Trading Cuddyer would help Twins' needs for future

  • Article by: JIM SOUHAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 27, 2011 - 12:56 PM

The time has arrived for the Twins to be sellers on the market, with an eye for 2012.

hide

Michael Cuddyer (5)

Photo: Tony Gutierrez, Associated Press

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

And suddenly, amid the heat wave, our thoughts drift toward autumn, as the hot prospect who played quarterback at Florida State (Christian Ponder) pre-empts the hot prospect who chose not to play quarterback at Florida State (Joe Mauer) as the most pivotal and intriguing athlete in town.

The end of the NFL's lockout of its players coincided with the end of the competitive portion of the local baseball schedule. The Twins' nauseating losses on Sunday against Detroit and at Texas on Monday night left them seven games behind Detroit in the American League Central.

With 60 games to play and a difficult schedule in place, the Twins were 47-55. They are not only unlikely to win the division, they are unlikely to reach .500 again. They trail three teams, all of which have established themselves as more likely winners to this point.

On Tuesday morning, the website Coolstandings.com listed the Twins' mathematical probability of making the playoffs at 1.1 percent.

The popular sentiment that the Twins, after surging to within five games of the lead, should trade away their best players to avoid another playoff embarrassment should be classified as cowardly as well as irrational.

The Twins should trade away their best players not because their fans are afraid of the postseason, but because their front office can have little hope that this team can make the postseason.

In two days, the Twins devolved from hopeful to woeful.

It might seem foolish to base any judgement of a baseball team on one or two games, but even in a long season there are tipping points, moments that prove causal or indicative.

Let's allow Rick Aguilera to teach us two lessons about this trading deadline.

Lesson No. 1: One game can change the course of a season, if not a franchise.

In 1992, the Twins, the reigning World Series champions and the most-admired franchise in baseball, appeared prepared to defend their title. Then Aguilera allowed a winning three-run homer to a bench player named Eric Fox at the Metrodome on July 29.

The much-admired Twins went 30-34 to end the season and faded from contention. They would not contend for another division title until 2001, and would not win another until 2002.

The 2011 Twins, buttressed by a new stadium and aggressive ownership, shouldn't be in for such a long drought. To ensure their future competitiveness, they should now start making deals with 2012 in mind.

When you peruse the Twins roster with 2011 in mind, a player such as Michael Cuddyer seems vital. When you peruse the Twins roster with 2012 in mind, a player like Cuddyer becomes more valuable as a moveable asset than a clubhouse fixture.

Cuddyer has professed his love for the Twins and the Twin Cities. He is one of the most admirable athletes I've encountered. Now is the time to test his loyalty, by trading him.

This is where Aguilera teaches us another lesson.

Aguilera, like Cuddyer, was a proud Twin and admirable professional. The Twins traded Aguilera during the 1995 season to the Boston Red Sox, then signed him as a free agent a few months later.

If Cuddyer values his tenure as a Twin, and if the Twins are willing to pay an aging outfielder who plays one of the few positions of depth in the their organization, he could sign a reasonable contract to return this winter, and his trade value will have bolstered the franchise with which he renewed his vows.

And if the Twins and Cuddyer can't reach a deal in free agency this winter, then the bond between player and franchise will have proved to be overrated all along.

The Twins have more outfielders than they need, and not enough effective relievers, middle infielders or dominating starters. They should look to trade Cuddyer, Kevin Slowey, Matt Capps and either Jason Kubel or Delmon Young, to save money to aid the 2012 payroll and acquire young talent and relief help.

Cuddyer gave us reason to love him anew late Monday. Near the end of a 20-6 loss, he pitched a scoreless inning, the first Twins position player to pitch in a game in 21 years.

He's a great guy to have around, but a losing team leaves little room for sentiment.

Jim Souhan can be heard Sundays from 10 a.m. to noon and weekdays at 2:40 p.m. on 1500ESPN. His Twitter name is Souhanstrib. • jsouhan@startribune.com

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Tennessee 7 1st Qtr 4:00
Jacksonville 0
Philadelphia 12/20/14 3:30 PM
Washington
San Diego 12/20/14 7:25 PM
San Francisco
Minnesota 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Baltimore 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Detroit 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
Cleveland 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Atlanta 12/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Green Bay 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Kansas City 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
New England 12/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 12/21/14 3:05 PM
St. Louis
Buffalo 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Oakland
Indianapolis 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Dallas
Seattle 12/21/14 7:30 PM
Arizona
Denver 12/22/14 7:30 PM
Cincinnati
New York 28 2nd Qtr 8:30
Chicago 36
New Orleans 12 1st Qtr 4:31
Houston 12
Milwaukee 9:00 PM
Sacramento
Oklahoma City 9:30 PM
Golden State
Florida 1 3rd Prd
Philadelphia 1
Colorado 0 3rd Prd 19:32
Pittsburgh 0
Toronto 1 3rd Prd
Carolina 2
Washington 2 3rd Prd
Columbus 2
Anaheim 1 2nd Prd
Montreal 0
St. Louis 9:30 PM
Los Angeles
Edmonton 9:30 PM
San Jose
St Thomas (TX) 61 FINAL
Rice 72
Stony Brook 48 2nd Half 2:31
Canisius 46
Temple 82 FINAL
Delaware 62
FIU 58 FINAL
Long Island 69
Lehigh 65 FINAL
Quinnipiac 80
South Alabama 54 FINAL
Richmond 65
Seton Hall 85 2nd Half 3:35
South Florida 61
Ga Southern 76 FINAL
Stetson 67
Yale 57 FINAL
Vermont 56
Cleveland State 54 FINAL
Virginia 70
Wright State 69 FINAL
Western Carolina 56
Nicholls 40 2nd Half 11:40
Louisiana Tech 60
Morgan State 31 2nd Half 12:11
Rider 44
Idaho State 45 2nd Half 8:30
South Dakota St 45
Oakland City 16 2nd Half
Austin Peay 35
Eureka 26 2nd Half
Bradley 43
Appalachian St 32 2nd Half
Charlotte 27
Connecticut 25 1st Half 0:20
Duke 30
Southern Miss 14 1st Half 4:13
Jackson State 33
Coastal Carolina 41 2nd Half
Ole Miss 28
Montana State 15 1st Half 10:23
South Dakota 15
LSU 8:00 PM
UAB
Ohio 8:05 PM
Evansville
CS-Dominguez 9:00 PM
Cal State Fullerton
Walla Walla 9:00 PM
Idaho
DePaul 9:00 PM
Oregon State
Nevada 9:00 PM
Pacific
Portland State 9:00 PM
San Francisco
CS-Bakersfield 9:05 PM
Utah State
Nevada 12/20/14 10:00 AM
Louisiana
Utah State 12/20/14 1:20 PM
Texas-El Paso
(23) Utah 12/20/14 2:30 PM
Colorado State
Western Mich 12/20/14 4:45 PM
Air Force
South Alabama 12/20/14 8:15 PM
Bowling Green
BYU 12/22/14 1:00 PM
Memphis
Marshall 12/23/14 5:00 PM
Northern Ill
Navy 12/23/14 8:30 PM
San Diego St
Central Mich 12/24/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky
Fresno State 12/24/14 7:00 PM
Rice
Niagara 76 FINAL
Cleveland State 58
High Point 59 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 81
Towson 64 FINAL
Wake Forest 74
Presbyterian 50 FINAL
Charlotte 66
Chicago State 62 FINAL
Bradley 59
Northwestern Coll 58 FINAL
Drake 102
Vanderbilt 67 FINAL
Marquette 80
Temple 78 FINAL
Howard 48
Southern Miss 66 FINAL
Ole Miss 68
UMBC 55 FINAL
Rider 67
Miami-Florida 74 FINAL
UCLA 67
St Mary-KS 51 FINAL
South Dakota 115
William & Mary 71 FINAL
Wofford 51
Troy 82 FINAL
Evansville 94
Loyola Marymount 54 FINAL
USC 96
St Francis-PA 52 FINAL
Duquesne 92
Indiana-Southeast 45 FINAL
IUPUI 95
Delaware State 52 FINAL
Detroit 74
Tenn Temple 48 FINAL
Gardner-Webb 68
West Virginia St 58 FINAL
Radford 52
Fairfield 47 FINAL
Seton Hall 79
Dartmouth 44 FINAL
New Hampshire 60
Ball State 47 FINAL
Pittsburgh 59
Trine 45 FINAL
Western Mich 81
Jacksonville 59 2nd Half 1:14
Tennessee St 62
Tenn Tech 38 2nd Half 8:23
Lipscomb 46
Samford 9 1st Half 9:39
Tulane 11
New Orleans 21 2nd Half
Tulsa 35
Incarnate Word 26 2nd Half
TX-Pan American 28
Ark-Little Rock 15 2nd Half
South Dakota St 29
CS-Northridge 11 1st Half 11:14
Northern Ariz 18
Santa Clara 8:00 PM
Oregon
(19) Oklahoma St 8:00 PM
Weber State
Washington 8:00 PM
San Diego State
Cal Poly 8:00 PM
New Mexico
(10) Louisville 8:00 PM
Grand Canyon
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Do you like the Ervin Santana signing by the Twins?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close