By Joe Christensen
First, an ode to those who make us laugh. Jaques says, “Rincon to the Phillies for Scott Rolen and a time machine.”
We are treading in dangerous waters here, stirring up all this trade speculation. We can get way ahead of ourselves, and as beat writers, we get paid to deal in reality. I am not here to lead you into fantasy land. Chief Wigginton was highlighted yesterday because it’s a name we keep hearing at the Metrodome. Today’s intro may surprise you because it’s a name none of us heard until yesterday. But La Velle did hear Mike Lowell’s name. He wouldn’t have written this note, if one or more people in the know hadn’t told him this yesterday.
So Lowell moves to the front. In coming weeks, we will get to other names. The readers have spoken. I’ve added to this list, fighting off the urge to investigate some of your pipe dreams — i.e. Michael Young (Rangers aren’t moving him) Mark Teixeira (Twins can’t afford him).
Anyway, here is that list: Morgan Ensberg, Edwin Encarnacion, Garrett Atkins, Adam Dunn, Lastings Milledge, Mike Sweeney, Miguel Cabrera, Chad Tracy, Xavier Nady, Rocco Baldelli, Carlos Pena, Matt Stairs, Matt Murton, Jonny Gomes, Robb Quinlan, Wily Mo Pena, Sammy Sosa, Aaron Hill, Troy Glaus and Jacque Jones. (Still taking your suggestions.)
But you should know, right now, we have nothing of substance hinting that the Twins are considering any of those guys. I spoke to a scout yesterday who told me he didn’t think the Reds are dangling Encarnacion. “He’s too cheap [for the Red to give him away],” the scout said. Orioles 3B Melvin Mora could probably be had, but the Twins probably wouldn’t consider it because he’s under contract, at about $8 million per year, through 2009.
Again, if we had something on your favorite guy, Garrett Atkins, we’d write it. I was told yesterday that the Rockies would probably be willing to move him. As the readers have noted, the Rockies have a good 3B prospect at Class AAA Colorado Springs, Ian Stewart, and they also have a potential replacement on their major league roster, in Jeff Baker. But we have no word on whether the Twins are interested, and I have my doubts because Colorado would likely want Matt Garza in return.
Wigginton and Lowell at least have been mentioned as possibilities, though as you get to know Lowell, you will see that sounds more like a pipe dream for the Twins, too.
Name: Mike Lowell, Red Sox
Basics: He’s 33 (turns 34 Feb. 24). R/R, 6-4, 205 lbs, Born in Puerto Rico, and grew up in Miami. Has a degree in finance from Florida International University.
Stats: Batting .314 with 12 homers and 48 RBI. A .372 on-base percentage and a .556 slugging percentage. He was awful in 2005, when he hit .236 with eight homers and 58 games for Florida, but has bounced back nicely since getting traded to Boston.
Salary: $9 million. He’ll be a free agent at season’s end.
Good Twin because: He’d be good for anybody. Twins catcher Mike Redmond loves him from their days together with the Marlins. Lowell does have 12 errors this year, two shy of his career high. We all know the Twins love their defense. Lowell won a Gold Glove in 2005, so he’s capable.
Available?: I’m skeptical. As a scout said yesterday, “Why would the Red Sox want to break up what they have?” Trading Lowell, would allow them to move Kevin Youkilis to third base. Perhaps the Red Sox and Yankees are both bidding for Rangers 1B Mark Teixeira, but Boston does not NEED to make that deal as much as the Yankees might think they do.
Probable cost: The Red Sox are loaded. I see very few needs on their major league roster. They also have pitching prospects coming. Because Lowell is a pending free agent, Boston couldn’t command a top-line pitching prospect. If the Twins wouldn’t part with Garza for Alfonso Soriano last year, there’s no way they’d deal Garza, Slowey, Perkins, etc., for Lowell. If the Red Sox do indeed trade Lowell, I’d imagine them getting better offers from the likes of the Angels or Dodgers, two other teams who have been said to be looking for a slugging third baseman.
Potential Bat-Girl nickname (*You know, if she still ran the greatest blog ever): Drawing a blank here, but doesn’t Lowell look like George Clooney with a goatee? (Suggestions?)
Odds this happens: 50-to-1. I’m glad we did this exercise. The more you look into it, the more you realize how unlikely he ends up in a Twins uniform.