"Let us go forth a while, and get better air in our lungs. Let us leave our closed rooms...
The game of ball is glorious."

--Walt Whitman

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Twins Free Agent Update

Minnesota Twins News:
"MINNEAPOLIS - The current longest-tenured Twins player will remain just
In an 11th-hour agreement before the arbitration deadline, the Twins signed veteran pitcher Brad Radke to a two-year contract late Tuesday. The club did not reveal terms of the deal, but The Sporting News reported it was worth $18 million.
Minnesota also offered arbitration to Corey Koskie, Terry Mulholland and Henry Blanco. Blanco signed a two-year, $2.7 million contract with the Cubs Tuesday night.
After several weeks of negotiations, Twins general manager Terry Ryan said Radke and the club agreed to the contract at around 10:30 p.m. CT -- 30 minutes before the 11 p.m. deadline."

Can I get a "hallelujiah"?

We've got Radke--and we need Radke--for two more years. We've got a compensatory draft pick for Blanco, and we've got either Koskie or a first-round draft pick and Mulholland or a fairly high draft pick. Mulholland, I think we can re-sign. Koskie? Aye, there's the rub.

Twins: Koskie asks for no-trade clause:
"Third baseman Corey Koskie is willing to re-sign with the Twins for less than what he's being offered elsewhere, but a no-trade clause has to be tied to the deal.
Koskie and his agent, Pat Rooney, have informed the Twins of an offer from another team for as much as $16 million over three years. Koskie would not reveal the team.
Koskie would settle for two years from the Twins for between $9 million and $10 million. But because he would be leaving a bigger deal on the table, he would like a no-trade clause added.
His view: If the Twins struggle and fall out of contention, he could be dealt. Then the local discount he agreed to means nothing.
'I don't know what to think right now,' Koskie said. 'I was under the assumption that there was not going to be arbitration offered, but it was offered.
'We'll see what happens. This will not be a long process. Whatever happens, I want to move quickly.'
Twins General Manager Terry Ryan has a little flexibility with his payroll, but not much higher than the $54 million ordered by owner Carl Pohlad.
Ryan admitted the odds aren't in favor of retaining Koskie, but he wants to try."

Uh-oh. That doesn't sound good. I mean, the unexpected arbitration offer is good, but The Wise Mr. Ryan's pessimism...? Is not. Let's see what the Canadian press is saying, shall we?

Winnipeg Sun: Koskie no longer fits - Twins lowball free agent:
There was always something about Corey Koskie and the Minnesota Twins -- like your favourite T-shirt and jeans, they just seemed like the perfect fit. The small-town Manitoba kid who beat the odds to play Major League Baseball, playing for a small-market, blue-collar team that's overcome the odds to field a World Series contender. Both prime examples of where hard work can take you.
Well, we're somewhat sorry to report this midwestern marriage is about to be torn apart by free agency.
After 11 years with the organization, six years of manning the hot corner for the Twins, Koskie has come to grips with the idea of leaving the only team he's ever known.
"It's not looking good for me to be a Minnesota Twin," Koskie, 31, told The Sun via cellphone yesterday. "It just wasn't working."
The "it" Koskie refers to were last-minute negotiations that went right to Tuesday's 11 p.m. deadline for teams to re-sign their free agents, or at least offer them salary arbitration.
The Twins did offer Koskie arbitration, but it's likely they're just trying to cut their losses. Any team that signs Koskie now will owe Minnesota a first-round draft pick as compensation."


Aside from my eternal and possibly unnatural devotion to Koskie, this disturbs me for a reason these articles don't touch on: who the heck would replace him?

On the one hand, we have Michael Cudderror--whoops, I mean, Cuddyer--the hard-hitting, but not frequently-hitting, gloveless wonder. He's much less of a hack at second base, and if we simply must put him out in the field I'd rather have him at second than anywhere else. Besides, my seats are near third base, and the last thing I need is a close-up view of his "fielding" on a daily basis.

On the other, we have Terry Tiffee, who has a pretty good clue what to do with a grounder down the line and hit for high average in the minors. He's also been rather injury-prone lately and is the veteran of a whopping 17 major league games. We just don't know how he'll hit, or hold up physically, in the Show over the course of a full season.

I'd rather have Koskie, with Tiffee playing the apprentice role. If we could platoon them at third, they'd both get enough rest to stay healthy, and Tiffee would get valuable major-league experience without undue pressure.

Without Koskie, I'd roll the dice on Tiffee and thank the gods we have Nick Punto, who would no doubt pitch if you asked him to and can definitely fill in at third, on the bench in case of injury. But I have a sinking feeling that the organization's inexplicable love affair with Cuddyer would have him trying to fill the void Koskie would leave behind.

Aw, crap, now I'm going to have nightmares.

0 rejoinders: