As opposed to last year on this blog, I decided to take Thanksgiving off and instead celebrate Black Friday!
Now, let me assure you I do not celebrate this holiday constructed by consumerist America. You will not find me waking up at 3:00 am to get in a long line waiting to buy at flat screen TV at 30 percent off, but rather in the comforts of my chair I will write about which Twins I'm buying on great deals for 2009.
1. Kevin Slowey - This kid really impressed me in 2008 and I think he still has much improvement ahead of him. Buying Slowey is like purchasing that new grill for the family—it's an investment that will only get better with time.
Slowey went 12-11 with a 3.99 ERA last year and given his pitching style surprisingly struck out 123 batters in 160 innings. He's a fly ball pitcher who gives up a fair amount of home runs but makes sure he does it without runners on base. Most of all Slowey has great control walking just 24 batters and simply throwing strikes and letting his defense help him out.
With Denard Span and Carlos Gomez both behind him for an entire season, look to Slowey to post great numbers.
2. Jose Mijares - Mijares is like the new gadget that everyone has read is really cool, but haven't seen it yet. The 24-year-old lefty pitched just 10 innings in the big leagues this year but made a big impression.
His 10 innings were in pressure packed situations and the young Venezuelan not only showed great composure but the tenacity and confidence to go after hitters and trust his stuff.
I know this is a risk with such little pro experience, but I think it'll be a good buy. Mijares will be in a good situation pitching in front of Joe Nathan and should have great success in his role if he keeps his confidence and nerves of steel.
3. Jason Kubel - Like Tickle Me Elmo, it seems like Kubel is on this list every year, but last year he made sure his value was known and I expect nothing less in 2009. Kubel finally established himself with a healthy season getting 464 at-bats in 141 games.
Kubel had an '08 line of .272 with 20 HR and 78 RBI. Despite what seems like many disappointing seasons, Jason will still be just 26 at the start of the 2009 season. Kubel will have control of the DH position and should get to hit behind Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau.
Look for the native South Dakotan to build on his '08 success with another solid year. I'm not expecting any ridiculous breakout year, but I think a .280/25/85 year is within reach.
4. Michael Cuddyer - If you can afford big purchases this holiday season you can't go wrong with a Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, or a Joe Nathan. With the poor economy I also can't afford a young project with high potential like a Carlos Gomez or a Delmon Young.
So, to do some discount shopping look to pick up a Michael Cuddyer at a reduced rate for 2009. His 2008 campaign was nothing less than a disappointment playing in just 71 games while batting .249 with just a .369 SLG%.
However, I think Michael Cuddyer is too competitive and too good of an athlete to allow another disappoint year to drag him down. Yes, I agree that he'll never have seasons like 2006 year after year, but I expect a solid comeback in 2009.
As long as Cuddyer is still in Minnesota and gets his fair share of at-bats I think he'll start to produce some value based on his big contract.
That's my shopping list for great deals in 2009. Let's hope I get a good return on my investments!