"I guess the short answer would be: He’s just a great game caller," Hughes said. "I think when you ask any pitcher, it’s a lot easier to go through sequences when you know what your catcher wants to do and he knows you so well. There’s not too much second-guessing or shaking off or anything like that. It’s pretty much a nice flow to the game. I think that’s been the biggest impact for me." - Phil Hughes on how Kurt Suzuki has helped him this year
If the Twins do make a move in the next six-and-a-half hours, it's not going to be for any of the players we'd hope for. That is, if you're even hoping for the Twins to sell at all. Maybe you're one of those "just play it out with who we have" people, or maybe you're just tired of seeing the Twins totally collapse down the stretch.
Not that trading these guys would make any discernible difference in the fortunes of the 2014 season, but I'm letting my thoughts get ahead of me, now. Let's take a step back.
The Twins don't have a wild abundance of desirable talent. Kurt Suzuki is in demand, but between the organization's desire to keep him around (and that clearly extends to the field and pitching staffs) and what seems like over-the-top demands in return for a 30-year old catcher on a career year in any trade discussion, the sense that the Twins will do nothing with Suzuki today has grown palpable.
I'll rehash Love news later. But 1st Suzuki: told AGAIN last night "zero" traction on an extension. Still very possible #MNTwins just keep.— Darren Wolfson (@DarrenWolfson) July 31, 2014
Let's forget the fact that neither the Twins nor Suzuki's representatives are any closer to making an extension happen. Instead of trying to get something for a guy who may not be around next year anyway, the Twins are choosing instead to gamble that they can secure to a multi-year contract a 30-year old catcher who is unlikely to have a repeat of a season where he is an above-average bat for the first time in his career.
Whoops. There I go again, getting ahead of myself.
Josh Willingham, meanwhile, is probably staying put for an entirely different reason.
Person with direct knowledge: Appears Josh Willingham is staying put (for now) with #mntwins. August waiver deal always possible.— Mike Berardino (@MikeBerardino) July 31, 2014
There's been interest kicked around from Seattle and New York, and I know there are fans from other teams on Twitter who wouldn't be opposed to seeing Hammer in their lineups. But scouts seem to think that Willingham is more or less done, regardless of what the 11 home runs and 16% walk rates may say.
The Twins were never going to get much for Willingham. But they could get something. And now that Oakland has shipped Yoenis Cespedes to Boston for Jon Lester and Jonny Gomes, it's feasible that Billy Beane could be angling for another outfielder. They certainly could use another bat around the clubhouse. Hell, let's not leave Sam Fuld out of that conversation, either.
But if that doesn't happen - if the Twins get into a situation where neither Willingham nor Suzuki move today, what happens? Kevin Correia is the ideal August waiver trade candidate, if he doesn't just flat out lose his job at some point.
No, if the Twins are going to make a deal today, it might come down to the bullpen. Teams are always looking to shore up their relief corps, and with names like Jared Burton, Brian Duensing, and Casey Fiend around, the front office has plenty of names ready for deflection when the inevitable calls on Glen Perkins come in. And we all know that Perkins isn't going anywhere.
What would a successful trade deadline look like for you today?