Wetmore: 5 thoughts on Correia's trade value, Gardy's 1,000th loss
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MINNEAPOLIS - The Twins brought the winning run to the plate Sunday after falling behind early, but couldn't push across enough runs to avoid getting swept. The Rays took the series with a 5-3 win Sunday.
This column presents 5 thoughts from Sunday's game.
As always, feel free to ask questions or make observations in the comments. If you have a unique baseball observation during a game, feel free to share it with me on Twitter (@DerekWetmore).
1. Just guessing here, but given their record and the comments from their general manager, I expect the Twins will be sellers at the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.
Who do the Twins have that contenders would want? We talked about that on the latest episode of the Sports Over Beers podcast with Phil Mackey, Jim Souhan and Judd Zulgad.
2. With that in mind, Kevin Correia is one veteran it would make sense to move to a contender. He is in the second year of a two-year deal and will be a free agent this offseason.
In 20 starts this season, he's 5-12 with a 4.76 ERA, and a 1.46 WHIP. He has struck out 54 batters and walked 29 in 113 1/3 innings.
He is in line to make one more start before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. Sunday was not exactly a stellar showcase for Correia, who had been better recently. He lasted just four innings Sunday and gave up four earned runs on seven hits, three walks and four strikeouts.
He gave up five earned runs in five innings against the Brewers on June 5. In his seven games since that start, Correia had a 2.30 ERA before Sunday's loss. But he had walked 12 batters and struck out 13 in that stretch, and it's safer to go with his career line as a baseline performance, rather than focus on a recent hot or cold stretch.
In his career, Correia has a 4.50 ERA and averages 5.71 strikeouts per 9 innings and three walks per 9. That's the pitcher teams should expect from Corriea, who will turn 34 in August. It's worth noting that he hasn't struck out batters at that rate since 2010, when he averaged 7.14 punch outs per 9 innings with the Padres.
Teams that need a fifth starter for the stretch drive could do worse than Correia. Plus, any team that presumably would use him to get into the playoffs likely would not hand him any playoff starts. Two months of Correia likely will not fetch a high-quality prospect.
3. It would be hard to blame the Twins front office for trading veterans. Apparently, though, that worry hasn't crept into the clubhouse.
"I know the guys in this clubhouse that could potentially be traded and they're friends of mine. But that's part of the game, that's kind of how it goes," closer Glen Perkins said. "We need to give [the front office] a reason to not trade anybody and we haven't done that. I don't think I, or anyone else, would blame them."
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said he thinks there will be meetings on the topic, but that he can't concern himself with the thought of a sell-off.
"I can't worry about that, we've just got to figure out a way to win ballgames," Gardenhire said. "That's [a decision for the front office] upstairs. There's conversation going on. We'll have meetings, I'm sure. We always do this time of year to talk to the staff and Terry [Ryan] and Rob [Antony] to see where they're at and see what they want to do. We're not supposed to worry about it in the clubhouse. We've got to play baseball. We've got to figure out a way to score runs and win baseball games."
The Twins had played well on the final road trip before the All-Star break, but couldn't back that up with a good series against the Rays, perhaps the hottest team in baseball the past month. Minnesota scored 24 runs in 3 games against the Rockies before the break, but just six runs in the Rays series.
"We needed to back up a good road trip with a good home stand. But it's playing well and playing poorly," Perkins said. "It's been good and then it's been bad. We'd be foolish to think the All-Star break is going to change that. It's frustrating."
Perkins, who in March signed a four-year extension that includes a fifth-year option, said he can't spend time worrying if the last-place Twins will trade away veterans.
"That's not my job to worry about that. We need to get better and I think everyone wants to be good right now but the fact of the matter is that we haven't been very good," Perkins said.
"I knew at some point in there we were going to be good and I still believe that. ... I wouldn't have wanted to stay here for four or five more years if I didn't believe where they were going."
4. Sunday's loss was the 1,000th in manager Ron Gardenhire's career.
"That means you've been around the game a long time and you're getting old," Gardenhire said before Sunday's game, when asked about the possibility of reaching the mark.
Gardenhire, now 1,042-1,000, had similar sentiments about winning his 1,000th game. He is the 50th manager to lose 1,000 games.
The winningest manager of all time is Connie Mack, who won 3,731 games in 53 years. He also lost 3,948, the most of all time, for a .486 winning percentage. Gardenhire will never approach either mark, but his career win percentage is .510.
5. Joe Mauer took dry swings Sunday, the next step in his progression to returning from a strained oblique.
"Everything is moving in the right direction," general manager Terry Ryan said. "He's doing OK. If a guy can take dry swings that's a good sign."
Mauer was eligible to return from the disabled list Friday. Even given how much time Mauer has missed and that he still hasn't started baseball activities in earnest, Ryan said it is premature to assume the first baseman will need a rehab stint before returning. That remains a possibility.