May 24, 2010

Should the Twins trade for Roy Oswalt?

Roy Oswalt requested a trade from the Astros over the weekend and judging from the e-mails and tweets I received on the topic many fans are wondering if the Twins should pursue a deal for the 32-year-old right-hander. Oswalt has been one of baseball's elite pitchers for a decade, yet generally seems underrated for someone fourth among active pitchers in ERA and winning percentage while winning more games than everyone his age or younger except CC Sabathia.

He's started at least 30 games in seven of the past eight seasons while posting an ERA above 3.55 just once during that span, yet is only a three-time All-Star and has never finished higher than third in the Cy Young balloting. Last year back problems limited Oswalt to fewer than 200 innings for the first time since 2003 and he posted a career-worst 4.12 ERA, but he's been as good as ever this season with a 2.66 ERA and 60-to-16 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 61 innings.

One of the issues for the Twins in terms of possibly upgrading the rotation is that they already have five solid starters, and while not all of them have performed as well as hoped early on in 2010 there isn't an obvious Ramon Ortiz or Sidney Ponson or Livan Hernandez to jettison. In other words, it's tough to trade a mid-level prospect or two for a Carl Pavano type when you already have the actual Pavano and a rotation full of similarly solid but unspectacular pitchers.

If the Twins want to legitimately upgrade the rotation they'd have to target an upper-echelon starter, which brings up two other issues. First, those guys tend to be very expensive in terms of both salary and cost to acquire. Beyond that, unless one of the current starters is part of the trade package for that upper-echelon guy a deal would involve dumping someone from the rotation who doesn't really deserve it and is a perfectly good big-league starter.

As for whether Oswalt fits that upper-echelon bill, the answer is a pretty clear yes even if he's just as clearly declined some from his prime. Beginning with Oswalt's first full season in 2002, he's ranked 4th, 15th, 13th, 13th, 9th, 25th, 11th, 26th, and now 8th among MLB starters in Expected Fielding Independent Pitching, which removes factors like bullpen and lineup support, defense, and luck from the equation to evaluate pitchers based strictly on things they control.

At age 32 and with his two worst years coming in 2007 and 2009 he seems more likely to be a top-25 starter than a top-15 starter at this point, but even at his worst he's been a low-end No. 1 guy and Oswalt's strong work so far this year suggests getting back to the top-15 range isn't out of the question (although moving to the AL would make that tougher). Relative to the Twins, he's had a better xFIP than any of their current starters in 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010:

2007        xFIP      2008        xFIP      2009        xFIP      2010        xFIP
Oswalt      4.08      Oswalt      3.55      Oswalt      3.88      Oswalt      3.29
Baker       4.41      Slowey      4.02      Pavano      3.96      Liriano     3.37
Slowey      4.78      Baker       4.14      Baker       4.22      Baker       3.70
Liriano      N/A      Liriano     4.31      Slowey      4.23      Pavano      3.72
Pavano       N/A      Blackburn   4.48      Liriano     4.55      Slowey      4.66
Blackburn    N/A      Pavano       N/A      Blackburn   4.56      Blackburn   5.12

Some of Oswalt's advantage over the Twins' current starters is definitely due to his pitching in the much weaker league, but I feel safe in saying he'd be a clear upgrade and likely the team's top starter (depending on Francisco Liriano's progress). However, the Astros would no doubt demand several of the Twins' top prospects in return for Oswalt and he's making $15 million this year with another $16 million in 2011 and a $16 million option or $2 million buyout in 2012.

While around $26 million for 1.5 seasons or $40 million for 2.5 seasons is essentially the going rate for a true No. 1 starter, even with the new ballpark boosting revenue higher than ever the Twins seemingly aren't in a position to add another big salary given their commitments to Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, Joe Nathan, Michael Cuddyer, Scott Baker, Nick Blackburn, and Denard Span, plus upcoming arbitration-fueled raises for several other players.

There's zero question Oswalt would be an upgrade and his remaining contract is more or less commensurate with his skills, but it's not that easy. Is he better than, say, one of Blackburn, Baker, or Kevin Slowey plus two top prospects and $30 million? Because in trading for Oswalt the Twins would also be dumping one of their current starters from the rotation, giving up at least one and perhaps multiple highly rated prospects, and taking on the rest of his deal.

Without knowing the Astros' demands it's impossible to say for sure, but those factors would make me think twice about a move and my guess is Oswalt's contract alone takes the Twins out of the running. Oswalt is an outstanding pitcher with gas left in the tank, but between the costs to acquire him and lack of an obvious rotation weak spot pursuing him doesn't seem to be a great fit unless the Astros like Slowey, Blackburn, or Baker as a major part of the deal.

56 Comments »

  1. Absolutely. When I recently saw he was asking for a trade, I thought it had TWINS written all over it. He’d provide a solid starter and take pressure off the bullpen. Maybe it would allow us to get rid of some of the spare parts we currently have.

    Comment by TB — May 23, 2010 @ 10:19 pm

  2. I like your analysis of Oswalt’s performance both now and going forward, but I don’t know that the Astros would really ask for top prospects *in addition to* MLB-tested players. They’re not exactly in the catbird seat here; Oswalt has asked to be traded, so they don’t have leverage, and his contract is rather prohibitive given his injury issues. So I don’t think the Twins would have to give up as much as you think they would…but, ultimately, any price is a high price for an aging, expensive, injury-prone starting pitcher.

    Comment by Padman Jones — May 23, 2010 @ 10:31 pm

  3. I must be strange. A Twins fan from birth, but when I heard that Oswalt was looking for a trade, I thought that the Dodgers or Philly would be great. Perhaps it’s because he’s on my fantasy team.

    Comment by Brett — May 23, 2010 @ 10:32 pm

  4. it’s my guess that if the twins took on oswalt’s ENTIRE salary, that you wouldn’t have to give back a whole lot. the owner REALLY wants to dump oswalt/berkman’s salaries. he doesn’t care much about young players, really.

    i would guess you’d have to throw in some pitcher and a middle reliever (to make ed wade happy) and someone who can play first base, as kody clemens isn’t ready and geoff blum isn’t very good

    Comment by lisa gray — May 23, 2010 @ 11:19 pm

  5. Salary dumps often take precedent over the talent brought back.

    Comment by JR Cigar — May 24, 2010 @ 1:05 am

  6. I think an easier way to solidify the team is to find a right-handed outfielder with some power to spell the other two outfielders on the roster: Span and Cuddyer.

    Comment by Chris — May 24, 2010 @ 1:49 am

  7. It all depends on the $$ the Twins can deploy and if money is the larger chip the Astros are asking for, I think they could find a way to get it done.

    If they took Pavano back, that’d cover a chunk of his salary this year plus we believe they have about $5 million in Nathan Insurance.

    Next year you have O-Hud, Punto, Crain, Rauch and Guerier coming off the books. (about $15). They are likely going to fill the majority of those rolls from within the organization.

    So, money wise they might be able to make it work… but then they’d likely wouldn’t be giving up as much prospects.

    Comment by MC — May 24, 2010 @ 6:36 am

  8. If we wait a little while longer the Mariners will probably (or hopefully) be out of the race in the West. With Cliff Lee seemingly wanting to test the FA market this offseason the M’s best option is probably to save the money and trade him. A trade for Cliff Lee will be cheaper (Seattle isn’t in a position to ask for high level prospects for 1/2 a season out of Lee) and won’t be a multi-year commitment to an aging pitcher. Lee is also a clear #1 that is needed in the playoffs.

    Comment by Tony — May 24, 2010 @ 7:26 am

  9. Tony, I like the idea, but I think you undervalue Lee. There will be plenty of teams trying to shore up their rotations for a stretch run, and Lee will cost a lot more. Also, betting on a team to fail (even when it IS the Mariners) isn’t a prudent way to run an organization. I think the Twins could make the move, but I doubt they will. Wish in one hand and crap in the other…

    Comment by D-Luxxx — May 24, 2010 @ 8:09 am

  10. I agree completely with Tony. While Oswalt would be an improvement the Cliff Lee scenario is a much better one for the Twins both in terms of money and player quality.

    Comment by JB — May 24, 2010 @ 8:39 am

  11. I think giving up top prospects AND paying his salary is too much to ask. One, maybe, but not both. They’d have to either accept middling prospects, or subsidize his salary, for it to be worth it. Considering his back problems last year, I’m pretty comfortable sitting this one out, unless they come begging.

    Comment by By Jiminy — May 24, 2010 @ 8:47 am

  12. People misunderstand leverage. The Astros have complete leverage. They’ll have multiple teams trying to get Oswalt and they don’t have to trade him. Likewise the Mariners don’t have any salary problems. They aren’t going to trade Lee cheap. How often do premium pitchers trade around the deadline for a bargain rate?

    Comment by Hal — May 24, 2010 @ 9:14 am

  13. The Astros are not going to get top prospects unless they eat some of Oswalt’s salary, which they are supposedly loathe to do. The Twins’ alleged interest is certainly curious given the amount of money due Oswalt through 2011. It makes sense if the Twins are OK with a $115 million payroll, although for 2011 even that might be difficult to maintain with Oswalt on board.

    Comment by drivlikejehu — May 24, 2010 @ 9:53 am

  14. No way, no how. Even if Roy Oswalt might help the Twins win a world series this year, it’s not worth the cost of mortgaging the team’s future for the next six years. The money alone would make it much harder to sign several arbitration-ready players next year.

    Besides, the Twins have talent in the minors right now (Slama, Waldrop, Gibson) that will help them with their Series drive this year. Those pitchers, plus position players like Valencia, Plouffe, Hicks and Revere will provide the fielding and hitting that will keep the Twins competitive this year and beyond.

    Thanks but no thanks to Roy Oswalt. There is no need for the Twins to dump a bunch of money and raid the best talent from their great minor league system to help bolster the Houston Astros.

    No deal.

    Comment by jimbo92107 — May 24, 2010 @ 12:15 pm

  15. No one seems to be asking the right questions here. Are the Twins good enough to make the playoffs? Yes. Are the Twins good enough to make it to the World Series? No. Look at the potential teams in the AL that they have to compete with, or in the case of 2010 so far, look at the AL East. Tampa Bay, New York, and Boston. Can the Twins beat any of these teams in a 5 or 7 game series? That is the question that people need to be asking. It leads to more direct questions that can help in the Oswalt discussion. Take the top two starting pitchers on any of these teams and compare them with the top two for the Twins, one could argue here but so far that would have to be Liriano and choose your second. Even if Liriano continues to improve and seek to get back to his excellant form from years past, the Twins just don’t match up with pitchers like David Price, C.C. Sabathia, Josh Beckett, when healthy, or the others. Yes the Twins have 5 very consistent above average starting pitchers, but no stand out #1 or #2 staff aces. With the addition of someone like Oswalt, combine him with Liriano, you could make an arguement for the Twins to stand up against the best teams in the AL and make it to the World Series. Of course people will argue you have to give up too much or that you have to pay him too much. I say it is about time the Twins take a hard look in the mirror. With Mauer, Morneau, and Span they have a great base for the next 4 to 5 years at least, the Twins should compete or be in at least 2 World Series in that time frame. That is what the Twins organization should be looking for, if not 3 shots at a title in Mauers 9 years. I could easily part with Baker or Slowey or both and gladly add the extra salary to have a combination of Liriano and Oswalt pitching in the playoffs for the next 3 years, given they add the 2012 club option. The 15, 16 and 16 million over the next 3 years is a better deal than the 23-25 million it would have taken to keep Santana. Kyle Gibson looks like he will be pitching at Target Field in 2012 at his current rate if not sooner. Brian Duensing has potential to fill the 5th starter spot and provide another left hander in the rotation. Cuddyer has 2011 left, and it looks like the Twins are thinking Ben Revere will be here by 2012 to replace him, so they will save around 10 million per season if that holds true. The Twins are a very good baseball team and have been consistently in the playoffs since 2002, but they have also been consistently out of the World Series for too long. The Minnesota Twins have some weeknesses, in no particular order. #1) 3rd base, Punto is a great back up to have on the 25 man roster he is just not a starter, neither is Harris. a .245 career hitter just doesnt match up in a league where you are looking for someone with a .275 to .285 average at least. #2) They need to decide on Kubel, Young, and Ramos future. Aparently a .300 average and 28 home runs last year is not enough for Kubel to make the starting lineup – his confidence is shot right now because of lack of playing time, same can be said at time for Young and Ramos. DH Mauer every 3rd or 4th game, bring Ramos up to catch those days and DH Ramos on the other days, or go with Kubel 3 out of 4 days in LF, or go with Young 3 out of 4 days in LF, but make a decision. This point is for Bill Smith not me, he should know the players best. and #3) the Twins do not have 2 top of the line starting pitchers in the rotation like World Series contenders normally have. I am not saying spend like the Yankees, I am just saying this might be a chance to close the gap and make it to the World Series while Mauer and Morneau are both still around. Take a hard look Twins fans – does ownership just want to compete and be Minnesota nice or do they want to kick down the door and grab a title.

    Comment by raymond — May 24, 2010 @ 1:16 pm

  16. MC answered my question about Nathan Insurance. So we are covered for about $5 million of that loss but not the whole value, it would seem. Plus, he’ll probably be on the roster next year anyway (with the club option afterward), so it will be a question of paying for Oswalt and Nathan at some point in the future.

    I just still can’t fathom this happening. As little as two years ago, after the new park had been announced, but we had also just let Torii and Johan walk because we essentially got “out-bid”, the idea that we would even be thinking about trading for Oswalt and his contract AFTER committing $181 million to Mauer would’ve been laughable. Now, Twins fans are of the attitude of: “Why not?” This fanbase is getting spoiled in a reeeeal hurry.

    And, not to be a party pooper, but I also think they’re doing a legitimate cost/benefit analysis as to whether adding Oswalt makes you any more likely to beat the Yankees, Rays, or Red Sox in a 5- or 7-game series. All I ever hear is “We just lack that one dominant starting pitcher for the playoffs”. Did nobody watch the ’04 and ’06 playoffs with Santana? Does anybody REALLY think we beat the Yankees in the ALDS last year, if only we had Santana? C’mon.

    Comment by Jeff H — May 24, 2010 @ 1:31 pm

  17. i am so right…

    Comment by raymond — May 24, 2010 @ 1:36 pm

  18. Gibson looks like the real deal, and IMO he’ll make the major league club in 2011. That takes some of the pressure off of the Twins to make a deal for a front-of-the-rotation pitcher. I would not be eager to trade our top prospects for Oswalt, since I don’t see him as a long-term solution. Now if Cliff Lee comes on the market, I would be very interested.

    Comment by Dave T — May 24, 2010 @ 1:39 pm

  19. People make too much of this “Ace” concept in the playoffs. Sure, great to have. Who wouldn’t like to have the game’s best pitcher or one of them starting for you in the playoffs? But, there’s far more to it than that.

    You need a team. A good offense. Balanced pitching. Good defense. Good bullpen. Same as the regular season.

    If you have 2-3 Top shelf starters, does that help? Sure.

    Remember, we had Santana – the best pitcher in baseball – for 5 years (as a starter). We won exactly 2 playoff games during those years. Two of those years, we didn’t even make the playoffs.

    Build the best team you can, and you have a shot.

    Comment by Son of Shane Mack — May 24, 2010 @ 1:56 pm

  20. It all boils down to a simple question:

    Is the Twins goal to try to win the World Series with this team or is the goal to try to win the AL Central and get be no real threat in the post season? If it’s the former then you have to deal for Oswalt or a Cliff Lee. If it’s the latter than just say “we like our team. They battle their tails off”.

    As for the salary concerns. Don’t forget most likely whether or not a deal is made both Pavano’s $7-mill & Hudson’s $5-mill will come off the books & so will Nathan’s big contract the year after. So there is plenty of money to be free’d up for Roy.

    Comment by Robb — May 24, 2010 @ 2:28 pm

  21. Son of Shane Mack,

    And who won those two post season games for the Twins? Anyone? Of course you have to have a good team. But name me a World Series winner or even a team to make the series without one.

    Comment by Robb — May 24, 2010 @ 2:30 pm

  22. I think it makes sense to trade for Oswalt if one of the pieces happens to be one of our current starters. Houston is probably looking for young players with high ceilings though, given how they suck at the moment. Maybe you can trade Liriano for him? They probably would want Gibson though.

    Comment by Jake — May 24, 2010 @ 2:50 pm

  23. Baseball playoffs are a crapshoot anyway. Once you’re in, anyone can win.

    Comment by Oggmonster — May 24, 2010 @ 3:05 pm

  24. Oggmonster,

    Actually in the Twins case they’re about a close to a sure fire thing as you can get since 2003. Or this is the unluckiest “Crap Shoot” in sports history. The post season is far from an “anyone can win it” thing. Ask the Twins or A’s for that matter. Lot’s of appearances & 0 trips to the Series this decade. At least the A’s have won a few series along the way.

    Comment by Robb — May 24, 2010 @ 3:19 pm

  25. Robb, I agree that Oswalt or (especially) Cliff Lee would help our chances THIS YEAR. Also agree that the baseball postseason is not nearly as random as the NHL postseason can appear at times…there are reasons that teams like the Yankees can solidly defeat the Twins repeatedly in the postseason.

    I think the problem facing the Twins and pretty much any other ball club not named the Yankees or Red Sox is where the “just spend a little more” argument ends. This team has already spent more in retaining its own talent and acquiring useful veteran players (Thome, Hudson, Pavano, Hardy, etc.) than a Twins fan of 3 years ago ever would have dreamed. Do you keep making the “just one more player” argument, or do you realize that you’re never going to have the sheer volume of firepower that the Yankees have, and do the best you can?

    For as celebrated as the Twins farm system has been at generating pitchers, I’m not sure the end product has matched up with all of the hype. Remember when Slowey was coming up? Was this really the ceiling for him? People hoped we might be getting the next Greg Maddux, not Brad Radke. Rather than hoping we can go out and buy one of these guys, it sure would be nice if we could develop a pitcher (Kyle Gibson?) that at least has the chance of becoming a staff ace.

    Comment by Jeff H — May 24, 2010 @ 3:52 pm

  26. Sure, if Slowey and Revere are enough, I’d do that. I’d even throw in Delaney and one other mid-tier prospect. I’d not include Hicks or Gibson at this point.

    Why not do this? If two of Hicks, Morales, Tosoni, Benson, work out to be good MLB starters, they don’t need Revere. They also would not need to give Young real money.

    Too bad they wasted $1.2MM on Crain, when they could have had a minimum salary guy as the 5th best RP (or worse). And, why did they sign Harris to two years? Ugh, more money they didn’t need to spend above the minimum.

    As for “not needing an Ace”, I don’t agree. This team is not deep enough on O, and needs a guy that can shut down the other team. Now, I’d rather have Lee….but he’s not likely to be available for two more months (and is only signed for this year).

    Comment by mike wants wins — May 24, 2010 @ 4:47 pm

  27. And who won those two post season games for the Twins? Anyone? Of course you have to have a good team. But name me a World Series winner or even a team to make the series without one.
    Well, of course Santana won those games. That’s not the point. The point is, as good as Santana is, you have to surround him with good players (so they score runs) and possibly even a good bullpen (since he won’t throw a complete game every time – even in the playoffs) and other pitchers – because despite Santana pitching twice in both 2003 and 2004, they lost both series. Santana’s playoff record as a starter for the Twins was 2-3 (as in the games he started).

    Other Twins pitchers that have won playoff games? Joe Mays, Eric Milton, and Brad Radke (who has also won 2).

    Other teams that have won the world series without an Ace? Well, it depends on your definition of an “Ace.” Generally your “ace” is simply your best pitcher. So, by that definition, every team has one. However, I think you mean one of the top quality starters in the league.

    - 2005 Chicago White Sox (a high quality staff, but no “Ace”)
    - 2003 Florida Marlin (Beckett wasn’t considered an “Ace” at the time, though that year and his WS performance pretty much raised his profile to a similar level)
    - 2002 Anaheim Angels

    And some possible boarderline ones:

    - 2008 Philadephia Phillies. Cole Hamels and Jamie Moyer, fine pitchers, but do they meet your definition
    - 2006 St. Louis Cardinals. Chris Carpenter. Hmm… Good pitcher, sure. Best in St. Louis, without a doubt. Does he qualify. Probably.

    Comment by Son of Shane Mack — May 24, 2010 @ 4:50 pm

  28. Mind you, I’m not opposed to adding someone like Oswalt or Lee. Better pitching and quality pitching are things you can’t have enough of. Either would be a major upgrade to the staff.

    In the preseason, most good analysis gave the Twins a solid, though likely not spectacular starting rotation. The first part of the season has proven that to be pretty much right on. Anyone who though these guys would be spectacular all around had stars in their eyes. However, not many teams can field 5 solid starters, so that’s a plus.

    As far as Oswalt and Lee, it’s the price that’s the issue. Who would it cost, and how much? The Twins have limits on both – can’t afford too much more in the way of salary, and also can’t afford NOT to look into the future and hang onto valuable prospects because they often become cheap and productive features in the lineup. That’s how they’ve maintained their success throughout this decade, and they’re not going to throw it away for a 32 year old pitcher.

    Comment by Son of Shane Mack — May 24, 2010 @ 4:59 pm

  29. Slowey and now Liriano are not solid at all. Slowey has 1 quality start this year, 1 (whether or not this is the injury, or whatever, he just isn’t good this year). Liriano has not been the same (coincidentally) since Gardy let him go many pitches. Baker is inconsistent. How many years will Mauer and Morneau both be healthy? How many years will they even have a Thome off the bench? I’m all for a trade – all for it.

    Five “solid” starters does nothing for you in the postseason.

    Comment by mike wants wins — May 24, 2010 @ 5:24 pm

  30. Oh, and I’d be shocked if they traded for either – it’s not in their DNA.

    Comment by mike wants wins — May 24, 2010 @ 5:25 pm

  31. To me it comes down to paying money or prospects, but not a steep price on both. The Twins can do one both not both.

    You can’t trade Gibson, all other chits are available but not necessarily advised.

    Comment by MC — May 24, 2010 @ 5:47 pm

  32. You’re confusing “solid” with very good or great.

    Solid means decent, not disasters, not spectacular. The Twins starters’ ERA (not a perfect indicator, of course) except for Liriano, are all between 4 and 5. That’s solid. Not great. Maybe not always even good. But well within expectations. If Slowey suddenly morphed into Greg Maddux, Blackburn into Brandon Webb, and Liriano into… well, Liriano of earlier this season, well, that would be a nice pitching staff indeed. Maybe one of those 3 things might happen. Quite possibly none.

    Five solid starters gets you near the postseason, often. Coupled with a good lineup and a good defense – that’s a good team. A team with slightly above average starters (like the Twins currently, theoretically) has a chance against a team like the Yankees in the postseason, but not a great one. In this, they’re not too different than the rest of the league.

    I’m not saying that an “Ace” isn’t nice. Pitching and very good pitching along with a very good team will get you places in the season and postseason. However, sacrificing future talent and depth for the crapshoot any pitcher is (injury, ineffectiveness) will get you where Houston is after not too long.

    Comment by Son of Shane Mack — May 24, 2010 @ 5:48 pm

  33. I assure all of you, the twins are not even entertaining the idea of bringing this guy to the team. When have they ever added salary, for more than one year, or delt top prospects which houston surely would be asking for? It preposterous on its face.

    Comment by Jacktorse — May 24, 2010 @ 5:55 pm

  34. Or, it gets you where Philly is….that’s another thing that trading can get you. All trades are crapshoots. Of course, standing pat is also a crapshoot. There are very few sure things in sports….

    Comment by mike wants wins — May 24, 2010 @ 5:57 pm

  35. Jeff H,

    The had one who ended up costing too much (Santana), they had potentially another one and traded him away (Garza). They don’t have one now and Gibson is still 1,2,3 maybe 4-5 years awat from being one. So do win with this team now or even next year they have to deal for one.

    Son of Shane Mack,

    The major difference is, say what you want about this year team but, there is no question that this years lineup is far more potent than the one’s supporting Santana in 2003 & ’04. They are even built better for the post season (Power & ability to take walks). And having a great bullpen is fine but you have to get them the ball with the lead or in a tie game hence the need to have an ace or two. Beckett, whether you considered hom one or not at the time, pitched like one in the post season and has gone on to be one ever since. 2008 Phillies, Hammels (in a bad year) had an ERA only a shade over 3.00 with nearly 8 K’s per 9 -IP and was coming off a 15-5 “ace” season and was backed up by a lights out bullpen.

    Finally for those saying we can’t afford it. Can the Twins afford not too? It’s not really a money thing, just as the Rays. They’ve been to the Series and put themselves on the same playing field with the yanks & Sox without spending close the Money the Twins are right now. It was getting young talent, the right timing, and acquiring a number of quality young “power arms”. The latter of which has been the Twins one big miss on terms of philosophy. So the option now, if they really want to compete for a title, is to get one the old fashioned way, take somebody else’s. They can afford Lee or Oswalt. There are lots of ways to do it without sending the payroll out of this world or they can just wait until one comes to them thru the system and by them they don’t have Morneau, Thome, Hudson, a Mauer in his prime etc,.

    Comment by Robb — May 24, 2010 @ 6:08 pm

  36. Or, it gets you where Philly is….that’s another thing that trading can get you.
    Maybe. That’s the same philosophy that Brian Sabean has been using.

    It might get you Roy Halladay. Or, it might get you AJ Pierzynski. After all, all you have to give up is this guy who has done a bit of starting and some work in the bullpen, an overweight pitcher named Boof, and some kid in the minors that’s had some arm problems. A great deal, no?

    Or you could sign that free agent pitcher to a long-term contract. I’m sure Zito is worth it. He’s been great for the A’s and the AL is tougher to pitch in.

    So, maybe it gets you where the Giants have been for most of the last decade…

    In general, there aren’t many times that trading a team’s top young talent for an aging veteran pitcher has worked out well for the team that gets the aging pitcher. Very few. If the cost is right, sure. But, as a rule, most have regretted it.

    It all depends on the cost.

    Comment by Son of Shane Mack — May 24, 2010 @ 6:44 pm

  37. When I say cost – I mean both dollars and prospects. If the prospects are expendable… then the cost is right. If the salary brought in is manageable in the short-run, then the cost could be right.

    Comment by Son of Shane Mack — May 24, 2010 @ 6:47 pm

  38. Oswalt is a very “reasonable” price for who he is and what he’s done. Lee would be a rent a guy are you getting bang for your buck at that point. Oswalt could help be a contender for 2 years.

    None of this is to say you have to give all your great prospects & pay all of his salary to get him (or Lee) but for those of you saying, “stay the course” “it costs too much” we have a team to compete or you don’t need a stud pitcher to win, that’s just what the Twins management has lived by the since getting good again. The result 1 post season win in 5 trips & 1 game 163 loss. The definition of insanity is trying the same thing over and over again expecting a different result. Just saying maybe they could try a different approach.

    Comment by Robb — May 24, 2010 @ 8:09 pm

  39. Son of Shane Mack,

    You mentioned 2006 Chris Carpetener as being “borderline”. Really? He was 3rd in Cy Young voting (2nd best starter). Interestingly Oswalt was right behind him in voting. Carpenter was in the midst of a 3 year run of dominance in 2006. He then had 2 injury year and has comeback this season to pick up where he left off. Pretty “ace” like to me. There isn’t a pitcher on the Twins staff you would’nt trade for 2006 Chris Carpenter. Not every ace has to be 20-game winner Pedro 1999 like numbers.

    2003 Josh Beckett? He was 23. Any of the guys on the current Twins staff you want to take for having as good or better numbers or even stuff as he had from 2003-2009?

    This team needs (still steal from Souhan a bit) an attitude injection that an ace/stud or a “I will die before letting you win” type player (see AJ, Pete Rose, Gaetti, Jack Morris, whomever). Minnesota nice hasn’t gotten it done.

    Comment by Robb — May 24, 2010 @ 8:19 pm

  40. Sucky. National. League.

    I just don’t think Oswalt is that good.

    Comment by Neil — May 24, 2010 @ 10:15 pm

  41. The twins should trade Slowey and Perkins to acquire Oswalt. Slowey can’t make it out of the 5th inning and Perkins needs a change of scenery.

    Comment by Tim — May 24, 2010 @ 11:20 pm

  42. Oswalt is a very “reasonable” price for who he is and what he’s done. Lee would be a rent a guy are you getting bang for your buck at that point. Oswalt could help be a contender for 2 years.

    None of this is to say you have to give all your great prospects & pay all of his salary to get him (or Lee) but for those of you saying, “stay the course” “it costs too much” we have a team to compete or you don’t need a stud pitcher to win, that’s just what the Twins management has lived by the since getting good again. The result 1 post season win in 5 trips & 1 game 163 loss. The definition of insanity is trying the same thing over and over again expecting a different result. Just saying maybe they could try a different approach.
    I’m not saying that we should “stay the course” or that it “costs too much.” Of course the Twins should try to get Oswalt if they can – or at least see what the cost might be. All I’m saying is don’t give up the farm.

    Some people above seem far to willing to part with top minor league talent – talent that has helped keep the Twins competitive for a decade. Not you, just some people. Of course you have to give up something to get something, well, unless you are dealing with Steve Phillips or Brian Sabean. But, barring that, yes.

    Also, all I’m saying is that getting a 30+ year old pitcher isn’t always the magic bullet. I’d much rather have 5 decent pitchers than 1-2 good ones and a bunch of throwers that belong in AAA. The Twins don’t have that problem at the moment – so be grateful for that. Even though the Brewers managed to win some games against us this last series, be glad that we don’t have their pitching staff.

    This, however, is one of the years were having an “Ace” type pitcher might make a significant difference. The lineup is already good (if not as powerful as some with rose-colored glasses think) and having someone like Oswalt could help put them over the top in the season or a playoff series. Or, he may struggle to have that same level of success in the AL. It’s hard to know.

    Just don’t give up the farm.

    Comment by Son of Shane Mack — May 24, 2010 @ 11:31 pm

  43. Neil nails it for me. There is plenty of history of pitchers that were lights out in the NL and then come to the AL and stuggle. Look at Peavy, for example. Do you wnat to pay $15,000,000/year and end up with a guy with an ERA higher than 5?. Lee is a different case. He could be a difference maker for the Twins

    Comment by adjacent — May 24, 2010 @ 11:33 pm

  44. Son of Shane Mack,

    Agreed. Though I would day to your point..”I’d much rather have 5 decent pitchers than 1-2 good ones and a bunch of throwers”.

    Not come post season. 1-2 good/great ones win titles. 4th & 5th starters never see the light of day so that depth is moot. Viola & Bert &….Straker. Morris & Tapani & a banged up Erickson who was virtually toast. 1-2 & a bullpen with a decent power hitting lineup win titles. Let’s all hope for a Twins sweep of the Yanks to install a little hope in a different outcome this October.

    Comment by Robb — May 25, 2010 @ 12:37 am

  45. still want Repko+Jones..better as tolbert..harris…

    Comment by Chris — May 25, 2010 @ 12:38 am

  46. Not come post season. 1-2 good/great ones win titles. 4th & 5th starters never see the light of day so that depth is moot.

    True. However, if you have only 1 or 2 good starters with a rotation filled with people that should be in AAA, there’s a decent chance you won’t see the postseason. The best is a balance – a solid rotation with 1 or 2 actual or potential “Aces.” Unfortunately, unless you’re the Yanks or the Red Sox, (or the Phillies) it’s hard to build that. Acquiring that talent through free agency is exceptionally expensive. The best hope is to develop it. In the past, the Twins have developed an top Ace (Santana), a decent Ace (Radke), a potential Ace (Garza) but they’re all gone, now. So far the current group is decent (as a whole) but none of them have really taken that big step into the top echelon of pitching in the league. Trading for one like Lee is a great idea, IF the cost (money and prospects) is something the team can bear.

    Comment by Son of Shane Mack — May 25, 2010 @ 2:17 am

  47. Jose morles, angel morales, perkins, slama, crain.. remember what we got for santana? I think that is reasonable for taking on a huge contract for a 32 year old pitcher that is slowly moving out of his prime. Throw in Mijars or Burnett or any of our triple A pitchers. Also look into bringing in the astro’s closer matt lindstrom. Make a play for alex gordan (still has an upside). We have to get rid of Mijars, Casilla, Perkins, Crain! You could also throw in Delmon Young if needed to make the deal work. The future is Morales, Hicks, Revere, and Gibson. And with Benson, angel Morales, Revere, Hicks, young, and Span all in the organization allows us to essentially trade either angel morales or benson (prefer morals) You people are crazy to think the twins don’t have a pretty darn good starting staff. Liriano throws 95 again and has a 3.25 ERA. His slider was hitting 89 last week too. He is our guy! I agree that Lee would be a good pick up but i have the feeling you would have to give up a ramos, hicks etc for him. Taking on Oswalts salary allows up to give up fillers. WHo wouldnt like to see a staff that includes: for 2011: Nathan, Lindstrom, Raunch Neshek, Duensing, Burnett) With Gibson, Gutteierez Broomburg manship, swartz, Van Mill, Waldrop waiting in the wings in triple. And a 5 man rotation of OSwalt, Liriano, Baker, Blackburn, Slowly. And a starting line up of Span, Odogg, maur, morneau, cuddy, Kubel, Hardy, Ramos, Alex Gordan. With a bench of Thome, Harris, Revere, Young. ( or Valencia or Hughes) So what maybe next year our payroll is 115 million or so. I think we can live with it

    Comment by amo — May 25, 2010 @ 8:00 am

  48. I don’t know what you’re smoking amo, but I want some. Sure, all sorts of teams would jump all over our scraps. Sheesh.

    Comment by D-Luxxx — May 25, 2010 @ 9:04 am

  49. In 9 games against the AL over the last 3 years, Oswalt is 2-5 with a 4.47 ERA and 1.68 WHIP.

    And why does “Rick Reed” keep popping into my head?

    Comment by JB (the original) — May 25, 2010 @ 9:31 am

  50. Oswalt was 24th in xFIP last year, which was an injury-filled off-year for him. The top Twin SP was Baker, at 49th. For his career, Oswalt is at 3.57, which would have put him 13th last year, between Beckett and King Felix.

    In other words, Oswalt has been really good. He’s certainly worth the $15-16M contract he has. If he were a free agent, he’d likely get more than that per year (Lackey got $16.5M per this offseason) and for a longer commitment. So there will be plenty of interested suitors if/when he becomes available. New York, Philly, maybe the Angels would all be in.

    Should the Twins be? I don’t know. He’s never actually been a great postseazson pitcher, but those are small sample sizes. At his age, he’s not likely to get better and is a decent bet to slip over the next couple of years. He’d be a clear upgrade but would cost a lot in prospects and cash. (The Twins aren’t getting him for Slowey/Perkins. Look at the Cliff Lee trade packages for decent comps.) I doubt the team has anything like $15M extra budgeted for a SP upgrade. And Houston sure as heck won’t be paying any of the freight.

    Cliff Lee as a half-year rental would likely come more cheaply in terms of prospects and would cost less $. He’s a far more reasonable target to dream about…

    Comment by BR — May 25, 2010 @ 12:01 pm

  51. “And why does “Rick Reed” keep popping into my head?”

    because you have trouble making proper comparisons?

    Comment by ? — May 25, 2010 @ 12:21 pm

  52. A big thanks but no thanks on Oswalt!

    Comment by jjswol — May 25, 2010 @ 1:12 pm

  53. If Lee is available at the deadline I would take him. His 2010 salary is 9 mil. So half of that plus Slowey, Perkins and another minor leaguer should do it for half a season. Liriano and Lee 1,2 in the post season with our lineup would be pretty good.

    Comment by Large Canine — May 25, 2010 @ 1:34 pm

  54. I think it’s highly unlikely that Slowey would be included in any deal. He’s already shown (2008) that he can be a successful MLB starter. The Twins are almost certainly going to give him this year to bounce back from his injury and reestablish himself. He’s still only 26 years old…

    Comment by BR — May 25, 2010 @ 1:54 pm

  55. I agree with Chris above. It makes more sense to trade for a RH outfielder that can hit lefties and play an adequate CF. Those guys are easy to find and relatively cheap.

    There’s really no reason that Kubel should be the starting DH against LHP. And there’s no reason to have 12+ pitchers and/or 5 middle infielders yet no backup CF.

    Comment by Algonad — May 25, 2010 @ 3:29 pm

  56. I wish but I do not think we can afford Roy Oswalt?

    Comment by Fred Lassonde — May 25, 2010 @ 5:12 pm

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