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  1. It's All Good in the Outfield

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ID:	1833Last year, Minnesota's outfield was a mess. Among players who put in significant time at an OF spot, only Michael Cuddyer and Jason Kubel posted an OPS over .700, and neither appeared in more than 77 games as on outfielder (Cuddyer due to Justin Morneau's injury, Kubel due to his own). This, along with Denard Span's costly injury, left a lot of at-bats for the likes of Delmon Young, Jason Repko, Rene Tosoni and a rookie Ben Revere, all of whom struggled mightily.
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  2. Nishioka Gets Another Shot

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Size:  20.5 KBSending Tsuyoshi Nishioka to the minors at the outset of this season was a fairly obvious decision, given his immense struggles as a rookie last year. Leaving him there for the majority of the summer has also been an easy choice, as his play in Triple-A has offered no indication that he belongs in the big leagues.

    That remains true now, after a "hot" month of July in which Nishioka batted .298 but posted a meager .702 OPS, but nevertheless the Twins elected ...
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  3. Wimmers Goes Under the Knife

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ID:	1743An outcome that has long seemed inevitable became a reality today when it was announced that pitching prospect Alex Wimmers was slated to undergo Tommy John surgery. It's a major setback in a career that hasn't really been able to get off the starting block.

    The story leading up to this news is a familiar and frustrating one. Back in April, Wimmers landed on the disabled list after one start with what was thought to be a minor elbow strain. An MRI exam in ...
  4. Trade Flatline

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ID:	1715Tuesday's 3:00 PM trade deadline came and went with Minnesota, for a second consecutive year, standing pat.

    There's a lot of frustration being directed toward the Twins, who unlike other cellar-dwellers around the league weren't able to unload assets for impact prospects. Their only trade sent Francisco Liriano to the White Sox for a meager return. In short, the franchise did very little to aid its rebuilding effort.

    But, in reflecting on ...
  5. Hard Truths

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ID:	1702When the news came down this weekend that the Twins had traded Francisco Liriano to the White Sox for a pair of middling 23-year-old prospects, the reaction around here was understandably negative. The same questions echoed in the minds of fans across the state.

    Why did the Twins deal Liriano in the wake of his worst start of the season?

    Why did they back away from their stated goal of adding young, high-upside talent?

    And why ...
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  6. Trade Target Team Profile: San Francisco Giants

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    San Francisco leads Los Angeles by a game and a half for the NL West lead. As is typically the case, the G-Men have excelled on the mound, ranking fourth in the NL in ERA, while struggling on offense, ranking 11th in runs per game.

    The Dodgers have proven pesky and the Diamondbacks currently six games back are always a threat to make a late-season run (last year they went 45-25 after the break), so one would have to think the Giants ...

    Updated 07-24-2012 at 09:29 PM by Nick Nelson

  7. Frankie's Final Start?

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Size:  8.5 KBOn Monday night, Francisco Liriano is scheduled to make his 130th start in a Twins uniform. It might also be his last.

    With 25 strikeouts over his last two starts and a 2.84 ERA since the start of May, Liriano is the hottest pitcher in baseball. He also might be the most appealing rental available on the trade market, with Zack Greinke's market cooling and Cole Hamels perhaps closing in on an extension with the Phillies.

    Just over a week remains ...
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  8. Trade Target Team Profile: Los Angeles Angels

    Mike Trout is leading the Angels on a blistering midseason tear.The Big Picture
    When the Angels skidded to an 18-25 start, many in Anaheim were hitting the panic button. After the most aggressive offseason of any club in baseball, the offense was flatlining thanks in large part to the remarkable struggles of LA's marquee acquisition: Albert Pujols.

    Akin to the 2006 Twins, who reversed course after a 25-33 start to win 96 games, the Angels have gone on a midseason tear, with rookie and MVP frontrunner Mike Trout ...
  9. Ten Second-Half Storylines

    Last night I posted an article musing about what it might take for the Twins to get back into the AL Central race in the second half. It was mostly the stuff of pipe dreams, naturally, since the club would need to play .650-plus baseball and leapfrog four teams, requiring an historically unprecedented turnaround. Nevertheless, it was a fun escape from the painful realities of a lost season. (At least for those who were willing to play along.)

    Even accepting those realities, there will ...
  10. What Would It Take To Come Back?

    Here at the All-Star break, the Twins find themselves 11 games out of first place, with a record 13 games below .500. The most likely scenario is that they sell off their assets within the next couple weeks and coast to a forgettable finish near the bottom of the division.

    But just what would it take for the Twins to surge back to the top of the division here in the second half? Anyone would have to admit that it's still possible, if extremely improbable. We've seen this team make up ...
  11. Scorecard Excerpt: Post-Break Bursts

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ID:	1496If you're not familiar with the Twins' Official Scorecard, you should be. It's sold at the program stands near the entrances to Target Field, and it's only one buck. How many things can you buy at the ballgame for a dollar? Aside from providing the necessary tools for a scorekeeper to do his/her thing, the scorecard also includes content that changes for each series. Even if I didn't happen to be the guy supplying that content all year, I'd highly recommend picking up ...
  12. Trade Target Team Profile: New York Yankees

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ID:	1467The Big Picture
    The Bronx Bombers have made the playoffs in seven of the past eight years but have reached the World Series only once, when they beat the Phillies in 2009. For most teams, one championship in eight years would be perfectly adequate, but not for the Yankees. This is a franchise that appeared in the Fall Classic six times in nine years prior to their latest "drought."

    Now, with a 48-32 record that qualifies as second-best in baseball (behind ...
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  13. Are Span's Days in Minnesota Numbered?

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ID:	1440Since he was first called up in 2008, Denard Span has been an integral cog for the Twins. He's also been a joy to watch. He plays hard, brings a great approach to the plate, offers very solid defense in center, and is good with the fans.

    Yeah, it's fair to say that I'm a big fan of Span. So I'm going to make sure to savor watching what will very likely be his final month in a Twins uniform.

    There are a number of factors that lead me to believe ...
  14. Twins Ink Doumit to Two-Year Extension

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ID:	1416Cross one name off the trade deadline "selling" list. Ryan Doumit is here to stay at least for the foreseeable future.

    Pleased with the impact of their offseason acquisition, the Twins announced Friday that they've signed the backup catcher and frequent DH to a two-year contract extension worth $7 million.

    As the 2011 season came to a close, it had become clear that the catcher position was in drastic need of an upgrade. Joe Mauer, battling ...
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