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A team from the Boondocks

Posted at 3:40 PM on July 11, 2005 by Bob Collins (18 Comments)

I was leafing through the Strib this morning and one of the larger articles was speculation about who would be added to the roster at second base. Breathlessly, or it so it seemed in my no-coffee state, it was projected that Brent Abernathy would be added.

And then it hit me. Something that should have hit me months ago. The Minnesota Twins are trying to win a championship with a bunch of starters who should be the 25th guy off the bench.

Brent Abernathy, Luis Rivas, Michael Cuddyer, Nick Punto etc. Yawn. If these guys are starting for you or playing meaningful innings, you've got a problem. And so it comes as no surprise that the Twins have a problem. They've grown kind of boring in a .310 OBP sort of way.

So today we found out who would make this team interesting again. Bret Boone has been acquired for a player to be named later and some money.

Oh boy.

Comments (18)

I can't say whether it's a great deal until I see the player and money involved, but it sure is intriguing. The team, and particularly the infield, could use some "seasoning".

Posted by Ben | July 11, 2005 4:27 PM

I agree with in theory, but I think you are being too hard on Punto he's hitting (.274/.341/.408) which is pretty solid for a 2B.

If (a big if) he can stay healthy, I think he will be a viable, everyday big league player.

Posted by daveZ | July 11, 2005 4:51 PM

Yeah, Nick's numbers ain't bad. But you know what? At the end of the season,you're still left with Nick Punto.

Bret Boone is washed up and when you look at Joe Randa sitting out there making $2.1 million a year, it's hard to figure out how Bret Boone's bat at $8 million makes a lot of sense, unless Seattle paid $7.9 million of it, which is a real possibility, I'd say.

Bret Boone. Geez. Might as well have signed Tommy Herr.

Posted by Bob Collins | July 11, 2005 7:09 PM

The Twins are receiving money from Seattle to cover Boone's salary (minus about $150,000). So as long as the ptbnl is not someone good, the Twins lost nothing here.

Posted by Michael | July 11, 2005 7:58 PM

Agreed. When a bunch of utility players are your only other option, a washed up secondbaseman is probably not a loss...just a sideways move. I suppose the question is are inexpensive, sideways moves the way you win championships?

Frankly, the gushing on the local TV sports segments last night was pretty interesting. You'd have thought it was 4 years ago and Boone was in the middle of a 37 home-run season.

Posted by Bob Collins | July 12, 2005 7:07 AM

you said: " Bret Boone has been acquired for a player to be named later and some money."

I think you've got that wrong. I think actually it should be: "Bret Boone and some money was acquired for a player to be named later". That doesn't seem like too bad of a deal since the Twins are only paying him the major league minimum and Seattle's stuck paying the rest of his fat contract.

Posted by jonner | July 12, 2005 7:48 AM

According to the Seattle Times, "The Mariners were rumored to be working on a deal last weekend that would have sent Boone to San Diego. It's thought that deal fell through when the Padres wouldn't pay as much of Boone's remaining salary as Seattle had asked. Boone is due to make $9.2 million this year and with half the season remaining, is still owed about $4.6 million. It's thought Seattle wanted San Diego to pick up about $4 million, while the Mariners wanted to split it."

So it sounds to me like the Twins are going to be picking up more of Boone's salary than they're letting on.

In any event, from a money point of view, you're right, it's probably not a bad deal. But it's not MY money so what do I care?

From an on-field evaluation, well, secondbase can't be WORSE with Boone. But can it be markedly better? In other words, is this really the best a team that is serious about a championship can do?

I hope this is the beginning of the moves, not the end of it, because it has zero margin of error in the postseason and that puts a lot of pressure on a pitching staff and bullpen that has shown some signs of weakening.

As for Boone, isn't there an undetectable steroid we can get him on?

Posted by Bob Collins | July 12, 2005 11:23 AM

hmm. I hope the twins aren't paying more of it. the Story on says:

"Minnesota will likely send Seattle a Minor League player after the season. The Mariners are still responsible for paying the balance of Boone's 2005 salary of $9.2 million. The Twins have to pay a prorated amount, in the $150,000 range, of the Major League minimum, which is $317,000."

I'm not particularly excited about Boone, it's just that there's very little downside if we're only paying 150,000, especially since our current crop of infielders isn't exactly tearing it up in the batter's box. On the other hand, if we're stuck paying a bunch more of his salary, the deal starts losing appeal really quickly.

Posted by jonner | July 12, 2005 11:40 AM

as a fan, i could care less what the twins are going to pay boone -- it's carl pohlad's money after all............

Posted by daveZ | July 12, 2005 12:22 PM

I think this bit from La Velle's column in the Strib sums it up nicely:

Twins second basemen -- all six of them -- have combined to hit .279 with four homers and 20 RBI.

Twins third basemen -- all seven of them -- have combined to hit .270 with five homers and 33 RBI.

Boone was batting .231 with seven homers and 33 RBI, and hasn't even played since July 2. His history shows that he's (much) better than that, which is already the same (if not better) than our current options.

Posted by Ben Tesch | July 12, 2005 12:57 PM

Ben, Ben, Ben you young thing. History shows that we are all a lot better with our youth intact. The problem is, Boone's youth ain't intact. Expecting him to revert to 'career norms' at 37 years old is a recipe to be disappointed. But your point is also mine -- it's a sideways move. What's all the excitement about?

If we're excited because he didn't cost us much, great. But why would Seattle make a deal with a team that isn't going to help pay his salary, while not taking one from a team that was going to pay at least a few million more. Something's not quite right with that scenario.

The Twins need something more than an aging Bret Boone. At this point, though, Bob Boone would be an improvement. Heck, even Ray Boone would be an improvement.

And, now that I think of it, Pat Boone -- even Debby Boone -- is a step in a better direction.

Posted by Bob Collins | July 12, 2005 2:44 PM

I think you forgot to mention Daniel Boone. I heard he hit a ball clear over the Cumberland Gap in his rookie season with the Transylvania Explorers.

Posted by Ben Tesch | July 12, 2005 2:58 PM

Wow... who would have thought a no-risk, no-biggie trade would get tongues wagging like this?

Seriously, the Twins would have been fools to let this deal pass them by. Sure, Boone's best days are behind him... and the odds that he'll be Shannon Stewart are minimal. But let's look at facts, Cuddyer is not a starter... never will be. Folks, this is Denny Hocking Redux. Punto is servicable, but in reality the team needs Boone because he's a good clubhouse guy, a veteran presence in an infield of kids, and moreover, a guy who at least MIGHT hit... which is better than WON'T hit (which is where we are now)

Posted by Brandon | July 12, 2005 4:54 PM

Those are all fine points, Brandon. But what gets people's tongues wagging is the notion that because there is low-risk in this deal, well, they'd be crazy to let it go by.

They're right, of course. It is low risk from an on-field perspective and especially from a front-office perspective.

And if staying about the same, perhaps a slight (fingers crossed) improvement was all the Twins needed, it'd be even a better deal.

Too bad it's not.

Posted by Bob Collins | July 12, 2005 5:28 PM

Cuddyer was doing a decent job the last couple months, and still could have a solid future ahead of him if his club would quit bailing on him every time he has a shakey week. Aside from Rivas, the other alternatives at 2B had been playing pretty well, too.

We just picked up a washed-up veteran whose best years, circumstantial evidence suggests, may have been fueled by steroids. And he'll be playing a position which really didn't need fixing by making a trade. What for? Just because a veteran name was there for the claiming? Hey, I hear Rickey Henderson is available and willing to come to Minnesota. Maybe we should get him, too. Our leadoff man has been flagging, and Rickey used to be a pretty good one, I recall.

If you really want to get everyone cheering with excitement, let's see Terry Ryan land a real impact player: either a corner OF better than Jones or Stewart, a real masher for the infield, or a #2 pitcher better than Brad Radke.

'Til then... whatever.

Posted by frightwig | July 12, 2005 5:29 PM

One of these days we should dig around on the concept of "a change of scenery." How often does it REALLY help?

Posted by Bob Collins | July 12, 2005 5:41 PM

"Change of Scenery" seemed to do well for David Ortiz. Loaiza moving out of NY. Nats moving out of Quebec.

Posted by amr | July 13, 2005 1:34 AM

I think "change of manager" (to one that didn't think he should be a singles hitter) is what helped Ortiz. But what I've heard the players/GMs etc., say on Boone is "maybe a change of scenery will do him good." Almost as if, it was Seattle that was doing him in -- which doesn't really explain his career numbers there if Seattle was to blame.

Was he being played differently in Seattle than he would be in Minn.? How? I'm sorta looking for something in the logic of expecting his numbers to "snap back" along the lines of reognizing why it is they're not very good to begin with. "Change of scene" seems to mean "damned if _I_ know," which is probably a bad thing for a GM who just made a trade to say.

I'll agree on the Nats. The situation they had in Montreal was an embarrassment. Still, with the exception of last year, they've been a winning team more often than not; it's just that nobody knew. I don't even think they had a radio deal in place in Montreal.

Posted by Bob Collins | July 13, 2005 11:09 AM

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