By Joe Christensen
First, another tribute to those who make us laugh. Panic Clown writes: “JOE! I liked this segment but it’s sort of like daydreaming about dating the hottest girl in school when you’re Ronald Miller without the $1500 bucks from mowing lawns all summer. We can’t buy love here.”
Fair enough. La Velle had the scoop Thursday that the Twins looked into re-acquiring Jacque Jones from the Cubs, who were reportedly willing to eat $6.6 million of the remaining $7.2 million he has on his contract, which runs through 2008. (*New photo, right.)
According to a club source, the Twins have no flexibility to take on payroll beyond this year because of the raises right fielder Michael Cuddyer and first baseman Justin Morneau will get through arbitration after the season. The club also could make another run at locking up lefthander Johan Santana beyond 2008 and possibly re-sign outfielder Torii Hunter.
That is revealing in one significant aspect: If the Twins add a hitter before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, it will likely be a player whose contract expires after this season.
Even if you brushed off the idea of a potential Jones re-acquisition, this gave you some valuable insight into the Twins’ thinking. It also explains why we, at Trade Target Central, have not wasted too much time here throwing out big-salary players under contract past ’07, Dunnder Whifflin being the exception.
That, by the way, was our favorite nickname to date. You guys seemed to be reaching with ideas like Matt “I never take the” Stairs, and Matt “Elevator” Stairs. C’mon, imagine if he went deep one night to win a game for the Twins. You know Batgirl would drop a “Stairway to Heaven” on him. Picture him as part of her Sept. 25, 2006 post:
And magically, in those ill-fitting pieces, we found superstars—not just the Cy Young pitcher and President of the United States of Batgirl, but the sweet swinging hometown boy, the golden-locked Canadian with lumberjack arms and potential to hit the ball many many mooseantlers, the Automatic closer, the Nathanest of Joes, who lost not a game this season, and, yes, that clipped-winged center fielder who hit his 30th home run tonight. But it wasn’t just them, it was Punto, Bartlett, the resurgent Rondell, John Paul Bonser, Jason Renyt Tyner, Sideshow Pat and the Bullpen of Doom, Punxsutawney Phil, (Stairway to Heaven), Naked Batting Practice’s one man Pep Squad, and of course the One Armed Man who stared deep into the abyss and told it to go…
That is, you know, if she still ran the greatest blog ever. But, we digress. Time to re-introduce ourselves to Little Sweetcheeks:
Name: Jacque Jones, Cubs OF
Basics: He’s 32 (turns 33 on April 25). Bats L, Throws L (insert joke here). 5-10, 200 lbs. Born in San Diego. Drafted by the Twins out of USC as a second round pick in 1996.
Stats: Batting .233 with 2 homers and 20 RBI. A .294 on-base percentage and a .327 slugging percentage, which is why the Cubs are practically giving him away for free. He hit .285 with 27 homers and 81 RBI last year, his first in Chicago.
Salary: $4 million this year. His deal also pays him $5 million in 2008.
Good Twin because: He’d be coming home. He’d be away from the catcalls at Wrigley Field. He’d be back with Torii Hunter. Manager Ron Gardenhire still loves him. The guess here is he’d understand his role behind the more promising Jason Kubel and take whatever at-bats he could get, even as the DH. Most importantly to the Twins, he’d come cheap.
Available?: Oh, yes.
Probable cost: If the commissoner’s office lets the Cubs eat that much salary, and the mystery men making ownership-level decisions about the team’s finances agree to swallow much salary, the baseball people could demand a prospect in return.
Odds this trade happens: 10-to-1. La Velle reported that the Cubs’ efforts to trade Jones have fallen apart because they decided they can’t eat that much salary. If Chicago changes its mind, the Twins should pounce. Hate on Jacque all you want, but this would be the baseball equivalent of shopping at Dollar Discount Store.