing to stick around for awhile. And while he’ll make at least $8 million next year, it probably won’t cost that much to extend him a year or two." So there are a number of ways to go about the financial aspect of this deal and how it plays out over the long term, and how that situation is handled will tell how many prospects Minnesota would have to send the other way. Additionally, a lot will depend on what other teams are offering for Sanchez, and whether or not the Twins are willing to pay the inflated price.
My ideal world: OF Joe Benson, P Tyler Robertson, IF Alexi Casilla, OF David Winfree for 2B Freddy Sanchez; including a window to negotiate a contract extension through 2012, Sanchez's age-34 season.
Orlando Cabrera & Mike Wuertz
It sounds like the Twins are still working on getting these two as a pair from Oakland. We've gone over the positives, negatives and possible deal makers and breakers before, so we'll just jump to the most worthless and subjective portion of my propaganda pool...
My ideal world: 3B/OF Luke Hughes, IF Trevor Plouffe/Steve Tolleson, P Kevin Mulvey, OF Chris Parmelee
Be sure to stop back periodically, and we'll post updates as they come in.