Column: Its time for the Twins and Terry Ryan to tradePublished 12:00am Thursday, June 28, 2007
Jon Laging, Talking Sports
Minnesota Twins trade rumors abound. Speculations include the Twins receiving Ty Wigginton, Adam Dunn and even the Red Sox third baseman Mike Lowell. Rumors usually start because a trade should be made. If the Twins were leading the division by five games, trade rumors would not be in the air, for there would be no need. But, such is not the case, for the current crew does not seem to be getting it done. They should be for they have the Cy Young winner, the American League batting champ and the MVP along with an all-star centerfielder on the team. And while we could always hope for more production, they have been doing well. So what is the problem? As I and many others have stated ad nauseam, the Twins need a good right-handed hitter with some power to anchor the bottom half of the lineup.
Are we getting one? Not to date, as general manager Terry Ryan has yet to pull the trigger on a trade. Why not? Well for one reason, it&8217;s safer. If you trade a Twins&8217; stalwart, good things may happen, but bad things may also occur. The player traded may go on to have a good year and the player acquired may not meet expectations.
Ryan would rather error on the side of caution than go for a &8220;Hail Mary&8221; forward pass. Ryan will send players down the road. But, only two sore thumbs stick out. First, not hanging with David Ortiz longer and letting go of exactly what the Twins need now in good hitting third baseman Casey Blake. However, Ryan has engineered some trades that have benefitted the team greatly. The Pierzynski for Nathan, Liriano, Bonser is the most outstanding example. The biggest steal in baseball since the Yankees got Babe Ruth from the Red Sox.
If you look closely at the Pierzynski trade, Ryan had his flanks covered, for while A.J. was a good catcher, Ryan had a possible future Hall of Famer waiting in the wings in Joe Mauer.
A lot of things had to go wrong for Ryan and the Twins not to do well on that trade. They did get an unexpected bonus in Francisco Liriano. What a great trade.
There has been a great deal of discussion on whom the Twins should trade for, but not so much as to whom the team should let go. Understandably, for the Twin City sports writers hate to anger a possible future interview subject. But taking an objective look at the team here in southeastern Minnesota, let me propose some names.
First of all, it&8217;s a given that the bottom of the order is expendable. Tyner, Ford, Rodriguez and even Punto could go. But there is an old saying &8220;That you have to give something to get something.&8221; What&8217;s the strength of the team? Pitching!
The first pitcher that should be available is Juan Rincon. Rincon&8217;s opponents batting average has risen from .181 in 2004 to a current .305 and his ERA is 4.5. However, Rincon on the trading block is not going to get much response. How about Scott Baker? Baker has had his moments, but has been very inconsistent. How many opportunities does he get? Trade Baker and throw in Ramon Ortiz; The three million dollar gamble. Does that do it? No, I don&8217;t think so. However it&8217;s time to fish or cut bait. That means it&8217;s time to give up something of value. I&8217;m suggesting either Bonser, Slowey or Glenn Perkins. That kind of trade may come back to haunt the Twins, but that&8217;s a chance the Twins have to take if they are to contend.
If Ryan can get it done without trading one of the above three, more power to him and I will be an even bigger fan of Terry Ryan. Go get &8216;em Terry.
Jon Laging writes a regional column from his home in Preston.