January 16, 2008


Twins want more: Experts agree Sox’ talent better, split on two offers (Michael Silverman, January 15, 2008, www.bostonherald.com)

[John Manuel, co-editor in chief of Baseball America] prefers the Red Sox’ offer topped by lefty Jon Lester [stats] and center fielder Coco Crisp because he thinks Lester can be a middle-of-the-rotation starter and that the other offer features the Sox selling “high” with outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury. Each offer includes infielder Jed Lowrie and right-hander Justin Masterson.

“If they thought Jed Lowrie (.393 combined on-base percentage in Double A and Triple A last year) could be a major league shortstop, the Twins have to make that deal,” Manuel said. “The Twins are holding out for more offense. I don’t know what the midpoint is between Jed Lowrie and (Mets untradeable shortstop) Jose Reyes, but that would get this deal done. None of these offers fit the Twins’ needs.”

Jim Callis, executive editor of Baseball America, said that even if the Yankees were to include right-hander Ian Kennedy in their offer or the Mets were to include hitting phenom Fernando Martinez, neither team’s package would be better than the Lester-Crisp package (Callis’ first choice) or the Ellsbury (No. 2 for Callis) offer.

“The Red Sox are in the best position to offer blue-chip players as well as depth,” Callis said. “And, the Red Sox are under less pressure to make something happen because they need Santana less because they have fewer holes.”

The Yankees shouldn’t be dismissed because their offer is led by Hughes, a pitcher who Callis and Manuel agree is the single-best talent being discussed. Melky Cabrera is no better than an average major league outfielder, according to Callis and Manuel, and right-handed sinkerballer Jeff Marquez projects no higher than a No. 3-4 starter. Callis said Kennedy has “fringy” stuff; Manuel said he and scouts question if Kennedy has one above-average major league pitch. The two do not believe that Kennedy’s inclusion in a Yankees deal should be a difference-maker for the Twins.

Without Martinez, a 19-year-old left-handed hitting outfielder who jumped from rookie level to Double A last season, the Mets’ deal is too young for the Twins to gamble on, unless they were feeling lucky.

“If the Twins wanted to roll the dice, the Mets’ offer (with Martinez) could be the best deal,” Callis said.

...and you know the Mets are the ones who really need to make a deal. Why not also send them older lunchmeat--Juan Rincon, Nick Punto, etc.--for guys like Joe Smith, Ruben Gotay, etc., and get younger and cheaper at other spots too?

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 16, 2008 7:06 AM
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