Twins see positives in Deadline doings
Players diagnose Friday's events, Cabrera acquisition
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins players had grown accustomed to seeing the non-waiver Trade Deadline come and go without the club making any significant acquisitions.
It's why last week some of the leaders in Minnesota's clubhouse -- Justin Morneau, Joe Mauer and Joe Nathan -- spoke publicly about their desire for the front office to make a move and provide them with a boost for their playoff chances.The Twins did make a move before Friday's deadline, acquiring veteran shortstop Orlando Cabrera from the A's in exchange for shortstop prospect Tyler Ladendorf. But while the Twins players had plenty of praise for their new teammate and what he might bring to the club, they also were tempered in their reaction to the deal -- saying that they'd wait to see if the one move was enough. "It seems like they were working hard upstairs," Nathan said. "We'll see in October if it works out for us." Perhaps one reason for the measured response by the Twins players was that on a day filled with moves prior to the 3 p.m. CT deadline, the Twins' acquisition of Cabrera was overshadowed by moves from other clubs they are currently battling in a tight AL Central race. The Tigers, who currently sit in first place in the division, acquired starter Jarrod Washburn from the Mariners for rookie pitcher Luke French and pitching prospect Mauricio Robles. And in a move that was completed just seconds before the deadline, the White Sox traded for Padres ace Jake Peavy -- who while currently on the disabled list is expected to be back in September. "Other teams made moves to make themselves better," Morneau said. "They added experience. ... All we can do is worry about us playing well and making sure our pitchers are healthy. If we figure out a way to take care of ourselves, we should be in it right to the end." The Twins entered Friday's deadline with hopes of upgrading the middle infield and adding a pitcher. One of those needs was addressed with the addition of Cabrera. But the club was unable to add another arm to a pitching staff that's seen its depth grow thinner due to some recent injuries. Minnesota recently lost 10-game winner Kevin Slowey for the season due to a right wrist surgery, leaving rookie Anthony Swarzak permanently in the rotation. Francisco Liriano, who has been a disappointment so far this year, missed his last start due to inflammation in his left forearm which led to Brian Duensing getting a spot start out of the bullpen. So will adding Cabrera be enough of a move to help the team? "It is tough, losing Slowey for the year kind of added another hole," Morneau said. "In the end, it usually comes down to pitching and defense. Our lineup is definitely capable of producing enough runs to win ballgames. If those guys keep throwing the ball the way they have been, then we've got a chance." With Mauer set to be a free agent after the 2010 season, Nathan and Morneau expressed last week that the front office needed to show the St. Paul native that it's serious about winning now. Did this move accomplish that? "Bringing in a guy like that, you wouldn't bring him in here just to finish the season," Mauer said of Cabrera. "Nothing's really changed here. We're still trying to win, and I think that he can help us do that." Entering the night two games back of Detroit in the division race, the Twins are hoping for a strong push in the pennant chase over the final two months. And the players are optimistic that Cabrera, who has been in the playoffs four out of the past five seasons, can have an impact on making that possible. "It seems like he'd be a pretty good fit for us to slide into the No. 2 hole," Nathan said of Cabrera. "He's been an RBI guy. He's been a guy that can play small ball. He plays pretty good defense. I think he'll make our lineup a lot deeper." Much was made of the recent comments by the Twins' three All-Stars. But when asked on Friday if he felt the players had an impact on a trade getting done, Nathan said he hoped that was not the case. "We don't want the reason for them to do this based on what was said in the papers and stuff like that," Nathan said. "As far as what came out, we as players were hoping that the future is now and we'd like to win now. We hope everyone in this organization is on the same page and trying to achieve the same goal." As for Twins general manager Bill Smith, he said that he was not upset by the comments made by his players. "I appreciate that," Smith said. "We've never tried to muzzle our players. This is a great country and they are allowed to provide, or to make any comments that they want. I have the greatest respect in the world for Justin Morneau, Joe Nathan, and Joe Mauer and Michael Cuddyer and Mike Redmond and the rest of the guys in there. I can't do anything about [their comments]. But I don't think it has as big of an impact as you may think."
Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.