October 17, 2007
Twins Notes: More Targets, Fewer Homers, and Love Letters
YEAR AVG OBP SLG OPS
2005 .290 .382 .533 .915
2006 .266 .342 .423 .765
2007 .281 .370 .422 .791
For their careers Floyd and Jenkins have hit similarly against righties, but Jenkins fared better recently. He's also younger, healthier, better defensively, and appears to have more left in the tank, but Floyd figures to be available at a reasonable price after playing this season for $3 million. Given that he didn't put up especially big numbers and totaled just 322 plate appearances as a 34-year-old, he might be willing to accept even less than that if it came along with the promise of regular playing time.
Clark is 35 years old and his numbers in Arizona weren't great considering the hitter-friendly ballpark and low on-base percentages, but he made just $1 million in each of the past two seasons. He's a switch-hitter with a good shot at providing 20-plus homers and a .450 slugging percentage, which wouldn't look bad in the Twins' lineup at a similar price. Of course, until free agency officially begins and the list of available hitters is set, names like Jenkins, Floyd, and Clark and just food for thought.
If Pineiro can shake off those ERAs to get $13 million based on a couple good months in an inferior league, it seems clear that Silva can do more than double that coming off a 202-inning, 4.19-ERA year. As I wrote last month, my guess is that Silva's next contract is likely to be worth closer to $40 million than $20 million. If that's the case, then hopefully the Twins aren't the team that gives it to him, because they definitely shouldn't be paying a premium for good-but-not-great starting pitching at this point.
Similarly, Jason Bay is far from anyone's idea of a wall-climbing outfielder, but the low left-field fence in Pittsburgh enabled him to rank just behind Hunter with six "robbed homers" since 2004. Meanwhile, with their low walls center field and left field at the Metrodome are good setups for erasing homers. In addition to Hunter wiping away eight homers over the past four seasons, occasional fill-in Lew Ford ranks fourth in all of baseball with five "robbed homers" over that same stretch.
Interestingly, a friend of AG.com who knows new Reds manager Dusty Baker well and talks with him regularly recently suggested to me that Cincinnati could make a strong play for Hunter. That makes sense, both because the Reds could use a center fielder and because their general manager is former Terry Ryan assistant Wayne Krivsky. The Rangers also seem like an obvious fit given their need for center-field help and the fact that Hunter lives in Texas during the offseason.
Jones himself hit just five homers in 135 games this season, but according to Wittenmyer that's "an aberration" caused by "stress." He also notes that Jones "plays the game the way the Diamondbacks do," although it's unclear what that actually means. He suggests that "the biggest reason to keep Jones" is that "the next time he takes a play off will be the first" and he "runs out every grounder and pop-up." That seems like an odd No. 1 reason to keep someone on the team for $5 million.
Of course, as he explains, not hustling is "far more damaging to a team ... than an honest, aggressive effort ... that falls short." Coincidentally, Jones was criticized for many honest, aggressive efforts that fell short. According to Wittenmyer that's no big deal as long as he runs hard down the first-base line in the two-thirds of his trips to the plate that end in outs. There's plenty more where that came from, as the entire piece reads like something put together by a public-relations firm that was hired by Jones.
Once you're done here, check out my latest "Daily Dose" column over at Rotoworld.