Saturday, March 20, 2010

Heath Bell

I will be discussing the Twins tomorrow morning with DW the great: check it out here at 10 am: Also check out his blog:

One of the primary topics in Twins Territory is the closer situation. If Joe Nathan can't go, and this weekend we will find out, who should be the Twins closer?

I think it should be this man:
OK, it's been a long time since he's been a B-Met, but I did live in Binghamton for 3+ years.

There are rumors out there that the Twins are interested in Heath Bell and the Padres would want Ben Revere, Aaron Hicks, or Angel Morales. These three gentleman are considered the future Twins OF. It seems unlikely that all three will make the majors with the Twins, but is Bell worth one of these players?


I know I have said I want the Twins to trade for him, but not for Revere or Morales straight up. The Twins wouldn't consider trading Hicks.

Bell at 32 years old has been a very good reliever the last three years and a good closer in 09. He struck out 10.21/9 innings, had a 1.12 WHIP and 2.42 FIP in 2009. His numbers were really good for a closer, but not as good as Joe Nathan. Where Nathan was worth about 2 wins over replacement, Bell was worth about one. One win could be important however and I think the Twins should explore this deal.

Would the Padres take Glen Perkins/Alexi Casilla/Rene Tosoni for Bell? Probably not, they are selling high and they know the Twins are desperate.

The Twins best bet would be to trade Revere. To me, he has less upside than Morales and Hicks. He is fast and is a good contact hitter, but he probably will never develop power and has a weak throwing arm.

I would propose this trade of Bell, Drew Cumberland and cash for Revere and Perkins.

Drew Cumberland was the 46th pick in 2007. He had a .296/.393/.410 line with 19 steals in 22 attempts for Class A Fort Wayne. He is a SS/2b and is only 21 years old.

He would provide decent upside in the middle infield where the Twins are weak.

It would hurt to lose Revere, but to gain a decent, but slightly lesser prospect, plus Bell would be worth it.

Many are pining for Pat Neshek to be the closer. While I'd love to see this, he may not be fully ready to take on the role. Bringing in Bell for 2 years and letting him walk (perhaps receiving draft picks) would strengthen the entire bullpen. Neshek, Guerrier, and Rauch could all setup Bell and would make for a very strong bullpen.

If the Padres want the moon, this won't happen, but if they are willing to get creative, this could benefit the Twins now without a huge drop-off in their future.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

It's Time

Sign Joe Mauer Now

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Blackburn is extended, I don't hate it

Today the Twins signed their guy to a long-term extension. There were rumors Mauer was going to sign a deal today, but it turns out that Nick Blackburn got the deal instead. He signed a 4 year/$14 million dollar extension with an option for $8 million.

This deal has been largely panned as unnecessary or a disappointment. Fans are upset that Mauer hasn't been signed and/or they just don't feel that Blackburn warrants the contract. There are a few posts on the left side of my blog that will detail this.

His big league numbers:
In 2008, He was 11-11 with a 4.05 ERA, a 1.36 WHIP, 4.5 K/9 and a 2.46 K/BB rate.
In 2009, He was 11-11 with a 4.03 ERA, a 1.366 WHIP, 4.3 K/9 and a 2.39 K/BB rate. 

He enters the prime of his career as a consistent pitcher that has done well in big games. He also has a low strikeout rate. His strikeout rate screams to many that he won't be able to sustain the success he has had.

Blackburn was not eligible for free agency for 4 years, so the contract does not buy out any extra years. The contract does give the team salary certainty for the next 4 years. If Blackburn were to keep up his numbers, he'd earn more through arbitration than $14 million. There is a chance his low strikeout rate will end his modest success. There is also a chance he will be able to use his 95 mph top end fastball to coax a few more strikeouts or that his ground-ball  rate will improve and he is able to take advantage of a good defensive infield.

I think the signing has more to do with the Twins big picture than just rewarding Blackburn. I think this contract has more to do with Mauer. The team can continue to show him that they are committed to keeping the team together. this might show Mauer that the team is committed to winning. The team also knows it has contract certainty through 2013 for Blackburn. When trying to meet Mauer's demands and work within the team's budget, the team is in a better position to map out its funds. I'm guessing the team has been working on the extension for awhile and having it done will clear up more time to focus on Mauer.

Today, the Twins guaranteed $14 million to a number 4 starter that didn't need a guarantee. If he performs as well or better than he has, the contract will be a steal, if he performs worse, it is still only $14 million. A former 29th round pick and a presumed good guy got paid today....

As Monty Burns said when Marge painted this portrait of him...."I don't hate this"....