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  1. Haha
    cHawk reacted to RandBalls Stu for an article, 2005 Minnesota Vikings ‘Impressed’ with 2023 Chicago White Sox Dysfunction   
    The godless Chicago White Sox have had a memorable 2023 season, even if their reprobate, degenerate fans, all of whom should be in jail, would just as soon forget it. From locker room dissension to on-field underperformance to veteran leaders getting knocked out in front of god and everybody, they’re an epic mess.
    The 2005 Minnesota Vikings, a team most familiar with scandal and dysfunction, have noticed.
    “Oh, wow,” said safety Willie Offord. “They’re really going for it. I wonder if any of them have a fake penis.”
    Running back Onterrio Smith attempted to smuggle the faux genitalia, called a Whizzinator, through airport security in the 2005 offseason. As of this edition of Twins Daily, no White Sox player has done this. 
    "There's still time," said Offord. "Not even September yet."
    The South Siders have also parted with a slew of veterans, all of whom immediately roasted the team in interviews, reminding one former Viking of the disastrous 2005 trade of Randy Moss.
    “Randy would give you an honest answer no matter what, especially if he was ornery,” said running back Moe Williams. “Add that to the fact that they traded him for Troy Williamson and Napoleon Harris? No wonder everyone got fired. That the White Sox can even approach that is incredible. I’m impressed.”
    If there’s one thing that sets the breathtaking dysfunction of the two teams apart, the ex-Vikings all say it’s the lack of a real good sex scandal.
    “Tim Anderson fighting Yasmani Grandal in the locker room then catching hands in the infield dirt is great, but where’s the aquatic sex party,” asked Bryant McKinnie. “How come none of them are bare-ass naked in the stairwell of a nightclub? You can fight and talk [EXPLETIVE] all you want, but if you’re not making the local newspaper put the word ‘dildo’ on the front page, maybe hold your horses on being truly dysfunctional.”
    McKinnie’s one-time teammate Fred Smoot agreed.
    “If they need Al & Alma’s number, I’ve still got it,” said Smoot. “Let’s take this thing to the next level.”
  2. Like
    cHawk reacted to Ted Schwerzler for an article, BREAKING: Twins Finalizing an Extension with Star Pitcher Pablo Lopez   
    When trading Luis Arraez to the Miami Marlins this winter there was never going to be a situation where his departure would sit well with fans. However, getting an arm like Pablo Lopez in return could certainly soften the blow, and his performance thus far has been nothing short of exceptional.
    According to Marlins beat writer Craig Mish, the sides are closing in on a four-year deal worth $73.5 million. That would have Lopez paid just over $18.3 million annually. That seems like a bargain given the $27 million annual amount the New York Yankees handed Carlos Rodon this winter. Although they may not be the same level of pitcher, Lopez has displayed a substantially longer track record of health. Rodon did get his money on the open market with multiple suitors whereas Lopez would not have hit free agency until after the 2024 season. Lopez has come out of the gates strong for the Twins posting a 1.73 ERA across his first four starts. He leads Major League Baseball in strikeouts having tallied 33 across 26 innings pitched. His 11.4 K/9 is a new career high, and it’s clear his sweeper addition has been nothing short of a powerful new weapon for him.
    It remains to be seen if Lopez can continue this level of production throughout the entirety of 2023, but for a guy many questioned as the ace of a staff, he’s looked every bit the part. Lopez has been a breath of fresh air for Twins fans looking to Rocco Baldelli for length from starters, and he’s allowed teammates like Sonny Gray and Joey Ryan to benefit as well.
    Set to be a free agent in 2025, the contract extension will buy out the 2024 arbitration year, and begin at the end of this season. Lopez is currently making $5.45 million through arbitration in 2023 for the Twins, and a four-year extension will have him with the club through his age-31 season. Minnesota should be happy with both the length and valuation of the contract. It’s a hefty sum, but not one unheard of for a top pitcher. Lopez can re-enter the market at 32 and look for another substantial payday as well.
    The move provides the Twins some rotation certainty in the year ahead. Gray is set to be a free agent as is Tyler Mahle and Kenta Maeda. That would leave just Ryan and Chris Paddack as big league starters currently with guaranteed contracts. Lopez is a definite horse that can anchor a group soon to more regularly include Simeon Woods Richardson, Louie Varland, Bailey Ober, and others.
    What are your thoughts on the Twins locking up Lopez for the next few years? Does this change the outlook of the Arraez trade at all? Given that he has been so good to start 2023, did they get a bargain?
  3. Haha
    cHawk reacted to RandBalls Stu for an article, The Twins...Won?   
    Trust nothing you see on the internet. Deep fakes and AI and unreliable sources are as common as water, as the air we breathe. Cable TV, if anything, is worse.
    I’m telling you this because you’ve no doubt already read stories and seen video about how the Minnesota Twins jumped all over the New York Yankees with a nine-run first inning and didn’t look back, flattening the Bronx Bombers 11-2 at Yankees Stadium. But are those accounts real? Think about it. Take a deep breath and think about it. Who stands to gain? Why would they do this? Why are we falling for it?
    First, confirmation bias. We all want to believe the Twins can beat the Yankees. Nothing would give a Minnesota baseball fan more satisfaction than finally breaking New York’s historic dominance over the hometown nine. The good guys won! The bad guys ground to dust under our Red Wing boots! Wouldn’t it be lovely if it was true? Like when they finally contract the godless Chicago White Sox and send their sausage-fingered fans into the ice-choked waters of Lake Michigan? But we know that hasn’t happened. Why would we think this alleged triumph happened?
    Second, the media loves a new storyline. “Yankees Stomp Twins for the Millionth Time” doesn’t drive traffic. “Twins Batter Yankees, Sun Shines On America, the World” does. It’s the clickbait-iest clickbait that ever clickbaited. No one cares if a beat writer catches a foul ball. But if he makes a three-course meal out of it with all the fixings? Fire up the emergency servers, nerds. This “win” is just another can of corn headed directly at Dan Hayes.
    Third, we’re Minnesota sports fans. God has abandoned us. The world is a vampire. We are Sisyphus. This is our rock. Our enemies delight in our futility. Our basketball team fights each other. Our hockey teams innovate in the exciting field of grievous playoff exits. Our football team is the MINNESOTA [EXPLETIVE] VIKINGS. Honestly, the Minnesota Aurora should move to Rapid City, just to have a puncher's chance. Nothing about a decisive Twins victory over the actual, real New York Yankees makes sense. Because it didn’t happen. We all know this. We need to accept it and move on. Misery loves company, yet we are alone, here. 'Twas ever thus. 
    That said, if they did actually win, it would be pretty cool, right? Go Twins.
  4. Like
    cHawk reacted to Seth Stohs for an article, Twins 11, Yankees 2: Julien Leads Twins to 9-Run First; Twins, Ryan Cruise   
    Box Score
    SP: Joe Ryan: 7.0 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 10 K (92 pitches, 69 strikes (75.0%)
    Home Runs: Michael A. Taylor 2 (3), Edouard Julien (1), Carlos Correa (1) 
    Top 3 WPA: Jose Miranda (0.124), Byron Buxton (0.076), Carlos Correa (0.068) 

    Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs)

    Pregame Notes 
    There were a few interesting notes before the game even started. With Kyle Farmer being placed on the 10-day Injured List after undergoing surgery on Wednesday night, the Twins have added outfielder Kyle Garlick to the roster and moved Gilberto Celestino to the 60-Day Injured List. 
    data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAPABAP///wAAACH5BAEKAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAICRAEAOw== Gleeman’s tweet got us all thinking. What could it mean? Why was Louie Varland scratched so late? Was there an injury?  
    All indications are that Dan Hayes was correct. It sounds like Varland will start for the Twins one of the next couple of days with the rest of the starters getting an extra day of rest. 
    Julien Leads Off and has Memorable First Inning 
    In just his second big-league game, Rocco Baldelli placed Edouard Julien at the top of the Twins lineup. In his debut on Wednesday afternoon, he went 0-for-2, but he did coax a walk. 
    In his first at-bat of the night, Julien drove a ball that one-hopped the right field wall at 104 mph. Played well by the outfielder, Julien was held to a single. 
    data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAPABAP///wAAACH5BAEKAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAICRAEAOw== I’ll tell you more about what happened in between shortly, but the Quebec native, whose family was in Yankees Stadium for this game, came to the plate again in the first inning, this time against reliever Colten Brewer. In patented Julien style, he hit an opposite-field homer into the left field bleachers for his first career home run.
    data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAPABAP///wAAACH5BAEKAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAICRAEAOw== That is just the fourth time since 1974 that a player has recorded his first hit and his first home run in the same inning (separate hits, of course). 
    Huge, 9-Run First Inning 
    It was a huge first inning for Edouard Julien, but it was a huge first inning for the whole Twins team. Julien got things going. Then he hustled to second on a Carlos Correa ground ball to the 5.5 hole. Anthony Volpe fielded it and threw to second, but after replay, Julien was safe at second. I included the article story photo that I did because you have to credit Rocco Baldelli for challenging the call in the first innings. You wonder, if they hadn’t challenged it or if Julien hadn’t been hustling, the rest of the inning and the game could have played out much differently than it ultimately did. 
    Honestly, I’m just going to bullet point the inning for you. Scoring nine runs before your team even plays defense is always a good thing. 
    Edouard Julien Single 104.4 mph.  Carlos Correa Single 87.6 mph.  Byron Buxton walk.  Trevor Larnach sacrifice fly. 97.8 mph. (Julien scored) Jose Miranda double. 98.6 mph. (Correa, Buxton scored) Donovan Solano double. 96.8 mph. (Miranda scored) Nick Gordon ground out. 86.5 mph.  Christian Vazquez double. 99.8 mph. (Solano scored) Michael A. Taylor home run. 104.0 mph. (Vazquez, Taylor scored) Pitching Change. (Colten Brewer replaced Jhony Brito) Edouard Julien home run. 96.7 mph (Julien scored) Carlos Correa home run. 99.8 mph (Correa scored) Byron Buxton walk.  Trevor Larnach flew out. 84.7 mph.  Nine runs. Eight hits. And to follow that, Joe Ryan needed just eight pitches to get through the Yankees top three in the bottom of the inning. 
    25-year-old Jhony Brito had made two MLB starts in his career before Thursday night. In his first two starts this season, he was 2-0 with a 0.90 ERA. Over 10 innings, he gave up just one run on five hits and three walks. My amateur scouting eye thinks that he has some really good stuff. His fastball sat between 96 and 98 mph, and he threw a few changeups that looked very good. Who knows where his career will go from here, but he certainly should get many more opportunities. 
    Michael A. Taylor Power 
    As you saw above, Taylor ended Brito’s night with a two-run homer in the first inning. 
    After the Twins went scoreless in the second, Taylor followed a second Christian Vazquez double with his second home run of the night and third home run of the season. 
    data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAPABAP///wAAACH5BAEKAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAICRAEAOw== Known for his defense, the 32-year-old is in his tenth big-league season. In his career, he has hit .241/.295/.381 (.676) with 115 doubles and 75 home runs (before this game). So no, he isn’t a great hitter, but when you couple in his Gold Glove-caliber defense with the occasional extra base hit, he does provide value to a team. In his career, he has a 19-homer season, a 14-homer season, and a 12-homer season.  
    Joe Ryan Impresses
    If you only looked at his face, the focus that Joe Ryan showed in his Thursday night outing was tremendous. Even as he was running out to the mound with a 10-run lead in the 7th inning, he looked as if he was pitching in a one-run game. 
    Given the 9-0 lead before he took the mound, he responded with strikes and a very quick inning, exactly what the team needed. He was perfect through the Yankees lineup. Nine up. Nine down. In the fourth inning, he allowed a solo homer to Anthony Rizzo but shook that off to strike out Giancarlo Stanton to end that inning. He then struck out two more batters in a perfect fifth frame. 
    He gave up a bloop single to Anthony Volpe with one out in the sixth inning, but he got Gleyber Torres to fly out and then struck out Aaron Judge for a second time. Judge was replaced by Aaron Hicks in the eighth inning which ended his streak of 45 consecutive games of reaching base. 
    His night was complete after seven innings. Cole Sands made an appearance for the first time in well over a week. He had an 10-pitch eighth inning. With two outs in the ninth inning, Anthony Rizzo hit his second homer. 
    Of his 92 pitches, Joe Ryan threw 58 four-seam fastballs, with a range of 90.3 to 95.8 mph and an average of 93.2 mph. He also threw 23 splitters and 11 sweepers. 

    Christian Vazquez deserves a lot of credit for Ryan's performance as well. Along with calling a great game, he went 3-for-4 with two doubles. He's hitting .379 on the young season. 
    Postgame Notes
    (coming soon) 
    What’s Next? 
    On Friday night in The Bronx, the Twins will send RHP Louie Varland  to the mound for his first start of 2023 to face 2022 All Star LHP Nestor Cortes (2-0, 2.61 ERA) in Game 2 of 4 in this series. Game time will again be 6:05 central time. 
    Postgame Interviews

    Bullpen Usage 
      SUN MON TUE WED THU TOT Alcalá 45 0 0 15 0 60 Durán 0 0 24 15 0 39 Morán 0 35 0 0 0 35 Pagán 23 0 0 0 0 23 Sands 0 0 0 0 23 23 Jax 0 0 8 12 0 20 Thielbar 0 10 4 0 0 14 López 0 0 0 12 0 12
  5. Haha
    cHawk reacted to RandBalls Stu for an article, Area Bozo Troubled by Quicker Games   
    Many are praising the rule changes that have led 2023 Major League Baseball games to finish at a demonstrably faster pace. For others, it’s making their beloved pastime almost unrecognizable.
    “When I a buy a ticket, I expect to get my money’s worth,” said Anoka retiree Tom Hanson, a classic North Metro blockhead. “I’m paying their salaries, I expect an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay.”
    Hanson, whose fourth wife left him for a television preacher named Alden, thinks the newfound quickness is antithetical to the true meaning of the game.
    “When I go to Scary-apolis I need four beers minimum, I need to scoff at the tip line on the receipt loud enough so they can hear, and I need to complain about the price each time,” said Hanson. “if the game is two hours long, how am I supposed to berate anyone and get my load on?”
    The absentee father and grandfather claimed a longer game is more authentic and truer to the way it’s meant to be played.
    “That third hour, the golden hour, is when I really light up the umpires and players who I feel are dogging it or aren’t giving 100%, which is all of them,” said the dullard. “And since it’s still just the 7th inning, I have the time I need to yell at kids for not standing for God Bless America, beat the traffic home, and use my burner phone to call in to the stations that have blocked my other numbers and complain about Byron Buxton’s contract.”
    With no return to the way things were imminent, Hanson said he’ll focus on his own in-game adjustments.
    “I’m not a fan of IPAs, but they make me angrier quicker,” said the man who has spent the last seven Christmases alone. “Figure I can choke one of those down then take the nearest player wearing jewelry on the field down a peg. Ted Williams never wore a chain and he spoke American. Print that.”
  6. Like
    cHawk reacted to Steven Trefz for an article, Twins 3, Astros 2: Farmer Walks Off the Astros!   
    Minneapolis - Following a 4-2 opening road trip to Kansas City and Miami, the Twins aimed to regain their winning ways in the 2023 home opener. With the temps hovering in the high 40's, the fans hoped that Sonny Gray could warm up everyone's spirits with another impactful start. The reigning World Series Champion Astros sought to regain some momentum for their 2023 season, after coming to the Twin Cities with a 3-4 record. The Twins would give up the lead in the top of the 10th, only to send the fan faithful home happy with a 3-2 walk-off winner! Here's how it all went down.
    Box Score
    SP: Sonny Gray: 7 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 13 K (98 pitches, 61 strikes (62%)
    Home Runs:  None
    Top 3 WPA: Jose Miranda (0.288), Sonny Gray (0.254), Donovan Solano (.176)

    Win Probability Chart

    Opening Day!
    Before the first pitch, the Twins hosted a morning breakfast at the ballpark, Twins Daily hosted a pregame watch party, and Mother Nature hosted a Sonny Gray, I mean, a sunny day at half the temperature of the last Twins game. The Twins set their lineup to combat Jose Urquidy and his reverse-split arsenal of pitches with more right-handed bats than usual. The usual opening day fanfare set the stage for the main event.
    The Astros Strike First
    With Max Kepler suffering a knee injury Monday night, the question of "Who will lead off?" continues to vary from game to game, but Byron Buxton got the call again today. The Twins bats again began the game on "silent mode," and they were only able to mount two singles through the first three innings.
    The Astros didn't start out any stronger, but they were able to follow up a Mauricio Dubon double with an Alex Bregman single to the wall, to take a 1-0 lead.
    A Sonny Day
    Despite the early run, Gray was dealing, recording a career-high 13 strikeouts through seven innings, and keeping a potent Astros offense to only one run.  Piranha Style Comeback
    After wasting a lead-off double from Michael Taylor in the fifth, the Twins struck piranha style in the bottom of the sixth inning. Donovan Solano ripped a single with one out, and advanced to second base on Kyle Farmer's single under the second baseman's glove to right. Nick Gordon came in to pinch hit for Joey Gallo (right-side soreness), and responded by slapping a fielder's choice ground ball to short. The scene was set for Christian Vasquez's hero story, and reliever Bryan Abreu took the opportunity away from him by firing a wild pitch to the backstop. Solano scored, tying the game 1-1. After Vasquez walked, Michael Taylor struck out swinging to end the threat.
    Bullpen Time
    The end of the game got handed to the bullpen, and Griffin Jax got a chance to avenge his last outing versus the Marlins. Jax responded with a 1-2-3 eighth. Jose Miranda led off the eighth inning with a single but was left at first base. Jhoan Duran took the ninth for the home team for the first time since opening day last week, and his reward was facing Yordan Alvarez, Jose Abreu, and Kyle Tucker. Alvarez walked on a full count, but Duran was able to lock up Abreu on a perfect curveball at the bottom of the zone. Tucker also struck out on 101 high heat, and David Hensley grounded out weakly to end the inning. However, former Twin Ryan Pressly entered the bottom of the ninth and easily shut down the Twins in order.
    Extra Baseball! 
    In an attempt to give the fans their money's worth, the Twins entered extra innings for the first time this season. Jorge Lopez tried to keep the ghost runner Hensley from scoring, but after getting the lead-off batter, Dubon struck again with a seeing-eye single through the drawn in infield to put the Astros up 2-1. 
    The Astros countered with Ryne Stanek, and he promptly struck out Carlos Correa looking on a full count. A passed ball moved Buxton to third base with one out, and Trevor Larnach walked on a full count. Miranda was the next potential hero to come to the plate, and he delivered! His single to right plated Buxton and sent Larnach to second base. An immediate wild pitch by Stanek advanced both runners, and Solano walked after Maldonado saved yet another wayward pitch.
    This all led to the new Twin Farmer, in his first home game, to come up with the bases loaded and only one out. Twins fans were able to go home happy today, as he delivered with a base hit up the middle to score Larnach for the winning run!
    Final Thoughts
    Twins fans packed Target Field in hopes of righting the ship, and starting a new narrative against elite-level ballclubs. Sonny Gray led the way with a career-high performance, but the Twins bats again couldn't keep pace throughout the game. Luckily, the Astros bullpen ran out of steam before the Twins bullpen did, and single after single brought home the opening day victory!
    What’s Next? 
    The Twins will attempt to keep the momentum going by sending to the mound Joe Ryan in Game 2 of the series (1-0, 1.50 ERA) on Saturday afternoon. The team will face Astros right-hander Luis Garcia (0-1, 5.40 ERA). The game is scheduled for 1:10 pm CDT.  
    Postgame Interviews
    Bullpen Usage
      MON TUE WED THU FRI TOT               Sands 28 0 0 0 0 28 Pagán 0 26 0 0 0 26 Alcalá 25 0 0 0 0 25 Jax 0 0 9 0 13 22 Durán 0 0 0 0 19 19 Morán 0 15 0 0 0 15 Thielbar 0 0 13 0 0 13 López 0 0 0 0 8 8  
  7. Like
    cHawk reacted to Cody Christie for an article, The Arraez Deficit: Twins Leadoff Plan is Full of Mediocre Options   
    The Twins knew what they lost when they traded Luis Arraez to the Marlins. He was a fan favorite and high-contact hitter, an old-school throwback to a bygone era. Arraez fits nicely into the leadoff spot because he is a career .333/.384/.439 (.823) hitter against right-handed pitching. Last season, the Twins started him at leadoff in 91 games, and he got on base nearly 35% of the time. There are no perfect options to replace Arraez in the leadoff spot, so that the Twins may alter their plans in the coming weeks. 
    Max Kepler served as the Twins' leadoff hitter during the opening series in Kansas City. Minnesota might have felt Kepler's spring warranted a shot in the leadoff spot because he went 13-for-34 (.382 BA) with three doubles, two home runs, and four walks. Also, the club faced three right-handed pitchers, but the left-handed hitter went 0-for-13 with a walk. However, there have been some positive signs among those numbers. Four of his nine batted balls have had an exit velocity over 95 mph, which might indicate more hits falling in upcoming games.  
    During Rocco Baldelli's first season, he utilized Kepler as the leadoff hitter in 105 games. Kepler had a breakout season and combined for 28 doubles and 32 home runs from the leadoff spot. He was one of the multiple members of the Bomba Squad Twins that utilized a home run-friendly environment (aka, juiced baseballs) to post career highs in multiple categories. 
    In recent seasons, Kepler has failed to replicate those totals, with MLB's baseball coming back down to earth, literally and figuratively. From 2020-22, Kepler hit .220/.314/.392 (.706) with a 98 OPS+. Kepler only started two games at leadoff in 2022 and 29 games in the first spot during the 2021 campaign. Arraez's emergence meant the Twins didn't need Kepler in the leadoff role, and the team might need to turn to other options if Kepler's hits don't start falling. 
    The Twins gave Joey Gallo multiple starts in the leadoff spot this spring, so there was some discussion of him starting there against right-handed pitchers. Unlike Kepler, he struggled this spring by hitting .214/.298/.333 (.631) with two doubles and a home run. In nine big-league seasons, Gallo has never started a regular-season game in the leadoff spot, and that might have been another reason to pencil him into a different part of the line-up. If Gallo's bat heats up, the team might turn to him instead of Kepler with a righty on the mound. 
    Minnesota is scheduled to face a left-handed starter for the first time on Wednesday, with the Marlins scheduled to start Jesus Luzardo. The Twins can go in multiple directions. Donovan Solano is a high-contact hitter that hit .301/.348/.422 (.770) versus lefties in 2022. Few players can match Arraez's contact skills, but Solano's nickname is "Donny Barrels" for a reason. Kyle Farmer might be an even better option, as he posted a .948 OPS versus lefties last season, including a .380 OBP. It wouldn't surprise me to see either name penciled into the leadoff spot on Wednesday. 
    Moving Byron Buxton to the leadoff spot is also another option against lefties. He's been the team's most consistent hitter to start the season and has plenty of experience in the leadoff spot. During his career, he's started 83 games at leadoff and hit .240/.305/.521 (.825) with 23 doubles and 24 home runs. Buxton is a tremendous base runner, even if the club doesn't have him steal bases as regularly anymore. Putting him higher in the line-up also means he gets more at-bats per game. 
    It will be tough for Twins fans to get a close-up view of Arraez on his new team this week, especially with questions about who should be batting in the leadoff spot. Baldelli has pushed many of the correct buttons to start the season, but the top of the line-up is something to watch. 
    Who do you think will be the leadoff hitter versus left-handed starters? How long will Kepler stick in the leadoff spot versus righties? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. 
  8. Like
    cHawk reacted to Hans Birkeland for an article, Twins 2, Royals 0: Twins Pitchers Toss Second Straight Shutout   
    Box Score
    SP: Sonny Gray: 5 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 4 BB, 1 K (83 pitches, 52 strikes (62.7%)
    Home Runs: None
    Top 3 WPA: Sonny Gray (0.306), Jose Miranda (0.120), Jorge Lopez (0.092)

    Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs)

    Gray’s Shaky Shutout
    Coming off a headline-grabbing quote in which Sonny Gray expressed frustration with the leash afforded to Twins starters last year, the veteran was surprisingly shaky on a cool, windy day in Kansas City. He lacked fastball command, although his velocity was hitting 93 MPH regularly. In fact, his velocity ranged between 92.1 and 93.7 the whole game.
    Gray countered this by throwing his full assortment of breaking pitches, many of which were left up in the zone with the Royals frequently making hard contact. Some key double plays and solid defense bailed Gray out. He was replaced to start the sixth inning, and although he likely did not appreciate that, Rocco probably did his ERA a favor in the end with the decision.
    Twins not taking advantage of opportunities against Lyles
    Jordan Lyles is the definition of a journeyman starting pitcher, pitching for his ninth organization in Kansas City. His career ERA+ is a deflated 83, meaning 17% below average. His only above-average stint was with Milwaukee in 2019, which tallied a total of 11 starts. Twins batters bailed Lyles out, chasing in hitters' counts and making mistakes on the bases. Thankfully, Byron Buxton was playing in this game.
    Buxton’s Scare in 1st Inning
    After roping a line drive down the left field line in his first at-bat, Buxton raced for second and slid into the bag with a double. He slid awkwardly and was lucky to avoid injury. It was not only the impact of the belly flop at his top speed but of his helmet hitting his face on the ricochet and the throw from left field nearly beaning him, for good measure. Two games in, sales for blood pressure medication in Minnesota figures to spike. He stayed in the game and scored on a Jose Miranda single to center. 
    Just as he was yesterday, Buxton was in the middle of the first two scoring chances for the Twins. In the fifth inning, he used his high baseball IQ (or, shhhh… really bat baserunning but great luck, and speed?) to create a second run. After reaching on a single, Buxton advanced to second base on a wild pitch. 
    He advanced to third base on a very risky play. On a ground ball to shortstop Bobby Witt Jr., Buxton took off for third, a cardinal sin in baseball. Fortunately, for the Twins Witt appeared to panic. He rushed his throw to third, short-arming the throw and allowing Buxton to be safe. Kyle Farmer came in to face a lefty reliever. He hit a fly ball to center field. It wasn’t deep and no one should try to score on that ball. But Buxton casually walked back to third base, took a few half-speed steps toward home, and then he took off. Vinnie Pasquantino cut off the ball, either thinking that Buxton wouldn’t tag, or because Jose Miranda had returned to first and faked a tag to second base. Regardless, Buxton and his speed scored again. 
    At the end of the day, Buxton scored both of the Twins runs on Saturday after he scored one of the two Twins runs on Thursday. His impact on this team has already been witnessed. 
    Jorge Alcala Returns
    Making his first appearance in nearly a year, Alcala relieved Gray to start the sixth inning and walked the now very un-imposing Franmil Reyes. Relying heavily on his slider, Alcala was fortunate to avoid damage when Hunter Dozier lined out and Kyle Isbel hit the ball hard but right to Nick Gordon who teamed with the strong-armed Carlos Correa to convert an excellent double play. Not the most encouraging performance, but he kept the Royals scoreless.
    Thielbar gets the 8th Inning
    Nursing a two run lead, the Twins turned to veteran Caleb Thielbar in the eighth inning, after using Griffin Jax in the same situation on opening day. Jax worked a perfect seventh t and pitched well to the 8-9-1 hitters. Thielbar gave up a single to Salvador Perez but followed that with swinging strikeouts on his fastball to Pasquintino and Reyes. He looked dominant, and it will be interesting to see who the Twins turn to in the eight going forward.
    Lopez gets the 9th Inning and the Save 
    In a mild surprise Jorge López pitched the ninth, perhaps since the Royals 6-7-8 hitters were coming up. He looked to be at his best. He threw strikes and induced a weak pop-up to Hunter Dozier. Then he struck out Kyle Isbel and got a soft line-out to pinch hitter Michael Massey.
    What’s Next? 
    On Sunday, the Twins will send Joe Ryan to the mound for the third and final game of the series against Brad Keller. The Twins will be hoping to score more than two runs and complete the sweep in Kansas City. The game starts at 1:10 central time.  
    Postgame Interviews
    Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet
      TUE WED THU FRI SAT TOT               Thielbar 0 0 11 0 18 29 Jax 0 0 9 0 11 20 Duran 0 0 16 0 0 16 López 0 0 5 0 8 13 Alcala 0 0 0 0 12 12 Sands 0 0 0 0 0 0 Moran 0 0 0 0 0 0 Pagán 0 0 0 0 0 0  
  9. Like
    cHawk reacted to Adam Friedman for an article, Entering 7th Season, What Are This Front Office's Strengths and Weaknesses?   
    Heading into 2021, it seemed evident that Derek Falvey and Thad Levine had things under control. They modernized the organization analytically, assembled a farm system of players seemingly ready to make an instant impact, and had just won two straight division titles – the franchise's first since 2010. 
    The organization seemed poised for sustainable success with its leadership's thoughtful, cutting-edge decision-making steering the ship. 
    There have always been critics of this front office, but on the back of 2021 and 2022, they have grown louder and multiplied. Some will question the regime's competency, others will criticize their lack of an "ace," and a vocal group of critics will question whether their entire philosophy and reliance on data is the right way to run a baseball team. 
    Let's examine what this group has done well and poorly to evaluate whether the boisterous critics of Falvey and Levine are onto something. 
    Front Office Strengths 
    Development of Homegrown Major League Bats
    Terry Ryan, a scout by trade, always prided himself on putting together rosters built around cores of homegrown position player talent. This ability to construct a nucleus of quality hitters drafted or acquired via international free agency has carried over to the current regime. 
    It's a critical skill when working with a middling payroll. The Twins can distribute their funds to a few extra quality players because they have team-friendly structures with most position players. 
    Beyond utilizing those homegrown bats in everyday roles, they have shown an ability to develop hitters that they can flip in trades – even if they weren't top picks. That allowed them to acquire Tyler Mahle, and it could come into play again at this deadline when trying to bolster a playoff-caliber roster. 
    Increased Aggression in Acquiring High-End Talent
    Under the current front office, the Twins have shown a more aggressive approach than the previous regime when acquiring high-end talent, and they've continued grown more emboldened over seven years at the helm. 
    We first saw that when they acquired Nelson Cruz ahead of the 2019 season. That aggression grew when they signed Josh Donaldson to a record free agent deal. While this contract didn't pan out, it made a statement.
    They traded Donaldson while he still had some value, which enabled them to pay Carlos Correa, breaking the Donaldson contract record. Of course, they eventually shattered Correa's record when they re-signed him. Add in various trades – including the ones that brought in all five of this year's starting rotation members – and the increased aggressiveness is undeniable.
    Front Office Weaknesses
    Bullpen Construction and Reliever Free Agents
    One common thread between the losing seasons in 2021 and 2022 was bullpen meltdowns from newly acquired pitchers. 
    In 2021, Alex Colomé deflated the team and its fans with his early-season implosions. In 2022, the Twins traded Taylor Rogers for Emilio Pagán. He held it together for a bit but memorably cost the Twins multiple times against Cleveland as the Guardians sped away in the divisional race. 
    Beyond those memorable blowups, they have repeatedly tried to sign relief pitchers on small short-term deals, but most haven't worked out either. Due to the volatility of relievers, building a good bullpen is extremely difficult, but the Twins have rarely had enough homegrown arms or capable enough external additions to do so. 
    It may be different this season, but it's one thing to have a good group on paper and another for them to succeed in games. 
    Starting Pitching Development and Free Agent Acquisitions
    When the Pohlads tapped Falvey as president of baseball operations, they touted him for his role in building the terrific pitching development pipeline in Cleveland. However, Falvey has yet to materialize that level of pitching development success in Minnesota. To this point, Bailey Ober is the only homegrown starting pitcher that has proven to be major-league caliber during the Falvey and Levine era. 
    Others may be on the precipice, including Simeon Woods Richardson, Louie Varland, and David Festa. However, they all have yet to prove they can be quality starters at the major-league level. 
    Beyond the lack of internal development, the front office has invested very little into starting pitchers on the free agent market. Most of their free agent starter acquisitions have been bargain-bin signings, like Homer Bailey, Dylan Bundy and Matt Shoemaker. Most of those did not work out, with their only successful free agent starter addition being Michael Pineda. 
    Not developing starting pitching and not paying for it in free agency has been one of the most significant flaws of this regime. They may have put together a good rotation for 2023 via trade, but the development of their starting pitching prospects this season will be a crucial storyline to monitor.  
    If the strengths remain strong and they have improved their weaknesses, the front office should have put together a winning team in 2023. If so, their future will be clearer as the organization's leaders. However, if their bullpen construction weakness rears its head again and tanks their season, and we don't see progress in developing quality starters, the Twins may be at the point of considering a front-office shakeup. 
    Ownership is investing in this team like never before and that comes with heightened expectations.
  10. Like
    cHawk reacted to Nick Nelson for an article, Minnesota Twins 2023 Season Preview: The Year of Brand New   
    As baseball fans, we've grown accustomed to things changing from year to year: a new scoreboard at the stadium, a new alternate uniform on Sundays, a subtle tweak to the game's rules.
    Never before have we seen this much drastic change, occurring all at once. 
    The 2023 season will introduce, at a league-wide level, rule changes that fundamentally affect the fabric of the game, including a pitch clock, pickoff limit, shift reduction, and enlargement of bases. Oh, plus a completely reconfigured schedule that includes less intra-division and more interleague play.
    The Minnesota Twins will be wearing all-new uniforms with revamped branding, playing at Target Field beneath a newly supersized scoreboard and ... LED baseball medallion? All part of what team president Dave St. Peter called "the largest off-season project in the history of this ballpark."
    Par for the course, in 2023. The year of brand new.
    Breaking Down the 2023 Minnesota Twins Roster
    There are plenty of new faces on the Twins team this year, but for all of the offseason roster churn and upheaval, the biggest shocker is what stays the same: Carlos Correa is back at shortstop. His free agent odyssey led to agreements falling through with the Giants and Mets before Correa found his way back to Minnesota on a six-year, $200 million deal.
    Now, he'll bear the full weight of a franchise that's positioned to compete but plagued by huge question marks around him. Correa gives them a second superstar talent alongside Byron Buxton to complement a strong position-player core with several proven standouts. 
    The Twins are hoping the returning duo of Correa and Buxton, along with mainstays like José Miranda, Jorge Polanco, Max Kepler, and Alex Kirilloff can elevate Minnesota back into the upper tier of run-producing teams. While Christian Vázquez and Joey Gallo are now aboard as regulars, the story of the offseason was adding high-caliber depth.

    Minnesota's front office insured its most prized assets to an admirable degree. Kyle Farmer, acquired from Cincinnati after starting 200 games for the Reds at shortstop over the past two years, will be Correa's top backup. Michael A. Taylor, acquired from Kansas City after starting 250 games in center field over the past two years, will be Buxton's top backup.
    Both Farmer and Taylor provide valuable depth elsewhere, too. They're contingencies at worst, and bonus contributors at best. It's a good place for Rocco Baldelli to be following a season where he ran out of both, and was reduced to routinely fielding makeshift lineups as contention slipped away in September. 
    Health situations for key players already trending in a troubling direction, with Polanco and Kirilloff both opening on the injured list, so this added high-level depth will undoubtedly come into play early and often.
    Building depth was also the focus of Minnesota's biggest and most controversial offseason trade, which sent batting champ Luis Arraez to Miami in exchange for Opening Day starter Pablo López. It was a bold move by the front office, removing one star-caliber bat from the offensive equation in order to bolster a rotation plagued by its own health concerns.
    López, who gets the nod on Opening Day, joins Sonny Gray, Joe Ryan, Tyler Mahle, and Kenta Maeda in the starting five. Bailey Ober will stand by as an impact reinforcement at the ready in Triple-A – very important given the uncertainties attached to Mahle and Maeda especially.

    You can click through to in-depth analysis of the outlook and depth at each position below, or keep reading for more 2023 Twins storylines.
    The 2023 Twins, Position by Position
    Position Analysis: Catcher Position Analysis: First Base Position Analysis: Second Base Position Analysis: Third Base Position Analysis: Shortstop Position Analysis: Left Field Position Analysis: Center Field Position Analysis: Right Field Position Analysis: Designated Hitter Position Analysis: Starting Pitcher Position Analysis: Relief Pitcher Youth Movement: Twins Top Prospects to Arrive in 2023
    The Twins are in an interesting period of generational transition, with a position-player core that comprises basically three eras of top prospects. First, an established class of veterans, and another of developing talents without much experience:
    The Old Guard: Buxton, Polanco, Kepler (and Correa, albeit not a former Twins prospect) Entering Their Prime: Kirilloff, Miranda, Larnach, Jeffers, Gordon Then, an intriguing wave of strong prospects who are, by and large, ready to enter the fold. Royce Lewis, Edouard Julien, Austin Martin, Matt Wallner and Brooks Lee are all players ranked near the top of the Twins' system who could be in line for significant MLB playing time this year. 
    Read: Twins Daily Top 20 Prospects: Recap and Analysis
    This intermingling of youth is one of the season's main sources of intrigue for me. Should things generally go well, the Twins will find themselves swimming in quality depth, with high-performing prospects slamming on the door. And if things don't go so well, fans should get a prolonged look at the next generation of talent, as a silver lining.
    Key Storylines for the 2023 Twins
    We've been writing here at Twins Daily all spring and offseason about some of the team's biggest priorities, narratives, and question marks heading into this pivotal season. Click through the stories below to explore these topics in depth:
    Can Kenta Maeda shake off an underwhelming season and recapture something resembling his 2020 form, as he comes back from a lost year at age 34 with free agency bearing down? Read: Kenta Maeda's Discouraging Spring, by Cody Pirkl
    How big of an impact can top prospect Royce Lewis have in the second half of the season, as he works back from a second straight knee surgery? Read: Royce Lewis Is Ready to Rock, by Ted Schwerzler
    With injuries to key players already being established as a major 2023 storyline before the season has even begun, how will the Twins make up for the loss of absent stars? Read: Here Are Five Options If Alex Kirilloff Misses Time, by Adam Friedman
    How good can this starting rotation – so deep in quality options that a clearly capable big-leaguer will open at Triple-A – really be? Read: The Best Twins Rotations of the Last 25 Years, by Hans Birkeland
    For that matter, what does the future of this rotation look like? Three of the four veteran starters are due for free agency at year's end. Read: How Likely Are the Twins to Extend Their Veteran Starting Pitchers? by Cody Christie
    Will the Twins benefit from MLB's rule changes, which seemed to play a role in how the front office went about building this year's team? Read: Twins Roster Built on Defense and Rule Changes, by Alex Boxwell
    Assuming he can stay healthy (knock on wood), will Durán get enough late-inning support to protect leads and avoid some of the costly bullpen lapses from last year? Read: Can Jorge López Rediscover His First-Half Success? by Lou Hennessy
    Charting the AL Central Competition
    The Guardians are generally viewed by betting odds and projection systems as the favorites in the AL Central, but not by a huge margin. This division forecasts (once again) as a mediocre one where the crown is there for the taking. The Twins probably won't need everything to go right to make the playoffs. 
    Catch up on how the rest of the Central shapes up in 2023 with Matt Braun's "check-in" series:
    Cleveland Guardians Chicago White Sox Kansas City Royals Detroit Tigers Celebrate Opening Day with Twins Daily
    Got plans for the game on Thursday afternoon? Well if not, you do now: Twins Daily will be hosting a watch party for the season opener against the Royals at Forgotten Star Brewing in Fridley. Join the "Twins Daily Social Club" for free beer, meat raffles, prizes, and most importantly: REAL LIVE BASEBALL! Here are the details:
    What: Twins Daily’s Social Club Season Opener
    When: 3 PM – 6 PM, March 30th, 2023
    Where: Forgotten Star, 38 Northern Stacks Drive Fridley, MN 55421
    Cost: FREE
  11. Haha
    cHawk reacted to RandBalls Stu for an article, EXCLUSIVE: Twins Daily Sits Down with The Injury Gods   
    With the regular season almost here, Twins Daily is proud to present this in-depth conversation with longtime Minnesota nemeses The Injury Gods. Known for their season-ending (and sometimes career-ending) work, The Injury Gods have developed quite a reputation among Twins fans. Jontu of the Poison Wind and Cnathol the Endless clear the air on alleged grudges against the Twins, some of their past work, and their outlook for 2023.
    TWINS DAILY: Thank you for taking the time to speak with me.
    JONTU: You’re welcome, mortal.
    TD: First of all, I just have to congratulate you on your work with Royce Lewis last year. Getting him just healthy enough to show some serious potential, then tearing his ACL again because he was playing out of his natural position to replace your masterwork, Byron Buxton? Even Minnesota sports fans were impressed by the sheer cruelty.
    CNATHOL: It’s funny, I proposed that at a work happy hour as a joke! But Jontu and Torvald the Bleak both looked up and basically said, “Hey, we could make this work.” They came back on Monday with a PowerPoint deck and it was full speed ahead.
    JONTU: He’s being modest. Sending Lewis into the wall was all Cnathol. We just added the finishing touches. Did you like that we did it on his first game back in the majors? During the Twins Daily/Gray Duck event at Target Field?
    TD: No. It was awful.
    JONTU: Thank you. That means a lot.
    TD: Moving on, Jorge Polanco is still dealing with a bad wheel after seven months. He’s starting the season on the injured list. Any comment?
    CNATHOL: There is no offseason for an Injury God. We put in the work. Failure to prepare is preparing to fail.
    JONTU: Also, just to clarify, it’s both Jorge Polanco and Alex Kirilloff who still haven’t recovered from the injuries that torpedoed their 2022 seasons. A lot of time and ill intent went into both their struggles.
    TD: My apologies.
    JONTU: You saw how well Kirilloff was hitting before his wrist flared up. The wretched agony of Twins fans as he labored to play through it…I tell you, it makes the long hours all worth it.
    TD: It was so hard to watch.
    JONTU: You flatter Us.
    CNATHOL: To be clear, We’re not always manifesting pain for you puny humans. Mortals think just because We rain misery on the frail bodies of their heroes that We’re always like this. It’s simply not the case. Jontu has taken up pickleball!”
    JONTU: We make the pickleball out of discarded UCLs. Last night we used Stephen Strasburg’s.
    TD: Strasburg plays for Washington. Is this confirmation that the Gods aren’t specifically targeting the Minnesota Twins, despite the lamentations of the fanbase?
    CNATHOL: First of all, I just want to say to Twins fans to keep the lamentations up. The cursing, the frustration, the part where you sit in your car in the driveway with the engine and radio off, trying and failing to keep the howling void of an indifferent universe at bay? That’s what keeps Us going.
    JONTU: But to your point, no, it’s not just the Twins. You’ve seen Our work with the New York Mets. Their fans are already bone-deep psychos and sick freaks. Knocking their closer out for the year because he and his friends were happy? Man, You wait an eternity for a chance like that. This is not an exaggeration. We are beyond time.
    TD: Finally, I need to return to the topic of Byron Buxton.
    CNATHOL: Oh, yes.
    TD: You’ve no doubt seen that he’s starting the year at DH to reduce the wear and tear of playing centerfield all season.
    JONTU: They think they’re clever.
    CNATHOL: The beauty of this is that they believe it’ll work.
    JONTU: The group chat was lit. The gall. The insolence!
    CNATHOL: That rookie pitcher with a 101-mph fastball and zero control? The massive, ankle-spraining pothole in the players’ parking lot at Target Field? A cheeseburger that gives you syphilis? The human mind can’t comprehend the suffering that awaits, much less the form it takes.
    JONTU: None shall know the hour.
    CNATHOL: But probably late April, early May.
  12. Like
    cHawk reacted to Nick Nelson for an article, Twins 2023 Position Analysis: Center Field   
    Projected Starter: Byron Buxton
    Likely Backup: Michael A. Taylor
    Depth: Joey Gallo, Nick Gordon, Gilberto Celestino
    Prospects: Royce Lewis, Emmanuel Rodriguez, Yasser Mercedes, 
    Since 2019, Buxton ranks sixth among all MLB center fielders in fWAR, which is pretty amazing considering that he's played in roughly half of his team's games (51%) during that span. Even at half-capacity, Buxton is among the most valuable handful of players in baseball at a crucial defensive position.
    Minnesota's utmost priority is finding a way to keep Buck on the field as much as possible, and they know that. New head trainer Nick Paparesta came aboard this past offseason knowing it would be his primary directive. 
    The Twins are taking it slow this spring with Buxton, who has yet to appear in an exhibition game and may see very little action on-field until Opening Day despite being ostensibly healthy.
    The Twins know how much Buxton means to their lineup. And while his bat is a game-changer, they also know that a big portion of his peak value derives from top-tier defense in center field. Even if he's lost a touch of speed and (tried to) cut back on hazardous risk-taking, Buxton remains one of the rangiest and overall outstanding defenders in the game when he's out there.
    He takes away runs. Lots of them. Add that to all of the runs he's creating with his elite power and you've got the recipe for one of the most impactful players in baseball.
    The Twins need to balance keeping him on the field as much as possible with adequately protecting his body and maximizing his chances of helping the team all season. This might mean adopting a usage model with built-in days for DH and rest. It's a luxury the club can more easily afford thanks to one of their most underrated offseason moves: the acquisition of Taylor from Kansas City.
    Taylor is the closest thing you'll find to Buxton's equal defensively in center. He's a lightning-quick playmaker with great instincts and a big arm. Another human highlight reel covering the vastest expanse of the baseball field.
    As Nash Walker pointed out, Taylor leads all MLB outfielders in Defensive Runs Saved since the 2020 season. Buxton ranks third on that list. Sandwiched between them? Gallo, whom the Twins also insist they're factoring in as CF depth even though he's played just one game there since 2019. 
    Between those three, the Twins can be fairly confident they're fielding a great glove in center almost every night, setting the tone for what could be the best defensive outfield in the majors. 
    This experienced and proven depth will hopefully prevent the Twins from needing to press players like Gordon and Celestino, who combined to make 98 starts in center field last year, beyond their means. Those two are now padding a robust depth chart, further bolstered by prospects like Lewis and Austin Martin who might eventually profile best in center.
    The looming downside in center field, as it ever was: Byron Buxton's likelihood of missing significant time. Last year seemed to hammer home the inevitability of attrition for Buxton, who managed to make his first All-Star team while leading the team to a strong start before, once again, succumbing to multiple injuries that kept him off the field in September.
    Is the knee issue that plagued his 2022 season behind him? For that matter, can we count on his right hip to hold up after sustaining serious strains in back-to-back years? 
    Outside of those carryover concerns ... Is there any feasible preventative measure that can stymy the crimson tide of injuries relentlessly keeping Buxton off the field? 
    These are the questions no one likes to ask, and Byron certainly doesn't like to answer. Unfortunately, they overwhelmingly control the team's fate. That's always going to be true. No one else can replicate or replace what a semi-healthy Buxton brings to the table.
    What the Twins did do this offseason is work to ensure the table won't be bare without him present.
    Last year, when analyzing the center field position for the Twins ahead of the season, I concluded: "Their immediate depth behind Buxton is questionable, which is quite troubling all things considered."
    Questionable was being kind. Buxton ended up missing a ton of time – unfortunate but not unexpected – and the ill-prepared Twins were forced to give more than two-thirds of their center field starts to: Celestino, Gordon, Mark Contreras, Jake Cave, and one sadly unforgettable appearance from Lewis.
    This has been a continuing trend for the Twins over the years, and a costly one. All the way back in spring training of 2017, while covering camp in Fort Myers, I wrote an article underlining the urgency of strong contingency plans for Buxton. Even then, when he was 23 and less than two years into his career, the writing was on the wall. He was never going to dial back the aggressive style that helps make him special.
    "I can’t really be worrying about getting hurt out here," Buxton told me. "I'm focused on being myself between those lines instead of trying to be somebody I'm not."
    His top backup that season was Zack Granite. In many years since, we've seen plenty of other flawed stopgaps in center, but never a player truly capable of substantially lessening Buxton's void.
    At long last, the front office seems to have learned its lesson. Buxton's top backup is now a defensive whiz who's started 262 MLB games in center field over the past two seasons, and won a Gold Glove there in 2021. (That's in addition to Gallo, Gordon, Celestino, and the multitude of CF-capable prospects at all levels of the system.)
    Michael A. Taylor is a joy to behold in center. Here's hoping we see very little of him there in 2023.
    Catch Up On Our Position Preview Series:
    Position Analysis: Catcher Position Analysis: First Base Position Analysis: Second Base Position Analysis: Third Base Position Analysis: Shortstop Position Analysis: Left Field
  13. Like
    cHawk reacted to Ted Schwerzler for an article, Best Bets for the 2023 Minnesota Twins   
    From a baseline perspective, the win total is a point of contention each year. While not predictive of standings in the vein that Baseball Prospectus’ PECOTA attempts, over/under win totals attempt to place a value on a team's overall ability. This season Bovada has the Minnesota Twins checking in at 83.5 wins while giving them equal odds (+150) to finish either first or second in the AL Central.
    Ending with the win total, here are some thoughts on Twins over/under lines being offered for the 2023 season:
    Byron Buxton HR Total - 27.5
    Despite his speed, Byron Buxton’s best swing has always looked like it would produce more of a power hitter than someone that needed to steal bases. We have seen that play out in recent seasons, and despite playing just 92 games last year, he blasted 28 home runs. On a per-game basis, Buxton’s power is in line with Mike Trout and some of the best sluggers across all of baseball.
    Minnesota would probably like to see Buck reign it in a bit more at the plate, leaning into a higher level of discipline. He will still run into his fair share of long balls, which comes down to the number of games he can remain healthy for. Hoping that this is the season for the fluky injuries to stop; Buxton playing anything north of 100 games should allow him to cruise by his home run total. It’s a risk betting on his health, but give me the over here.
    Carlos Correa Batting Average - .280
    Batting average is not the indication of results that it was once viewed as, but there is still plenty of value to be placed on it. Last season the Twins star shortstop hit .291 across 136 games. That included a significant slump during the middle of the season. He is a .279 career hitter and has hit over .280 just twice in his eight-year career.
    I don’t think I’d touch this line, but I could certainly see an argument for the over. With the lack of a shift, Correa could see a few more hits fall, and he gets the benefit of a normal Spring Training where he can settle into his new home. Overall, I think Correa’s slash line trends more towards on-base and slugging, so while his OPS should rise, the batting average may fall. Give me the under on this one.
    Pablo Lopez/Joe Ryan Wins - 10.5
    Pitcher wins have very little value in and of themselves, but they will forever remain a tracked statistic. Last year, Rocco Baldelli was hamstrung with regard to how deep his starters could go in a game. That shouldn’t be the case, given the depth he has this year, and that should benefit the pitching staff as a whole. Joe Ryan led the club with 13 wins last year and shows up in this space for 2023.
    Lopez was reason enough to trade Luis Arraez, and he is coming off a 10-win season of his own. In the Minnesota rotation, both players should be expected to have plenty of offensive backing, and a better bullpen should protect their leads. Eleven wins is a substantial number, but a good Minnesota team should have a couple of double-digit winners. I’m not sure these are the exact two, but I think at least one should get there. I’ll take the over on Lopez and let it be.
    Minnesota Twins Wins - 83.5
    Looking at the division, I think it’s fair to suggest that Minnesota is right there at the top. Cleveland didn’t do much to get better this offseason, and while they are the reigning champs, it may have been more to do with taking advantage of a situation. Chicago still strikes me as the roster to look out for, and while Pedro Grifol is better in charge than Tony La Russa, that may not be enough to vault them up.
    Even if the Twins can’t grab the AL Central title again, and I wouldn’t bet against that, they should surpass 84 wins. This looks like a group that can fly past 90 and even a disastrous finish, as the walking wounded saw them win 78 last season. The pitching depth is there, and while the lineup looks different, this team is constructed to compete. I’m taking the over.
    What are your favorite bets or over/under tallies for the 2023 Twins?
  14. Haha
    cHawk reacted to RandBalls Stu for an article, Twins Acquire Donovan   
    The Minnesota Twins thought they were signing veteran infielder Donovan Solano to a one-year deal. Instead, they signed a rock-and-roll legend.
    “We’re pleased to announce the unexpected signing of Donovan,” said Twins PR flack Dustin Morse. “We look forward to seeing how he can contribute to the team this spring. We’ll be making no further comment.”
    Team sources who requested anonymity to speak freely, said a paperwork mishap at the league office sent Solano, 35, to the Rio Grande Rockin’ Ribs-o-Rama in El Paso, Texas. Despite having no identifiable musical talent, he’s opening for Smash Mouth on the Dairy Queen Grill ‘n Chill Stage.
    “He played the recorder in grade school,” said Rich Marsden, Solano’s agent. “He will tear through ‘Hot Cross Buns’ and leave the crowd wanting more.”
    Meanwhile, the oldest Twin since Jesse Orosco is headed to his first spring training.
    “I’m terribly confused,” said Leitch.
    The 76-year-old Scottish folk singer, known for songs like “Mellow Yellow” and “Season of the Witch,” is expected to report to Twins camp on Friday.
    Some team officials are embracing the opportunity.
    “Phish played ‘Hurdy Gurdy Man’ at The Great Went, brother,” said Minnesota Twins manager Rocco Baldelli. “Everyone was just there, being, as one. Can’t wait to see what he brings to the clubhouse.
    “Trey was fire that night,” added Baldelli.
    Still, with his 77th birthday on the horizon, most are skeptical that Leitch can contribute to the 2023 squad.
    “He’s incredibly old,” said a source close to the front office. “He’s 40 years older than everyone else. He can’t hit for power or average. He has no natural position. He’s never played baseball. And those lyrics are straight nonsense. No one is mad about saffron. No one. Trash spice.”
  15. Like
    cHawk reacted to Ted Wiedmann for an article, The Twins Hitter Set to Benefit Most from Shift Ban Isn't Who You Think   
    With the new shift ban coming into effect in 2023, several Minnesota Twins’ hitters could stand to benefit. Joey Gallo, perhaps the face of the new rule change, is certainly one player who could see increased production. Max Kepler is another very pull-heavy hitter who could potentially see his numbers increase with a now more open right side of the infield. A lot of the focus of the shift ban has been directed to left-handed hitters, and understandably so.
    The shift against left-handed hitters was quite apparent, as it often involved a second baseman in right field and sometimes four outfielders, making baseball traditionalists sick to their stomachs as none of the players were seemingly in the spots they were supposed to be. 
    There is one Twins hitter who might benefit most from the shift ban that I have rarely seen mentioned. He may not be an obvious shift victim candidate due to his physical profile and offensive production in the last couple of seasons, but he stands to gain more from the rule change more than players like Kepler and Gallo. That hitter is Byron Buxton.
    Believe it or not, Byron Buxton is not only the most pull-heavy hitter on the Twins but also the most pull-heavy player in all of baseball. According to Statcast, in 2022, out of hitters with 300 plate appearances, Buxton had the highest pull% in MLB at 54.2%. Gallo was eighth in pull% at 48.4%, and the league average pull% is 45.9%.

    Teams noticed this pull-happy tendency from Buxton and adjusted their defenses accordingly. In 2022 among hitters with 250 plate appearances, Buxton was shifted 78.8% of the time, good for 34th most in MLB but second most among right-handed hitters, only trailing Eugenio Suarez of the Seattle Mariners. 
    The shift impacted Buxton dramatically. Contrary to standard thought, Buxton only hit .188 (13-for-69) on ground balls, despite his world-class speed. His shift and non-shift splits were jarring as well. In the 301 plate appearances against the shift, Buxton registered a .312 wOBA. When there was no shift, Buxton’s wOBA was .517 in only 81 plate appearances. The league average wOBA is .316, so a .517 wOBA in an 81 PA sample is astounding. His .205 difference in shift versus non-shift wOBA was the biggest in all of baseball among players who received at least 15 plate appearances against both the shift and no-shift.  
    While it is impossible that Buxton can sustain a .517 wOBA, it may have been understated how much he can benefit from the shift ban. While the strikeout rate may limit him from reaching the elite tier of hitters in MLB, Buxton makes as consistent and hard contact as anyone. He ranked in the 97th percentile in average exit velocity, 97th percentile in barrel%, and 93rd percentile in hard hit%. 
    His .224 batting average in 2022 may have disappointed some, but I would be shocked if it stays that low in 2023. Being able to hit ground balls again opens up new avenues for all hitters, particularly for ones like Byron Buxton, who runs like the wind. So while this new era of baseball defense may take some below-average hitters to average ones, it may also take the Twins’ superstar into a class of his own.  
  16. Like
    cHawk reacted to Cody Pirkl for an article, Trading Gio Was A Mistake   
    We’ve received more straightforward news on the Max Kepler front these last few days. After speculation grew regarding the Twins possibly keeping the left-handed outfielder, Dan Hayes reports that Kepler sticking around is likely at this point. It’s been discussed how Max Kepler still has value in the right role to help the Twins if he stays. This news does make us second guess parting with Gio Urshela earlier this winter, however.
    The Twins decision to trade Gio Urshela was straightforward at the time. Jose Miranda is getting a fair crack at being the everyday third baseman, and Urshela’s projected arbitration salary was a bit high for a player whose role wasn’t certain. They followed it up by signing Joey Gallo to a one-year, $11 million prove-it deal. This all but cemented the fact that Max Kepler was on the way out, as six left-handed corner outfielders on the 40-man roster is beyond excessive. With the addition of Gallo and Kepler apparently staying around, however, the Twins may have misplayed their hand.
    It appears the plan with Kepler still being in the mix is for Joey Gallo to play a lot of first base in 2023. With Alex Kirilloff’s health being in question and Gallo having some experience there, it makes sense given the state of the current 40-man roster. Consider however that given Joey Gallo's recent offensive struggles, a fair bit of his floor value comes from his defense in the outfield. Perhaps his offense rebounds to passable levels for a first baseman, but his ability to cover ground and throw out runners on the base paths would be all but nullified by a move to first base. 
    Make no mistake, the debate didn’t have to be Urshela vs Gallo for the first base platoon role. It seemed that the plan was to trade Max Kepler for much of the offseason. The Twins asking price appeared to have been high all along, but given the level of player Kepler is at this point and the context of the roster, it’s confusing why they’d play hardball on his price on the trade market.
    Urshela was a far more valuable player than Kepler in 2022 by any Wins Above Replacement measure and was essentially given away for free because of his redundancy with Miranda moving over to the hot corner. The irony in this is that the Twins now have Gallo, Larnach, Gordon, Wallner, Kirilloff, and Kepler as left-handed corner outfield options and it appears they haven’t lowered their asking price at all. Kepler has a $10 million option for 2024, but do the Twins really plan on paying that if Kepler’s performance from the last two years continues?
    The Twins current roster includes a massive left-handed logjam with players like Joey Gallo out of position where his skillset isn’t being maximized. Several young players such as Trevor Larnach and Matt Wallner who should be nearing their chance to show what they can do are now pushed further down the line by the excessive outfield depth chart. They could have a better platoon partner for Kirilloff and one more right-handed bat in Gio Urshela for less money, but instead, they traded this scenario away for a 19-year-old pitching prospect in the low minors.
    It’s hard to say there weren’t miscalculations on the Twins part this offseason. Looking at the roster now, it becomes clear that Urshela’s value to the team exceeded the value he carried on the trade market. This is further exacerbated by the Twins appearing to overvalue Kepler on the trade market despite the obvious lack of need for him on the roster. If they valued Kepler this highly, why sign Joey Gallo at all as opposed to keeping Gio Urshela or designating that $11 million to a right-handed hitter with more experience at first base?
    It’s possible Max Kepler is still traded before the season and that the roster makes a lot more sense on Opening Day. As things stand now, however, it sure looks like dumping Gio Urshela for anything they could get was a mistake. Do you agree?
  17. Haha
    cHawk reacted to RandBalls Stu for an article, Twins Awkwardly Add Max Kepler Back to Group Chats   
    When the offseason began, there were two certainties: The Twins would move heaven and earth to get Carlos Correa back, and Max Kepler was going to be traded.
    Through a wild series of events, Correa is back in Minnesota for a while. However, that second certainty? At this writing, it’s uncertain at best.
    “Spring Training is two weeks away and Max (Kepler, Twins outfielder) is still here,” said Twins outfielder Trevor Larnach. “We sort of removed him from all of our group chats. It’s weird.”
    The signing of fellow lefthanded corner outfielder Joey Gallo seemed to signal that Kepler’s time as a Twin was nearing an end. The trade for Michael A. Taylor seemed to put an exclamation point to it.
    And yet.
    “I sort of moved my stuff into his locker at Target Field,” said Larnach. “It’s going to be awkward already when we start texting him out of the blue about Fort Myers restaurants and agreeing he’s right about how great German chocolate is. We get it, bro, you’re from Germany. The locker is harder to explain.”
    Fellow outfielder Byron Buxton agrees that it’s going to take a little finesse.
    “We all kind of thought he was gone,” said Buxton. “And he doesn’t quite have a handle on how we use emojis here, so if we welcome him back with the wrong one, it could get sideways. The ‘cry laughing’ one means something so disturbing where he’s from that he didn’t talk to (Ryan) Jeffers for two months.”
    Larnach was asked if Kepler might be open to bargaining.
    “I just read some Grimm’s Fairy Tales to acquaint myself with his culture,” said Larnach. “These stories are messed up. The Godfather Death ruins harvests and the Three Nymphs of the Black Forest steal your soul and your maiden fair. I don’t know what a maiden fair even is. Maybe I should just buy him a car?”
  18. Like
    cHawk reacted to Ted Wiedmann for an article, Be Wary of Michael Fulmer   
    The Minnesota Twins bullpen is filling out nicely, projected as a top-five unit by some systems. They have arguably the best relief pitcher in all of baseball in Jhoan Duran and a strong supporting cast behind him, but there is plenty of noise that the Twins add one more right-handed reliever to fill out the bullpen. A popular candidate to re-sign for that last spot is one of their 2022 trade acquisitions, Michael Fulmer. 
    Fulmer was solid for the Twins in the back half of the season, claiming a 3.70 ERA, 4.14 FIP, with a 20.6% K% and 7.5% BB% for Minnesota post-deadline. There has been little noteworthy reporting on a potential landing spot for Fulmer this offseason. Would a reunion in MN make sense for the right-hander? 
    Fulmer sits in the mid-90s with his fastball, but his calling card is his slider. Throwing it more than 60% of the time and averaging over 90 MPH, the pitch laid waste to right-handed hitters, as Fulmer held them to a .188/.287/.257 slash line in 2022. 
    However, as devastating as he is to right-handers, he was quite the opposite versus left-handed hitters. Allowing a .337/.404/.526 slash line, this extreme platoon split limits Fulmer’s value, as he is only useful against one side of the plate. 
    Fulmer toes a very fine line of success. His strikeout rate is just under league average (45th percentile), and he does a good job of limiting hard contact (61st percentile HardHit%), but walks were a problem for Fulmer in 2022. His 10.1% BB% was the 20th percentile, and while you can be an excellent reliever with a high walk rate, it is difficult to do so while missing bats at a below-league-average level. I believe Fulmer allows too many free passes to consistently rely on the variance of balls in play to be a sustainably reliable relief pitcher in the future. 
    In addition to his struggles commanding the strike zone, Fulmer is starting to see deterioration in his pitch arsenal. Fulmer saw his pitch velocities decline by more than a mile per hour for all four of his pitches. 
    The thing that concerns me the most is what happened to his slider. In addition to losing velocity, it started to lose movement. According to Baseball Savant, from 2021 to 2022, his slider lost more than an inch of horizontal break and an inch of vertical break. Given how often he throws this pitch and how critical it is for his success, declining speed and movement on his slider is extremely concerning moving forward. For a pitcher that is going to rely on soft contact for outs while also not throwing a lot of strikes, seeing their best pitch starting to slip is a red flag. 
    I’m not opposed to re-signing Fulmer, but it would be a risky bet, and it would have to be a low-cost signing. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Twins decided to fill that final bullpen spot with one of their relief prospects instead of Fulmer. Whether it’s Cole Sands, Ronny Henriquez, Trevor Megill, or another option, it’s not an unreasonable bet that the Twins can generate Fulmer’s value as a righty specialist elsewhere
  19. Like
    cHawk reacted to Ted Schwerzler for an article, Twins Timeline for Prospects in 2023   
    Last season, Rocco Baldelli saw a significant number of players make their major-league debuts. We finally saw Royce Lewis play shortstop at Target Field, and Jose Miranda earned his way onto the roster after an incredible 2021. Simeon Woods Richardson closed out the season for the Twins, and hometown star Louie Varland took his turn as well.
    Although the Twins are somewhat veteran-laden at several key spots, we’ll still see plenty of prospects pop up along the way this season. Trying to pick one player per month, here are a few names we could see for the first time in 2023:
    April - To Be Determined
    Prior to being traded for Michael A. Taylor, there was reason to believe that Evan Sisk could find himself in this spot. Acquired from the St. Louis Cardinals for J.A. Happ, he's a high strikeout guy at Triple-A that hasn't been able to calm the walks. Maybe the Twins didn't see it happening and flipped him. If another prospect is going to debut this soon in 2023, it will likely be to replace an arm in the bullpen.
    May - Austin Schulfer
    Working as the Double-A Wichita closer for the first half of the year, Schulfer dominated. He then struggled across 32 2/3 innings at Triple-A St. Paul. Having moved fully to a bullpen role following the 2021 season, Schulfer looks the part of a quality major-league reliever. He should be called upon at some point this season when the bullpen could use a fresh arm. Starting strong for the Saints is a must in 2023.
    June - Jordan Balazovic
    Previously the best starting pitching prospect in the Twins system, things couldn’t have gone worse for Balazovic in 2022. He got off to a late start due to a knee injury, and despite suggesting he was healthy, never got back on track. The walk and home run rates skyrocketed last year, but turning it back to his 2021 and earlier numbers, Balazovic could rekindle some of the same prospect allure that made him a consensus top 100 type coming into the year.
    July - Brent Headrick
    A 9th-round pick in 2019, Headrick was added to the 40-man roster this offseason. His 4.81 ERA at Double-A was a byproduct of the longball, but he has shown the ability to generate strikeouts as a starter. Another lefty, Minnesota could opt to push him into a bullpen role, but either way, he’ll have ample opportunity to work his way toward Triple-A and beyond this season.
    August - Brooks Lee
    Taken with their most recent 1st round pick, Minnesota fans may see Lee as soon as this year. While it may look like he’s blocked on the dirt, there is no reason that he couldn’t play second base if Jorge Polanco is hurt or struggles. Lee looked incredibly advanced during his professional debut, and that justified promotions all the way up to Double-A.
    September - Austin Martin
    Once the key piece of a Jose Berrios trade, Martin’s prospect shine has faded some. He didn’t hit for power last season, and it led to a frustrating year at Double-A. His Arizona Fall League season went well, however, and returning to more of a pure hitter could be a good change. He may find a role in the outfield or move off of shortstop, but Martin figuring into Minnesota’s plans behind Byron Buxton may make some sense late.
    October - Matt Canterino
    This is truly a wild card as Canterino is currently rehabbing from Tommy John surgery last summer. He has great strikeout stuff, and while his delivery is unconventional, it may work exceptionally well in the bullpen. The former Rice product may be well served to put his starting days behind him, and if the Twins are in a run for the postseason, Canterino could provide a big boost to the bullpen.
    What prospects are you most excited for in 2023 and who not on this list do you think could debut?
  20. Like
    cHawk reacted to Ted Schwerzler for an article, Twins Trade Luis Arraez for Marlins' Pitcher Pablo López   
    Last season for the Marlins, Pablo López posted a 3.75 ERA along with a 3.71 FIP. He’s jumped his strikeouts over one per inning in the past three seasons and continues to develop as a pitcher. His changeup is noteworthy, and his velocity sits in the mid-90s. Having debuted as a 22-year-old in 2018, he’s just entering his age-27 season.
    Minnesota has seemingly been in a never-ending quest for quality starting pitching. After acquiring Cincinnati Reds starters Sonny Gray and Tyler Mahle last year, the rotation as a whole grew stronger at the top. While Joe Ryan did start on Opening Day, he projects to slot in as a more middle-to-back-end type of arm. The Twins also will return veteran Kenta Maeda this season, and they have depth in the form of Bailey Ober, Josh Winder, and Simeon Woods Richardson.
    The goal for Derek Falvey this offseason was to acquire a talent that met the Gray-threshold. Ideally,
    Rocco Baldelli needs another arm that can pitch in a short playoff series and be trusted to get the job done. While it may be debatable how close they truly are, López can certainly be that guy.
    Like the Twins did at the deadline, their goal in acquiring arms has been to avoid rentals. They would like to have time to work with pitchers and unlock whatever ceiling is seen for each individual. López is under two more years of team control via arbitration and is projected to make just over $5 million this year per MLB Trade Rumors.
    A pitcher at that level, and with that amount of team control, isn’t going to come without a significant cost. That’s where 2022 American League Batting champion Luis Arraez enters the picture. He is a talented player that is truly beloved in the clubhouse and the fanbase. When unveiling their new uniforms back in November, Minnesota opted to have him on stage, and his smile was beaming. Arraez has only known the Twins organization throughout his professional career.
    Minnesota fans know they are giving up a guy that doesn’t strike out, gets on base, and consistently hits for a high average. However, Derek Falvey is also likely conscious of Arraez’s deficiencies. Arraez has balky knees that have kept him from finishing seasons in recent years and is limited defensively, starting 94 games at first base and designated hitter last year. He has definitely done an admirable job shoring up first base when Baldelli needed him this year, but that position could be ticketed for Alex Kirilloff , among others, in 2023.
    In the deal, Minnesota also gets Jose Salas from Miami, per Craig Mish. An infield prospect currently ranked 5th in the Marlins pipeline, he is a 19-year-old that spent 2022 playing at Single-A. With a .722 OPS across 109 games, Salas flashed some power blasting nine home runs. Baseball America’s profile of him this year concluded that “No matter where he winds up on the diamond, his offensive skills will make him a valuable player.” So the Twins add more young talent to their up-the-middle prospects on the farm.
    The final piece of the deal going to Minnesota is 17-year-old outfield prospect Byron Chourio , per Mark Feinsand. He made his professional debut in the Dominican Summer League last season playing 51 games. The .838 OPS was impressive, and largely backed by his nine doubles. There is some speed there as well considering he swiped 19 bases.
    There’s no denying that Minnesota is getting a very good arm back in this deal, but López will have the weight of the world on his shoulders each time he goes out, knowing a fan favorite and clubhouse good guy was his price.
  21. Like
    cHawk reacted to Ted Schwerzler for an article, Carlos Correa Saved the Twins Offseason   
    Despite what we experienced following the lockout prior to the 2022 Major League Baseball season, there is typically not a set window for free agents to sign. Although plenty are off the board at this point, it’s not as though the offseason was over for the Minnesota Twins. The problem is that their entire offseason hinged solely on Carlos Correa returning.
    It was clear from the jump that Minnesota prioritized Correa, as they should have. Their initial 10-year deal for $285 million left plenty to be desired, but could have been reflective of their comfort with his long-term aging process. At any rate, that number was never initially going to get it done.
    Sure, it took both the San Francisco Giants and New York Mets backing out of their deals to bring him in, but that doesn’t matter. No one in the Twins front office cares how it happened, and fans shouldn’t either. For the front office, there was little way to explain themselves out of it not getting done, however.
    Early on this winter the Twins dealt for former Cincinnati Reds shortstop Kyle Farmer. He was seen as a baseline in order to give Minnesota a fallback option. They acted similarly a season ago when they swapped Mitch Garver for Isiah Kiner-Falefa. In and of itself, there is nothing wrong with that type of move. The problem is that Minnesota wasn’t good enough with Correa last year, and they almost certainly would not have been without him going forward.
    Yes, injuries ravaged the 2022 Twins. There is plenty of reason to believe in a healthy Trevor Larnach, Alex Kirilloff, Royce Lewis, and Byron Buxton being a substantial upgrade to Rocco Baldelli’s lineup. That line of thinking assumes that future injury won’t occur however, and barring Nick Paparesta being some kind of witch doctor, there will still be situations to deal with.
    In waiting on Correa, and ultimately missing when he was originally out there, the Twins were left out on their only other shortstop target Dansby Swanson. They never made a strong play for Xander Bogaerts (which wound up working out as the Padres spent crazy money) and they didn’t seriously pursue Trea Turner either. With plenty of bats gone, options at shortstop having dwindled, and even more arms off the board there was little place to pivot.
    There is no denying that Correa being back with the Twins is a great thing, but that only gives Minnesota an opportunity to advance things further. They must figure out a way to move the outfield pieces around. Max Kepler has drawn significant trade interest, and Joey Gallo should be assumed to produce at a similar or better clip. Finding another quality pitcher is a must, and that has never looked likely to come from the free agent market. 
    Correa’s acquisition means the Twins are roughly where they were a season ago. Christian Vazquez is an upgrade on Gary Sanchez, but there have been no other moves that finish the job. The bullpen still needs a piece, and the front office has money to spend. With Correa now on board, the rest of the offseason plan can continue to roll in motion.
    Starting the season with Farmer at shortstop, questionable dollars spent to reach a realistic payroll threshold, and an offseason of watching talent sign elsewhere would have been nothing short of a nightmare. At points it was suggested a logical pivot to piecing out parts may have been necessary. That level of uncertainty should have never been a potential thought, and while the front office probably wouldn’t have agreed, their lack of options made it a legitimate question.
    We haven’t yet reached the point of this being a slam dunk offseason, but it certainly has the potential to be all because the Twins got one guy back.
  22. Haha
    cHawk reacted to RandBalls Stu for an article, Projecting the Next Organizations to Sign and Back Away from Carlos Correa   
    Once is a fluke. Twice is a trend. That’s all we really know about the state of Carlos Correa’s future employment and the ankle he injured a decade ago. Nine-figure deals with the Giants and Mets have either evaporated completely or exist in some kind of limbo. The Twins reportedly had limited interest in a reunion after the San Francisco signing fell through, despite their stated desire to sign him long term.
    Something’s up. Fortunately, Twins Daily has access to the kind of advanced metrics other baseball websites can only dream of. Using these bleeding-edge tools, we’ve been able to project the next organizations that will sign Correa to a massive long-term contract, only for it to instantly go sideways.
    The Pittsburgh Pirates. Reason: Thought it was Kevin Correia. Honest mistake. The Chicago White Sox. Reason: Team wants to save money for giving Tony La Russa one last shot at managing the game on the field versus the one happening in his mind palace. “He’s a Hall of Famer,” said team source. The Oakland Athletics. Reason: Signing ceremony postponed due to monthly raw sewage leak. The Miami Marlins. Reason: Correa would have to find location for hideous outfield home run sculpture and pay movers. "A dealbreaker," said Boras. The 1986 New York Mets. Reason: Boras, Correa refuse to be paid in cocaine. The Miami Heat. Reason: Only shoots mid-range jumpers. The Green Bay Packers. Reasons: Scott Boras balks at payment in worthless company stock; Correa thinks Kroll’s butter burgers are overcooked, has also never played football. Waffle House, Walterboro, SC location. Reason: Being on feet all day while catching chairs in midair enhances injury risk. The Fellowship of the Ring. Reason: Journey on foot to Mordor exacerbates stress on leg in question; Boras demands standard percentage of The One Ring, Isildur’s Bane, which was forged in the fires of Mount Doom and only there can be destroyed. Image license here.
  23. Like
    cHawk reacted to Nick Nelson for an article, The Latest on the Minnesota Twins and Carlos Correa   
    Without question, the Twins remain intensely focused on their pursuit of Carlos Correa, which seems to be pushing all other offseason priorities to the backburner. 
    Every report on the shortstop's market seems to name them among top remaining suitors, including this latest one from Jon Heyman on Saturday listing the Twins, Giants and Cubs among the "teams in on" Correa. 
    More recently, the Yankees have emerged as a known contender for Correa's services, even after inking Aaron Judge to his landmark deal. ESPN's Buster Olney reported that he's "definitely picking up a lot of vibes there that yeah they signed Aaron Judge to that $360 million deal, but they’re working on something big."
    It's natural for hometown fans to be skeptical of Minnesota's legitimate involvement at this stage against multiple big-market titans for a free agent likely to land $300M+ guaranteed. But outsiders don't necessarily share that skepticism, including Vegas.
    As the website OddsChecker.com pointed out a couple days back, "The Twins are given -150 odds to retain Correa, that’s an implied 60% chance. The San Francisco Giants are right behind them though, as they’re given EVEN odds, an implied 50% chance, to land the star shortstop."
    It's unclear exactly when Correa will make a decision. The pressure is turning up on the Twins as time passes, because their contingency plans have rapidly come off the table. Trea Turner and Xander Bogaerts have already signed. The idea of pivoting to another big bat like Jose Abreu, Willson Contreras or Brandon Nimmo is also diminishing as all those players are off the table.
    Carlos Rodon remains at the top of the free agent pitching pool, but his market is robust. Dan Hayes reported that the Twins are viewing Dansby Swanson as a possible Correa fallback option, having met with the shortstop via video call during the Winter Meetings, but personally I hope (and suspect) that's merely a negotiating ploy to parry against Scott Boras, who is understandably doing all he can to land his client an epic payday.
    You see it in small, subtle details like Heyman – a known friend if not mouthpiece of Boras – making a point to note Correa's appealing traits in a tweet updating his market. You see it in the fact Correa's free agency continues to linger as his camp evidently plays bidders against one another to run up the price. Eleven-year deals for Turner and Bogaerts set a sharp precedent, and really give Correa and Boras the ability to set their own terms.
    Up to this point, the Twins still seem genuinely invested in meeting them. How long will they hang around if the cost keeps rising? How long can we maintain our sanity as this saga drags on and the front office remains stalled out?
    Soon enough, the dominoes will begin to drop. It's probably a stretch to call the Twins favorites but without a doubt, they are in there. Would have been difficult to fathom just a few short years ago.
  24. Haha
    cHawk reacted to RandBalls Stu for an article, Your Guide to the Worst Black Friday Deals in Twins Territory   
    As you battle your fellow Minnesotans for the last Rosedale parking spot, hoping the sporting goods store has an XL Byron Buxton Twin Cities jersey you can drop half a paycheck on, you should know that there are many other online and brick-and-mortar outlets showcasing their wares for you, the hardcore Twins fan. Twins Daily has run the numbers, and what follows are the worst consumer options out there. Keep your head on a swivel.
    20% off signed copies of “Why Is He So Tiny Now? An Oral History of Bret Boone’s Three Weeks as a Minnesota Twin.” $99 for a six-month premium subscription to My Favorite Blown Calls, Phil Cuzzi’s podcast about his signature umpiring moments. Free first-timer visit to Ken Mauer and Andrelton Simmons’ new holistic medicine outlet, Vitastrong, located in Maplewood’s worst strip mall. No vaccines, no doctors, just nutritional advice from a cooked shortstop and an NBA ref that looks like he wears a leather jacket to Latin Mass. Vitastrong is not responsible for any measles you get during your visit, and you will get measles. Trial subscription to Aaron Gleeman’s new Substack newsletter, Text Messages I Haven’t Responded To. The Twins beat writer shares all the texts he gets from other baseball writers, morning radio hosts with unlikely haircuts, and unwashed bloggers to whom he simply is never going to reply. Use code WOULDYOUJUSTSTOPDANA to receive 40% off. 50% off The Motivational Speeches of Tommy Herr. This 12-cassette collection from the recalcitrant infielder for whom we traded away Tom Brunansky is the perfect gift for the father or uncle you flat-out hate. Craigslist ad for Metrodome urinal trough. It says $40 or best offer, but it’s just a scam. Do not ask which Twins Daily writers have had their credit card information compromised by this too-good-to-be-true deal (OK, so far it’s Stu, Parker, and John).  
  25. Haha
    cHawk reacted to RandBalls Stu for an article, I Will Give Carlos Correa This $10 Bill If He Signs with Minnesota   
    I take the Green Line to work every day between the Twin Cities. Light rail gets a bad rap from guys in Elk River who think cowering in fear of Minneapolis is something to brag about, but it’s 20 minutes there, 20 minutes back, and I can listen to podcasts about war or baseball.
    Recently, while waiting for my train at the Prospect Park station, something caught my eye. Was it a food wrapper? No. An empty tallboy? No. It was a by god $10 bill. I picked it up, put it in my pocket, and tried to think of something I could do with it. As tempting as a fistful of Beef-and-Chedds from Arby’s is, this is found money. I do OK, it should go to a good cause.
    In the end, there was only one right answer.
    Carlos Correa , if you return to the Minnesota Twins, I will give you ten American dollars.
    Now, I’m aware that your asking price is quite a bit steeper. I’ve read the interviews with Scott Boras and the copious hot stove analyses that say Minnesota is in play, but still an unlikely destination for your long-term services.
    One thing I’ve also noticed: not a single GD one of them mentions paper money. This $10 bill I found? Cold hard cash. By the time you get to the end of this sentence, it’ll be worth more than every crypto scam and Twitter combined. And I’m telling you right now: You can have it. Just sign with the Twins.
    I’ve watched enough bad shortstops over the years to know that your services are needed, especially with Royce Lewis’ health in question. The Boy Geniuses clearly agree and have already put together a competitive offer for your services. I’m putting $10 on top of what they’re already prepared to give you. Talk to Boras. Mull it over with your family. Take some time. I think you’ll agree this offer is fair, sound, and selfless.
    I thank you for your consideration. (We can do the handoff at Arby's, too. First Beef-and-Chedd? On me.)
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