Posted at 10:08 AM on June 28, 2005
by Bob Collins
A couple of days ago, Twins GM Terry Ryan dismissed the idea of going after Joe Randa to solve the Twins' thirdbase woes. I spent the weekend watching Randa and while he's never going to be the centerfold in the Sporting News, it doesn't take much to be better than Michael Cuddyer, who just isn't very good at thirdbase and who's offensive numbers scream SECONDBASE!
I'm not really sure what the deal is with Ryan and Randa. My initial reaction is Randa must make too much. But at $2.1 million, that's about right for the level of performance, especially at a weak position in baseball these days.
So that means the Reds must be asking for too much and that can certainly change between now and the end of next month. I'm not seeing a lot of 3B needs among playoff contenders right now and the Twins are borderline desperate at this position.
When I wake up with a start at night, it's usually because I'm dreaming the Twins have just traded for Jose Hernandez at $1.8 million. Ouch.
None of this would be a problem, I suppose, if Justin Morneau hadn't tanked at first in May and June and is showing signs of David McCartyitis.
A playoff team can't expect much getting the offensive production from these two corner positions.
So Cuddyer now is going to be replaced by Glenn Williams, who has certainly produced in limited games. But he's 28 and the baseball gods aren't looking the other way right now. (Memo to Rochester Red Wings: how 'bout putting some serious stats on your Web site?).
This is a problem. W
I can't see spending that kind of money on Randa. Not for the short amount of time we're going to need him. I say, give Glenn Williams a chance. He reminds me of Mike Pagliorulo, capable of a season or two of very solid performances. This season would be perfect timing.
As for Cuddyer... he should be a second baseman... i think that is obvious.
as for Morneau... i'm not ready to call him a bust, but geez the hype was overdone...
I think it would be a mistake to be overly influenced by the hot start of Glenn Williams. Again, age 28 alone tells us something. In Rochester, facing AAA pitching, he hit .303 with a .341 OBP, walked 7 times and struck out 35. Projecting that to a full season of Major League Baseball doesn't reveal much to get excited about and doesn't strike me as an upgrade at the position.
Talent in Major League Baseball eventually seeks its own level and I feel fairly confident that Glenn Williams will settle in at about .260 with 11, 12 homers over the course of a season. I think we can do better.
At this point, I'm ready to try Ndudi Ebi at third.
bob, i am with you on williams.......maybe al newman has some baseball left in him. with his added bulk, maybe he'll actually be able to hit a HR.........
dooodie....ebi...ebi! ebi! ebi!
Any team that might be thinking about going into "dismantle and sell" mode while at the top of the wild card standings doesn't deserve the attention and support of its fans. I'd be disgusted to see Terry Ryan give up on the season while his team still had a good shot at a playoff spot.
I think Ryan should be active in the market, and you can use some of your coming free agents and still end up a better team both this year and next.
The Twins are at a crucial point in their existence. We know by our own experience, that the window for them to win a championship is closing fast.
The minor leagues aren't pumping in quality players at a rate that can sustain the squad for many more years.
I think the Twins actually could listen to some bids for Nathan, especially considering my contention that closers are mostly overrated.
I see Jesse Crain as a closer, and I think he could step in. What this team needs is some flat-out thump. Is it available? It's always available.
The thing about the wild card is how you do in the playoffs doesn't so much depend on whether you're the wild card, but what your overall record is. Wild card teams that go to the postseason, who are NOT the worst of the playoff teams, actually have fared quite well and won a few championships in recent years.
If the Central Division, now the league's toughest division, can have its wild card with, say, the third best record (and I think that's possible considering the way the Angels and White Sox are playing), you're pretty much in the mix, especially since the Twins would avoid playing the league's best team in the first round.
Bob hit the nail on the head.
We also have to consider what it means to just make the playoffs. Let's face it, the Twins (as they are currently constructed) would need an act of god to advance.
I think Mauer & Morneau are experiencing growing pains and are still a year away. It's unfair that so much pressure on them.
The Twins shouldn't give up, but should be realistic and look beyond the immediate future.
Ironically -- or perhaps coincidentally -- the team the Twins are in contention with for the wild card spot -- the Indians -- are in exactly the same predicament when it comes to strategic decisions between now and the trading deadline.