Twins Rumblings

A various assortment of links on the Minnesota Twins, plus a thought on the team’s biggest need:

And that brings me to what I think is the Twins’ biggest need. The one thing that had to be taken from the Twins’ playoff series against the New York Yankees – besides the fact that the offense disappeared once again – is the need for an ace.

John Lackey, who pitched for the Los Angeles Angels this past season, is on the free-agent market, but are the Twins willing to spend that kind of money? I’m guessing not.

No, the Twins will probably go cheap. I have to think the chances of Pavano ending up in a Twins’ uniform again are pretty good, but the Twins should use caution. Yeah, Pavano was durable this season, but don’t forget his time in New York.

So how do you get an ace? The Twins likely won’t sign Lackey, and they’re probably not trading for Roy Halladay of Toronto. The one way to do it is take a chance. And that chance might come in the form of Rich Harden.

Harden, a free agent who pitched for the Chicago Cubs, has had well-documented injury problems throughout his career. But the Twins might need to roll the dice on a heavily incentive-laden deal to try and corral his power arm.

Harden pitched effectively for the Cubbies last season, striking out 171 in 141 innings. However, that number of innings represents the third-most innings he’s ever pitched in a single season. The Twins reportedly showed interest in the right-hander.

Harden has the stuff to match up against the best pitchers a team is going to run into during the postseason.

It’s possible Harden could go the route of Joe Crede, playing reasonably well while healthy, but ultimately not being healthy when a team really needs him. But if the Twins are going to find their ace – and they plan to go cheap again – this might be the answer. 

7 Responses

  1. LAS

    Not sure you saw this or not but had a nice little write up regarding the Twins offseason needs and potential (realistic) candidates they could sign. One interesting name that was mentioned was Troy Glaus, but only if it was mostly an incentive-type contract.

  2. Chad

    If you are going to sign Troy Glaus you should just bring Crede back. his teammates liked him and he liked it heere, they both have injury problems and Crede will provide better defense.
    Polanco at second would be great as he would fill the two spot perfectly but that probably won’t happen now that he has been dubbed a Type A free agent.
    Povano and Harden would be nice, but if you read up on Over The Baggy, payroll projections have the Twins at $10 million to spend this offseason after arbitration raises…that means we will probably only get Povano and a 3B. My guess is it will be Povano resigning, Washburn will sign with us and we will not sign a 3B. As much as I hate to say it, Gardy will not want Punto out of that line up so he will be at 2B. He will be at 3B if Crede does not re sign with us.

  3. Goethe – linked at right – does projections for the top 50 free agents, and that site has the Twins get Adrian Beltre. I think that would be a great move (much like Hardy, his bat regressed this year, but he’s still a plus defender). However, I’m still curious to see how much more the Twins will spend with the new stadium on the horizon.

    Nick Punto will be an everyday player either at second or third base. I agree with both of you. Now way Gardy sits him. At least his contract’s up after next season, when a much cheaper Matt Tolbert can pretty much do all of the things Punto does.

    I think Jarrod Washburn would be a terrible signing. Twins fans should fear that could happen, because they’ve been interested in him for years. I’d much rather gamble on Harden.

  4. LAS

    If there’s a season where the Twins can afford to start Punto, it would be next season when the stadium itself will sell the tickets. After that, they have a $500 million dollar palace that will have to have a solid team playing in it for the seats to be filled.

    I like the Beltre signing. Because of last season slump, the Twins would undoubtedly get him at a discount. If we can get .275/25/75 in the 7th spot in the order… that makes for a good season.

  5. Goethe

    I don’t know what happened with Beltre. If someone knows if there was injury, post it here. But for a guy that’s 30 years old, it seems hard to believe he’s suddenly just lost it already.

    And fangraphs still ranks him as the top defensive third baseman in Ultimate Zone Rating/150 in all of baseball this season among those who played at least 100 games.

    He’s kind of like JJ Hardy. Whether or not he finds it again, he’s still a phenomenal defensive player year-in and year-out. The alternative to Beltre – Brendan Harris – ranks among the worst defensive 3B in the game, according to Fangraphs.

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