Sunday, July 5, 2009

Disposing of a trade rumor

Buster Olney writes on of potential trade partners with the Atlanta Braves, the core concept here being that the Braves are willing to deal shortstop Yunel Escobar for an outfield bat.

One of the teams mentioned is Minnesota:

Escobar would be perfect for the Twins in many respects, and Minnesota has an array of outfielders to choose from, whether it be Michael Cuddyer or Denard Span; Delmon Young is hitting .264 with three homers, and it's hard to imagine that the Braves would seriously consider him in any trade. But the Twins' focus is on relief pitching, and an aggressive midseason deal really doesn't fit their style — and if Escobar's conduct in Atlanta has turned off the Braves' coaching staff, then this is certainly not the type of thing that the Twins would go for. Span is an interesting name, though, because his service time (and salary) is close to that of Escobar, and he is widely seen as a player on the rise.

The possibility that the Twins would deal Span for a shortstop exhibiting attitude problems is slim to none. Not only because they value Span, and not only because they don't put up with such behavior, but because they'd likely rather acquire a second baseman than a shortstop.

Brendan Harris' (photo above) stats have plummeted in the past few days — he's 1-for 15 in July — but Ron Gardenhire finds him acceptable at short and unacceptable at second. Get a second baseman, and the Twins would probably find some way of time-sharing short between Harris and Nick Punto. Get a shortstop, and Harris becomes almost useless.

Some comments on Saturday's game:

*It was an odd sentence about Francisco Liriano in the AP's game story: "He intentionally threw a lot of first-pitch strikes, which ultimately hurt him in the seventh."

He should intentionally throw a lot of first-pitch strikes. The best pitch in baseball is the first-pitch strike. It's called getting ahead of the hitters.

Liriano faced 27 men and threw 18 first-pitch strikes. He threw, in total, 103 pitches, 65 strikes, 38 balls — not quite the preferred 2-1 ratio, but closer than he often is.

A good game for Liriano.

* Magglio Ordonez has just 14 extra base hits this year. Three of them have come against the Twins.

* Jose Morales failed twice to get down the bunt in the bottom of the eighth inning (bad). Then he hit a slow roller that moved Matt Tolbert to second (good) and was applauding himself as he crossed first base. Moral equivalent of a sac bunt.

Nothing against Mike Redmond, but I'm increasingly ready for the Jose Morales era at backup catcher.

* The game stories (AP and elsewhere) make mention of it, but let me join in: That was some good baserunning by Tolbert to score the winning run.

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