July 2007

Twins 5, Royals 3: Time to renew those trade talks?

Tuesday, July 31st, 2007

Twins GM Terry Ryan said he had all sorts of discussions but never really came close to making another deal before Tuesday’s non-waiver trade deadline. He was surprised that some teams were “eerily quiet.” He didn’t name names, but it was curious that the Tigers, Diamondbacks, Rockies, Mariners, Cardinals and Angels did nothing to bolster their rosters. Expected sellers such as the Nationals, A’s, Blue Jays and Marlins were quiet, too.

Ryan said he expects about 5-10 trades to get made throughout baseball during August, when players must first be placed on waivers before being traded. Teams will try to pass almost all players through waivers. A team can claim a player and get stuck with him, and the original team can also pull him back at that point. Once a player clears waivers, he can be dealt anywhere. The next “deadline” is Aug. 31, the date when players must be on the roster to be eligible for the playoffs.

So, guess what, everyone? That gives us 31 more days to break down all the possible trade scenarios! I’ve got an idea. How about a Trade Target Series? We’ll pick some guys, break down the pros and cons of trading for them. We could even have a fun category, picking the expected Batgirl nickname for each guy (you know, if she still ran the greatest blog ever).

Nah, just kidding. All those futile discussions have worn me down. Most of you, too, I can tell. The Twins just pulled five games back in the wild-card race with two months to play. Ron Gardenhire must feel like Gene Hackman in Hoosiers: ”My team is on the court.”

Deadline passes with no more Twins moves

Tuesday, July 31st, 2007

The Twins did not make another trade before today’s non-waiver trade deadline, according to one team insider. There were a flurry of phone calls and many things discussed but ultimately no move.

Once again, the players aren’t happy. Manager Ron Gardenhire said they can’t quit. GM Terry Ryan said he can’t concern himself with the clubhouse reaction to his decisions. He has to consider the short-term and long-term well-being of the franchise. We will have much, much more for our first editions.

Deadline day: Afternoon update

Tuesday, July 31st, 2007

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire and bench coach Steve Liddle are huddled in GM Terry Ryan’s office, a few minutes from the non-waiver trade deadline. We have no word of any moves yet, but that could be a sign that the Twins are weighing something very seriously.

The deadline might come and we won’t know about the deal for upwards of an hour, as the team’s finalize details with the commissioner’s office. In the clubhouse, however, I didn’t get a sense that any hot new rumors had filtered in today.

Deadline day: Morning update

Tuesday, July 31st, 2007

Here’s what I know: I left the Metrodome last night at 11:35 p.m., and I could see the sport utility vehicles of Twins front office personnel — probably Terry Ryan and Co. — still lined up in their parking spots. As I said last night, I will be very surprised if the Twins do not make a move today to add a hitter.

What message will it send to Twins fans if this team gains $2 million in the Luis Castillo trade and does not spend that money on talent to help a 2007 squad that is six games out of the wild-card lead?

Buster Olney was on ESPN’s “First Take” this morning talking about the Twins going after A’s DH Mike Piazza. The feeling in the Twins clubhouse last night was that Piazza does not want to come to Minnesota. Piazza prefers the coasts. He does not have a no-trade clause, but he has a gentleman’s agreement with Billy Beane that allows him serious input into any place that he’d be traded.

I know from scanning the stories this morning that several teams are hunting for relievers: Dodgers, Rockies, Mariners, Mets, Tigers, Indians among others. I know that the Twins/Mets talks started with Juan Rincon and moved to Luis Castillo. Some in the Mets organization felt strongly that the team should get Rincon, but others weren’t so sure. Rincon himself thought he was going to the Mets as of Sunday evening.

The Twins would trade Rincon. I am sure of it. The problem is they don’t want to move him when his value is bottoming out. At his best, he would be one of the most coveted eighth-inning relievers in the game. Now, you would think teams would view him similar to the way they viewed Dan Wheeler, who landed the Astros Ty Wigginton. Wheeler and Rincon have similar stuff. Wheeler has been dominant in the past but has struggled this year, just like Rincon. But from what we can tell, teams such as the Mets simply don’t view Rincon in the same light as Wheeler right now. The Twins would rather fix Rincon than trade him when his value is this low.

But I am confident that by the 3 p.m. non-wavier trade deadline, the Twins’ need to save face after the Castillo trade, and a market of teams desperate for pitching will make the Twins buyers today. It might not get them Piazza, but it will get them somebody who adds to this team after subtracting Castillo yesterday.

In the wake of the trade: Twins/Royals

Monday, July 30th, 2007

The mood in the Twins’ clubhouse was pretty grim after word came that they had indeed traded Luis Castillo to the New York Mets for two minor leaguers. Castillo was pulled from the lineup, and the new batting order is below. Twins GM Terry Ryan was asked if he felt compelled to make another trade before tomorrow’s 3 p.m. non-waiver trade deadline, and he said no.

But I would not be the least bit surprised if the Twins traded reliever Juan Rincon or starting pitcher Carlos Silva for a hitter by tomorrow. The Mets took on the remainder of Castillo’s $5.75 million salary, which put cash in the Twins’ pockets. La Velle and I are checking all our leads, and we’ll have a full report for early editions.

Royals lineup: David DeJesus CF, Mark Grudzielanek 2B, Mark Teahen RF, Billy Butler DH, Ross Gload 1B, Alex Gordon 3B, Emil Brown LF, John Buck C, Tony Pena Jr,. SS. Starting pitcher: Gil Meche.

Twins lineup: Jason Tyner RF, Jason Bartlett SS, Joe Mauer C, Justin Morneau 1B, Torii Hunter CF, Jason Kubel LF, Rondell White DH, Brian Buscher 3B, Nick Punto 2B. Starting pitcher: Scott Baker.

Metrodome. Scheduled first pitch: 7:10 p.m.