5 Moves That the Minnesota Twins Need to Make Before Next Season
Now that the Twins have been all but mathematically eliminated, its time to look forward to next season. As was evident this year, the Twins have some moves that need to be made.
General Manager Bill Smith neglected to make a deal before the trade deadline. For the Twins sake, hopefully he decides to do something during the 2011-2012 offseason.
These are five things that he could do. Some are a little drastic, but after the dissapointing season, drastic measures need to be taken. Yes, injuries played a big role this season, but remember, the Twins played their best baseball when many of the starters were injured.
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Michael Cuddyer is one of the Twins most valuable assets. He needs to be retained. He has been the Twins MVP for the 2011 season and was the Twins only All-Star representitive.
Not re-signing him would be foolish. He can play anywhere on the field (even pitcher). He is also one of very few players flirting with .300. Not to mention, he is a leader for the team. He sets an example of what players should aspire to be, both on the field and off.
Cuddyer will be a hot commodity this offseason, but he is worth it. He has been one of the most consistent Twins players for the last five years. His bat and his glove would be missed if the Twins decide to let him go.
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Justin Morneau has not been the player the Twins need him to be. He is hurt constantly. The Twins could easily get away with playing Cuddyer at first (if he is re-signed), or playing Mauer there and using all of that money somewhere else.
The Twins are paying Morneau a good chunk of money. $80 million over six years, actually. Over the last three seasons, his impact has been negligible as he missed the end of the last two seasons and has been gone for most of the 2011 season.
Morneau clearly still has great talent and is an exciting player to watch. However, the Twins can not rely on him to be healthy and that has hurt the Twins. It is time to move on and put that $13 million per season into the pitching staff, or a new shortstop. There are plenty of teams who would gladly take Morneau's services. The Chicago Cubs, maybe?
Trade an Outfielder
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The Twins have four starting outfielders and a sub-par pitching staff. Dealing one of those outfielders would be ideal for getting a good pitcher, or even a couple pitching prospects.
The Twins are either going to re-sign Kubel or Cuddyer, if not both. Both of them can play outfield and that makes four with Ben Revere, Delmon Young and Denard Span. Trading one of them for pitching sounds pretty good.
Delmon Young's name has been thrown out there as potential trade bait. Delmon is young (no pun intended), and he has a lively bat. He has got a lot of potential and will improve over the course of his career. Preferably, he would have been traded before the deadline this season, but it did not happen.
If the Twins elect not to resign Cuddyer and Kubel, then this is not an issue as they will have three outfielders.
Get out of the Nishioka Deal
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The Twins tried to bring in Tsuyoshi Nishioka to be a poor man's Ichiro. It turns out he is a couple steps lower than a poor man's Ichiro. He is barely over the Mendoza line and he has not been all that stellar in the field.
This is a deal that the Twins need to get out of. They paid $5 million just to get the rights to talk to him. They are paying him another $6 million over three years. Good deal?
It is very doubtful that this will happen. It is still the first year of his deal and his first year in the majors. It is just disappointing that there was so much hype and he failed to live up to it. If the Twins could, they would probably take this deal back.
There are options for when Nishioka is gone. The Twins could move Casilla over to short and put Cuddyer at second. They could go out and get somebody. They could put Trevor Plouffe there. He is not batting much better, but he is a heck of a lot cheaper.
Get a Closer
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Coming into this season, I thought that having a solid closer would be the least of the Twins concerns. I was wrong. With Joe Nathan being injured last season, the Twins made a deal for Matt Capps. As it turned out, the Twins got the raw end of that deal, being stuck with Drew Butera behind the plate instead of Wilson Ramos.
This season Matt Capps has blown seven saves in 22 opportunities. That is almost one third of the time. It is always scary for Twins fans to see him warming up in the bullpen. Nathan has not been all that hot either. Since he rushed back from his injury, he too has blown three saves in 12 opportunities.
Glen Perkins has been solid in 2011. Perhaps the Twins could move him into the closing role and go out and get a solid setup man and another reliever. The Twins have a lot of assets to trade and there will some arms on the market. Joel Zumaya comes to mind.
Overall, the Twins are still in good shape for next season. These deals would only help them out. However, if nothing is done, they will not improve and they are sitting in fourth place right now.