Fans still miss him...but do we miss his familiarity or what he brings to the club? Answer carefully.
When I read that Terry Ryan rejected a deal with Toronto for long-time Minnesota third-baseman Corey Koskie, I wasn't surprised. Relieved? Maybe just a little, but not because I don't like Koskie. Mostly the rejection just made sense. First, we've already committed to a third-baseman for 2006. Whether or not he can produce the same numbers or the same warm feeling in your toes that Koskie brought on, I can't say. Second, there's the obvious issue of Corey's health. While it's truly been an issue for "only" the last 2 seasons, the number of games he's appeared in have decreased every year since his career-high 153 in 2001. Third, there's little reason to spend the type of dollars on Koskie that the remaining years on his contract require ($11.5 million over 2 years)...even after the Blue Jays paid the $3 million they were reported to have offered. Finally, in the waning days of June, 2006, Corey Koskie will turn 33. When you combine these four issues, in spite of how much my nostalgia would like to have him, the move wouldn't make sense.
Terry Ryan was quoted to have said that he didn't like the deal because it left the starting rotation open to too much inexperience. Even with talents like Baker and Liriano, Ryan wasn't ready to take a gamble on a once-solid player. Toronto wasn't even asking for top-level prospects. Now Blue Jay GM J.P. Ricciardi has even said he doesn't think a deal with the Twins will happen.
Nearly a year ago, in one of my first submissions to Twins Territory, I suggested the Twins wouldn't miss Koskie in the lineup as much as many people expected. His home run numbers fluxuated wildly and he couldn't hit the broadside of a barn if it was left handed, leading me to believe the teeth-gnashing brought about by his departure was unwarranted. As it turns out, a healthy Koskie probably would have made a miserable Minnesota offense slightly less miserable...but in 2006 Koskie is a bigger question mark than ever.
Year VsL VsR
2002 .787 .828
2003 .635 .962
2004 .713 .894
2005 .581 .802
IF the financial and health and personnel issues were handled, maybe you could platoon Koskie. He hits right-handers very well, and in spite of fluxuating home run numbers, he launches doubles in droves. IF Koskie ends up having a solid 2006 and stays healthy, wherever that may be, maybe you could invite him back...but he'd be going on 34 in 2007. IF Koskie could hit lefties, IF Koskie wansn't so strike-out prone, IF he wasn't from Canada...
There are just too many if's. I'll always have a soft spot for Corey, and in some ways, as a fan, it's hard to see guys leave a club when they brought it prosperity. That goes for Doug, that goes for Everyday Eddie, that goes for a growing number of players every year...this season it's Jacque Jones. But it's official for me...I'm letting go.
In one of my last entries at Twins Territory, I broke up with the Twins. Now I'm deciding to stay broken up with Koskie.
mbennett: Where have you been?
jesse: I was kidnapped by the British.