November 30, 2008
Twins Notes: Young, Morlan, Reyes, and Iron Man
There are some prominent national baseball columnists who strike me as having spotty track records when it comes to passing along rumors, but Rosenthal is atop my list of trusted writers. Not only does he break more big stories than anyone, I've seen him in action at the winter meetings two years ago and was blown away by how hard he works. In other words, a single paragraph from Rosenthal does more to convince me that Young is being shopped than 50 notes from Hartman and Walters would.
Twins left fielder Delmon Young is "very, very much out there," according to one rival GM. Young, a right-handed hitter, would make particular sense for the Phillies, but the Twins will need to be careful in any trade discussions. Getting poor value for Young would only compound their mistake in acquiring him as part of a six-player trade in which they sent shortstop Jason Bartlett and right-hander Matt Garza to the Rays.
Morlan struggled through a shoulder injury early on this season, but finished very strong to end the year with a 3.64 ERA, 45-to-15 strikeout-to-walk ratio, and .240 opponent's batting average in 47.2 innings at Double-A as a 22-year-old. Shoulder problems aside his performance this season did nothing to alter my opinion that he's a very good relief prospect, which is why it was so surprising to see that the Rays opted not to add him to their 40-man roster.
While it'll no doubt be a glossed-over aspect of a blockbuster trade, the difference between Rincon and Morlan is substantial and increases the already strong chance that the deal will be unkind to the Twins over the long haul. ... The 21-year-old former third-round pick has dominated in the minors and projects as a late-inning reliever who could be ready to make a significant big-league impact as soon as 2008.
Morlan is now eligible to be selected in next week's Rule 5 draft and it would be nice to see the Twins recoup some of the value from the Young trade by taking him, but my guess is that Morlan won't make it to them. Even speculating that a specific player will be selected at all in the Rule 5 draft is somewhat pointless because the whole thing is very unpredictable, but Morlan is exactly the type of prospect many teams target and he's featured in all sorts of articles highlighting potential Rule 5 steals.
In addition to the looming decision on Reyes, today's deadline also means that some pretty intriguing free-agent relievers could become options for the Twins if their respective teams decline to offer them arbitration. For now guys like Juan Cruz, Russ Springer, and Bob Howry probably aren't on the Twins' radar because signing them would involve losing a first-round pick, but if no arbitration is offered they'll be free to sign without any compensation and would be very worthwhile targets.
UPDATE: The Twins offered arbitration to Reyes and the Diamondbacks did the same with Cruz, but Howry and Springer are now eligible to be signed without draft-pick compensation.
Posnanski is definitely right in saying that most Twins fans think Justin Morneau is more valuable than Mauer, but that sentiment has certainly never been expressed in this space. Of course, Posnanski has suggested multiple times that Ron Gardenhire is the best manager in baseball and that's also not a sentiment you're likely to see here, so we don't agree on everything.
I felt very strongly that he should have been the American League MVP in 2006 over his teammate Justin Morneau. This year, I felt like Mauer was both the best player in the American League and--just as a slightly different way of looking at it--the most irreplaceable player. ... I realize that this is not the only way to look at this thing--probably not even the best way to look at it--but I have to say I have no idea why people who watch this team more closely than I do insist that Morneau is the more valuable player.
Even better, the photo was taken by The Dude himself, Jeff Bridges. As for why Downey would wear an old Twins t-shirt from 1987, none of the people who sent me the link had a plausible explanation and it definitely doesn't make as much sense as Bert Blyleven wearing this t-shirt.
Once you're done here, check out my latest "Daily Dose" column over at Rotoworld.