Saturday, October 18, 2014

Dear Lord, not another reunion tour

Torii Hunter is 39 years old. He played like it this year. 
I've been seeing in recent days tweets and blog posts from people who really ought to know better suggesting that the Twins bring back Torii Hunter (to play left field). Or Jesse Crain (to pitch middle relief).

Dear Lord, no. This year's Reunion Tour (Jason Bartlett, Jason Kubel, Matt Guerrier) was bad enough. Let's not do Reunion Tour II.

There is nothing in the business of signing 30-something free agents in decline that helps the Twins at this stage. This is not a contending team; Hunter and Crain aren't going to help the Twins win a divisional crown. They will get in the way of playing the guys who might someday help the Twins win a divisional crown.

They won't plug holes so much as block roads.

Leadership? I am increasingly convinced that "leadership" as defined by big-city columnists means "accessible, gives good quotes." Hunter is that. As a player, he is emphatically in decline. (A decline, I will concede, that came about five years after I expected.) Baseball Reference's version of WAR puts him at 0.4 in the season just completed; Jordan Schafer, in a fraction of the playing time, was at 0.3 with the Twins. Again: on a per-out basis in the American League, Jordan Schafer was better.

Crain? He hasn't pitched since midseason 2013, and what's more, he hasn't come close to being ready to pitch. He's 33 now, he blew his arm out throwing slider after slider with the White Sox, and the only purpose for a team in the Twins' position to sign him is on the chance that they can flip him for someone useful at the trade deadline. I say that potential benefit is outweighed by the obstacle he'd pose for younger arms.

I do think the Twins need to reconstruct their bullpen. An injury guy in his mid 30s is not the way to do that.

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