Minnesota Twins Should Steal Some Wisconsin Magic with Rodriguez, Betancourt

Collin KottkeCorrespondent IIIOctober 31, 2011

ST LOUIS, MO - OCTOBER 13:  Francisco Rodriguez #57 of the Milwaukee Brewers reacts after he struck out Yadier Molina #4 of the St. Louis Cardinals to end the bottom of the eighth inning during Game 4 of the National League Championship Series at Busch Stadium on October 13, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Minnesota sports fans are well aware how good it feels to be a Wisconsin sports fan. They have the BCS ranked Badgers, the Super Bowl champion Packers, and NL Central Champion Brewers; where Minnesota has the two win Gophers, the two win Vikings, and the 99 game lost Twins.

So maybe it’s time to steal from our neighbors across the border?

Now, I’m not suggesting that the Twins go after All-Star first-baseman Prince Fielder (remember the Twins may have a first-base controversy with MVPs Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer), but maybe the Twins should go after relief pitcher Francisco Rodriguez and shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt .

Rodriguez, Betancourt, and 146 others became free agents after their options weren’t picked up on Sunday by their respective teams. So why don’t the Twins step in and grab these former Brewers?

Other than injuries, the two major holes in last year’s Twins team were at shortstop and in the bullpen; these two fill those roles nicely.

The bullpen was a complete mess for the Twins, even with closers Joe Nathan and Matt Capps it was a total letdown.

If you look at ESPN’s depth chart for relief pitchers you see why Rodriguez would fit in nicely. He’s a major upgrade over the likes of Alex Burnett, Phil Dumatrait, and definitely Jose Mijares. The only bullpen resident the Twins would be stupid to lose is Glen Perkins.

The Twins earlier this week declined Joe Nathan’s 2012 option of $12.5 million, it’s unseen if the Twins will go all out to bring him back and if they don’t, Rodriguez would even have more incentive to come and play at Target Field.

ST LOUIS, MO - OCTOBER 14:  Yuniesky Betancourt #3 of the Milwaukee Brewers  makes a catch for an out on a ball hit by Jon Jay #19 of the St. Louis Cardinals in the bottom of the third inning during Game Five of the National League Championship Series at
Jamie Squire/Getty Images


Then there’s the Twins shortstop situation. Even the Twins GM Bill Smith acknowledges that the Twins will be looking to upgrade at the position. Just compare Betancourt’s games played to last year’s Opening Day shortstop Tsuyoshi Nishioka.   

Betancourt played in 152 games, Nishioka played in 68. Nishioka played a little over a month and put up little to no offensive numbers such as 19 RBIs, where Betancourt played most of the year with a respectable 68.

Granted Betancourt  isn't the best fielder, 21 errors last year, but it would be nice to have someone who tends to stay healthy and has a consistent bat.

Not only would these players fill a hole, they are both relatively young. Both Rodriguez and Betancourt will turn 30 in January. Not young per say, but young enough to give a team a couple good years which would add to a younger core of Mauer and Morneau.

Maybe it’s crazy to think that the Twins could have some Wisconsin luck to rub off on them, but if they fill some obvious holes isn't it worth a shot?