Ceilings vs. certainties; the ongoing struggle

29 Jul

“The Giants traded WHO to get Freddy Sanchez???”

– Every Twins fan, 7/29

I know, I know – the news that the Giants obtained the services of sure-hitting, decent-defense Freddy Sanchez for one damn minor leaguer wasn’t a whole lot of fun to hear. He could have been ours. I can hear your questions about the trade, because they’re the same damn ones that ran through my head. No established big leaguers? No money? Not even a second prospect? How the fuck did the Twins not top that haul?

In the Twins’ defense, the Giants did give up one of their top few organizational prospects in pitcher Tim Alderson. Ranked #4 by Baseball America at the beginning of the season, the 20-year-old righty has been holding his own at AA this season while facing players much older, much more established competition. He was at this point one of their best two or three prospects.

The question – one that can never be fully answered – is what it would have taken from the Twins to top that proposal. Chances are we’ve got only a few names that the Pirates would have taken over Alderson. My guess, and this is a shot in the dark: Aaron Hicks or Danny Valencia. Maybe Wilson Ramos. Ben Revere has been average enough this season that he would have been shot down, and the Twins don’t have a pitching prospect as highly regarded as Alderson.

Of course, that is taking into account only a one-for-one trade. Who knows what we could have offered in a multi-player deal. That’s what hurts. The Twins have at least a dozen of exciting, if less than superstar-potentialled prospects to offer. My hunch – and again, that’s all we’re basing this on – is the Twins could have made something happen on this front. Of course, this would require a GM with a functioning set of plums.

And since they didn’t, I’m going to go ahead and (unfairly?) question Bill Smith’s competence for probably the hundredth time. He didn’t pick up any impact relievers last year at the deadline (oh and did you hear? We missed the playoffs by one goddamn game), he stood pat in the offseason when the team was screaming for bullpen and middle infield help, he’s been publicly questioned by his own superstars, and he now let the best trade target on the market get away for a single minor leaguer. The Twins may not have the horse to match Alderson’s potential, but I’m having a tough time believing Smith couldn’t have put a superior package together to get Sanchez on the squad.

Good on the Twins for sweeping the Sox and keeping themselves close to the league lead, but the next two months would have looked mighty exciting had the front office decided to join the fight and make a run at this thing. Oh well. New year, same bullshit.

(Unless we pull something off by Friday. In that case, disregard the bellyaching. It’s my nature.)

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2 Responses to “Ceilings vs. certainties; the ongoing struggle”

  1. TeeNutts July 30, 2009 at 9:44 am #

    B, how do you feel about Kelly Johnson from the Braves? he’s younger than Sanchez (27 instead of 31) and cheaper, too, with better BB/K ratio but does appear to be having a slightly down year.
    or maybe Yunel Escobar? it would take more to get him but i read somewhere that the Braves would deal him for the right price. i wouldn’t give up Valencia but i’d think we could put a couple of pitchers together to get something done.

  2. B. July 30, 2009 at 10:32 pm #

    I agree that Johnson seems like a worthy target. He’s not having a great year, but it’s not abysmal either, and his previous two seasons were above average. I’m always a little weary about the NL-to-AL transition because of the league disparity, but I still think he could be decent. Who knows. As for Yunel, my guess is he is off-limits.

    Plus, are the Braves even in ‘sell’ mode? I haven’t really been paying attention.

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