Thursday, December 9, 2010

J.J., we Hardy knew ye

J.J. Hardy did not display
the home run power
with the Twins that
he did in Milwaukee.
One year, 101 games, two disabled list stints and gone. The Twins got less out of James Jerry Hardy (,263/.320/.394 in 375 plate appearances) than they did out of Brendan Harris (.251/.309/.360 in 1,063 plate appearances), and now both infielders have been shipped to Baltimore with cash for a pair of pitchers who spent last season in the minors.

Jim Hoey was essentially rehabbing an injured shoulder; he's a hard-thrower with 34-plus major league innings on his resume in 2006 and '07; he missed 2008 with shoulder surgery; he has been in Double- and Triple-A throwing 100 innings and striking out 117. Brett Jacobson is another hard-thrower, age 24, who hasn't gotten out of high A ball yet; he's a project.

Couple this trade with the Rule 5 selection of left-handed pitcher Scott Diamond from the Braves system and the Twins are coming home from the Winter Meetings with

  • Two candidates in Hoey and Diamond to restock their 2011 bullpen;
  • An apparently nearly complete deal with Japansese infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka;
  • A commitment to a faster middle infield in Alexi Casilla and Nishioka;
  • A slimmer payroll (by roughly $7 million or so)

We don't know what the Twins will do with their savings. If, as LeVelle Neal suggests, it's re-signing Carl Pavano, I'll be rather dissatisfied with this activity. Pavano is a declining stock.


  1. Strikes me as a bad move. Casilia has yet to prove himself and observers suggest that Nishioka might not be able to handle shortstop. I also hope that they aren't trying to find money to throw at Pavano. He can't possibly match last year's results.

  2. The tail (Gardenhire) wags the dog (Smith).

    Smith was never a in-the-field scout type. He was a behind the desk, paper-pusher, office type.

    Too weak in player evaluation because of that background. Has to rely entirely on his scouts for information and also too submissive in that he tries to mold the team into what Gardenhire desires, what Gardenhire tells him to do.

    Gardenhire did not want Hardy back. Smith was backed into a corner on the Hardy trade front. He took what he could get....a paper clip and rubber band from the Orioles junk drawer for a starting major league SS.

    Gardenhire needs a strong personality in the Twins Front office for the team (and himself) to get over the hump. No one is there to tell Gardy NO that is not the best use of our asset right now, make it work, manage the best players I get you this season! As it is, the Twins keep re-making the team in the same image season after season...patching holes here, hoping to get by there...slappy and scrappy. the masses it seemingly works because of 1 reason: They play in the AL Central.

    It also fails season after season in the play-offs for 1 reason: That slappy and scrappy team built in Gardenhire's image cannot succeed in the play-offs against the big boys.

  3. I think Casilla has matured, both personally and as a player. When he played last season, you could see he wasn't the same player he was before. I think he deserves a chance. I'm more concerned about Nishioka's willingness to do what the Twins might want him to do, that is, switch to second base.

    I liked Hardy. I wish they could have kept him, but the decision was made and he's gone.

  4. Casilla has been prone to brain cramps in the past.

    Been in Gardy's doghouse multiple times over multiple seasons for that very reason.

    Casilla has never performed consistently at the big league level over the course of an entire season.

    Had some high profile big hits and 2 extended runs of stellar play in his mlb career that skews the view of him. He soon hit the skids each time.

    Fragile mentally.

    Add in Valencia as well to the big picture and there is another case for big worry right there.

    I think there is a large chance he has a sophmore slump.

    Middling success in the minors...unexpected success in the majors at age 26 in a half of a season.

    He fits the profile of someone who will slide back next season...water seeks its own level.

    Twins could be looking at a hole at 3B by June if he crashes and burns early.

    The entire infield outside of Morneau is a crapshoot right now for 2011...not to mention Morneau has his own head injury issues to overcome as well.

    Keeping a known, sure thing in Hardy was the right move.