As the MLB trade deadline approaches, Twins’ fans are asking themselves, “What else you got up your sleeve, Bill?”

Minnesota GM Bill Smith acquired Nationals’ closer Matt Capps on Thursday for Wilson Ramos.

This shores up the bullpen and allows Jon Rauch to move back into the setup role. However, the Twins still need some help in the starting rotation.

With Justin Morneau’s slow recovery from a concussion, the team could use an insurance policy at first base.

Danny Valencia is on a hot streak, so the hole at third appears to have been plugged, at least for now.

Here are five players Smith should be making some inquiries about.

The closer we get to the deadline, the stiffer the competition for these players will become.


Lance Berkman: .296, 13 HR, 49 RBI

The Yankees, White Sox, and Rays are all interested in Berkman. Reports are the Yankees are close to a deal.

Although the 34-year-old, switch-hitting first baseman has not played outfield since 2007, he could add some flexibility to the Twins’ lineup, allowing Michael Cuddyer to move back to right field.

His salary at $14.5 million may be a little steep for the Twins, but with a club option for 2011, he could be a half-year rent-a-player.


Adam Dunn: .277, 24 HR, 64 RBI

According to trade rumors, the same teams are looking at Adam Dunn.  Perhaps Smith can put together another deal with Washington GM Mike Rizzo.

The 30-year-old left-hander would immediately provide another power punch to the lineup for skipper Ron Gardenhire.

Having played outfield as recently as last year, this move would provide the same flexibility as Berkman. With his power in the lineup as the DH, Jim Thome could be on the bench as a capable pinch-hitter.

With a slightly lower salary at $12 million, and the fact he is a free agent at the end of the year, he would certainly only be a Twin for a little more than two months.


Scott Downs: 2.34 ERA, 42.1 IP, 35 Strikeouts, 10 Walks

The Twins have been talking to Toronto for the 34-year-old left-hander. With the trade for Capps, this talk may be slowing down.

With the promotion of Brian Duensing to the starting rotation, the Twins could use another left-hander from the bullpen. Downs currently leads the Toronto bullpen with a 2.34 ERA and a 1.016 WHIP. Only Duensing had better numbers for the Twins’ bullpen.


Paul Maholm: 4.52 ERA, 6-9 Record

As I wrote last week, the 28-year-old left-hander had been under most teams’ radar.

Not anymore.

The Padres and Dodgers are interesting in acquiring the starter from the last place Pittsburgh Pirates.

He averages less than one home run per nine innings pitched, and a $5 million salary is not out of reach for the Twins.


Brett Myers: 3.10 ERA, 8-6 Record

The Twins were never serious contenders for Roy Oswalt. Perhaps Smith can find a way to get Houston GM Ed Wade to move another starter from the Astros’ rotation.

With his $3.1 million salary, Brett Myers may be the best starter this year for the Astros.

At 29, Myers is only three years Oswalt’s junior.

A free agent at the end of the season, Myers could be a decent rental player, with an opportunity to sign to a long-term contract.

He compares favorably with the Twins staff, with a 8-6 record for the fifth-place Astros.

The Chicago White Sox have been rumored to be interested in Myers.


The acquisition of Capps was a decent move for Smith, but if this team wants to get past the divisional round of the playoffs, they will need to step up and pull off a deal.

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