Wednesday, August 17, 2011

So now what's the plan?


The Twins have traded Delmon Young and intend on offering extensions to both Michael Cuddyer and Jason Kubel. Word on the street is that the Twins intend on fielding an outfield of Ben Revere, Denard Span and Cuddyer, probably with Kubel as a DH. Here are my two primary issues with this plan.
1) The Twins since moving to Target Field should have learned that it is a death trap for left handed hitters. So what do they do? Bring back Kubel and insert Revere, a lefthanded hitter who can't freaking hit anyways.
2) They are throwing a ton of money at Kubel and Cuddyer. It hasn't come out yet how much since the contracts aren't actually in place yet, but they will be throwing a ton of money at them. The problem has been the pitching, and it's been depth, and it's been the lack of right handed bats. Signing Kubel and Cuddyer implies that they think the offensive woes can be immediately solved if Justin Morneau comes back healthy. Everyone else has been more or less healthy that will be back next year. They couldn't win, even with Mauer, Casilla, Nishioka, Valencia, Span, Kubel and Revere healthy. I may be a little brash when I say this, but Nishioka, Valencia and Revere are terrible at the plate, more specifically when they are compared to other players at their position, particularly Valencia and Revere, if he is a corner outfielder.
So what do they think? Suddenly a lineup that features 5 lefties and 2 switch hitters will suddenly be able to hit in a left handed hitter's nightmare? Of course, it's not all bad. I have stated frequently that the emphasis on speed was a mistake, but only when the emphasis was on the infield. Target Field is a pitchers park, and a spacious outfield meant the team would benefit from speedy outfielders. Flyball pitchers are going to love this outfield. Scott Baker is having a great year, and with Revere and Span out there, he will be even better next year. Kevin Slowey will love it to -- oh, wait. They wasted money on Nick Blackburn, so even though Slowey is the superior pitcher, he won't get the chance.
As for the rest of the pitchers, Brian Duensing has actually shown the most promise, as his strike out rate has gone up and his ground ball rate has gone down. He might yet be of service! Nick Blackburn, however, has never been good. Maybe as a back of the rotation starter, but he shouldn't EVER block someone like Slowey. If Liriano can reign in his control, he may be redeemed. Carl Pavano doesn't strike anyone out but has prevented opponents from hitting home runs. I don't trust him.
So by my count, if the Twins want to win next year, they need to add 2 or 3 arms to the rotation. They also need to reconstruct a bullpen, especially since Joe Nathan and Matt Capps are free agents.
So what does this leave the Twins to work with? They will have a lot of big contracts for players that haven't worked together this season. They have a shaky rotation. They still won't have a bullpen. They don't have much by way of infield prospects. They have hopes pinned to a guy who hasn't been able to perform in a year and a half. They have next to nothing.
Jason Kubel should have been traded at the deadline. A lot more money could have been saved and more holes patched if Kubel and Cuddyer aren't brought back. The farm system would have more and better prospects as a return on Kubel. Whatever the plan is, it's either beyond my comprehension or simply isn't very good.

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