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Don't deal the farm for Boone

So the Twins are in hot pursuit of Bret Boone. This would have been a great move two years ago. Picking up Boone now would be nothing more than a decent move.

Boone plays a position (second base) that the Twins could use help at during the second half of the season. He is a veteran who could help the team make a playoff push during the final couple months of play.

Despite the Twins' success in recent years, they have a lot of young players. Some of those players have yet to deal with the pressure of a playoff run. And at this stage in his career, Boone's biggest influence may be in the clubhouse.

Boone is an aging star who is past his prime. At 36 years old, he is at twilight of a distinguished career.

Deal modestly

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The Twins need to keep this in mind as the vie for the middle infielder. If the Twins are thinking of trading for Boone, they should be offering nothing more than a minor league prospect. It would be foolish for the Twins to deplete the depth of their current major league roster to acquire Boone.

The Twins should not depart with a player such as Michael Cuddyer to fetch Boone. Cuddyer will be of more value to the Twins three years from now than Boone will be. When Cuddyer comes back from the disabled list, he might have just as much value as Boone this season.

Two years ago Boone had an outstanding season, batting .294 with 35 home runs and 117 runs batted in. He tailed off last year to .251, 24 homers and 83 RBIs. This year, at the halfway mark, he was batting a meager .231 with seven homers and 34 RBIs.

Boone's slugging percentage and on-base percentage have also fallen off dramatically since the 2003 season. Age and perhaps even baseball's new drug-testing policy seem to have caught up with him.

Cuddyer has been much maligned this season, but he has a higher batting average and on-base percentage than Boone in 2005, has scored more runs and has virtually the same slugging percentage (.385 to .384).

Twins need a jolt

This is not to say Boone couldn't help the Twins. They have already used five second basemen this season. Nick Punto and Luis Rivas can be offensive sparkplugs on occasion, but they certainly don't have the same pop in their bat as Boone.

As long as the Twins don't part with top prospect, acquiring Boone probably holds little risk. Let's face it, the Twins are unlikely to catch the White Sox for the division lead and have to hope they can make a run at the wild card spot.

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The Twins are also in need of someone, anyone, to jump-start the offense. A jolt to the clubhouse is just what the franchise needs heading into the second half of the season. That jolt could come from Boone. If it's not him, another player with power should be considered.

Money is always a factor when the Twins are looking to deal, so Seattle would probably have to pay some of Boone's salary if he is dealt to Minnesota.

The Mariners are apparently looking for either an outfielder or a pitcher in return for Boone. I wonder how badly the Twins would like to have outfielder Michael Restovich stashed away in the minor leagues right now, ready to deal for an everyday player?

Guy N. Limbeck is a Post-Bulletin sports writer. He can be reached at glimbeck@postbulletin.com

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