Thursday, November 13, 2008

Trade Targets: Yunel Escobar and JJ Hardy

One rule I have learned over the years observing the Twins is that they are much better traders than free-agent signers. Yes there are some good names out there that would help the Twins,and the Twins have the money to spend, but the Twins have shown the inability to make a good, big free-agent signing. We have already discussed trading for 3B Adrian Beltre of the Mariners and 3B Garrett Atkins of the Rockies, perhaps the Twins top two trading targets for that position. But the Twins, believe it or not, the 3B position for the Twins had 91 RBI last year, and that was with Mike Lamb getting 186 or the 576 at-bats. A Buscher/Harris platoon would be almost as good as many of the 3B free agent options out there. Plus their top two position prospects in the higher levels of the minors are probably two third basemen, Luke Hughes and Danny Valencia, who should be ready by 2010.

Third base is somewhat of a problem but the Twins should try to plug their shortstop hole instead. I hope that they won't resign Nick Punto because we all know Ron Gardenhire loves him like his own son and Punto would start every day at SS. We all know about his putrid 2007 season when he was handed a starting job right from the get-go. He is a utility player.

Two names that I would really like the Twins to pursue via trade are Yunel Escobar of the Braves and J.J. Hardy of the Brewers. Both teams are great trading partners for the Twins because the Braves really need outfielders and starting pitching, and they have an excess of infielders, and the Brewers need starting pitching and they are looking to trade some of their infield depth.

Escobar is 26 years old, and a Cuban. He has been with the Braves for 2 years. Last year he had a .366 OBP and .401 SLG and he hit 10 HR while playing good defense at SS. He is young and projects to hit 20-25 HR. He probably projects as an All-Star SS. Solid all-around.

Hardy is also 26. He is ok with the glove. But his bat is amazing. Over the past two seasons he has combined to hit 50 home runs. Last year he had a .343 OBP and .478 SLG.

They both are right-handed hitters, something the Twins need as well.

I have no idea what it would take to get them. Here are trades I would make:

Cuddyer and Blackburn for Escobar.
Cuddyer and Pridie for Hardy.
Bonser, Humber, and Perkins for Hardy.
Slowey for Escobar and a good infield prospect.
Slowey for Hardy and a good prospect.
Young for Escobar.
Span for Escobar.

untradeable players:
Liriano, Baker, Mauer, Morneau, Nathan.

With free-agents free to sign starting tomorrow I am sure we will see more and more Twins rumors.

Let's just hope they don't sign another Livan Hernandez, Tony Bautista, Mike Lamb, Adam Everett, Sidney Ponson, Ramon Ortiz, etc.

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