The Minnesota Twins have entered spring training and their first team workouts have gone as expected with little or no information or conclusions to be drawn from them. One of the interesting issues all off-season and spring training was what the Twins would do with Josh Willingham and Justin Morneau. Many people believe that if Morneau were to be traded, Chris Parmelee would be the logical candidate to replace him at first; but then who moves to right field or designated hitter? It just so happens that a young player with tremendous upside—the type of player the Twins must covet—who could play a corner outfield spot, first base or designated hitter is available and could be had at a reasonable price. That player is Mike Carp of the Seattle Mariners.
I have been in the camp all along that believes the player the Twins need to move is Willingham, sooner rather than later. It isn’t because I believe Willingham isn’t a good player because I believe he is a phenomenal right-handed bat in the Twins’ lineup; but for a team rebuilding, the Twins must acquire as much young talent as possible while not blocking the development of younger players in need of playing time at the big leagues with veterans. This also requires the Twins to take chances at young talent with upside who may have fallen out of grace with their past organization.
In reality, this is the perfect time for the Twins to give these type of players a chance because they likely would not do any worse compared to the alternative the Twins will be trotting out this season. Willingham’s value also will not be any higher than it is right now, which is why I believe the Twins should trade Willingham at some point this season. With the assumption that Willingham will be gone and the fact that Morneau has stated publicly he is going to test the free agent market after the season, it is my understanding that the Twins will be in need of a first basemen, designated hitter and corner outfielder. The Twins have plenty of outfield options ranging from Oswaldo Arcia to Byron Buxton for the future, but designated and first base will remain limited with Parmelee only able to fill one of those positions. Luckily for the Twins, Carp would be the solution at a corner outfield, designated hitter or first base because he can play all three and hit for power and average.
Carp was designated for assignment by the Mariners on Feb. 12 and now the team has 10 days to decide whether or not to trade Carp, release him, or outright him to AAA; just a word to the wise, Carp won’t make it through waivers. This is why the Twins must approach the Mariners with a trade proposal. With the Mariners relatively deep in their pitching rotation, it would seem unlikely that the Twins would offer one of their young—but unimpressive—pitching prospects such as Cole DeVries or Samuel Deduno; I do believe the Mariners would be interested in acquiring bullpen help and infield depth in exchange for Carp. It is for that reason that I’d say the Twins should offer a package of Alex Burnett/Anthony Slama and/or Eduardo Escobar for Carp. I believe this would be a competitive offer and it would rid the Twins of Burnett—who I believe is in need of a change of scenery—while landing them a potential middle-of-the-order hitter. Carp over his limited four year career has hit .255 with 18 HR and 71 RBI in 173 career games. Carp’s season in 2012 was derailed by injury; but when given the chance to play consistently, Carp has delivered.
I believe that—placed in the right situation like Minnesota—Carp will develop into a solid big league hitter. The Twins have the resources to give Carp a chance to excel as an everyday player and must maximize that opportunity while younger players develop. Marketing wise it also would be a hit for the Twins. Just think: in the land of 10,000 lakes, why wouldn’t a Carp be a perfect fit?