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    by 07-24-2014, 12:50 PM
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    We are now less than a week from the July 31 trade deadline, and more moves have been made in recent days. On Wednesday, the Tigers acquired reliever Joakim Soria for a couple of minor leaguer. So far, we have look at a couple of Twins Trade Candidates, Kurt Suzuki and Kevin Correia. Today, we continue this series by considering Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.

    When Terry Ryan reclaimed the GM duties in the fall of 2011, he acted quickly to the Twins roster by signing three hitters. Before signing Jamey Carroll and Ryan Doumit, Ryan inked Josh WIllingham to a three year, $18 million contract. At the time, it was the biggest free agent contract that the Twins
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    by 07-23-2014, 11:27 PM
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    After giving up four runs in a brutal relief outing on Tuesday night, Matt Guerrier was designated for assignment on Wednesday, following in the footsteps of fellow failed reclamation projects Jason Bartlett and Jason Kubel.

    The Twins raised some eyebrows during the offseason when they brought back the three former fixtures on minor-league deals. It was hard to find fault with those moves at the time, as they were non-guaranteed contracts that inherently carried no risk.

    Unfortunately, it appears that each of the signings came with an implicit assurance that the player would receive a chance in the big leagues, regardless
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    by 07-23-2014, 11:24 PM
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    What an interesting day in Twins Territory!

    It was announced this afternoon that the Twins were awarded the 4th pick in Comp Round B of the 2015 MLB Draft. (This is fantastic news... especially for me!) Adding a pick like this will give the Twins around $800,000 extra in their draft pool.

    Shortly after that, the Twins completed an Anthony Swarzak-led victory. And after that, Matt Guerrier was designated for assignment.

    Of course, you can't be a Twins fan and expect all (or mostly all) good news... so Kohl Stewart was scratched from his start tonight with "a little shoulder soreness". If I had to guess, I'd say the smart money would be on shutting him down for the rest of the season, which is only a handful of starts anyway. My personal target was 100 innings for Stewart this year, which he was likely to eclipse, but those 19 innings might now be hard to come by.

    Also of note: Taylor Rogers was placed on the 7-day DL today. Alex Wimmers joins the Rock Cats to take his place. Max Kepler was placed on the DL in Fort Myers and Rafael Valera comes over from the
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    by 07-23-2014, 09:14 PM
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    Sponsored by Ticket King

    It hasn't been that long since Twins fans touted the Twins/White Sox rivalry as one of baseball’s best. No, it was never in the same category as Yankees/Red Sox, but there was a most definitely a rivalry. In fact, it got ugly at times. Consider from 2001 through 2010, the White Sox or Twins won the AL Central title nine times. They finished first and second in the division five of those ten seasons.

    The pinnacle of that stretch came in Game 163 of the 2008 season when Jim Thome’s blast off of Nick Blackburn gave the White Sox a 1-0 win and the division crown. Of course, one of my favorite moments in White Sox/Twins history came on August 18, 2010, when Jim Thome launched a mammoth blast for the Twins off Matt Thornton in the bottom of the
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    by 07-23-2014, 02:17 AM
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    As a self-proclaimed baseball analyst, I can say that there is nothing more difficult to gauge than a minor league prospect. There is little information available at the fingertips compared to major league players. But beyond that, there is perhaps nothing more difficult to gauge than a prospect at rookie ball where the data, video and observations are as rare as fine dining in their clubhouse.

    That said, a recent review of MLBFarm.com’s statistical warehouse -- a website which is enhancing and forwarding the availability of previously unknown data -- revealed that a majority of the balls put in play by Twins prospect and first round draft Nick Gordon were going to left field, a curiosity considering
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    by 07-23-2014, 12:12 AM
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    Many were frustrated when the Twins signed Kevin Correia to a multi-year contract in December of 2012.

    It wasn't the price -- $10 million over two years is a fair rate for a No. 5 starter. It was the fact that, after a 99-loss season in which the rotation was terrible, their biggest offseason signing was a No. 5 starter.

    To his credit, unlike so many free agents, Correia came as advertised, and maybe a little better. He's been completely healthy in his two seasons with the Twins and has posted a 4.40 ERA. While below average, that's not a terrible mark for the guy at the tail end of your rotation.

    Of course, Correia hasn't really functioned as
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    by 07-22-2014, 03:30 PM
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    Seth and Jeremy were back for another edition of Twins Hangouts.

    Jeremy recapped his Kernels trip (and baseball-filled week) at :02. Seth and Jeremy both shared their mid-season Top 10, with lots of details (:10) and that conversation lasted 39 minutes.

    At the 49-minute mark, the conversation turned into trade deadline talk before discussing Saturday's possible starting pitcher at 1:17.

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    by 07-22-2014, 08:27 AM
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    The Cedar Rapids Kernels dropped an ugly 5-2 game to the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers back on July 9 and Kernels manager Jake Mauer clearly was not a happy man afterward.

    His line-up had left eight runners stranded in scoring position on the night and played some shoddy defense in a loss on a night when Kernels pitching combined to strike out 13 opposing hitters.

    “We’re going to have some changes,” Mauer promised that night, in a post-game interview.

    (This article
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    by 07-22-2014, 06:47 AM
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    The Twins game was a trip yesterday. Not only did the Twins and Anthony Swarzak grab an unanticipated win from Cleveland, but I have several fans stop me at Target Field and tell me how excited they were about the crawl. It was awesome. I told them to get their tickets early. That turned out to be even better advice when I started seeing posters for the Touch ‘Em All Pub Crawl sponsored by Proximo Spirits at Mason’s.

    And then I got to see Brock’s great t-shirt design, to the right. "Cappacino and Cream" is the color choice for 2014.

    So let’s put a pretty little bow on things.
    1. Tomorrow morning you’re going to want to click on this link (it'll be active tomorrow) to buy tickets. We’re selling them at cost for $50 on Friday only and go up to $60 after, and
    www.milb.com
    by 07-22-2014, 01:25 AM
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    So here's the deal: I spent the last 90 minutes typing up the minor league report only to have the whole thing vanish when trying to add the picture you see over there. If it was 10:30... fine, I could handle that. But it's not. It's 1:15 am and I just got worked over by my wife TWICE playing Ticket to Ride. Well, not just worked over. Worked over about three hours ago before I started to write my original piece.

    So instead of getting the full version, you're going to get a slightly expanded Jeremy's Twitter-like Minor League Report.

    RED WINGS (box scores are linked)

    Durham 5, Rochester 1

    Chris Rahl continues to hit well, but the team is starting to feel the effects of the Twins' playing
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    by 07-21-2014, 10:48 PM
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    As July comes to a close, the inevitable discussion (at least in Twins Territory) turns to what assets the team could/should part with. This season, as the team slowly but surely heads to a fourth straight 90-loss campaign, names like Kurt Suzuki, Kendrys Morales, Josh Willingham, Kevin Correia and even Brian Dozier have surfaced. But there's another player -- a guy that not as many are discussing, but who has more value, perhaps, than most of these guys combined: Glen Perkins.

    Let's
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    by 07-21-2014, 09:38 PM
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    A fan/writer in the stands at Veteran’s Memorial Stadium in Cedar Rapids was watching a group of six or seven Kernels players working in the batting cage on bunting for hits. It was five hours before game time. Manager Jake Mauer was observing. Twins minor league hitting coordinator Bill Springman was feeding the pitching machine.

    Hitting coach Tommy Watkins was joyfully encouraging the players, but the 34-year-old former Twins infielder put his money where his mouth was. He took a regular spot in the group and managed to bunt the ball three feet in from the third base foul line every time. Only twice did he bunt the ball elsewhere, and those were the two times he pushed a bunt to within two feet of the first base line.


    all Tommy Watkins photos by Steve Buhr


    All the while, Watkins exuding passion for the game, encouraging the players to work but be sure to have fun as they’re doing it.

    As his friend and Kernels manager Jake Mauer said, “I wish
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    by 07-21-2014, 12:07 AM
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    Sponsored by Ticket King

    The forecast for the next few days calls for highs in the 80s and 90s, with a lot of sun. Hot days will give way to warm nights while sunlight glows well past suppertime.

    Sorry for waxing poetic, but… July in Minnesota. There's hardly anything better.

    Remember when going to catch a ballgame meant filing into a stuffy Dome and missing out on these glorious summer nights? It wasn't so long ago. Weeks like this are what Target Field was built for.

    There is an added level of baseball drama -- that being the team's desperate need to embark on a "miraculous run."

    Getting swept by the last-place Rays was a disastrous start to a crucially important homestand. Now, the reeling Twins need to damn near win out in the next two series
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    by 07-20-2014, 06:09 AM
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    The Twins lost on Saturday to David Price and the Rays by a score of 5-1. The positive for the Twins was that they were able to turn five double plays in the game. In other words, it could have been worse. They will try today to avoid the sweep.

    Trevor May returned to the mound for the Red Wings after missing almost a month. JO Berrios made his second start for New Britain and was tremendous. A couple streaks came to their ends. Continue reading to see what happened in the Twins minor leagues on Saturday:

    RED WINGS REPORT
    Rochester 2, Norfolk 4
    Box Score

    Trevor May returned to the mound for the first time in almost a month. The right-hander gave up one run on three hits and a walk in three innings. Mark Hamburger came on and threw two shutout innings, walking one. Edgar Ibarra pitched a scoreless sixth inning. However, in the 7th frame, he gave up a single and a walk before
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