Over at Twinkie Town, Jesse puts up a good article wondering if the Twins could get the 2B of the Pittsburgh Pirates, Freddy Sanchez. Since I’m not at all above letting other people do my work for me, let’s take a look at acquiring Sanchez, and who else the Twins could get.
Assuming that the acquisition of a 2B would push Nick Punto back into a starting role at short, and Brendan Harris into a guy who plays third a couple days a week, short a couple days a week, and 2B a couple days a week, I’m not so sure Sanchez is the right fit. Sanchez is due to make just over $6 million this year, with an option for $8 million next year. For a guy who has little power (.122 ISO), no plate discipline (5.3% walk rate) and declining defense (-1.8 runs last year, on pace for roughly 1.5 runs this year), Sanchez doesn’t justify that salary. The Twins also only have one pitcher on staff who is even remotely a ground ball pitcher (Blackburn), so defense from your second baseman is less important on the Twins.
We’ll call Sanchez our leader in the clubhouse for now, but I have to figure there’s another 2B out there the Twins could snag for a much cheaper price.
Clint Barmes, Colorado
Barmes had the best year of his major league career last year, with 11 homers and a .344 wOBA. This year he has a .352 wOBA, helped along by a .341 BABIP. Barmes has never walked a lot, and has struck out about three times as much this year. Barmes’s .496 slugging percentage this year is boosted by his 8 homers. His HR/FB rate has spiked up fairly high, so the Twins shouldn’t expect a sudden power surge from their middle infield if they acquire Barmes. He’s a pretty good fielder, who, other than 2007, has posted UZR/150′s that are pretty high. He certainly wouldn’t be a downgrade defensively. Barmes is inexpensive, but with the Rockies recent surge, it seems unlikely they would part with Barmes, especially fairly cheaply.
Adam Kennedy, Oakland
Kennedy has been much better with the bat this year than ever before in his career. His current wOBA of .375 is almost 30 points higher than his career high. His BABIP isn’t high, and his line-drive percentage is in line with the rest of his career numbers, so who knows what’s going on there. Kennedy has been pretty bad with the glove this year (-4.5 runs) but for the rest of his career has been very dependable. He is in the final year of his deal and if the Twins acquired him today they would owe him a little more than $2 million. I would say he’s the perfect choice, but the thought of Bill Smith trying to discuss a trade with Billy Beane makes me want to go into the fetal position. We could end up giving Aaron Hicks and Ben Revere for Kennedy.
David Eckstein, San Diego
Just kidding, he sucks.
Jorge Cantu, Florida
He’s playing mostly first with some third mixed in with the Marlins, but Cantu began as a second baseman. Cantu has been worth about 5 wins above replacement over the course of his career, most of it with the bat. This year he has a .772 OPS with a .339 wOBA. But his glove might as well be made of iron. He’s never been in the plus defensively. He has a 1.9 UZR/150 at first base, so he would be in the negatives at second. He was at -9.1 last year for the Reds, so there’s no doubt he would be a hindrance defensively.
As much as I hate to imagine Smith and Billy Beane talking on the phone, Adam Kennedy is probably the best bet. His true talent isn’t a .375 wOBA hitter, but given that he is in the last year of his contract it might be worth it to take a shot and see if his hot streak will last the rest of the year.