Friday, November 30, 2007

Another Johan Possibility

Despite the rumor that Johan Santana may not even want to play for Seattle, it's still fun to speculate. I promised myself I wouldn't write about Santana again until news of an actual Mariner offer to the Twins, but I couldn't help myself!

Phil Hughes has been added into the Yankees offer for sure, meaning the Mariners would have to find a way to outdo their offer. How do you do that? Address more of the Twins' needs.

Twins Needs:

  1. Major league ready center fielder
  2. Starting pitching
  3. 2nd base depth
  4. Drop a corner outfielder
  5. Major league ready 3rd baseman

Adam Jones is unproven but qualifies for number one, same goes for Brandon Morrow and number two. Jose Lopez has the potential to be a top-tier second baseman one day, and the Twins may like him to compete for a job at second, as it appears Alexi Casilla's bat isn't quite ready. Those three have already been covered.

Geoff Baker mentioned the Twins need to clear some space in their outfield that already has Delmon Young, Michael Cuddyer and Jason Kubel locked into the two corner outfield spots and DH. If the Mariners dealt Jones, then they would just so happen to need a corner outfielder, and Craig Monroe could fit in nicely with the Mariners' lineup. Monroe was acquired by the Twins from the Cubs just weeks ago in a move to bolster their lineup, but the more recent acquisition of Delmon Young makes him available. Monroe struggled with the Tigers and Cubs in 2007, but has proved he can be a 25 HR 90 RBI guy. His batting average has been declining since 2004, but he would be a welcome addition, especially as a "throw in" in a potential Santana deal.

That brings us to number five. Who is going to play third base for Minnesota? Theoretically they could put former utility man Cuddyer at third, but they like his strong arm (19 assists) from the outfield and he hasn't logged an inning at third since 2005. The Twins depth chart shows Brian Buscher and Nick Punto at third, but Buscher has just 82 major league at bats (.244) and Nick Punto hit just .210 in 2007. What if the Mariners threw Mike Morse into the equation? Morse has proved he can hit major league pitching, hitting .302 in 291 at bats over 3 seasons, and if versatile in the field. The Mariners starting shortstop for about 1/3 of the 2005 season, Morse could easily be a major league third baseman. Seattle would love to keep Morse but he does not appear to be in the Mariners' immediate plans as a starter.

I would think that a trade addressing five Minnesota needs with four young major league ready players would trump the deals the other teams are offering. Let me remind you that this is all speculation, and there has been no confirmation that Mike Morse or Jose Lopez may be part of a potential deal. However, Bavasi has mentioned that Jose Lopez is on the hot seat, and may be available.

Alright, that's it for November! I'm sure the upcoming Winter Meetings will stir up all kinds of rumors to write about. JO-SAN

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