Twins Are “Losers”? Say It Ain’t So!

I’m still trying to get my head around all the trades that went down over the last few days. The folks over at MLBTradeRumors always do a terrific job of keeping up on who’s doing what and they put together a recap of the moves, by contending team. Here’s the AL Central:

So who were the winners and losers after all of this past week’s trades? That depends on who you ask.

ESPN’s Jason Stark:

Winners: Rangers, Padres, Yankees, Astros, Phillies, Nationals, D’Backs, Cards, Dodgers

Losers: WhiteSox, BlueJays, Orioles, Giants, Twins, Rays, Mets

MLB Fanhouse (AOL):

Winners: Yankees, Astros, Rangers, Nationals (“may have pulled off the heist of the entire trading season” by getting Ramos for Capps)

Losers: RedSox, Giants, Tigers

Hardball Talk (NBC):

Winners: Angels, Rangers, Phillies, Yankees, Pirates (honorable mention: Nationals, Padres, Dodgers)

Losers: WhiteSox, Twins, Giants, Cardinals, Rays (dishonorable mention: Astros, DBacks, Tigers)

Yahoo Sports:

Winners: Rangers, Angels, Yankees, Phillies, BlueJays, Mets, Dodgers

Losers: WhiteSox, Giants, Tigers, Twins, Cardinals, Rays

So to summarize… it seems most of the national media is agreement with most of the Twins blogosphere in that they feel the Twins overpaid for Matt Capps and overvalued the ‘save’ statistic. The good news is that the Twins AL Central competition is not viewed has having improved themselves much at the deadline. It’s hard to imagine Jhonny Peralta being a true “difference maker” for the Tigers and the WhiteSox appear to have a much higher opinion of Edwin Jackson than… well… pretty much anyone else.

In addition to feeling the Twins gave up too much for Capps, the media also seems to feel the Twins inability to acquire starting pitching help moves them in to the “trade deadline loser” category. But before we all retire to our caves sobbing hysterically about being fans of the “loser” Twins, let’s remember a few things.

First… the Twins Major League team IS better with Matt Capps. Those of us who want to see the Twins win THIS YEAR can look past the cost and point out that while Jon Rauch did a nice job of stepping in for Joe Nathan, Capps (and the extra 3-4 MPH he has on his fastball) is likely going to be more reliable at the end of games and Rauch makes the group of quality set up relief pitchers much deeper.

Second… keep in mind that the nonwaiver deadline has become a very soft deadline. All Much of the help that Bill Smith brought in to push the Twins toward the playoffs in 2009 (Cabrera, Pavano, Rauch, Mahay) was obtained after July 31 last summer. [Correction made thanks to commenter Deb who correctly pointed out that Cabrera was obtained pre-July31 last year and Pavano should have been included in the post-July 31 group. My bad.-JC]

The biggest improvements that can be made to the Twins at this point are the additions of Justin Morneau and Orlando Hudson. Hopefully, they’re both on their way back toward rejoining the team and in the mean time, I doubt Bill Smith plans to take the month of August off.

Oh… and as for the whole trade deadline winners and losers thing, keep in mind that the Yankees were on Jason Stark’s ESPN “trade deadline losers list” last year. They managed to find a way to overcome that label and finish the season in good shape.

So let’s not fold up the tent quite yet. – JC

7 thoughts on “Twins Are “Losers”? Say It Ain’t So!

  1. What bugs me is that the implication is that we refused to part with Ramos for Cliff (F’in!!!) Lee and then gave him up for Capps. When we all know it’s. NOT. that .simple. There were other considerations involved in a potential Lee trade. No one seriously thinks they would have taken just Ramos for Lee, do they? It sounds like they wanted at least one other high prospect ANDOR a MLB ready pitcher. If the Twins had made that deal for a 2 month rental they would still be calling us losers. Whatever. Stoopid lazy (so-called) journalism.

  2. I, for one, actually like the move to get Capps. Nathan is not a sure thing for next year, as history has shown the first year back from the Tommy John surgery in most cases is fairly difficult for pitchers. And I echo jamar in my dislike of the intellectually lazy tripe that calls itself journalism lately.

  3. Actually, they got Cabrera at the deadline last year and picked up Pavano, Rauch, and Mahay after the non-waiver trade deadline.

  4. Thanks, Deb, I guess I fell in to the “lazy” trap myself because I read somewhere that all three guys came in after the deadline and just repeated it.

  5. I expected some comments to trash the Yankees as “winners” for the trade deadline. I strongly disagree — the addition of Kearns makes no sense (where exactly would he play when he doesn’t crack our top 4 OFs or top 2DHs before Berkman arrived) and Berkman as a DH compromises the Yanks’ best overall team — Posada at DH and Cervelli catching.

    The addition of Wood was decent, as you can never have enough potential relievers and Wood is someone a different pitching coach can attempt to tweak.

    All in all, the only thing the Yanks did well was get stuff without giving too much (anything) up. That being said, I think the Twins may have overpaid for a piece they needed, but they got what they needed for a part they didn’t ultimately need. I call that a win, since it is unlikely they could have landed a blue chip front-line pitcher for Ramos. I didn’t dislike the move.

    WIN TWINS! (This week anyway… :)

  6. Yeah, YF, I suspect for the next four days, the size of the Twins fanbase is probably increasing about 100 fold across the country as Yankee fans cheer on our guys during the Rays series. I have to admit that it pains me just a bit to know that sweeping the Rays would help the Yankees almost as much as it would the Twins themselves! Ouch!

    Interesting perspective you have on the deals the Yanks made. I think most of the “winner” opinions focus on exactly what you said about how they really didn’t give up much of anything and got some talent back. I hadn’t really thought about the possibility that finding ABs for Kearns and Berkman might hurt the Yankees.

    Personally, my reaction to their deals was pretty much a shrug. I’ll believe Wood is good again when I actually see it (though he wouldn’t have to be REAL good to be an improvement over what the Yankees have had in the set up roles lately, I guess). As for Kearns and Berkman, the way I look at it is that the Yankees can only play 9 nonpitchers at a time, anyway. It gives them depth in the event of injury and maybe better bats off the bench than most teams have. That could be important as they fight the Rays for the AL East, but in the playoffs (where it would matter, hopefully, to the Twins), I think those additions are probably going to be marginal difference makers, at best.

    Of course, you also can’t totally discount the possibility that at least part of the motivation the Yankees had for picking up these guys was to keep them from being acquired by the Rays (Berkman) and Red Sox (Wood). Buster Olney reported those teams finished “second” in the bidding for those players. If they turn around and send them elsewhere in a waiver deal before the end of the season, we’ll know this was a bigger factor than we might otherwise think.

  7. I was thinking exactly the same thing about the Yankees’ deals. I think they were more a “prevent defense” strategy to keep those players away from the BoSox and Rays teams.