Friday, December 16, 2011

Farewell Michael Cuddyer

Yesterday, the Twins made it official by signing free agent OF Josh Willingham to a three year deal, worth $21 million. Today, we saw Michael Cuddyer and the Rockies agree to a 3 year, $31.5 million deal, officially ending his tenure as a Twin. Moving forward, this appears to be the best deal for the Twins as they will receive a first round pick and a sandwich pick between rounds 1 and 2 in the draft as well, in addition to the money they saved by signing Willingham. But as we look ahead to what Josh Willingham will bring to the Twins for the next three years, I want to step back and reflect on what Michael Cuddyer brought to us for the past 11 seasons.

People forget or for that matter never realized, that Michael Cuddyer was drafted 9th overall by the Twins as a shortstop out of Great Bridge High School in Virginia. He was then moved over to third base and advanced up through the system. Late in 2001, Cuddyer got his call up to the big leagues, but unfortunately spent the following two seasons going back and forth between the Twins and AAA-Edmonton. But by 2004, Cuddyer had earned his way in as a regular, filling in at just about any position possible, but primarily third base (He had been road blocked by Corey Koskie until his departure following '04).

Following the '05 season, Cuddy was moved to the outfield, and his career really took off from there. He drove in a career best 109 RBI in 2006, and then after two sub par seasons, he lead the Twins with 32 home runs in 2009, while carrying them to a Central Division crown. During his time here, Cuddy helped play a part in all 6 divisional titles under manager Ron Gardenhire ('02, '03, '04, '06, '09 &'10). And finally in 2011, he earned his first career all star game selection as he lead the Twins in most major offensive categories.

But as we all realized over time, Cuddy was not going to win us over with flashy stats. What he did do right was play baseball, "The Twins Way". And perhaps no one was a better example of that than him. He could play almost anywhere on the diamond (He even made a relief appearance in a game against Texas this year). He was sound defensively (I loved watching him play a ball off the baggy in the Dome and gunning out a runner trying to get a double). He became a clubhouse leader in the later years. And above all, he had tremendous hustle every single day (The best example of this is his triple in game 163 in the 10th inning).

Also keep in mind, Cuddyer was tremendous in his outreach to the to the community. He held an annual Twins Celebrity Waiters Event where all the proceeds went to his favorite charity, the Boys and Girls Club of the Twin Cities. In 2006, Cuddyer was the Carl R. Pohlad award recipient on the Twins (Most outstanding community service), and was the Twins nominee for the Roberto Clemente award in 2006 and 2011.

As you can see, on the field or off the field, Michael Cuddyer was the real deal. And in the last few seasons, he was the heart and soul of the Minnesota Twins. But now, his time in Twins Territory has come to an end (The saying goes,"All good things, must come to an end"). Its time to stand up and applaud what Cuddy has given us for 11 seasons. Because frankly, this team does not win 6 division titles in 9 seasons with out him. Perhaps no one has played baseball "The Twins Way" more better in the history of the Twins, than Michael Cuddyer has. He gave us everything he possibly could. In the end, all we can really say is thank you and good luck...

Thank You Cuddy

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Final Winter Meetings Notes

  • Today, clearly was not the day to sleep in. By 10 am, 1B Albert Pujols and LHP CJ Wilson both had come off the free agent market, and both signed with the Angels. Hard to believe Pujols is leaving St. Louis, but, it appeared that the Cardinals took him for granted and never offered a deal much over $200 million for 10 years. It will definitely be a thrill to get to see Pujols every year now...good thing the Twins just traded Kevin Slowey (Pujols was 2 for 2 with 2 HR and 4 RBI vs Slowey). (Note: The Twins home opener on April 9th is against the Los Angeles Angels.)
  • The Twins drafted White Sox farmhand pitcher Terry Doyle in the Rule V draft today. Doyle was a combined 8-10 with a 3.07 ERA in 2011 between Class A and AA. He had an impressive Arizona Fall League, going 4-0 with a 1.98 ERA in 27 1/3 innings. Hard to see him making the team out of camp this spring, so I would guess the Twins will send something back to the White Sox, so they can send Doyle to Rochester or New Britain.
  • With Pujols' RH bat coming off the market, you could look for the Michael Cuddyer market to start heating up now. The Twins do have a reported 3 year/$24 million offer out to Cuddyer, and are pushing for a quicker resolution from him, so they can move on with other moves this offseason. If Cuddyer does sign elsewhere, it is likely that the Twins will push hard to retain Jason Kubel and may also go after free agent OF Josh Willingham.
  • Yesterday when meeting with media in Dallas, Ron Gardenhire was full of information for us Twins fans. He first said that star players Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau are doing well in their offseason workouts/rehabs. Secondly, he said that he is excited to have Matt Capps back to close in 2012. And thirdly, he mentioned that the team is looking to add a starting pitcher (The Twins did make a offer to Mark Buehrle, but were never really a strong candidate to land the lefty). Good thing Gardy talks to the media every so often, he is more insightful than the front office, so we get to know what the team is up to during the winter.
  • There are 73 days until pitchers and catchers report...

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Twins Trade Slowey

Today, the Twins finally did the inevitable, and rid themselves of Starting Pitcher Kevin Slowey, by trading him to the Colorado Rockies for a player to be named later. This in a wake of a season that saw Slowey battle injuries and go back and forth between starting and relief pitching. His line in 2011 was 0-8 with a 6.67 ERA in 59.1 innings pitched. But before that, Slowey had decent success as a starter, by registering three consecutive 10+ win seasons while battling injuries those years as well.

Besides the injuries, Slowey had been more of a clubhouse cancer with his attitude during the past year, which ultimately lead to this move today. Slowey had not been happy with pitching in relief when he was the odd man out of the rotation in spring training. Then, he pitched lifelessly when his "injuries" allowed him too.

Kevin Slowey started out with great potential when he burst onto the scene in 2008. But then over time, his injuries and attitude really watered down his ability to pitch well, and thats why we are at this point today. The good news for him is that he is going to a place where they have few decent starters, so he should get all his appearances as a starter in 2012 and probably 2013 as well. But, he will be pitching in the mile high city, where the ball just flies. So hopefully, he can keep the ball down.

I am in favor of this deal. Yes, they are getting rid of a decent starting pitcher. But, they chose to go with Nick Blackburn over Slowey when the team gave Blackburn a ridiculous extension (He is owed $4.75M in '12, $5.5M in '13, and a $8M team option in '13) prior to 2010. And yes, they lose starting pitching depth with this move (Hopefully this leads to another move that sees us acquire a starter). But, the fact is Slowey needed to go. The team just does not have time for pitchers who have attitude problems and dont give a crap when they take the hill. So I wish Colorado luck on trying to keep him happy.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Twins Resign Matt Capps

Two months ago, Matt Capps looked like a goner. But today, the Twins and the free agent closer have agreed on a one year deal worth $4.5 million with a $6 million option for a second year. The deal was first reported by's Jon Heyman via twitter. Capps was acquired by the Twins in July of 2010 for Wilson Ramos and was very successful (16 saves, 2.00 ERA, 1.185 WHIP in 27 games) in the process. But 2011 saw him have a nose dive in all his numbers (15 saves, 9 blown saves, 4.25 ERA in 69 games), and was ultimately removed from the closers role in favor of Joe Nathan.

Capps' effort in 2011, lost him favor with many Twins fans. In fact, he was often booed off the field late in the season because he just could not get people out. But, as we found out, he was pitching hurt during a good portion of the season, and that would explain for his struggles. But, he has to learn he is more valuable to us healthy than hurt but trying to pitch through it.

I am in favor of this move. Yes, we could of let him move on with another team and get a draft pick. But, he will probably come at a cheaper price than other closers would (Hopefully), and he is due to bounce back. The other day during a fan forum with season ticket holders, GM Terry Ryan sighted how relievers have rough stretches (using examples of Matt Guerrier in '08 and Jesse Crain in '09) and can bounce back because the team believed they had the right stuff to do so. And that is obviously the same case with Matt Capps. Let's just hope Ryan and company are right.

Winter Meetings Notes

Its only been a month, but what better way to return to writing on here, with some winter meetings posts. Its one of my favorite 4 day stretches in the baseball calendar year. So much rumors flying around, its bound to give you a headache at some time. But perhaps no team needs some retooling more than the Minnesota Twins. And now they have Terry Ryan back behind the GM desk, so maybe he can work some trade magic once again. So today, I'm gonna kick this off with some notes:

  • It would appear that the Twins offseason is hovering around the status of OF Michael Cuddyer right now. As Lavelle writes this morning, the Twins appear to be the favorites to land Cuddyer and it may come on a 2 year deal. But, that could change this week and the Twins may have to improve their offer.
  • The Twins claimed SS Pedro Florimon off waivers from Baltimore today. This has to be a move to strengthen the upper levels of the minor leagues, as Florimon is a career .247 hitter in the minors. More on this later.
  • Today, Jim Kaat and Tony Oliva fell short in their hall of fame bid on the golden era veterans committee ballot. Kaat recieved 10 of 15 votes and Oliva received 8 votes. A player needed 12 to gain induction. Former Cub Ron Santo did get enough to gain election today (Receiving 15 votes) and will be enshrined in Cooperstown next August.
  • As Buster Olney tweets, the Twins appear to be trying to move P Kevin Slowey this week, before the non tender deadline appears. I certainly don't expect us to keep Slowey if we can't trade him. The Twins will just non tender him and let him sign with someone else if they can't move him this week. Slowey made $2.7 million last season and is arbitration eligible and probably would see his salary go up to $3 million if the Twins retain him. But, there is no chance they do, nor should it be considered.
  • Non Twins related note: With the signing of Heath Bell and Jose Reyes, I expected the Miami Marlins to stop with the big name signings. But, they are apparently not done there as they try and go after Albert Pujols. So apparently, moving into a new stadium has made the Marlins a big market club. But their attendance has not hinted that they should be freely spending money like this...
More posts to come this week...

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

No Shortage of Options

As I mentioned Monday, Terry Ryan has a very impressive track record of making good trades. And with a roster that has has many holes and limited money to spend on free agents, it would seem that Ryan will be back at the trading table this winter. But, who exactly does he have that he can trade for some positive returns? Here are some options:

  • Scott Baker-In 2011, Baker was the Twins best starter. Problem was, he had a few stints on the DL. In just 21 starts, Baker carried a 8-6 record with a 3.14 ERA and had a impressive 8.2 strikeout per 9 innings rate. He is under contract in 2012 making $6.5 million and has a $9.25 million team option for 2013. A team looking for a solid #2 starter at a good price would be willing to give the Twins a good return for Scott Baker.
  • Francisco Liriano-Had the Twins traded Liriano last winter, they would of gotten a much better return than if they decide to move him this offseason. Liriano battled injuries in 2011, and saw his numbers pay the price for it as he had a 9-10 record with a 5.09 ERA. He also saw his strikeout per 9 innings rate drop from 9.4 (2010) to 7.5 (2011). He also carried an incredibly high 5.0 walks per 9 innings rate. Despite all the sour numbers, Liriano still has good potential and certainly someone would be willing to take a chance on him. He is in his last year of arbitration, so he will be a free agent in 2013.
  • Carl Pavano-The last two seasons, the righty has thrown at least 220 innings for the team, while posting a combined 4.02 ERA in those seasons. There are a lot of teams that could use a veteran pitcher that can eat up innings like Pavano does. Only problem is that he is due $8.5 million in 2012, and that could scare teams away from giving the Twins a good return on him, so they might have to eat some money to get a better return package.
  • Glen Perkins-Its a bit of a stretch to think that the Twins will trade Perkins, but he could get a nice return if they did decide to move him. In 2011, Perkins appeared in 65 games while posting a 2.48 ERA with 65 strikeouts. His fastball frequently found its way into the high 90s and a very effective changeup to go with it. Perkins is under team control for 2012 and 2013 and will only be making somewhere around $1.7 million for 2012.
  • Denard Span-For a while in July, it looked as if Span was going to be traded. But the deadline came and passed and Span remained a member of the Twins. He battled a concussion in 2011 and was limited to just 70 games, while Ben Revere handled the leadoff and centerfield duties. Span carries a .285 career average with a .361 on base percentage. He also plays a very good defensive centerfield. Span has a very team friendly contract ($3M in '12, $4.75M in '13, $6.5M in '14, and a $9 million team option for 2015), so teams would have to make a seriously good offer for Ryan to consider moving his centerfielder.
  • Danny Valencia-After a great 2010, Valencia saw his numbers drop in his first full season in the majors in 2011. He only hit .246, but was among the team leaders in home runs (15) and RBI (72). Defensively, he was a mess (.949 fielding percentage, 18 errors). But the good news is, he is still young with plenty of time to turn it around. And he is still under team control through the 2016 season.
With the big changes that Ryan hinted at making for 2012 and a limited budget to spend on free agents, you would have to assume that he is going to make some trades this offseason. Let's all hope that he can still work that magic, because the 2012 Twins are going to need some.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Terry Ryan, You Have Been Missed.

Today, the Twins shocked most in the baseball community and relieved Bill Smith of the GM duties, and put his predecessor Terry Ryan back in as the interim. The moves comes after the team lost 99 games in 2011, which followed back to back division titles in 2009 and 2010. The team said that there were "Philosophical Differences" between them and Smith, which lead to this decision. Ryan lead the Twins from the GM seat from 1994-2007 (Replacing Andy MacPhail), and shaped the teams that won division titles in 2002, 2003, 2004, and 2006.

Winning those division titles for Ryan and his staff was not easy. They had to do it, with the financial constraints of playing in the Metrodome. So, Ryan returns to the team now in Target Field and a 9 figure payroll. But, as we learned today, the payroll for next year will go down to somewhere around $100 million. So take in to account the fact the Twins have around $80 million spent on payroll next year already, it will make things tight for Ryan and company.

His free agent signees list wasnt the greatest. But his list of trades made was. Ryan was a genius at making a trade, and pulled off many that helped the Twins in more ways than one. Perhaps there is no better example of a trade Ryan made that benefited the Twins so well was the November 2003 trade that sent catcher AJ Pierzynski to San Francisco. In return for the catcher, the Twins recieved P's Joe Nathan, Francisco Liriano, and Boof Bonser. Nathan went on to become the team's all time saves leader, Liriano was a stud until he had to undergo Tommy John surgery and has been inconsistent since, and Bonser was a serviceable starter/reliever until he battled various injuries and was released. Many times Ryan pulled off trades like this, and hopefully he can continue his magic going forward, especially if the team has just $20 million to spend on free agents, they will need to make some trades.

I guess the thing that excites me the most about seeing Ryan return to the GM chair, is the fact he wanted to come back and is willing to be the GM for many years going forward. He was one of the best back then, and he should still be one of the best going forward. He clearly has his work cut out for him as he tries to get a 99 loss team back to a 90+ win team. But, if he can duplicate his success from his previous stint, he can make the Twins a great team once again...

Monday, October 31, 2011

Hope For The Best: Giles' 2011-12 Twins Offseason Blueprint

For those who have read your copy of the 2011-12 Twins offseason handbook, this is the fun part. At the end, the guys all take the role of the GM chair and piece together a team for the next season. So, after reading the book, I am all filled up with some ideas as to how the Twins should go about filling up the roster for the 2012 season. So here, I will assume the role of GM and put together a team for the 2012 season.

Here I will start with the players under contract or team control for 2012:


CF: Span ($3M)
SS: Casilla (ARB)
C: Mauer ($23M)
1B: Morneau ($14M)
RF: Empty
3B: Valencia ($500K)
DH: Empty
2B: Nishioka ($3M)
LF: Revere ($500K)

BN: Empty
BN: Butera ($500K)
BN: Luke Hughes ($500K)
BN: Plouffe ($500K)


SP: Baker-RH ($6.5M)
SP: Pavano-RH ($8.5M)
SP: Liriano-LH (ARB)
SP: Blackburn-RH ($4.75M)
SP: Duensing ($500K)

RP: Swarzak-RH ($500K)
RP: Oliveros-RH ($500K)
RP: Mijares-LH (ARB)
RP: Slowey-RH (ARB)
RP: Burnett-RH ($500K)
RP: Perkins-LH (ARB)
CP: Empty

Now that we see where the empty slots and the arbitration players are, here are the moves I would make this offseason:

1. Offer salary arbitration to free agent OFs Michael Cuddyer and Jason Kubel. This is a relatively easy move. Both will take on multi year contract offers this offseason, so they both will almost certainly decline them. Why you do this is to ensure you receive draft pick compensation if both players sign with other teams.

2.Non Tender arbitration eligible players Jose Mijares, Alexi Casilla, and Kevin Slowey. Kevin Slowey is a no brainer. He would make somewhere in the $3 million range next year. It was tough to let Casilla go, but he would make somewhere in the area of $2.5 million, and I simply felt that was too much at this time. Mijares would of been cheap, but I felt it was just time to let him go. He had been terrible in 2011, posting career lows in multiple stats. I felt I could fill his spot with a different option.

3.Buyout Joe Nathan’s contract (2M cap hit) and resign him to a 2 year, $14 million contract. The Twins of real life already bought out the closer's 2012 contract. So now hopefully they can follow suit, and resign the franchise's all time saves leader. His stats from 2011 are very misleading. he returned from TJ surgery and them battled elbow problems in June. But upon his return, he took the closer job back, and showed signs of being the Nathan of old.

4. Move Brian Duensing to the bullpen. Duesning simply was awful as a starter in 2011. So the logical move should be to move him back to the bullpen, where he enjoyed success as a left handed specialist in 2010, before moving to the rotation. Hopefully, he can return to that success moving forward.

5. Resign Michael Cuddyer to a 3 year, $33 million contract. I was really torn on bringing Cuddy back at a high price, or letting him go. The first option won. Cuddyer proved to be too valuable to the Twins in 2011, to simply let him walk away. He can play numerous positions, and when healthy, he can be a very good hitter. He finally got his first all star appearance last year, while leading the team in many offensive categories. The years on the deal is less than what the market will probably be giving Cuddy, but I think he takes the deal simply out of respect to the only team he has ever played for.

6. Sign Glen Perkins to a 3 year, $7.5 million contract. This deal isn't a necessary task, but, I wanted to lock up my best reliever past his final arbitration year. Perkins came out of nowhere last year and started blowing hitters away with his mid to high 90s fastball, and electric changeup. Locking up Perkins through 2014, gives the Twins a solid arm at a very good price.

7. Sign OF Rick Ankiel to a 1 year, $750,000 contract. The Twins need a fourth outfielder. One who can hit decently and play a good defense in the outfield while being relatively cheap. And I found Rick Ankiel. He has decent pop in his bat (career .423 slugging percentage) and is a very solid defender in the outfield (1.7 dWAR in 2011). Ankiel should have no problem playing in the spacious outfield of Target Field, with his defensive skills. And for $750,000, Ankiel comes at a very good price.

8. Sign P Kerry Wood to a 1 year, $2 million contract. Wood had a decent season in Chicago last year (51.0 IP, 3.35 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 57 K). But his age (34) and his injury list (Too long to list here) will keep his contract offers low. So you Wood comes at a good price, and he should be a solid back end reliever to help bridge the gap to Nathan in the 9th.

9. Sign C Jose Molina to a 1 year, $1 million contract. Signing Jose Molina wasn't the best move for backup catcher. But, he can hit decently (.241 career hitter, .281 avg last year) and is very solid behind the plate, as any Molina is. He also can play first base if needed (Anyone who can play first is appreciated given the injury history to Morneau). Molina is 36, but should do just fine as a back up to Joe Mauer.

10. Sign INF Nick Punto to a 1 year, $1 million contract. Last season should simply be dubbed "The Curse of Nick Punto". For the previous 7 seasons Punto was with MIN, the team won 4 divisonal titles and only had one season where the finished below .500. Then last year Punto signed on with the Cardinals. The Twins lost 99 games (2nd worst in team history) and the Cardinals won the World Series. Punto, doesn't hit for a great average, but makes up for it with gold glove caliber defense from second base, shortstop, or third base. I overpaid for him just a bit to make sure he returns to the Twins.

11. Sign P Mike Gonzalez to a 1 year, $2 million contract. Before his awful two year stint in Baltimore, Gonzalez was one of the best left handed relievers in the game. He still holds a career 2.94 ERA a 1.24 WHIP, and a 10.3 K/9 average. But his past two seasons in Baltimore will scare people away and will drive his asking price way down. I bring in Gonzalez as a third lefty in Ron Gardenhire's bullpen, giving him the advantage of being able to matchup with lefties more than once in a game.

12. Keep 2B Tsuyoshi Nishioka, 1B Chris Parmelee, SS Trevor Plouffe, and SP Liam Hendriks on the big league roster. This is where I will differ from most people's offseason plans. I keep Tsuyoshi Nishioka in the big leagues (But this time he bats at the bottom of the order) and at second base, and I leave Trevor Plouffe at shortstop. I know Plouffe was a defensive mess at the position, but if he can even halfway clean it up, you can have him hit for 7-8 innings and use Punto for the 8th and 9th inning as the defensive specialist. I'm also keeping Chris Parmelee as the DH/First baseman to help keep Justin Morneau off the disabled list (And if he can hit like he did in September, he should do just fine). Hendriks was a tough call. But, the starting pitching market isn't that great, so why not continue to fill some spots from within your own organization. He didn't exactly put up the best line last year with the big club (0-2 6.17 ERA in 4 starts), but he won the Twins minor league pitcher of the year. If he can't make the adjustments, you can always go get someone during the year, but for now, I fill the last starting slot with Liam Hendriks.

So after the 12 moves, here is what my 2012 Opening Day Roster would look like with the players salary next to them.

CF: Span ($3M)
SS: Plouffe ($500K)
C: Mauer ($23M)
1B/DH: Morneau ($14M)
RF: Cuddyer ($11M)
3B: Valencia ($500K)
DH/1B: Parmelee ($500K)
2B: Nishioka ($3M)
LF: Revere ($500K)

BN: Punto ($1M)
BN: Molina ($1M)
BN: Luke Hughes ($500K)
BN: Ankiel ($750K)


SP: Baker-RH ($6.5M)
SP: Pavano-RH ($8.5M)
SP: Liriano-LH ($6M)*
SP: Blackburn-RH ($4.75M)
SP: Hendriks ($500K)

RP: Swarzak-RH ($500K)
RP: Oliveros-RH ($500K)
RP: M. Gonzalez-LH($2M)
RP: Duensing-LH ($500K)
RP: Wood-RH ($2M)
RP: Perkins-LH ($2.5M)
CP: Nathan-RH ($7M+$2M buyout)
(*-notes arbitration estimate)

2012 Team Payroll: $102.5 million

Following a 99 loss season, the payroll is going down. Last year I believe the payroll was in the 110-115 million range (They picked up most of Jim Thome's and Delmon Young's salaries), so you cut 8-13 million from last year's payroll. I know there wasn't great change to the Lineup or Starting rotation. But, injuries really limited key players in both areas last year. And this is a contract year for P's Carl Pavano and Francisco Liriano, and Scott Baker has a team option for 2013. So if all goes bad in 2012 pitching wise again, the team should have some more change with big name pitchers such as Greinke, Cain, and Hamels on the market, and the team could go out and get themselves an ace. So all we can do is hope the injuries are kept down, and players perform up to the levels they are capable of.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Get To Know Zach

Hello! My name is Zach. As mentioned before, I have known Giles for a long time. Anyways, the first Twins game I remember ever attending was o August 5, 2001 with my neighborhood friends. You may remember that was the day that Kirby Puckett was inducted into the Hall of Fame. It was also the day the Metrodome a/c broke down. But, that day prepared me for outdoor baseball at Target Field, when the weather can get as hot as that day.

Favorite Current Twin: As of this moment, Jason Kubel is my favorite player. But he will soon be a free agent and could likely leave the Twins, so I may need to find a new favorite player.
Favorite All Time Twin: Of all the players I have remembered getting to watch, I like Brad Radke the best.
Favorite Non Twin Baseball Player: Josh Hamilton. Such a great story
Best Twins Memory: Game 163 is probably the best of my memory.
Best Twins Game I Have Attended: I'd have to go with game 163 in 2009, but the final day of the 2006 season comes in a fairly close second, and Opening Day of 2010 is up there too.
Number of Twins Road Trips I Have Taken: 4 (New York Yankees, St. Louis & Kansas City, Milwaukee, and Chicago White Sox)
Favorite Baseball Movie: Field of Dreams and *61 are among my favorites.

I look forward to Blogging about my favorite team in the world, the Twins. Please give me a follow on twitter @zachb89. Thanks!

Welcome To Twin Minds

As you can already tell, Giles Talks Twins is no more. The blog is now officially called Twin Minds. It changed because there will be a second person now contributing to the site. And that person is my partner in crime, Zach Binning. Zach will be posting a little bit later so everyone can get to know him, but I will tell you this about him: We have been friends for 17 years now, we have shared Twins season tickets since 2007 (We saw our fair share of games in that magical run of 2006 too), and he is by far a bigger Twins fan than myself (He kept me from straying away from the team during their offseason between 07 and 08 when cornerstone players such as Torii Hunter and Johan Santana left the team). For the most part, we think alike when it comes to the Twins, but, we will have our disagreements as well. So hopefully, everyone will enjoy the posts we put up on here.

Win Twins!

P.S. Yesterday, we saw the conclusion of a pretty solid World Series. And following the game, the TwinsCentric gang has now released their 2011-12 offseason handbook. It literally covers everything you need to know about the upcoming offseason. I highly recommend this to any Twins fan out there. You can buy it, by clicking the link on the right hand side.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Some Things Never Get Old

Every time I watch Game 6 of the 1991 World Series, it ends with the same result: A hanging changeup from the crafty veteran Charlie Liebrandt, that Kirby Puckett deposited in the left center field seats to win the game. Still, to this day, I get shivers every time I watch it. It, plain and simple, never gets old to watch.

Today, we celebrate the 20th anniversary of arguably the greatest game in the history of the Minnesota Twins. Many others in the Twins Blogosphere have paid tribute to this game today, so I thought I may as well too (To see their posts, check out the blog roll down the right hand side).

I won't say much more here, I'll just leave you with some photos and videos of that infamous game.

Monday, October 24, 2011

2013 Sounds Better

Somehow, in the span of one season, a 96 win team fell apart and became a 63 win ball club. Especially a team that had not won so few games since the previous decade began. So, as the World Series heads into his final games, we begin to speculate about what the 2012 Minnesota Twins should/will look like. But, as I mentioned in my previous post, it may be until 2013 before we get a glimpse of that 96 win team again.

First of all, the Twins have to get their middle infield straightened out. I believe the last time the starting two middle infielders were in consecutive opening day lineups were Luis Rivas and Cristian Guzman. And since then, it has been a revolving door at both positions. Perhaps none better than the 2010 tandem of Orlando Hudson and JJ Hardy. Last year, we saw Alexi Casilla and Tsuyoshi Nishioka get the nod up the middle. Both spent time battling inconsistent play and trips to the disabled list. And heading into 2012, it would appear that the Twins will once again have a different pair up the middle. But, will they have a player, or two, that can be mainstays at those positions beyond next season?

But, the main problem with the team is pitching. And this will be perhaps the area that has minimal change going into 2012. The team has four starters (Scott Baker, Carl Pavano, Francisco Liriano, and Nick Blackburn) under contract for 2012. They also have noted starters Brian Duensing and Kevin Slowey, but their future roles with the team are up in the air right now. But after 2012, Pavano ($8.5M contract in '12) and Liriano ('12 is final year of arbitration, '11 salary was $4.3M) are set to become free agents, while Baker has a $9.25M team option for '13 as well. So then the Twins could be willing to make a big free agent splash on a pitcher (Notable FA P's include Matt Cain, Zack Greinke, and Cole Hamels), while allowing young guns such as Liam Hendriks, Anthony Swarzak, and Kyle Gibson (if his recovery from TJ surgery goes well) to fill some rotation spots.

Also, the bullpen remains in big disarray, but this is an easier fix than the rotation. Heading into 2012, the Twins have Glen Perkins as the only solid returning member. Players such as Joe Nathan and Matt Capps are free agents this year. The bullpen will also feature players such as Jose Mijares, Alex Burnett, and Lester Oliveros who will still be under contract, but their status beyond 2012 should be based on their performance, given how 2011 went for them. There is no shortage of relievers out there either on the free agent market or available for trade, so this is why the bullpen should be a smaller priority right now.

It was not easy watching the Twins in 2011. And going into 2012, it may not be easy watching them again unless the front office goes crazy and somehow fills the team needs this winter. So I wouldn't expect much from the Twins in 2012. Expect good things from them in 2013...

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Random Thoughts

It has been far too long since I've been on here. And I had honestly no idea what to write about. Everytime I think of something to post, I noticed someone else in my blog roll has already written on it. Maybe they're inside my head somehow (Haha j/k). So I'm going to compile a bunch of random Twins thoughts on here for this post, since I cannot for the life of me put one of those thoughts together in its own post.

  • I think the Twins would be stupid not to bring back Michael Cuddyer. Yes, he would cost in the $8-10 million range, but when he is healthy, he can hit 20-25 HRs and play literally anywhere on the field defensively. I would be very shocked if the Twins did not bring him back for 2012.
  • Congrats to P Liam Hendriks and INF Brian Dozier on being named minor league players of the year for the Twins in 2011.
  • As we read in Over The Baggy, the Twins may be one of the teams who might go after Japanese free agent pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma this offseason. I just don't like this idea. He would cost a lot, he is 30 years old, and you honestly don't know what you will get from him. The team would be better going after any other pitcher.
  • I think Chris Parmelee played well enough this September to get a good shot at making the team out of Spring next year. He could alternate time with Morneau as the first baseman and designated hitter, if he can continue to hit like he did.
  • I hope to god we don't hear those Denard Span for Drew Storen rumors again, once the offseason begins.
  • Is it a stretch to think that Glen Perkins will be the Twins closer in 2012?
  • I am all for bringing back Nick Punto next year, as a defensive specialist in the late innings.
  • I'm getting antsy waiting for the announcement of the replacement for John Gordon as the radio voice of the Twins next year. I hope its Kris Atterbury.
  • Its possible that with the major holes the Twins have moving forward (Pitching, middle infield), it may take them until 2013 to truly right the ship.
  • Despite their awful play, I still miss watching the Twins.
  • There are 127 days until Pitchers and Catchers Report
(Programming note: After quite some time of working on it, I have finished my Twins 2012 offseason blueprint. Once the TwinCentric gang has released their offseason handbook, I will post my blueprint for what I would do as the GM of the Twins. Once the handbook becomes available, I'll set up a link for it on this page.)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Award Winners

Before I dive in to this, I want to reflect on last night's events just a bit. Last night was truly one of those nights, where you can say you are proud to be a fan of baseball. The games somehow exceeded our expectations and delivered one of the best final day of games in the history of baseball. We have never seen a night like that, and we probably never will again. Man that was awesome. (BTW, my March World Series picks went in the toilet last night too!)

So here I am going to do some Twins awards and then dive into the MLB awards as well.

Twins Awards

MVP: Michael Cuddyer-Cuddy was the most consistent player on the Twins this year. He also was one of a rare few that didn't make a trip to the disabled list. Cuddy proved his worth this year by playing in 5 different positions (RF, 1B, 2B, DH, P) in the lineup. Cuddy posted his best batting average this year (.284), since 2006 (Also .284), and finally made his first all star appearance, as the Twins lone representative in Phoenix.

Cy Young: Glen Perkins-On April 1, we were trying to figure out why manager Ron Gardenhire gave a roster spot to Perkins, who seemingly couldn't get it together on the mound. But, instead of starting, the skipper had Perkins try his hand at relief pitching. And the Stillwater native did not disappoint. Perkins quickly became the most reliable reliever in the Twins bullpen, and earned the 8th inning role. His fastball was often seen in the 95-97 area, and he had effectively used his breaking ball to compliment that fastball. Perk finished the year with a 2.48 ERA and 65 strikeouts in 61.2 innings pitched.

Rookie of the Year: Ben Revere-The Twins used many rookies in 2011, but none did as well and had the impact that Ben Revere had. Ben hit .267, and lead the team with 34 stolen bases, while mostly hitting leadoff this year. Ben was also was a human highlight reel in the outfield this year, making insane catch after insane catch. As he goes on in his career, he should be able to hit .300, steal 50 bases, and be a valuable asset in the outfield with his speed. He will be pretty valuable, hitting behind Denard Span and in front of Joe Mauer in the years to come.

MLB Award Winners

AL MVP-Justin Verlander (DET)
NL MVP-Ryan Braun (MIL)
AL CY YOUNG-Justin Verlander (DET)
NL CY YOUNG-Clayton Kershaw (LAD)
AL ROY-Jeremy Hellickson (TB)
NL ROY-Craig Kimbrel (ATL)
AL MOY-Joe Maddon (TB)
NL MOY-Kirk Gibson (ARZ)

All of these guys should be locks to win their awards, with the exception of NL Cy Young. It will be a close one between Roy Halladay and Kershaw, but I give the vote to Kershaw and I hope the writers do too. Justin Verlander was so good this year, he should be a lock for MVP in addition to Cy Young. And there is no doubt that Joe Maddon and Kirk Gibson should win manager of the year. Look at what they've done. Enjoy the playoffs everyone!

Also, North Dakota Twins Fan took a look at the Twins awards today too. Check them out here.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Final Goodbyes

Tonight, the Twins play their 162nd and final game of the 2011 regular season. And as some of us head out to the ballpark or just sit at home and watch the game tonight, we our going to say our goodbye to the Twins for the next 6 months. And we also maybe be saying goodbye to a few people, for good.

As the Twins take the field tonight, they do so with a few notable pending free agents. Michael Cuddyer, Jason Kubel, and Matt Capps all will be heading into free agency. And out of the bunch, it will be most difficult to say goodbye to Cuddy. He is the longest tenured Twins, and his versatility and leadership has made him a great example of a Twins player brought up through their farm system. And this year, Cuddy has been one of the rare few to not make a trip to the disabled list. You would have to think that the Twins will make a hard push to bring back Cuddyer this offseason.

We may also be saying goodbye tonight to the franchise's all time leader in saves, Joe Nathan. Nathan carries a $12.5 million team option for next year, but it is likely the team will take the $2 million buyout and possibly try to bring him back for next year on a one year deal. Nathan, of course, is in his first season after having Tommy John Surgery on his right elbow in 2010. Nathan struggled early on this year, then spent about a month on the DL, before returning and looking much better in the second half.

And finally tonight, we are for sure saying goodbye to the voice of the Twins, John Gordon. He has been in the Twins broadcast booth for 25 seasons, and tonight will be his last behind the mic. John, known for his signature phrase "Touch 'Em All!", has been the lead play by play voice for the Twins since his longtime friend and partner Herb Carneal passed away prior to the 2007 season. In all my life, I have heard either Herb Carneal or John Gordon call a Twins game, and it will be very different to have someone else step in and take over. For some of John's more notable calls, click here.

As I end this post about saying goodbye to 2011, I had to make one final tribute to the late Harmon Killebrew, who lost his battle with esophageal cancer in May.

Monday, September 26, 2011

What Needs Fixing

Tonight, the Twins kick off their final series of the season, as the battle Kansas City at Target Field. And as the season comes to its end, we now get to look forward to the 2012 Twins, and how different that team should be looking. And here today, I am going to offer up my advice as to what positions of this team actually need to be fixed for the Twins to have success in 2012 (No, my answer will not be the whole team).

Starting Pitching
Quite frankly, this is what needs to have the top priority this offseason. Because in this league, you get places with good starting pitching. Lately, the Twins have had a good offense. One of the best in baseball. But, good offenses only get you so far. Really, since the departure of Johan Santana, the Twins have filled a rotation of 5 starters with pitchers who are no better than a second or third starter. And as good as that sounds, its not. The pitchers they have are contact pitchers, and only one has the capability to become staff ace (Baker). There is only one starter on the free agent market this offseason, that could be deemed an ace on most teams, CJ Wilson from Texas. But the likeliness of him leaving Texas is not good. So hopefully, look for the team to trade for some fresh starting pitching.

Relief Pitching
Going into 2011, we knew the bullpen was going to be bad. And it lived up to that statement. No one besides Glen Perkins was consistently good out of the bullpen this year. Matt Capps proved to be an awful disappointment and was eventually stripped of the closers role. Joe Nathan had early struggles, but did much better following a DL stint mid-season, but he saw limited time at the end of the year because the Twins simply did not have many save opportunities for him. This year the 6th and 7th inning roles were filled with players such as Alex Burnett, Jim Hoey, Dusty Hughes, Jose Mijares, and Lester Olliveros. And none of them can say they have ERAs under 4. In fact, Perkins and Phil Dumatrait were the only pitchers in the 'pen to have ERAs under 4. So look for the Twins to maybe hit the free agent market for a reliever or two to help bridge the gap to the ninth inning.

If the Twins hadn't traded a certain shortstop to Baltimore last offseason, we would be talking about this as the most solid position on the team. But, they did, and we were left with a bunch of players playing the 6 hole for the Twins in 2011. And no, this is by no means a shot at Tsuyoshi Nishioka. I beileve he will have a better year next second base! Hopefully the Twins can go out and acquire a solid SS to fill the spot. I thought Trevor Plouffe could of been that guy to fill the spot, but his vastly inconsistent play has left me frustrated more times than none. Its a tough position to fill, with few players who can actually play it well. So it will be interesting to see who is the Twins starting shortstop on opening day in 2012.

If the Twins can adequately fix these problems in 2012, and keep their players healthy, they should have a good bounceback year and be a force in the AL Central again.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A Breath of Fresh Air

On September 5th, the Twins minor league season ended. The very next day, the Twins called up OF Joe Benson, 1B Chris Parmelee, and OF Brian Dinkelman. Benson and Parmelee, were being called up to the big leagues for the first time while Dinkelman had a brief stint with the team earlier in the season.

Since their arrival, the Twins haven't done much better in the win-loss column. And in the 5 months prior to their arrival, it was tough watching Minnesota Twins baseball. But, since their arrival, its been just a bit easier to turn on the Twins game.It's been ever so nice watching all three of these young players get solid playing time here in the final month. Especially when they have been able to contribute the way they have.

Dinkelman had a brief stint with the Twins back in June. In his time then, he hit .286 with 2 RBI. Since his return on September 6th, he is hitting .433 with 1 RBI. Meanwhile, his success appeared to have rubbed off on Parmelee and Benson, as they are hitting .368 and .243 respectively. Parmelee, has displayed some power while here, hitting 3 2B and 2 HR. Benson, flirted with the cycle last Friday going 4-4 with a double and two triples. Clearly, these guys are making their presence felt.

And with their continued success, it makes Bill Smith's job this offseason a little bit harder. For as long as their success goes, the more they prove they belong in the big leagues. So when looking at his team for 2012, Bill Smith will have to give these guys a look at being on the roster. It has long been the tradition of the Twins to fill roster spots by promoting from within. Its what they have lived by. And in the past decade, it has proven to be more successful than going outside the organization.

So next year, look for these guys to start out their season in AAA-Rochester. But if injuries become a factor again, I would hope that these guys would be the first to get called up and fill in. Because are making a statement that they can play here. And hopefully, the front office feels the same way too.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A Benefit of Losing

Right now, the Twins are 59-88, which puts them in the AL Central cellar by three games behind the Royals, the team that shut them out yesterday 4-0. They are also tied for the worst record in the AL with Baltimore, which is also the second worst record in baseball behind the Houston Astros (51-97). Disastrous as this season has been, it will produce a positive out of all this mess. The Twins will undoubtedly be drafting in the top 3 in next years MLB Entry Draft.

Of course, that is all pending on how the Twins finish out. But at the rate they are playing, they should have no problem securing the #2 pick in the draft next year. And this is something they really needed. The last time the Twins drafted in the top 10 was in 2001, when they took, still to this day, a controversial catcher named Mauer over a hot shot pitcher named Prior. I will always believe the Twins made the right move there.

And in recent years, the Twins have been drafting in the 20s, and last year, the 30s. And the Twins farm system is really lacking big league talent at their top levels. But them drafting #2 won't solve that problem next year, but it will certainly be a step in the right direction for helping that issue.

But most importantly, should the Twins draft 2 or 3, they will be able to draft a high quality prospect. My hope is that they take a top line pitcher with this pick, and develop a staff ace that they really lack (Preferably, Lance McCullers or Mark Appel). In this league, pitching is what will take you places. Great hitting will only get you so far. For a good example of a team like that, see the 2010 Minnesota Twins.

So as the Twins continue to lose impressively every day. Don't think of it as a bad thing. Think of it as a good thing. They will be making themselves better for the future by losing more (If that makes sense to you). Because lets face it, the system needs it.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A Few Good Notes: Draft Picks, The Shelf, Call-Ups, and Play By Play

  • Tonight the Twins lost to the Chicago White Sox 3-0, in another futile offensive effort. The loss brings the team’s record to 58-84, which puts them just percentage points behind Kansas City for last place in the American League Central Division. Tonight's loss eliminated the Twins from postseason play for the first time since 2008. The Twins could only manage to score just one run in the past three games against the Sox. Honestly, at this point, I’m more content to see the team lose and get a higher draft pick in the 2012 MLB entry draft. It feels wrong saying that, but at this point, this will positively help the Twins going forward.
  • The Twins also said yesterday, that if Justin Morneau returns this season, he will mostly DH, and Joe Mauer will mostly play 1B for the remainder of 2011. I don’t understand why the team needs to keep these guys on the field at this point. They have no shot at the postseason. Please put these guys on the shelf so they can come to Spring Training next year at or close to 100%.
  • This last month, we are going to get a good look at some solid young prospects the Twins have. 1B Chris Parmelee, OF Brian Dinkelman, RP Kyle Waldrop, OF Joe Benson, and SP Liam Hendriks all have received their call up to the big leagues and should receive ample playing time. As Lavelle E Neal noted yesterday, these call ups could help the Twins prepare for life after Kubel and Cuddyer. Meaning if the two leave via free agency next year, they will have some players with big league experience ready to take over.
  • For those who are kind of losing interest in the Twins, I encourage you to at least listen to the team this last month on the radio. This is John Gordon’s last month behind the mic for the Twins, as he will be retiring at seasons end. So please take in as much of Gordo as you can. Haven’t heard too much as to who will be replacing Gordo in the booth next year, but you have to believe that one of the alternate play by play guys (Kris Atteberry, Bob Kurtz, Ted Robinson, and Dan Gladden) will be behind the mic full time next year. At one point this year, we have heard all of those guys do the play by play, due to Gordon’s limited schedule this season. Personally, I hope this job goes to Atteberry. He has done a great job in his time as the play by play this season, and hopefully, the powers that may be think so too.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Shut Him Down

On Monday, Nick Nelson talked about how it would be in the better interest of the Twins if they shut down Joe Mauer for the remainder of the season. Its a very valid idea. The team is going nowhere, and they can get him healthy for next season. But, the team should also look into doing the same for his old roommate.

Yesterday, the Twins announced that their first baseman Justin Morneau will be out with mild concussion symptoms. This coming while he has been battling a sore shoulder since Sunday's game. Its just been that kind of season for Morneau. One injury after another. Morneau suffered a sprained wrist in June, but then a few weeks later he underwent surgery to remove a herniated disk in his neck, which kept him out of action until August 12th.

So the message is quite clear: Shut down Justin Morneau for the remainder of the season.

The Twins are paying Morneau $14 million in 2012 and '13. And if they want to be successful for those seasons, they need Morneau at full strength. And the right step towards having him at full strength is shutting him down. And that step is probably more logical now, with those mild concussion symptoms.

No one in this game is tougher than Justin Morneau. Before 2009, he was averaging over 140 games played in each of the full seasons he has been with the Twins (Including playing all 163 games in 2008). But all these injuries have made us forgotten how tough he is. And the Twins can help themselves out, by shutting him down now, so they can have him for the long run next year.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Time To Move The Fences

Yesterday, the Twins were swept by the Orioles at home for the first time in the franchise's 51 year history. And in this series, the Twins failed to score more than one run in all four of their games. following the game, the Twins traded DH Jim Thome, Target Field's all time home run leader, to Cleveland.

But I am not here to dwell on that series. I'm going to take a shot at what was a hot topic last offseason, and should be again this offseason: The fences at Target Field.

You may remember last offseason, Justin Morneau pleaded with the Twins front office to move the fences in. But seeing that the Twins had one of the best home records in the league, the team dismissed Morneau's request, despite the drop in power from a team that was supposed to hit many home runs.

This year, we've seen just about the same thing at home. The only change, the team has a worse record. And their power hitters (Mauer, Morneau, and Kubel) have seen a severe drop in power (Injuries have contributed to this too). There is no better example of that, than Buster Olney's tweet today, that since Justin Morneau's concussion last July, the Twins have just one home run from Mauer and Morneau at Target Field in 368 combined at bats (The homerun was via Joe Mauer, last August, his only TF homerun). Between the pair, they have hit a combined 5 home runs at Target Field, in the ballparks two year history (Morneau 4, Mauer 1).

If they offer up a suggestion to the Front Office to move in the fences in again, I highly suggest they take it. You are paying these two guys a combined $37 million dollars each season between 2011-2013. You are paying them to hit the ball in the seats. And please, don't take your pitching staff's opinion into account, because they have no issues giving up home runs with the fences the way they are.

The only player who could consistently hit the ball with authority in Target Field was Jim Thome. He had hit 21 home runs in the ballpark (Leads all players), before being traded yesterday. And now that he is gone, you need your power hitters to step up and hit the ball out of the park. And the only way to do that right now, is move the fences in.

So please, Twins hierarchy. Make this happen. Move your fences in. Let your star players do what you pay them to do. Hit home runs.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Farewell Jim Thome

Today, the Twins and Indians finalized a deal that sent Jim Thome back to Cleveland. Who the Twins are getting in return has yet to be determined. The slugger was claimed by the Tribe on waivers Wednesday and had to waive his no trade clause to finalize the deal. A good move for the Indians, who lost their DH Travis Hafner this past week with an injury. Thome also is returning to the team he originally came up with (1991-2002), and hopefully he can spark a Tribe run to the postseason.

Personally, this is a bittersweet move. I have loved every minute of having Jim Thome in a Twins uniform. He gave us the defining moment of the inaugural season at Target Field.

And this season, he gave us a great moment in baseball history as he launched his 600th home run in a game against the Tigers.

As I said, its been great watching Thome play for the Twins. And if I had one regret, its the fact I do not own a Thome shirt, jersey, or autograph. But none the less, he gave us some epic blasts that we will never forget. And now, all I can do is hope the Tribe takes off from his arrival, and somehow gets into the postseason to get him a shot at a ring. Because we all know, Jim Thome deserves a World Series ring.

Thanks for the memories Jim.

Monday, August 22, 2011

A Few Good Notes: The Little Things, Disabled List, Tickets, and a Draft Pick

  • Yesterday, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire spoke on his weekly appearance on 1500 ESPN, and he said he was tired of certain players making the same mistakes. These things are those "little things" that the Twins did so well for years. It was more directed at the younger players on his team. He also hinted that they may need to be more forceful in the minor leagues about this stuff. The Twins need to be much more forceful on this in the minors because the little things, have cost the Twins big time this season.
  • Yesterday was supposed to be the day Michael Cuddyer returned from a neck injury that he suffered on the 12th in batting practice in Cleveland. But, he did not. And Cuddyer has yet to be placed on the disabled list despite the fact he has not played in 10 days. This is something that has always bothered me. The Twins are so reluctant to put players on the disabled list, they sacrifice a roster spot for a player who will be out 7-10 days. We recently saw this with Denard Span, who the team waited a few days before he got put on the DL. This is a trend that needs to stop. Not particulary this season anymore, but going forward in the future.
  • The Twins announced that their season ticket prices for 2012 will not change from their 2011 prices. This is a big push for them to keep their 25,000+ season ticket holders in spite of the teams poor performance this season. But they are going to need a big offseason to help keep that number up there.
  • Yesterday, Aaron Gleeman tweeted that the Twins are in line to get the #5 pick in next years MLB Draft. And since 2001's #1 overall pick (Mauer), they haven't picked higher than 14th. If the Twins do continue at this pace, I would be very pleased to see them get a top 10, and more likely top 5, pick. Then it would be great to draft a pitcher that could potentially become the future ace of this team.
  • Apologies for the lack of posts on here lately. I have been real busy with work, and I have spent some more time getting my new blog on the Minnesota Wild up and running. So I should be back to getting stuff regularly on here now.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Jim Thome Hits Career Home Run #600

Every so often, we get to see a great baseball accomplishment. And most times, its always from afar. But on Monday night, we got to see a great baseball milestone firsthand. We watched Jim Thome blast his way into select company, as he hit career home runs #599 and #600 as the Twins defeated the Detroit Tigers 9-6. Jim became just the 8th member of the 600 home run club, joining Barry Bonds, Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Sammy Sosa, Ken Griffey Jr, and Alex Rodriguez. It was really quite something to watch this while Thome donned a Twins uniform. And perhaps, we may never see something like this again from a Twins player. This will probably be his last great achievement until he is receiving his plaque in Cooperstown. Congrats to Jim and his family on a truly great accomplishment.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Twins Trade Delmon Young

This afternoon, the Twins traded OF Delmon Young to the Detroit Tigers for LHP Cole Nelson and a player to be named later. This coming as the team gets set to open up a three game set against Detroit tonight, in the Motor City.

Young has been having a dismal season batting .266 with 4 HR and 32 RBI in 84 games played. This coming off an impressive 2010 season where he hit .298 with 21 HR and 112 RBI. His time in the lineup in the second half this year has been limited due to his poor outfield defense and the emergence of Ben Revere as a reliable outfielder for the Twins. Delmon has one year of arbitration left, but was expected to be non tendered by the Twins due to his high salary and poor production.

Cole Nelson, the prospect the Twins acquired in this trade, is in his first full season of professional baseball. He has spent the 2011 season with the Lakeland Flying Tigers of the Florida State League (Class A Advanced), going 5-11 with a 4.87 ERA in 26 games played (17 starts). Since the beginning of July, Nelson has been moved to the bullpen (reaching his innings pitched limit, I assume?) and has been effective going 1-1 with a 2.86 ERA in his last 10 games. He will probably finish out the season with the Fort Myers Miracle (Twins Class A Advanced affiliate).

I personally think this is a good move for the Twins. They were going to have to move an outfielder this offseason because of the good play of Ben Revere this year. Had the Twins just waited until the offseason, they would of just non tendered him and got nothing in return. Hopefully, the player to be named later will turn out to be a good prospect as well, but I'm guessing thats depending on how well Delmon plays for the Tigers to close out the season.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The New All Time Twins Saves Leader

Congrats to Joe Nathan on becoming the All Times Twins leader tonight. He surpassed Rick Aguilera, with his 255th save as a member of the Twins, and his 256th save overall in his career. Joe was acquired (along with Francisco Liriano and Boof Bonser) in November of 2003 from the Giants for catcher AJ Pierzynski. Congrats Joe!!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

The Ugly Gets Uglier

For anyone who went to see or watched the Twins this past weekend, you saw one absolutely abysmal baseball. Perhaps the worst we have seen them play under manager Ron Gardenhire. And to make it worse, they got their you know what handed to them by their punching bag over the past decade, the Chicago White Sox. And the White Sox aren't exactly a good team right now.

So one colored Sox (White) team leaves town, another (Red) comes in for a three game set starting Monday. And fresh off a come from behind victory against the Yankees, now is not the best time for the Twins to bump in to the Red Sox. And the Red Sox are playing at a ridiculous pace following their 2-10 start (68-33 since, .673 win pct) But it only gets worse from there.

After the Red Sox pay Minneapolis a visit, the Twins are traveling to Central contenders Cleveland and Detroit. Teams who the Twins could only muster a 3-5 record against, in a mid July homestand. Then come home for four with the team they can never seemingly beat, the New York Yankees.

And as I before said, the Twins played absolutely awful baseball over the weekend. And they can not afford to carry that into this upcoming stretch. Well...its more like we, the fans, can't afford to have them play like they have. Its too painful to watch.

With this upcoming schedule, you have to think how the front office stood pat at the trade deadline. They either should of made this team better, or sold off some key assets and help replenish a farm system that is in rough shape. And with the team playing very inconsistent, it would of made sense to sell. Because lets face it, this is a team going nowhere but down...

Sunday, July 31, 2011

2011 MLB Trade Deadline

Good morning everyone. I was rather relieved when I woke up to see that Denard Span is still a member of the Minnesota Twins. But, that can change in the next four and a half hours. It makes me very nervous that Span is being talked about. I'm still trying to wrap my head around the fact that A) The Rockies traded Ubaldo Jimenez, and B) The Cleveland Indians were the team that traded for him. Heard he needs to pass a physical today for the deal to be finalized. So that could be interesting...

So I will be updating this with news from not only the Twins, but other deals and rumors that go on around Major League Baseball today. I will also offer up some opinions on the deal as well. Lets dive in:

3:10-This will be my last update on this post today. But I'm glad the Twins chose to stand pat rather than trade. And if your wondering why they did not get any relievers, the price was simply too steep today. But that should go down in August, so look for some outside help to come then.

3:05-One last trade gets through, as the Red Sox land Mariners SP Erik Bedard. It would also appear that the Twins stand pat at the deadline, and keep Denard Span (YES!!!). He will more than likely be rejoining the team Tuesday in Anaheim.

3:00-The deadline is here. It looks as if our final deal of the day will be Ryan Ludwick to Pittsburgh. But who knows, some deals don't get announced until after the deadline. So we shall see what happens.

2:45-SPAN UPDATE: It would appear that the Twins and Nationals won't be making a deal today involving CF Denard Span. Jon Morosi just tweeted that they two sides are not close on a deal. And with just fifteen minutes left, thats something Twins fans have really wanted to hear.

2:30-Joe Christensen reports that the Twins chances of making a move in the next 30 minutes are bleak. So it would appear, the team is standing pat today. Also, Buster Olney tweets that Ubaldo Jimenez has passed his physical and the trade sending him to Cleveland has been ok'd.

2:25-SPAN UPDATE: Denard Span is in the Rochester Red Wings lineup tonight (5:35 PM start) batting leadoff, playing CF. This could change of course but its worth noting. Also, Jon Morosi now reporting that Padres OF Ryan Ludwick is close to being traded to Pittsburgh. This is a move Pittsburgh really needs to make.

2:20: Verlander loses no hitter with two outs in the eight on a hit by Maicer Izturis. 3-2 Tigers

2:15-Twins beat writer Rhett Bollinger of states in his blog that it appears the Twins are more likely to stand pat today. So it would appear that Bill Smith would rather wait to see if the Twins can perhaps make a run, then add some players later on. But note that the players would have to clear waivers first if no deal is reached before 3 PM today. And as I write this, Justin Verlander almost loses his no hitter, but was given an error on his throw to first. So Verlander still has a no hitter going in the eight inning.

2:00-One hour till the deadline. One hour till the Twins game. This is intense. Haha

1:55-Tigers P Justin Verlander is carrying a no hitter through 7 innings in his start today against the Angels. I will continue to update this in the timeline as well. This is the third time Verlander has carried a no hitter past the 7th inning, this season. Also, Richard Justice now reporting that the Wandy Rodriguez to Cleveland deal has cooled off. But still surprised to hear Cleveland is in on him though.

1:50-Richard Justice of the Houston Chronicle is reporting that the Astros are close to trading SP Wandy Rodriguez to Cleveland, yes Cleveland, for two minor leaguers. If this is true, Cleveland is going all in to win in the next couple of years. And they are building a pretty solid rotation as well.

1:35-Rosenthal's report was incorrect. It's Mike Adams, not Heath Bell, going to Texas. The deal was just announced by Texas, making it offical. The Rangers are sending a couple of prospects back to San Diego in return. So Heath Bell is still a Padre for the moment. But that could change at any moment...

1:25-Ken Rosehthal reporting that the Rangers have a deal in place to get Padres closer Heath Bell. I definitely did not think Bell would leave the National League. I wonder now if he will close for Texas or will setup Neftali Feliz?

1:10-Again, we have hit a dead spot. It has gone quiet. Probably will get hot real soon and that will carry on through the deadline.

12:40-Jon Morosi of Fox Sports just tweeted that the Twins are not trading Kubel today. So it would appear right now that the Twins are just standing pat unless they pull the trigger on another trade for some relief pitching, or go back to the Span/Storen trade. I still believe they need to acquire relievers without sacrificing a player like Denard Span. As before mentioned, the Twins have inquired about the Jays' Jon Rauch. So we may see some moves yet.

12:35-SPAN UPDATE Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports and Scott Miller of CBS Sports now tweeting that the Twins believe the Span/Storen trade will not happen today. I'll hold my celebrations until the clock hits zero.

12:15-Joe Christensen of the Star Tribune just reported that the Twins have kicked the tires with Toronto on former Twin Jon Rauch. And as Joe says, no deal is close. Honestly, I'll take him at this point. Twins need relief help terribly. Its so bad they are considering trading their starting centerfielder to get some in return.

12:05-Bob Nightengale of USA Today now reporting that the Oakland A's and Arizona Diamondbacks have agreed to a deal that will send relief pitcher Brad Ziegler to Arizona. Not sure what the A's will get in return (probably a low end prospect or two). Ziegler pitched two-thirds of an inning last night against the Twins and struck out one. He carries a 2.39 ERA in 43 games this season. Was hoping the Twins would perhaps give him a look today.

11:50-Lots of talk today around Astros SP Wandy Rodriguez. Sounds like the Yankees are inquiring on what it would take to get the lefty in the Bronx. If he goes today (heard its 50/50 at this point of happening), the Astros would be defined as having a fire sale. Although GM Ed Wade said earlier today they are not having a fire sale. Pence, Bourn, and Wandy Rodriguez...sounds like a fire sale to me.

11:40-SPAN UPDATE: Keith Law just tweeted that the Nationals and Twins are fighting over Nats prospect Steve Lombardozzi Jr. So perhaps this has been the snag that has kept this deal from happening. Maybe they will get so mad at each other this deal blows up! (Gotta have positive thoughts!)

11:30-Its been pretty quiet in the last half hour. In fact, its been so quiet that it makes you think that something big is coming (Hopefully not a Span/Storen trade). It should start getting real busy soon. Also keep in mind there are games starting on 30 minutes. So we might see more players pulled off the field today.

11:00-SPAN UPDATE: SI and MLB Network analyst Jon Heyman just said on MLB Network that he believes the Span for Storen deal will happen. Ken Rosenthal also said that the deal is stalled right now due to a disagreement as to the other players that will be a part of the deal. I just want this to go away.

10:55-Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review just tweeted that the Pirates number one target today is Twins OF Jason Kubel. Still unheard of whether the Twins have decided to trade him.

10:50-SPAN UPDATE: This is more old news, but here's what is being said by national media this morning regarding the Span/Storen deal. ESPN's Tim Kurkjian reported that the chances of a deal getting done today is around 50/50 and that the Nationals could look at getting Justin Upton. Then a few minutes later, SI's Jon Heyman tweeted that he was told by a rival executive that he believes that the Nationals will give into the Twins because they want Span very badly. For those wondering, I'm still standing firm on my belief that trading Denard Span is a huge mistake.

10:30-This is kind of old, but still worth noting. Astros dealt OF Michael Bourn to Atlanta for four prospects. Houston dealt Hunter Pence on Friday, and Bourn today. So...who are they trying to build their team around? Not a good weekend to be a Houston fan. Good move for Atlanta. They needed a good outfielder, and got one. Braves should be a lock now to get in the postseason as a Wild Card, at the very least.