Tag Archives: Minnesota Twins

Season Preview: Playoffs and Awards


With less than a week until opening day, here’s my predictions for the playoffs and the major awards as well. I already gave my division winners in each division preview post, but here’s a recap:

NL: San Francisco, Milwaukee, Philadelphia
AL: Texas, Minnesota, Boston

My two wild card predictions are Atlanta and Tampa Bay. As a result, here’s my playoff matchups:

Atlanta vs. San Francisco
Milwaukee vs. Philadelphia
Tampa Bay vs. Minnesota
Texas vs. Boston

I think that San Francisco and Philadelphia will both just have too much pitching not to advance in these matchups, and will face each other in the NL Championship. On the other side, I think that Tampa and Boston will be the top two teams overall in the league, and will advance to the AL Championship

Tampa Bay vs. Boston
San Francisco vs. Philadelphia

In the AL Championship, I think that the Boston lineup will be just too much for Tampa, despite potential flaws in the Boston pitching staff. In the National League, the addition of a 4th ace by the Phillies may be too much for the Giants, but it will definitely be a series that is built around pitching.

Boston vs. Philadelphia

In what appears likely to be the top offensive team facing off against one of the best pitching staffs in recent memory, I think that Philadelphia would likely defeat Boston. Off the top of my head guess makes me think it will take 6 games.

Awards Predictions

Here’s my picks for the major awards:

AL Rookie of the Year: Jeremy Hellickson
NL Rookie of the Year: Brandon Belt
AL Cy Young Award: Jon Lester
NL Cy Young Award: Roy Halladay
AL Most Valuable Player: Evan Longoria
NL Most Valuable Player: Ryan Braun
AL Manager of the Year: Joe Maddon
NL Manager of the Year: Ron Roenicke

Season Preview: AL Central


With Spring Training well under way and the first games already in the books, I figured it was a good time to take a look at my own predictions for the league, and the changes the respective teams have made. Today’s group is the American League Central.

Last Year’s Records
Minnesota – 94-68
Chicago - 88-74
Detroit – 81-81
Cleveland – 69-93
Kansas City – 67-95

Notable Additions

Chicago - Adam Dunn, Lastings Milledge

Cleveland – Orlando Cabrera

Detroit – Victor Martinez, Brad Penny, Joaquin Benoit

Kansas City – Alcides Escobar, Lorenzo Cain, Jeff Francoeur, Melky Cabrera, Vin Mazzaro

Minnesota – Tsuyoshi Nishioka

Notable Losses

Chicago – Andruw Jones, Manny Ramirez, Freddy Garcia, J.J. Putz, Bobby Jenks, Scott Linebrink

Cleveland – NONE

Detroit – Johnny Damon, Jeremy Bonderman, Gerald Laird, Armando Galarraga

Kansas City – Zack Greinke, David DeJesus, Brian Bannister, Gil Meche

Minnesota – J.J. Hardy, Orlando Hudson, Brendan Harris, Jon Rauch, Brian Fuentes

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Who are the Faces of their Franchise? AL Central Edition


Next up in my look at each organization’s Face of the Franchise is the AL Central…

  • White Sox – I think that at this point it has to either be Paul Konerko or Mark Buehrle. Both players have been with the team a long time, and both are known for being with the team as well. Buehrle may have gotten himself into a little bit of hot water earlier in the week regarding his comments about Michael Vick, but I think either would fit this title. Continue reading

Michael Young’s Trade Request


According to MLBTR, Michael Young has requested a trade, and will only accept a trade to 8 teams. From T.R. Sullivan, those teams are: Cardinals, Yankees, Twins, Astros, Rockies, Dodgers, Angels, Padres. Realistically, what of those are the best fit?

According to Cot’s Baseball Contracts, Young is currently under contract for 3 more seasons for a total of $48 million. Realistically, unless the Rangers eat a major portion of the contract, the Twins, Padres, and Astros seem like poor fits. But what about the rest of the teams?

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Prospect Review – Kyle Gibson


The next prospect up for review is Kyle Gibson, pitcher for the Minnesota Twins.

The Basics
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
How Acquired: Drafted by the Minnesota Twins with the 22nd pick in the 2009 amateur draft.
Age as of 4/1/11: 23

Scouting Reports and Statistics
The Baseball Cube

Lev   W L  ERA GS   IP  H HR BB SO  WHIP
A+    4 1 1.87  7 43.1 33  2 12 40 1.038
AA    7 5 3.68 16 93.0 91  5 22 77 1.215
AAA   0 0 1.72  3 15.2 12  0  5  9 1.085

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/26/2011.
 

Prospect Ranks
Hardball Times: #1 (MIN – 2011)
Deep Leagues: #30 (Overall -  2011), #14 (SP – 2011)
Bullpen Banter: #16 (SP – 2011)
MLB.COM: #40 (Overall – 2011)
Baseball America: #1 (MIN – 2011)
John Sickels: #1(MIN – 2011) B+
Scouting Book: #7 (RHP – 2011), #24 (Overall – 2011)
Top Prospect Alert: #1 (MIN – 2011)

Analysis

Gibson was drafted by the Twins in the first round of the 2009 draft out of the University of Missouri, and signed for a $1.8 Million signing bonus.  Gibson fell a bit in the draft, as he missed 6 weeks of playing time in his last college season due to a stress fracture in his right forearm. It appears that had he not suffered this injury, he likely would have been a top-10 pick.

He did not make his professional debut until 2010, and started the season with the Twins High-A affiliate in Fort Myers. He advanced quickly, making it all the way up to AAA before the end of the season. During 2010, he posted an 11-6 record with a 2.96 ERA and 126 strikeouts against 39 walks in 152 innings total.

From ESPN’s scouting report pre-draft on Gibson:

He’s tall and projectable, already showing a solid-average fastball at 89-93 mph with good downhill plane. His changeup is ahead of his slider, although both project as above-average pitches; he turns the changeup over well and gets good fading action on it, while the slider is less consistent, at times showing good bite and tilt but at others going a little soft. On days when he has the sharp slider, he’ll miss plenty of bats. His command and control have always been above-average.

I like what I am hearing about him overall, as it sounds like he could very well be a solid major league pitcher. Another snippet, from Saberscouting’s report on him from 2008:

Mechanics – Smooth, easy arm action, shouldn’t have serious arm problems. Very little effort. Has a pause in his delivery just before his release, allows his arm to catch up. Drifts out over the rubber, weight leaks forwards, costs him a few ticks of his velocity. Doesn’t drive with his legs, relies on his fast arm. Throws over the top, creating good downward action. No windup.

Overall, it sounds like he will continue to move quickly through the Twins’ system, and could be Minnesota very soon.

Outlook

I have read a few different reports where he is mentioned as a possible #2/#3 starter candidate, and the numbers to this point make me think that is possible. He does well to control his walks compared to his strikeouts, and appears to keep the ball in the park fairly well (7 homers last year in 152 innings). He received an invite to Spring Training from the Twins, and while I don’t think he will make the team out of there, he could be up before the end of the season.

Prediction for 2011

10 wins, 3.50 ERA, 125 strikeouts, 40 walks, 150 innings pitched (AAA)

Expected ETA

A callup in 2011 isn’t out of the question, but if he struggles at AAA I could see him staying there until 2012.

Season Previews in Review: American League Central


Back during Spring Training, I took a look at each team and made predictions about how each team would do and how I thought their season would go. This was the first year doing this, and I figured now was a good time to take a look back and see how it went. I reviewed the AL East previously, and now it’s on to the AL Central.

Chicago White Sox

Predicted Record: 84-78            Actual Record: 88-74

This team’s record ended up slightly better than I thought it would, but actually finished in the same spot in the standings I believed that they would. They got solid pitching as usual, but not as much from Jake Peavy once he suffered a season ending injury. The move to second base for Gordon Beckham seemed to cause him some serious struggles throughout most of the season, and he didn’t seem to get his bat back until after the All-Star break.

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The AL Connie Mack Award


Over at the Baseball Bloggers’ Alliance, we will be voting over the coming weeks on our award winners for the regular season. First up on the voting docket is the American League’s manager of the Year, the Connie Mack Award winner.

When I started to look at the manager of the year for the AL, there really were only 4 candidates who came to mind as having very good years this season. These are in order from east to west (approximately), and I will have my final vote at the bottom.

Joe Girardi (NYY)

Yes, they have continued to spend more money than any other team in the history of sports practically for their talent. But when I look at the team as it stands now, I find it really interesting that the Yankees have done so well. There is pretty clearly a large problem in the pitching rotation, with both A.J. Burnett and Javier Vazquez struggling mightily this year. C. C. Sabathia has had a great season, but the team has also had injuries to key players during the season (Alex Rodriguez, Andy Pettitte), as well as under performing players to adjust for (Derek Jeter, Curtis Granderson, Mark Teixeira).

Joe Maddon (TAM)

This was a team that seemed to be widely thought to be the 3rd best in their division, and has pretty much been at the top of the AL East’s standings from the word go. The team has been lead by their solid pitching staff, and Maddon has continued to plug in the pieces the team needs around All-Stars Evan Longoria and Carl Crawford.

Ron Gardenhire (MIN)

The expectations coming into this season were high, as the team was fresh off of locking up its brightest star (Mauer), and moving into its brand new downtown stadium. For the first time in 3 years, the team clinched the division title before the end of the season, and was actually the first to do so. Gardenhire has done this in spite of being without one or both of his former MVPs (Mauer, Morneau) since mid July. Throw in that he’s done this with a patchwork of starting pitchers behind Francisco Liriano, and the job looks even better.

Ron Washington (TEX)

He seems to be the complete surprise of the whole season for managers, as there was concern prior to the season that he would be fired due to issues involving drugs. The team was widely expected to do very little this year, and behind MVP candidate Josh Hamilton and recently converted starting pitcher C.J. Wilson the team outperformed expectations early on. Despite the distraction that the change in ownership of the team became, the team continued their excellent performance, enough so that the team went out and acquired a bona fide ace in Cliff Lee. Despite a weak division, the Rangers won it going away.

My Vote

For me, it came down to the expectation of performance, or lack there of in this particular manager’s case. No one expected the Rangers to do anything but finish out the stretch, and their skipper helped to lead them to the playoffs this season.

  1. Ron Washington (TEX)
  2. Ron Gardenhire (MIN)
  3. Joe Maddon (TAM)

Trade Retrospective – Johan Santana to the Mets


On February 2nd, 2008, the Minnesota Twins finally decided on an offer for Cy Young winner Johan Santana, and sent the ace to the New York Mets for OF Carlos Gomez and pitchers Deolis Guerra, Philip Humber , and Kevin Mulvey.

The Background

The Twins were entering the 2008 season knowing full well that their top starting pitcher, Johan Santana, would be eligible for free agency after the season, and was extremely unlikely to sign with the team again. It was practically common knowledge by the end of the previous season that the Twins would be listening to offers for Santana, and looking back at some of them, are probably wishing that they had taken other ones instead. From an ESPN.COM article prior to the trade:

The Twins have continued to ask for Ellsbury, so the Red Sox have flipped Ellsbury back into their offer, sources say, while removing Lester, and upgraded slightly the rest of their proposed package slightly — perhaps to include right-handed pitcher Justin Masterson. Presumably, any offer with Ellsbury would not include Crisp.

As time progressed, many of the other offers began to back off from teams like the Yankees and Red Sox, and the Twins were practically left with only the Mets as an option.

The Mets were once again looking for an ace starting pitcher, as Pedro Martinez had aged quite faster than even they had anticipated. If they were to be competitive in the NL East, they would need a top-of-the-rotation starter to help lead them.

The Moving Pieces

In Minnesota, the Twins slotted Carlos Gomez into the starting CF role and gave him the tough job of having to fill the shoes of the team’s favorite player, Torii Hunter, who had signed with the Angels in the offseason. Kevin Mulvey and Philip Humber were both sent to AAA Rochester to be in their starting rotation, and Deolis Guerra was sent to the Twins’ High-A affiliate in Fort Myers.

In New York, the Mets put Johan Santana at the head of their starting rotation, and immediately signed him to a 6 year, $137.5 million contract extension.

What Happened Next

The Twins actually performed very well without their former ace, finishing with an 88-75 record and losing to the White Sox in the play-in game for the AL Central division title. Nick Blackburn started the 163rd game against the White Sox, and actually pitched extremely well, throwing 6 1/3 innings and only allowing a 7th inning homerun to Jim Thome.

The Mets were very happy with the performance of their new starting pitcher, as he went 16-7 with a 2.53 ERA. Unfortunately, the Mets fell just short of their goals for the season, as they went 89-73, finishing 3 games back of NL East winner (and eventual World Series Champ) Philadelphia Phillies, and 1 game back of the Wild Card winning Milwaukee Brewers.

The Net Moves

Twins – First Level

  • Carlos Gomez actually only spent 2 seasons with the Twins, and was a bit of a disappointment. He hit .248/.293/.352 with 10 HR, 87 RBI, and 47 SB in his time there. He was traded after the 2009 season to the Brewers for SS J.J. Hardy.
  • Philip Humber never really panned out as a prospect for the Twins. He posted a 6.10 ERA in 13 appearances with the Twins over 2 seasons, and became a free agent after the 2009 season. He signed with the Royals, and was not eligible for any compensation.
  • Kevin Mulvey did not make his major league debut until 2009 with the Twins, making just 2 appearances totalling 1 1/3 innings and 4 earned runs (ERA of 27.00). He was sent to the Diamondbacks to complete the trade which brought Jon Rauch to the Twin Cities.
  • Deolis Guerra remains with the organization, and is still very young (just 21 at this point). He has split the 2010 season between AA and AAA, but has not really had any success at either level so far, posting a 2-10 record this season with a 5.66 ERA and a 72/38 strikeout to walk rate in 111 innings.

Mets – First Level

  • Johan Santana has been a very good pitcher for the Mets, but has had his moments of lessened quality. Overall, he has posted a 37-22 record with a 2.90 ERA and 457 strikeouts in 555 2/3 innings pitched. Unfortunately, the Mets have not made the playoffs in either of the two completed seasons, and are extremely unlikely to do so this season either.

Twins – Second Level

  • J.J. Hardy has been the starting shortstop for the Twins in 2010, but has missed a lot of time due to injuries. In 62 games, he has hit 4 homeruns and driven in 21 runs while hitting .258.
  • Jon Rauch was called upon to be the closer at the start of 2010 for the Twins once it was clear that Joe Nathan would need TJ surgery. In his 1+ seasons with the Twins, Rauch has posted a 7-2 record, 21 saves, and a 2.62 ERA. Unfortunately for him, he had stretch of poor outings, which led the Twins to acquire Matt Capps at the trade deadline, and relegate Rauch to the 8th inning role.

Overall Reactions

It’s still a bit early to claim that this trade has definitely had a winner, but it looks like it’s going to be the Mets. Santana has been very good and exactly what they were hoping for, and none of the players that the Twins got in return have panned out the way that they had hoped. When you start looking at some of the other offers that were out there (Ellsbury from Boston, Hughes from the Yankees), hindsight really doesn’t look kindly upon the Twins. It still remains to be seen how this will turn out, as the Mets have to be judged on the entirety of the contract extension that they gave to Santana, as it was one of the ways that he would approve the trade to begin with.

Trade Deadline Review


Well, we are now officially one day past the non-waiver trade deadline, and there have been quite a few different trades made. It was definitely one of the more active periods in a lot of years. I wrote up the major trades as they happened, and you can read my thoughts with the links below.

Major Trades

Texas Rangers acquire SP Cliff Lee and P Mark Lowe from the Seattle Mariners for 1B Justin Smoak and 3 minor leaguers
Los Angeles Angels acquire SP Dan Haren from the Arizona Diamondbacks for SP Joe Saunders and 3 minor leaguers
Philadelphia Phillies acquire SP
Roy Oswalt from the Houston Astros for SP J.A. Happ and 2 minor leaguers

Semi-Major Deals

1. New York Yankees acquire RP Kerry Wood from the Cleveland Indians for a player to be named later or cash
2. New York Yankees acquire 1B Lance Berkman from the Houston Astros for P Mark Melancon and Jimmy Paredes
3. Los Angeles Dodgers acquire SP Ted Lilly and IF Ryan Theriot from the Chicago Cubs for IF Blake DeWitt, minor league P Brett Wallach and Kyle Smit
4. St. Louis Cardinals acquire SP Jake Westbrook from the Cleveland Indians and minor leaguer Nick Greenwood from the San Diego Padres, San Diego Padres acquire OF Ryan Ludwick from the St. Louis Cardinals, Cleveland Indians acquire minor leaguer Corey Kluber from the San Diego Padres
5. Pittsburgh Pirates acquire C Chris Snyder and OF Pedro Ciriaco from the Arizona Diamondbacks for P D.J. Carrasco, IF Bobby Crosby, and OF Ryan Church
6. Chicago White Sox acquire SP Edwin Jackson from the Arizona Diamondbacks for SP Daniel Hudson and P David Holmberg
7. Minnesota Twins acquire RP Matt Capps from the Washington Nationals for C Wilson Ramos and minor league P Joe Testa
8. Texas Rangers acquire IF Jorge Cantu from the Florida Marlins for minor leaguer pitchers Evan Reed and Omar Poveda
9. Los Angeles Dodgers acquire OF Scott Podsednik from the Kansas City Royals for minor leaguers C Lucas May and P Elisaul Pimentel
10. Los Angeles Angels acquire 3B Alberto Callaspo from the Kansas City Royals for P Sean O’Sullivan and P Will Smith
11. Toronto Blue Jays acquire SS Yunel Escobar and P Jo-Jo Reyes from the Atlanta Braves for SS Alex Gonzalez and minor leaguers Tyler Pastornicky and Tim Collins
12. Los Angeles Dodgers acquire RP Octavio Dotel from the Pittsburgh Pirates for OF Andrew Lambo and P James McDonald

Minor Moves

1. Texas Rangers acquire IF Cristian Guzman from the Washington Nationals for minor leaguers Ryan Tatsuko and Tanner Roark
2. Texas Rangers acquire C Bengie Molina from the San Francisco Giants for P Chris Ray
3. Toronto Blue Jays acquire 1B Mike Jacobs from the New York Mets for a player to be named later
4. San Diego Padres acquire IF Miguel Tejada from the Baltimore Orioles for minor league P Wynn Pelzer
5. Tampa Bay Rays acquire RP Chad Qualls from the Arizona Diamondbacks for a player to be named later
6. New York Yankees acquire OF Austin Kearns from the Cleveland Indians for ?
7. Detroit Tigers acquire IF Jhonny Peralta from the Cleveland Indians for minor league P Giovanny Soto
8. San Francisco Giants acquire P Javier Lopez from the Pittsburgh Pirates for P Joe Martinez and OF John Bowker
9. Atlanta Braves acquire IF Wilkin Ramirez from the Detroit Tigers for cash or a player to be named later
10. Florida Marlins acquire RP Will Ohman from the Baltimore Orioles for P Rick VandenHurk
11. San Francisco Giants acquire RP Ramon Ramirez from the Boston Red Sox for P Daniel Turpen
12. Atlanta Braves acquire OF Rick Ankiel and RP Kyle Farnsworth from the Kansas City Royals for P Jesse Chavez, OF Gregor Blanco, and minor league P Tim Collins
13. Boston Red Sox acquire C Jarrod Saltalamacchia from the Texas Rangers for 1B Chris McGuiness, P Ramon Mendez and a player to be named later or cash

Wow. There’s still stuff coming in as I write this, and in the last hour there have been a lot of these to get done. So who did well here and who didn’t?

Winners

The Yankees – Let’s see if we have this right. The Yankees picked up Lance Berkman to be their designated hitter. They added Kerry Wood to help solidify the back end of the bullpen behind Mariano Rivera. And they got both of them for a pair of players that are of no use to the Yankees, and even got some money in the deals? Really? They already have the best record in the Majors, and have decidedly improved their team with both acquisitions. Oh, and they added to their bench depth with Austin Kearns as well.

The Rangers – With a decent lead in the AL West, the Rangers went out and got themselves an ace starter (Lee), a solid catcher who can help them play defense at the position (Molina), a run producing right handed bat who can play two positions (Cantu), a backup infielder who will be able to spell their third baseman and shortstop, and fill in while their second baseman is on the disabled list (Guzman),  and moved a player that they had soured on for some prospects. They are the prohibitive favorite in the AL West at this point, now being 8 games ahead of the 2nd place Angels and 8.5 of the 3rd place Athletics. They plugged nearly every gap they had in their team, and will go into the pennant chase with a very good chance of being in the World Series at the end of it.

The Angels – Even though the moves may end up being more for next season, acquiring Dan Haren to give them a very good 1-2 punch in their rotation for “some magic beans” as Matthew Berry put it on the Fantasy Focus podcast was a stroke of genius. Callaspo also gives them a solid hitter to play at 3B which they had sorely been missing. While it may not be enough to catch the Rangers, they gave up very little of value to do both trades.

The Pirates – They took D.J. Carrasco, Bobby Crosby, Javier Lopez, Octavio Dotel, and Ryan Church and turned them into a major league backstop (Snyder), two solid potential major leaguers (Bowker and Martinez), and 2 higher end, albeit risky prospects (Lambo, McDonald). Someone must have put something in Neal Huntington’s coffee that helped out a lot. They did extremely well to turn a lot of random pieces that aren’t really that helpful into all that.

The Royals – Pieces that aren’t for the future: Podsednik, Ankiel, Farnsworth, Callaspo. All moved for players with varying levels of upside who can help with the rebuilding process: Lucas May, Tim Collins, Jesse Chavez, Gregor Blanco, Sean O’Sullivan, Will Smith. Not the most amazing group of players, and definitely no high-end prospects here. But the Royals have a lot of high-end prospects already, and need others to help give them some balance as well with regard to position scarcity and depth overall. Very well done today.

The Padres – They gave up a pair of pitching prospects to acquire a much needed outfield bat, and a utility player who should provide some value over the remainder of the season. Nothing too major here, and definitely nothing that mortgages the future. I like the Ludwick acquisition, as he could see an improvement with a change of scenery. I’m not 100% sold on the Tejada acquisition, but they didn’t really give up that much to get him in my opinion.

Losers

The Nationals – The trade of Matt Capps was nice, netting them a very good catching prospect in Wilson Ramos. But the way that they handled Adam Dunn leading up to the trade deadline was inexcusable. They clearly had not made up their mind as to what they wanted to do with him, and in the end they simply ran out of time. They clearly could have gotten more for him had they moved him instead of waiting for his free agency to play out, and the only reason to do that would have been to get him signed to an extension (which they didn’t do either). Not sure what happened here, but we’ll see if this was a really bad plan from the start.

The Dodgers – In a division where they are 7.5 games back of the leader and 5 games back of the wild card leader, the Dodgers decided to go for it, sending prospects Brett Wallach, Kyle Smit, Lucas May, Elisaul PimentelAndrew Lambo, and James McDonald (along with Blake DeWitt) to other teams to acquire: the remainder of this season from Octavio Dotel, Ted Lilly and Scott Podsednik, and also Ryan Theriot. I’m pretty sure that if they had offered those players to the Diamondbacks they would have been able to get Dan Haren, Kelly Johnson, and a bullpen arm. I’m also pretty convinced that they could have offered that group to the Mariners and gotten Cliff Lee, Jose Lopez and possibly David Aardsma. I’m not at all impressed with what they did here, and are only one bad week from being completely out of the race.

The Orioles – It’s a tough beat, but they were only able to move Will Ohman and Miguel Tejada, and would have been served by moving Ty Wigginton and Kevin Millwood, among others. Unfortunately, neither player has been playing well of late, and had essentially managed to knock their own values down to next to nothing.

The Twins – They needed some help in the bullpen, and really could have used another starting pitcher behind Francisco Liriano and Carl Pavano. Unfortunately, they only filled one of those gaps, and at a cost that seems high even considering that the prospect that they gave up had no place to play in the Twins’ future.

Mixed Bag

The Astros – They were able to get out from under a lot of the big dollar contracts owed to Roy Oswalt and Lance Berkman, and got back at least a reasonable return. Brett Wallace will slot in at 1B to replace Berkman, and J.A. Happ will fill Oswalt’s slot in the rotation. But time will tell if they get anything other than salary relief for Berkman, and Happ and Wallace will have to be very good to replace the value of Oswalt in my opinion.

The Phillies – They gave up a lot more to get Oswalt than they got back in return for Cliff Lee, who would have played a similar role for the Phillies this season had he not been traded. Oswalt will need to be the piece that moves them over the top for this one to really be a winner for them.

The Diamondbacks – They acquired a pretty good young pitcher in return for Edwin Jackson (Hudson). But they practically gave away Dan Haren, a better pitcher who was not that much more expensive than Jackson. They got back a bunch of garbage essentially for their second catcher Snyder. Crosby is a free agent after the season, and Church and Carrasco are both likely candidates for a non-tender after the season. They also did not move Kelly Johnson and Adam LaRoche, both of whom had a lot of value built up despite poor performance of late. Some of the players they acquired could turn out to be good, but it remains to be seen.

The White Sox – They really could have used a bat, and it sounds like they were trying to get one by acquiring Edwin Jackson. I honestly can’t remember the last time I heard about a player being acquired with the hope of moving him to another team, only to have that other team tell them it wasn’t enough. Jackson is a nice pitcher, but is not that much better than Hudson should be.

Overall, a very exciting trade deadline, and there is still the possibility that we will see a lot more trades before the waiver deadline of August 31st.

Trade Retrospective – Nomar Garciaparra


On July 31, 2004, as a part of a massive 4 team trade, the following happened:

Chicago Cubs acquired SS Nomar Garciaparra and OF Matt Murton
Minnesota Twins acquired minor leaguer Justin Jones
Boston Red Sox acquired 1B Doug Mientkiewicz and SS Orlando Cabrera
Montreal Expos acquired SS Alex Gonzalez and minor leaguers Francis Beltran and Brendan Harris

The Background

The Red Sox had previously tried to move Garciaparra after nearly acquiring Alex Rodriguez from the Rangers, so it wasn’t really a huge surprise that he might get moved during the 2004 season. He was due to be a free agent after the 2004 season, and the Sox were hoping to improve their team overall.

The Cubs were 56-48 at the trade deadline, and over 10 games out of first place. They were, however, in the wild card race, being only 2 games back of that at the time. They had been running the offensive (in a bad way) shortstop Ramon Martinez out there every day, and clearly were in need of an upgrade.

The Twins were looking to cut salary, and had a top prospect ready to take over the first base job in Justin Morneau.

The Expos appear to have been looking for some return on free agent to be Orlando Cabrera. There had been concerns about what would happen to the team following the season. From a CBC article then:

Montreal, which occupies the National League East basement, is rumoured to be on the move to several cities, including Washington, Northern Virginia, Las Vegas, Norfolk, Va., Portland, Ore., and Monterey, Mexico.

The Moving Pieces

In Boston, Nomaah was gone, but the Red Sox had found an able replacement in free agent to be Orlando Cabrera, and had a solid backup first baseman in Dougie Baseball. GM Theo Epstein had this to say about the trade at the time:

“We lost a great player in Nomar Garciaparra, but we’ve made our club more functional,” Epstein said. “We weren’t going to win a World Series with our defense.”

In Chicago, Nomaah had arrived with the hopes that the Cubs would be able to return to the playoffs for a second straight season, something that they had not done in a very long time. From GM Jim Hendry (via SI.com article):

“I think he will bring a ton to the table and a presence on the field and off,” Hendry said. “You never go to work thinking he’s going to be available.”

The Twins got the salary relief that they were looking for, and were able to plug in Morneau as the everyday first baseman. Strangely, the Twins were actually hosting the Red Sox on the day of the trade, and Mientkiewicz actually played against the Twins in that game. From Mientkiewicz (via SI.com article):

“It’s a little awkward right now, but I think it’s better for everyone,” he said. “The situation over there was a rough one. They gave me an opportunity in the big leagues, and what the Twins are all about is they give the young guys chances.”

The Expos were able to get 3 solid, if not amazing players or prospects in return for Cabrera.

What Happened Next

The Red Sox, helped by acquisitions Orlando Cabrera and Doug Mientkiewicz among many others, won the World Championship in 2004 without the services of Nomar Garciaparra. In Chicago, the Cubs ended up with an 89-73 record, good for only 3rd place in the NL Central and out of the playoff picture. The Twins

The Net Moves

Red Sox – First Level

  • Orlando Cabrera hit .294/.320/.465 with 6 homeruns for the Red Sox, and left via free agency after the season. He netted the Red Sox two compensation draft picks, which they used rather well: Jacoby Ellsbury was drafted with the first pick, and Jed Lowrie with the other.
  • Doug Mientkiewicz hit .215/.286/.318 with 1 homerun and caught the final out of the World Series. He was traded on 1/27/2005 to the Mets for minor leaguer Ian Bladergroen.

Twins – First Level

  • Justin Jones was a reasonable prospect for the Twins, in spite of only being 19 years old when he was acquired. He had been the #56 prospect according to Baseball America, and posted his best season with the Twins in 2005, going 7-3 with a 3.01 ERA at High-A. He was no longer with the organization after the 2006 season, spending 3 seasons with the Nationals. It appears he retired after the 2009 season.

Cubs -  First Level

  • Nomar Garciaparra hit .297/.364/.455 with 4 homeruns and 20 runs batted in for the Cubs in 2004, and resigned with the team as a free agent after the season for a 1 year contract. In 2005, he hit .283/.320/.452 with 9 homeruns and 30 runs batted in over 62 games due to injuries. He left via free agency, and no compensation was received for him.
  • Matt Murton spent from 2005 to 2008 with the Cubs, posting a .294/.362/.448 line with 28 homeruns and 104 runs batted in over 308 games. He was one of the players included in a trade that netted the Cubs pitchers Rich Harden and Chad Gaudin from the Athletics.

Expos/Nationals – First Level

  • Alex Gonzalez was only with the Expos for 35 games, posting a .241/.289/.383 line before being traded as a part of a conditional deal to the Padres. It doesn’t appear that any compensation or players was received for Gonzalez.
  • Francis Beltran made 11 appearances for the Expos in 2004, with a 7.53 ERA in 14 1/3 innings pitched. He missed the 2005 season due to injury, and spent the 2006 season in the minors for the Nationals. He left via free agency after the 2006 season.
  • Brendan Harris appeared in 41 games from 2004 to 2006 with the Expos/Nationals as a bench player. He was included in the trade that netted the Nationals OF Austin Kearns, IF Felipe Lopez, and P Ryan Wagner from the Reds.

Red Sox – Second Level

  • Jacoby Ellsbury is currently with the organization, but still recovering from broken ribs this season. To date, he has hit. 295/.347/.412 with 20 homeruns, 128 runs batted in, and 131 stolen bases in just over 3 seasons. He has lead the American League in steals twice, with 50 and 70 respectively.
  • Jed Lowrie is also with the Red Sox still, but has not had nearly the success that Ellsbury has. In 116 games over 3 seasons, he has hit .236/.316/.370, and is essentially viewed as a bench/role player for the Red Sox at this point. A change of scenery might be good for him, as there is no place on the field for him to play with SS Marco Scutaro and 2B Dustin Pedroia manning the middle infield spots long term.
  • Ian Bladergroen spent 2005 and 2006 with the Red Sox in the minors, but was in independent ball from then onward.

Cubs – Second Level

  • Rich Harden pitched well down the stretch of the 2008 season, going 5-1 with a 1.77 ERA and 89 strikeouts over 71 innings. He was also with the Cubs in 2009, but injuries derailed parts of both seasons for him, as he went 9-9 with a 4.09 ERA and 171 strikeouts in 141 innings. He left after the 2009 season via free agency, and signed with the Texas Rangers. No free agent compensation draft picks were received.
  • Chad Gaudin went 4-2 with a 6.26 ERA in 24 relief appearances for the Cubs down the stretch, and was not tendered a contract after the season.

Expos/Nationals – Second Level

  • Austin Kearns played for the Nationals through the 2009 season, and posted a .242/.346/.376 line with 34 homeruns and 159 runs batted in over 390 games. He was not tendered a contract after the 2009 season, and became a free agent.
  • Felipe Lopez was with the team through the trade deadline in 2008. He hit .250/.320/.344 with 49 steals in his 3 seasons there. He was released on July 31, 2008 by the Nationals.
  • Ryan Wagner was with the Nationals through the 2008 season, posting a 3-5 record with a 5.05 ERA in 40 appearances. He is currently out of organized baseball.

Overall Reactions

This is one of those trades that is extremely hard to dissect. Clearly, the Red Sox did well with these acquisitions as they were able to win the 2004 World Series. Throw in the fact that they used one of the draft picks they received for Cabrera to draft potential All-Star Jacoby Ellsbury also helps out a lot with them potentially winning the trade. The Cubs didn’t get quite what they needed, but did get solid production from Nomar when he was healthy, and also ended up netting them Rich Harden for 1 1/2 seasons by moving the other player in the deal, Matt Murton. The Twins, sadly, look like they did the worst in the trade, but accomplished what they wanted to in clearing a spot for prospect Justin Morneau.  Even the Expos did alright with this trade as they used one of the pieces in that trade to help facilitate the theft of Austin Kearns and Felipe Lopez from the Reds. Overall, I would rank them in this order: Red Sox, Expos, Cubs, Twins. But I think that all the teams ended up accomplishing what their goals were for this trade.