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The Man, The Beard, The Legend: Jake Cave.


Sherry Cerny

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Not every player that makes it to The Show is going to be flashy, hit dingers every game and go slamming into walls to make a save. There are players that are the perfect addition to the team and make the chemistry what it is. The line-up works and makes plays in the outfield that keep a team in the game. Jake Cave doesn’t break the Twins wallet, and he does his job. He is worth more than his contract shows and fans keep sleeping on him.

Jake Cave came swinging onto the Twins scene in 2018 and sealed his spot on the team in his first year with thirteen homeruns and 45 RBIs! He was on fire and 2019 was no slow down. Joining the team in hitting 307 homeruns that year to out hit any team in MLB. Cave has been an integral part of this team since suiting up and he hasn't slowed down in how hard he plays, swings, or dives for outfield balls. The Hampton native continues to defy the trade deadlines, and stays on with the Twins as a minimum salary player with a million dollar attitude. In 2020 Cave struggled a little at the plate, nothing that threw up red flags as the player continued to be a heavy contributor to the line up. When he is up at the plate he has a small lag in his timing, but you could tell early in 2021 that he was not able to rotate as far, move as fast or swing has hard and eventually it became a concern. Fans would say he is getting old, is average or washed out, but it was more than that and I refused to listen to the clamor of the haters. Cave finally disappeared from Minneapolis after feeling immense back pain for a consistent amount of time.

The 28 year old center-fielder doesn’t give up. He thought he had a sore back sending him down to the IL, which ended up being a fractured disc due to stress and spent sixty days rehabbing in St. Paul. Over that time, he worked extremely hard to not only take the care needed to improve his back, but also to improve his swing. He batted 11-for-30 with a home run, a double, six runs and five RBI across eight rehab games. He continued to improve and is something that the Twins need to consider keeping around as a depth option in the outfield. His time in St. Paul showed that not only can he hit, but he is an asset at the plate the more he sees it. He has more than shown his worth covering down for players like Buxton, the other centerfielder who can’t seem to stay healthy or in the game.

Jake Cave has shown up for the Twins every instance they have needed him without reserve, without complaint and with one-hundred percent effort. He has played every position in the outfield with ease and even been added to the line up as the DH to cover. In those three positions he has only had one error in 46 games that he has played this year in the Twins Club House. Since coming back in July, has continued to make progress at the plate with his August average at .186 even if he has gotten less at bat’s than any of the other players on the team. 

Jake Cave may not be a shiny-bomba-hitting-player, but he is clutch in the outfield and one of the more reliable players on the team. He continues to show up and do not only his job, but any job that is asked of him, even if he is not perfect. With the season coming to an end and while realizing baseball is a business, it would be bad business to get rid of Cave. The Twins are getting a player out playing his salary and you aren’t going to get dedication or hard work from another player like that and the beard doesn’t hurt either. 

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I think Cave's beard is a major misstep professionally. It makes him look like he's in his 40s and there's no way painting yourself as a decade and a half older than you are when you're a fringe MLB player is a good idea in my opinion.

Unlike a lot of Twins fans, I had no issues with the Twins keeping Cave, and I don't think keeping Cave had much to do with Wade being traded. Cave's performance at the plate across 2018-2019 was just as good as Buxton's 2019-2020, but Cave definitely performed awful last year in a small sample size so it was reasonable to expect a rebound.

That said, the Twins aren't using him anymore, and I don't think it's likely he's on the roster next year so I don't understand why he's on the roster right now. He has 29 plate appearances in the past 2-1/2 weeks since his rehab assignment ended and he was recalled.

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Cave has been in a steady decline for some odd reason but his agility in the outfield makes either Larnach or Rooker look like lumbering hippos.

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He is one of those guys that you like a a fourth outfielder, someone who plays with heart and soul. And given a full season of play will also give you his best. Names like Robbie Grossman, Lew Ford, pop up. As long as there is a job open (and every team has them), and your salary demands are within reason, well, Cave will play - health saying - for at least five more seasons.

 

Look at the Twins this season. They let Wade and Baddoo go elsewhere. They went out and signed Broxton who was in the hunt at spring training, but lost out to Garlick, neither as good overall as Cave at the moment, but turned out to be worthwhile. They also had Refsnyder in the mix. Broxton really tanked at AAA in the early months, otherwise he would've been here.

 

Cave gave the Twins one important step - he could be a better than average centerfielder. Someone better than using your spare infielder. He can play center better than most, which is what you want. Can we write off his hitting woes as tied into his back? Perhaps. 

 

Chances are Cave won't be on the roster come post-season. A younger face will probably need to be protected, and he will enter free agency, still with an opportunity to return to the Twins (money), or go elsewhere if there is an opportunity with another team to be a regular. 

 

 

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4th OF looks to be a competition between Cave and Refsnyder.

Twinsfans need to get over the Badoo rule 5 pick.  That was just a lucky pick for Detroit.  No one on this board would have protected him and no one said anything when he was left unprotected and then taken....

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9 minutes ago, Brandon said:

...No one on this board would have protected him...

Not sure about that. I looked back at the old articles in the dead zone of the season when Baddoo was picked and there were a couple people not excited about him being exposed. The overall concensus wasn't one of concern though. That said... it's not the fans who need to make the right calls on who to protect. It's certainly expected MLB franchises and the Twins front office would have a better idea of talent under their control. 

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Cave isn't and has never been an centerfielder. Management has been disillusioned to think that he is. This bad mindset has kept us from getting a decent CF back up and cost us a ton of games.

Cave is an ok 4th OF that's it. We have a ton of them who are younger. He takes up space on the 40 man who's better

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1 hour ago, Doctor Gast said:

Cave isn't and has never been an centerfielder. Management has been disillusioned to think that he is. This bad mindset has kept us from getting a decent CF back up and cost us a ton of games.

Cave is an ok 4th OF that's it. We have a ton of them who are younger. He takes up space on the 40 man who's better

Nobody, including the Twins front office, views Cave as a legitimate starting center fielder.

Name the young 4th outfielders who can play center field we have on the roster. Celestino, who looked awful and overmatched in his time in the big show so far. Tada! All done.

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On 8/12/2021 at 1:39 PM, bean5302 said:

I think Cave's beard is a major misstep professionally. It makes him look like he's in his 40s and there's no way painting yourself as a decade and a half older than you are when you're a fringe MLB player is a good idea in my opinion.

Unlike a lot of Twins fans, I had no issues with the Twins keeping Cave, and I don't think keeping Cave had much to do with Wade being traded. Cave's performance at the plate across 2018-2019 was just as good as Buxton's 2019-2020, but Cave definitely performed awful last year in a small sample size so it was reasonable to expect a rebound.

That said, the Twins aren't using him anymore, and I don't think it's likely he's on the roster next year so I don't understand why he's on the roster right now. He has 29 plate appearances in the past 2-1/2 weeks since his rehab assignment ended and he was recalled.

I agree with your take it looked like he might be something for a while and maybe he still can be but I don't think he fits this Twins team very well.  A big part of what made him valuable was he had options and could be sent up and down as needed and he could play center in a pinch.  

I think the Twins will likely be better served trying out Contreras or Cabbage in Caves role.  I believe Mark can play all three outfield positions and would have options to move up and down. He has power and he can't be much worse at the plate than Cave has been.  Cabbage is limited defensively but looks like he has a dangerous power stroke as well.  I think either player could be a good replacement.

Cave might get better.  He could make a jump in production but he is getting more expensive with less versatility and the Twins have options to use cheaper players to do the same job so odds are he is gone IMO.

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On 8/12/2021 at 11:39 AM, bean5302 said:

I think Cave's beard is a major misstep professionally. It makes him look like he's in his 40s and there's no way painting yourself as a decade and a half older than you are when you're a fringe MLB player is a good idea in my opinion.

I dunno. Can he lull opposing pitchers into feeding him a steady diet of fastballs on the perception that he is old and can no longer catch up t-... oops, never mind, does Jake catch up to fastballs anyway? :)

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To me Cave is one of those players the Twins love.  He comes cheap.  But if the Twins don't plan on bringing him back then he and Simmons and Pineada are just taking up space that young players should be playing.  But it probably is cheaper to deny future players playing time to hold off service time for another year.  Cheap!

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Jake is a scrapper, without a doubt. He adds somme depth, needed with Buxton shelved right now...BUT...

I'm watching Yankees-Red Sox tonight and feeling ill about the trade of Luis Gil. Young man throws WELL!!!

 

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Putting the word "Legend" with Jake Cave isn't appropriate and makes me want to hurl chunks. He's the type of player that could leave anytime, (as proven by his missed playing time this year due to injury) and the team he'd be playing for wouldn't miss him. 

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When you have a lineup as bad as the twins and you groan when Cave comes up, that says a lot.  Somebody above said that if Cave were let go he would be playing major league baseball for someone else.  I don't think so.

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