Wednesday, July 29, 2009
How is it that I'm actually envious of the Giants? That's not supposed to happen, and yet here we are. Despite a payroll around what the Twins should be able to handle next year ($82 mil), and a rough path to the payoffs (7.5 games out of first in the NL West, 1 game ahead in the Wildcard) they bit the bullet and got the balls to make the kind of the moves the Twins need to make, but refuse.
It culminated today in a trade for Freddy Sanchez, which is almost as disappointing as when my new boss ordered his steak butterflied and medium well at dinner tonight. Sanchez, of course, is the Pirates' (former) second basemen, the guy who won a batting title three years ago, owns a career .300 average, and hits about 30 doubles and ten homers a season. The guy who was exactly what the Twins' needed.
Turns out, the asking price was the #26 prospect in baseball, double-A starting pitcher Tim Alderson. Reading up on him, he is described as a guy with good but not great stuff, but a very smart pitcher who understands how to pitch. You know who that reminds me of? Mike freaking Mussina. Tim Alderson is my new favorite player.
The Giants also picked up Ryan Garko, who, being a Twins fan, you probably remember from the Indians. Nothing spectacular, but an above average hitter and ok fielder who can play first and the outfield and costs almost nothing. They gave up a pitcher named Scott Barnes, who doesn't show up on any best prospect lists anywhere, but has put up some excellent numbers at high A ball this year, and shown some real potential. Exactly the kind of guy the Twins wouldn't ever part with ever in a million years.
And you know what, the Giants probably overpaid, especially for Garko. But you know what else? The Giants desperately needed a first basemen because the guy they had there, the weirdly named Travis Ishikawa, hits the ball like Nick Punto. So they went out and got somebody and did what they needed to do, even if it might possibly have maybe slightly hurt their future in the future.
I salute you Giants GM guy. You had a window, and you took advantage even if you might have hurt yourself in the future. Something the Twins refuse to do, year after year, toiling in mediocrity, never going for it, and never legitimately giving themselves a chance to win anything beyond a division title. Frustrating. Would you rather contend for a division title every year but never have a shot at going any further, or take a chance and have a real title contender once in a while but also have to suffer through some non-contending seasons? I choose the latter.
Sidenote - I really like what the Pirates are doing. That team was so bad, and had no future whatsoever. Blowing the whole thing up and starting over gives them hope, if nothing else.
Sidenote #2 - If they trade Danny Valencia to get two months of a 34-year old shortstop who has the OBP of Nick Punto I quit. I seriously will quit.
Sidenote #3 - Yes, that's a very good sweep of the Sox, it still doesn't change the fact that we don't have a second baseman.