More on the Minnesota Twins' Pursuit of Cliff Lee

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More on the Minnesota Twins' Pursuit of Cliff Lee
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MLB-latest-news-from-July-070110">Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports say that the Twins’ offer for Cliff Lee was not catcher Wilson Ramos and OF Aaron Hicks, but rather Ramos and current Twins’ starting pitcher Kevin Slowey.

I actually like an offer of Ramos and Slowey more for the Mariners and less for the Twins. 

First, the Twins would be trading three-plus years of their current No. 3 starter for two-plus months of a No. 1 starter (and two relatively high draft picks when they offer Lee arbitration and Lee signs a long-term deal with someone else). 

Slowey isn’t even eligible for arbitration until this coming off-season.

Also, I just plain like Kevin Slowey.  He has a 34-20 career major league record, and he’s only 26 this season, meaning his best seasons are still likely ahead of him.  His career 4.43 ERA isn’t great, but it would almost certainly improve pitching in Seattle. 

Finally, Slowey has a better than 4.5-to-1 career strikeout to walk ratio, which is just tremendous.

In Slowey, the Mariners would be receiving a proven major league player.  Aaron Hicks may have great tools, but he still hasn’t played a game above the low, full-season Class A level.

Besides, I’m not entirely convinced that Aaron Hicks is even the Twins’ best 20-year-old center-field prospect.  The Twins just promoted Angel Morales to Ft. Myers in the Class A+ Florida State League.  Morales was the Twins’ third-round pick in the 2007 Draft (122nd overall).

Morales is actually six weeks younger than Hicks and coming into this season, here are their career lines:

Morales: .274 batting average, .358 OBP, .491 SLG, 37 stolen bases in 50 attempts.

Hicks: .278 batting average, .376 OBP, .427 SLG, 22 stolen bases in 32 attempts.

That looks awfully similar, and needless to say, they put up those numbers on the same teams, mostly in the same years. 

Hicks gets on base a little more and strikes out less than Morales, but Morales is a better base runner and has a lot more power at this stage of their careers.

This year as full-time regulars, they still look awfully similar:

Morales: .281 batting average, .364 OBP, .431 SLG, 19 stolen bases in 26 attempts

Hicks:  .263 batting average, .373 OBP, .408 SLG, 12 stolen bases in 20 attempts.

Hicks may well be the better defensive centerfielder, but it’s worth noting that in 2009 when both Hicks and Morales played for Beloit the entire season, the Twins roughly split time in center field between them.

In trading Hicks, the Twins would be trading from a position at which they have depth.

If the Twins trade Slowey for Lee, they’ll still be running Nick Blackburne and his 6.00 ERA out there every fifth start.  I don’t see how that’s going to give them a leg up on making the post-season.

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