Twins making push for middle INF and bullpen help
The Twins have two wishes as the Trade Deadline approaches later this week — to add a middle infielder that can fill the No. 2 spot in the lineup and to add a solid late-inning option to the bullpen.
Joe Crede’s recent shoulder injury has only seemed to increase the Twins desire to add another infielder — one with offensive potential — and perhaps that’s why the club’s pursuit of A’s shortstop Orlando Cabrera has started making headlines in recent days.
The club has been talking with the A’s since earlier this week about Cabrera and both sides have expressed real interest in completing a deal. Manager Ron Gardenhire said publicly on Saturday that he likes Cabrera and that he’s asked some of his players about the shortstop — including Crede who was a teammate of Cabrera’s in Chicago last year.
The A’s have been eager to deal Cabrera, but one reason a deal has not yet been done is that the Twins also have been trying to add reliever Michael Wuertz into the package. Wuertz has reportedly been coveted by many teams — including the Angels — but the A’s haven’t necessarily been willing to move him. However if they can get a better package back for the two players, perhaps Oakland might be willing to move the reliever as well. Clearly it would be a great move for the Twins since it would address both of their needs.
Cabrera isn’t a prototypical No. 2 hitter in that his on-base percentage isn’t quite as high as the Twins would like. But the feeling of the club is that he would provide an upgrade from the options the club has now for the spot.
The Twins inquired earlier this month about the Pirates’ Freddy Sanchez but Pittsburgh’s asking price appeared to be a little higher than the Twins were willing to pay. That hasn’t discouraged the Twins have checking in on Sanchez again, as he would be the ideal offensive fit and he plays second base. Still, right now it seems the Twins chances of making a deal are better with a club like Oakland.
There have also been reports that the Twins have inquired about Toronto’s Marco Scutaro. But of course that option will hinge largely on whether the Blue Jays are able to move Roy Halladay. Since that might not be known until closer to the deadline, it’s no surprise that the Twins appear to be focusing their efforts elsewhere at the moment.
— Kelly Thesier
All eyes on Halladay
Many on hand at Rogers Centre on Sunday afternoon wondered if they were watching Roy Halladay’s last outing as the ace of the Blue Jays. If so, Doc did not disappoint, spinning a complete-game gem en route to a 3-1 win over the Red Sox.
“I was hoping he’d have an unbelievable performance, something I could remember when I look back at my time here in Toronto,” Jays catcher Rod Barajas said. “It definitely goes through your head. I hope it’s not the last time. Everybody in this clubhouse hopes it’s not the last time.”
Multiple reports indicated that representatives from the Dodgers, Phillies, Brewers, Tigers, Red Sox, Rangers and Twins were in attendance for Halladay’s latest start, which netted his 11th win and lowered his ERA to 2.73. Former Jays GMs Pat Gillick (Phillies) and Gord Ash (Brewers) were in Toronto for the entire weekend series against Boston.
Philadelphia is still believed to be the front-runner to land Halladay, and the Jays and Phils have reportedly already discussed a few of the Phillies’ top prospects, including outfielder Michael Taylor, shortstop Jason Donald and pitcher Carlos Carrasco. Top pitching prospect Kyle Drabek likely needs to be included to convince the Jays to pull the trigger on any deal with the Phils.
As far as the other clubs in attendance for Halladay’s start, it’s possible some were there to take a look at Boston’s players, or Toronto’s relievers — Doc’s fourth complete game of the year robbed scouts of that chance — and position players. The Red Sox don’t have serious interest in Halladay and the Rangers and Twins appear to be long shots.
It’s worth noting that Ash was at the helm in Toronto when the Blue Jays drafted Halladay. According to Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com, “Rival teams say the Brewers have enough prospects to make a Halladay deal.”
Prior to previous Trade Deadlines, Halladay’s name has been tossed around in rumors and reports. This year, though, the speculation is real and Halladay’s recent comments indicate that he’s more open to the idea of being dealt than he was in the past. On Saturday, Halladay’s wife, Brandy, stepped into the radio booth during the Jays’ game and the talk eventually turned to the wave of rumors.
“This very well could be our last homestand,” Brandy Halladay said on The FAN590. “If something happens before the Trade Deadline, I won’t be back. That’s difficult. That’s more than difficult. I just broke into tears four minutes ago. … It’s very difficult for everybody. … You’re making me cry now.”