Sunday, February 07, 2010

Who goes to provide roster space for Hudson?

The signing of Orlando Hudson means the Twins need to open another roster spot. When Jim Thome signed, Steven Tolleson was taken off the roster and claimed on waivers by Oakland. Now it looks like the Twins will likely lose another player. The ideal way to avoid that is with a trade.  The Twins have some surplus in a couple places, the major league infield and pitching. Of course, almost anyone could be traded if there is a team that is looking to make a deal but here are the likely trade candidates:

Glen Perkins - The Twins seem to have soured on Perkins and the only thing that has held up a trade is the unwillingness of other teams to give full value. If they could move Perkins for real value, I think he would be tops on their list. But that hasn't happened yet and it seems unlikely to happen in a couple days unless they already had a deal in the works.

Alexi Casilla - Casilla is out of options and the Twins infield is full of players. He won't get through waivers, so he can't just be taken off the roster without losing him. I don't think the Twins have given up on him yet, but if they could get something in return they would probably do a deal for him.

Matt Tolbert - Tolbert is not out of options, which means he can be used to provide depth at Rochester, much as he was last year. He is also the sort of player someone who needs a utility infielder might deal a prospect for. I think it is unlikely, but not out of the question.

Jesse Crain
- The Twins have some depth in their bullpen and Crain has not been consistent. I think it is a real longshot that they would deal him, but again not impossible. In truth, you could add most of the bullpen to the list with that caveat, not impossible.  But I don't think its likely the Twins are going to reduce their pitching depth unless, like Perkins, they are really disenchanted with a player.

If they can't make a deal, the Twins will have to take someone off their roster. I think this is the most likely outcome and the candidates are almost all minor league players. Here is how I see them in order of likelihood with Hughes very much the most likely candidate if they have to go this route:

Luke Hughes - Hughes is a guy without a position. He isn't really an infielder and his bat doesn't play at a corner outfield spot. He has played several positions in the minors, but has really never developed at any of them. He does have some power and giving that up is difficult. Its that power that would make him a target on the waiver wire.

Trevor Plouffe - I think Plouffe has a future, but its not clear the Twins do and their opinion is the one that counts. I wonder if he has some makeup problems, because he seemed to make a lot of progress at the end of last year. And then the Twins went out and committed to JD Hardy. It seems doubtful they would let a former number one prospect go, but they have limited options.

Jason Pridie
- Pridie is the Twins fourth outfielder and really the only guy who can play center if Denard Span is out for an extended period. That said, the Twins have made noises about going with three outfielders and Jason Kubel as the backup. They would use Cuddyer, Punto and/or Tolbert as emergency backups. But if Pridie is taken on waivers, its not clear there is anyone in the minors ready to step into the center field role if Span went down for an extended period. The idea of Cuddyer out in center field every day is scary.

There are some other highly unlikely candidates:

Joe Mauer - if they can't sign him, they might just release him to avoid the distraction. They would still have Drew Butera, who is a good defensive catcher, healthy and ready to step in.

Justin Morneau - Thome can play first

Orlando Hudson - This would be an oops we goofed moment.

Brendan Harris - Another oops we goofed moment.

Nick Punto - Smith may be really tired of Gardy and releasing Punto might get him to quit.

JD Hardy - Another oops, we goofed moment.

Michael Cuddyer - Unlikely, they need someone who can play center field.

Denard Span - This would open a spot so Michael Cuddyer can play center, or maybe Delmon Young.

Delmon Young - Smith may really want the whole Garza trade to just go away and get rid of this reminder that he ever made it.

Jason Kubel - Thome can DH


Bryz said...

Just so you know, it's J.J. Hardy, not J.D.

I have to say I laughed pretty hard at the "Highly unlikely candidates" list, especially for Orlando Hudson's comment.

Anonymous said...

Nicely done on the "Highly Unlikely Candidates". That's good stuff!!

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