The period of life we just endured is my least favorite of the entire baseball calender year. The time frame that starts about two weeks after the World Series and ends on the first day of Winter Meetings. Now that we have survived a millennium of no news, the rumors are pouring in!
This is easily the most enjoyable aspect of being a baseball fan. Speculation, although 90% false, always provides juicy pieces of candy that fans can chew on for a while until the flavor runs out. Last year, with the Santana Sweepstakes, these Winter Meetings provided more stress than it did enjoyment.
This year, though, just hours after the Meetings started we are up to our ears with false rumors. It is this time of the year that has everyone believing that if they were the GM of their favorite team they could bring home a Championship with three simple moves.
That applies to me as well. Over the next few days I will detail what I think the Twins need to do in order to reach October baseball. They will obviously be debatable, so please, debate. Am I a lunatic? A genius? Let me know!
Step one out of three in the World Series Or Bust Plan…
Step 1 – Trade Delmon Young
When it boils down, there are two views to this argument. One, the Twins should not trade this 22-year old because of the possibility of his being the next great power hitter. Two, we don’t know that Young will be even decent, and we should get rid of him before he falls apart. Basically, it comes down to the “potential” and “unknown” factor.
In this case, what we don’t know can certainly hurt us. It can reach out and slap us in the face if Young becomes the next David Ortiz.
But I’m willing to take that gamble. I’m ready to give up all of Young’s potential for a player who would fill a greater hole, or bigger need.
In case you weren’t already aware, Mr. Delmon Young is not wanted in Minnesota. At an event a few weeks ago Gardy made it clear that he would rather have Cuddyer, Gomez, and Span in the outfield before Young. Since then, the blogosphere has erupted with talk that a trade is imminent.
So, if Young were to leave his new baseball home of Minnesota, where would he go?
The Phillies and Giants have expressed interest. As of now, only the Phillies have come remotely close to being close with their own Jason Donald being thrown around like a Frisbee.
The Twins have made it known that they won’t simply swap Young for Donald, and that the World Champion Phillies will have to come up with something better than that. Philadelphia has hesitated…and that is where we sit.
Before I go on, I think it would be wise to ramble about Donald for a while. If the Twins were to trade for Donald, one very noticeable immediate impact would be the fresh pun content for Twins bloggers. No longer will we mock comedy by using the LNP moniker. (No, not the Liberal National Party…”Little Nicky Punto.”) Jokes about everything relating to Donald Duck, Donald Trump, or Donald from Thomas and Friends would be thrown around like never before.
On the baseball field, things will turn out a little brighter. Donald is currently in Double-A Reading. Here are his career batting stats, courtesy of FanGraphs.
Not too shabby. Anyone who can hit .307/.386/.497 with a .884 OPS is a good hitter. In fact, Donald is the third best overall hitter in the Eastern League. There is no doubt that he shows promise, and will almost definitely have a solid major league career.
The question, though, is how good he will be, and where he will play.
Right now, Donald has started every one of his minor league games as shortstop, which would be perfect for the Twins. There are third base solutions just over the horizon in the Minnesota organization (read: Valencia and/or Hughes) and Buscher is more than capable of holding his own while we wait.
Shortstop, however, is a more urgent need. Obviously, Donald won’t be able to come right over to the Twins and slide right into the shortstop position; he is only in Double-A. He needs grooming, which he will get in Rochester in 2009. The best case scenario in this situation would be that Donald tears up the International League and works his way to the Twins by mid- to late-season 2009.
The most probable scenario is that Donald spends 2009 in Rochester, starts 2010 with the Redwings as well, but quickly becomes the starting shortstop in the Bigs.
In all likelihood, Donald will be nothing more than a decent shortstop prototype with a little more pop than usual. There is even talk about Donald eventually becoming a third-baseman. For the record, if there is any truth to that I am fully against this trade.
Whatever the case, Donald almost certainly won’t be the next Chase Utley, barring some supernatural ability increase (which is always a possibility).
Speaking of Utley, he is the main reason why the Phillies are hesitating to give up Donald. Philadelphia is not yet positive about Utley’s health status, as he is coming back from injury. With Pedro Feliz also banged up, they really need a security plug in Triple A should any unforeseen event force them to call up the reserves.
Without Donald, 32-year old Oscar Roubles becomes the go-to guy in Triple-A Lehigh Valley.
When all is said and done, I’m not sure the Twins should go for Donald. They should certainly wait and see who the Giants end up offering before making any rash decisions, though. Although it goes against my “measure twice, cut once” motto, this saying may be more appropriate: “When in Vegas, do as the Veganites.”
The Twins may need to take a chance and roll the dice…before it’s too late.