Faceoff: Was adding 'dirty' Cooke worth it for Wild?
PHERSY:Feldy, once again, even though it's supposed to be a down time in the sports world, the local teams are keeping us busy. Let's start at the top — the Wild signed a guy many consider to be the dirtiest player in the NHL, Matt Cooke. Wild fans quickly voiced their displeasure with the move. It's cooled down a bit, and Cooke says he's changed his game. But Feldy, do you buy it? He crosses the line from gritty to dirty far too often in my mind. And his mouth doesn't stop while he's on the ice, though he rarely actually drops the gloves. The Wild believe they got tougher with the move. But, was it worth it? And how long before Cooke's next suspension?
FELDY:Of all the gambles Chuck Fletcher has taken in his short time as GM, this may be the biggest. Fan backlash will be immense and intense if Cooke doesn't produce or if he plays a dirty style. The positive side of the signing: Cooke hasn't taken a major penalty or suspension for more than two seasons. He's a very good penalty killer and he can fill Cal Clutterbuck's role while producing a little more offense. ... We touched on this a bit last week, Phersy, but how big of an impact will Kevin Martin have with the Timberwolves?
PHERSY:The Wolves are gambling on him, but it's a smart bet. Martin wasn't good with Oklahoma City, but he can score at an elite level when he's asked to do so. The Wolves believe he'll return to form in Minnesota, and the system here should fit his style of play well. They need a scorer like him to step up right away and produce. Now, the defense part is a little more suspect, though I wouldn't say it's a weakness. But this team needs guys who can defend, so hopefully he'll step up at the other end, too. ... Feldy, your favorite baseball team is limping into the All-Star break. It's almost trade deadline time, and I assume the Twins will be sellers. Feldy, who from the current roster won't be with the Twins at the end of the summer?
FELDY:A better question might be: Who on this Twins roster would other teams even want? Josh Willingham's injury means the Twins likely won't get fair value if they trade him now, and the team rarely trades a player of his ability with more than a year left on his contract. That makes Justin Morneau the obvious candidate. He's in the final year of his deal, he's starting to hit for power again and the Twins clearly are in need of more prospects who are close to major league-ready.
PHERSY:Yes, I assume Morneau is gone. And if it loads up the farm system, it's a wise move. This team isn't going to contend this season, and even next season, they'll probably still be building. Feldy, two final questions: Will the Twins deal any of their pitchers? And, how much does it pain you to see guys like Michael Cuddyer and Carlos Gomez doing well?
FELDY:The Twins can't afford to deal any pitchers, unless they're getting multiple young arms back in return. And, yes, it's painful to see all these ex-Twins make the All-Star Game. If the club had truly increased its payroll, like it promised when Target Field was built, the salaries of Torii Hunter, Cuddyer, JJ Hardy and others wouldn't be an issue. And this team would be in contention for a division title instead of simply playing out a meaningless second half of the season — again.