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Monday, December 20, 2004


Kevin Towers’ first choice to roam the beautiful and spacious centerfield in Petco Park had to be Jacques Jones in a platoon role with Eric Young. (Since the Expos appear to be leaving Montreal, the Padres are my new N.L. team. I quasi-adopt a N.L. club each season.) Jones, a San Diego native, is a good defender with pop, but limited plate discipline. Conventional wisdom would have the Twins trying to move Jones due to his likely large salary, the Twins limited budget and the contractual obligations to the current starters - Stewart-Hunter-Ford - plus an abundance of reserves even with the loss of highly touted prospect, Jason Kubel.

Last night, Terry Ryan signed Jones to a $5 million contract, which I believed prompted Towers to move on Plan B – Dave Roberts. (All notable Twins bloggers are going to want the head of Ryan after this move accompanied with the loss of Koskie and the signing of Rivas.)

In exchange for Dave Roberts the Red Sox received…outfielder Jay Payton, infielder Ramon Vazquez, minor league pitcher David Pauley and $2.65 million.

This is a great deal! Roberts for Payton is an even swap – both are third/fourth outfielder. Add in Ramon Vazquez, $2.65 million and a minor leaguer and this is a steal.

Obviously, Payton fills the role of Kapler – Nixon’s platoon partner and Damon’s backup for $1.65 million ($4 mil. salary less $2.65 mil. in cash). Vazquez can play everywhere in the infield adequately at a price tag that will likely be less than a million. He will surprise folks like Bellhorn (Who will be the biggest surprise of the season and why? TOM, EL GUAPO'S GHOST: Bellhorn if he gets consistent abs) did this season if he gets enough at-bats. It will be tough for him to find time, but he will get on-base and slap the ball against the monster.


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