It is the beginning of the end in Major League Baseball. The end of July is when teams ponder their outlook for the rest of the season. The Twins have played very recently and look to take the division lead tonight over the Chicago White Sox. The Twins look to be in two tough races, the wild card and the division. The division appears very possible as they play many division opponents yet and are currently hosting the White Sox. The Wild Card will mostly likely be very tough, it seems the Red Sox, the Yankees, and the Rays will battle for the Wild Card along with the second place team from the Central.
As we ride to the trade deadline tomorrow, the Twins need to consider trading one of their many outfielders. The Twins, this last off-season, went out and acquired Delmon Young and Craig Monroe. When these players were acquired, Santana was still a Twin and we held an empty center field spot. Both players have under performed this year. Young is batting .291 and is able to get many clutch hits that the Twins have needed. Young does seem to be picking his game up this past month, batting .326 in July. Monroe has not performed, he is batting .202; on the plus side, Monroe has 8 home runs in only 163 at bats. Most of Monroe’s at bats have come from the DH spot; he only has 31 at bats in the outfield.
The Twins also have two up and coming outfielders that are currently on the Major League roster. Carlos Gomez, acquired in the Johan Santana deal with the Mets, has played very well in his first full season. Gomez, seems to have very good skills as an outfielder and is well prepared to play center field. Gomez does strike out too much and is only batting .256 on the season. Gomez, touted as the fastest player in the league, has 21 SB on the year and seems to always have the green light when on first base. Gomez has been the fan favorite on the season and deserves a chance to play in the outfield. The other outfielder is Denard Span. Span is currently on his second stint in the majors replacing the injured Michael Cuddyer. Span is also a very fast outfielder and can play all three positions. In 112 at bats on the year, Span is batting .313 with 5 SB. The Twins’ outfield will likely have these two in a couple of years.
The Twins’ major investment recently was Michael Cuddyer. Cuddyer is currently getting paid $5.9 million this year. He is only batting .252 with 3 home runs. Cuddyer’s production will never return to 24 home runs like it was two years ago. Over the years, Cuddyer has been a player that the Twins have built the team around. When Torii Hunter left the team this last off-season, Cuddyer was seen as the outfield leader. I believe that the Cuddyer era is ending in Minnnesota and Twins need to find a buyer.
As Thursday approaches, the Twins have some problems. They have Liriano ripping up Triple-A and begging for a rotation spot and too many ready outfielders. Cuddyer’s stock is very low right now, but a package deal with a person like Livan Hernandez could land the Twins an established right handed hitting third baseman. A model guy would be Edwin Encarnacion, who is well liked in Cincinnati, but has a price. If the Twins are planning on making the playoffs and performing in the playoffs, Bill Smith needs to consider the departure of Michael Cuddyer.