So, since there hasn't been anything else to think about in the Twins world recently, I have been mulling over what could have been. What trades could not have been made that would have put the Twins in a much better position to win.
First, we must accept the trades of Santana and Garza, and the subsequent trade of Gomez for Hardy. In order for the scenarios to work, those must be accepted. Indeed, all of the trades up until the deadline of last year must be accepted.
Matt Capps for Wilson Ramos - I was totally against this trade from the beginning and somebody can go back through my comments and check it. I argued against mostly everybody on this discussion board about the idiocy of this trade, but nobody appeared to listen to me at the time; instead, they gloated about what a good trade it was and how it would dramatically improve our chances in 2010, especially since Ramos had no spot on our roster since he was blocked by Mauer. Yes, Capps came in and did a marvelous job out of the pen in 2010, but even at the end of the season, I still claimed that it we severely overpaid for Capps.
As of today, Wilson Ramos is the starting catcher for Washington, with a line of .252/.336/.403 with 3 HR, 11 RBI, 24 SO, 15 BB and a 44% CS rate. Washington's manager raves about the young catcher and all his potential. We traded Ramos because we thought we didn't have a spot for him, and he deserves to play everyday. This was true, but how it bites now. Mauer has been out for well over a month and doesn't look like he will be back too soon.
Do I really need to sum up Capps? It seems like a waste of time for me to go look at his statistics to prove how idiotic this trade was, not only at the time for me, but also now in hindsight for basically every Twins fan. Plus, I thought the going rate was two minor league pitchers, not one fat "closer" - or maybe he is two pitchers, it is hard to tell with that belly!
J.J. Hardy and Brendan Harris for Jim Hoey and Brett Jacobson - Salary dump. We needed to get rid of Harris' contract, but apparently we also thought we needed to get rid of Hardy and his gold glove. Oh, how bad this trade looks now! Once again, at the time of this trade, I voiced my disapproval and I have never taken it back! Harris was an understandable dump, but I still do not see the point in trading Hardy ... ok, we could trade Hardy, but for two minor league pitchers? We traded two players, one a gold glove SS, for two minor league pitchers - one of whom is in the majors undeservedly!
As of today, Hardy has a .236/.317/.371 line (severely hampered early on...past seven games, Hardy has hit .280 with a trio of 2Bs and 4 walks). Hardy also has a phenomenal BB/K rate as he has walked 11 times while striking out only 15 times. In 86 ABs, Hardy has hit 6 2Bs and 2 HR, while driving in 12. More importantly though, Hardy has not committed an error as of yet, and his RF/9 sits at 4.99 (RF/G at 5.04). Hardy also is keeping up his defensive work with his Rtot/yr and Rdrs/yr numbers, respectively at 6 and 11.
Jim Hoey has given up runs and then some. Hoey's disastrous line looks like this: 10.45 ERA, 0-2 record and that is really all you need to know. Yes, small sample size, but one does not need to have a large one to recognize a AAAA player. Hoey has thrown only 10.1 innings (20 Hits and 16 runs [12 ER]), but Hoey has been a major league disappointment!
The one nice thing about trading Hardy is that we have been able to see Plouffe, but I am still not sure I like Plouffe. His defense is horrible, and he is very streaky at the plate. For one week, he can hit over .300 with a couple homers, but then he is right back in an 0-fer streak. I would like to see Plouffe more in the future, but unless his defense can improve, I say let him go ... trade him for two more minor league pitchers!
I return to the salary dump question. If the Twins had never traded for Capps, some of the money used for Capps could have been used in a Hardy signing. These two decisions alone, trading Ramos for Capps and trading our gold glove SS, have potentially ended our season - all else aside.
So without Capps on the team, the Twins would have needed a closer. Can anybody say sign Jon Rauch again? Toronto signed Rauch for $3.5 million ... losing the big man has hurt not only the Twins bullpen but also the Twins' morale because I highly doubt anybody was negative with a 6'10" tattooed monster in the dugout.
Yes the Twins would probably have had to stick with a bullpen sub-par, but they could have relied on their AAA players, Gutierrez, Slama, Waldrop, and James instead of relying on Hughes and Hoey.
What must the Twins do now?
List of Twins needs:
- SS/2B (whatever Nishioka comes back and plays, we need the opposite of)
- Catcher - somebody more reliable than Drew Butera, which is, let's see, oh ya! anybody!
- Bullpen - the Twins need to really revamp their bullpen. Get rid of Hughes and Hoey
Who the Twins will probably sell:
All that can be done now, is just sit back and enjoy the music - I am thinking Taps!
*Also, pick up Delaney again...lets take a chance on him, he certainly can't be worse than what we have now!