Heading into the trade deadline, all eyes were on the big market teams: the Yankees, Red Sox, Blue Jays, and others. All the talk was about Roy Halladay and what his destination would be. In the end, Halladay would stay put and the Yankees were†inactive†in any big moves.
The Minnesota Twins have traded minor league shortstop Tyler Ladendorf to acquire the shortstop from the Oakland A’s, Orlando Cabrera. After weeks of speculation, the team made the move and gave up far less than the initial reported asking price of Danny Valencia.
On any given night, only ten players (including the pitcher) take the field to start the game. It leaves a handful of starting pitchers, relievers, and position players on the bench. Those select starters may help decide the outcome of one game, but over a full season it takes a collective effort from all 25 players.
With a long six-month, 162 game schedule, it’s easy to shrug off a blown game or a tough loss. The next day the team can head back to the field and make it easier to forget. Nonetheless, the bad loss or blown game did happen and it does count in the standings when the season ends in the fall.
There is nothing wrong with sitting at .500 midway through the season. Of the league’s 30 teams, 12 are below the mark, two are even with it, and four of the other 16 teams are two or fewer games above.†
- The Twins must get production from the second spot in the lineup. Having Denard Span reach via walk or hit, only to have the next hitter end a rally in front of guys like Mauer and Morneau, won’t get the Twins to the playoffs. Alexi Casilla could be that help, but only time will tell.
- The rotation must continue to grow. Nick Blackburn had a superb first half, as did Slowey before he was injured, and Perkins before and after his injury with the exception of a select few starts. Scott Baker was 4-0 with a 3.20 ERA in June and Francisco Liriano was 2-1 with a 3.77 ERA. If the two can continue to grow and the rotation can improve and stay healthy, they could lead the Twins to the postseason.
- The bullpen must maintain its first half production. There is still room for improvement, but June was a great month for the bullpen, and it has been very reliable as the season has progressed. The Twins must continue to finish off games and need Mijares, Guerrier, Nathan and others to do what they’ve done thus far. Blown games bit the team in ’08, and they need to avoid the same wound in ’09.
When the Minnesota Twins signed third baseman Joe Crede to an incentive-laden deal in spring training, everybody knew the team was brining in a potential All-Star bat when healthy. The previous year, Crede had hit nearly 20 homeruns and was named an American League All-Star before a back injury ended his season after only 97 games.†