By Joe Christensen
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.