Monday, July 20, 2009
As Jon Marthaler at Twinkie Town notes, there is reason to be optimistic about the Twins' chances this year. The bullpen, which had gotten off to such a rough start, has turned around and become one of the better ones in the league. Some of the worst hitters in the lineup, most notably Nick Punto and Carlos Gomez, have started to pick things up. And even Delmon Young has started to get hot recently, batting .310 with seven of his twenty-seven hits going for extra bases. However, their relatively soft schedule might be the Twins' greatest advantage down the stretch. Even though they play 29 of their last 70 games on the road, most of those games are against teams below .500, and they don't have a brutal 14-game road trip like last season (though they do have a couple of 10 gamers, one in September against Chicago and Detroit that will likely determine the division champ). They're done with the beasts of the East for the season, though they have three games remaining against Baltimore and four in Toronto. Better yet, things only get tougher for Detroit and Chicago from here on out. While the Twins are battling divisional powerhouses like Cleveland and Kansas City, Detroit gets the Red Sox and the White Sox get the Yankees.
Still, some fans have been advocating that the Twins go after Roy Halladay. I'm obviously not going to argue with that, but while we're dreaming I'd also really like to see Evan Longoria at third base. The front office would be crazy to not even inquire what it would take to get Halladay, but I'm guessing the Twins don't really have the prospects to land him and would be unwilling to part with them even if they did. The Phillies, Dodgers, and White Sox could all put together more attractive packages, and the Twins generally don't like to deal for rent-a-players. Acquiring Halladay would certainly make the Twins instant favorites to win the Central, but whether he would lead the team to a championship is doubtful. It is kind of tough to win a World Series with a weak middle infield, after all (Yeah, thanks for pointing out that the Twins' second-basemen have the worst OPS in the league, Rob. Like that hasn't been painfully obvious to those of us who follow the team). Not that I wouldn't love to see the best pitcher in the league donning a Twins uniform, mind you. I remember what that was like.
If the Twins are going to give up the farm to go after a legitimate ace, maybe Danny Haren would be a better target. The D-Backs will be sellers at the trade deadline, and it wouldn't hurt to at least inquire about his availability. It doesn't sound like Arizona is keen on moving him right now, but they might want to get out from under his contract and could make him available for the right price. Haren is three years younger than Halladay, is locked up in a ridiculously well-below market value contract through the 2012 season (with an option for 2013), and is the sort of strikeout machine the Twins could really use in the rotation. Obviously, the Twins would have to sacrifice a starter or two and some of their best prospects to get him, but it would be worth it. I know it would never actually happen, but a girl can dream right?