Thursday, July 30, 2009

Sporadically Updated Trade Information

First: buy the book, support local bloggers and enjoy enriching baseball entertainment all afternoon long. 

Second: Haphazardly updated trade deadline notes with Twins spin -- 
  • Geoff Baker in his Seattle Times blog noted that there is the outside possibility of the M's moving right-handed reliever Mark Lowe.  Lowe is the prototypical power arm out of the 'pen, registering at 96.3-mph on average when coming with the heater which he compliments with a slider (a deviation from 2008 when he was a fastball-changeup pitcher).    
  • The Mariners were also recently linked to rumors involving Brewers shortstop JJ Hardy or the AAA prospect Alcides Escobar.   There had been an offseason movement encouraging the Twins to acquire Hardy to fill the need at short, thankfully, the Twins did not go down that road.  But now with the Brewers now 7.5 games out of the Central and injuries to Manny Parra, Dave Bush and now Jeff Suppan might mitigate the need for more pitching.  Hardy provides respectable defense, but has seen his line drive rate drop each year since 2005 (falling from 21.1 percent in 2005 to 13.5 percent in 2009) as well as a steep increase ni his strikeout rate (from 12.3 percent in 2007 to 19.4 this year) resulting in a career-low .679 OPS (We have one of those).  He's on a one-year, $4.65 million and would be in line for a raise in 2010 but considering his career OPS is .758 and that he's only 26 years old, he's probably due to rebound.  The catch is that the Brewers are probably looking for some MLB-ready pitching, which the Twins are scouring for themselves.  Paradox.   
  • Since acquiring second baseman Felipe Lopez from the Diamondbacks for a pair of C-list prospects on July 19th, Lopez has gone 11-for-32 (.344) for the Brewers.  In that same time span, Alexi Casilla has gone 4-for-27 (.148).  Before you sharpen your pitchforks, consider that Lopez has managed a .364 on-base percentage while Casilla has produced a on-base percentage three points lower (.361) by walking eight times to Lopez's one.  I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin.   
  • From a colleague in an email after the David Ortiz news broke: "No wonder Ortiz sucked while he was with the Twins. We didn't have the good drugs here. Manny hooked him up with the good stuff when he got to Boston. All the Twins can get is what Juan Rincon was on and that apparently will only make you as good as Juan Rincon."  
  • Classic Ozzie Guillen quote yesterday:  ''I want to see the piranhas in a different lake next year. 'Let's see those mother [bleepers] hit when it's 20 degrees outside. They'll have a little different record at home.'' 
  • Since Oakland does not appear to be selling on Michael Wuertz (gloveslap, La Velle), the Twins should consider traveling further south down the California coastline and find out what it would take to pry Padres closer, Heath Bell, away.  Since assuming the closer role in San Deigo after Hoffman left, Bell has embraced the high leverage situations thoroughly.  In 40.1 innings this season, Bell has struck out 48, walked just 15 and has a tidy 2.01 ERA while converting 25 for 26 save opportunities.  Bell made other adjustments including the new position title, such as moving away from a fastball-slider combo towards a fastball-curve mix, that has led to a high strikeout rate (from 8.19 in 2008 to 10.71 in '09) and a minuscule RHB average of .091 (6-for-66).  He is in his first arbitration year and would be under club control for another two seasons making the price tag on the reliever presumably steep.  Add in competition from the Marlins, Rays and Yankees, and the Twins chances slim.  For premium relief work the Twins would have to part with a premium prospect. 
  • According to Dejan Kovacevic, the Cubs are working on acquiring John Grabow as well as starter Tom Gorzelanny.  Earlier today, La Velle has gone on record stating that he did not think Grabow "addressed any of the Twins' pressing needs".  As far as middle relief goes, Grabow is as good as any out there having experience in late inning situations and matching up well against both left-handed and right-handed batters.  The left-handed Gorzelanny has had a rollercoaster career.  From 2006-2007, he went 16-15 with a 3.86 ERA and struck out an average of 6.0 K/9 in 43 starts.  The wheels fell off last year as his control vanished along with his ability to retire righties (.593 slugging against).  In his brief time up in Pittsburgh he's worked out of the bullpen but had improved in AAA striking out 85 in 87 innings with a 2.48 ERA.  The Pirates would want at least two left-handed pitchers in return -- the Twins have Brian Duensing and Ryan Mullins that fit that profile. 
  • Geoff Baker reports that the Twins had scouts out to watch Jarrod Washburn as well as look at Sean White.  Writes Baker "Minnesota does have young infielder Alexi Casilla, who is a decent glove but as you can see, not much of a bat. There's also Delmon Young, whose game has gone south and is not even a viable DH candidate."  The Mariners originally asked the Yankees for Joba Chamberlain or Phil Hughes in exchange for Washburn and they were shotdown with extreme prejudice.  Seattle currently has a list of non-A-list prospect in the Yankees system that they can select from. 
  • I interrupt the trade talks/updates for a dash of Ortiz-related hypocrisy:
    • February 2009:  "'I think you clean up the game by the testing.  I know that if I test positive by using any kind of substance, I know that I'm going to disrespect my family, the game, the fans and everybody, and I don't want to be facing that situation.  So what would I do? I won't use it, and I'm pretty sure that everybody is on the same page.'  He drew a distinction between the use of steroids through 2003, when it was not penalized, and the period since then when testing with penalties has been in effect."