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  1. Incorrect
    RpR reacted to Cody Pirkl for an article, Livin' La Vida Larnach?   
    The tale of Trevor Larnach’s debut is not uncommon among big-time hitting prospects. He came up and punished major-league fastballs until he was fed a steady diet of breaking pitches. At that point not even his hot start could keep Larnach from taking a trip back to St. Paul where his season eventually ended with an injury.
    In his short stint in AAA to end 2021, Larnach didn’t have much time to get his footing back and work to adjust back to MLB pitching which had pinpointed his Achilles Heel. The left-handed slugger swung and missed at 54% of the breaking balls he saw. Unsurprisingly, he hit just .167 and slugged .218 against such pitches. It was fitting that he was slated to spend a chunk of time in St. Paul to begin the year before Alex Kirilloff landed on the IL. In short, Larnach is once again receiving the “trial by fire” treatment.
    At first glance, Larnach appears to be failing miserably, as his slash line of .190/.192/.174 appears to fit right in with a Twins 1-9 that ranks as one of the worst offenses in all of baseball. Unlike his lineup mates, however, Larnach is doing everything right to start his second MLB season.
    Has it felt like Larnach regularly punishes baseballs that just so happen to wind up in a defender's glove? It should, because that’s exactly what’s happening. Statcast data suggests Larnach has been the unluckiest hitter in the Twins lineup. So far he’s increased his barrel rate from 9.5% to 10.5% from last year. His .240 expected batting average is more than acceptable when paired with a .473 expected slugging percentage. Mix in his tremendous eye at the plate and a decrease in his swing and miss rate from 34.6% to 19.2% and the Twins have what looks like a middle-of-the-order bat who’s gotten unlucky across a couple of weeks.
    So how do we know Larnach isn’t off to just another hot streak that’s destined to crash back down like last year?
    The early returns on Larnach’s ability to hit breaking balls are unbelievable. Pitchers have continued feeding him spinners as his scouting report likely calls for. According to just about every measurement, Larnach’s ability to not only make contact but to barrel such pitches has made a dramatic improvement.
    The Twins admittedly don’t have a lot to get excited about in their lineup at the moment as most hitters are either making poor contact or no contact at all. Trevor Larnach is different. After showing a crippling weakness in his MLB debut, the former first-round pick appears to have made a measurable change in approach that simply hasn’t quite paid off yet in this young season.
    Despite his poor surface numbers, I’d argue Larnach is showing more at the plate than most of the lineup thus far. The Twins are struggling to score any runs at all and even just one player really clicking would really make a world of difference. So far the numbers say Trevor Larnach could be such a player. Do you agree?
  2. Like
    RpR reacted to Theo Tollefson for an article, Right Fielders of the 70s: Bobby Darwin   
    Bobby Darwin was the first of these successors to Tony Oliva, having his breakout season with the Twins in 1972. Darwin was initially signed as a pitcher to start his professional career. Born and raised in Los Angeles, Darwin lucked out being born in 1943 as he was at the ripe age of 18 when the newly-formed Los Angeles Angels expansion team entered MLB in 1961. 
    Shortly after signing a contract with the Angels before the 1962 season, Darwin made his MLB debut on September 30, 1962, starting the game for the Halos. His first MLB start was not how Darwin likely wanted to break into the big leagues at 19 years old, only going 3 1/3 innings and giving up four runs on eight hits and four walks to Cleveland. 
    His pitching woes continued throughout the 1960s. He had some success and several struggles on the mound. Consistency was certainly an issue in the minor leagues. Darwin returned to the majors briefly in 1969, seven years after his debut, for six games.
    It went so well that in 1970 he became a full-time outfielder in the Dodgers system. He had always been a good hitter for a pitcher, so it was worth trying. In 86 games that year in the minor leagues, he hit .297 with 23 home runs and 70 RBI. In 91 games in 1971 in the minors, he hit .293/.342/.517 (.859) with 17 homers and 55 RBI. He returned to the big leagues for 11 more games. He went 5-for-20 (.250) a homer in 11 games.
    Darwin landed in Twins territory following that 1971 season in a trade with the Dodgers for center field prospect Paul Powell. The newfound success for Darwin in the minor leagues as an outfielder was enough for the Twins to give him a chance for his first entire MLB season in 1972. Darwin didn’t miss a beat on that opportunity. 
    Now 29, 1972 was Bobby Darwin’s breakout season. Twins manager Bill Rigney found a way to get Darwin in the lineup almost every day, leading the team in games played with 145 (out of 154 games).
    Darwin hit .267/.326/.442 (.769) with 20 doubles, 22 homers, and 80 RBI. He also struck out 145 times which remained the Twins single-season record until Brian Dozier struck out 148 times in his All-Star 2015 season. A year later, Miguel Sano struck out 178 times, and last season he topped that mark with 183 strikeouts. 
    In 1973, Darwin again played in 145 games. He hit .252/.309/.391 (.701) with 20 doubles, 18 homers, and 90 RBI. Despite 52 more plate appearances, Darwin struck out 137 times. 
    For the third straight season, Bobby Darwin led the Twins in strikeouts, this time with 127 strikeouts in 630 plate appearances. In 152 games in 1974, he hit .264/.322/.442 (.764) with 13 doubles, seven triples, 25 homers, and 94 RBI. Only Rod Carew played in more games than Darwin, and he played in 153 games.
    He began the 1975 season with the Twins. In 48 games, he hit .219/.307/.343 (650) with six doubles and five homers in 48 games. He was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers in mid-June for outfielder Johnny Briggs.  
    The quick three-season peak of his career was entering its decline in those 48 games, but Darwin turned his season around with his chance in Milwaukee. Following the 1975 season, Darwin split time his final two seasons between the Brewers, Cubs, and Red Sox, retiring after the conclusion of the 1977 season. 
    Darwin was one of the fortunate Twins from 1970 to 1972 that had the chance to be teammates with five future Hall of Famers; Harmon Killebrew, Rod Carew, Bert Blyleven, Tony Oliva, and Jim Kaat. Darwin found himself as the successor to Oliva and started a lineage that would see an African-American player starting in right field for the Twins almost every day from 1972-1980. 
    Those at Twins Daily would also like to wish Bobby Darwin a happy 79th birthday today!
  3. Like
    RpR reacted to Nate Palmer for an article, A Strong Start up the Middle: Lenny Green and Earl Battey   
    In 1961, center fielder Lenny Green and catcher Earl Battey were part of the collection of players that made the trip from Washington D.C. to Minnesota, a transition that turned the Senators into the Twins. They did so as two of three African Americans with Ron Henry being the third who Seth Stohs wrote about earlier in our series.
    Lenny Green
    Green is certainly the lesser-known of the two players in Twins history. He came to the organization in 1959 after starting his career with Baltimore. In 1961, serving as the starting center fielder for the Twins, Green played in 156 games, hit nine home runs, and drove in 50 runs. He slashed .285/.374/.400. 
    Green played for the Twins from that inaugural 1961 season until midseason of 1964. He was the starter in center field until Jimmie Hall supplanted him during the 1963 season. That led the Twins to trade Green in the middle of the 1964 season to the Los Angeles Angels. A trade that brought back Frank Costro and Jerry Kindall. 
    Green went on to play for Baltimore (once again), Boston, and Detroit before his career ended in 1968. 1965 was his best season after leaving the Senators/Twins organization when he was the regular starting center fielder for the Red Sox. 
    Earl Battey
    If it wasn’t for some guy known for having sideburns, Battey very well would be in consideration for the title of best catcher in Twins history. He was traded to the Senators from the White Sox in 1960. At the time, the backstop was labeled as a defensive catcher. He had always seemed to have success hitting in the minors, but had not been able to get his bat to translate to the big leagues. As a member of the Twins that all changed. 
    In that inaugural season of 1961, Battey played in 133 games, hit 17 home runs, and hit for a .302 average. That batting average ranked sixth-best in the AL by season’s end. Battey also continued with his billing as a good defensive catcher by winning a gold glove in that 1961 season. 
    Before retiring at the end of the 1967 season, Battey won three gold gloves, was a five-time All-Star, and figured into the MVP voting in three different seasons. He certainly was part of a solid core of hitters that had him often overshadowed by the likes of Harmon Killebrew, Tony Oliva, and Bob Allison. 
    What may have shined through even more in retirement from baseball, is that Battey was a really good person. Immediately after his career finished, he was part of a company where one of his main duties was getting free Yankees tickets in the hands of inner-city kids and then attending the game with them. He was the "answer man" for all of the children's questions. The former catcher also became a high school teacher and baseball coach in Florida. 
    Battey passed away in 2003 from cancer. It was the following season, 2004, that Battey entered into the Twins Hall of Fame. Battey is remembered as a great teammate and storyteller.  
    -- A Pennant for the Twins Cities: The 1965 Minnesota Twins was considered in writing this post
  4. Like
    RpR reacted to Seth Stohs for an article, The Talented Mr. Henry   
    Ron Henry was born in 1936 in Chester, Pennsylvania. Because of some illness in his family, he missed some school. That said, he became a top baseball prospect in the northeast, displaying a strong arm behind the plate and some power. 
    In 1954, he signed with the Milwaukee Braves, just over a year after the team relocated from Boston. He played in their minor-league system through the 1960 season. At the end of the year, the Twins selected him in the 1960 Rule 5 draft. 
    In order to keep his services, Henry made the Twins Opening Day roster in 1961, the team’s first year in Minnesota. That said, he was the team’s third catcher and played in just 20 games the whole year. He had four hits in 28 at-bats (.143). 

    He played in Triple-A Vancouver in 1962. In 1963, he started at Triple-A Dallas-Ft. Worth and then ended the season at Double-A Charlotte. After 54 games in Charlotte in 1964, he played 22 more games in the big leagues. He was still the third catcher, so there wasn’t a lot of playing time. He went 5-for-41 (.122), but he did hit a double, a triple, and two home runs. 
    He played for the Twins Triple-A team, now located in Denver, in 1965, 1966, and the start of the 1967 season. He then ended that season and started the 1968 season in the Astros system before retiring from the game of baseball at the age of 31 after 15 professional seasons. 
    After concluding his playing career, Ron Henry spent some time in the Army before returning to Denver where he began a career that lasted over 35 years. 
    He became a legend in the Denver club scene, mostly for good reasons. He could play instruments and was known as a jazzman. He could sing and led a group called Ron Henry and Pride. Colorado Music Hall of Famer Lannie Garrett came to Denver and heard Henry perform. She asked if she could join him and was a background vocalist for the next couple of years. They opened for the likes of Ray Charles and Tina Turner. 
    Along with the music, Ron Henry also performed in plays in the Denver theaters and dinner clubs. 
    In 2001, he and his wife moved to Raleigh. He was starting to have knee problems from his catching days. He also had a heart transplant. 

    Provided to the Denver Post by Rebecca Mobley 
    In 2008, he returned to Denver and continued to have some limited performances until his death in 2016. Henry passed away due to cardiovascular disease and end-stage renal disease. He was surrounded by his family, including his five kids, and many friends and people who enjoyed his performances over the years. 
    His daughter, Rebecca Mobley, told the Denver Post following her father's death, "He loved his friends, he loved his life, he loved all the people he encountered, all the people he interacted with especially with the music." She continued, "He was a fun-loving guy. He liked to laugh a lot. He was kind of a jokester. He loved us a lot. He tried to give us a lot of good advice. … He really adored his grandkids."
    Ron Henry was part of the very first Minnesota Twins roster in 1961. He was one of three African Americans on the roster that year, along with outfielder Lenny Green and fellow-catcher Earl Battey. 
    While his big-league career consisted of just 42 games and a .130 batting average, he was fortunate to spend 15 years as a professional baseball player. That career led him to Denver where he became immensely successful in the music scene with a career more than double the length of his baseball career. 
    Henry isn't the first former pro ballplayer to also succeed in music. Charley Pride played minor-league ball before embarking on his legendary country music career. Bernie Williams is now a classically-trained guitarist who has already been nominated for a Latin Grammy. 
    Who knows, maybe we can see if Trevor Plouffe, Drew Butera, Toby Gardenhire and Dustin Martin will have a Beach Bums reunion? Or, maybe Brian Dozier will bring back Silky Smooth and show off his guitar and piano skills. 
    Keep checking back to Twins Daily throughout Black History Month as we hope to share several more stories about African Americans to don a Twins uniform over the past 62 seasons.

    screenshot from above YouTube video 
  5. Like
    RpR reacted to Cody Christie for an article, 3 Reasons Why Now Is Not the Time For a Rebuild   
    Here are three reasons why the Twins should avoid starting a rebuild in 2022. 
    1. Rebuilds Don’t Guarantee Future Success
    Many fan bases love the idea of a rebuild because of the hope it can offer for the future. In recent memory, there have been successful rebuilds in Houston and Chicago as both franchises won a World Series. These success stories are hardly the norm for rebuilds, as many teams struggle to stay relevant in a competitive MLB landscape. 

    For every successful rebuild, plenty of teams never quite make it back over the hump. Philadelphia lost 81 games or more for eight straight seasons from 2012 through 2019. As the team started coming out of the rebuild, they spent big on free agents like Bryce Harper and Zack Wheeler. It’s been a decade since they made the playoffs, and they only have one season with a winning season during that stretch. San Diego had high expectations over the last two years after losing 90+ games for four straight seasons. Their rebuild results include one playoff appearance, and no playoff wins since 2006. 

    2. Twins Trailing Other Teams Already Rebuilding
    Minnesota can undoubtedly try to rebuild, but it will be tough to field a roster worse than some of the other teams already rebuilding. Last season, seven teams lost 90 games or more, including four that recorded over 100 losses. Franchises like Baltimore, Arizona, and Pittsburgh are stuck in what seems like a yearly rebuilding cycle. Since 1998, Baltimore has had three playoff appearances. Pittsburgh has one playoff appearance that wasn’t in a Wild Card Game since 1993. Over the last decade, Arizona has made two NLDS appearances but never made it out of that round. 

    All of these teams are already ahead in the rebuilding process, and their rosters look worse on paper than the Twins. One of the goals of a rebuild is to build draft capital throughout multiple seasons, but there are few guarantees when it comes to the MLB Draft. Even Houston made drafting mistakes as part of their rebuild. In the last decade, Minnesota drafted highly for multiple years, and there were plenty of players that didn’t pan out, including top-10 picks like Kohl Stewart, Tyler Jay, and Nick Gordon. First-round draft picks are valuable, but teams need to develop players in the organization to rebuild successfully. 

    3. Minnesota Is Currently In A Winning Window
    It may be hard to forget, but the Twins just got out of a rebuild and are in the middle of their current winning window. From 2011-2017, Minnesota’s average finish in the AL Central was 23.6 games out of first place. The Twins saw the results of these losing seasons by winning back-to-back AL Central titles in 2019-20, but that can’t be the peak of this current core. With a veteran core, the Twins should be trying to reload the roster and get back to the playoffs. Plus, the AL Central isn’t getting any easier with other teams like the Tigers and the Royals coming out of their own rebuilds. 

    Also, Minnesota signed Byron Buxton to a seven-year contract extension, so it is essential to field competitive rosters when he is in the prime of his career. Age is certainly a risk to consider with a player of Buxton’s skillset, so the team needs to be in win-now mode. A Twins rebuild would take multiple seasons, and then Buxton would be at the back-end of his contract or no longer part of the team. While the winning window is open, Minnesota needs to stay competitive. 

    Do you think the Twins should start a rebuild or try to avoid it? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.

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  6. Like
    RpR reacted to Cody Pirkl for an article, The Twins NEED a Shortstop   
    This winter is likely the greatest in terms of free agent shortstops in the history of baseball. Corey Seager, Javier Baez, Carlos Correa etc. A perfect scenario for the Minnesota Twins who have an opening at the position and a farm system whose two most obvious candidates to grab that role are questionable at best. It’s unclear whether the Twins were ever open to blocking Royce Lewis and Austin Martin with a long term signing of a star free agent, but it appears the market has likely priced them out of it regardless.
    The Twins just simply were never going to pay this kind of money for any player of any caliber. It is what it is. It’s more likely that their plan was to hope that one of the stud shortstops waited out the market too long and were open to a shorter deal as we neared Spring Training. Something very unlikely when discussing such high profile players. As we enter the lockout and take the temperature of the market, things are continuing to look more and more bleak in terms of adding a shortstop.
    There are low end names such as a reunion with Andrelton Simmons, bringing in the recently DFAed Jose Iglesias, or checking in on the solid but unspectacular Freddy Galvis if his rumors of signing overseas aren’t true. Think these options are gross? All of them should be preferred to the alternative.
    It’s certainly a possibility that the Twins refuse to pay up for the studs and don’t see the point in bringing in another Andrelton Simmons type. After all, Jorge Polanco is coming off a year where he was the Twins best all-around player, and technically he could move right back over to being the quarterback of the infield. They could even move Luis Arraez back to second base. At face value this sounds just fine. I’d argue, however, that it would be an absolute disaster.
    Much of Jorge Polanco’s value in 2021 came from finally being healthy. Perhaps it’s a coincidence, but there were talks attributing his improved health to not having as much wear and tear on his recurring ankle injury at second base. He also was much more valuable due to his ability to effectively play his new position. He posted -1 Outs Above Average at second base and flashed some gold glove caliber plays as he adjusted. He was much improved from his last full season (2019) at shortstop when he posted -22 Outs Above Average. Luis Arraez is also a significantly worse second baseman than Polanco, meaning a significant defensive downgrade at both positions.
    The Twins quite simply did not make many good decisions in 2021. Moving Polanco to second was probably their best. He reestablished himself as a core piece of the team and appeared to overcome his health issues with a move to a less demanding position. Moving Arraez into a utility role also turned him into a much more valuable player than if he were pitted at a position that he struggles at defensively. If the Twins decide that they don’t want to pay for a top-tier shortstop, that’s fine. If they decide the bottom tier isn’t impactful enough to spend on, that’s fine as well. They can’t do both. Walking back two of the better developments the team made in 2021 could carry consequences far beyond 2022.
    At this point in regards to Jorge Polanco, the Twins found something that works for both him and the team. He’s reemerged as a star player who’s under team control and can be a force for years to come at only 28 years old. He would immediately lose value by becoming one of the worst defensive shortstops in baseball. He could lose a lot more than that if he moves back to a more physically-demanding position and reinjures his ankle which has been surgically repaired twice. Not worth saving a few bucks in my opinion.
    The Twins had few bright spots in 2021. They should be taking their shortstop search incredibly seriously to avoid wiping away one of those bright spots in 2022. The Twins don’t need a second baseman moving across the second base bag. They need a shortstop.
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  7. Like
    RpR reacted to Sherry Cerny for an article, Twins No-Hitters: Jack Kralick (1962)   
    It's the held breath before the last pitch, the arms wide open as the catcher runs towards the pitcher, and the roar of the crowd as they witness one of the most magical moments in baseball: the no-hitter. 
    The no-hitter is one of the beauties of baseball and games that you never forget as a fan. The no-hitter is as much luck as talent, and there have been some great pitching talents to pass through the Twins pitching staff. 
    There have been 314 No-Hitters since 1876. They are rare, about 1.2 per year (statistically). However, in 2021, we saw the most no-no’s in any season in MLB history, nine to be exact. 
    With all the excitement of the no-hitters this season, it’s a perfect time to look into the Twins no-no’s. Just one year after moving from DC as the Senators to Minnesota as the Twins in 1961, the Twins recorded their first no-hitter. The Twins organization has gone on to experience four more no-hitters since, the last one ten years ago. I intended to write about the no-hitters in one article and rank them. However, the more I read about each game, I thought it would be fun to make a series out of the rankings.  
    There is a lot that goes into a game to take into consideration as I considered ranking their quality, even more so when the game ends as a no-hitter or a perfect game. It’s not all luck. With many variables that go into a game's success. So let’s take a brief look at what factors I considered to decide how to rank the games. 
    The opponent is essential. A stronger opponent will give a pitcher more trouble than a team that is hitting poorly, has a lesser coaching staff, and any luck at the plate. It doesn't make it easier - nothing about baseball is easy - it's just a different scenario with more challenges.
    Baserunners Allowed 
    Since having errors, walks or a hit batter is likely in a no-hitter (unless it is a Perfect Game, something no Twins pitcher has done, yet), looking at these numbers could make one no-hitter score higher than another. A good defense will come to the pitcher's aid and how well they can get an out, a ground ball, and round out double plays is a large factor. 
    How many pitchers pitched
    Fewer pitches to accomplish a no-hitter is undoubtedly preferred. The number of pitchers involved in a game makes a difference. In a game for the Yankees this past May, Corey Kluber pitched a no-hitter. The Cubs also tossed a no-hitter this season. Zach Davies started but three other pitchers followed to finish the game. A combined no-hitter is not the norm (though certainly more likely as today’s pitchers rarely go beyond six innings), but certainly, I wanted to take that into account. 
    Home or Away
    The strength of the schedule is important. So sleeping in your bed and playing in your home stadium with your fans can be better than playing at the closest opponent's stadium. It is also better than traveling back two time zones after a double-header or late-night game. There are a lot of things that people don't think affect a team that genuinely does. I am sure that the east to west coast games are exhausting and play a part in the turn-out and how well the players play. 
    Does home or away really make a no-hitter more or less likely? If so, I’m sure it’s nice to have the fans there. 
    Did the pitcher hit?
    The DH came into the American League in 1973. Before then, Twins pitchers and their opposing pitchers had to hit. Since then, American League pitchers have had to deal with batters whose sole purpose is being a good hitter. In theory, that should make throwing a no-hitter much more difficult in the AL than NL. Unless a player like AL MVP Shohei Ohtani is on the team. He can dominate on the mound and at the plate. 
    People who say baseball is boring may not have a clue how much goes into a game. The low-scoring games are some of the best games to watch. It is a battle of the pitchers and hitters, as well as t defense can affect the games we see. Based on the criteria above, I looked over the five no-hitters that the Twins had. All no-hitters are impressive, some more than others. 
    As I reviewed box scores and numbers,  the #1 ranked no-hitter to me was a no brainer. 
    No-No Number 1: “Jittery” Jack Kralick - 1962
    The Pitcher: Jack Kralick
    The Date: August 26, 1962 
    The Opponent: Kansas City Athletics 
    The Stadium: Metropolitan Stadium
    The Pitcher’s Background and Story
    Jack Kralick was born in Youngstown, Ohio in 1935. His parents later moved to Michigan where he attended high school and eventually attended Michigan State University. He spent time bouncing between minor league teams and a semi-pro squad back home in Michigan. Later he was pursued by the Tigers, Yankees and Indians.
    Kralick however was more keen on the offer from the Washington Senators and made his debut in the Majors in 1959 with the Washington Senators, which would eventually become the Minnesota Twins. 
    Jack Kralick went the distance in this game, a near-perfect game. It was the very first no-hitter for the  “Minnesota Twins”. 
    Kralick was described as a “loner,” a smoking machine, and was called “jittery” for his constant movement on the mound from twitching his feet to fidgeting with his belt. Even though he was seen as quiet and a recluse, teammate Rich Rollins said that he “got along well with everyone in the clubhouse and everyone got along with him while he was in Minnesota.” 
    The Game 
    It was a beautiful 78 degrees for this late August game, a day when one is almost disappointed that the game only lasted one hour and 57 minutes! That’s how quickly the pitchers turned and burned the line-ups. The Kansas City Athletics (now the Oakland Athletics) were a struggling team when they played against the Twins and eventually finished ninth in the AL with a record of 72-90. They certainly were not a strong team, but that’s not what makes this no-hitter my favorite no-no. Let’s review the rest of my criteria to see why it continued to impress me more and more. 
    Only one Kansas City baserunner was allowed on base in this game. That is the lowest number of base runners among the five Twins no-hitters. The only runner came with one out in the ninth inning. 
    “Jittery” Jack Kralick retired 25 batters and was two outs away from a perfect game before George Alusik walked. That just blew my mind. For a pitcher to get that far into the game with no other pitching maladies is just … awesome. The game ended with a foul-pop fly to first base. 

    Because it was a decade before the Designated Hitter rule which came about in 1972 and was implemented in 1973 throughout the American League. All pitchers were also hitters. You pitched. You hit. Being able to hit was a requirement to play the game. In my opinion, it made teams stronger and more cohesive. Along with the no-hitter, Kralick also went 1-for-2 and had a sacrifice bunt.. Through the three seasons that he was with the Twins, the southpaw hit .173. During the 1962 season, his batting average was .202, definitely an asset to the Twins and the highest batting average of his career! 
    1962 was his last full season with the Twins. In early May of 1963, Kralick was traded to Cleveland in exchange for righty Jim Perry. Yes, the Jim Perry that is in the Twins Hall of Fame.  
    I am excited to share more of the Twins no-hitters with everyone and see if you agree with where I ranked the games. Do you have ideas for this series? What do you think is important in a no-hitter? Is it talent, or just luck? Let me know below! 
    With all of the no-hitters this year and speculation as to why they are happening, it’s fun to think about the potential for another Twins no-hitter sooner rather than later!
    I look forward to discussions!
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  8. Like
    RpR reacted to Ted Schwerzler for an article, Get Ready for the Opposite of Joe Mauer   
    In March of 2010, Minnesota inked hometown hero Joe Mauer to an eight-year, $184 million contract extension. He’d played in 699 games to that point and tallied three batting titles along with an MVP. With free agency looming, the Twins did the right thing and signed him to a deal that kept him from being paid by the Boston’s or New York’s of the baseball world.
    Because we know that we can’t have nice things as Twins fans, Mauer’s career would be forever changed due to injuries. He’s still a Hall of Famer, and he was still underpaid, but what could’ve been is something we can always wonder about. Due to those injuries changing production Mauer’s contract was long a point of consternation for fans. Working through revisionist history, detractors will often suggest a desire to have let Mauer walk and watch larger markets pay him more. As luck would have it, those same people may now have their day.
    Coming into 2022, Byron Buxton will have played 493 games for the Minnesota Twins. He’s owned an .897 OPS over the past three seasons and has a Platinum Glove to his credit before turning 28-years-old. An expected prime still ahead of him, this is a player that’s one of the ten best in the sport when he’s healthy. That’s where we pick up this story. Unlike Mauer, Buxton has experienced injury issues early on in his career. Also, unlike Joe, those injuries are the only reason Minnesota has a chance to sign the superstar in the first place.
    Reportedly offering an $80 million deal, Minnesota has not yet pushed to the $100 million asking price even with a valuation that would far exceed that number with an average bill of health. Instead of being asked to pay $250 million or more to keep their home-grown talent, the Twins are being asked to pay pennies on the dollar to factor in the availability, or lack thereof, that comes with Buxton. Instead of jumping at that chance, they are said to be leaning in the opposite direction.
    This isn’t a scenario in which history can be aligned to Terry Ryan’s ultimate gaffe regarding David Ortiz. No one is getting released, and the Twins will undoubtedly get something in exchange for Byron. The problem is that no player as valuable can be had for the same dollar amount, and a move regarding someone so intertwined with the fan base will forever cause ripple effects that only Mauer could’ve mirrored.
    We should know soon how the front office is going to play this situation. Maybe they’ve purposely been leaking misinformation to increase their negotiating stance. However, time is running out on wondering what may happen as we are less than a year from knowing what will.
    Byron Buxton might not be from St. Paul, Minnesota. Still, the Baxley, Georgia, native is every bit as Twins Territory as it gets and there isn’t an opportunity to put the band-aid back on this bullet wound once the trigger is pulled. Target Field was sold as an opportunity to keep the internal stars. That rung hollow when flipping Jose Berrios, and it hits rock bottom in moving on from Buxton. Whether he stays healthy or not isn’t the question for now. It’s whether or not you are willing to keep your best talent or continually recycle it.
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  9. Like
    RpR reacted to Cody Christie for an article, Are the Twins Destined for an Andrelton Simmons Reunion?   
    Last winter, the Twins were focused on making improvements to their infield. Adding a shortstop allowed the team to move Jorge Polanco to second base, where there could be less physical wear and tear on his body. Minnesota was interested in players like Marcus Siemen, Didi Gregorius, and Andrelton Simmons. Siemen agreed to terms with Toronto, and Gregorious resigned with the Phillies. This left Minnesota focused on Simmons. 

    At the time of the signing, the Twins were saying all the right things about Simmons. "There are so many ways that he fits into what we do and what we are trying to accomplish," said Twins manager Rocco Baldelli. "We have one of the best, I think, pitching staffs as a whole in the American League, and for us to be able to complement that group with basically one of the greatest defenders of our generation, and to be able to put Andrelton at the shortstop position, which also allows us to really solidify everything going on in the rest of our infield as well."

    Unfortunately, everything didn't work out perfectly with the Simmons signing. Besides his strong defensive skills, he was known for his elite contact ability. He had the worst offensive season of his career as he hit .223/.283/.274 (.558) with a 57 OPS+. All of those totals were career lows, and he struck out over 60 times for only the third time in his 10-year career. His defense was still strong, but the offense was tough to swallow. 

    Besides his offensive flaws, Simmons was also at the center of some off-field distractions this season. He declined to get the COVID vaccine, and then he tested positive for coronavirus in April. He also made comments about his anti-vax opinions on social media. Leading into spring training, he dealt with visa issues, and he couldn't go with the team to Toronto later in the season because of visa and immigration issues. His season couldn't have gone much worse across the board.   

    By season's end, fans were frustrated to see Simmons in the line-up regularly when he didn't have a long-term obligation to the club. Playing someone like Nick Gordon at shortstop would allow the club to evaluate him for the long term. However, the club has seen Gordon play shortstop throughout his minor league career, and they may have already decided that he won't play the position regularly at the big-league level.

    This winter is a prime offseason to be looking for a free-agent shortstop. One of the best free-agent shortstop classes in MLB history is available, with names like Carlos Correa, Corey Seager, Javier Baez, and Trevor Story headlining the list. Other potential options include Chris Taylor, Freddy Galvis, Jose Iglesias, and old friend Simmons. There are multiple intriguing names, but why would the Twins consider circling back to Simmons?

    Minnesota has many needs this winter, and spending money on a top-tier shortstop can be expensive. Simmons signed for $10.5 million last winter, and his cost is estimated to be significantly less in 2022. In the 2022 Twins Daily Offseason Handbook, his contract is estimated to be $3 million, which is not much in the grand scheme of an MLB roster. MLB.com also identified him as a prime bounce-back candidate after his horrible offensive season. 

    Signing Simmons to a one-year deal can also keep shortstop open for one of the team's top prospects. Both Royce Lewis and Austin Martin have played shortstop during their professional careers, but neither may play the position long-term. Signing one of the top-tier shortstops likely pushes both of these players off the position moving forward. 

    Fans will be disappointed if Simmons returns next season, but there's a real possibility of a reunion, at least for the 2022 campaign. Do you think Simmons will return to Minnesota? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.

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  10. Like
    RpR reacted to Tom Froemming for an article, Giants, Red Sox Proving You Don’t Need These 3 Things   
    Before we get into those three items, here’s a video that takes a bit of a deeper look at where the Giants and Red Sox were the past couple years and how they re-emerged after quiet offseasons.
    You Don’t Need A Rebuild
    All that recent success makes it easy to forget neither the Giants or Red Sox made the postseason the past two years (four years for the Giants). That’s especially noteworthy since 16 teams qualified for the playoffs in last year’s shortened season.
    With aging rosters and former stars on bloated contracts, both orgs were in the type of position where rebuilding had to have been considered. Yes, Boston traded away Mookie Betts prior to last season, but they never turned it into a full-on tear down, throw in the towel type situation.
    Meanwhile, several of the league’s bottom teams repeat their place in the standings year after year. Some organizations like the Houston Astros have made rebuilds work in the not-so-distant past, but they are looking more like the exception than the rule.
    Re-tooling can work.
    You Don’t Need A Flashy Offseason
    The Twins spent more on free agents this past offseason than both the Giants and Red Sox. The Twins shelled out $41.75 million while the Giants spent $41.35 million and the Red Sox were at $38.95 million. On the flip side, those teams actually acquired a greater number of players (10 signed for the Giants and eight for Boston), choosing to spread the wealth more than the Twins (six players).
    Meanwhile, the top two spending teams last winter (the Toronto Blue Jays and Philadelphia Phillies) and three of the top-five spenders (adding the New York Mets) all missed the playoffs. And if there’s any team that “won” the 2020-21 offseason it was the San Diego Padres. That’s where their winning streak ended.
    The offseason most definitely matters — the 2021 Twins are as much proof of that as any team — but big splashes and flashy signings (or lack thereof) still don’t guarantee anything.
    You Don’t Need A Lavish Bullpen
    There are some expensive, big-name bullpens among this year’s playoff participants but Boston and San Francisco are not among them. 
    The Red Sox have a couple of highly-paid members of their bullpen, but Garrett Richards isn’t there by design (he was signed as a starter) and Adam Ottavino was acquired as a salary dump. It’s not as if either of those guys is exactly a difference-maker, either.
    In fact, the Red Sox bullpen leader in WAR was Garrett Whitlock, their Rule 5 pick. They had eight different pitchers record saves in the second half alone, including former Twins great Hansel Robles.
    The Giants have done even more with a great deal less invested. They signed Jake McGee to a modest two-year, $7 million deal, just $2 million of which was paid this season. Oh, and he was their highest-paid reliever. McGee ended up as one of only nine pitchers to save 30 games this season. 
    San Francisco had a handful of underpaid studs in their pen including Tyler Rogers, Jarlin Garcia, Jose Alvarez, Zack Littell (ouch) and Dominic Leone. When McGee went down, however, it was rookie Camilo Doval who stepped up and was the National League reliever of the month for September. He had a 4.99 ERA and a 7.0 BB/9 in 28 games at Triple-A this season!
    Sometimes a reliever just happens. That’s exactly the kind of thing the Twins need next year.
    The Giants ranked sixth in bullpen WAR (per FanGraphs) and the Red Sox were ninth, a spot ahead of the Mets, who ended the year with four of the top-20 paid relievers in baseball (Jeurys Familia, Brad Hand, Trevor May and Edwin Diaz). The Mets also only won four more games than the Twins this year.
    The Twins have a long way to go from 89 losses back to contention, but they don’t need to tear it down, have an extravagant offseason or spend big on risky bullpen arms to do so. The Giants and Red Sox are proof of that.
  11. Like
    RpR reacted to Cody Pirkl for an article, Better Late Than Never   
    Corey Kluber
    Kluber was heavily linked to the Twins last winter before the Yankees threw $11m at the right hander. Kluber pitched quite well in his first year in the Bronx with a sub 4.00 ERA. Unfortunately after throwing just one inning in 2020, Kluber missed significant time and only reached 80 frames.
    Kluber is likely a candidate for another one year deal at age 36. He still looked like a valuable pitcher in a tough stadium and division, and a move back to the soft AL Central would do him wonders. He may not be counted on for a significant amount of innings, but pairing him with a pitcher like Michael Pineda would be valuable. There’s upside to be had similar to the Twins 2020 Rich Hill signing, upside the Twins will surely be looking for in order for a bounce back in their pitching staff.
    Marcus Stroman
    The Twins were bullish on Stroman in 2019 when the Blue Jays eventually shipped him to the Mets. The Twins claimed Toronto never returned their call for a counter offer. Stroman wasn’t much help in 2020 but performed exceptionally well in 2021 with a 3.02 ERA in almost 180 innings. 
    Stroman would definitely require a long term deal with some good money attached. He may not be a flat out ace, but he’s a durable, experienced arm. His reliance on movement, location, and weak contact should make him a valuable pitcher for the foreseeable future now that he’s surpassed 30 years of age. He’d also immediately slot in as an Opening Day starter and top of the rotation anchor.
    Noah Syndergaard
    Digging way into the well here, remember when the Twins were in on Noah Syndergaard in 2019 and the Mets wanted Byron Buxton in exchange? I’m sure no fans were angry at the Twins for not pulling the trigger, right? Syndergaard has a storied past when it comes to injury, most recently returning from Tommy John just this year. The result of this being there isn’t much of a body of work to see since 2019.
    It’s hard to forget the arm they call “Thor” throwing one 100 mph fastball after another. While never quite an ace, it’s hard to deny that the upside is there. With Syndergaard's recent history, he’s another candidate for a one year “show me” deal. It may be high risk, but there may not be a pitcher on the market with a higher potential payoff.
    The Twins will be looking high and low on both the free agent and trade market this winter to try to fix a pitching staff that straight up cost them any shot at contending in 2021. It wouldn’t be the most surprising development to go back to the well and revisit some arms they were previously interested in. Is there any one of this trio that stands above the rest? Should these three be avoided altogether? Let us know below!
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  12. WTF
    RpR reacted to Ted Schwerzler for an article, The Twins Power Position   
    From 2013-2018 Brian Dozier played in nearly 900 games and blasted 161 homers for the Twins as their primary second basemen. He took time to settle into the role and changed his approach at the plate, but became an All-Star in 2015 and earned top-15 votes each of the next two seasons. In 2016-17 Dozier combined to hit 76 dingers with an .871 OPS. For a position often seen as an afterthought in the infield, he’d become a beacon of strength.
    Fast-forward to where we are now, and the Twins have successfully passed the torch to a new pair of talents. Signed to an extension in 2019, Jorge Polanco is potentially under team control through the 2025 season. He dealt with an ankle injury that changed his abilities drastically, but now with a clean bill of health, he looks like one of the best in baseball at the position. Since June 1 this season, Polanco owns a .926 OPS. He was a first-time All-Star in 2019 and has posted an .806 OPS over the past three seasons, even with the dismal 2020 factored in.
    There were always legitimate concerns regarding Polanco’s range and arm at shortstop. It was a position he had played often, but one he was ultimately miscast in. Sliding over to second base full time this season, Twins coaches talked up the fact that not only would his bat play, but his glove may find gold there. It’s safe to say the experiment has been wildly successful, and the return to offensive prowess is a welcomed shot in the arm.
    Recently turning 28-years-old, it’s fair to assume Polanco’s best seasons are still ahead of him, and for a Twins team looking to rebound, that’s a great thing to dream on.
    Then there’s the opposite but an equally successful type of player at second base for the Twins. Luis Arraez may be the second coming of Rod Carew, and he’s here to challenge for a batting title on an annual basis. Nagging knee injuries have kept him off the field at times, but the bat has remained intact when he’s out there. A .317 average this season marks a career-low, but it’s continued to rise, and the .325 mark across his first 205 big-league games is nothing to scoff at.
    Arraez will never play with the power that either Dozier or Polanco has, and he’s more Dozier (Gold Glove’s are offensive awards sometimes) than Polanco with the leather, but calling second his primary home helps to push this narrative. Luis has done well for himself by establishing utility around the diamond, but make no mistake that the pipeline Minnesota has pushed here is impressive.
    Add in that Nick Gordon is beginning to realize some of his potential in the big leagues, a converted shortstop moving to the first base side, and this situation continues to be worth monitoring. Spencer Steer is another name down on the farm that’s pushing his way towards the top and watching the Twins develop these athletes is exciting.
    Second base is often considered the fallback for a shortstop with a lackluster arm. Be that what it may, but Minnesota isn’t simply throwing out good defenders that have little other tools at the position. Rocco Baldelli has employed lineups that can do damage, and even before the current skipper got here, second base has become an area of strength in the system. Maybe Jorge Polanco pushes for the best in baseball title down the line, but even if he doesn’t, he’s currently headlining an impressive position group within this organization.
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  13. Like
    RpR reacted to RandBalls Stu for an article, Glenwood Man Readies Self For Next Bad Trade   
    With the trade deadline looming, the Minnesota Twins are acknowledged sellers. And for Benjamin Mason, the awful dread of which future former Twin will become an All-Star in 2023 is consuming his every waking moment.
    “I’m resigned to Jose Berrios winning the Cy Young next year for someone else,” said Mason, a Glenwood native and licensed pre-owned pontoon dealer. “But it’s the one you don’t see coming that’s going to hurt more. Who is the Akil Baddoo or LaMonte Wade that we’re going to throw in for three pitching prospects who tear the ulnar nerve in their throwing elbows all at once? That’s the one that keeps me up at night.”
    With a pitching staff in desperate need of, well, everything, Mason is mentally readying himself for the unforeseen kick in the shins that has tormented Twins fans for generations.
    “My grandpa remembers the Graig Nettles deal,” said Mason. “I think the Rod Carew trade is what finally did him in. My dad quit watching baseball after David Ortiz won a World Series and mom left because he wouldn’t stop swearing to himself in the garage. I was minding my own business on Tuesday night, watching the All-Star Game, and there’s Liam Hendriks and Kyle Gibson. It’s the circle of life and you know what, I hate it.”
    While Mason agrees that the team must do something, the fact that everyone knows they’re a seller probably impacts any potential return.
    “We’re not going to get Wander Franco from the Rays,” said Mason. “We’re going to get his roommate. And the Rays will get our 38th best prospect, who will enter Cooperstown in 2047 after leading Tampa to seven straight titles in front of 259 delirious fans at Tropicana Field. He’ll have his own breakfast cereal, videogame, and talk show. I hate baseball, I really do.”
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