Trade for a hitter is still possible
By La Velle E. Neal III, Star Tribune
With just over a week to go before the July 31 deadline for trades without waivers, the chatter about available hitters is increasing. And scouts from the Mets and Giants were on hand Saturday at the Twins-Angels game.
There are indications that the Twins might have interest in Washington's Dmitri Young, who entered Saturday second in the National League batting race.
A history lesson is required here. The Twins were interested last year in the Nationals' Alfonso Soriano, but Washington GM Jim Bowden wanted Matt Garza and two additional top pitching prospects in return. The Twins were able to modify the deal, but the Nationals surprisingly never traded Soriano, and he joined the Cubs as a free agent this year.
Young, batting .340, would more than fill the Twins' need for a quality hitter.
Tampa Bay infielder Ty Wigginton, who also would be a good fit for the Twins, is now being pursued by the Mets and Yankees, with reports out of New York indicating that the Yankees would give up reliever Scott Proctor to get him.
It's not out of the question that the Twins would try to get a veteran hitter such as Cincinnati's Jeff Conine. The club has tried to sign Conine as a free agent in the past. And the Reds and Twins have made two deals since former Twins assistant GM Wayne Krivsky left to become Cincinnati's general manager.
Twins GM Terry Ryan will remain in the Twin Cities and man the phones before the trade deadline while the club travels to Toronto for a three-game series that begins on Monday.
And from a column in the same publication by Joe Christensen:
Twins scout Larry Corrigan was spotted at the Reds/Marlins game on Thursday. Corrigan is responsible for all of the team’s National League coverage, but at this time of year, it would make sense that he’d be watching potential trade targets.
Full disclosure: Conine is a personal favorite. I covered him with the Orioles in 2002 and 2003, but he’s also a favorite of former Florida Marlins’ teammates Mike Redmond and Luis Castillo. The Twins have had interest in signing Conine in recent offseasons.
Name: Jeff Conine, Reds 1B/OF
Basics: He turned 41 on June 26. Bats R, Throws R. 6-1, 225 lbs. Born in Tacoma, Wash. Played for UCLA and signed with the Royals as a 58th-round pick in 1987.
Stats: Batting .262 with 5 home runs and 26 RBI. A .323 on-base percentage and a .411 slugging percentage. He batted .280 after getting moved from the Orioles to the Phillies last August.
Salary: $2 million. He’ll be a free agent at season’s end. Because only 41 percent of the season remains, a team acquiring Piazza today would owe him $815,000.
Good Twin because: He’s a professional righthanded hitter and he can move around the diamond. The Reds haven’t used him in the outfield because their outfield is stacked. But last year, he played 56 games in left field for the Orioles. Then, after getting moved to Philadelphia, he played 25 games in right field and 12 in left. Conine helped the Marlins win a World Series in 1997. In 2003, Conine was playing for the Orioles, but Florida traded for him again, and he helped them win another World Series.
Available?: Yes. The Reds are 41-56, and while there has been much speculation that they’d move Adam Dunn or Ken Griffey Jr., it’s more likely that they’d move Conine or Kyle Lohse. Yeah, the guess here is the Twins would pass on Lohse.
Probable cost: The Twins could probably get him for an A-ball prospect.
Potential Batgirl nickname (*You know, if she still ran the greatest blog ever): Everyone calls him Niner. But Batgirl could work her magic in the nickname department, possibly playing off the fact Conine is a world-class racquetball player.
Odds this trade happens: 8-to-1. Remember, since Wayne Krivsky left to become the Reds’ GM, Terry Ryan has made three major league trades (four if you count Darnell McDonald) and two have been with Krivsky.