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Opinion

Christmas here early for fan

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December 6, 2007

This has to be my favorite time of the year. HOLIDAY time in the form of the major league baseball off-season.

For some fans such as the Yankees, Red Sox, Cubs, and Tigers, it’s a very happy time for them as they splurge tons of money into single players. Then, there’s the rest of major league baseball, which is where fans of the Minnesota Twins stand.   

Every year it’s like going to open our presents and the same response comes out.

“Oh gee, is it a Frank Thomas? I’ve always wanted a power hitting designated hitter! Maybe it’s a Mike Piazza! Oh come on, come on! It’s a … Rondell White …” The Twins have not splurged much cash over the off-season the past couple of years. Some of it has had to do with Carl “Scrooge McDuck’s long lost cousin” Pohlad. Pohlad is a tightwad owner who probably thought the free agent centerfielder that just left the team was Kirby Puckett, not Torii Hunter. The other part may have been the former   General Manager Terry Ryan. Ryan was always too afraid to deal his 9,000 pitching prospects for a bat during his tenure. However, things may have changed since Bill Smith (AKA B.S.) came to town.

B.S. first got his name after repeated answers of “No comment.” He had been referred to as “Mr. No” in some other newspapers. Then came the Twins first move of the off-season. Trading a player to be named later for Craig Monroe. Monroe is a solid player but casts resemblance to White. White was a career .300 hitter who hit somewhere in the .800 range against the Twins.  Monroe is a .260 hitter with a whopping average over one (look it up, folks.) The Twins disappointed some of their fans with this move and may have elated some of the others. That would be the same group that loved the Rondell White signing.

Suddenly, the Twins actually made a move that fans could get excited about. The wrapping came off and there it was. The Twins traded a top-pitching prospect for a top hitting prospect to jump-start their stagnant offense. Pitcher Matt Garza was traded to Tampa Bay for outfielder Delmon Young.  Young does bring some baggage with him, but he also brings a bat. A bat that he once chucked at a minor league umpire, but that’s a minor thing … maybe.    Young had over 90 runs batted in playing for Tampa Bay. The Twins could throw him between Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer (assuming he doesn’t tweak his hamstring in spring training and miss the entire season) and have one of the best lineups in baseball in a couple of years.

Some may say that they’re ticked about Smith’s reluctance to pay Johan Santana, but this may be the way to go to help this team. In 1989, the Twins traded Frank Viola, who eerily has the same stats as Johan Santana (both won Cy Youngs, and both could be traded when they are 29). Viola was traded for five guys, two of which made the Twins. Those two were Kevin Tapani and Rick Agullira and the Twins won the World Series in 1991. The Twins are looking to ship Santana now, and the offers seem laughable. Nobody wants to trade talent to get talent so there has been a huge delay. Fans may be angered by this situation, but it may be the only way to improve this team in the long run and make it competitive before the new ballpark opens in 2010.

The Twins look like they are becoming more aggressive. These moves could help the Twins in the long run, even if it means angering their fans now.

Chris Schad is a student at UW-River Falls.