Apparently we here at Fire Gardy weren’t the only people who were interested in and excited by the Hardy trade: 379 people came to visit this blog yesterday, which is a huge number for us and is the second most* of any single day in Fire Gardy history. Normally, we only get about 25-50 visits in a day. An increase like that is probably why Fangraphs went down minutes after the trade was announced! Great showing, Twins fans!
* The most ever was 700, which happened within the first couple of weeks of the blog’s birth. It only happened because Gleeman linked to us, saying essentially “I don’t like these guys.” Thanks, Gleeman. If there’s anything that’ll keep a young blog going, it’s the local titan giving compliments like that.
So I want to say thank you to everyone who visited yesterday, and we hope to see you around here again.
Meanwhile, given that there hasn’t been much news of note since the big deal went down, I figured it’d be worthwhile to go around the league and see what people are saying about the trade.
Big thumbs up to the Twins here, who got better in a hurry. The Brewers had their hands tied a bit due to the logjam at SS, but it’s still hard to imagine this is the best they could do.
It’s way too early to talk about the best trade of the winter, but this one looks very good as an answer for immediate needs for a team whose core is already in place, and from an executive who’s quickly moving from non-descript organizational guy to an operator who isn’t going to let the Mauer/Morneau years slide by.
According to Tony Massarotti at Boston.com, the Red Sox were trying to get Hardy too:
Milwaukee wanted either starter Clay Buchholz or reliever Daniel Bard for Hardy. The Sox were not willing to offer either pitcher. Milwaukee was not interested in righthander Michael Bowden, whom the Sox would have been willing to part with, and the Sox did not have a center field prospect who could match Gomez’s skill set.
Could it be that the Twins just benefited from the Red Sox’s penchant for only doing deals that are landslides in their favor? Or is Smith getting more respect around the league, such that he can actually start making respectable deals? Either way, it feels good to beat the Red Sox. (Also, this indicates that there was no god damned way we were getting Hardy for Perkins.)
For Minnesota, that’s a tremendous value coupled with his defense: the Twins will boast one of the top shortstops in the league and have him under control through his age 28 year.
And of course you have to love this deal for the Twins, who got a player they really wanted (for good reason) in exchange for a guy they didn’t really want at all. That said, unless they get another outfielder, this move means more playing time for Delmon Young, and it’s not at all clear that that’s a good thing. And if anything should happen to Michael Cuddyer …
Of course, Neyer would be the only person to openly criticize the Twins for not carrying four starting-caliber outfielders at once. Unless he thinks 4th outfielders are irreplaceable, for some reason.
Hardy is a huge addition for the Twins, who entered the offseason needing upgrades at shorstop, third base, and second base. Due to an August demotion by the Brewers, Hardy is under team control for 2010 and 2011 (Hardy says there are “no hard feelings.”) He slumped offensively this year, but maintained his strong defense.
In isolation swapping Hardy for Gomez is a quality move for the Twins, but the trade is not without risk given Hardy’s problems this season and comes with some potentially negative ramifications. If it turns out that Span simply isn’t a very good center fielder or Young fails to step forward offensively the Twins will have downgraded the outfield and upgraded the infield using $5 million of precious payroll room. Still, the front office deserves credit for getting good value for Gomez and I’m cautiously optimistic.
I believe Gleeman was “cautiously optimistic” that the Twins were going to the playoffs after winning Game 163.
Erin at Plunking Gomez, whose blog’s name either needs to change now, or can become increasingly delightful as the months progress:
This also means that the Twins won’t be bringing Orlando Cabrera back. Not gonna lie: that makes me a little sad. I liked O-Cab, even though he couldn’t really field the position anymore, and he didn’t get on base very much, either. I would much rather have Hardy at short, since he’s younger and cheaper and better in almost every way, but I feel a little bad that O-Cab (and his family!) will have to find his fifth new home in three seasons. Gosh, what a sucky day for Alexi Casilla, too. His best friend gets traded and now his mentor probably won’t be back, either.
Nick Nelson, whose blog was recently added to Neyer’s Sweetspot network:
My initial reaction is that I’m very sorry to see Gomez go, as he was a personal favorite, and I’m very concerned about the team’s outfield defense over the next few seasons. But perhaps the writing was on the wall during a month of September in which the Twins were making a fierce charge and Gomez was seeing virtually no playing time.
The last couple show that there’s really more to this trade than the numbers. None of us here are actually running this team; the wins feel good and we all want to contend, but our true investment is in the players. Gomez was well-liked all across Twins Territory, despite not actually being a very good baseball player.
There are still plenty of players Twins fans are invested in, and I’ve never heard anything bad said about Hardy, and there’s still a pipeline of young talent coming up. So there’s nothing, really, to worry about from that perspective.
But I have this feeling that a whole lot of Twins fans will be watching what Gomez does for the Brewers, and hoping he does well. I’m pretty sure I’ll be one of them.2 comments