Friday, November 6, 2009

The Gomez-Hardy trade, continued

Some questions raised by today's trade:

1) One I doubt I'll ever know the straight answer to: Did the Twins decide to trade Carlos Gomez (above) for a shortstop, or did they try shopping Delmon Young too?

They clearly weren't going to trade Young for J.J. Hardy, because the Brewers have Ryan Braun in left and Corey Hart in right. They needed a center fielder to stick in between them, not another corner outfielder.

I never decided firmly in my own mind who is better, Gomez or Young, although I leaned more often toward Gomez for the speed and defense. Neither man has mastered the strike zone or appears likely to; Young, at least superficially, appears more capable of hitting with the flail-at-everything approach.

2) What next for Orlando Cabrera?

The veteran is clearly in the nomad phase of his career. Now 35 — his birthday was this week — he was, by at least some defensive metrics, the worst defensive shortstop in the majors last season.

Somebody's going to sign him, but it won't be Minnesota.

3) Who's the reserve CF?

This trade means a regular outfield of Young-Denard Span-Cuddyer, with Jason Kubel probably wedging in some playing time in the corners when Joe Mauer DHs. (Side issue: Jose Morales, the switch-hitting heir apparent to Mike Redmond as the backup catcher, is regarded as a better hitter left-handed, so if they schedule Mauer's semi-days-off to coincide with Morales' strong side, it will be against right-handed pitchers — and they'll want to keep Kubel's bat in the lineup.)

There's no backup CF in that crew. The best options (for 2010) in the minors are Jason Pridie and Dustin Martin, neither of whom impressed in Triple A last season. The Twins generally prefer to fill such gaps in house, but this one might be an exception.


A few relevant pieces of information:

* Hardy, because the Brewers sent him to the minors for about three weeks, will not be eligible for free agency until after the 2011 season.

* Gomez is arbitration-eligible now, won't be eligible for free agency until 2013. His agent is Scott Boras.

* Hardy had a poor season at the plate, but his defensive metrics remain high.

* The Johan Santana trade now amounts to two years of Gomez, Jon Rauch, J.J. Hardy and whatever Delois Guerra amounts to. I think it's looking better.

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