Late last night, LEN III updated us on the latest news from Minnesota's front lines. Well, the front lines for trade talks.
Indications are that the Twins are interested in Oakland shortstop Orlando Cabrera and reliever Michael Wuertz.
#18 / Short Stop / Oakland Athletics
Nov 02, 1974
|2009 - Orlando Cabrera||94||383||37||105||21||0||4||39||23||35||8||4||.274||.312||.360|
What scares me is that a guy like Cabrera is exactly the kind of guy this front office would go for. He's a veteran, a real "sparkplug" or "energy" player who's been in the post-season and would be viewed as a leader. It also helps that he's actually been hitting recently.
The problem is that Nick Punto's OBP is comparable, although I'll grant that I'd rather have a guy who could consistently hit .270 with a .320 OBP over a guy who could post the same OBP with a lower average. Then there's Brendan Harris, whose .697 OPS isn't great but is still better than Cabrera's. And it's not like Orlando has a history of being a better hitter, either.
Where Cabrera's history has been a plus, at times, is in the field. Over his last eight seasons as a shortstop, he's posted a positive UZR/150 rating. What's interesting is that he's been shockingly inconsistent. This season in Oakland, his UZR/150 is -9.3, the lowest it's ever been. It would be easy to say that it's because of his age, turning 35 in November, but he's also posting this number in a pitcher's park. So it's not as though the hitters are getting a lot of breaks, and that's playing havoc with the rating. With Minnesota hosting a fast-rolling turf, I'm not sure Cabrera is a good fit.
For reference, Harris' UZR/150 rating at short is -2.9. Not great, but not as bad as the alternative.
#48 / Pitcher / Oakland Athletics
Dec 15, 1978
|2009 - Michael Wuertz||5-1||44||0||0||0||3||1||46.1||33||15||14||3||13||61||2.72||.99|
Wuertz, like a Scott Downs, is exactly the kind of guy the Twins need. He's a strikeout pitcher who doesn't allow a lot of fly balls, and he has a breaking ball that will snap your knees. Opponents are swinging at 38% of pitches outside the zone, which is outstanding. His FIP is 2.10, actually lower than his traditional ERA, so if this is a guy the front office is trying to make a move on, I have to say I whole-heartedly support it.
I don't get to say that very often.
Finally, in regards to Freddy Sanchez, LEN III says this:
If the Twins don't deal for Cabrera, there are indications that the Twins haven't ruled out another push for Pittsburgh second baseman Freddy Sanchez.
This is great to hear. Picking up Wuertz and Sanchez would plug two of Minnesota's biggest holes, and even picking up a guy like Cabrera would provide the bench with a little more depth. Stay tuned as we continue to watch the wire...