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Blog Entries posted by mikelink45

  1. mikelink45
    Does the emphasis on strike outs also commit the teams to the ridiculous 4 – 5 inning starter and a dozen or more relief pitchers per year?  Are we straining the arms by demanding near 100 mph heaters and lots of curves and sliders?
    I went to Brad Radtke’s baseball reference page.  He pitched 12 years for us and is one of the best pitchers in Twins history.  148 – 139 4.22 era is not HOF worthy, and he cannot be called a great pitcher, but he was a competent competitor for teams that needed him like today’s Twins.
    What I wanted to see was his innings pitched – 2451 – an average of 221 per year with a peak of 261.  He struck out 1467 and walked 445.  His WHIP was not great – 1.26, but acceptable.
    His complete games – 37 is only 10% of his starts.  His average start was 6.5 innings per start. 
    Now comes my crazy comparison – a potential Hall of Famer – Clayton Kershaw – has pitched 14 years, 2454 inning – only three more than Radtke.  2670 strike outs and 606 walks.  25 complete games – 12 less than Radtke and he has started 379 games – 2 more than Radtke. 
    Of course, his 185 – 84 makes him elite, but as you probably are well aware of, for many years he was worn out as the Dodgers got to post season and in the last few has been injured.  He is no longer the pitcher that he was and not even the Dodger Ace anymore. Obviously still a great pitcher, but that is not the issue.
    The pitcher throws on average 62 – 65 % strikes.
    If I extrapolate - no I am not a statistician - that means the pitcher is going to throw a minimum of 5 pitches per K and 6 per BB.  I think that is the difference between the Radtke and Kershaw stats.  More Ks and more BBs mean more pitches thrown - not even considering the arm stress of the faster pitches or the curve.  
    I know Terry Ryan and pitch to contact are out, but I did want to look at some of the realities in todays baseball. 
    Finally, I had to look at Warren Spahn, my all time favorite pitcher who lasted 21 years, pitched 5046 innings, started 635 games and relieved in 79 others and he completed 382 games. He struck out 2493 - just .5 per inning and averaged 8+ innings per start so this 363 win pitcher does not fit the current profile, but he does rank number 6 in wins all time despite serving in WWII missing three full seasons and serving at the Battle of the Bulge along with Yogi Berra, Ralph Houk, Cecil Travis, Hoyt Wilhelm and 21 other players from MLB.  The war has nothing to do with this topic except that it robbed some years from each.  Pitchers of Spahn's era had different expectations, I understand that.  Today with the HOF talk still in our minds Roger Clemens is often referred to in modern terms as the greatest pitcher (not by me) and he pitched 24 seasons - with the war years similar to what Spahn would have had.  He had 709 starts and completed 118. With almost as many Ks as innings pitched he was the beginning of the current era and Spahn was the end of the previous era.  Clemens averaged 6.9 innings per start. 

  2. mikelink45

    Baseball history
    I enjoy the history of baseball and that is why in the past I have written about Tom Custer and Wild Bill Hickok playing baseball.  Another story that is among the lesser known baseball games was played in Skagway during the height of the Gold Rush.  
    The game was played on Independence day in 1901 and unlike the rest of the baseball world it was a team of black Buffalo Soldiers and White Railroad workers. 
    The soldiers were assigned to this remote Alaskan wilderness to bring law and order where there was no law and certainly no order.  A man known as Corporal Green was the captain of the Company L Soldier nine and a man by the name of Phelps led the railroad workers. It was about bragging rights and a prize of $50 for first place and $25 for second.
    Played near the Moore's sawmill there was beer from the Skagway Brewing Company and vendor of ice cream, lemonade, and milk.
    In the stands were miners, railroad workers, prostitutes, gamblers, and soldiers.  It was a lively crowd and the game was a three hour affair (so much for short games) with umps from the townspeople who may or may not have known the rules.
    The White Pass RR men wore blue trousers, black shirts and caps while the soldiers had numbered shirts, knickers, and striped socks.
    In the end the RR men (umpires decisions or not) won the game 14 - 10 and the crowd was ecstatic.  That was baseball in the Klondike.

  3. mikelink45

    Foundational players
    We were excited when our prospects came up and the future looked bright - in 2019 that future arrived and it was great, but we expected a longer run.  The foundation was going to be Berrios - I know all the arguments that he is not a true Ace, but he has been our best pitcher and is a solid middle of the rotation arm that we did not build around.  53 - 40 with a 4.11 era for his six years 8.1 WAR. 
    The expected stars on offense were Sano and Buxton
    Miguel Sano - who is in his 7th year (7.8 WAR).  He has played in 100+ games three times.  236/329/489 is his seven year slash line, but look at the trends - BA - 269, 236, 264, 199, 247, 204, 158.  His last three OPS - 923, 757, 656.  BR offensive War (defense is negative so I won't bother.  He is here for his bat.) 2.4, 1.7, 3.1 0.1, 3.7, 0.5, 0.1.  Miguel seems like he plateaued and is lost. 
    Byron Buxton - 7 years and 14.5 WAR - if only he could stay healthy.  No doubt his hitting is on the rise - here is his yearly OPS 576, 714, 728, 383, 827, 844, 1.180.   Buxton has found his bat, but he has played in 456 games out of a possible 922.  He has missed half his possible games.  This does not diminish his quality when he is on the field, but makes it hard to cover CF when your other option is moving Kepler or using Cave. 
    The next three foundation pieces did not have the same star power potential, but they were expected to be solid pieces to round out the team 
    Jorge Polanco - no longer a SS his value has diminished in the field.   He has contributed 8.8 WAR.  His career slash is 274/333/430/762 and he has been fairly steady, but in 2019 his OPS was 841 after a career streak of 700s+, but then 2020 and 2021 that OPS mark dropped below 700 and with his fielding not being an asset any longer he career seems to have flattened out and his value may have peaked.
    Max Kepler shocks me with a 13.2 WAR.  A slash line of 236/318/443/761 does not seem to warrant such a good WAR grade. When I look at his OWar 9.7 and his DWar 2.1 they add up to 11.8 so someone will have to explain BR math to me.  He peaked in 2019 like so many did and had his only year with more than 20 HRs,  It was the only year he hit more than 250.  And it was the only year he slugged more than 500.  Surrounding 2019 his BA was 224 in 2018, 228, and 212 the last two years.  
    Eddie Rosario is the last of the big six and they have already given up on him and let him shuffle off to Cleveland, so he was the first of the six to disappoint enough to be moved on.  His seven year slash line is 274/308/469/777.  His peak was 2017/2018.

    Buxton 14.5According to BR WAR Rosario had a total of 12 which means it we rank the six by WAR it would be 
    Kepler 13.2
    Rosario 12
    Polanco 8.8
    Berrios 8.1 (he is the only one with six seasons instead of seven)
    Sano 7.8
  4. mikelink45
    I once had a degree in economics - admittedly it was in the 1960s so it is out dated. What I am trying to figure out is how do these intelligent, super rich owners in major league baseball get bamboozled.
    Okay, the LA Dodgers got Bauer. Wow is that special. Were they not going to win the NL West before they got him? What will he add? What if he gets hurt? How many people/teams were they bidding against?
    Last year the Angels signed Mike Trout to a $30 million dollars a year contract because he is the best in baseball and he had given them how many championships? I guess it was because their long term investment in Albert Pujols paid off so well.
    Now we have a $40 million dollar a year pitcher - and of course pitchers are not prone to injuries. Trevor Bauer really blossomed in a short strange Covid year. He is now 75 - 64 in 9 MLB seasons according to BR. Not even 10 victories per year. I know wins don't count (BS). If he starts 40 games (unlikely)he will be paid one million per game - does he have a refund for bad games?
    So what are they getting? Yes he has talent and will be really good for them, but how good? How much better than if they had signed Jake Odorizzi?
    Next year we will need a $50 million per year player and on and on. Why? What is the madness?
    I do not want billionaires to pocket all the profit, but my god is this ridiculous. The dollars are so insane I am losing my ability to watch the ball as it comes across the plate.
    Sorry for the rant, but I cannot help it. I remember when players got jobs in the off season.
    But I am sorry to be so old fashioned, poor MLB owners are hurting and want to have some relief from their Covid losses!
  5. mikelink45
    A friend gave me old Popular Mechanics magazines to look through. In 1947 there was a mechanics of hitting article - yes in Popular Mechanics and I got such a charge out of it I had to share. I hope you can enlarge these pages. I suspect the adds will give you as much pleasure as the article.
    I would love to see what an article like that would be like today - no more bunts (I am sorry to say), don't swing level, who cares if you strike out?
    It is fun to see the old time greats as well.
  6. mikelink45
    Stan Isaacs chose ten events from his sports writing history that he thinks are significant world events. These are not in order - Munich is his number one on his count down
    Superbowl I and II
    The Knicks Willis Reed NBA championship
    The Amazing Mets World Series
    Bobby Thompson's "Shot heard round the world" home run
    Harvard - Yale tie game
    Secretariat race at Belmont
    Ali/Fraser - first fight
    Jets win Superbowl III
    Bjorn Borg - John McEnroe tennis Wimbeldon
    The 1972 Munich Olympics

    He was choosing events he covered. I then tried to think of the ten events in Minnesota Sports history (my history from 1958 on) and this is my list:
    1 - Elgin Baylor joins Minneapolis Lakers - I watched him play in the Minneapolis Armory with its 8400 capacity - so close!
    2 - Gophers national champions in Football - I saw them play under Murray Warmath and it was an amazing team
    3 - Twins move to Minneapolis from Washington DC and I become an usher for the first season
    4 - Vikings first game - Rookie Tarkington leads team to defeat of Chicago Bears - I saw this game at the Metrodome
    5 - 1965 Twins world series against Sandy Koufax Dodgers - I watched this in the break room at Dayton's where I worked stock
    6 - 1967 Harmon Killebrew hit 520 foot HR - longest for Twins
    7 - 1987 Hrbek in WS wrestle Cardinal off 1B and tags him out - we win series - Kate and I watched this in a bar restaurant in Sierra Vista AZ. Most patrons were St Louis fans - I loved it. It still makes me smile.
    8 and 9 - 1991 We beat Atlanta and I was at all four games - we won the home games and Morris pitched the classic 7 and Kirby won game six by his own personal effort - and thankfully I was at all four home games - game seven with Jon Horn
    10 - Lynx win first of four championships 2011 - sorry Timberwolves you are not on the list even though I got to go on court at half time with Jim Brandenburg to present you with his book on wolves. - I did not see the championship game, but we did get to see the team.
    Since this is a Twins forum and I have four non-Twins events I would have to add these in replacement:
    Calvin Griffith driving away Rod Carew by his racism
    The pop-up that never came down in the Metrodome
    Kirby Puckett losing his eyesight
    The Dean Chance no-hitter

    Your turn.
  7. mikelink45
    I have been reading so many lists - the best for the Twins, oh wait, they signed elsewhere. Here are two pitchers who cannot stay healthy, which should we sign? Don't worry they can still get someone. There is still value at the bottom of the list. It is a weekly, if not daily, ritual. But what if they don't sign anyone and look inward?
    Let me speculate from I love the young guys to a lineup without a trade or a signing:
    Arraez - 2B
    Lewis - SS
    Polanco - U
    Blankenhorn or Gordon - U
    Donaldson 3B
    Sano - 1B
    Rooker - DH
    Kiriloff LF
    Buxton - CF
    Kepler - RF
    Cave - 4th OF
    Larnach - 5th OF/1B/DH
    Jeffers/Garver - C
    Thorpe or a couple of our signings - none of which I know about
    Overall not bad (I think).
  8. mikelink45
    The Twins have Jorge Polanco at SS. In 2019 he was an all star. Now all of Twins fandom wants him at utility and hope for the team to sign another SS. I am not sure why. Our number one prospect remains Royce Lewis who is still listed as a SS who should be ready by the end of the year at least. So why do we want to demote Polanco and block Lewis? This is reasoning that does not work for me.
    Then we have Wander Javier who came to us in the same international draft that produced Vladimir Guerrero, jr. and Yordan Alvarez. To say that he is behind them on the development level is an understatement. I am still not sure why he is rated so high as a prospect. He has had a hamstring injury during his 2016 debut, a torn labrum costing him all of 2018 and a strained quad keeping him from making his full-season debut in 2019. Then he came in and looked lost for 300 at bats. And MLB.com still has him listed at number nine.
    Above him on the mlb.com site is Keoni Cavaco who is given great grades for athleticism, which is fine in the Olympics, but batting and fielding count in baseball. I am not sold on him. He was a fast riser in HS according to his notes. Another prospect who does not make my list.
    At 17 is Nick Gordon. He seems to be on a slippery slope to a forgotten prospect, but I hope he will find a way to get to the majors someday. He just isn’t going to make the team as a starter.
    Will Holland is next on the prospect list at 19. Notes about him say that he was doing great at Auburn until his Junior year where he bombed and slipped to fifth round. Then he came to rookie ball and still bombed. Not looking good.
    Today the Twins made an big international signing – Danny De Andrade who is 16. He could be projected to arrive when Lewis runs out of arbitration and signs elsewhere. He is big, potential middle of the order project (typically that means not staying at SS). At 16 he is a project. I know what my grandsons are like at that age – I would not sign them for $2.2 million and I love them. If he makes it he will probably replace Donaldson and not Lewis.
    Finally the second signing is Fredy LaFlor who is already projected in the mlb.com writeup to shift to second or CF. He said to be a high energy top of the lineup prospect.
    So there is the Twins SS list. I would like to see us develop one of them into the next great SS rather than sign one who is already down the road of his career and will be overpaid. How do you see these names playing out?
    The Athletic summary of international signings did not include the Twins - disappointing. https://theathletic.com/2326602/2021/01/16/mlb-international-signing-period-day-1/?source=weeklyemail For those of us who do not know who they are it is important to have outside opinions.
  9. mikelink45
    As I read the entries on the TD sight we all imagine getting players in Free agency or big trades. This is especially true when we see the Padres making their moves. What I really liked was the WAR team ratings that MLB.com got from Fangraphs and I used for the Blog photo. This is really significant to me. It shows us ranked fifth, but there are five teams close behind us and only two in the AL ahead of us.
    So any move we make has to keep us above the teams right behind us like the White Sox. And ideally we would catch Houston and New York.
    This means any signing has to add WAR to our team and we have to subtract any WAR associated with the player we lose or demote. Trevor Bauer jumps the other teams, but looking at the rest of the top free agents - we do not need another catcher - Realmuto cannot get us there, does LeMahieu replace Arraez with enough positive growth - no. Ozuna could replace Cruz, but would not give us more than Cruz provided so it might be good long term, but it would not make a one year rise in team strength.
    Springer is great, but Kiriloff might be, Buxton might play a full year. He might give us a rise, but not all the way. Is Siemian enough of a SS and WAR player to lift the team when Polanco is subtracted from the WAR total? No.
    Sugaro? Who knows? He might be the wild card and maybe he can lift the bottom of the rotation enough to make the difference that we need.
    Hendriks would definitely give us a boost, especially since we have jettisoned so many, but if we subtract those we lost what would the net gain be?
    So we are in a rut. We are good, we will stay good, but will we rise? I think Trevor Bauer might be the only one who can do that for us and I do not feel like he is on our radar.
  10. mikelink45
    With all the talk about FA and DFAs I got thinking about who the prospects behind each position are – not the top prospects in the system – but the ones that are there for each position on the club. Call it the next line of defense:
    C – Jeffers is obvious, but he might be the starting C so who is next – Ben Rortvedt would be the next in line. He is age 23 which surprised me, because it seems like we have been looking at him for the last decade (I exaggerate). He has four minor league seasons and a line of 240/315/347 which is not very exciting, but he is a catcher.
    1B – Of course Sano is still young and Rooker is too, but who next? Aaron Sabato is 1B – he can’t go anywhere else. His two year college line is .332/..459/.698. I think Larnach, and Rooker have this covered. Or Matt Wallner with one impressive Minor league year.
    2B – Arraez is young, but his injury record got really cloudy this year. Sure Polanco can slide in here, and Lewis can be a 2B but Nick Gordon who is quickly becoming a trivia answer is listed as a 2B option (I think Utility is better, but for this exercise he is at 2B. Six years in the minors, still 25. His line is .276/.329/.385 which is not very exciting. Maybe Blankenhorn will fill in, but in reality this is a failed draft pick.
    SS – Polanco is young, he has been an all-star, but he is still an erratic fielder and people have been dreaming of Royce Lewis for years. Always in the top ten prospects Lewis had not exactly been the highest performing prospect. Still just 21, he also seems like someone who has been in the system forever, but he hasn’t and his line is .266/.331/.409 which does not jump off the page for me, but the projections say he is more than the next in line, he is a star in the making.
    3B – Donaldson came in with the press clippings and a bad leg. He got a lot of money and four years and already 1/4th of the years has been a bust. So who can jump in now that Ehire and Marwin do not seem to be in line? Travis Blankenhorn is the only 3B prospect. 24 years old, his minor league line after five years and one game in MLB in 2020 is .257/.325/.431 which makes him another meh replacement. For Marwin I am fine, but long term 3B needs help.
    LF – Well at this point Eddie is gone and not coming back and I am going to assume Kiriloff is next in line and I really hope they do not play the game of holding him back for more control. If he is as good as we all hope he will be extended before his arbitration years are over anyway. So who is next – Larnach is the logical and he looks almost as ready as Kiriloff, but it might be Rooker first since he is older and team control is less of an issue. Larnach in two years in the minors has a line of .307/.385/.468. Rooker in three years in the minors is .267 /.357/.505. Larnach is 23 and Rooker is 26.
    CF – Buxton for a whole year we all hope. If not who? I know we can shuffle other players into CF, but it is a shuffle not a true CF replacement. Who is in the wings? We know now that it will not be Baddoo. It is hard to find a CF in the prospects so I will go with Maciel, 21, with four years as a true Centerfielder .288/.357/.361 or Celestino. At age 21 he has three years in the minors .274/.346/.400. These young players are the way to go if Buxton has another injury/accident.
    RF – Kepler is already extended. Analytics like him more than I do, but that does not matter here – he is the RF starter and will continue to be. His replacement? Probably Larnach who I put as a LF above.
    DH – I look at the 1B options and Rooker is first in line for DH for me. Sabato down the road.
    SP – Berrios, Maeda, Pineda, ??? with Dobnak fifth. Berrios and Dobnak are relatively young, but they are pitchers and pitchers breakdown. Who is next? Most Twins fans know Balazovic and Duran, by name anyway. Balazovic in four years in the minors is 18 - 12 3.32 1.15 Whip and 252K – 68BB. Duran in five years in the minors is 23 – 26 3.94, 1.28 Whip, 366 – 131 K/BB. Both are 22. The third would be Dakota Chalmers, 24 years old, and with five years in the minors – 9 – 8 with a Whip of 1.42 and 185/114 K/BB. Chalmers seemed like he had a lot of support last year. His stats do not get me excited, but I think he is in line.
    Searching for starters 4/5 in this minor league only replacement scenario Blaine Enlow, 21, with three years in the minors would be next with a 14 – 12 3.36, 1.26 Whip, 185K/77BB. Matt Caterino played only one year, not enough to look at his stats so I will just go with his position on the prospect list. He is 22 and a second-round draft choice in 2019.
    Relief pitching is already filled with prospects – Alcala, Stashak and last year for one regrettable inning, Edwar Colina, 23, who has pitched for six teams in 4 minor league years. 19-15 2.96 1.22WHIP, 316K/140BB. He is probably ready right now.
    If I just look at the rest of the pitchers on the prospect list I can fill the BP that way, but realize that one of the SP I have for the future rotation can end of being BP and one of these RP could be a rotation guy. Hopefully, someone like the next pitcher on the list – Cole Sands, or Bailey Ober or Chris Vallimont or Josh Winder. That is a seven-man BP.
    Then there is Lewis Thorpe and Devin Smeltzer still listed as a prospects age age 24. Let’s put them in to give us nine. Griffen Jax makes the ten-man BP on this list – just barely. Luis Rijo will pass some of these and he will join Charlie Barnes to make the future 12-man BP.
    The question is – are we prepared. And actually, it looks like a good minor league backup plan. Not all of these players will fill the roles, but we have something to start with
  11. mikelink45
    The question is – should we sign Cruz or just let a number of players DH? I thought I would look back at the Twins DH history. I ignore any DWAR since I am only interested in the DH.
    Tony Oliva was the first DH. In 1973 he was in 146 games. He hit 291/345/410 and his WAR was 0.7. The next year he was in 127 games with a line of 285/326/414 and 0.4 WAR. 1975 he played 131 games with a line of 270/344/378 and WAR of 0.5.
    1976 saw Craig Kusick as the DH – 259/344/432 – 1.5 WAR. In 77 his line was 254/370/433 0.9 WAR.
    Glen Adams became the DH in 1978 with a line of 258/297/390 and a WAR of -0.3.
    In 1979 Jose Morales became the DH - 267/319/335 – WAR -0.9 and despite this negative WAR he was still DH in 1980, 303/361/490 and positive 1 WAR.
    Then in 1981 Glen Adams was once again the primary DH with a line of 209/273/282 and a -1.6 WAR which was the worst on the team.
    Randy (who?) Johnson became the main DH in 1982 248/325/419 and a WAR of zero.
    After a few questionable years of – anybody can DH we came to Randy Bush in 1983. His line was 249/.323/.418 with 0.4 WAR. In 1984 he was still the main DH .222/.292/.389 and WAR -0.3. We have good memories of Randy, but maybe he is not as good as we remember.
    In 1985 Roy Smalley took over DH. .258 /.357/.402 WAR 1.2. For the first time since 1976 we had a DH with a WAR over 1.In 1986 Roy was still DH .246/.342/.438 and a WAR of 1.0. 1987 Roy had a line of .275/.352/.411 and WAR OF ONLY 0.5. After tying Oliva with three years as DH he was replaced.
    Gene Larkin was 1988 DH .267/.368/.382 and 1.8 WAR. Despite that outstanding year Jim Dwyer was the primary DH in 1989 with .316/.390/.404 and 0.8 WAR. In 1990 Larkin was the main DH again with a line of .269/.343/.392 and a WAR of 1.1.
    In 1991 Chili Davis became the first DH with a slugging PCT over 500 and a line of .277/.385/.507. His 3.3 WAR also set a new high for the team. In 1992 he was not quite as good with a line of .288/.386/.439 and WAR of 2.1. That was the end of Chili.
    Dave Winfield was DH in 1993 with .271/.325/.442 and WAR of 0.9. In 1994 he hit .252/.321/.425 with 0.2 WAR.
    In 1995 Winfield was retired and Pedro Munoz took over with an outstanding year .301/.338/.489 and still only a 0.9WAR.
    The next hometown HOF batter came in 1996 when Paul Molitor became the principal DH and hit .341/.390/.468. It would be the top BA for any Twins DH. His WAR was 3.5 which was the best WAR so far. In 1997 Molitor his .305/.351/.435 for a WAR of 1.5. In 1998 Paul hit .281/.335/.382 and a WAR of 0.2. Having tied Oliva and Smalley for the most years at DH – 3, he was replaced.
    In 1999 Marty Cordova was the primary DH. He hit 285/365/464 with a WAR of 1.2.
    David Ortiz was our primary DH in 2000. No I do not want to speculate on what it could have meant if Tom (overrated) Kelly had not had his head up his… Ortiz was .282/.364/.446 with a WAR of 0.8. In 2001 Kelly had messed with Ortiz so much that he hit .234/.324/.475 and WAR fell to 0.3. His third year as DH he hit .272/.339/.500 which made him only the second Twin DH with a 500 slugging his WAR was 1.5. Having tied the longest DH service with three years we replaced him with Matt LeCroy. Yes, that is the truth and it still hurts and still stinks.
    Matt LeCroy had a good 2003 season - .287.342/.490 with 1.3 WAR. Then 35-year-old Jose Offerman took over in 2004 with .256/.363/.395 and -0.2 WAR. Matt LeCroy came back in 2005 .260/.354/.444. 0.9 WAR. Then it was 34-year-old Rondell White, .246/.276/.365 and -0.9 WAR, the worst on the team.
    This led to Jason Tyner .286/.331/.355. Are you paying attention to these slugging percentages? 0.2 WAR. Which led to Jason Kubel, .272/.335/.471 in 2008 with a 1.8 WAR. Kubel came back with one of the all-time DH lines in 2009 - .300/.369/.539, 3.3 WAR. Kubel then moved to the field and Jim Thome came to Minnesota.
    Thome in 2010 had a line of .283/.412/.627 giving the team their first 400 OPS and first 600 slugging DH! 3.6 WAR. 2011 did not reach the heights of 2010, .243/.351/.476 and 1 WAR.
    Then we turned to another veteran – Ryan Doumit for 2012 - .275/.320/.461, 2.3 WAR. Doumit in 2013 hit .247/.314/.396, 1.4 WAR. After two years he was done
    Then rookie Kennys Vargas, 23 years old, took over DH .274/.316/.456, 0.7 WAR. Miguel Sano replaced him the next year (2015) and in 80 games had a line of .269/.385/.530 bringing back the 500 slugging and he had a WAR OF 2.4 (why isn’t he replacing Cruz?).
    2016 we went international and Byung Ho Park hit .191/.275/.409, -0.1. That international experiment ended quickly and in 2017 Robbie Grossman was primary DH, .246/.361/.380, 1.1 WAR. And, yes, for some reason many on TD want to bring him back?????? In 2018 he was also the primary DH, 273/.367/.384 moderately good OBP, but is that what you want in the DH? 1.8 WAR IN 2018.
    Then in 2019 Nelson Cruz arrived. .311/.392/.639 – a record 41 DH Hrs, our second 600+ slugging. 4.2 WAR – our highest for a DH. In 2020 Cruz was still DH and hit .303/.397/ .595 with a 1.6 WAR in an abbreviated (1/3) season.
    Who was the best – Cruz, who was mismanaged – Ortiz, who was a star at DH for us? Molitor, Thome. We have had some very good and some real duds – Rondell White. And some real question marks like what happened to Vargas?
    Three years seems to be the lifespan of the DH on the Twins. So would I resign Cruz? For one year – yes. Beyond that no – what you pay for year two needs to be added to year one because you are probably only getting one year of real production.
  12. mikelink45
    Seventy five for a seventy five year old
    Okay, it is my birthday and I love life and all my ex-students, friends, participants in the guided tours, neighbors and family. So I am reflective and that means I have to think of 75 memories – there are many more. But here are 75 Twin memories.
    1. Ushering during season one
    2. Mudcat Grant – you want colorful – this is it.
    3. Vic Power taking over first base in a way I have never seen anywhere else.
    4. Jim Kaat just delivering and delivering and delivering.
    5. Harmon Killebrew with a swing that seemed to cut the night air into pieces.
    6. Rod Carew just toying with the fielders.
    7. Sandy Koufax showing us what HOF means – despite out loss it was great.
    8. Tony Oliva doing everything and then those knees just radiated pain.
    9. Joe Mauer being so Minnesota that everyone in MN complained he was too plain.
    10. Tovar playing everywhere and playing so good.
    11. Everyday Eddie coming in day after day and giving us ulcers everytime.
    12. Calvin Griffith reminding us that owning a team did not make a man into a good man.
    13. Sid Hartman telling us everything MN was great even when it wasn’t.
    14. Metropolitan Stadium, a dream for all of us with erector sets.
    15. The dome collapsing like a big pimple.
    16. 1987 Twins being champions when they looked like a below average team
    17. 1965 Twins being the best team in our history, but losing to a historic event
    18. Hrbek doing his wrestling move on first base – I am still laughing
    19. Sitting in the upper upper deck of the metrodome at game 7 1991
    20. Jack Morris refusing to quit – HOF for no other reason
    21. Kirby Puckett showing that determination can change an outcome
    22. Dan Gladden a non-star who gave us grit
    23. Herb Carneal giving us a transistor seat at all the games
    24. Halsey Hall so outrageous that we loved him even if we did not know what he was talking about
    25. Cool nights with a breeze from right field in the sixties
    26. Lousy hot dogs that still were satisfying in the early decades
    27. Bob Allison looking so fit and intimidating
    28. Nelson Cruz reminding us old guys that old does not mean feeble
    29. Kirby Puckett taking over game six
    30. Hrbek’s WS grand slam
    31. Knoblauch at second base
    32. Knoblauch returning to a shower of boos and hotdogs
    33. Jim Perry 1970 Cy Young
    34. Tom Kelly blowing it with Ortiz
    35. Zoilo Versalles 1965 MVP
    36. Byron Buxton in Centerfield
    37. Torii Hunter robs Barry Bonds in All Star game
    38. Frank Viola Cy Young 1988
    39. Harmon Killebrew MVP 1969
    40. Billy Martin and the marshmallow salesman
    41. Johann Santana Cy Young award 2004
    42. John Castino – rookie of the year 1979
    43. Seeing Carew leave
    44. Johann Santana Cy Young 2006
    45. Paul Molitor at DH 1996
    46. Dean Chance No-hitter
    47. Joe Mauer 2009 – major league player of the year
    48. Camilo Pascual’s curveball
    49. The collapse of the Metrodome
    50. Marty Cordova Rookie of the year 1995 (or last rookie of the year)
    51. Justin Morneau MVP 2006
    52. Mitch Garver in 2019
    53. The Turtle running the bases
    54. Bob Allison’s sliding catch
    55. Randy Bush pinch hitter with 13 hits in one year
    56. Gene Larkin’s walk off pinch hit
    57. Puckett to the HOF
    58. Harmon Killebrew’s 520-foot Home Run June 1967
    59. The last playoff game won by the Twins 2004
    60. 18 game post season losing streak 2020
    61. 1984 Dave Kingman hits a 208 foot double – straight up and into the metrodome roof
    62. Tony Oliva wins batting title in 1964 and 1965
    63. 1971 Rod Carew Rookie of the Year
    64. Lyman Bostock and Larry Hisle came together for one great year
    65. 1977 Rod Carew batted 388
    66. 1969 Harmon Killebrew hit 49 HRs
    67. Billy Martin gets in fight with his own 20 game winner – Dave Boswell
    68. 2016 Twins lose record 103 games
    69. 1987 home team wins all the games in WS and we have four home games
    70. Watching the famous Hrbek game in Sierra Vista AZ bar as the only Twins fan in the place
    71. Killebrew in the HOF
    72. Rod Carew in the HOF
    73. 2002 Pohlads agree to contraction – we almost lost the team
    74. 2006, the year of the Piranhas
    75. Bert Blyleven in the HOF
  13. mikelink45
    As I said in my previous blog posting I am watching to see where the current Twins rank in ratings outside the Twin Cities. It is always suggestive to read a less biased - less connected view of our own team. So here is the ESPN Roto rankings for 2021 - https://www.espn.com/fantasy/baseball/story/_/id/28285423/fantasy-baseball-2021-rankings-roto-rotisserie
    Garver is rated #7 (between Will Smith and Gary Sanchez)
    Jeffers 34 (between Romine and Torrens
    Avila is 47 between Trevino and Knapp
    Of course Realmuto is 1, followed by Grandal and Perez, but I am surprised Garver stays this high. And I am surprised Jeffers is so low. Avila is in the right place and the Turtle is not rated.
    Sano 13 between Guerrero Jr and Cronenworth
    Alex Kiriloff makes this list too at 35 between Moreland and Aguilar
    Freeman is the leader with Bellinger and LaMehieu next. Interesting that they put Kiriloff as our second 1B - I would have expected Rooker.
    Arraez 43 between Diaz and Garcia
    Merrifield and Albies head the list, but Arraez is really low on the list. I have to remember this is fantasy so his bat does not play as well here as it does in our lineup.
    Josh Donaldson in #17 between Urshela and Seager
    That is a very low ranking for our big purchase. Is it because they do not see him staying healthy?
    Polanco is #15 between Villar and Gregorius
    Royce Lewis is #40 between Simmons and Garcia
    Gordon makes the list at #49 between Chang and Mercer
    Like so many of our players Polanco is middle of the pack among starters. They do not have Ehire, but they put in Lewis and Gordon - they obviously expect some changes.
    Eddie Rosario #17 between Judge and Conforto
    Max Kepler #19 between Conforto and Meadows
    Byron Buxton #48 between Canha and Happ
    Alex Kiriloff is $93 between Margot and Taveras
    Betts, Acuna and Soto are their top three. Where is Rooker?
    Designated Hitters
    They only list three and Cruz is number one. No questions there.
    Starting pitchers
    Kenta Maeda is our top pitcher at #24
    Jose Berrios is #34
    Rich Hill #62
    Michael Pineda #80
    Jake Odorizzi #105
    Randy Dobnak #114
    Jordan Balazovic #121
    deGrom, Cole and Bieber are the top three (of course) and I am most shocked that they would have Hill as our number three pitcher by these rankings. Our rotation is complete which is great, middle of the pack like our position players.
    Relief Pitchers
    Taylor Rogers #10
    Sergio Romo #66
    Caleb Thielbar #75
    No Duffey, no May in their top 75. Hendriks, Hader and Chapman were the big three.
    They also rank the top 300 regardless of position so pitchers and all positions are mixed. Here are our top 300 players:
    33. Nelson Cruz
    57. Eddie Rosario
    66. Max Kepler
    96. Kenta Maeda
    109. Josh Donaldson
    115. Jorge Polanco
    116. Miguel Sano
    131. Jose Berrios
    148. Taylor Rogers
    178. Byron Buxton
    227. Rich Hill
    229. Mitch Garver
    That is 12 in the top 300 - with even distribution the teams would all have 10 and we have 10 in the top 200.
    When I look at these lists I have a lot of questions:
    Should we sign Cruz - he is our number one ranked player?
    Eddie Rosario keeps getting ranked higher than anyone not named Cruz and yet TD keeps putting out that he will be DFA's, should be DFA'd. Why?
    Taylor Rogers keeps getting love in these rankings and so does Garver. What did I miss?
    Where is Michael Pineda? Was Rich Hill really better than him?

  14. mikelink45
    I am always looking for outsider opinions on the Twins since it is too easy to have hometown bias. All of us who root for the Twins follow them with much more emotion and fan hopefulness that allows them to rise higher in our opinions than an outsider might see them. So, I was interested in the Athletic’s fantasy baseball rankings. I know fantasy and reality are not the same, but it is one way of comparing players. Derek Van Riper just posted his fantasy ratings of players https://theathletic.com/2199503/2020/11/16/2021-fantasy-baseball-rankings-2/?source=dailyemail and here is where the Twins rank.
    Starting pitchers (160 ranked)
    13 Kenta Maeda (between Kershaw and Nola)
    27 Jose Berrios (Between Burnes and Paddock)
    45 Michael Pineda (Between May and Corbin)
    54 Rich Hill (Between McKenzie and Musgrove)
    63 Jake Odorizzi (Between Ohtani and Bassett)
    We have a starting rotation here!
    Relief Pitchers (38 ranked)
    11 Taylor Rogers (Between Hand and Yates)
    17 Trevor May (Between Smith and Pomeranz)
    37 Tyler Duffey (Between Adams and Garrett)
    Rogers rating surprised me - too high, Duffey too low.
    Catchers (29 rated)
    11 Mitch Garver (Between Nola and McCann)
    24 Ryan Jeffers (Between Murphy and Suzuki)
    1B (44 ranked)
    14 Miguel Sano (Between Smith and Vaughn)
    Fantasy loves bombs
    2B (47 ranked)
    25 Luis Arraez (Between Madrigal and Alberto)
    Singles don't rank as high in fantasy
    SS (47 ranked)
    18 Jorge Polanco (Between Villar and Rosario)
    3B (53 rated)
    10 Josh Donaldson (Between Moncado and Chapman)
    44 Marwin Gonzales (Between Frazier and Lamb)
    48 Ehire Adrianza (Between Bote and Drury)
    OF (118 ranked)
    23 Byron Buxton (Between Blackmon and Soler)
    26 Eddie Rosario (Between Lewis and Pham)
    38 Max Kepler (Between Hernandez and Myers)
    96 Alex Kiriloff (Between Polanco and Larnach)
    97 Trevor Larnach (Between Kiriloff and Oliva)
    Where is Cave? They like our rookies, but where is Rooker? Once again Max ranks below Eddie.
    DH (8 rated)
    1 Nelson Cruz (ahead of J. D . Martinez)
    Cruz is the highest rated at his position, Donaldson is second at number 10 among 3B, but how in the world does Garver get rated #11. I know catchers are hard to find, but still!
    It is fun to see this ranking and I will look for other outsider views this off season. But my take away from this is that we have a good team with a lot of players ranked in the middle at their position, but other than Cruz and potential Donaldson we do not have the superstars that the great teams have. We have no one on a HOF track.
  15. mikelink45
    Since the main TD articles keep talking about Eddie Rosario being traded, cut, cursed or whatever you want to call it I thought it might be instructive to do a comparison of all the six year players on the roster. In a move that we all thought would make the future of the Twins we had Eddie, Byron, Miguel, and Max arrive the same year and it did not take long before they were part of a home run hitting behemoth and twice got to the playoffs where they, like their predecessors failed. (I chose not to include pitchers since there is no way to have equivalent values between pitchers and position players.) Now all the discussions are about Eddie being too expensive and not needed. Why?
    Over the same six years here is there worth in Baseball Reference WAR -
    Max Kepler 12..3
    Byron Buxton 11.7
    Eddie Rosario 11.6
    Miguel Sano 7.6

    That makes the case for Eddie a little stronger as his WAR is not far off the top two and Miguel is the bottom (he was -0.2 this year).
    How about OBP?
    Sano 332
    Kepler 319
    Eddie 310
    Buxton 289

    OBP seems to consistently be the knock on Eddie, but in comparison he is not looking as bad as all the articles seem to hint.
    Okay let's try OPS and spruce up the data:
    Sano 829
    Eddie 788
    Kepler 763
    Buxton 719

    Sano blows them all away, but look who is second!
    Home Runs?
    Sano 131
    Eddie 119
    Max 101
    Byron 51

    Eddie looks pretty good here too.
    So being a traditionalist - what about RBIs? I know some of you do not believe in them, but what do you do when no one brings in the baserunners? I know - lose the playoffs.
    Eddie 388
    Miguel 344
    Max 303
    Buxton 172

    Like I have commented elsewhere, Eddie has a knack for bringing in runners and in this lineup, who doesn't have an opportunity?
    Another old tradition is BA - so let's check it out.
    Rosario 277
    Sano 241
    Buxton 238
    Kepler 237

    What about scoring runs? Yes runs win games.
    Rosario 400
    Max 324
    Sano 317
    Buxton 204

    So who stays on the field? Games played
    Rosario 697
    Max 601
    Miguel 539
    Buxton 432

    I know - you can say just think of the stats that the others would have if they played the same number of games - the trouble is they didn't. Max missed more than the number of games in last years short season - actually he missed the equivalent of 1 1/2 of last years games. Miquel is 158 games short - close to a full season and Buxton is 265 games shore - one full season plus 100 more! Can we say that Eddie is dependable?
    Someone will say, ya, but he can't field. I do not like a lot of fielding metrics but for the sake of this essay here is 2020 Fangraphs fielding for the four players
    Buxton 2.5
    Rosario 1.2
    Kepler -0.7
    Sano -2.2

    Everyone told me that Kepler was such a valuable fielder and Rosario was terrible.
    So baserunning - yep Rosario is a loose cannon here - I cannot justify his 2020 ranking
    Kepler 2.3
    Sano 2.3
    Buxton 0.4
    Eddie -2

    So there are all the various listings that seem to be part of the discussions. That is 10 statistical comparisons - if I treat them all as equal - I leave it to you to argue - then the one with the least points (if someone finished 1st in all they would have 10 points) should rate highest. Here are the point totals
    Rosario 20
    Sano 23
    Kepler 24
    Buxton 29

    At this point in their careers I would say Rosario was the most valuable of the four, but beyond statistics that is also my bias. Prove me wrong or agree with me, but don't just say I think!
  16. mikelink45
    ESPN had a gold glove preview which I enjoy because it lists the three finalists and not just the winner https://www.espn.com/mlb/insider/story/_/id/30246554/mlb-gold-gloves-preview-which-stars-elite-field so we get 27 candidates to think about for each league.
    The weakness of the Twins is really apparent - there were two Twins listed. Byron Buxton of course and Kenta Maeda. As usual there is a caveat about Buxton - "Buxton would be a good choice, but he played in only 39 games."
    In addition the discussions about each position adds six more - no Twins.
    In baseball Reference Byron had a 1.2 dWAR. Then we had six players with 0.3 dWAR - Garver and Avila both had this (Jeffers was 0.0). Next were our two utility players - Gonzalez and Adrianza were both 0.3. And finally Arraez and Cave (4th outfielder) had 0.3 dWAR which meant that Buxton and Arraez are the only two position players with 0.3 or above dWAR. Two more reserves - Wade and Whitehead were the next in line below the 0.3 level.
    Sano was at the bottom of the list -0.7 dWAR.
    The Twins have had 13 individuals win Gold gloves and two years with three winners - Kaat/Battey/Power and Kaat/Versalles/Power. But many with two. I have no idea how this list might have looked if I had all the nominees like this year and not just the winners. The most gloves go to Kaat, https://bleacherreport.com/articles/7787-glove-love-major-league-baseballs-all-time-fielding-team Here is a list of winners http://www.espn.com/mlb/history/teams/_/team/Min/history/awards
    But the point is, we need gloves. I believe in fielding. The 2013 Orioles and Rays had the best fielding percentage of all time (and I know most don't like fielding pct, but it is a good start). In an article on the best fielding teams of all time David Schoenfield had the 1984 Twins team in the discussion https://www.espn.com/blog/sweetspot/post/_/id/67824/the-best-defensive-teams-of-all-time
    The emphasis on flyballs has changed the fielding component just like the shift. There are fewer plays in the infield than in the past and OF defense is rising in importance (go Buxton) plus the shift is demanding more flexibility in IF play since 3B players are put at SS and SS move to 2B while 2B play short field.
    I cannot figure out how we judge the players by position, but I do know fielding and getting on base are still essential skills and we are currently lacking in both areas.
  17. mikelink45
    I had an idea. What if someone got a hit, stole second - maybe third and someone else got a hit and they scored?
    In new school does that not count?
    What if someone got a hit, someone bunted and then a single brought them home? Does that not mean that the run scores?
    Do I have to wait for a HR? Should I look for a K instead of a sacrifice?
    Do I have to fire up the computer. What to do? No HR? We cannot score that way. We need HRs without runners on base because analytics say that is really the cool new way to do it.
    Let's eliminate the sacrifice, the bunt, the stolen base - I know they worked for 150 years but they did not have computers.
    Mookie Betts looks great, but what is he doing stealing two bases?
    Why would we hit to the weakness of a shift when we can score a high exit velocity on the ball we hit for an out? Why go the other way when we can get a launch angle? Doesn't exit velocity score us more points? Doesn't launch angle get us an extra mention on Sports Center?
    Don't we get more runs for a HR with more distance?
    What is it with the old school. Get a hit. Advance a base. Score. So boring.
    And then there are RBIs - who cares. No one is getting a hit other than a HR anyway so why worry about a batter who can actually bring that baserunner to home plate? Runs, RBIs, Batting average - so yesterday.
    And then there is pitching. We should all throw 100 mph because the batters can never adjust to that! Have them hit into a DP - what are you talking about it will impact my K/BB rate. The ERA is so old school lets just worry about K/HR.
    And starting pitchers who go into the later innings - why? So what if we need 43 RP to handle all the extra innings. We do not need Spahn, Marichal, Mathewson - they are old school. Lets just have 9 pitchers per game per team. Boy is that fun. No saves, no complete games, no dominating Sandy Koufax or Bob Gibson. Let's have a lot of Duffeys, Romos, Aaron Bummers - who? Yup. No more pitchers in the HOF. Who needs them?
    And, by the way, no more fans in the stands. Not because there is Covid, but because the game is getting so damned boring.
    As an addendum - game three of the WS - the Dodgers had long balls, but they also scored on singles, they had a bunt for a run, and they stole bases. When you blend old school with some new maybe the game can get fun again.
    Game 4 - Tampa Bay ties the series. Yes they got HRs, but a single and an error won the game. By putting the ball in play so many things can happen. It went for a single, it was dropped by the centerfielder and then the catcher - errors seldom happen on a K.
    Game 6 - Kevin Cash proved what I hate - Snell was upset and should be. He is an Ace and he was ready to be Jack Morris but the damn team policy removed the human element and the Rays deserved to lose.
  18. mikelink45
    Sure the team made the playoffs and also made a quick exit, but there are ex-Twins who are now in the league Championship series.
    I will start with my surprise - Aaron Slegers is a RP for the Tampa Bay Rays. He was in just 11 games, started 1, saved 2. He had a 3.46 era this year and a WAR of 0.5
    Then there is Nick Anderson a RP for the Tampa Bay Rays. Drafted by Milwaukee, A free agent sign by the Twins in 2015 and traded for Brian Schales in 2018. He had a 1.1 WAR in the BP with a 2 - 1 record, 0.55 era and a 0./49 whip,
    Another surprise for me was John Curtiss, 0.8 WAR, 3 - 0, 1.80 era, 0.96 whip.
    Oliver Drake was also in the BP but was the least effective of the quartet. But still.
    How can the Twins have three former pitchers in the BP that is considered the best in Baseball?
    And of course there is Liam Hendiks, closer for the A's who threw a 49 pitch three inning relief appearance and came back the next day to close the game. 1.4 WAR, 3 - 1, 1.78 era, 0.67 WHIP.
    So how would that fivesome have looked in our BP this year?
    Then there is Brusdar Graterol who was traded to gain our Ace this year. Still, he is on the Dodgers and still playing. He had 0.2 WAR, 3.09 era, 0.90 WHIP.
    Ryan Pressly gained us two excellent prospects, but in the BP this year for the ASTROS who are still in it he was their closer. 0.3 WAR, 1 - 3, 3.43 era, 12 saves, 1.333 ERA
    Oh ya, there is another ex-Twin reliever, the closer for the surprising Miami Marlins - Brandon Kintzler. WAR 1.3, 3 -2, 12 saves, 2.22 era, 1.315 WHIP.
    That is quite a combination of BP arms
    Not every ex-Twin was a BP arm Aaron Hicks was back for the Yankees. After an off year he still batted third in the lineup between Judge and Stanton.
    How would we look with that lineup of arms in our BP? Of course if no one drives in a run nothing matters.
  19. mikelink45
    I hear the Pint commentators, I see the bloggers and TD writers and the posts saying the 16 game losing streak to the Yankees does not count - there are Twins who were not even born when this began - okay I exaggerate. But some were pretty young. It is a different team, different players - and that is true. I think we have said that in every playoff appearance.
    Don't tell me that the players don't know about this - heck they might even read this rambling essay. Fans know it, the media knows it, and the Yankees know it. So am I nervous about the Yankees in this years playoffs? Yes.
    Today on ESPN I read, "The Yankees have awoken. Watch out, American League.
    A little more than a week ago the Yankees had lost their fifth straight game and dropped to 21-21. Even with the expanded playoff format, the unthinkable suddenly seemed possible: The Yankees were actually in danger of missing the playoffs. They were just a half-game ahead of the Orioles for the final wild-card spot, a mere one game ahead of the Tigers -- two teams that combined for 222 losses in 2019. "Droppin' Like A Stone," exclaimed the headline on the back cover of the New York Post, featuring a photo of Gary Sanchez dropping a foul pop-up.'
    The Yankees have not lost since then and they are beyond winning. They are treating the Blue Jays like a last place team and they are the team that should be defeating the Yankees so they could play the Twins. But the Yankees have hit 383/.478/.957 in this series with 19 home runs. And they just got back Stanton and Judge.
    Meanwhile the Bomba squad is .243 .318 .429 which looks good and compares with the Yankees who were really bad to start the season. The issue is who is rising? Who is getting momentum? Not that momentum means anything in the post season. But momentum is often a product of confidence and confidence does matter.
    Right now I look at yesterdays lineup and it is
    Kepler - 204
    Donaldson 215
    Polanco 264
    Cruz 320
    Rosario 251
    Sano 220
    Buxton 270
    Gonzales 216
    Jeffers 283
    Polanco's BA is falling, Buxton is rising. Kepler and Donaldson have been at the same place all year. Cruz is our best despite a bad WS series. The other player with a good averages are Rooker who is injured.
    On the bench we have Adrianza - 182, Jake Cave 219, Wade 258, Avila 174, and Astudillo 250.
    I trust Wade over Cave and I am still disappointed we do not have Blankenhorn instead of Adrianza and Kiriloff instead of Cave. If Garver comes back I want Avila, not Jeffers to be removed.
    The Yankees have 4 starters with era in the 3+ and their BP looks solid with only Ottavino having a bad year. We have had Dobnak lose his Cinderella status and Odorizzi has been plagued with bad luck and injuries. Hill is a great three inning pitcher and now people are hoping for Homer Bailey to come off the injured list. We have three pitchers under 4 era which includes Hill.
    What worries me is the inconsistency in the bats. The 16 game losing streak might not mean anything, but Yankee lineup looks like it has fewer weak spots and a stronger bench.
  20. mikelink45
    It is the seventh inning stretch of the 60 game season and I thought we might have to alter the baseball anthem just a little bit to make it work;
    Katie Casey was baseball mad
    Had the fever and had it bad
    Just to root for the hometown crew
    In the baby blue
    On a Saturday her young beau
    Called to see if she'd like to go
    To see a show, but Miss Kate said "No
    I'll tell you what you can do:"
    You can’t take me out to the ball game
    Or take me out with the crowd;
    But you can buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack
    And I don't care if they ever come back
    I will root, root, root for the home team
    Whoever they are, but we’ll never know - and it's a shame
    For it's still one, two, three strikes, you're out
    At the strange new ball game
    Katie Casey watched all the games
    Knew the players by their first names
    Told the umpire he was wrong
    All along
    Good and strong
    When the score was just two to two
    Katie Casey knew what to do
    Just to cheer up the boys at her home
    She made the gang sing this song:
    I wish you could take me out to the ball game
    Take me out with the virtual crowd;
    Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack
    I don't care if I never get back
    Let me root, root, root for some home team
    If they don't win, it's a shame
    For it's one, two, three strikes, you're out
    At the old ball game – I think.

    This 1908 Tin Pan Alley song by Jack Norworth and Albert Von Tilzer is the unofficial anthem of MLB. The authors never attended a game, but their hit ranks with Happy Birthday for well known songs in the USA.
  21. mikelink45
    I cannot refuse to play baseball, basketball, hockey, soccer, but I would if I could. I will support those who can, I will stand for the Black Lives Matter and not confuse it with the need to respect all lives. I will always feel a connection with the American Indian and the genocide of that Indian race in our nation. I will sympathize with the racism that affect the Chinese who built our railroads and the Japanese put in prison camps.
    I grew up in a black neighborhood, I spent time with my relatives on the reservation in Lac Court O'Reilles, WI. To deny racism is to be blind to the world around us. To say that racism exists in only one color of people would be wrong, but the record of treaties broken, of people sold and resold exceeds other stories.
    I want to trust the police, but they continue to disappoint me. I want to think that we have gone beyond lynching, but it is not acceptable to have white nationalists in uniform using guns instead of ropes.
    Destruction of property, looting, defacing the cities is not acceptable, but neither is the indignity of those who complain because freeways are blocked, because peaceful people with tears in their eyes deserve our sympathy and understanding.
    Baseball took half a century to recover from the racism of Cap Anson. It kidded itself that it was the great major league but was it. Who was better? When Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier with Branch Rickey and Larry Doby, it became a flood in the NL and suddenly we had Aaron, Robinson, Mays, Banks, and other great stars giving the NL a period of dominance. It should have been an awakening. The same was true of other sports and the NHL is still in the backwash of history.
    Sports have always been a measure of our nation and its progress. Despite our racism Jesse Owens in the Berlin Olympics was a great national victory. Louis over Schmeling was a blow to the Nazi claims of superiority. But the Black gloves held skyward in during their medal ceremony in the Olympic Stadium in Mexico City on October 16, 1968, by two African-American athletes, Tommie Smith and John Carlos offended many – it should not have. It was appropriate and is still meaningful.
    We have let hate stop the progress towards equality. We have let selfish motives block the rights of people easily identified by skin color as different.
    We should not be moving towards fascism; we should be moving towards compassion. Our nation should not be worshiping guns, but rather the opportunity of equal rights for all and I mean ALL.
    I am growing old with the candle of hope flickering in the winds of hate that have been unleashed in our nation. Please - is Peace and Love really a bad slogan to live by?
  22. mikelink45
    I was reading MLB.com’s list - 1 possible Deadline upgrade for every team – and thinking about the Twins. Our trade was for a left handed reliever which I do think is a big item. However here are some intriguing trade options for Rooker, Kiriloff, Larnach since we seem quite set in the OF
    Blue Jays – OF
    Indians – OF – wrong division – sorry
    Tigers – a bat (wrong division, but they are the Tigers and they like ex-Twins)
    Athletics – 2B (Lewis?)
    Mariners – C
    Rangers – 1B/3B – maybe Rooker
    Nationals – 1B – Rooker?
    Brewers – 3B – Blankenhorn?
    Cardinals – impact bat
    Cubs – rp – anyone still sorry we did not sign Kimbrel?
    Pirates – C
    Giants – C
    Padres – impact bat
    These teams would want pitching – not going to trade with them:
    Rays left handed rp
    Yankees – sp
    Red Sox – sp
    Royals – sp
    White Sox – sp
    Angels – sp
    Astros – sp
    Reds - rp
    Braves – sp
    Marlins – rp
    Mets – sp
    Phillies – rp
    Diamondbacks – sp
    Dodgers – sp – sorry no returns
    Rockies – rp
    That is the MLB summary. Unless we think we have excess rp we are not in on the second list and I do not think we have a Catcher to give unless it is Telis.
  23. mikelink45
    We have had Marlins, Phillies, and now Cardinals test positive. We have had replacement games with the poor Yankees having to play the highly rated Orioles.
    Monday the Postponed games were - Yankees at Phillies; Orioles at Marlins.
    Tuesday - Postponed games: Yankees at Phillies; Orioles at Marlins.
    Wednesday - Postponed games: Phillies at Yankees; Orioles at Marlins. Replacement game: Yankees at Orioles.
    Thursday - Postponed games: Phillies at Yankees; Orioles at Marlins. Replacement game: Yankees at Orioles.
    Today - Postponed games: Cardinals at Brewers; Phillies at Blue Jays; Nationals at Marlins. Weekend games already postponed (both Saturday and Sunday): Phillies at Blue Jays; Nationals at Marlins.
    And the Cardinals just left Minnesota. The Blue Jays are postponed and do not even have a home to go to. If MN is postponed will it be during the Cleveland Series and the Pirates. The first set is fine, but lets not lose out on Pittsburgh.
    In a 60 game season that is 12 postponed games. The end of September the playoffs are scheduled to follow the jampacked season. So we will have teams at this stage who have played 50 - 60 games. No guarantees. Fair?
    They are ready for double headers now with 7 inning games - how about triple headers with 5 innings each? Four game sets at three innings each? Or we just roll dice and pretend it is an APBA season.
    Oh yes, the question (s) - if this blows up in the next week or two - do the stats still count or will Bieber and others be short changed. I mean the games are regular season like the counting stats for Upton's 300th HR, does Kelly's suspension go away, Does Cabrera lose his three HRs as he goes for 500 or the hits as he looks for 3000?
  24. mikelink45
    Here are a couple quotes from ESPN -
    "The Minnesota Vikings announced Monday that head trainer Eric Sugarman and members of his family have tested positive for the coronavirus.
    "Sugarman also is the Vikings' infection control officer.
    He said in a statement that he and his family immediately quarantined and "are all doing fine and experiencing only mild symptoms."
    "The Vikings said they are sanitizing their facility and contacted anyone who was in close contact with Sugarman. The team said those team personnel have been tested "and are returning under the established guidelines."
    Yes, the infection control officer!
    "Two Monday night MLB games were postponed because of an outbreak of the coronavirus among the Miami Marlins.
    "The Marlins' home opener against the Baltimore Orioles is off, as well as the Philadelphia Phillies' home game against the New York Yankees.
    "Miami just completed a series in Philadelphia, and seven more players and two coaches with the Marlins tested positive for the coronavirus. An outbreak has spread throughout their clubhouse and brought the total cases in recent days to at least 13, sources familiar with the situation told ESPN's Jeff Passan and Jesse Rogers."
    Half the team!
    CNN reports:
    "Eleven Marlins players and two coaches tested positive for the virus, ESPN reports. Marlins CEO Derek Jeter said the team is staying in Philadelphia, where it just played a three-game series, pending the results of a new round of testing.
    "Postponing tonight's home opener was the correct decision to ensure we take a collective pause and try to properly grasp the totality of this situation," Jeter said in a statement.
    "The positive tests come just days after MLB began its abbreviated 60-game season -- which had been delayed from its usual April opening because of the pandemic -- and already threaten to upend the young season."
    "In recent weeks, Miami has been one of the epicenters of the coronavirus, pushing hospitals to capacity. Miami-Dade County recently surpassed 100,000 confirmed coronavirus cases." Florida has over 424,000 cases.
    So now what? What if the Phillies test positive?
    What if the umps test positive?
    What about the teams that they had contact with before this series? They played the Braves in an Exhibition.
    Think about what would happen if this was the week before the newly minted 60 day World Series. This is the Marlins so their 30 man taxi squad might be as good as the MLB roster. But are they on the 40 man?
    Do they bump players from the current 40 man?
    What about teams that didn't take the extra 30 man seriously? If I was a GM I would be reexamining the players I have on that team.
    For a contending team to lose 10 players for two weeks would be devastating.
    And what if the Marlins find that they have even more infected on their taxi and extra squad? Can they cancel the season for one team? I would.
    And if the Marlins infected the stars in Philadelphia, do the Phillies have any recourse?
    "In hindsight, MLB never should have permitted the Marlins to take the field Sunday against the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park after three players tested positive for COVID-19, just two days after another player tested positive.
    Marlins manager Don Mattingly said the team never considered not playing, but it is now clear that was a mistake and has put the entire season in jeopardy."
    CBS Sports had these quotes from Manfred
    "Manfred, who indicated that the Marlins could return to the field as early as Wednesday -- as a home team in Baltimore -- with "acceptable" testing results, responded that "[a] team losing a number of players that rendered it completely non-competitive" would be standard for considering a pause at the team level. That would of course require subjective judgment to determine whether a team had been reduced to "non-competitive" status, but it's at least a standard of some kind.
    "He was asked a similar question earlier this month as part of an appearance on Dan Patrick's radio show. Here's what Manfred said:
    "I don't have a firm number of days in mind (to pause the season). I think the way that I think about it, Dan, is in the vein of competitive integrity, in a 60-game season," Manfred said. "If we have a team or two that's really decimated with a number of people who had the virus and can't play for any significant period of time, it could have a real impact on the competition and we'd have to think very, very hard about what we're doing."
    "Despite having a call with the 30 team owners at 12:30 p.m. ET, the word is that MLB has no plans to cancel or pause the season at the present moment." https://www.cbssports.com/mlb/news/heres-what-rob-manfred-said-it-would-take-to-pause-2020-mlb-season-over-covid-19-concerns/
    Chicago Tribune added this frightening note - "The news got worse for the White Sox hours later when it was revealed manager Rick Renteria awoke with coronavirus symptoms and was taken to a Cleveland hospital to get tested. The Sox announced Renteria would not manage Monday’s game, which was later postponed. The Sox had two players test positive before camp, including third baseman Yoan Moncada, and right fielder Nomar Mazara was placed on the injured list with no designated injury."
  25. mikelink45
    I am always curious about trades – do they work in the short run, long run or not at all? How do we judge the Twins trades? I am not interested in the end of the career moves of Killebrew and Thome, but rather the movement of players who will have a career that goes on for a few years after the trade. Most likely the balance between good and bad will even out after a number of years, although David Ortiz will always be a thorn in the Minnesota Twins field. But then Ortiz was not traded - we cut him (and you still think Kelly was a good manager?) and so we got nothing for him. Lucky Boston. So I will ignore that stupid move and look at real trades.
    And the Twins can always counter with - Liriano, Nathan and Bonser for Pierzynski. Joe Nathan is our greatest closer and he was with us for seven years accumulating 260 saves and 18.4 WAR. Liriano was also with us for seven years and was 50 – 52 with 4.33 ERA. For one year he was the best, but then injuries took him from HOF to great potential. He had 9 War for the seven years. Boof gave us our best name and played for us for three years. 18 – 25 with 5.12 era and -0.1 WAR. The three of them gave us 27.3 WAR. Pierzynski was with us 6 years and played 13 more after leaving us. He had 9.5 WAR with us and 14.3 after he left. I know we consider this a big Twins victory and it is, but maybe not as large as we like to claim.
    In 1989 we acquired Tapani and Aguilera for Viola. Tapani played seven terrific years for the Twins and was terrific. 75 – 63 with 4.06 ERA and 19.1 WAR. Aguilera was with us 11 years 40 – 47 and 254 saves with 3.50 ERA and 15.5 WAR – that is 34.6 total WAR. Frank Viola was a stud for us for 8 years, but his career was not long after leaving. A total of 15 years with 64 – 57 record in his years with the Mets, Red Sox, Reds, and Blue Jays. His WAR was 11.4 with us, 11.8 with the Red Sox and Mets and -1.1 his last two years. We won that trade for sure.
    Milton and Guzman and Buchanan for Knoblauch in 1998. Knoblauch was with us seven great years and is second to Carew in our 2B rankings. He accumulated 38 WAR in those year and then in 4 years with the Yankees he had 7.5 WAR until the yips ended his career. With the Yankees he also posted great post season numbers. Brian Buchanan was with us three years and had 0.3 WAR. Christian Guzman was with us 6 years and was one of the fastest and most exciting players we have had. He had 7.6 WAR before being traded. Eric Milton was with us six years and posted a record of 57 – 51 with 4.76 ERA. His WAR for us was -0.6. Put it all together and it is a wash, but NY was happy to have Knoblauch on their championship teams.
    1976 Smalley, Singer, Gideon, and Cubbage for Blyleven Of course Bert would come back to the Twins and Smalley would go away and come back too. In all Smalley would play 10 years for us – seven after this trade and three more to end his career. He had 18.7 WAR in his seven years after this trade and 2.1 for his last stint with the team. Bill Singer was 9 – 9 in his one year with the team and had 0.4 WAR. Gideon did nothing for us or anyone else – he had one year in Texas. Mike Cubbage had five years with the Twins and 6.6 WAR. Blyleven had 11 years with the Twins out of 22 and seven came before the trade and 4 more in his last stint with us. He had 49.1 WAR with the Twins – 10.5 in his return so 38.6 before the trade. He had 47.1 WAR with other teams which would mean that we lost that trade!
    In 1979 thanks to Calvin Griffiths big mouth we had to trade Rod Carew for OF Ken Landreaux, C/OF Dave Engle, RHP Paul Hartzell, LHP Brad Havens. Rod had 63.8 WAR with the Twins when we traded him and 17.4 with the Angels afterward. Ken Landreaux was with the Twins for two years and had 1.8 WAR. Dave Engle played five years for us and had 3.9 WAR. Paul Hartzell was with us one year for 0.4 WAR. Brad Havens was with us three years for 0.3 WAR. We lost that one.
    In 1963 we pulled off one of our best trades – Jack Kralick for Jim Perry. Kralick pitched five years for Cleveland and had a 6.6. WAR. Jim Perry pitched for us for 10 years and won 128 games. He had a 26.3 WAR. That was a steal!
    In 2008 we got OF Carlos Gómez, RHP Deolis Guerra, RHP Philip Humber, RHP Kevin Mulvey for Johann Santana. Yes we lost this one. In the four years before his injuries ended a HOF career he had 15.3 WAR with the Mets. Gomez in his two years was exciting and posted 2.6 WAR. Guerra did not pitch for us. Philip Humber had no wins or losses in two years and a WAR of -0.1. Kevin Mulvey had -0.2 in his one year. Yes we lost that one. And if you are thinking – we traded Gomez for J J Hardy so we won, think again, we kept him one year and traded for Jim Hoey and Brett Jacobson.
    If you are keeping track, we are 3 – 3 – 1 in the trades so far.
    1969 we got RHP Luis Tiant, RHP Stan Williams for 3B Graig Nettles, RHP Dean Chance, RHP Bob Miller, CF Ted Uhlaender! Tiant had a 2.84 ERA in six seasons with Cleveland before the trade, and Williams was thought of as an ace reliever. Tiant, only threw 92 2/3 innings with the Twins because of a shoulder issue and was released after the season. Williams had a 1.99 ERA in 68 relief appearances in 1970 but was traded to the Cardinals the next year. Tiant then caught on with the Red Sox as one of their star starters and Nettles went on to play 19 years. Tiant had 1.2 WAR with the Twins out of 66.1 for his career and was 7 -3 before his injury and went on to win 229 games. We lost because we could not wait for his injury to heal. Stan Williams was 14 – 6 with 19 saves. He was a terrific relief pitcher but we only kept him 2 years and he had 2.3 WAR for us.Craig Nettles would play 22 years. He had 1.1 WAR in three years with the Twins, but as an excellent glove man and power hitter he would amass 68 WAR in his career. Chance was terrific for us with 13 WAR in three years but had a total of zero war his last three years. Ted Uhlander played only three more years for 1.1 WAR. Bob Miller pitched 17 years – nine after we traded him. He gained 5.7 WAR in that time, but served as a valuable relief pitcher. With Nettles alone we lost this one. And with our impatience for Tiant we doubly lost.
    2007 OF Delmon Young, INF Brendan Harris, OF Jason Pridie for Matt Garza, Jason Barlett, and Eddie Morlan. Young was such a disappointment it would have been a good trade if we had given up only Eddie Morlan (who?). Delmon was here 4 years and teased us with his potential each year. His WAR for those years totaled – 1. He played 10 years total. Jason Barlett totaled 10.4 WAR for Tampa. Do I need to go on? Well we did get Brendan Harris and for three years he played for us and accumulated -0.6 WAR. For his career he ended with -0.3. Jason Pridie was with us 2 years and had -0.2 WAR. And then there was Matt Garza who won 93 games in 12 years and had 13.5 WAR after leaving us. WE DEFINITLY LOST THIS ONE.
    In 2010 there was the trade of Wilson Ramos to the Washington Nationals for Matt Capps and we also through in Joe Testa. I believe this was an unpopular trade! So far Ramos has 15.4 WAR. Matt was with us three years – I forgot that – and somehow got 1.9 WAR. So we lost that one too.
    Now we come to the Centerfielder trades.
    Aaron Hicks for John Ryan Murphy – do I have to go into the details? We lost.
    Denard Span for Alex Meyer – okay, let’s move on – we lost that one too.
    Ben Revere for Vance Worley (not good) and Trevor May – great! We won. It just took a while.
    Recently Eduardo Escobar was traded for Jhoan Duran and outfielders Gabriel Maciel and Ernie De La Trinidad. Escobar has been a stud for AZ and the minor leaguers are not here yet. Duran looks like he could be special and is listed as our number 5 prospect by MLB.com. Maciel is listed at number 27 and Tinidad is not on the list. Too early to judge, but AZ is happy!
    What about relief pitchers.
    Ryan Pressly traded for Acala (25) and Celestino (15). Both great prospects, but I think we would have liked to have Pressly in the pen. He was a star for Houston. Still too early for a final judgment.
    Nick Anderson for Brian Schales – Tampa Bay would do this trade any day. Anderson had 1.4 WAR last year and 3.32 era for Tampa as a rookie.
    Liam Hendriks was not really a trade but we DFA’d him so we could sign Phil Hughes. I suspect we would like him back too since he is now one of the best of all RPs. So I treat that as a default loss.
    The tally as I have it is 4 – 10 – 3. Maybe the desire to make trades is something we might want to think about.
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