Justin Smoak has a chance to be a future star (although this is a pretty fantastic post from Baseball Time in Arlington explaining why he won't be), Blake Beavan doesn't make any top 100 lists put is a former first round pick who is putting up excellent minor league numbers, and the two "throw-ins" look alright as well. Josh Lueke looks like a decent relief prospect with a 2.11 ERA in 32 appearances this year between A and AA (and a rape charge on his record to boot), and Matthew Lawson is putting up solid numbers as a second basemen at AA.
This was an offer that I don't think the Twins could have matched, even if they had tried. And so it's time to look towards plan B, assuming they aren't giving up on the season although they probably should. There are other options (Dan Haren, Roy Oswalt, Ben Sheets, Ted Lilly, etc.) which I plan to break down later this week. Maybe. No promises.
WHO WAS AWESOME
1. John Danks. On top of the Twins losing out on Cliff Lee, I'm getting a very, very bad feeling about the White Sox, capped off by Danksy tossing a ridiculous two-hitter against the Angels, which was extremely fortunate because Ervin Santana threw a three hitter at the same time but happened to give up a run. And they just keep winning like that - they're pitching is completely ridiculous. Hell, Gavin Floyd was another name considered for the Awesome column thanks to his 15 innings pitched and 2 runs allowed this week. Their pitching is out of this world good right now, and pitching wins championships as everybody knows. Even with Peavy now down for the year they're going to fine because the clown they called up to take his place looked just fine and dandy on Sunday. Do you want to know the last time the Sox gave up five runs or more since June 9th (the beginning of their incredible run) Five. The Twins in that same time frame? 19. I'm calling it now, Sox win the division, Twins finish fourth.
2. Adam Dunn. Speaking of the White Sox freaking me out with their looking goodness, I am convinced they are going to end up with Adam Dunn. The same Adam Dunn who is currently destroying pitchers' arms (and souls). Well, maybe not consistently doing it, but when he is on he just crushes souls. Such as on Wednesday when he went 3-4 with three home runs, driving in 5 of the team's 7 runs in a one-run victory of San Diego, or on Friday when he went 3-4 with two home runs and 3 RBI. Of course, he went 1-9 with seven strikeouts in the three other games this week, but who cares? The Twins are stuck with guys like Cuddyer who will go 1-9 with seven strikeouts in three games and not even bother giving you a single multi-home run game, let alone two. I love watching this Big Donkey hit, but I'm going to hate watching him tee off on Baker, Blackburn, and Slowey when he's on the Sox. Seriously, can you even imagine?
3. Buster Posey. If we're talking guys who are tearing the cover off the ball, this guy is absolutely on fire, only it's some kind of fire never been seen before. He had a hit in every game this week, and games where he went 4-4 with 2 homers and 6 RBI, 4-5 with a double and a home run, 2-4 with a HR (twice), and 1-3 with a triple and 2 RBI. For the week he hit .566 with those 5 home runs and 14 RBI, and is now at .350/.389/.569 with 7 home runs in just 137 at-bats, and has pretty much single-handedly taken the Giants from a team with good pitching to a team with good pitching and one good hitter (ok, fine, three). I'm still expecting them to fade as the season continues on, but Posey is fun as hell to watch, either way. Just think how bad it would suck to have him on your fantasy team and sitting on the bench, like a guy I know.
4. Travis Wood. Because the Reds don't already have enough good, young arms, Wood went out and in his third ever professional start threw 8 perfect innings against the Phillies. He gave up a double in the ninth to break it up, but ending up getting threw 9 with just 1 hit allowed vs. 8 strikeouts. Of course, Roy Halladay matched him with 9 shutout innings so he didn't get the win, but even so, quite the nice outing. So now they have Wood, rookie-of-the-year candidate Mike Leake, coming-into-his-own Johnny Cueto, cuban sensation Aroldis Chapman, impressive in his debut Matt Maloney, stud if he can return from injury Edinson Volquez, and killer stuff if he can figure out how to stay healthy Homer Bailey. And I would trade any single Twins' pitcher for any one of them.
5. Steve Stricker. Yes, I know it was the John Deere Classic and I know nobody cares about that, and I know Stricker was the best player in this week's field by far, but the way he demolished that course was pretty incredible. Every hole was the same: middle of the fairway - approach to within 10 feet - make putt, on his way to a 60-66-62-70, which probably would have been even more impressive if he hadn't had a six shot lead into Sunday and gone into coast mode, resulting in tournament total of 26 under par and a 2-shot victory over Paul Goydos, who also played incredibly over the weekend, four shots clear of third place Jeff Maggert, but was just out-incredibled by Stricker. Normally I'd say play like that would make him a favorite for the next major, but this time the next major is the British Open and all the normal rules of good golf go right out the window. I do know who is going to win, by the way. Well, I have it narrowed to two. Stay tuned.
1. Twins. Forget Cliff Lee, maybe it's time to just become sellers? Pavano could probably bring back a prospect or two from the other teams that missed out on Cliff Lee. I'm sure somebody would be willing to take on a year and a half of Cuddyer's contract for a stretch run here. If they don't think J.J. Hardy is the long-term answer he'd probably be tradeable, along with O-Hud. Jesse Crain might have a little bit of value. Jim Thome could help somebody out. There a ton of options, which they should consider because it's obvious this team completely sucks. There are only three guys on this team who can hit, and one has a headache, one is apparently so immobile he couldn't even fill in at first base for one game, and the other one couldn't run a 20-yard dash in under 5 seconds, let alone a 40. None of the starters can pitch, the two most important relievers have below average stuff, and the manager is a moron. God I hate this team so much.
2. LA Clippers. A lot of teams have been clearing cap room with an eye on this offseason for several years, and with the top 3 prizes all picking the Heat, naturally some teams are going to end up disappointed. The Bulls made a ton of moves with the sole purpose of clearing space, but at least grabbed Carlos Boozer. The Knicks were obviously hoping for LeBron, but getting Amar'e Stoudamire softens that blow. The Hawks were maybe the biggest winner, managing to get Joe Johnson to stay with them (Pierce and Nowitzki were never leaving.) The Nets whiffed big-time, but have responded by signing quality pieces Anthony Morrow, Johan Petro, and Travis Outlaw and still have $19 million left and are looking like a front-runner for Udonis Haslem - not to mention they picked up Derrick Favors already this offseason. The Clip show, on the other hand, drafted auto-bust Al-Farouq Aminu and then threw $20 million at Randy freakin' Foye and Ryan Gomes. And then they signed Brian Cook, too, which I'm sure is what will put them over the top. Look out Lakers.
3. Kevin Millwood. All Millwood had to do was pitch halfway decent this year, wait for the trade deadline to come around, and get traded to a contender of his choosing thanks to his being a free agent next year and a limited no-trade clause in his contract. Instead, he's completely sucked, racking up an ERA of 5.77 while losing nearly every game he's pitched. So then he trots out there on Monday against the Tigers, gets destroyed in his one inning of work for four hits and five runs, gets yanked, and then got placed on the disabled list with a "strained forearm." Yeah, I'm sure that's it. It has nothing at all to do with the fact that he hasn't pitched a good game since May. You know what Millwood is perfect for now? He'd be perfect as the kind of guy the Twins will trade for.
4. Brandon League. The only reason I've even heard of this guy is because I heard on the radio that if the Twins had actually offered both Ramos, Hicks, and one of the starters for Cliff Lee, they might ask for League back to help in the bullpen as well. Ha ha. Or maybe the real secret was the Mariners wanted to get of League, because this week he gave up as many runs as outs he recorded (5 to 5), including a game against the Royals on Wednesday where he came in with a 3-2 lead in the 8th, walked David DeJesus and Billy Butler, and then gave up a three-run homer to Alberto Callaspo, and then was yanked. Actually, come to think of it, he'd pretty much fit in perfectly as a Twin.
5. John Wall. I got most of the first quarter of the Wizards' first summer league game against the Warriors, and I saw Wall turn it over four times (he finished the game with 8), including an easy pass to a wide open dude in the corner which he turned unnecessarily into a no-look pass before whipping into the corner with Nuke LaLoosh-like accuracy. I also saw him take an open 18-footer from straight on which hit all backboard, and a three-pointer which barely grazed front rim. Not to mention getting called for a foul on the perimeter trying to check noted offensive star Brian Chase (note: I have no idea who this is). It's now clear to me that we are heading for a bust of epic proportions here, the likes of which we haven't seen since Ryan Leaf or Dennis Hopson. I'm talking like, the kind of bust that Stephen Curry would have been if he had been drafted by a team other than Golden State.
This was an odd week, with lots of worthy people I couldn't find room for in the Awesome section. So honorable mentions to:
Spain, Cole Hamels, Roy Halladay, Matt Garza, Michael Beasley/David Kahn, Joey Votto, Roy Halladay, Chris Tillman, Devin Ebanks, Derrick Caracter, Diego Forlan, Huston Street, Bronson Arroyo, Johan Santana, Nick Markakis, Magnum Rolle, Madison Bumgarner, Max Scherzer, A-Rod, Lance Stephenson, Roy Oswalt, Stephen Strasburg, and, of course