Here is my interview, as it appears at http://www.sethspeaks.net:
Six Questions with Brandon Warne
We are back with another Twins bloggers who has taken time to answer some questions for us. Brandon Warne writes about the Twins for the Hardball Review. In the past, I have received several e-mails from Brandon and he has occasionally participated in the Comments section. Again, I originally sent these questions before the Twins/Rays trade, so I added a question at the end regarding that trade. Of course, I sent that too early as the trade wasn’t finalized yet, so his response still counts Juan Rincon into the deal. But still, Brandon did a nice job with these questions and you should check out his site.
SethSpeaks: You’re the GM, what do you do about Johan Santana? To trade, or not to trade? If your answer is “To Trade”, what would it require in return to make it happen?
Brandon Warne: Honestly, I extend him. 7 years, 126 million dollars. This team is a reasonably productive (to throw out a number, roughly .750 OPS in each spot would do) 3B, DH, and CF away from being very, very relevant in the AL Central. Even filling those holes with modest additions like Mike Lamb at 3B, Rocco Baldelli at DH or CF, and maybe someone like Cliff Floyd, Luis Gonzalez, or perhaps my favorite choice of all, Milton Bradley (who was an absolute stud offensively last year) for the CF/DH spot that Baldelli wouldn’t fill would make us relevant. These are all guys that can produce .750 or better OPS numbers, a far cry (as far as DH and 3B go) from the .562 put up by Punto (off the top of my head so don’t quote me) and whatever we got out of Tyner, Redmond, Cirillo and co. at DH last year. You simply can’t go shopping to directly replace Torii Hunter. You can’t afford to, and you don’t need to (although if you look at Bradley’s stats, it’s a reasonable scenario that he could easily replicate at least Torii’s career OPS of .793). Not only that, but the mentality that you should shop for HR and RBI is silly. HR and RBI don’t translate from park to park, from league to league, and besides that, they’re overpriced on the market. There are plenty of bargains to be had on the market each year, we just need to find ourselves a Dmitri Young, Matt Stairs, etc. type of player.
If, however, I do trade Santana, the package that entices me most is to the Dodgers for Kemp, Kershaw, and LaRoche. Kemp and LaRoche can step in immediately and provide productive service at their respective spots (CF and 3B respectively) cheaply, and Kershaw is probably the best pitching prospect of those that haven’t seen ML time. That’s a fantastic trade for us, and might still allow us to contend because we’d simply need a bat for the DH slot (for which I’d still LOVE to see Milton Bradley play as he recuperates from his ACL injury).
SethSpeaks: The Twins have been hesitant in the past to trade young pitchers. It sounds like that theory may be somewhat altered this offseason. Are there any of the Twins young pitchers that you would call untouchable?
Brandon Warne: Liriano is the lone one that I wouldn’t trade for anyone, and I probably would object very strongly to dealing anyone named Garza, Slowey, Perkins, Baker, Manship, or Swarzak. So I would troll the market with Bonser, Blackburn, and Duensing, most likely. If any of them could fetch Baldelli or better, and I think Bonser should be able to since he’s probably worth more than that to us, then I do it. Blackburn looks nice, as does Duensing, but in all reality they’re probably 8-10th on our totem pole as far as starting pitchers to go to. If Garza can net B.J. Upton or someone like that, I’d have a hard time saying no. Anything of value for Garrett Atkins is a big NO for me.
SethSpeaks: As of today, where would you rank the Twins in the AL Central?
Brandon Warne: 3rd. Better than the White Sox, behind the Indians and Tigers. The Royals are making strides, too.
SethSpeaks: What would you consider the top three things that the Twins need to do this offseason?
Brandon Warne: Settle the Santana situation. Find starting CF/DH/3B. Long term extensions for Kubel/Cuddyer/Morneau.
SethSpeaks: On a scale of 1 to 10, how confident are you that Bill Smith will be able to do the things that the Twins need to compete?
Brandon Warne: So far he’s talked a pretty big game, but until we see some results I’m going to go with a cautiously optimistic 7.
SethSpeaks: Tell us a little about what you do on your blog, where we can find it and what you write about during the offseason?
Brandon Warne: I write at www.hardballreview.wordpress.com. We are a Twins/Mariners blog, and I’m the lone Twins staff writer. The main guy is a dude that went to the same schools (AFLBS in Plymouth, Northwestern College in Roseville) I did, but a little earlier. One day he was trolling around campus and happened into my room, saw the Baseball Prospectus’ on the shelves, and I don’t think we’ve stopped talking baseball since. He called me “the best Minnesota Twins baseball mind he’d ever met”. Yes, of course, he never met Gleeman or Stohs, but it’s still a nice consolation prize. I write about potential moves, and their ramifications. Also, lately I’ve done an offseason preview, an update (Monroe trade/interest in Tony Clark update), and I’m working on a “Johan Santana/2B options” post that should be up in the next couple days.
If you’d like to contact me, hit me up at email@example.com or brandonwarne52 on AIM if you’d like. I’m always up for a Twins game (if you buy me a beer I’ll pay for parking) or to chat baseball, or whatever you got.
Take care and God Bless
SethSpeaks: What are your thoughts on the Twins and Rays trade (Matt Garza, Jason Bartlett and Juan Rincon for Delmon Young, Brendan Harris and Jason Pridie)?
Brandon Warne: Well, the deal isn’t final yet, but I absolutely love it. This is a write off of Rincon’s salary, and Harris is a superior offensive player to Bartlett, so it comes down to Pridie and Young for Garza, and I’ll make that deal any day of the week. I would be absolutely thrilled if this spurs a Santana extension, but I’m still not opposed to loading up on prospects for Nathan and Santana and letting the kids play.
Either way, it’s a step in the right direction.
Thank you to Brandon Warne and to all the readers for stopping by this site. If you have any questions, comments or ideas for future postings, please e-mail me.