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Buxton Replacement? Don't bother, he's already h...

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 02:07 AM
Don't get me wrong, I like Buxton.  But potential is just that, until it isn't.  At the end of last season, he looked much bett...
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Twins option Mejia to AAA, put Haley on DL

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 01:13 AM
https://mobile.twitt...916165142589442 http://www.cbssports...-biceps-injury/ Let the corresponding roster move speculation begin
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Trade Deadline

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 12:27 AM
What are some possible trades by the deadline?
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Article: Ervin Santana Is Legit

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 11:25 PM
Maybe it's the team's history with free agents. Perhaps it is the perpetual up-and-down pattern of his career. Or maybe it's just a well...
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Article: Twins Minor League Report (4/22): Controversial...

Twins Minor League Talk Yesterday, 10:29 PM
The Red Wings faced some of the top prospects in the game, Randy LeBlanc extended his scoreless-innings streak, the Kernals somehow manag...
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Camp Opens: Twins News Rundown

Happy Pitchers and Catchers Report Day! It's an annual holiday on the baseball calendar, marking the official onset of this seven-week ramp-up to the regular season. On Monday, all Minnesota Twins battery members will check into camp, if they haven't already. On Tuesday, they will hold their first workouts. Then, this weekend, position players will join the fray and next Sunday will mark the first full team workout. Grapefruit League games commence in 11 days.

As things get underway, let's run through some of the latest team news, with an eye to sizing up the most compelling early spring storylines.
Image courtesy of Kim Klement, USA Today
* Byung Ho Park passed through waivers so he will be among the non-roster invites in camp. Ostensibly he'll be competing with Kennys Vargas and others for the DH job, but it would seem that Park will have a tough hill to climb.

When we were recording a podcast shortly after the new front office leadership was installed, I recall Parker making a point about how this regime will view certain players very differently from the last one. They didn't scout and acquire any of these assets, so Derek Falvey and Thad Levine have minimal personal investment.'

Park appears to be a clear case of this. Last offseason, the Twins were so high on the Korean star they coughed up a $12.8 million posting fee, made a four-year contractual commitment, and ultimately pigeonholed one of their best young players out of position to make room for him.

Now, after one season in the States, Park has evidently lost all luster in the eyes of team decision-makers. When the Twins signed veteran reliever Matt Belisle, they could have designated Michael Tonkin or Danny Santana, either of whom will be exposed to waivers at the end of March if they don't make the roster. Instead, they chose Park. If he were claimed it would have taken $9 million off the books, but also would have meant chalking up the $15 million upfront investment as a complete loss.

That doesn't sound like something Terry Ryan would do, especially if he harbored a belief that Park's disappointing rookie season was hindered by a wrist injury that eventually required surgery.

But we're not in Terry Ryan territory anymore. And Park passed through waivers, indicating that the rest of the league's teams share a similar view to Falvey and Levine. One wonders what the 30-year-old would need to do this spring to change it.

* Rehabbing from last June's shoulder surgery, Glen Perkins was playing catch in Ft. Myers by January and hoped to take another important step last week: throwing from a mound. One day before the planned bullpen session, though, he and his trainers decided to push it back, citing renewed soreness.

This development is not encouraging, but also not surprising. Labrum surgery can generally carry a lengthy recovery window of nine months or more; Perkins is a 33-year-old whose operation was more extensive than most. Bumps in the road are to be expected, and the southpaw himself acknowledges that. He'll give it a go on Tuesday and could generate some nice early-spring positivity if it goes well.

On another note, whenever Perkins hangs up the cleats, he might have a future in writing. His foreword for the Baseball Prospectus 2017 Annual was an excellent read. The book also includes a Twins feature from Parker, and was all put together by our friend Aaron Gleeman, so I definitely recommend grabbing a copy to prep yourself for the coming season.

* Speaking of strong writing, over the weekend the imitable Phil Miller had a great piece in the Star Tribune examining the odd dynamic between an aging lame duck manager and a fresh, young executive duo that is transparently future-focused.

For Molitor, winning in 2017 is vital. For Falvey and Levine, this year is nothing but a step to where they want to get. It's a learning experience and an opportunity to actively assess all that they've inherited. One of those things is a manager on a one-year contract.

When a team that, on paper, looks perfectly capable of competing and playing .500 ball goes on to lose 103 games... well, Molitor says it best in the story: "That doesn't reflect very well on the manager."

But the truth is, it doesn't reflect well on anyone. And while some are flummoxed by Jim Pohlad's continuing allegiance to the Hall of Famer, I will say I'm glad that he and Falvey will have a chance to overlap. You can take issue with Molitor's managing from up close or afar, but if you spend any time talking to the man you will not doubt his intuition for the game. Pairing him with an analytical mind like Falvey on day-to-day operations – especially at a time where Molitor will necessarily be very open to new approaches – could yield fruitful results. I'm curious to see how it plays out.

* Our 2017 Minnesota Twins Top Prospect series kicked off last week with my profiles of our choices for 16 through 20 and Seth's takes on 11 through 15.

Today, Parker kicks off our one-by-one countdown of the Top 10 with a look at 20-year-old Dominican slugger Lewin Diaz. Make sure to give it a read, and tune in each day over the next two weeks to learn all about the organization's brightest upcoming talents.

* For a fifth straight year, Twins Daily will be providing on-site coverage of Minnesota Twins spring training from Fort Myers, FL throughout the month of March. Parker, Seth, John and myself will alternately be on hand to cover games, snap photos/videos, and chat with players and personnel. Unrestrained by column inches or any concept of what is too minute or trivial to print, we promise to deliver the deepest and most comprehensive reporting from Twins camp that you will find anywhere.

With temperatures rising and snow melting in Minnesota, it looks like Mother Nature is taking her cue from the baseball calendar. Spring is coming.

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30 Comments

Are there any indications on how Trevor May will be used yet?

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HitInAPinch
Feb 13 2017 03:12 AM

I don't know if this is true or not, however.......

 

My view is:I wouldn't necessarily say Park has lost his luster with decision-makers.I'm thinking Falvey and Levine were always looking to match Park against Vargas. 

 

Putting Park on waivers was a strategic move to NOT lose either Park or Vargas, but to force a fight between the 2 for DH rights.And, of the 2, Vargas would be the more likely to be claimed off waivers.So, IF management chooses Park over Vargas, Vargas is the more tradeable commodity.Granted, he still won't get a lot, but it will be something. And a $25M investment in Park is still a significant number. 

 

Should be fun to watch!

    • James, Mike Frasier Law and d-mac like this
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theBOMisthebomb
Feb 13 2017 07:29 AM
With global warming changing winter here in the frozen tundra, why not move spring training to an exotic southern location such as Lakeville so the locals can enjoy it?
    • Nick Nelson, Blake, James and 3 others like this

I thought the inconsequential and frivolous were the hallmarks of Twins Daily. Twins Daily is actually a serious baseball site with reverence toward the greatest game on earth? Wow, I guess my game threads have been a bit irreverent and maybe not well suited to Twins Daily.

 

This is a revelation to me. I may have to adjust my writing style to reflect this new-found wisdom.

 

Nah....*

 

Seriously, though, I'm looking forward to a new year of Twins Daily. 

 

Play ball!!

 

*I need to get ready for the season, too!

    • Nick Nelson, ScrapTheNickname and James like this
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Nick Nelson
Feb 13 2017 08:47 AM

 

Are there any indications on how Trevor May will be used yet?

He's entering camp as a starter. 

    • HitInAPinch likes this
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Nick Nelson
Feb 13 2017 09:50 AM

Correcting one item from this piece: the official report date for Twins pitchers and catchers is tomorrow, not today. It had originally been scheduled for Feb 13th so I'm not sure why/when it was pushed back. Not that it really makes much difference.

There are other threads on this but I feel like we didn't give enough kudos to the new regime for the Park waivers process. I know people are deservedly down on Danny San and Tonkin but those guys have some value (Tonkin has upside and could make the pen while Danny Santana's versatility could be useful if the Twins get banged up coming out of spring training and need a utility guy for OF and IF) and the Twins bought time on both guys. The FO read the waiver process perfectly and were able to get Belisle while losing nothing. I'm not sure that TR would have had the imagination and guts to do it - definitely a good sign that no one on TD even saw it coming and it worked out so well.

    • Nick Nelson, big dog and Dozier's Glorious Hair like this

 

I don't know if this is true or not, however.......

 

My view is:I wouldn't necessarily say Park has lost his luster with decision-makers.I'm thinking Falvey and Levine were always looking to match Park against Vargas. 

 

Putting Park on waivers was a strategic move to NOT lose either Park or Vargas, but to force a fight between the 2 for DH rights.And, of the 2, Vargas would be the more likely to be claimed off waivers.So, IF management chooses Park over Vargas, Vargas is the more tradeable commodity.Granted, he still won't get a lot, but it will be something. And a $25M investment in Park is still a significant number. 

 

Should be fun to watch!

 

Yeah I don't know if they're down on him either.

 

I think they just looked at the 40 and said, "Park's contract and the depth of the 1B market makes him the guy we are least likely to lose. We'd like to keep all of our chips on the table." There should be space on the 40 as bullpen and backup decisions are made in six weeks - easy to move Park back on.

 

Still likely Vargas's job to lose. The switch hitting is nice.

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Nick Nelson
Feb 13 2017 10:28 AM

Definitely a good read, and you're right -- commendable strategy. Even in light of the market, I remain a LITTLE surprised no one claimed him. Basically they opened the door for anyone to take the same chance they did at less than half the financial commitment. And even through the struggles last year Park showed some things. He had a 900 OPS in mid-May. Some of those home runs were straight up majestic.

    • Steve Lein, James, Oldgoat_MN and 1 other like this
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ChiTownTwinsFan
Feb 13 2017 11:41 AM

Correcting one item from this piece: the official report date for Twins pitchers and catchers is tomorrow, not today. It had originally been scheduled for Feb 13th so I'm not sure why/when it was pushed back. Not that it really makes much difference.


And is the official first practice pushed back to the 15th then? It was report by the 13th, first official practice on the 14th so if one was pushed back I assume the other was, too. Although considering the numbers already there, not sure it matters other than the required officialness of it.

 

And is the official first practice pushed back to the 15th then? It was report by the 13th, first official practice on the 14th so if one was pushed back I assume the other was, too. Although considering the numbers already there, not sure it matters other than the required officialness of it.

Are you heading down there this year, Chi? 

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ChiTownTwinsFan
Feb 13 2017 11:49 AM

Are you heading down there this year, Chi?


Last two weeks of March. I actually prefer being there earlier, but that's just how my schedule worked out. And what time I have to be at the fields other than for games is still up in the air due to parental care needs ... and how many tennis games I can schedule. :)
    • Craig Arko and Vanimal46 like this

I think Park can beat out Vargas for the DH spot if he does two things. Consistently lay off the high inside fastball. He chased far too many high fastballs last year. He needs to learn to ignore the up the ladder pitches that are designed to get him to chase. Second pitch he chased frequently was the low slider outside. If he can learn to recognize those pitches from the video, he has a chance. Park has tremendous right handed power when he can catch a mistake. That is the easy stuff. The thing he needs to do now is to learn to drive fastballs up the middle, get on pitches he cannot necessarily jerk or pull out of the ballpark. BY Park's potential still intrigues me. He I believe will continue to work hard this spring. Park is in prove it mode this spring.

 

I have seen enough of Vargas to believe he just isn't a major league hitter. He just takes to many hittable pitches and is not aggressive enough in the strike zone. 

    • Nick Nelson, bluechipper and HitInAPinch like this
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Halsey Hall
Feb 13 2017 12:07 PM

 

And is the official first practice pushed back to the 15th then? It was report by the 13th, first official practice on the 14th so if one was pushed back I assume the other was, too. Although considering the numbers already there, not sure it matters other than the required officialness of it.

Actually today was just like an official practice. 

    • Craig Arko likes this

I still would love to know THE REAL STORY behind the Park signing. First off, the Twins won the bidding rights by basically being the only bidder for his services. Were they playing lip-service to the fan base by being in the mix for what appeared to be a power swinger from Korea, only to have it backfire when noi one else thought the aging rookie was work the posting fee.

 

Then the Twins made what could best be called a lowend offer to Park to playlongterm for the team AND HE ACCEPTED. Did Park know something the Twins didn't know? Plus the fact that you did pass him thru waivers and no one claimed him.

 

Yes, the posting fee is a big eat anyway you look at it. If the Twins could shed the rest of his contract, it would've been a bonus for the new regime.

 

Not to say that Park CAN'T REBOUND. But when you look at the bigger picture, do you want him or Vargas, is Sano the DH now or in the near future. It was a bad move and if the Twins were posturing for the sake of making themselves look competitive in the international market, than there was something wrong with the front office system bigtime.

 

But moving on...spirng training AND THE FUTURE has begun!

Did we win yet?
    • gil4, James, Vanimal46 and 2 others like this

 

Even in light of the market, I remain a LITTLE surprised no one claimed him. Basically they opened the door for anyone to take the same chance they did at less than half the financial commitment. 

What was the market for him last year when the Twins got him?  Weren't the Twins sort of shocked they got him for the $13M posting fee they bid?  That sort of tells me that even before he had MLB experience no one was willing to make a commitment to him.  Now that he has shown what type of MLB player he was for 1 year, the interest is even less.

 

Does anyone know who posted the 2nd most for Park last year?  And how much was it?

If 2017 is to be a one-year audition for Molitor, How do you think the new FO views these managenrial traits in level of importance and how do you think they'd currently grade the current manager in each?

 

In-game strategy

Managing the Lineup and pitching staff

Development of players 

Team chemistry

Media relations

 

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ChiTownTwinsFan
Feb 13 2017 01:47 PM

 

Actually today was just like an official practice. 

Just like ... yeah ... but not the OFFICIAL official first practice. As I said ... it doesn't really matter because players have been there working out and doing whatever already. I like this time of year best ...

 

I still would love to know THE REAL STORY behind the Park signing. First off, the Twins won the bidding rights by basically being the only bidder for his services. 

 

Does anyone know who posted the 2nd most for Park last year?  And how much was it?

I'm still looking for the details, but since this is a blind bidding process, there is no way to know for sure how much the second place bid was for.  I'm looking for the article, but I seem to remember reading that the 2nd place bid was not far off from the $12.85M though.  It looks like MLB Trade rumors stated there were multiple $10M+ offers out there though.

 

This article says that there were at least 12 teams involved with the bidding process, but there is no way to know which teams those were.  Here's another article that goes through a list of teams that put in bids for Park.

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HitInAPinch
Feb 13 2017 02:11 PM

 

I thought the inconsequential and frivolous were the hallmarks of Twins Daily. Twins Daily is actually a serious baseball site with reverence toward the greatest game on earth? Wow, I guess my game threads have been a bit irreverent and maybe not well suited to Twins Daily.

 

This is a revelation to me. I may have to adjust my writing style to reflect this new-found wisdom.

 

Nah....*

 

Seriously, though, I'm looking forward to a new year of Twins Daily. 

 

Play ball!!

 

*I need to get ready for the season, too!

5b53023a0e6eda295a1a74dd0ce9e92c.jpg

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HitInAPinch
Feb 13 2017 02:24 PM

 

Did we win yet?

 

comme ci comme ca.....

  • Neither good nor bad; so so; tolerable, passable, indifferent.
    • Blake likes this
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diehardtwinsfan
Feb 13 2017 02:51 PM

 

Are you heading down there this year, Chi? 

 

Anyone else heading down this year?I should be there March 24-26.

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diehardtwinsfan
Feb 13 2017 02:53 PM

 

I still would love to know THE REAL STORY behind the Park signing. First off, the Twins won the bidding rights by basically being the only bidder for his services. Were they playing lip-service to the fan base by being in the mix for what appeared to be a power swinger from Korea, only to have it backfire when noi one else thought the aging rookie was work the posting fee.

 

 

The real story would be interesting, but I'd love to know where you concluded that the Twins were the only bidder. Don't remember seeing that (though I could be wrong). 

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Winston Smith
Feb 13 2017 03:24 PM

 

I still would love to know THE REAL STORY behind the Park signing. First off, the Twins won the bidding rights by basically being the only bidder for his services. Were they playing lip-service to the fan base by being in the mix for what appeared to be a power swinger from Korea, only to have it backfire when noi one else thought the aging rookie was work the posting fee.

 

Then the Twins made what could best be called a lowend offer to Park to playlongterm for the team AND HE ACCEPTED. Did Park know something the Twins didn't know? Plus the fact that you did pass him thru waivers and no one claimed him.

 

Yes, the posting fee is a big eat anyway you look at it. If the Twins could shed the rest of his contract, it would've been a bonus for the new regime.

 

Not to say that Park CAN'T REBOUND. But when you look at the bigger picture, do you want him or Vargas, is Sano the DH now or in the near future. It was a bad move and if the Twins were posturing for the sake of making themselves look competitive in the international market, than there was something wrong with the front office system bigtime.

 

But moving on...spirng training AND THE FUTURE has begun!

I think both this signing and the Nishi signing were pushed by St Peter. Several times after both signings he talked about "expanding the Twins brand". Trading Hardy for nothing and bringing in an unproven Nishi didn't really make much baseball sense and bringing in Park with a roster full of 1B-DH types really didn't either.

 

IMO both of these were more marketing decisions and not baseball decisions.

    • gil4 and jimmer like this

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