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Santana: To stay or to go? ... and other Twins fodder

FELDY: Twins fans who have been saying the team should trade Johan Santana away should bite their toungues and think clearly. If you think the team should deal away a two-time Cy Young winner, a guy who is willing to anchor this team's rotation for the next 6-8 years, a guy who is as masterful a pitcher as the Twins franchise has ever had ... well, you're probably the same people who so badly wanted Randy Moss gone but now say the Vikings should never have traded him.

The sad thing for Twins fans right now is that Santana says he's willing to waive his no-trade clause if the right deal comes along. Sure, it doesn't make much business sense or baseball sense to spend 20 percent or more of your payroll on one player. It also doesn't make sense to let the best pitcher ever to wear a Twins uniform get away in the prime of his career.

* * *

Here's some thoughts on the Twins, their season and the direction the club is taking from George Rownd, one of the "Faceoff Faithful" (Phersy and I refuse to call you "Faceoff Nation," even though there are more of you than "Gopher Nation"):

Better today than yesterday?

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>

> As the season grinds to a close, I have a revelation:  The 

> Minnesota Twins of 2007 are a better team than the World Series 

> champions of 1987.

>

> How in the world can a person make that claim?  Let us count the ways…

>

> 1.  Better starting pitching.  Despite the folly of Sidney Ponson 

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> and Ramon Ortiz, the 2007 team has had better starters, led by 

> Johan Santana.  The 2007 starters ERA:  4.29.  In 1987, Frank Viola 

> and Bert Blyleven were outstanding, but the other starters included 

> Les Straker, Mike Smithson (5.94 ERA), Joe Niekro (6.26) and Steve 

> Carlton (10 years too late – 6.70).  ERA of the 1987 starters:  4.51.

>

> 2.  Better relief pitching.  Joe Nathan, 36 saves 1.91 ERA.  Jeff 

> Reardon, 32 saves, 4.48 ERA.  It’s true that Reardon’s numbers were 

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> inflated by a couple of early season fiascos, but he was not nearly 

> as automatic as Nathan.  Juan Berenguer was the only other reliable 

> reliever in 1987 (remember George Frazier and Dan Schatzeder?), but 

> he was not as good as Pat Neshek or Matt Guerrier.

>

> 3.  Better catching.  Who do you want, Joe Mauer or Tim Laudner?   

> Laudner hit .191 in 1987, and defensively, well, he was about the 

> nicest fella you’d ever want to meet.  The backups were Sal Butera 

> (.171) and Tom Nieto (.200) – these guys couldn’t hit their plate 

> with a fork.

>

> 4.  Better Defense.  In 1987, the Twins had two Gold Glovers:   

> Kirby Puckett and Gary Gaetti.  In 2007, they should have three:   

> Torii Hunter, Joe Mauer, and Justin Morneau (no kidding).  As awful 

> an offensive player as Nick Punto is, he is excellent in the field, 

> and Steve Lombardozzi was no better in 1987 than the guys playing 

> at 2B this season.  In the outfield, Puckett and Hunter are the 

> same player defensively, as are Michael Cuddyer and Tom Brunansky, 

> with Cuddyer having an even better arm.  Dan Gladden rates better 

> in LF than anyone the Twins have thrown out there in ’07.

>

> 5.  Offense (?).  The ’87 Twins hit 196 home runs, the ’07 Twins 

> only 115 (with 3 games to go).  This is a tremendous advantage for 

> the 1987 team.  The Champs were better at 3B (Gaetti) and DH (Roy 

> Smalley and Gene Larkin).  The ’07 outfit is better at catcher, 1B 

> (sorry Hrbek fans), 2B (Castillo et.al.), and LF.  LF, you ask?   

> Jason Kubel is hitting .268 with 13 homers and 65 RBI.  Dan Gladden 

> in ’87 hit .249 with 8 homers and 38 RBI.  He scored only 69 runs 

> hitting leadoff all year.

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