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Cleveland MLB team reportedly considering name change

Other Baseball Today, 01:29 PM
This is an AP article I lifted from the StarTribune web site.   https://www.startrib...sure/571623572/
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Watch the Live Play-by-Play of the Virtual Twins Playoffs

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 01:03 PM
With the real Twins around the corner, I have elected to sim to the playoffs to try and tease how the real club will do this fall, and as...
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I think I miss baseball

Other Baseball Today, 12:56 PM
So I just picked up OOTP 21 on the Steam Summer Sale, and I played my first game.   It was a 21 inning game.I played it pitch by pit...
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Pineda Is Getting A Raw Deal If Something Doesn't Change

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 09:21 AM
I know this was discussed previously before MLB and most of the world stopped spinning in a normal fashion. But after baseball for 2020 a...
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FanGraphs: Conversation with Matt Canterino

Twins Minor League Talk Today, 08:07 AM
https://blogs.fangra...matt-canterino/   David Laurila of FanGraphs recently had a conversation with Twins pitching prospect Matt Ca...
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Recent Blogs


The Best Free Agent Signings in Twins History

Nelson Cruz clocked his 40th home run over the weekend and in the process became a member of the 400-home run club. Earlier in the year, I wrote about his unlikely quest for 400 home runs with the biggest caveat being that he didn’t hit his first home runs until he was 26 years old. Now he’s on the brink of one of the best seasons ever for a 39-year old player and it certainly looks like the Twins stole him on the free agent market.

So how does Cruz stack up against the other top free agents in Twins history?
Image courtesy of © Marilyn Indahl-USA TODAY Sports
Nelson Cruz (2019)
Baseball Reference WAR: 4.0
Cruz has smashed almost every designated hitter record in Twins history. He became only the third player in franchise history to hit 40 home runs following in the footsteps of Harmon Killebrew and Brian Dozier. He set the team’s DH records for home runs and RBIs and will add to those totals with a handful of games remaining this season. The influence of Cruz goes well beyond the numbers he has put up on the field as he has served in a mentor role to many players on the Twins roster. There’s no doubt in my mind that Miguel Sano wouldn’t have hit 30 home runs this season if not for the mentorship provided by Cruz.

Josh Willingham (2012)
Baseball Reference WAR: 3.3
Willingham doesn’t get as much reignition for his impact because he played on a pair of bad Twins teams. However, his 2012 campaign was one of the best in franchise history for a free agent signing. His defense was atrocious in the outfield, but he clubbed 35 home runs and collected 110 RBI, both career highs. He’d be out of the league after two more seasons, but it doesn’t take anything away from his first year in a Twins uniform. Like Cruz, he was credited with being a mentor to other players and he helped Brian Dozier turn in to a power-hitting threat in the years that followed his signing.

Jim Thome (2010)
Baseball Reference WAR: 3.6
At his signing,Thome was near the end of a career that led him to be enshrined in Cooperstown, but he had a little magic left in the tank during Target Fields’ first season. He hit 25 home runs, but it sure felt like a lot more with his foul pole shot and walk-off hits to help the club. Target Field was packed on a nightly basis and Thome was certainly helping the club on their way to the AL Central title. Heck, even Sports Illustrated did a story on him that season and it takes a lot for them to make their way to Minnesota. He hit his 600th home run while in a Twins uniform, but his impact on the club was felt long after he had left the city.

Jack Morris (1991)
Baseball Reference WAR: 4.3
Jack Morris only played one season in a Twins uniform, but it was certainly a memorable one. He went on to be an All-Star that season and pitched one of the greatest games in baseball history. At age 36, it would be his last All-Star appearance and it would be the last season he pitched over 245 innings. He led the American League in games started for only the second time in his career and he had 10 complete games to his credit by season’s end. He was a workhorse on a team that needed starting pitching help to reach the ultimate goal. Other pitchers like Kevin Tapani and Scott Erickson were able to outperform expectations that season and maybe Morris and his example were able to play a role in helping the team.

These are just a few of the team’s best free agent signings. Who was left off the list? Who would you rank as the team’s best free agent signing? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.

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26 Comments

 

Henry Blanco (2004) -- don't laugh too hard. He took over as starting catcher after Joe Mauer got hurt early in the season and did a pretty nice job for someone who was signed to be the backup catcher.

I think Blanco pretty much played like a backup catcher, just in more at-bats. 60 OPS+, -0.4 bWAR. Maybe he was a crazy good pitch framer or something, I suppose.

 

Joe Mauer got hurt on April 6, 2004. The Blue Jays signed Gregg Zaun on April 9 -- without Blanco in the fold, would we have signed Zaun instead? Zaun went on to post a 96 OPS+ and 2.3 bWAR that season for the Jays.

 

Not that it probably would have made much difference in the end. Although you could argue we should have signed someone like Zaun anyway, even with Blanco, and our season wouldn't have had to end with 41 year old Pat Borders on the field...


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