Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Ruben Sierra Fits Unfortunate Twins Pattern

Sure, the scouting report out of Minnesota is that switch-hitter Ruben Sierra is still just as good from his left as he is from his right. Unfortunately, manuevering a wheelchair with both hands doesn't count. Sierra, who just signed a $400,000 minor league contract with the Twins, will be 41 when the season gets under way and will be two years past his last half decent performance when he hit 17 HRs in 307 ABs for the New York Yankees. He fell offf to .229 with just 9 HR in 170 ABs last year, and the Yankees knew full well how little Sierra had left when they let him walk. That the Twins signed Sierra is not such a big deal in itself. Few fantasy leagues, even the deepest of them, would have had much use for Sierra anyway. But the troubling thing about it is that Sierra fits a very disturbing pattern for a club that up until last year remained very competitive and now seems on a downward trajectory to become the next perennial cellar dweller. The signing of a has-been like Sierra, plus the signing of 33-year-old Japan refugee Tony Batista and 34-year-old walking MASH unit Rondell White, combined with the Twins passing up ex-White Sox free agent Frank Thomas and ex-New York Met Mike Piazza, tells you that the team is not trying very hard. And to think the Twins could have signed Piazza, who hit 19 HRs last year and could give C Joe Mauer a chance to rest his injured knee, for a mere $2.5 million! And Thomas would have signed for a base of just $500,000! Come on! Are the Twins really going to sit back and waste a top staff like SPs Johann Santana, Brad Radke and Carlos Silva, not to mention closer Joe Nathan, by running them out to the mound every day only to see them lose because of lack of run support? And what does this say about the future of Twins superstar CF Torii Hunter? He'll probably be traded as soon as the Twins fall out of contention at the end of July.