Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Rumor of the Day: Kevin Kouzmanoff

Like many MLB rumor-mongers, I have been staring almost non-stop at my Twitter feed today (much to the chagrin of my retinas) to soak in the up-to-the-minute Twins updates.

The most recent of those updates comes courtesy of Bob Nightengale : "The Minnesota Twins are offering pitcher Glenn Perkins for Padres 3B Kevin Kouzmanoff, but the Padres are seeking more." (Of course, by the time I finished typing that sentence some overweight sports writer in a Hawaiin shirt from the Podunk times probably tweeted a new rumor.)

As far as third base options go, Kouzmanoff isn't the best, but he also isn't the worst. Similar offensively to Joe Crede, and inferior with the glove, he would offer the Twins some power at the bottom of the lineup, but very little OBP. What makes more intriguing than some 3B options, however, are his home/road splits:

Home: .220/.280/.382
Road: .287/.322/.493

Playing at home in the notoriously hitter unfriendly Petco Park, Kouzmanoff was a terrible offensive player. Playing on the road, however, he put up solid production.

Of course, citing Kouzmanoff’s solid road production, and thus claiming he will post an overall line close to his road stats is far too simplistic. There are a lot of factors for home/road splits, and you can't simply assume an overall line of .287/.322/.493.

With that said, it isn't unreasonable to expect slightly better production overall by removing Kouzmanoff from Petco.

Does this mean trading for Kouzmanoff would be a good idea?

It depends. (I know, I never just give straight answers do I?)

Much like in re-signing Pavano, the Kouzmanoff deal comes down to whether this is an "or" situation or an "and" situation.

Kouzmanoff is a solid option at third if his acquistion is coupled with, for example, Orlando Hudson at second. However, if Kouzmanoff is the only infield acquistion the Twins make, the deal is much more ho-hum.

The best case scenario for the Twins infield is acquiring both a third baseman and second baseman, thus moving Nick Punto to the bench -- an obviously weak position in and of itself. By adding Kouzmanoff and Hudson, the Twins would strengthen three positions (third, second, bench) and acquire what the lineup needs most: a number two hitter.

(By the way, to convice Gardenhire that Punto should be on the bench Bill Smith could just tell him that by making Punto a utility guy, Gardy could sit next to him every inning of every game. They could sit there talking, giggling, and doing whatever the hell it is that makes Gardy love Punto so fucking much every single day. I'm pretty sure this could work, right?)

Depending on what the Twins have to give up in addition to Perkins, and what Smith and company do the rest of the offseason, Kouzmanoff could be a decent fit at 3B. If the asking price is a lot more than Perkins, however, or Kouzmanoff is going to be the only infield acquisition, the Twins should stay away, and continue searching for capable two-hitter.

So my answer to whether the Twins should deal for Kouzmanoff?

The most appropriate hot stove answer of them all: It depends.


  1. Yuck. Kouz clearly doesn't have enough acumen at the plate (career high .329 OBP) to force walks, even with decent power, so he's not worth anything but a PTBNL-level nobody. I'd prefer our chances with rookie Valencia.
    Getting fellow Padre Chase Headley and converting him back to 3B (played it at U of the Pacific) would be more wise due to his similar power and above-average on-base skills.

  2. I doubt the Padres would be willing to deal Headley but I agree that he would be more intriguing.

    As for Kouz, I don't think his low OBP would be a problem at the bottom of the order. He wouldn't hit higher than 7th or 8th and would provide some power. I do, however, agree that there are better options than Kouz.

  3. Kouz posted a .990 fielding percentage in 2008 an all time record at the hot corner.
    Good fit for the Twins.