Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Adding one player from another team

Listening to Paul Allen on KFAN at the end of last week there was an interesting topic was brought up. The Super Bowl was fast approaching and PA obviously didn't want the Packers to succeed. The question was asked, "What single player on the Vikings roster when added to the Steelers roster would most benefit their chances?"

This topic made me ask myself the question, "What single player could the Twins add to their roster that would most benefit their chances in 2011?"

The obvious list could include a multitude of starting pitchers (Cliff Lee, Felix Hernandez, CC Sabathia, etc.). Since that list is rather excessive, I changed the focus of the question to be more specific to position players. Obviously money wouldn't be considered as part of the equation in this fictitious fantasy draft. What player would it be?

Projected 2011 Opening Day Line-Up
C: Joe Mauer
1B: Justin Morneau
2B: Tsuyoshi Nishioka
3B: Danny Valencia
SS: Alexi Casilla
LF: Delmon Young
CF: Denard Span
RF: Michael Cuddyer

The health of Mauer and Morneau is a factor for the Twins franchise as they look to the future but for this exercise I will assume that both of these former MVP's will be healthy in the future. For the Twins, the C and 1B positions are what they are building their franchise around.

The Twins are unsure of the production value that they will get from both of their middle infield positions. So adding a strong player that is a middle infielder would be a logical starting point on our search for a player to add to the Twins.

2B- Robinson Cano- New York Yankees
For a second baseman he combines power and average that are hard to come by at 2B. ESPN projects him to bat .317 with 28 HR and 112 RBI in 2011. It would be interesting to see how those power numbers would translate if he had to play his home games at Target Field. The one negative might be the fact that he would be another left-handed bat in the Twins line-up.

SS- Hanley Ramirez- Florida Marlins
One of the best young players in the game that could compliment many of the pieces that are already in the Twins line-up. He would be a right-handed power threat and he has a tremendous ability to steal bases. His attitude has caused some issues in the past and that could be a drawback. But an infield of Morneau, Nishioka, Ramirez, and Valencia sounds very good to me.

2B- Chase Utley- Philadelphia Phillies
At 32 years old, Utley is the elder statesman of these great middle infielders. His age might have caught-up to him last season as injuries took him out of a third of the season last year. A bounce-back year is expected from this All-Star 2B but like Cano he would be another lefty in left handed slanted line-up. He is also close to half a decade older than both of these other middle infielders.

If the Twins were going to make a mythical addition to their outfield, some of the players that would benefit the team are listed below.

OF- Ryan Braun- Milwaukee Brewers
An elite outfielder that is a rare commodity in the fact that he combines average and power. He can steal a few bases here and there but his real value is his offensive skills. For his career he has averaged 36 HR and 118 RBI. His right handed bat could be a force break up the lefties of the Twins. He is relatively young at only 26 years old so there are many years left in Braun's career.

OF- Carl Crawford- Boston Red Sox
One of the biggest free agent signings this offseason, Crawford is a five-tool player that has recreated the outfield position. He is a tremendous athlete and that athletic ability translates to fantastic defense and speed. Crawford is 29 and will no doubt see a decline in his athletic ability over the course of his contract with the Red Sox. He could fit nicely as a top of the order hitter for the Twins as they try to add more speed.

OF- Carlos Gonzalez- Colorado Rockies
Gonzalez burst onto the scene last season and contended for the Triple Crown in the NL. He wound up winning the batting title with a .336 average and showed that he is an everyday player. The Rockies gave him a contract extension to reward his outstanding season. It will be interesting to see if is able to continue to compile the numbers that he did in 2010. He will be 25 years old next season so he is in the prime of his career.

My pick to add to the Twins would be: Hanley Ramirez
The middle infield is the giant question mark for the Twins next season. If Ramirez were inserted as the SS, the Twins could have a dominate line-up. He would bring his offensive and defensive skills to the Twins. He would be a young addition to the team while locking down a major position on the field.

What single position player would you add to the Twins team? Leave a comment below.


TT said...

I think David Wright would be a better choice. Valentine is at least as big a question as the other two young players the Twins are counting on. Wright would solidify third base and be a right handed bat in the middle of the order to go with Mauer and Morneau.

Ramirez is just not that good defensively at a position where the defense is the primary requirement. Frankly, he also looks like he is juiced. The steroid era may be over, but performance enhancements that can't be tested for are still out there. When a player shows up looking like an NFL player, well how do you think NFL players get that look?

The Common Man said...

Really good question, NoDak.

Ramirez was my first thought too. He'd be a huge upgrade offensively and has been a decent defender when he's been motivated. But that's the problem, isn't it? Maybe he'd be motivated on a good team, maybe not.

Cano is probably the safest choice, assuming Nishioka could slide over to short.

TT, how familiar with this team are you exactly? Who the hell is "Valentine?" Do you mean Danny Valencia? Who hit .311/.350/.448 last year and profiles as a league average 3B? You feel comfortable enough with Alexi Casilla to just leave him out there at SS? You're nuts. Hanley looks like an NFL player? You mean this guy? http://behindblondiepark.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/hanley-ramirez.jpg Gosh, I can't imagine why he'd have muscles, what with being an elite athlete with access to a gym and all.

ben_gundy said...

I never comment on these things but love the topic. I play this game in my head often and sometimes we do it in the video game world.
The obvious choice is Hanley but want to toss some other good ones out there for the fun of the game.

Good fits:

Doesn't fit but would make a monster lineup:
Miguel Cabrera
(I typed Aroid but then erased it.)

TT said...

I do that with Valencia all the time. Valencia has 322 major league plate appearances. During the first half of his first full season in 2008, Alexi Casilla had 228 plate appearances and hit .315 .357 .440 with 4 home runs. It went downhill from there.

Valencia may or may not be able to repeat his hot start last year. His numbers the last couple months are not all that hot for a corner infielder. His strikeouts increased and his walks and hits declined. The only place his results improved was home runs. Pavano told him he had got "pull happy" and those numbers may reflect that.

Casilla and Nishioka both project as better players than Valencia, considering they are plus defenders at defensive positions. And they have Plouffe at AAA. If Valencia goes south, they don't have anyone to step in.

"Gosh, I can't imagine why he'd have muscles, what with being an elite athlete with access to a gym and all."

Ramirez showed up in camp a couple years ago with an extra 25 pounds of muscle. He explained that by claiming he had improved his diet and hit the weights. But most "elite athletes" don't suddenly discover there is a weight room in their 20's.

NoDak Twins Fan said...

TT: I was going to include Wright in my list because I have been a big fan of his since he came into the league. I felt that the other areas were a bigger hole on the Twins right now. Valencia might pan out or he could be a bust. Right now I am hoping that he pans out.

Common Man: You are right in saying that Cano would be the safest choice. Like you said placing Nishioka at SS might be an interesting endeavor.

Ben: Tulowitzki would have been another great person to explore as part of the Twins line-up. Having a strong SS would make this Twins line-up explosive.

TT (again): Great input on the infield positions. There sure are a lot of questions the Twins will have to iron out in Spring Training. The thoughts are Ramirez are also fun to ponder.

John said...

Think of what all Victor Martinez could provide.
A back up, "off day" coverage, and injury insurance for Mauer; same thing for Morneau (who seems to wear down); a great switch hitting DH or PH off the bench; and seems to be a "Twins" kind of guy. With Vic, you could cut Mauer down to 110 games behind the plate, and let him DH 40-45. Cut Morneau down to 140-145 games at 1B (barring injury); Thome doesn't get overworked, etc.

JimCrikket said...

There's no doubt all of the guys you're proposing could help, but even with the pitching and infield uncertainty, I'd pretty much have to go with an upgrade that would not only add offense but improve the OF defense. Someone like Crawford. You wouldn't have room for all three of Young, Cuddyer and Kubel so there would be other roster moves that would have to be made, but it's not the "unknowns" that have me most concerned right now, it's the "knowns"... and specifically the "known" status of the outfield defense in that big gap-friendly outfield grass of Target Field.

(I'd actually be real tempted to grab Angels OF prospect Mike Trout... but realize that's really not the kind of addition we're looking for here.)