Monday, September 3, 2012

One idea for a first base trade

Chris Parmelee had a big series this weekend in Kansas City,
with two home runs.
Following up on my Monday print column on the Twins' looming offseason decision about first base ...

Here's the core for a potential trade: Chris Parmelee to Tampa Bay for James Shields.

Allow me to interject here that this is solely me thinking aloud. This is not based on any sort of inside information, or even on a trade rumor. It's not necessarily something either team is thinking about -- but as I see it, it's something both teams ought to be considering.

James Shields is 12-8, 3.91 for
Tampa Bay this season
Shields, 30, is a good starting pitcher -- not the kind of guy who's on the short list for Cy Young Awards, but better than anybody the Twins now have.

Shields has won between 11 and 16 games in each of the past six seasons (including this one) while piling up innings (200-plus each season 2007-2011, with 182 so far this year) and racking up above-average strikeout rates.

But the Rays are so awash in young pitching talent that Shields may be no better than their fourth best starter (certainly behind David Price, maybe behind Matt Moore and Jeremy Hellickson). Plus they have Jeff Niemann, Wade Davis, and rookie Alex Cobb.

Shields is also getting more expensive than Tampa Bay is likely to retain; his contract has club options for 2013 ($9 million with a $1.5 million buyout) and 2014 ($12 million with a $1 million buyout). They're likely to try to move him this winter.

And first base has been a black hole for the Rays this season as they chase the Yankees. Carlos Pena is hitting .188/.318/.338, which wouldn't get the job done for a Gold Glove shortstop.

Parmelee would fit their mode: Young, cheap, with some positional flexibility -- and he sure looks like he can hit.

With Carl Pavano ($8.5 million), Scott Baker ($6.5 million), Jason Marquis ($3 million) and Francisco Liriano ($5.5 million) all coming off the books, the Twins could certainly absorb Shields' option for 2013, probably for 2014. And he would definitely make the Twins rotation better.

To do such a trade, of course, the Twins would probably want to secure Justin Morneau beyond 2013. If they mistrust his ability to remain healthy and productive, they probably won't want to trade Parmelee.

There may be other reasons either team would shy away from such a deal, but I don't know what they would be. Both teams would be trading from a surplus and filling a need.

1 comment:

  1. Shields looks to me like a good trade target, Ed. I'm not personally comfortable with Morneau's chances of staying off the DL. It's been good to see him improve and feel better this season, but it just seems to me he's just one good bump away from another concussion. I like what I've seen of Parmelee, though he's been nearly invisible at first. I don't know how good he is there. But he sure showed a cannon from right field a game or two ago, a nearly perfect throw to the plate. Yes, the Twins should be looking to get Shields. I'm sure they are also aware they may need to fill that hole at first, but they also have some good players who may be worth something in a trade. They have to decide who they're willing to give up.