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Okay, I've Calmed Down...

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...but only just a little...

Whew.  Take a breath, everybody.  We're leaving Detroit, and we don't have to see them for FOUR WHOLE DAYS.  Good thing, I don't think anyone could have taken much more of this.  Three consecutive days of ass-wuppin' put on by an explosive Tiger offense and a pitching staff that stymied our hitters to the tune of one run.

Series Review By the Numbers

Team       AB   H  AVG HR  R XBH  K  BB  PS
Minnesota  94  15 .160  0  1   3 12   6 368
Detroit   120  47 .392  7 33  17 19  11 483

There are some pretty disparaging differentials here.  In a three-game series, Detroit hitters saw 115 more pitches than Minnesota hitters.  That run differential pretty much explains itself.  Extra-base hits are pretty killer as well, especially considering the difference between the Tigers and the Twins is double the home runs the Tigers launched. Detroit racked up the extra base hits.

Yesterday, or rather last night around midnight, I said some pretty awful things about our club.  It's the dark side of caring--you can get upset.  But it's better than being nonchalant, and from looking at some of the similar posts on the right, I'm not alone in my want of change.  Look here as well.  I'm not taking back any of those things today, but I won't be quite as harsh and I'll keep any personal insults to myself.  I know, I'm no fun.

Dennys Reyes

Welcome to the majors, Mr. Reyes.  Dennys had been eating up AAA hitters without breaking a sweat.  In 4 appearances (3 starts) and 18 innings of work, Reyes logged a 0.50 ERA, striking out 13, allowing 11 hits and posting a 0.78 WHIP.

While I was at work this afternoon I had passing glimpses of Reyes at work, and in what could possibly be nothing more than my search for something positive in the series, I mentally noted that Reyes appeared to go after the Tiger hitters.  He wasn't afraid to go inside.  He looked like he was trying to make his pitches work for him, instead of not against him.  There's a huge difference.  Keep in mind--this is all a judgement made in view of no more than 5 or 6 pitches.

Trade Thoughts, Continuing Yesterday's Rant


Miguel Cabrera, 3B, $472,000

There was a time when I thought a trade of this magnitude was entirely a pipe dream of the most unrealistic kind.  Now, I'm not so sure, in spite of what Florida owner Jeffrey Loria has to say.

Cabrera, like Mauer, is one of the league's talented youth.  Along with Dontrell Willis, Cabrera is the only recognizeable name left on the Marlin roster (Joe Borowski doesn't count), following nothing short of what could be dubbed top-to-bottom organizational abandonment.  With a payroll hovering under $15,000,000, the Marlins are in a clear state of not Rebuilding Mode, but of Sell Mode.

You could argue that even if you're selling a team, you want marketable players that will make even the cheapest team draw some fans.  A good package in trade in still a good package, however, and the Twins do have names to put on the block.

Cabrera's MLB Numbers
Year  Age   AB  HR   AVG   OBP   SLG   OPS
2003   20  314  12  .268  .325  .468  .793
2004   21  603  33  .294  .366  .512  .878
2005   22  613  33  .323  .385  .561  .946
2006   23   78   4  .321  .448  .590 1.038

There are a number of things to go over if legitimately considering a move for Cabrera.  Number one are the financial considerations.  Minnesota has no marketable player of a comparable salary they're willing to part with in order to swing the deal.  They won't part with Joe Mauer, and in spite of how tempting it might be they won't part with Justin Morneau, either.  Nor will they part with Francisco Liriano.

Next season Cabrera is estimated to earn more than $7,000,000 through arbitration.  Trading a marquee player like Torii Hunter is a thought, as Hunter will earn $12,000,000 in 2007.  Minnesota would get more for Cabrera's high salary next season than Hunter's, there isn't much of an argument here.  2007 isn't the problem though, the problem is the salary in 2006.  If Florida is looking to dump salary, they won't pick up Torii's massive contract.  So we're back to square one.

Even if the Marlins were open to trading their phenom third baseman, they're still going to want an ample return.  For a player of Cabrera's calibre, they could rake their trade partner over the coals and not have their trade partner bat an eye at the searing heat.  If the door is open for Cabrera, the Marlins will have their choice of the highest bidders.  So if we're not trading our young stars, and we're not going to be able to rid ourselves of Hunter's 2007 contract, who DO we offer?

Kyle Lohse is going to be the first name out of many mouths, but I'm not going to (and probably couldn't) use him as the central piece to a trade.  The name I'm going to offer as a centerpiece is Carlos Silva.

Carlos Silva would be tempting for a few reasons.  One is his infallible control.  Another is ability to keep the game moving.  Yet another is the reputation he's built between 2004 and 2005 as a winning pitcher.  In spite of the crap April he's had, Carlos Silva has trade value.  One of the biggest draws he'd have as a Marlin is that he'd be a pitcher to compliment Dontrell Willis; he's young enough to hold down a rotation for a few years.

I'm willing to part with Silva because I believe his value is as high as it will ever be.  Amazing control aside, he gets hit hard, and this is a major issue when the 1.20 groundball to flyball ratio he's posted in 2006 is a career high and yet he can't get through five innings to save his life.

If the Marlins would buy Silva for an opening volley in trade talks, there still needs to be discussion over which prospects the Marlins desire and which prospects the Twins can get away with trading.  This is the short list.

Matt Moses, 21, 3B, AA:  Moses has been deemed the heir apparent to the third base crown for a few seasons.  With the addition of Cabrera, who is only two years Moses' senior and has a higher ceiling, Moses becomes expendable.  He also has enough promise to intrigue any team looking for a future man at third.

Garrett Jones, 25, 1B, AAA:  Another prospect close to ready, if not ready for a team like Florida, is the power-hitting Jones.  He's had a sub-par time at Rochester this spring, but his ability to go long has brought him this far.  55 home runs between AA and AAA since the start of the 2004 season; those are tempting numbers.  Jones isn't a deal breaker, but he makes the pot sweeter.

Boof Bonser, 24, RHP, AAA:  Bonser throws hard, for the old boys out there, and he's been owning AAA hitters this spring.  In 30 innings he's fanned 26, posted a 1.52 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP.  With only 12 walks, and getting more mature with time, Bonser's control issues can be overlooked if not downplayed.  Bonser has the potential to be a solid #3 pitcher, if not a passable #2, at some point in his career.  Pitchers also get additional consideration simply because they've been in the Minnesota system, as strange and foolish as that seems.

J.D. Durbin, 24, RHP, AAA:  Durbin isn't too far removed from having been a top prospect not just in the Twins farm system, but in all of baseball.  His early promise has faded, but a change of scenery may be a tempting thought for a team looking to overhaul their roster.  Durbin is turning into somebody's reclaimation project, and it isn't Minnesota's.

Dave Gassner, 27, LHP, AAA:  Gassner hasn't thrown at all this spring, which makes him less attractive, but at 27 he's what you could call a AAAA player.  He's had a few cups of coffee with the Twins, and while he's good he's never been quite good enough to earn a permanent space on the roster.  With the right team he can round out a rotation.

Danny Matienzo, 26, 1B, AA:  Matienzo has been blocked from advancing to Rochester this season, but looking at the quote I saw in Roger's minor league update this week, it seems he intends to make the best of it.  This says a lot for a guy who, at 26, is no doubt eager to make a move on the major leagues.  He's earned a spot at a AAA affiliate, to be sure.  Good character, good future as a role player if not a decent-hitting corner infielder, and a nice statistical past could make him attractive.

Aside from these players there are any number of players in the lower affiliates who could seal a deal:  Justin Jones, Anthony Swarzak, Glen Perkins, Nick Blackburn, Kevin Slowey and Matt Garza to name a few.  With all these in mind, this is the package I would present to Florida.

Minnesota Receives:
3B, Miguel Cabrera, 23

Florida Receives:
SP, Carlos Silva, 27
3B, Matt Moses, 21
SP, Matt Garza, 22
SP, J.D. Durbin, 24
1B, Garrett Jones, 25
C,  Allan de San Miguel, 18

This is an expensive trade for the Twins, although Florida could arguably ask for worse. Hell, I'd pay Silva's salary for 2006 on this deal to get it done. Carlos Silva makes an immediate impact for any team, not just the Marlins.  Players like Moses, Garza, and perhaps even Durbin and Jones, could see time in the imminent future in this scenario.  Miguel is a young catcher who, while he has a solid defensive presence, has plenty of time to improve himself at the plate.

Losing a prospect like Matt Garza, and losing Carlos Silva immediately with Liriano not ready to go five innings, are the two biggest blows to the Twins in what I've presented.  These moves also present a lineup that could look like this, if we keep in line with the moves I made yesterday (in my mind).

POS  PLAYER
2B   Luis Castillo
C    Joe Mauer
DH   Shannon Stewart
3B   Miguel Cabrera
CF   Torii Hunter
RF   Jason Kubel
1B   Justin Morneau
LF   Lew Ford
SS   Jason Bartlett

Conclusions

You know, I started out prepared to look at more than one person in a trade scenario, but that's going to have to wait.  This post is really quite long already.

There are a number of questions here for everyone to go over.  Is Cabrera available for the Twins?  If he is, are the issues concerning his acquisition negotiable for our organization?  Is the trade scenario I set forth realistic, or is there more to the puzzle?

Speculation is what keeps fans of teams like ours alive; it gives us hope, and somewhere to go, if only to make us feel better.  Aahhhh...Miguel Cabrera in a Twins uniform...

...I feel better.