Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Padres Don't Want Perkins, Either; Trade Kouzmanoff to Oakland

The San Diego Padres agreed to a four-player trade Friday which would send third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff and a minor leaguer to the Oakland Athletics for outfielders Scott Hairston and Aaron Cunningham.

It had been rumored earlier that the Twins and Padres had discussed a swap for Kouzmanoff and that the Twins offered beleaguered left-handed pitcher Glen Perkins in return. The Padres (rightly) asked for more, and the discussions apparently went nowhere. The Twins still have third base unaddressed and still have Perkins on their roster.

Perkins' troubles in 2009 were many, including:
  • AFTER completing a 0.2-inning, 7-hit, 6-earned run start against the Yankees on May 18, Perkins informed manager Ron Gardenhire and pitching coach Rick Anderson that his arm hurt. He later went on the DL.
  • Perkins got smoked in the Twins' July 22 game at Oakland. Perkins pitched 1.0+ innings, allowing 6 hits and 8 earned runs in the game.
  • Another fine performance (4.0 IP, 12 hits, 8 ER) on August 2 against the Angels landed Perkins in the bullpen.
  • He made just one bullpen appearance (August 8 at Detroit) before landing on the DL for the second time.
  • After his DL stint was completed, the Twins wanted Perkins to rehab in the minor leagues. Concerned about his service time and to keep his free agency clock ticking, Perkins filed a grievance against the Twins, which was later dropped.
The Twins rightly coveted Kouzmanoff, who has some pop in his bat and plays a fine third base. He doesn't walk much and strikes out a fair amount of the time. Kouzmanoff batted .255/.302/.420 for San Diego last season with 31 doubles, 18 homers, and 88 RBI last season.  He also managed to record a UZR/150 mark of +10.7 at third base for the Pads. For his career, he is a .261/.308/.435 hitter and has an UZR/150 mark of 2.8. He'll be 29 mid-season but is under team control for three more seasons and would have been an inexpensive (made $432k last season; arbitration-eligible in 2010) MLB-ready option for the Twins in 2010. FanGraphs' R.J. Anderson has a fine analysis of the trade here.

However, the Padres didn't want Perkins alone and the Twins didn't want to part with anything other than a straight-up Perkins deal. One cannot fault either side much for this deal. Perkins is still young and talented, but is clearly a head case whom the Twins would love to see play elsewhere. Kouzmanoff is also young, talented, and inexpensive, and San Diego felt it needed more than simply acquiring one enigma for a solid player. They accepted a deal to re-acquire Hairston to add to an already-crowded San Diego outfield, but liked a package headlined by someone they already knew, and it left the Twins in a situation where they walked away empty-handed from a situation in which they could have addressed two problems in one swing.

There is still plenty of off-season left for the Twins to address their holes at second and third base, but not having Kouzmanoff in the mix for 2010 is disappointing.

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