Sifting Through the Minnesota Twins Trade Rumors

Andrew KneelandSenior Writer IJuly 29, 2009

OAKLAND, CA - MAY 09:  Relief pitcher Scott Downs #37 of the Toronto Blue Jays pitches to the Oakland Athletics on May 9, 2009 at the Oakland Coliseum in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

The Twins have never been considered an active team at the trade deadline, and this year could be no different.

Although the chances of Minnesota actually trading for a player with the ability to transform the team into a serious title-contender is rare, that doesn't mean they aren't dipping their toes in the water.

With names and potential trade partners being flung about it can be easy for fans to get confused. Because of the low chances of the Twins actually making any moves I won't detail every potential acquisition, but knowing who the Twins have the most interest in can provide deep insights into the organization and its philosophy.

First off, it appears that the Twins have contacted Toronto regarding their ace, Roy Halladay.

If the rumors that indicate the Blue Jays had turned down a hefty offer from the Phillies is true, there is no chance that the Twins would have enough to even be considered by Toronto. Besides, it doesn't appear that Halladay even wants to pitch in Minnesota.

The biggest-name player the Twins actually have a shot at is Freddy Sanchez of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

As a veteran second baseman with a consistent bat, Sanchez would do wonders both offensively and defensively for the Twins. Sanchez could step right in to the second-slot in the batting order and allow Gardenhire to put Casilla or Punto where they belong: on the bench.

San Francisco seems to have the advantage in the Sanchez-sweepstakes, though, and the Twins may have to settle for someone like Orlando Cabrera.

Cabrera, a shortstop, wouldn't be the best fit in Minnesota. He is relatively old and the only reason his stock is so high is because of a recent hot month at the plate. He probably wouldn't be much of an upgrade over Brendan Harris, either offensively or defensively.

I wouldn't be at all opposed to trading for Cabrera, providing one of two things takes place: 1) Cabrera takes at-bats away from Punto rather than Harris, or 2) reliever Michael Wuertz is included in the package.

Wuertz is a 30-year old, right-handed reliever who has been pitching great this year. He would come with a high pricetag, though, and the Twins may not be willing to mortgage so much of their future.

There was a rumor this weekend that the Athletics had offered to trade Cabrera to the Twins straight-up for Danny Valencia, the third-baseman of the future for Minnesota and by all accounts a future All-Star. As President Obama would say, "I don't know all the facts, but [Oakland] acted stupidly."

Yesterday, it was reported that the Twins had showed interest in Mariner's reliever Sean White. A young right-handed hurler from the Seattle bullpen, White boasts an impressive ERA so far this year, and has only given up two home runs, but walks nearly as many batters as he strikes out.

Besides Halladay, the Blue Jays could offer quite a few veteran relievers for trade. While the future of Halladay could dictate whether Toronto wants to rebuild or not, a reliever like Scott Downs or Jason Frasor could help solidify a shaky Minnesota bullpen.

Veteran infielder Marco Scutaro could also help tremendously. Basically an older version of Nick Punto in terms of defensive ability and versatility, Scutaro blows Punto out of the water when comparing offensive prowess.

Although it isn't fun to talk about, the Twins could also consider unloading some of their veteran/valuable players and rebuilding for 2011 or 2012. Michael Cuddyer, Joe Crede, Nick Punto, Delmon Young, Francisco Liriano, and even Joe Nathan could bring in a lot of young talent.

Worse than selling and starting a long rebuilding process, in my opinion, would be for the Twins to do absolutely nothing before the July 31 trade deadline. They have sat on their hands for many years and have done their very best to convince fans that they either don't have the money, willpower, or dedication to compete in their division.

It's time for them to change that perception.

While a timely trade or acquisition may only be enough to push them over the hump in their division, a few key moves strung together could prove to be the difference between a World Series run and another October home on the couch.