Jason’s Blog: Suzuki in, Fuld out
Posted By: Jason Iacovino
Major League Baseball managed to rip the spotlight away from the National Football League for a few hours on Thursday leading up to the non-waiver trade deadline. The highlights included ace pitchers Jon Lester and David Price being moved to teams that are in a playoff race.
Locally, the Minnesota Twins traded outfielder Sam Fuld back to Oakland for left-handed starter Tommy Milone. Many are lauding this as a great move considering the Twins got Fuld for nothing by claiming him off waivers back in April. The reality, however, is that if Milone has huge major league potential, the A's would not have parted with him.
The better news for Twins fans is they signed catcher Kurt Suzuki to a 2-year contract extension for a bargain price of $6 million (I say bargain price because the Twins were paying their last .300 hitting catcher $23 million per season).
What's frustrating, though, is neither of these deals will move the needle. In fact, nothing short of convincing Joe Mauer to waive his no-trade clause would move the needle for this club--they simply don't have the talent which would command big names or prospects in return.
Contrast that with the Boston Red Sox, a team suffering a painful hangover coming off their world championship in 2013. The Red Sox executed the fire sale to perfection, trading Jon Lester and Jonny Gomes to the A's for Yoenis Cespedes. They also traded John Lackey and Stephen Drew to the Cardinals for Allen Craig and Joe Kelly. These moves allowed Boston to free up some payroll in anticipation of making some big offseason signings--including possibly re-signing Lester--which will make them instant contenders in 2015.
The Twins can't do this kind of stuff. They can't shuffle the deck so to speak because their highest paid players will not yield major league-proven talent. And the Twins have never been big spenders in free agency. What's left is to once again cross our fingers that the players coming through the minor league system will flourish when they reach the majors.
Which brings us to the rest of the season. In what has to be the most lobsided starting tilt of the day in MLB, lefty ace Chris Sale (10-1, 1.88 ERA) will face Logan Darnell tonight when Minnesota begins a 3-game series against the Chicago White Sox. Darnell has yet to show he can hold down a spot in a big league rotation, much like Kris Johnson and Yohan Pino.
Of course the big name Triple-A pitchers Trevor May and Alex Meyer have yet to get their shot, although I would expect that to come sooner than later. I would also expect Milone to be in the mix.
But that's it. Division-leading Detroit nabbed David Price from Tampa Bay and the Twins are celebrating Malone.
Look, I'm more than willing to hold out hope that between Malone, May, Meyer, Darnell, Pino, and Johnson there are at least 2-3 above average major league starters. You would think Phil Hughes and Ricky Nolasco would be top-end guys in 2015. Then it boils down to which pieces of this inconsistent lineup will earn an everyday spot.
Because as I write this now I can name four everyday players in 2015: Mauer, Suzuki, Brian Dozier, and Danny Santana. That leaves 5 spots open.
So goes life as a Twins fan. Whereas Boston has almost guaranteed they will be contenders next year based upon their transactions, the Twins are merely hoping.
Jason Iacovino can be heard Tuesdays and Fridays on KRFO-AM 1390 at 3:50 p.m. Follow him on Twitter @JasonIacovino.