July 17, 2003


BYE BYE, BOBBY: In what may turn out to be the most unpopular Minnesota Twins trade since their 1988 exchange of Tom Brunansky for Tommy Herr, the reeling Twins (losers of eight straight) on Wednesday dealt rightfielder and fan favorite Bobby Kielty to Toronto for Shannon Stewart. In the deal the Twins also acquired a Player To Be Named Later; unless the Jays pulled some kind of waiver blunder and the PTBNL ends up being Carlos Delgado, it's looking like the Twinkies got hosed on this one.
The rationale for the trade is that Stewart is a veteran, can run better than Kielty, and is able to bat leadoff in lieu of Jacque Jones. But as Rob Neyer and others have been saying, the Twins have a surplus of outfield offense, and a deficit of both quality starting pitching and middle infield offense- so why trade an outfielder for an outfielder?
Even moreso, the high-on-base-percentage, high OPS, low-salaried Kielty was a favorite of the more sabermetrically-inclined among Twins fans, most notably Aaron Gleeman and John Bonnes, who I half-expected to react by ceremonially returning their season tickets, in the tradition of Bob Swerski's Superfans after Da Bears fired Ditka. I was also afraid that upon news of yesterday's trade Gleeman would either shoot himself or get really drunk prior to posting, but thankfully he made it through the day and put up a reasoned, nuanced reaction.
The trade illustrates the unfortunate fact that while Toronto has adopted a sabermetric-centric organizational philosophy (and thus were sure to seek out a player such as Kielty) while the Twins have not. Therefore, Aaron Gleeman will now have to go through life as a Twins fan without enjoying the talents of his favorite player not named "Johan." Until the inevitable day when fires Terry Ryan and replaces him with Aaron, that is…
And speaking of names, as Jeremy points out, 2/3rds of the Twins' new starting outfield (Torii Hunter and Shannon Stewart) are men with girls' names; the third is Jacque (pronounced "Jock") Jones. Should the Twins try Jones in center, he'd be a Jock flanked by two girls; rumors that the Twins will now attempt to trade for Sandy Alomar, and/or lure ex-Boston hurler and Minnesota native Dana Kiecker out of retirement, remain unfounded.

Posted by Stephen Silver at July 17, 2003 10:15 AM
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