HJ-ED-DHJHerald Journal Columns

August 6, 2007

My take on the two deals made by the local squads

By Jesse Menden

Last week, both the Twins and Timberwolves were subscribing to that old saying, “addition by subtraction.”

I would like to amend that statement slightly to “future addition by current subtraction.”

The Wolves subtracted Kevin Garnett to the Boston Celtics and added almost half of their team plus two draft picks.

The Twins gave second baseman Luis Castillo to the New York Mets and got back two minor leaguers.

If you just glance at the surface of the two deals, they make no sense, and popular thought would be to lock up both general managers at the upcoming Renaissance Festival so passersby could throw tomatoes, and insults, at them.

As bad as these deals appear to fans, they were made with an eye on the future, and necessary, considering the situations.

Seeing Garnett leave the Wolves stinks. There is just no better way to put it. He was the ideal NBA player and was very charitable to the community.

But there is only one thing worse in the NBA than a team floundering in mediocrity, and that is being perpetually average, like the Timberwolves.

Of course, the team’s struggles are not all Garnett’s fault. His contract was big and that did handcuff Kevin McHale when it comes to improving the team in free agency. But the large, long contracts given to others on the team did not help.

This deal with Boston was an opportunity to begin getting rid of those hefty contracts, get younger with some more draft picks, and basically start over by getting rid of the last common thing for the last 12 years.

The T’Wolves now can bottom out and basically get a fresh start. Giving Garnett to another team will smart for awhile, a long while.

Things will now start to get better, but it is still up to the front office. With the available money, they need to add good players with smarter contracts. They cannot sign another player like Troy Hudson to ridiculous contracts just because the player had a good playoff run and the team has available money. They will also need some good luck in the draft.

The Castillo deal by the Twins is a little more perplexing, but should help the team in the future.

With the team in the hunt for a playoff spot, it seems that trading Castillo is a poor choice. He was a Gold Glove talent and was a .300 hitter.

While we may never know exactly why Terry Ryan made this deal, there is some positivity to it.

The Twins save the remaining money on the contract, about $2 million, and they get two prospects rather than one draft pick in compensation for losing Castillo in the offseason to free agency.

The problem with this deal is that it could easily prevent the Twins from making the playoffs. They were a long shot before trading the two-time All-Star, getting rid of him did not help.

What the deal does is help to ensure the Twins will be competitive in the future.

Since the Twins are already competitive this season, the front office decided to ensure that for the coming years.

That extra money should help keep a Torii Hunter, Joe Nathan, or Justin Morneau. And that should keep the Twins at least a .500 team for the next few years, building them to compete, just not for championships.