Also, somewhere someone asked about the lack of excitement or love for Cave. Jake Cave did an okay job this year, certainly a fine performance for what we might have expected, but here's the deal with him.
He was dumped by the Yankees. Not the worst thing, but understand what this means. Most other teams dumping him would mean that his chances of steady contribution anywhere are almost nil. The Yankees dumping him doesn't mean that, because the Yankees have stars and really good players. But there's no way that the Yankees just dump a first division starting outfielder. Foremost, another team would easily trade a non-40-man prospect for a first division regular. And they'd probably do the same for a second division regular, if that were basically guaranteed (think Alex Kirilloff's floor. his worst case).
Jake Cave's UPSIDE is that of a corner starting OF for a poor baseball team. His age-based stats, advanced and otherwise, state this loudly.He is likely a 4th OF on a mediocre to average team. That's a valuable role, so I don't mean it as a slight, but it's nothing to get excited about, and you don't replace guys with upside with someone like Cave unless it's a very temporary situation.
Kepler, Buxton, and even Rosario may not come close to their ceilings, but I would never give up their ABs to someone who's almost certainly an MLB mediocrity. Giving up on Kepler or Buxton in favor of Jake Cave would be exactly the type of mistake the old regime would make (see Aaron Hicks, David Ortiz). I really doubt the new guys are as clueless. Cave was a fine pickup for this team, but if the Twins dropped him from the 40 (don't worry, they won't), I wouldn't blink other than to wonder why we didn't get a little something for him.
I'll add: the Yankees would never have dumped Kepler or Buxton. Not a chance in the world.
Disagree with you both conceptually and on the evidence. Cave's stats this year are the most relevant and they don't suggest 4th OF on a mediocre to average team unless you look at Kepler's stats and consider him a AAA player. Cave's stats are substantially BETTER than Kepler has been able to put up in 3 years of starting. You can't upgrade Kepler or downgrade Cave based on their actual performance this year in Cave's case and over 3 years in Kepler's case. The fact Cave couldn't crack the OF in New York where they have 2 legit stars is not really meaningful. Organizations misjudge talent all the time and have different needs and opportunities. The Twins getting him from the Yankees is nothing more than a data point on his abilities and one outweighed by actual performance.
Now there is a legitimate argument over who of the 3 non-established OFs have the highest ceilings and which two get the first crack at starting next year assuming there is no FA added. Buxton has the highest ceiling, no question. Worst performance, but most potential so he needs to start from the get go. So the question is who starts first, Kepler or Cave. If you go by last year's performance, the answer is easily Cave. I think this is especially true because Kepler has performed in a very similar fashion for 3 full time years now and was worse this year than in the past by many measures. Having said that, whoever doesn't start isn't goping to get "dumped" , he's going to be the 4th Of or, if it's Kepler and Mauer retires, he'll be the 1B in tandem with Austin.
Let's not move the goal posts here by saying that unless we start a Kepler or Sano every day we are giving up on them. Nobody is arguing that. My argument is that you give players an opportunity aand then play them based on performance. Kepler has had an 3 year opportuity and been consistently blow average at the plate. Cave has had a smaller opportunity and showed himself to be an above average hitter. Kepler is the better fielder but frankly it's pretty close and i would argue that Cave is bettter in CF. Molitor seemed to agree last year. Cave should get the first opportunity to start. Kepler gets a lesser OF opportunity plus some time at 1B and DH. Cave may bomb and Kepler then gets another full itme OF shot. Frankly though, if Kepler continues to be what's he's been the last 3 years - a .737 or less OPS plus a 96 or less OPS+ guy, we need to look for a replacement. That isn't good enough for a corner OF.
By the way, if the Yankees gave Kepler 3 years at his stats (they wouldn't have given him that long)they absolutely would have dumped him. They don't tolerate mediocrity over the long term if they can improve. Unfortunately, the Twins do. Maybe that's why the Yankees seem to play better than the Twins.
Edited by LA VIkes Fan, 05 October 2018 - 11:50 AM.