As the title suggests, this is a 2 part post. The 1st part is a New Years Resolution that is very important to me and I hope to any faithful reader of Hitting The Eephus. I realize that I’ve become basically irrelevant in the Twins blogosphere. My New Years Revolution is to write a minimum of one blog post every week. I think that is an attainable goal and it will bring Hitting The Eephus back to where it should be. As my good friend John T. Meyer recently wrote that we need to write down our goals for the public to see so we are held more accountable. I think this especially entails to improving this blog.
The second part of this post is much more typical of what will be normal for this blog. As many reports have suggested, the Twins are indeed a favorite to re-sign Carl Pavano. It just seems like it makes sense for Pavano to want to return to Minnesota. The only other team that has any rumors suggesting that they want him is the Washington Nationals. If I were Pavano I’d want to steer clear of Washington. I don’t have anything against the franchise personally, it actually does look like a promising young franchise with the likes of Stephen Strasburg, Bryce Harper, and many more players either just reaching the big leagues or still to come in the coming years. And of course their free agent signing of Jason Werth must not be forgotten. I just don’t think they have a real shot of being good for a few years, and Pavano will be gone by the time that happens. This is why it makes sense for Pavano to want to return to the Twins who are contenders.
It only makes sense for the Twins to bring back Pavano on the right deal. There is no way he should be given the three year deal he seeks. I would be most comfortable with a one year deal, but I don’t see how he signs a deal for any less than 2 years. I still think that he does indeed re-sign with the Twins, but there do need to be alternate plans in the case that signs with the Nationals or any other team that could very well suddenly decide they are in need of Pavano’s services.
One player that I see as a relatively low risk-high reward replacement to Pavano is Justin Duchscherer. Duchscherer is an injury prone pitcher. There is no getting around that. That being said he can still bring good value. Since he has been hurt his price tag won’t be very high. Last year he was given a $1.75 million contract. He only pitched 5 games before having season-ending left hip surgery. After that I can’t see his price tag going up. The one thing he wants is to be signed as a starter and not to be put into the bullpen. I think that if the Twins can see him as Pavano’s replacement they can offer him that.
The Twins signed the player I have been pushing for all offseason, Orlando Hudson. This lineup will be great.
1. Span CF (L)
2. Hudson 2B (S)
3. Mauer C (L)
4. Morneau 1B (L)
5. Cuddyer RF (R)
6. Kubel DH (L)
7. Hardy SS (R)
8. Young LF (R)
9. Punto 3B (S)
Previously on my blog, I’ve discussed that what the Twins need most is a #2 hitter to get on base in front of Mauer. There are only 2nd baseman left on the market that fit this mold. The two most ideal fits are Orlando Hudson and Felipe Lopez.
Hudson has been reported to be looking for $9 million next year and he hopes to sign with a team soon. The Twins appear to be waiting for his price to drop, but the Nationals and Mets are in on him. There hasn’t been much interest in Lopez, I’ve only heard him connected to the Cardinals. They haven’t made strides toward signing him, and they’d want him to play 3rd base. He has never played more than 47 games of third in one season.
Hudson and Lopez are very similar players. They are both switch hitters, which is good because whoever hits in front of Mauer should not be a lefty because that could make 5 lefties in a row.
*Please not that when comparing them I will compare their stats from the past 2 years.
Both should put up a decent average. Hudson’s 2 year avgerage is .292, Lopez’s is .298. Hudson gets on base with a .361 OBP, Lopez gets on at a .366 clip. Advantage Lopez.
Whoever hits in front of Mauer should have plenty to hit. Lopez made contact with 92.7% pitches inside the strike-zone that he swung at. Hudson made contact with 88.7%. Advantage Lopez
Hudson hit 17 homers over the past 2 years, while Lopez hit 15. Hudson slugged .431 and Lopez had a SLG of .401. Advantage Hudson.
Once they are on, neither are not much of a threat to steal. Lopez had 14 total steals and Hudson had 12. Advantage Lopez.
One thing the Twins have been known to do is take the extra base when possible. Hudson did this 56% of the time, Lopez did it 33% of the time. Advantage Hudson.
When you’re hitting in front of Mauer and Morneau and you make an out, it should be productive. 41% of Hudson’s outs were pruductive, while only 26% of Lopez’s were. Advantage Hudson.
Hudson had a fielding percentage of .986 and Lopez’s was .974. Lopez’s UZR/150 was -0.25 and Hudson’s was -5.65. Hudson is more accurate but Lopez saves more runs in the long run. Advantage Lopez.
Hudson will command a higher contract than Lopez, and there has been much more interest in Hudson. Advantage Lopez.
Hudson’s WAR the past 2 years were 2.0 and 2.9. Lopez’s were 0.8 and 4.6. Hudson is much more consistent, but Lopez has the higher ceiling. No advantage.
If you tally them up the tally is Lopez 5, Hudson 3. This is slightly misleading, as Hudson has two very important categories, taking the extra base and making productive outs.
Hudson is the more consistent player, while Lopez has the tools to be the better player. So, Twins fans, what do you think? Should the Twins sign Hudson or Lopez? Personally, I think Hudson is the better fit, but would be happy with either.
*Note: This article was previously published on my old blog.
There are only six weeks left until the Twins pitchers and catchers report. After the Hardy/Gomez trade there hasn’t been a move to fill second or third base. Nick Punto can fill either of the two spots, so only one free agent is needed, but two would be ideal.
Second basemen Ronnie Belliard, Jerry Harriston Jr., Orlando Hudson, Adam Kennedy, Felipe Lopez, Mark Loretta, and Pablo Ozuna remain unsigned. Third baseman Rich Aurilia, Aaron Boone, Joe Crede, Nomar Garciaparra, Melvin Mora, Robb Quinlan, and Miguel Tejada also do not have contracts.
Mark Loretta, Pablo Ozuna, Rich Aurilia, Aaron Boone, and Robb Quinlan really don’t bring anything valuable to the table. It is also unlikely that the Twins sign Belliard, Harriston, Garciaparra, and Tejada. That leaves us with Hudson, Kennedy, Lopez, Crede, and Mora.