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  1. Like
    LewFordLives reacted to RandBalls Stu for an article, Anoka Man Thinks Buxton Should Pay Twins   
    Classic North Metro halfwit Tom Hanson has seen enough. With the Twins allegedly looking to move Byron Buxton, the self-taught expert on epidemiology thinks the franchise is overlooking the best path forward.
    “He oughta pay them to play centerfield,” said the frequently-divorced electrician. “Bet he lands on the injured list reaching for his wallet, lol.”
    Hanson, who frequently interrupted his interview to speculate on the accuracy of Dominion Voting Systems machinery, credits Buxton’s injury history with this outside-the-box notion.
    “He’s hurt all the time, and the whole insurance game is a racket,” mused Hanson. “I bet they’ve paid more on premiums for him than salary. And I bet he hasn’t thanked them for either one.”
    Hanson, who has been banned from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, the Star Tribune comments section, Rube Chat, YouTube, and the Perkins chain of family restaurants, said Buxton reminds him of another Twins great, and not in a good way.
    “Joe Mauer must have taught (Buxton) that if you say you’re hurt, these suckers will believe you every time,” said Hanson. “I almost respect it. Must be nice to make $23 million a year to hit singles and then not even do that because your quote-unquote concussion hurts. Must be real nice.”
    When told that one of the quoted figures for a potential Byron Buxton deal was 7 years for $100 million, Hanson was livid.
    “You could have a lunch pail, 110% effort guy like Zach Granite or Jake Cave who’ll go out there every day and compete for a fraction of that, or you could have a prima donna like Buxton,” exclaimed Hanson. “The fact that they’d choose the latter is just another example of the woke cancel culture infecting our society.”
    Hanson would not elaborate on what that meant but did say it also applied to his local school board, KARE 11 meteorologist Belinda Jensen, maternity leave, paternity leave, rap music, Home Depot, his first, third, and fourth wives, and Little Free Libraries.  
  2. Like
    LewFordLives reacted to RandBalls Stu for an article, Parting Ways with Colome Leaves Some Troubled   
    “When I was growing up, we didn’t just cut a guy loose after a bad year, we kept him on the team for years,” said Stephen Gilchrest, an electrician from Castle Rock Township. “It sucked. I hated every minute of it.”
    The 50-year-old father of two was in the prime of his Twins-loving life when Minnesota acquired reliever Ron Davis from the New York Yankees. It left a mark on Gilchrest that he says he still feels.
    “I don’t think you really ever get over something like that,” said Gilchrest, his voice lowering as he battled to keep his emotions in check. “At the same time, it teaches you so many valuable lessons that you can draw on in everyday life.”
    Such as?
    “Pain. Life is pain. Keep your expectations low. Understand that the world is not fair, and it will never be fair. Unqualified people will maintain positions of privilege despite flaws so glaring it’ll make your teeth hurt. Ron Davis will be your team’s closer for over four years and there’s nothing you can do about it. Admittedly that last one is super specific, but it still resonates.”
    Although many might be glad the Twins are opening a new chapter in their search for a 2022 closer, Gilchrest is not among their ranks.
    “What kind of lesson does it teach the kids of today when the Twins can just go out and make the right decision, just like that,” asked Gilchrest. “I had to suffer for years. I listened to the Jamie Quirk game on the radio and my dog died the next day. I buried Shep and my dreams on the same weekend in 1984.
    “You know who the closer was in 1985? Ron Davis. That’s when I stopped going to mass.”
    Gilchrest worries that the move might cause some younger fans to get too confident in the team’s prospects.
    “They’ll probably get a younger guy on a cheaper deal and he’ll turn out to be OK, maybe even better than OK, and the kids will get their hopes up,” said Gilchrest. “Hope. That’s what always gets you. Hell, I’m thrilled that they’re going in a different direction, but isn’t it even more important to let the children know that nothing gets better? Put Colome out there with a 2-run lead on Opening Day 2022. They’ll learn something that day.”
  3. Like
    LewFordLives reacted to Allen Post for an article, Reliving the Twins' Most Embarrassing Moments of 2021   
    Blankenhorn and Arraez Make Back-to-Back Errors to Lose to Oakland
    Everyone remembers this game in Oakland. In fact, it was such an important inflection point in the season that Nick Nelson chose it as the most important moment of April. As season-defining as it was, the bottom of the tenth of that game was equally embarrassing. 
    After a tough start, the Twins battled back to take a 10-7 lead in the game, and then promptly blew about three different chances to win the game and it went to (the dreaded) tenth inning. Byron Buxton bent the universe to his will (as he does) with a two-run homer in the top of the tenth, but it only set the stage for a meltdown in the bottom of the inning. Alex Colome, who had already blown a save, had loaded the bases, but there were two outs and the Twins still led by two, so any ball in the infield would surely end the game, right? 
    Wrong. Travis Blankenhorn basically farted on a grounder to second that scored one run. Then Luis Arraez fielded a bouncer to third, but missed first base by a good six feet on his throw, and just like that, the Twins blew their fourth and fifth chances to win the game and Oakland was dogpiling. Pathetic.  
    Rob Refsnyder Introduces Himself to the Camden Yards Wall
    Remember when Rob Refsnyder was a thing? The 30-year-old journeyman was filling in at the center field spot for Buxton and for a second there, you couldn’t tell the difference between the two. Refsnyder was swinging a scorching bat and had some timely hits that helped the Twins to a 10-6 record in his first sixteen games in the lineup. However, in that sixteenth game, Rob took his Buxton impression a little too far and freight-trained himself into the center field wall, injuring himself and ruining the Refsnyder-as-cult-hero vibe the Twins had going on. 
    Also, no image encapsulates the 2021 Twins better than this:
    ...and getting clowned on by one of the worst teams in baseball didn’t help.
    Yermin Mercedes Tees Off on Astudillo
    Okay, this one isn’t even really about the Twins, as it has more to do with infighting between Tony La Russa and his players. But the only issue the White Sox had all year was played out over the backdrop of them consistently brutalizing the Twins on the field, and that’s a tough look. 
    As a reminder, the Twins were getting shellacked by Chicago and sent Willians Astudillo out to the mound while they limped through the final innings. Yermin Mercedes came up with two outs and on a 3-0 count, he deposited Astudillo’s 47-mile-per-hour offering into the shrubs in center. La Russa, Roy Smalley, and basically nobody else got mad about it, but it became a sports news cycle topic for a few days, reminding the national audience that the Twins stank and the White Sox, even with their (invented) issues, didn’t.
    Also, all that stuff aside, you can’t watch this as a Twins fan and not be a little embarrassed:
    Almost Getting No-Hit at Home Against Angels
    On July 24th, Patrick Sandoval took a no-hitter into the ninth against the Twins that was broken up by a Brent Rooker double with two outs left to get. I was at the game that night, so maybe that’s why this sticks with me, but the offense almost could not have looked worse. They struck out thirteen times against Sandoval and the mental gymnastics I was doing to justify buying a ten dollar beer was more entertaining than watching the at-bats the Twins were putting up on the field. It was a clown show.
    Then, Rooker and Donaldson turned two doubles into one run to make it 2-1, but they couldn’t complete the comeback and somehow that was even worse than getting no-hit.
    The Ones That Got Away
    Okay, these next two aren't really moments, but it’s my article, so who’s going to stop me from breaking my own rules? (Editor's Note: Ahem...)  Anyway, Whether it’s star players traded away or cut-bait guys who find a huge role elsewhere, perhaps nothing haunts us as Twins fans more than former Twins finding success elsewhere. And there was plenty more of that again this year. Nelson Cruz is hitting homers in the playoffs for the Rays. José Berríos was dicing guys in meaningful games down the stretch for Toronto. Freaking Lamonte Wade Jr. just can’t stop getting big hits in big spots for the 107-win Giants. Even guys like Matt Wisler and Hansel Robles are giving playoff teams important innings this postseason. Also Eddie Rosario is on the Braves, but that one honestly doesn't feel so bad.
    Seeing the pieces of what should have been your contending team make a difference for real contenders throughout the league is especially humiliating.
    Signing Andrelton Simmons and Alex Colomé
    When Derek Falvey and Thad Levine brought Colomé and Simmons to the club, I, along with many others, was pumped. Here was our big late-inning guy and the shortstop upgrade we needed; let’s go win a division. Uh huh.
    Colomé was sneakily not bad over the second half of the year, but he blew enough games early in the year that his success later in the year (when the games didn’t really matter) will be forgotten. It turns out the the secondary numbers and, you know, every other team in the league was right: he’s not that good.
    Meanwhile, Andrelton Simmons wasn’t just not that good, he was a dumpster fire. Expected to be at least capable at the plate and excellent at shortstop, Simmons slashed a putrid .223/.283/.274 and was nearly special enough in the field to make up for it. He was completely and entirely awful.
    Falvey and Levine were roundly praised for bringing these guys in, but now they’re facing unfamiliar criticism partially due to these guys’ falling well short of their expectations.

    Were you able to laugh a little about it? What moments did I miss? Let me know in the comments!
  4. Like
    LewFordLives reacted to Lucas Seehafer PT for an article, Twins 40-Man Roster Crunch? Perhaps Not   
    The Twins will be faced with several decisions during the offseason concerning the makeup of their roster, beginning with who's placed on and removed from the 40-man. While it may seem as though the team will be confronted with many impossible decisions, the fact of the matter is that the Twins are well-positioned to add critical prospects to the 40-man without losing much in the way of established talent and productivity. 
    Below is a discussion of the Twins 40-man roster, primarily regarding their top prospects. Twins Daily's most recent Top 30 prospect list was used for reference. 
    Already on the 40-man
    Jordan Balazovic, RHP Jhoan Duran, RHP Drew Strotman, RHP Gilberto Celestino, OF Edwar Colina, RHP Brent Rooker, OF/DH Nick Gordon, UTIL Of the players listed above, only Rooker's future with the team appears to be dubious. Perhaps Gordon's as well. If the Twins were to try to drop them from the 40-man — something that I don't consider to be particularly likely — they both would be claimed. While Rooker and Gordon may not remain as Twins for the long haul, Minnesota likely won't just give them away for free. The remainder of the athletes above will probably fill critical roles with the Twins, if not next summer, then in the summers to follow.
    Not eligible for Rule 5 Draft or Minor League Free Agency
    Matt Canterino, RHP Simeon Woods Richardson, RHP Austin Martin, OF/SS Aaron Sabato, 1B/DH Keoni Cavaco, INF Misael Urbina, OF Matt Wallner, OF/DH Alerick Soulaire, UTIL Will Holland, INF Marco Raya, RHP Spencer Steer, INF Steve Hajjar, LHP Louie Varland, RHP Noah Miller, INF Chase Petty, RHP All of these guys are going to be sticking around for at least one more season, if not longer. To be eligible for the Rule 5 Draft, a player must have spent at least five seasons with the same team if they were signed or drafted during or after high school or at least four seasons if drafted out of college. To be eligible for minor league free agency, an athlete must have spent at least six full seasons with the same team. None of the players above meet the criteria, so they aren't going anywhere unless traded.
    Additionally, save for perhaps Austin Martin and Matt Canterino, it's unlikely that any of the above athletes will be promoted to the majors at any point next season. The majority are still fairly young or lack professional experience, meaning some more seasoning in the minor leagues is more than warranted. 
    40-man Locks
    Jose Miranda, INF Joe Ryan, RHP Josh Winder, RHP Cole Sands, RHP Royce Lewis, SS/OF Jovani Moran, LHP There's no chance that the Twins will risk losing any of these guys. Miranda has been the most impressive minor league player in the system — if not all of MiLB — and will likely slot in somewhere in the infield next season. Joe Ryan and Josh Winder will probably be among those competing for a starting rotation spot next spring. Cole Sands has dominated the minors when healthy. Royce Lewis is a potential franchise cornerstone. Jovani Moran is already an MLB-caliber reliever. While all five athletes may not make the Opening Day roster, they will all accumulate service time beginning next summer, if not sooner.
    50/50 Chance
    Blayne Enlow, RHP Chris Vallimont, RHP Yennier Cano, RHP Ian Hamilton, RHP Yunior Severino, INF Jermaine Palacios, INF Here's where the Twins need to make some decisions. 
    Enlow was a third-round pick in 2017 out of high school and has been phenomenal during his minor league career. However, he will miss a good chunk of next season — if not the entire season — after undergoing Tommy John surgery earlier this summer. While that may seem to disqualify him from Rule 5 consideration, a team could select Enlow and easily keep him on the 60-day IL for the entire season. Doing so would save his 40-man roster spot for another athlete and effectively eliminate the chance for Enlow to be returned to the Twins. Because of this, I would not be surprised if the Twins placed him on the 40-man rather than risk losing him for nothing.
    As I have discussed frequently, Vallimont is an enigma. He has fantastic raw stuff and strikeout numbers, but he lacks command and gives up too many free passes and runs. While he may eventually become an MLB pitcher, he isn't particularly close to being one at the moment. For this reason, I think it would be unlikely that a team would select him in the Rule 5 Draft, and, as such, I could see the Twins keeping him off their 40-man.
    Cano is an electric bullpen arm that dominated the lower minor leagues but has struggled a little bit since being promoted to Triple-A. That said, he has the raw stuff to carve out a major league career. He's already 27-years-old, but has only spent two seasons in the minors after signing as a free agent in 2019. So while he isn't eligible for the Rule 5 Draft or minor league free agency, one figures that if he's going to make it to the big leagues, he'll likely have to do it soon. I'd be surprised if we don't see him in Minneapolis at some point next season. Odds are that he won't be added to the 40-man until next season if he isn't by the end of this one.
    Both Severino and Palacios were former highly-touted prospects who failed to live up to expectations, though both have been performing exceptionally well as of late. As was the case with Vallimont, neither are ready to face MLB pitchers consistently. However, both still have a fair amount of potential, especially if their recent output remains. Palacios would be eligible for free agency if he is not rostered, while Severino would be exposed to the Rule 5 Draft. If I'm the Twins, I place Severino on the 40-man and hope I can re-sign Palacios.
    Hamilton's situation is akin to that of Palacios. He's a former highly-regarded prospect who will be eligible for free agency if not added to the 40-man. He's shown promise this season at the Triple-A level, hitting 100 mph with his fastball on multiple occasions. Frankly, it's a little surprising that the Twins haven't given him a shot to this point, and, who knows, maybe they'll do so before the summer is over. Regardless, Hamilton has shown that he still has MLB talent and simply letting him walk could prove to be a poor decision.
    Rather Unlikely Notable Prospects
    Wander Javier, SS Trey Cabbage, OF/DH Both Javier and Cabbage will be eligible for minor league free agency following the season, though I doubt that the Twins will use that fact as motivation to put them on the 40-man. Javier has been too inconsistent at the plate to justify a roster spot, while Cabbage is a power-hitting corner outfielder/1B/DH-type. Cabbage is in the midst of a career year and does have some value; however, the Twins are loaded with young, power-hitting outfield talent. He could probably fetch something like a potential bullpen arm in a trade, but the odds of a team trading for him when they could try to sign him away from the Twins are low.
    Impending Free Agents
    Michael Pineda, RHP Alexander Colome, RHP Andrelton Simmons, SS The Twins may try to re-sign Pineda and Colome this coming winter, but Simmons seems highly unlikely to return, especially with Lewis's arrival right around the corner. I'd put the over/under on open 40-man roster spots from this group at 1.5.
    40-Man Spots That May Be Up For Grabs
    Charlie Barnes, LHP Devin Smeltzer, LHP Beau Burrows, RHP Danny Coulombe, LHP Luke Farrell, RHP Edgar Garcia, RHP Ralph Garza Jr., RHP Juan Minaya, RHP Cody Stashak, RHP Lewis Thorpe, LHP Nick Vincent, RHP Derek Law, RHP Willians Astudillo, UTIL Jake Cave, OF Kyle Garlick, OF Rob Refsnyder, OF The Twins have a bevy of bullpen arms, bench players, and trade candidates that could be on the move this offseason. As such, the team has at least 16 40-man spots — and that may be an underestimate — to play with. Add in the impending free agents, and that number jumps to 19. Subtract the locks, and that number falls to 14. So while it may seem as though the Twins are on the cusp of a roster crunch at first blush, the reality is that the team has plenty of room to play with this coming winter. If the team loses anyone to the Rule 5 Draft or minor league free agency, it's because the team determined that they were of little value to them moving forward. 
    — Latest Twins coverage from our writers
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    — Read more of Lucas's minor league prospect coverage here
  5. Like
    LewFordLives reacted to Nick Nelson for an article, Week in Review: New-Look Rotation   
    Weekly Snapshot: Mon, 8/2 thru Sun, 8/8
    Record Last Week: 4-2 (Overall: 48-64)
    Run Differential Last Week: +2 (Overall: -73)
    Standing: 5th Place in AL Central (17.5 GB)
    Last Week's Game Recaps:
    Game 107 | MIN 7, CIN 5: Garver, Polanco Power Exciting Win
    Game 108 | CIN 6, MIN 5: Twins Comeback Falls Short
    Game 109 | MIN 5, HOU 3: Jax Earns First MLB Win as Starter
    Game 110 | MIN 5, HOU 4: Twins Rally from Early Deficit
    Game 111 | HOU 4, MIN 0: Lineup Has No Answers for Houston Pitching
    Game 112 | MIN 7, HOU 5: Polanco's 2 Homers Lift Twins to Series Win
    Sidelined since early June by a bad hammy strain, Rob Refsnyder finally returned from the Injured List on Thursday, and has since resumed his role as semi-regular center fielder in Byron Buxton's absence. Refsnyder's activation led to Nick Gordon being optioned to Triple-A, which caused some consternation among fans who wished to see Gordon get a real shot.
    I get it. I like Gordon as a person and would love to see him succeed. It can feel hard to understand what's holding him back from more playing time on a bad team that's going nowhere. But this move makes it all the clearer how the Twins view him, and ... can you really blame them? 
    While the speed is nice, Gordon has simply shown no signs that he can be an impactful contributor on a major-league team. He's a capable defender at several spots, but nowhere is he a standout, and the Twins seem to have zero interest in playing him at short. When you combine that defensive profile with a completely punchless bat, there isn't much value to be found. During his time in the majors, Gordon put 70 balls in play and recorded one barrel. He slashed .176/.263/.235 in his final 20 games. He lacks any discipline at the plate, offering at 45.8% pitches outside the zone, which is second on the team behind (of course) Willians Astudillo.
    It's not happening for Gordon this year. Now that doesn't preclude the possibility that he works his ass off during the winter, bulks up, and comes out next spring with a significantly bolstered skill set. We'll see if the Twins hold him on the 40-man roster and pursue that avenue. For now, the sad fact is that Refsnyder has a better chance of being a valuable contributor on the 2022 Twins.
    In other roster news of the week: Another right-handed reliever picked up off waivers. Just days after snagging Edgar Garcia following his DFA from Cincinnati, the Twins claimed former Astro Ralph Garza Jr., who was immediately optioned to Triple-A to join Garcia on the Saints.
    Garza, like many pitchers the Twins have added of late, has intriguing attributes and big strikeout rates in the minors, but also some clear flaws. There's no particular reason to think he or Garcia – discarded cast-offs from other organizations – will turn to anything useful. 
    But then again, the same thing applies in the bullpen as in the rotation: the Twins are going to need help from the minors and every lottery ticket helps. It's a numbers game and the team is improving its odds.
    With veterans José Berríos and J.A. Happ departing at the deadline, Minnesota plugged in Griffin Jax and Charlie Barnes, who join incumbent rookie Bailey Ober in a suddenly very inexperienced rotation. It's quite the departure from Opening Day, when Berríos was their youngest starter.
    While veteran holdovers Kenta Maeda and Michael Pineda are interesting to track for their own reasons, the youth movement is now the central focus for the starting corps. None of the three rookies currently in the rotation are top prospects, but in the numbers game, it's all about letting them run and seeing if one emerges. 
    This past week, the numbers showed some things to like from Jax and Ober:
    Jax spun 5 ⅓ innings of one-run ball in Houston on Thursday against the highest-scoring offense in the majors. (Albeit one missing several key bats.) He allowed only three hits and one walk in an efficient and impressive performance. Jax recorded zero strikeouts and only three swinging strikes in the outing, which is concerning, but he did pile up six strikeouts on 16 whiffs against the White Sox two starts prior, so he has at least shown the capability to miss bats. In his past three starts dating back to that one, Jax has a 1.88 ERA with six hits allowed in 14 ⅓ frames. Ober's start on Saturday was a mixed bag. On the one hand, we saw his strengths on display, with five strikeouts and one walk pushing his outstanding seasonal ratio to 56-to-15 ratio in 52 ⅓ innings. Ober's 3.7 K/BB ranks second among Twins starters behind Pineda. Ober also gave up two home runs in his five innings of work, surfacing his biggest weakness, but in general he too has been on a good track. In his past three starts, Ober has a 3.77 ERA and 15-to-3 K/BB ratio in 14 ⅓ frames. Several relievers also had strong showings as the bullpen rebounded from a very ugly run the previous week. Jorge Alcala allowed one hit (a home run) in three innings of work, striking out six of the 11 batters he faced. Alex Colomé worked four scoreless appearances and picked up three saves. Juan Minaya struck out eight over 4 ⅓ shutout innings between three appearances, allowing just two hits.
    On the offensive side, it was a relatively quiet week with a few standout performances. In spite of his barking knees, Luis Arraez continues to rake; he notched hits in every game he played and went 10-for-17 overall to raise his average to .318, which would rank sixth in baseball if qualified. Jorge Polanco drilled three more homers, and leads the American League in long balls over the past month. It's a remarkable turnaround from a player whose power had been totally sapped.
    Miguel Sanó did not have a particularly strong week overall, but he did make a game-saving defensive play at third on Friday night, and did this to a baseball on Sunday:
    While Jax and Ober came through with encouraging performances, Barnes was less inspiring. Facing Cincinnati on Wednesday, the left-hander was knocked around for five earned runs on seven hits and two walks in four innings of work. Through two major-league starts he has a 6.23 ERA with three strikeouts and three walks in 8 ⅔ innings. He has induced only seven swinging strikes on 148 pitches between the two outings (5%).
    Barnes isn't embarrassing as a spot-starter type but it'd be nice to get someone in that fifth rotation slot with a little more upside. The Twins are slowly starting to get healthier in their starting pitching ranks, so maybe a few options will emerge in the coming weeks. Lewis Thorpe was activated from a lengthy IL stint and started Sunday for the Saints. Randy Dobnak was reportedly doing some "light throwing at Target Field" on Sunday morning, suggesting he's on the comeback trail.
    I realize these names aren't going to have folks leaping with excitement but they both have a better chance of factoring significantly into the 2022 rotation than Barnes.
    Brent Rooker cooled off following a red-hot start to his second stint with the Twins this year, going just 3-for-22, although he continued to flash power with all three hits going for doubles. Selectiveness at the plate will be the key thing to watch from Rooker, and he's leaving much to be desired in that area. He's not working into enough favorable counts and when at-bats end with pitchers ahead, he's just 1-for-29 this season. 
    Alas, Rooker looks like an unstoppable offensive force in comparison to Andrelton Simmons. Anyone does. Simmons just continues sinking to new depths, with a 2-for-18 week dropping his slash line to a pitiful .216/.280/.275. His last extra-base hit came on July 2nd, 30 games ago, and since then he has a .355 OPS. 
    There's no point in continuing to run him out there. Remaining money owed is unfortunately a sunk cost. The Twins would be better off sliding Polanco back over to short for the rest of the season and giving the reps at second base to someone like Arraez or Gordon or even Jose Miranda.
    When they acquired him as the headliner in the Berríos trade, I wrote about why Austin Martin is a prospect very much worth getting excited about. Since the trade, he's been doing plenty to fuel the hype.
    Following a three-hit game for the Wichita Wind Surge on Sunday, Martin is now batting .400 with a .571 on-base percentage since coming over to the Twins organization. His eye at the plate is outrageously good, as illustrated by a 1-to-6 K/BB ratio in six games with Wichita. He has proven already to be a playmaker in the outfield and on the basepaths.  
    Since the start of July, Martin has reached base in 52% of his plate appearances. That's no tiny sample. The idea of him complementing Arraez at the top of order, in front of a proven pack of power hitters, is beyond tantalizing. How far is it from becoming a reality? Next year seems likely, and maybe even from the start. But in order to make Martin a viable candidate for Opening Day, the Twins will need to take some preparatory steps. I'll be quite curious to see if he joins the club as a September call-up, or at least gets a late-season look in Triple-A. 
    His defensive profile makes Martin an especially intriguing piece in the team's planning. Could he take over in center field if Buxton is traded this offseason? Maybe Martin steps in at second with Polanco pivoting back to short. Or perhaps, as I posited in my theoretical 2022 lineup on Twitter, left field is Martin's best initial entry point into the majors.
    It bums me out to look ahead at the schedule right now. If things had gone as planned, this would've been an absolutely crucial and thrilling stretch: The Twins, returning home from their longest road trip of the year, face off against the White Sox, Rays, and Cleveland, in consecutive series at Target Field. Could you imagine the stakes and intensity if Minnesota was in contention?!
    Alas, they are not. So all we can really look forward to is the return of Nelson Cruz to Target Field in another uniform. Hooray.
    MONDAY, 8/9: WHITE SOX @ TWINS – RHP Lucas Giolito v. LHP Charlie Barnes
    TUESDAY, 8/10: WHITE SOX @ TWINS – LHP Dallas Keuchel v. RHP Griffin Jax
    WEDNESDAY, 8/11: WHITE SOX @ TWINS – RHP Lance Lynn v. RHP Bailey Ober
    FRIDAY, 8/13: RAYS @ TWINS – LHP Shane McClanahan v. RHP Michael Pineda
    SATURDAY, 8/14: RAYS @ TWINS – RHP Michael Wacha v. RHP Kenta Maeda
    SUNDAY, 8/15: RAYS @ TWINS – LHP Josh Fleming v. LHP Charlie Barnes
    — Latest Twins coverage from our writers
    — Recent Twins discussion in our forums
    — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  6. Like
    LewFordLives reacted to RandBalls Stu for an article, Dad Retweets Ken R0sentha1 Again   
    If you went by Dennis Solomon’s Twitter feed on Thursday, you’d think that the Minnesota Twins were the new home of Aaron Judge, Kris Bryant, and a significant percentage of the Baseball Prospectus Top 100 Prospect list. You’d also be profoundly misinformed.
    “Pops gets fooled by the internet a lot,” said Ryan Solomon, Dennis’s son. “I had to unfriend him on Facebook because he kept sharing posts that were either profoundly inaccurate, riddled with malware links, or both. His Twitter feed is mostly just benign retweets of sports reporters or replying to Stephen A. Smith telling him to shut up. It’s fine. But on draft days or trade deadlines, he really lets his guard down. This one has been brutal.”
    The retired school administrator retweeted fake baseball news from Ken R0sentha1, JeffPa$$an, P@trick_Reusse_, Mi11erStrib, and danhayesML8 on Thursday afternoon and evening. While most were simple retweets, at least two were quote tweets with “Typical Twins” and “I’d trade Buxton for a bucket of balls, let’s go!” attached.
    “I’ve tried to get Mom to hide his iPad on big sports news days,” said Ryan. “She won’t do it because it keeps him from bothering her about the coffee being too strong or speculating that the kids playing in the park down the street are Antifa. I guess I understand, but geez Louise.”
    Although the elder Solomon could not be reached for comment, his son says this is not isolated to Twins baseball.
    “I think Minnesota Vikings training camp started this week,” said Ryan. “If my dad doesn’t retweet RealAdamShefter saying that the Vikings have traded Kirk Cousins and Dalvin Cook for Aaron Rodgers, I’ll be legitimately worried for his health.”
  7. Like
    LewFordLives reacted to John Bonnes for an article, Three Things to Like (and Hate) about the Nelson Cruz Trade   
    #3 Reason to Like This Deal – The Timing
    Congrats, Minnesota. You're kind of a big deal. Your team just made the biggest trade of the trade deadline so far because Cruz was the best bat on the trade market. That market was a bit limited, given that he can't play in the National League, but he was still the big dog.
    And believe it or not, the question you should be asking was, "Why did they make the deal so early?" The Twins have been out of the postseason race for a month, but often a deal like this is not made until a day or two before the deadline. Sometimes it's not made until the afternoon of the trade deadline. Seeing a deal come together a week early suggests one of two things, both positive for the Twins:
    They got an offer they could not refuse. That's good news. They gave "buyers" a deadline for their best deal. I suspect the latter. The Twins looked at the market and decided to push the first domino. They still have at least Michael Pineda, Andrelton Simmons, and Hansel Robles to move, and they want to start fielding offers.
    It also might be that they saw teams waiting on making offers for someone like Cubs' third baseman Kris Bryant until Cruz had found a landing spot. That's important because the Twins are likely trying to move Josh Donaldson. That's more difficult until Bryant is traded, since Bryant doesn't have $50M attached to him as Donaldson does.
    So even if the Twins insisted on the timing, it's a ploy that suits their needs.
    #3 Reason to Hate This Deal - Beware the Rays
    The Rays have earned the title of the Smartest Team in Any Deal. It's happened over and over, even when the names involved were premier players like Blake Snell or Chris Archer. It's hard to win a trade with the Rays.
    That said, the last deal the Twins made with the Rays has turned out great. Before the 2018 season, the Rays traded Jake Odorizzi to the Twins for prospect Jermaine Palacio. Odorizzi only had one good year with the Twins – but it was a terrific year, posting a 3.51 ERA in 2019 and resurrecting his career.
    Meanwhile, Palacios is back in the Twins organization. He's playing at AA-Witchita this year. He's 24 years old and having a breakout season, posting a 782 OPS as a shortstop after leaving the Rays' farm system. So, at the very least, the Twins weren't fleeced in that deal.
    #2 – Reason to Like the Deal – The Twins NAILED a Need
    Was the Twins' starting pitching the biggest reason for this year's disappointing season? Maybe not. But it's within the top four for sure, and feel free to debate the order in the comments. (Your candidates: starting pitching, injuries, [insert your favorite rant here], Alex Colome).
    But if the Twins want to take advantage of the competitive window they have from 2022-2024, they need major-league ready (and preferably cost-controlled) pitching. That's precisely what they got in this trade.
    The Twins only have two starting pitchers returning next year – Kenta Maeda and Jose Berrios. This year's backup plans - Randy Dobnak, Devin Smeltzer, and Lewis Thorpe – have been injured. So have all three of the top pitching prospects in the organization: Jhoan Duran, Matt Canterino, and Jordan Balozovic. Plus, the Twins likely have only about $40M to spend on the free agent market next year.  
    Getting back cost-controlled but solid major league pitching is no easy task in Major League Baseball. Looking at the other players the Twins could trade, very few could field that return. Nelson Cruz was their best (and maybe last) chance to do so, and they pulled it off.
    #2 Reason to Hate It – Nelly's Gone
    Losing Nelson Cruz sucks. He was a perfect fit for this team, and the team ended up being a perfect fit for him. Even though he played for the Twins from when he was 38 to 41 years old, he posted the highest OPS (984) of his career for any team. Read that again. Texas (823 OPS) and Seattle (908 OPS) revere him. But Cruz never played better for any team – unless he does so for the Rays. And I hope he does. Kick some ass, Nelly.
    Plus, of course, the whole leadership thing. Cruz was the MVP for both full seasons he played for the Twins, and while his performance certainly justified it, it was his teammates' testimonials that made that choice a no-doubter. He doesn't call attention to himself with histrionics or conspicuous public displays. He just led. The media didn't hear that from Cruz. They learned about it from his teammates. That's how you know it was real. Which brings us to the best reason to dislike this trade...
    #1 Reason to Hate It – And He Ain't Coming Back
    Sometimes you have to leave the past behind, and I suspect the Twins recognize that. Cruz will turn 42 years old next year, and that presents a significant risk. They also have younger bats, like Brent Rooker and maybe even Mitch Garver or Luis Arraez, that they would like to try as a designated hitter. Plus, he will likely cost any team over $10M to sign, and we've already covered the potential payroll squeeze that awaits this team.
    It's not impossible. The Twins love him, clearly. Cruz loves them right back. So never say never. But this season revealed so many leaks in the Twins' ship that I'll be surprised if they expend resources to bring Nellie back for one more year. It would have been nice to have him around a few more months, given that reality. 
    #1 Reason to Like The Trade – They Did Pretty Good
    If you screw up the players you get back, none of it means a damn thing. We won't know for sure about these guys until their Twins' careers are over, but there are some things to be excited about with the players the Twins got in return.
    The lesser (right now) of the two prospects is Drew Strotman. It's worth noting that he's the higher draft pick of the two, so he was not always second fiddle. He's also on the Rays' 40-man roster, which is a negative to his value in terms of roster management, but shows just how impressed the Rays were with him just last year. He has a mid-90s fastball, a plus slider, and added an impressive cutter last year to complete the package.
    That potential hasn't been displayed yet this year in AAA. He's had decent results (3.39 ERA) but is walking way too many batters. But he's also just 24 years old, and this is his first taste of AAA after skipping AA altogether.
    The more intriguing prospect is Joe Ryan. He wasn't particularly near a top 100 prospect in preseason rankings, but it'll be interesting to see if that has changed given his performance this year in AAA. Tallying 75K in 57 IP, with just ten walks and a 0.789(!) WHIP, can change expectations.
    His profile is funky enough to either cast doubt or raise eyebrows. He has a mid-90s fastball that batters have trouble picking up due to his delivery. The COVID year allowed him to work with the Rays coaching staff on his secondary offerings, which seem to have improved. Plus, he is a bit of a free spirit, based on this profile of his development in Sports Illustrated.
    If Twins fans want a preview of him, check out the US Olympic Baseball team. He's on it. Or make your way to CHS Field in St. Paul in August. Or maybe you won't need to cross the river. He might be ready for a trial at Target Field before the year is over.
    The Twins did reasonably well in their first move of the trade deadline season. They made a solid and aggressive move at a good time, getting quality players and filling a need. It also sets them up nicely for more moves before the July 30th deadline.
    But yeah, it's a shame it had to come to this. And the team will need to wait and see if their move turns out as well as they hope.
  8. Haha
    LewFordLives 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.”
  9. Like
    LewFordLives reacted to RandBalls Stu for an article, BREAKING: Almost Half a Season Left   
    Last Saturday’s 6-3 loss to Kansas City was already another unremarkable defeat in a wildly disappointing 2021 Twins campaign. But in a stunning revelation confirmed by team and league officials, it also marked the halfway point of the MLB season.
    “There are 162 games in the season,” said a Twins executive who asked not to be identified. “Saturday’s loss was the 81st game. Half of 162 is 81.”
    Reaction in Twins Territory ranged from disgust and anger to a world-weary resignation often only found in ER nurses, veterans of war, and Vikings fans.
    “You mean I’ve got another 75-80 games of this [expletive],” said Rev. Marshall Lemire of Forestview Presbyterian Church in Baxter. “Unbelievable. I’m a man of faith, but this is a profound test of it. [Expletive.]”
    “You know how when a good high school basketball team drills some podunk team from the sticks and they keep the clocks running,” asked Thom Sprouls of Cook. “Can they do that in baseball? Why don’t they? They should totally do that. This is a travesty.”
    MLB officials say there are no plans to cancel any games or enforce a slaughter rule for teams like the Twins and Diamondbacks who still have a frankly shocking number of games left to play.
    “We get that it seems like there are a remarkable amount of days left in the season,” said Ethan Nguyen, a spokesperson for the Commissioner’s office. “But what if you took the family on a vacation all August, like they do in Europe? Just disconnect, bring some books and board games to the cabin, and when you get back you’ve just wiped out like a third of it, slugger. You can see the finish line from there.”
    This is cold comfort to fans like Maggie Dietmann of Worthington.
    “I don’t even remember when I switched from optimism about this team to wondering how much we could get back for (Jose) Berrios,” said Dietmann. “It seems like a hundred years ago. And now these people have the gall, the absolute, unfounded gall, to tell me there’s almost half a season of this left. They’ve got some brass.”
    In a written statement to the media, the team said that there are 162 games in a standard major league season. Twins Daily has confirmed that this is accurate. Still, the sheer burden of three more months of poor pitching, injuries, and regression weighs heavy on a sullen fanbase.
    “[Expletive] that,” said Rev. Lemire.
  10. Haha
    LewFordLives reacted to RandBalls Stu for an article, Does Jose Miranda’s Rise Mean I Have to Listen to Hamilton?   
    Jose Miranda, the surging Minnesota Twins third base prospect, is now mostly known for two things: hitting three home runs, including a grand slam, in his debut as a St. Paul Saint, on his 23rd birthday no less. The second thing? His cousin, the playwright/actor/musician Lin-Manuel Miranda.
    This presents a quandary for many Twins fans. No, not what this means for the futures of the third base position in Minnesota, Josh Donaldson, and Miguel Sano. I mean something even more critical: Do you have to watch Hamilton now?
    There are likely many of you who have already thrilled to one of the first hip-hop musicals ever written about the guy on the ten-dollar bill. But there are still more for whom musicals are like the end of Old Yeller expanded to two hours and set to music and in the end your real dog dies too.
    This post is directed at the latter crowd.
    You’re likely confused and scared. I would be too! It looks like Miranda the prospect might be the real deal, and on the fast track to the majors once the Twins finally start selling. This would normally be the soothing balm for a season lost.
    But it’s complicated.
    Once Miranda is called up, the first thing every post, every tweet, every radio hit, and every TV spot about him will mention is the other Miranda. In particular, the hip-hop musical he wrote about former U.S. Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton. If Jose fulfills his potential and reaches the rarified air of SportsCenter highlight mainstay, the anchor will say, “He’s not throwing away his shot!” Because that’s part of a song from his cousin’s musical, the one about Alexander Hamilton! It’s going to annoy the hell out of you! What are these weirdos talking about?
    Here’s my suggestion: Dip your toe in it. Borrow your friend’s Disney Plus password (it’s probably Punto42069). You’ll know immediately if you can handle it or if you must tap out. I had to leave the room and read a book about crimes. My wife loved the hell out of it and will absolutely know every reference in every beat writer’s notebook to Hamilton, the hip-hop musical written by Lin-Manuel Miranda. The important thing is to be mindful of yourself, and to offer yourself some grace.
    Don’t throw away your shot.
  11. Like
    LewFordLives reacted to Ted Schwerzler for an article, Front Office Facing Pitching Problems   
    Across the division in Cleveland, Falvey grew a reputation for being able to develop pitching. Minnesota needed to overhaul that aspect of their development, and the early returns were promising. Despite the Bomba Squad emerging in 2019, Minnesota also became the best pitching version of itself that the franchise had seen in years. Taylor Rogers was elite, Tyler Duffey was transformed, and a number of fliers worked out.
    Enter 2021 and things couldn’t be further from that reality. This Twins club owns the 29th overall fWAR mark from their pitching staff, and both starters and relievers have been collectively terrible. The lineup took a bit to get going, but it hasn’t been an issue for weeks. With the White Sox now having all but ended Minnesota’s chances in the year ahead, a look at 2022 puts both Falvey and Levine squarely on the hot seat.
    Given the amount of talent eyeing a return on this roster, and the unexpected nature of these results, a full rebuild should not be the course of action in 2022. Reloading and trying it again with some new pieces makes all the sense in the world. What the front office must not do again however, is look to shop in the bargain bin and think the process will entirely translate into results.
    I have long harped on the infrastructure brought in by this front office as being exceptional. That still rings true. Wes Johnson is a good pitching coach, and throughout the farm there’s intelligent instructors. At some point though, you can’t bank entirely on a blueprint squeeze more juice from an already cashed fruit. J.A. Happ and Matt Shoemaker were fine back-end additions, but they both relied entirely on depth with nothing done to raise the water level.
    From the vantage point we have now, walking through this smoldering warzone, Falvey has virtually nothing to show for this season. The plethora of waiver claims all failed to pan out, save for the small sample of Luke Farrell. Happ and Shoemaker have been terrible. Randy Dobnak was extended, then optioned, and has never had a real defined role. On the farm, each of the top prospects has now gone down with arm issues, likely due to the year off. Yes, Josh Winder and Jordan Balazovic look good, but there’s more reason to be cautious than excited at this point.
    In the year ahead it will be on the Twins to use their depth as a fall back plan rather than seeing it as a source of reliance. Signings like Happ and Shoemaker indicated a belief one or both would soon be bumped as prospects came for their spots. Now Shoemaker is gone entirely, and the lack of options becomes even more glaring with yet another miss added to the books. Jose Berrios has been good, but not yet elevated to the next step, and now the talk of trading him lands even more into a questionable realm for me.
    Over the winter the plan has to be pitching, spending on it, and making sure it’s right. Relief arms are generally fickle year over year. Expecting Alexander Colome to fall this hard wasn’t a good bet. In 2022 you can reshuffle that group and bring in new faces, but they can’t be supplemented with a bunch of fall back options just ran out in case of emergency. The starting staff needs a legit arm that slots in to the top three, and that’s on top of paying or at least keeping Berrios.
    One bad season in the midst of such turnaround isn’t going to cost the front office their jobs, but there is plenty of reason to question why Derek Falvey hasn’t come through with his calling card should we see two years’ worth of these results. It’s time to right this ship, fix it, and prove the belief has been warranted. Dollars, development, whatever path you want to take, pitching can not be a problem for the Twins in the year ahead.
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  12. Like
    LewFordLives reacted to RandBalls Stu for an article, NASA: Newly Discovered Asteroid Will ‘Definitely’ Land on Byron Buxton   
    When NASA astronomer Steve Bland observed a new asteroid hurtling through space earlier this month, he was alarmed. The object was clearly on a path that would send it directly towards Earth. “Obviously, that’s a nightmare scenario,” said Bland. “Even a relatively small object could wreak havoc on the impact area.”
    Further study relieved Bland and his co-workers when it was determined that the asteroid, named 2021 SB, would disintegrate rapidly upon entering the planet’s atmosphere. However, there was one note of concern.
    “Just from following the course it’s travelling through our solar system, there is zero doubt in my mind that it’s definitely going to land on top of Minnesota Twins center fielder Byron Buxton,” said Bland.
    It’s estimated that 2021 SB will be the size of a golf ball once it reaches Buxton and will likely end its grand celestial journey on his throwing shoulder or right big toe.
    “I can’t say I’ve ever seen anything like this before,” admitted Bland. "Most asteroids do not target individuals."
    The Twins say they’ve been notified by NASA of the situation.
    “It’s not an existential threat to all human life but Byron is for sure going to be out indefinitely,” said Twins manager Rocco Baldelli. “We spoke with Byron and he’s as disappointed as we are.”
    Officials say the asteroid will likely reach Buxton immediately after his left hand is fully healed from the fracture suffered during Monday’s game versus Cincinnati.
    “2021 SB actually appeared to slow down on Monday evening,” said Bland. “It was on pace to get here on Wednesday but now looks like it’s taking its sweet time. Yes, that’s unusual.”
    Although Bland didn’t want to speculate on the actual date, time, and location, sources close to the team say they expect the space object to injure Buxton on his first day back with the Twins or on a St. Paul rehab assignment when he’s signing autographs for impressionable young children.
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