"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

Friday, September 16, 2005

Run Production, Part II

Twins: Is Torii Hunter on the way out?:
Twins center fielder Torii Hunter has put his Golden Valley home on the market -- an indication of his personal uncertainty that he will be with the club in 2006.
The uncertainty appears justified.

The Twins will lay everything on the table over the next several weeks as the makeup of the 2006 roster is discussed, according to two Twins officials with knowledge of the team's offseason plans. Trading Hunter and unloading his large contract will be considered as an option, according to the officials.

Hunter, a four-time Gold Glove winner who broke his left ankle on July 29 in Boston, is one of the core players of a franchise that will miss the playoffs for the first time since 2001. He is one of the team's most popular players and was around when the Twins rose from the ashes to become competitive again.

But the realities of the game, the fiscal history of the Twins and things he's picking up on the grapevine tell Hunter, 30, his future might not be as secure as he once believed. So his condominium is on the market.



Correct me if I'm wrong (and I know you will!), but it doesn't strike me as a particularly brilliant idea to try to address the team's weak offense by trading away the guy who's been the team RBI leader for the last 3 seasons running. Not to mention all those Gold Gloves.

Really, mightn't we do better to keep Torii and trade away some pitching and/or some speed and/or some defense to add to the hitting he provides, rather than replacing him with a player or players who may or may not be able to fill his metaphorical shoes at the plate and in the field?

I'm just sayin', is all...

4 rejoinders:

Anonymous sounded off...



frightwig sounded off...

Of course the idea is that you swap out Hunter and Stewart-or-Jones for players who are significantly better. Factor in the savings by letting go of Lohse and Rivas as well, and that's about $23 million for Terry Ryan to play with next winter. Could Terry Ryan get a couple solid bats in the lineup, better than the OF bats we have, with $23 million? I think so.

Third Base Line sounded off...

Well, yes, that's true, but I still think that when your biggest problem is run production, you try to replace some of the guys who don't hit and probably never will, instead of trading away a proven run-producer for question marks. (Because any player is a question mark until they've proven themselves with that team.)

It's not that a Hunter trade would be doomed to failure, it just strikes me as riskier than some other ways of addressing the problem.

frightwig sounded off...

If Torii and the other starting outfielders weren't taking up so much of the payroll, maybe the GM could keep them all and look for other ways to add offense. But even if the payroll next season is bumped to $60 million, the Soul Patrol would stand to take up at least 40% of the payroll. Torii himself would eat up 18% of the budget. That really limits TR's flexibility to make changes in the lineup.

About all he can do otherwise is trade Lohse and some pitching prospects for some undervalued bat or perhaps some hitting prospects, and hope for better luck next year.

Meanwhile, TR also has to think of 2007 and beyond. Torii's option likely will be declined after next season. Radke's contract is up. The club has an option on Silva that year, but it could be his last in Minnesota. Nathan gets a raise to $5.25m in 2007, then the club has to decide whether to pay $6m to keep him in 2008. To keep the pitching strong, while also fitting Johan's $13m into the budget in 2007 and '08, the club will need cheap, young talent like Baker and Liriano to step in. If TR is trading pitching prospects for a $5m bat or hitting prospects this winter, how will that work out for the team beyond next year?