Saturday, January 16, 2010

Maybe It’s Just Me: The Bill Smith Inactivity Edition

Maybe it’s just me, but I might hate Bill Smith.

I’m not much for hating, but come on, it’s mid-January and all Smith has accomplished this offseason is trading for J.J. Hardy.

Now that move was—admittedly—an impressive exploit by Smith and I have no intention of downplaying the importance of Hardy’s acquisition.

Here’s the problem. That was in November.

That was before the Winter Meetings.

That was before popular targets such as Rich Harden, Placido Polanco, Adrian Beltre, Mark DeRosa, and Kevin Kouzmanoff all landed elsewhere.

There are still solid free agents available in the likes of Felipe Lopez, Orlando Hudson, and Miguel Tejada.

Bill Smith, however, seems more interested in signing the likes of Jarrod Washburn to “bolster” the rotation.

The way I see it, the rotation with Scott Baker, Nick Blackburn, Kevin Slowey, Carl Pavano, and some combination of Glen Perkins/Francisco Liriano/Brian Duensing/Anthony Swarzak is due for a pretty good year.

As such, why waste the money and starts on overrated, overpaid hurlers like Washburn?

The club needs another infielder and appears to be operating under the impression that Joe Crede is just waiting at home for a phone call from the club.

Rumor has it, he’s not. The club may be quickly working on losing its fallback plan.

Miguel Tejada—who would be an ideal number two hitter—is still on the market. Melvin Mora is out there and on a one-year deal, makes plenty of sense.

Second-sackers Orlando Hudson and Felipe Lopez are both still on the block and either one would be a dramatic improvement in the two-hole next season.

Yet, despite the names available, Bill Smith seems content to continue playing “the waiting game” to see if the prices plummet further.

It’s entirely possible that the prices will plummet further.

Last year, Orlando Hudson didn’t sign with the Dodgers until February 20 and even then he had to settle for an incentive-laden, one-year pact with a miniscule $3.38 million base salary.

Hudson went on to make the All-Star team, win a Gold Glove, and put up a batting line of .283/.357/.417.

Clearly there are gems to be found late in the offseason and clearly they can be found at an incredible discount.

I simply want to know why the Twins—a club that has seemingly been one or two parts away from becoming a legitimate World Series contender—wouldn’t be doing everything to ensure they land a Hudson or Tejada for the 2010 club.

Joe Mauer is supposedly sitting back and waiting to see the club take shape before he’ll begin discussing a contract extension.

If I’m Joe Mauer—and I’ve seen the Red Sox and Yankees re-load in an offseason where neither team needed to re-load—I’d be starting to think that the grass looks a whole lot greener on the other side.

But hey, maybe it’s just me…

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