A common sentiment among Twins fans regarding the wasteful Ramon Ortiz signing is that there aren't any good bargains to be had for as little as the $3.1 million the Twins gave a 34 year-old pitcher coming off a season in which he posted an ERA over 5.50 while pitching his home games at RFK.
ESPN radio is reporting that the Cubs have signed Cliff Floyd to a one-year, $3 million contract...
Right now the Twins are crossing their fingers that both Jason Kubel and Ron-DL White stay healthy and productive. If that fails, as it likely will, reserve outfielders Lew Ford and Jason Tyner should see far too many plate appearances. Both are solid defensively in left field, but adding Floyd on the cheap would have been a very smart move (this assumes the aging and oft-injured Floyd could somehow have been talked into playing his home games on turf).
Further adding to the frustration are the numerous in-house options the Twins have to fill out their starting rotation.
2007 Projections - EqERA*
Ramon Ortiz - 5.39
Scott Baker - 4.67
J.D. Durbin - 5.05
Glen Perkins - 5.02
Carlos Silva - 4.90
Kevin Slowey - 4.02
Matt Garza - 4.53
The Twins have at least six starters in their organization to compete for the three opening day rotation spots behind Santana and Bonser, all of whom can match what Ortiz brings to the table. A player like Floyd would be a great insurance policy, and if the Twins were to cobble together a trio of Kubel, White, and Floyd to handle left field and designated hitter, they could probably keep Ford and Tyner limited to spot duty.
2007 Projectins - EqA*
Cliff Floyd - .279
Rondell White - .247
Jason Kubel - .282
Lew Ford - .259
Jason Tyner - .245
So how does playing time now shake out in Chicago? DeRosa and Soriano can both play second base and the outfield, although it appears Soriano is headed for the latter. That means either the newly signed DeRosa will come off the bench, or Ryan Theriot will. Although no world beater, Theriot is a solid, cheap second baseman that should hit over .300 in 2007 if given the chance. Jacque Jones, Matt Murton, Floyd, and perhaps DeRosa will then jockey for playing time alongside Soriano in the Cubs outfield. Best guess is that Murton rides the pine. He's not much worse than Jacque Jones, and $5 million cheaper.
None of this has much impact on mixed leaguers, but the Floyd signing probably makes things tougher on Theriot, who could still be a nice bargain in NL-only leagues. The Ramon Ortiz signing means one of the Twins' solid young arms will start the season in minors. Even if he fails to make the big league club out of spring training, AL-only leaguers should keep tabs on Matt Garza. A lot of people soured on Garza after his rocky major league debut, but people forget that it was his fourth level of professional baseball that season; he started 2006 in High-A ball. Garza still has great velocity and last season can't be looked at as anything other than a breakout. In other AL-only significance, if Tyner does get thrust into a starting role because of in jury, he could be a source of steals for the desperate. His average won't hurt your team either, just don't expect any power or run production.