Thursday, May 07, 2009

He sucks. We must have him.

Dave Cameron spent yesterday afternoon highlighting Alexi Casilla's suckitude at writing "Casilla has driven Minnesota's management nuts with his sloppy plays, his lack of fundamentals, and his general underachievement" and adding "his OPS by month has declined every single month since last May, where he went from great to good to okay to really bad to miserable to holy crap we've seen enough."  In other words, garbage.   

He finishes by insinuating that Casilla's time in Minnesota is probably over and that the second baseman could stand to have a change of scenery.  Understandable, considering Casilla's mental lapses may have reached the room of Gardenhire's dog house that was previously reserved for the likes of Kyle Lohse and JC Romero - a pair that found a one-way ticket out of the Humphrey Terminal at the earliest convenience.  If the Twins are currently convincing themselves that Casilla is not a long-term answer at second - be it because of talent or attitude or irreconcilable managerial differences - then if they can get something useful in return, I'm game.  But who would want to acquire a player like Casilla with his offensive statistics in a complete freefall and has more cringe-worthy mental lapses than Miss South Carolina?  According to Cameron at his mothership website, Seattle does!  Cameron urges the Mariners' general manager to contact Bill Smith to inquiry what it would take to land Casilla. 

In Cameron's vision, the Mariners offer their starting shortstop, Yuniesky Betancourt, who is in jeopardy of losing his starting job to Ronny Cedeno for Casilla.  "Yuniesky", of course, is Spanish for "Swing".  The Mariners' have gone weary of Betancourt's overzealous approach to the plate, averaging just 3.1 balls per plate appearance (If you thought Delmon Young chased bad pitches, Betancourt has swung at 44 percent of all balls thrown outside the zone).  So far in 105 plate appearances in 2009 Betancourt has drawn just one walk.  For better or worse, the Twins place less emphasis on drawing walks system-wide so this information might not be a deterrent, but it should. 
True, Betancourt displays some of the characteristics that the Twins crave (not striking out, tons of contact, speed) and Cameron adds "[t]he things that he fails at - drawing walks, working counts, living up to his defensive reputation - are the things that the Twins value less than anyone else in baseball. Betancourt and the Twins are a match made in heaven. He’s their kind of player. No other organization in the game will see as much value in Yuni as the Twins."  But do the Twins really need help at short defensively?  By most metrics, Nick Punto is far superior of a gloveman than Betancourt.  According to the UZR/150, Betancourt is a -27.5, third worst in the game, while Punto is 11, the fifth best in the game. 
The proposal gets worse as Cameron suggest that the Twins add reliever Jose Mijares to even the deal.  Yes, ADD.  If trading one young, expensive out-machine for a young, inexpensive out-machine isn't objectionable enough, Cameron recommends that Smith toss in Mijares, arguably the best relief option in the 'pen, to "even the deal".  Outside of swimming in a sea of swine flu-infected medical waste, there is nothing less appealing than adding Yuniesky Betancourt at the expense of Casilla and (especially) Mijares. 
Cameron's thesis is sound - Casilla should be traded if he is indeed destined for Gardenhire's version of playing time purgatory - however what the Twins do not need more of is free-swingers in the lineup.