Updated lineups after the Everett signing


Jason Pridie CF
Delmon Young LF
Joe Mauer C
Michael Cuddyer RF
Justin Morneau 1B
Jason Kubel DH
Brendan Harris 2B
Brian Buscher 3B
Adam Everett SS

Mike Redmond (Bench)
Nick Punto (Bench)
Alexi Casilla (Bench)
Garrett Jones (Bench)
Craig Monroe (Bench)

Pitching staff:

Johan Santana (SP)
Francisco Liriano (SP)
Scott Baker (SP)
Boof Bonser (SP)
Kevin Slowey (SP)

Joe Nathan (CL)
Pat Neshek (RP)
Jesse Crain (RP)
Matt Guerrier (RP)
Dennys Reyes (RP)
Juan Rincon (RP)


Morgan Ensberg

Found this interview of Morgan Ensberg. One quote:"The entire reason that I play baseball is so that I get a chance to speak about Christ."


Tejada to Houston, would Santana follow?

The Astros' trade would Baltimore for Tejada, introduces holes in their starting rotation, which would be sufficiently filled by Johan Santana. What could Houston give in return? They have 2 centerfielders in Josh Anderson and Hunter Pence,(potentially one of them can be had, especially with Mitch Einertson on the wings) a highly-rated 22 y.o AA reliever in Samuel Gervacio who is a strikeout machine with great control, a very good 23 y.o. AA starter in James Barthmaier (rated higher than Troy Patton, who went to the Orioles for Tejada, and Anthony Swarzak in some places) Jonny Ash, a 24 y.o. rangy 2B with great eye and OBP, Felipe Paulino a 23 y.o. starter with great fastball. Their shortstop / 3B prospects are not that great (Cuddyer should probably fill the 3B hole, see previous post), but Pence and Anderson can be the centrpieces of such a deal and their potential is higher than Ellsbury. Would that get it done?

In other news, Jason Tyner was not tendered today, so there are officially 3 openings in the 40 men roster...

Cuddyer is uncomfortable at 3B, True or False?

There is a conception that a switch of Mike Cuddyer back to 3B would diminish his performance. Several sources indicate that Cuddyer performs worse at 3B. Most recently, MLB.com Twins beat reporter Kelly Thesier, wrote:

Cuddyer has the ability to play a variety of positions, but it's in right field that he has truly thrived, both defensively and offensively. After the unsuccessful experiment at third base, Cuddyer talked about never truly finding a comfort level there.

Here is a more in depth look at Mike's performance at 3B vs. RF:

As a 3B in 502 ABs he hit for .263 BA with a .329 OBP and .442 slugging for a total OPS of .771. At that span he hit 19 home runs with 59 RBI. He had 47 BB and 105 K. His per bat numbers are 26.4 AB/HR and 8.51 AB/RBI. His K/BB ratio was: 2.23

As a RF in 1268 ABs he hit for .275 BA with a .352 OBP and .452 slugging for a total OPS of .808. At that span he hit 40 home runs with 200 RBI. He had 138 BB and 283 K. His per bat numbers are 31.7 AB/HR and 6.34 AB/RBI. His K/BB ratio was: 2.05

Indeed, his RBI numbers improved as did his BB and gap power. His home runs declined. Is that a result of the move to the RF or is a result of maturing as a hitter and/or hitting ofter betweeen Mauer and Morneau while playing a RF vs. in the 7th and 8th hole as a 3B?

As far as his fielding goes, his FP at 3B was .942 (with league average .957) and range factor 2.70 (with league average 2.76). At RF, in 2006, his FP was .981 (league average .984) and range factor 1.87 (league average 2.20). In 2007: FP .986 (league average .985), range factor 2.02 (league average 2.08). Conclusion, his fielding both at 3B and RF is close to (albeit a bit below) league average, which indicates that his fielding does not suffer much at 3B...

It all depends whether the Twins could find a better 3B via free agency or trade. Here are some names and how they may compare (2007 numbers):

Mike Lamb
Batting: .289BA/.366OBP/.453SLG/1.25K/BB/28.3AB/HR
Fielding: FP:.936 (League average .954) RF 2.53 (2.68)

Morgan Ensberg
Batting: .230BA/.320OBP/.404SLG/1.76K/BB/23.5AB/HR
Fielding: FP:.929 (League average .954) RF 2.61 (2.68)

Scott Rolen
Batting: .265BA/.331OBP/.398SLG/1.51K/BB/49AB/HR
Fielding: FP:.969 (League average .954) RF 2.99 (2.68)

Pedro Feliz
Batting: .253BA/.290OBP/.418SLG/2.41K/BB/27.85AB/HR
Fielding: FP:.973 (League average .954) RF 2.91 (2.68)

for comparison purposes, Mike's 2007 Batting stats and 3B fielding stats

Batting: .276BA/.356OBP/.433SLG/1.67K/BB/34.18AB/HR
Fielding: FP:.942 (League average .957) RF 2.70 (2.76)

From the third basemen listed here, only Rolen and Feliz are superior fielders and only Mike Lamb is a superior hitter. Mike Lamb would potentially be an improvement offensively, but his defense suffers so much that the Astro's switched him to 1B. Feliz strikes out too much and his OBP is dismal. Rolen is an interesting situation, since he is superior defensively and a change of scenery might return him to an above average offensive player. The Rolen gamble might pay off if the price is right. Mike Cuddyer is here and free...


Current rosters and projected lineups

Current 40 men roster (the ones most likely not to make the 25-man roster in parenthesis). For the 25 men roster members their roles and batting order in parenthesis:


Johan Santana (SP)
Francisco Liriano (SP)
Scott Baker (SP)
Boof Bonser (SP)
Kevin Slowey (SP)

Joe Nathan (CL)
Pat Neshek (RP)
Jesse Crain (RP)
Matt Guerrier (RP)
Dennys Reyes (RP)
Juan Rincon (RP)

(Nick Blackburn)
(Carmen Cali)
(Julio DePaula)
(Glen Perkins)


Alexi Casilla (SS,1)
Delmon Young (LF, 2)
Joe Mauer (C,3)
Michael Cuddyer (RF, 4)
Justin Morneau (1B, 5)
Jason Kubel (DH,6)
Brendan Harris (2B, 7)
Jason Pridie (CF,8)
Brian Buscher (3B, 9)

Mike Redmond (Bench)
Nick Punto (Bench)
Jason Tyner (Bench)
Garrett Jones (Bench)
Craig Monroe (Bench)

(Jose Morales)
(Chris Basak)
(Darnell McDonald)

A lot of things will change... There are several empty spots on the roster, way too many RPs, and question marks on the top spot and spots 7-9 on the lineup... updates as they come


more Santana news - what are the Twins asking

From The LA daily news:

A source with knowledge of the Twins' position said Wednesday that the club is asking the Dodgers for a package of three or four players from a pool of six: pitchers Chad Billingsley and Jonathan Broxton, outfielders Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp, top pitching prospect Clayton Kershaw and third-base prospect Andy LaRoche. Whether the Twins would want three or four players depends on whom those players are

and from The NY Daily news:

To get Santana, the Yankees would likely have to package Cabrera with either Phil Hughes or Ian Kennedy in addition to one mid-level prospect. The loss of Garza means Minnesota would likely demand the third player be a pitcher, despite speculation that outfielders Austin Jackson and Jose Tabata could be part of a deal on the Yankees' end.
The Twins are interested in reliever Mark Melancon, a Yankees 2006 pick out of Arizona who missed the entire 2007 season following elbow surgery, although righthander Alan Horne of AA Trenton is also a possibility.

These 2 stories do not seem equivalent. I think that the story out of NY is wishful thinking. Cabrera, Kennedy and a AA pitcher would not be enough (that would have not been enough for the Garza-Bartlett trade with the Rays, btw). The LA story makes more sense: 3-MLB ready players and potentially a fourth prospect. It is hard to find data for similar trades, simply because aces of this caliber are not traded often and usually end up being signed as free agents. This trade that involved the Yankees is probably as close to an equivalent trade:

Roger Clemens (post season 1998) to Toronto for Homer Bush (after he had a 134 OPS+ rookie season), Graeme Lloyd (after a ridiculous season with 1.79 ERA, 0.85 WHIP and 264 ERA+), and David Wells (after his 18-4 season).

To translate that with today's Yankee's team, the equivalent would be something like

Cano + Chamberlain + Wang

for the other suitors:

Ellsbury + Beckett + Okajima

Milledge+ Perez + Heillman ++ (hard to find equivalence there)

Lackey+ Shields + Kotchman

Kent + Penny + Broxton

Given the Twins are not looking for the respective aces of the teams, plus their needs are different so a possible substitution of 2 prospects for the team's ace might suffice. This substitution plus some changes to reflect the needs and status of both teams including the players mentioned as untouchables, make the following fair trade returns:

Betemit (3B), Cabrera (CF), Hughes (SP), Shelley Duncan (DH/minors)

Youkilis+ Buchholz or Buchholz (SP), Ellsbury (CF), Jed Lowrie (3B/SS)

Reyes (SS) + Heilman (RP/SP)+ Milledge (CF) for Santana + Bonser/Rincon


Brandon Wood (3b) or Figgins (3b) + Jered Weaver (SP) + Reggie Willits (CF)


Kemp (CF)+ LaRoche (3b) + Broxton (RP) + Kershaw (SP or minors)

if the Twins get anything less, they would be the losers from some trade. There is a lot written about the downside to signing a 28 year old pitcher who is regarded as the best pitcher in baseball to a 7/8 year for $20-25 mil per year contract. However one of these teams signed a 32 yo outfielder to a six year with $16 mil a year (Angels); another payed about half that for the negotiating rights to a 27 yo pitcher who never threw a pitch in this country (Red Sox); another sighed a 36 yo catcher to a 4 year contract for $13 mill a year and a 37 y.o. closer to 3 years $15mil a year (Yankees)... so to lock up the best pitcher long term is not that risky compared to the above


Starting pitching and a potential Santana trade

Here is a look at some of the stats in the major and minor league level for the remaining Twins starters and the best young starters in potential trading partners:


Scott Baker, 25, RHP

2007 AL 143.7 IP 29 BB 102 K 4.26 ERA 1.33 WHIP
2007 AAA 42.2 IP 4 BB 41 K 3.16 ERA 0.89 WHIP

Glen Perkins, 24, LHP

2007 AL 28.7IP 12 BB 29 K 3.14 ERA 1.22 WHIP
2006 AA 117 IP 45 BB 131 K 3.92 ERA 1.32 WHIP

Kevin Slowley, 23, RHP

2007 AL 66.7 IP 11 BB 47 K 4.73 ERA 1.39 WHIP
2007 AAA 133.2 IP 18 BB 107 K 1.89 ERA 0.96 WHIP

Fransisco Liriano 23, LHP

2005 AAA 91 IP, 24 BB, 112 K 1.78 ERA 0.88 WHIP
2006 AL 121 IP, 32 BB, 144 K 2.16 ERA 1.00 WHIP

Nick Blackburn 25, RHP

2007 AAA 110.2 IP 12 BB 57 K 2.11 ERA 0.98 WHIP

Boof Bonser, 25, RHP

2007 AL 173 IP, 65 BB, 136 K, 5.10 ERA, 1.53 WHIP
2006 AL 100.3 IP, 24 BB, 84 K, 4.22 ERA, 1.28 WHIP
2005 AAA 160.1 IP, 57 BB, 168 K, 3.99 ERA, 1.31 WHIP

Soon to be gone:

Matt Garza 23, RHP

2007 AL 83 IP, 32 BB, 67 K, 3.69 ERA, 1.54 WHIP
2007 AAA 92 IP, 31 BB, 95 K, 3.62 ERA, 1.35 WHIP



John Maine 26, RHP
2007 NL 191 IP, 75 BB, 180 K, 3.91 ERA, 1.27 WHIP
2006 NL 90 IP, 33 BB, 71 K, 3.60 ERA, 1.13 WHIP
2006 AAA 57 IP, 20 BB, 48 K, 3.47 ERA, 1.32 WHIP

Mike Pelfrey 23, RHP

2007 NL 72.7 IP, 39 BB, 45 K, 5.57 ERA 1.71 WHIP
2006 AA 66 IP, 26 BB, 77 K, 2.73 ERA, 1.30 WHIP


Joba Chamberlain 21, RHP

2007 AL 24 IP, 6 BB, 34 K, 0.38 ERA, 0.75 WHIP
2007 A-AA-AAA 88.1 IP, 27 BB, 135 K, 1.01 WHIP

Ian Kennedy 22, RHP

2007 A-AA- AAA 146.1 IP, 50 BB, 163 K, 1.91 ERA, 0.96 WHIP

Philip Hughes 21, RHP

2007 AL 72.7 IP, 29 BB, 58 K, 4.46 ERA, 1.28 WHIP
2006 AA 116 IP, 32 BB, 138 K, 2.25 ERA, 0.91 WHIP

Red Sox

Clay Buchholz 22, RHP

2007 AL 22.7 IP, 10 BB, 22 K, 1.59 ERA, 1.06 WHIP
2007 AA-AAA 125.1 IP, 35 BB, 171 K, 2.44 ERA, 0.97 WHIP

John Lester 23, LHP
2007 AL 63 IP, 31 BB, 50 K, 4.57 ERA, 1.46 WHIP
2007 AAA 71.2 IP, 31 BB, 51 K, 3.89 ERA, 1.37 WHIP


Jered Weaver 24 RHP

2007 AL 161 IP, 45 BB, 115 K, 3.91 ERA, 1.39 WHIP
2006 AL 123 IP, 33 BB, 105 K, 2.56 ERA, 1.03 WHIP
2006 AAA 77 IP, 10 BB, 93 K, 2.10 ERA, 0.95 WHIP


Chad Billingsley 22, RHP

2007 NL 147 IP, 64 BB, 141 K, 3.31 ERA, 1.33 WHIP
2006 NL 90 IP, 58 BB, 59 K, 3.80 ERA, 1.67 WHIP
2006 AAA 71 IP, 32 BB, 78 K, 3.93 ERA, 1.25 WHIP

Conclusion: Frankly, other than the Yankee trio, Buchholz and Weaver, nobody would be any upgrade from what the Twins already have. In addition, the numbers clearly show why Garza was the one to go and why Bonser should go soon. Ideally, the Twins should seek position players and relievers for a Santana trade

Fresh out of the box

A potential trade with the Rays, involving six players. Matt Garza, Jason Bartlett and Juan Rincon for Delmon Young, Brendan Harris and Jason Pridie. Updated chart from the previous post:

Pitching staff:

SP *Francisco Liriano (207, 2006)
SP *Glen Perkins 138
SP Scott Baker 102 (133, 2005)
SP Boof Bonser 85 (106, 2006)
SP Kevin Slowey 92

CL Joe Nathan 230 (283, 2006)
RP Pat Neshek 147 (204, 2006)
RP Matt Guerrier 184
RP Jesse Crain 79 (164, 2005)
RP *Dennys Reyes 109 (504, 2006)
RP *Carmen Cali 92

and the up to date status of the lineup:

C *Joe Mauer 117 (144, 2006)
1B *Justin Morneau 121 (140, 2006)
2B #Alexi Casilla 39
3B *Brian Buscher 76
SS Brendan Harris 106
LF/DH *Jason Kubel 109
RF Michael Cuddyer 111 (124, 2006)
CF Delmon Young 98 (106, 2006)
DH/LF Craig Monroe 65 (104, 2005)

OF Jason Pridie (.914 OPS in AAA)
3B #Nick Punto 52 (90, 2006)
OF *Jason Tyner 85 (97, 2005)
C Mike Redmond 89 (103, 2006)
IF #Luis Rodriguez 57 (90, 2005)

A few items of interest: Delmon Young is a better RF than a CF and Pridie is a very good CF. Could it be possible that Cuddyer moves back to 3B with Young in RF and Priddie in CF? Harris is a better 2B than a SS, could it be possible that he is meant to be a 2B with Jose Reyes coming in a Santana trade for SS?

more details as they come...

Number crunching

What does it take to win the big one? Here is a look of the World Champions since 1995, and the players that OPS+ or ERA+ more than 150 that season. Team OPS+ and ERA+ numbers are also listed

2007 Red Sox
David Ortiz (DH)
Jonathan Papelbon (CL)
Hideki Okajima (RP)
Javier Lopez (RP)
Josh Beckett (SP, 145)
team OPS+ 107, ERA+ 123

2006 Cardinals
Albert Pujols (1B)
Chris Carpenter (SP, 144)
Adam Wainwright (RP, 143)
Brad Thompson (RP, 133)

Team OPS+ 101, ERA+ 98

2005 White Sox
Dustin Hermanson (CL)
Neal Cotts (RP)
Cliff Politte (RP)
Mark Buehrle (SP, 144)
team OPS+ 95, ERA+ 124

2004 Red Sox
Manny Ramirez (OF)
David Ortiz (DH, 145)
Curt Schilling (SP)
Keith Foulke (CL)
Scott Williamson (RP)
Team OPS+ 111, ERA+ 116

2003 Marlins
Derrek Lee (1b, 131)
Ugueth Urbina(CL)
Josh Beckett (SP, 138)
Team OPS+ 104, ERA+ 104

2002 Angels
Troy Percival(CL)
Brendan Donnelly (RP)
Ben Weber (RP)
Team OPS+ 105, ERA+ 120

2001 Diamondbacks
Luis Gonzalez (OF)
Curt Schilling (SP)
Randy Johnson (SP)
Byung-Hyun Kim (CL)
Bret Prinz (RP)
Team OPS+ 101, ERA+ 120

2000 Yankees
Bernie Williams (OF, 140)
Jorge Posada (C, 139)

Mariano Rivera (CL)
Jeff Nelson (RP)
Team OPS+ 104, ERA+ 101

1999 Yankees
Derek Jeter (SS)
Bernie Williams (CF,149)
Mariano Rivera (CL)
David Cone (SP, 137)
Jason Grimsley (RP, 131)

Team OPS+ 110, ERA+ 114

1998 Yankees
Bernie Williams (OF)
Mariano Rivera (CL)
Graeme Lloyd (RP)
Orlando Hernandez (SP, 141)
Darren Holmes (RP, 133)

Team OPS+ 117, ERA+ 116

1997 Marlins
Gary Sheffield (OF, 138)
Moises Alou (OF, 130)

Kevin Brown (SP)
Team OPS+ 104, ERA+ 106

1996 Yankees
Bernie Williams (OF, 131)
David Cone (SP)
John Wetteland (CL)
Mariano Rivera (RP)
Team OPS+ 100, ERA+ 108

1995 Braves
Ryan Klesko (OF)
Greg Maddux (SP)
Mark Wohlers (CL)
Greg McMichael(RP)
Tom Glavine (SP, 139)
John Smoltz (SP, 134)
Pedro Borbon (RP, 138)

Team OPS+ 96, ERA+ 124

Average: OPS+ 104, ERA+113

So basically, in addition to the above benchmarks, a team needs at least one batter at OPS+ more or about 150, and a closer, a reliever and a starter at ERA+ more or about 150. Let's look at the Twins averages, the last 3 years

Team averages:
2007 OPS+ 93, ERA+ 104
2006 OPS+ 101, ERA+ 113
2005 OPS+ 88, ERA+ 119

Players with 150+

Joe Nathan (CL)
Matt Guerrier (RP)
Johan Santana (SP, 130)
Pat Neshek (RP, 149)

best position players: Justin Morneau 121, Torri Hunter 122.

Joe Mauer(C, 144)
Justin Morneau (1B, 140)

Johan Santana (SP)
Francisco Liriano (SP)
Joe Nathan (CL)
Juan Rincon (RP)
Dennys Reyes (RP)
Matt Guerrier (RP, 133)
Johan Santana (SP)
Scott Baker (SP, 133)
Matt Guerrier (RP, 131)

Best position player: Matt LeCroy, 110

Definitely, 2006 was they year they contended and the numbers prove it. Can the current team become a winner? What would it take?

Assuming Santana is traded, here are last years' OPS+ or ERA+ for the remaining players (the

single season best from the last 3 years and the year is in parentesis, if last year was not

the 3 last season's best):

C *Joe Mauer 117 (144, 2006)
1B *Justin Morneau 121 (140, 2006)
3B #Nick Punto 52 (90, 2006)
SS Jason Bartlett 88 (99, 2006)
LF *Jason Kubel 109
RF Michael Cuddyer 111 (124, 2006)
OF *Jason Tyner 85 (97, 2005)
C Mike Redmond 89 (103, 2006)
2B #Alexi Casilla 39
IF #Luis Rodriguez 57 (90, 2005)
3B *Brian Buscher 76
DH/1B *Garrett Jones 60

OF/DH Craig Monroe 65 (104, 2005)

SP Boof Bonser 85 (106, 2006)
SP Scott Baker 102 (133, 2005)
SP Matt Garza 118
SP Kevin Slowey 92
SP *Francisco Liriano (207, 2006)
CL Joe Nathan 230 (283, 2006)
RP Pat Neshek 147 (204, 2006)
RP Matt Guerrier 184
RP Juan Rincon 85 (181, 2005)
RP *Dennys Reyes 109 (504, 2006)
SP *Glen Perkins 138
RP *Carmen Cali 92
RP Jesse Crain 79 (164, 2005)

This is how a potential pitching staff could play out:

SP *Francisco Liriano (207, 2006)
SP *Glen Perkins 138
SP Scott Baker 102 (133, 2005)
SP Matt Garza 118
SP Boof Bonser 85 (106, 2006) @
SP Kevin Slowey 92

CL Joe Nathan 230 (283, 2006) @
RP Pat Neshek 147 (204, 2006)
RP Matt Guerrier 184
RP Jesse Crain 79 (164, 2005)
RP Juan Rincon 85 (181, 2005) @
RP *Dennys Reyes 109 (504, 2006) @
RP *Carmen Cali 92

average ERA+
( @ = potential trade target)
and the up to date status of the lineup:

C *Joe Mauer 117 (144, 2006)
1B *Justin Morneau 121 (140, 2006)
2B #Alexi Casilla 39 @
3B *Brian Buscher 76 @
SS Jason Bartlett 88 (99, 2006)
LF *Jason Kubel 109
RF Michael Cuddyer 111 (124, 2006)
DH/1B *Garrett Jones 60 @
OF/DH Craig Monroe 65 (104, 2005) @

3B #Nick Punto 52 (90, 2006)
OF *Jason Tyner 85 (97, 2005)
C Mike Redmond 89 (103, 2006)
IF #Luis Rodriguez 57 (90, 2005)

@ = target for upgrade

What would it take for this team to contend?

Assuming that all pitching trades are made:

This team has the potential to have a 110+ ERA+ average, with proper development of the

players, the addition of one good bullpen arm from the minors or trades. At least 3

starters (Liriano, Perkins, Garza) and at least 3 relievers (Nessek, Guerrier, Crain) have

the potential of an 130+ average. If everything goes as planned, the pitching could be

contention worthy.

The lineup is a different story. Best case scenario: Mauer, Morneau, Cuddyer and Bartlett

return to their 2006 form and Kubel improves from 2007, the team needs an upgrade in the CF,

DH, 2B and 3B with players averaging at least 100 OPS+.

Twins needs, wants and recent rumor analysis - part one: Santana

La Velle Neal just indicated that the Twins cleared up 2 positions on their 40 man roster, indicating that there is a potential acceleration of events regarding either a Johan Santana trade or a SoCal-initiated rumored trade that would bring Morneau to the Angels or even a Boston-globe remark regarding a straight up Coco Crisp trade.

In this segment I am commenting on the possible returns on a Santana trade.

The main needs of the Twins before this postseason were: 2B, 3B, DH with emphasis on power and right hand bats. After Hunter's signing with the Angels, there is an additional hole in CF. Also, after Castillo's departure, there is a need for a lead off hitter (and overall speed in the lineup) which apparently cannot be satisfied by Casilla at this point

The major want of the Twins brass is to keep the payroll within the 70-75 million dollar range, before the new stadium opens.

Given these parameters, a Santana trade better happen and a couple of additional trades could go long ways. Let me explain:

Johan is pretty much at the apex of his trading value (if not on its downside). A quick comparison of similar pitchers at his age reveals names such as John Candelaria, Bob Welch, Jack McDowell, Sid Fernandez, Kevin Millwood, Kevin Appier, and Mike Mussina. Good pitchers, sometimes great but certainly no Hall of Famers or pitchers who you should spent 30% of your payroll for. I realize that this is a projection and Johan right now is probably the best pitcher in baseball, but I think that the numbers make the point. If there is the potential for a deal with the Yankees (as rumored) including Robinson Cano as the centerpiece with Melky Cabrera and one of the Yankee pitching prospects added to the deal, it might make a lot of sense for the Twins.

My favorite Santana trade for the Twins would be with the Dodgers for Matt Kemp, Andy LaRoche, Johnathan Broxton and Clayton Kershaw. Kemp and LaRoche will plug the holes in the CF and 3B, bringing strong RH power and Broxton could be the closer (with Kershaw waiting in the wings developing in the minors) as soon as Nathan walks or is traded. Furthermore, the addition of Santana, might pull the Dodgers over the edge in a pretty balanced NL West and crown them Champions.

Still, this picture, even though it addresses the Twins' right hand power and 3B/CF needs, does not address the speed/lead off hitter and DH needs. Monroe hopefully is not the team's answer to the DH position. Hot off the press is a speculation that the Mets might be big players in the Santana sweepstakes, with Reyes as the centerpiece and probably a center fielder (Milledge/Gomez) and a pitcher or two added. This would be a steal for the Twins, since it would provide a great lead of hitter and solve the CF problem. This would probably require Bartlett to move to 2B, a position he played only twice in the minors... Additionally, the needs at 3B, DH and right hand power would need to be addressed.

A possible lineup with the Mets trade would look like this (ages as of 2007 in parenthesis):

SS Reyes (24)
2B Bartlett (27)/Punto (29)
C Mauer (24)
RF Cuddyer (28)
1B Morneau (26)
CF Milledge (22)/Gomez (21)
LF Kubel (25)/Monroe (30)
DH Monroe (30)/Kubel (25)/ G. Jones (26)
3B Buscher (26)/Punto (29)

additional bench: Tyner (30), Redmond (36), Casilla (22)

SP Liriano (23)
SP Slowley (23)
SP Garza (23)
SP Bonser (25)
SP Baker (25)/Blackburn (25)/Perkins (24)
RP Rincon (28)
RP Neshek (26)
RP Reyes (30)/ De Paula (24)
RP Guerrier (28)/ Crain (25)
CL Nathan (32)


1. This is a young and fairly inexperienced team with a lot of potential upside and would probably entering its peak when the Twins enter the new ballpark. Would this team be able to contend before that?

2. A lot depends on the development of these players. Cuddyer, Morneau, Punto and Mauer had career years in 2006 then regressed in 2007, would they be able to improve in 2008? Bartlett and Kubel had good years in 2007 (esp. late), would they be able to repeat or improve in 2008?

3. Would Buscher hold the 3b job? (he is another left handed bat, his fielding percentage in the minors was .938; but his OPS was .897 in AAA)

4. Still with a Santana trade, there is a surplus in both starting and relieving pitching, with several others (Duensing, Pino, Manship, Delaney, Tippett) a year or two away, which makes additional trades possible or even necessary.