Thursday, November 29, 2007

Lopez in Santana Package?

Could Jose Lopez be included in a potential Johan Santana offer? First, a recap/update on what's happening with Boston and New York in regards to Johan:

There's been so much said as far as Johan Santana trade rumors that it's hard to tell what's going on sometimes. As of right now, it appears that the Yankees are in the lead with their Melky Cabrera, Phil Hughes, plus one other pitcher offer. This is still somewhat mind boggling to me, but no other teams are seriously offering much more. The latest is that the Yankees still have Joba Chamberlain on their "untouchable" list, and have added Robinson Cano to it as well. Early speculation pointed to Cano being the key to the trade, but obviously the Yanks are reluctant to let him go (as they should be). On the Red Sox side of things, they are still having a hard time giving the Twins Jacoby Ellsbury or Clay Buchholz. If either one of them were put in the deal, especially Ellsbury, Boston would be the favorite to land Santana. Meanwhile, the Red Sox are still trying to convince Minnesota to take displaced Coco Crisp instead.

No updates for the Mariners, of course. The Twins recently added a new shortstop and corner outfielder in the Garza/Young blockbuster, so Wladimir Balentien is likely out of any proposal (if he ever even made his way into one). So what are the Twins' needs? Center field, obviously, and they're looking for some starting pitching now that Garza is gone and Bonser may be shipped to Tampa Bay in a separate deal (still unlikely. I'm assuming it was either Garza or Bonser). Any other needs? How about second base? Obviously the Twins had some sort of need if they were originally seeking Cano in the Yankee trade, although Cano would be an upgrade over most second basemen. Alexi Casilla may be the Minnesota second baseman of the future, and Nick Punto may have landed there by default for now, but both of them could be upgraded on. Punto hit just .210 in 472 at bats in 2007 while Casilla hit .222 in limited play, showing zero power with a .269 slugging percentage.

So how about sending Adam Jones, Jose Lopez and Brandon Morrow over to the Twins for two-time Cy Young award winner? Adam Jones is no Jacoby Ellsbury and Brandon Morrow may not even be at Phil Hughes' level yet, but this offer could trump Boston's and New York's because it addressing three separate needs for the Twins: pitching, center field and an upgrade (or simply competition) at second base.

Yes, it is way too early to give up on young Jose Lopez. If you've read any previous blogs you may have noticed that I'm certain Yung Chi Chen will give Lopez a ride for his money in Spring Training, but overall he has been very good. The guy went to the All-Star Game! Yet two consecutive second half slides can get you put on the trading block. Having a guy like Chen in your organization, as unproven as he is, gives you the ability to deal someone with much more value like Lopez. Lopez can hit for a decent average, shows some glimpses of power (whenever he gets a fastball on the inner half), is learning to use the whole field and is growing into a standout defender.

I want to stop here and note that I have no sources saying that Jose Lopez may be part of the package, it is purely speculation. It makes sense to me, though. I'd rather keep a former first round pick and a power hitting, left handed catcher in Jeff Clement then a second baseman that has shown he can be very solid, but has no speed and is slowly setting a trend for sputtering out. Even a package of Adam Jones, Jose Lopez, Brandon Morrow and Ryan Feierabend would work. Feierabend has had enough solid outings as a major leaguer to garner some interest, but in truth may never escape the back end of the rotation.

If the Seattle Mariners manage to defy the odds and make a deal work, don't be surprised if Jose Lopez is a selling point. Dayne Perry mentions that the Mariners may not have as much to offer, but their desperation could lead to a deal. Yung Chi Chen isn't ready to start for a contender? Sign Iguchi! I'm slowly getting the impression that Bavasi is feeling the pressure to make something happen, so don't be too surprised if we make a big splash in the coming weeks.

Pshh.. and I was thinking about not writing until something actually happened. It calls to me... JO-SAN JO-LOP


Jackson said...

Lopez is viable, but the Twins would rather have Yuni...Would the M's part with Yuni, Jones and Morrow for Johan?

They should. This is a win-win. Twins get CF, SS (newly aquired Harris moves to 2nd)and Morrow...

But they may want the catcher so Mauer can move to 3B...Even so, if the Mariners can sign Johan Santana for the next seven years, I'm convinced they finish those seven years with a winning record, some playoff triumphs and potential to run for it all. Seems pretty worth it to me.


any one added to Jones-Morrow and the Mariners are instant players in 2008.

Dustin said...

Jackson, the Twins don't want Yuni. They want Clement.

Jon: read my comments on my "Why Clement, Jones and Morrow are expendable" thread. It's my comment, 4th one down. It explains my position on Lopez in this trade.