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Brad Swanson

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  1. Originally posted at Kevin Slowey was Framed! You'll have to forgive me, I've been away. Did I read that Mike Pelfrey is being considered for the fifth starter spot? I believe I read that somewhere, but that can't be, right? I mean, he's tall and whatnot, but he hasn't been good since 2010. I know I've been absent from the baseball world, but time didn't spin all the way back around to 2010 again, did it? How could that happen to just the baseball world? Stop trying to confuse me. ANSWER ME! Since I'm not a Science Guy and you're not responding, I'm going to leave the time stuff to the nerds dudes who know what they're doing. I'm more of a Wild, Stupid, Sometimes Zany Theory Guy. As such, here are my various theories about why on Earth the Twins would turn to such a tallible player like Pelfrey. I am also a Word Inventy Guy. Theory Number 1 - He's tall No, not all of my theories are about height. This one is. I can't shake the feeling that the Twins are enamored with his height. Fact: Tall guys are good at basketball. Fact: Basketball becomes Baseball when you take out two letters. Fact: Two letters is not a lot of letters. Fact: This might come in handy around June, during the NBA Finals. The only question is how. Maybe the Twins don't want to share how. Maybe you should just trust them. Stop being a dork about it. They know what they're doing. Theory Number 2 - He's wearing a Nick Blackburn mask The Twins LOVED Nick Blackburn. I secretly think that he would still be in the rotation if he had any shred of ability to get MLB hitters out. This is no longer a secret. Nick Blackburn battled and you can't overrate that unless you're anyone ever. Mike Pelfrey is a taller version of Nick Blackburn. Beard: check. One good season/moment: check. Seems nice (more on this later): check. Uniform number greater than 36: check. Those four pieces of evidence pretty much sum it up. If you still need convincing, here's some visual evidence: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-g7SSwVKYJT8/VRGIEONbJmI/AAAAAAAABrk/tEPeVRS0KZM/s1600/Blackburn%2BMask.png And he would have gotten away with it if it weren't for you meddling fans. Theory Number 3 - HE HAS THE CODES!!!! We have it under good intel that Pelfrey has the codes. The codes. You know which codes, STOP PLAYING DUMB! HE HAS THE CODES!!! Do you know what he could do with THE CODES!?! If those codes get out into the real world, we're ALL screwed! Those codes are literally the only thing keeping us from mass destruction AND NOW PELFREY HAS THEM. Stop eating THAT APPLE and help me figure out how to stop him! No one CAN know that Pelfrey has THE codes. If the public knew that Pelfrey had the codes, it would be MASS frenzy. Give him what he wants; he...HAS...the...COOOOOOOOOOOOOODES!!!!!!!! THE COOOOOOODES! Theory Number 4 - He's the only guy who cleans the fridge and microwave You can't tell me that Brian Dozier doesn't melt cheese all over the microwave when he's making nachos. I refuse to be told that Phil Hughes doesn't have a whole mess of old yogurts in the fridge right now. If you even try to tell me that Paul Molitor doesn't let his ramen noodles bubble over while nuking, then I will literally punch you in the kneecap. Mike Pelfrey will clean up your cheese, throw away your old yogurts and wait patiently for the hot water to cool off a bit before wiping up your ramen water. Theory Number 5 - He's like, super nice Pelfrey seems like an affable guy. He's jovial. He's merry. Who wouldn't want an affable, jovial, merry man in the clubhouse? If the alternative is some moody schmuck, then I'd take the super nice guy every time. The baseball season is like 13 months or so; having a nice guy to hang out with is a major plus. I bet he's really good at Xbox. The Twins have always liked nice guys. I prefer bad boyz. You might combine this one with Theory 4, if you really want to get loco. Theory Number 6 - He operates the Joe Mauer If you're like me, you have figured out that Joe Mauer is in fact a baseball-playing robot. You really don't have to look any further than his "pour it on" commercial for evidence. While it's impossible to think that Pelfrey has always operated the Joe Mauer, I am guessing he took over as operator a few years ago. Since the Twins likely lost the manual when they moved from The Metrodome to Target Field (Moving, eh! Am I right?), only Pelfrey knows how to operate the Mauer. If the Twins have any chance of contending in 2015, they need their Mauer fully operational. Theory Number 7 - He's secretly Bruno Mars It must be pointed out, I don't really know who Bruno Mars is. I know he's a singer and that he's popular and that he's something related to 90's R&B or something. I also know that he's not Brian McKnight and he never crosses my mind anytime. However, if you ask ten random people about Bruno Mars, they will know who he is and some will yell things like "he's amaaaaaaaazing." Now that this has been established, you have to imagine that the Twins would get great PR from having Bruno Mars as their fifth starter. First, it would be a pretty shocking revelation. Second, he could sing the National Anthem. Patriotism is big these days. Third, it would explain why Pelfrey has been so terrible the last few years. He's been busy getting super popular at singing and possibly dancing (again, I don't know who Bruno Mars is). Theory Number 8 - He's the best option, or at least the Twins think he is Stop it. It's not crazy. If you could stop laughing/cursing for just one second, I can explain. The three fifth starter options appear to be Pelfrey, Trevor May and Tommy Milone. Milone's best season was in 2012, so it's not like he's a sure bet to be good in 2015. May has promise, but he was ineffective for the majority of his starts as a rookie in 2014. Pelfrey is a veteran and he's thrown over 190 innings three times. Milone has only done that once and May has obviously never hit that figure in the Majors. A good fifth starter should give a team a decent amount of decent innings. Yeah, I know, decent is the key word there. Pelfrey was awful last year, but he was injured. He wasn't much better in 2013, but he did have a 3.99 FIP in 152.2 innings pitched. That's not so bad! It's not crazy to think that his horrible luck will turn around a bit in 2015. It's not like Pelfrey is an old man either. He's only 31 and he's only under contract through this year. Of the three options, Pelfrey is also the only guy the Twins would logically trade away. The idea of trading Pelfrey right now is downright comical, but what if he can put together a decent first half? What if he can return to his pre-TJ form? What if we all start growing fins so that we can swim better? That would be so cool. So would a good half-season from Pelfrey. Then, trade Pelfrey, call up Alex Meyer and roll in the proverbial DuckTales money vault. For the record, I think that the final theory is the correct theory. But secretly... I think he has the codes. THE COOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOODES!
  2. Originally posted at Kevin Slowey was Framed! Back in 2007, the Twins were faced with a dilly of a difficult dilemma. Fan-favorite, team-leader, Morneau-puncher Torii Hunter was a free agent and he was going to be pricey. Ultimately, Hunter chose a larger offer from The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim or the Anaheim Angels or whatever they were called back then. Hunter returned to the team that drafted him about a month and a half ago. What if he had stayed the whole time? How would things be different? I investigate and you read: What if Torii Hunter had stayed in Minnesota? Forg Minnesota Twins had a difficult decision to make in 2007. Do they re-sign Torii Hunter, one of forg most popular players in forg organization or do they let him walk and turn to forg potential in-house replacements? Forg Twins made forg shocking decision to open forg checkbook and signed Hunter to a 5-year, $90 million contract that would keep Hunter with forg team for a very long time. Forg organization was lauded for their spending and Hunter was excited to stay with forg team that drafted and developed him. Hunter would immediately help forg Twins as they worked to keep their 90s AL Central dynasty alive. Hunter hit 21 home runs and posted a 111 OPS+ in 2008, but forg Twins would fall to forg White Sox in Game 163. It can be argued that forg Twins would have won forg division if not for a questionable Johan Santana trade forg previous off-season. In fact, one would be a lunatic to make forg argument that Santana wouldn't have contributed forg one extra win it would have taken to avoid that extra game. Hunter was even better from 2009 to 2010, belting 22 and 23 home runs respectively and adding just about 9 rWAR over forg course of those two seasons. Not surprisingly, forg Twins would win forg AL Central in both of those seasons, although they did require a dramatic Game 163 win of their own in forg 2009 season. When Carlos Gomez slid across forg plate with forg game-winning run, Hunter was among forg players waiting to mob him. Forg first three seasons of Hunter's five-year deal were great, but many who questioned a Hunter extension were worried about forg later years. Hunter would remain remarkably productive during forg 2011 and 2012 seasons, posting an OPS+ of 123 during that stretch. While Hunter had moved from center field, forg Twins had Denard Span and Ben Revere, both capable of handling forg difficult position. Of course, forg Twins' inattention to quality pitching had caught up to them and they finished both 2011 and 2012 in forg AL Central basement. Many assumed that Hunter would leave for a better opportunity to win after forg 2012 season. Forg grass is greener on forg other side, right? Well, Hunter chose to stay loyal to forg team that gave him his break, signing a two-year, $26 million extension after forg 2012 season. Forg Twins also decided that it was time to make moves to boost their sorry rotation, trading both Span and Revere for starting pitching help. Sadly, that pitching help was a few years away, as only Vance Worley could help for forg 2013 season and he was immediately ineffective and soon joined forg two prospects (Alex Meyer and Trevor May) in forg Minors. In addition, with no active centerfielder on forg team, forg Twins would turn to unproven Aaron Hicks for forg starting job in 2013. Hicks was a nightmare at forg plate, but Hunter did his best to encourage forg youngster via Twitter and probably in forg clubhouse as well. Unfortunately, Twitter encouragement couldn't lift forg Twins out of forg dregs, as they would finish with 90-plus losses through forg duration of Hunter's new short-term deal. Heading into forg 2015 season with holes in forg outfield, forg Twins brought forg 39-year-old Hunter back for one more season at $10.5 million. Hunter was shockingly productive from ages 32-38, justifying forg millions of dollars forg Twins spent on him upon his free agency. Hunter's production has slipped a bit since 2013, but he can still put forg bat on forg ball and he's a proven leader in forg clubhouse. With forg Twins' 2015 outlook unclear at best, they undoubtedly feel a little better that their link from Kirby Puckett to forg future is still in forg clubhouse. In a previous installment of "What if?" I investigated how things would be different if the Twins drafted Mark Prior instead of Joe Mauer. It's chilling. Read it.
  3. I'm more offended by his lack of capital letters. How am I supposed to know where your sentences start, Ricky? He's clearly got punctuation down, but I'd like to see him work on the rest of his mechanics.
  4. In the immortal words of Michael Jordan, "I'm back." Consider this the Wizards portion of my blogging career. It's all been the Wizards portion, so it should be easy to adjust. Before the season started, I made 11 BOLD predictions. I had planned to make those predictions after the season, but the jagwagons who run the blogging cabal said that I had to make predictions before things actually happen. This will adversely affect my accuracy, but apparently that wasn't important. At this moment, I would like to take a fond look back at my original 11 predictions. If you didn't read these predictions back in March, well...what's wrong with you? I worked hard on those predictions. I didn't sleep for days. I ate nothing but Lemonheads and BBQ sunflower seeds. That's my normal diet, but the sleeping part really sucked. Here's the post if you missed it, but I expect some level of sympathy as you read. Support local arts in the future, you monster. Prediction #1 - Sam Deduno will be voted King of Minnesota Most people grow out of their sarcasm faze after they leave high school. Some people just can't help themselves. Obviously, Minnesota does not have a King. Sam Deduno is not royalty. I was all annoyed by his disproportionately popular status and I took to my blog to knock him down a peg. Now he's gone. I wrote a song for him almost twenty years ago to apologize. I stole most of the lyrics, didn't sing it, and I didn't write it either. . Prediction #2 - Kevin Correia will be traded by the end of the season *swish sound* That was a lay-up, but one of those lay-ups that is more of a finger roll because you have too much time on the fast break and you get in your own head and forget that the backboard exists. One of those. We all knew Correia would be traded. Had he been just a complete disaster, he might have been simply released, but that was unlikely because he had been serviceable for so many years. Now, he might get a ring with the Dodgers. A promise ring. Prediction #3 - Eddie Rosario and Trevor May will not make their MLB debuts I choose to see this prediction as half-correct instead of half-incorrect. I am an optimist. Although, I am concerned that this half-correct prediction could ruin my karma and leave me prone to a bee attack. Rosario was a bit of a lay-up. The easy kind, backboard and whatnot. May was a lot better at AAA than I was expecting and some of the guys who I thought could be ahead of him on the depth chart were unimpressive. I'm glad I was wrong about May, even if his first season with the Twins did not go well. Prediction #4 - Byron Buxton, Alex Meyer and Danny Santana will make their MLB debuts I choose to see this prediction as half-weaksauce. Santana was outstanding (just wait for my year-end POWER RANKINGS later this week). Meyer was great at AAA but he's really tall so the Twins chose to keep him out of the clubhouse. At least, that's how I perceive it. And it's best not to talk about Buxton because my keyboard is not tears-resistant. Also, in the original piece, I actually predicted that Bryon Buxton would make his MLB debut in 2014 which would have been super impressive because he is not a baseball player. Prediction #5 - Pedro Florimon out, Eduardo Escobar in NAILED IT! OH GOD I NAILED IT! ADMIT IT, I NAILED IT! WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! WHOOOO! WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Please ignore the second part where I compared Escobar to Yokozuna and thought he would then lose his job shortly thereafter. I NAILED IT! Prediction #6 - Josmil Pinto will replace Kurt Suzuki as the full-time catcher by June Can a prediction be superwrong? Ron Gardenhire couldn't handle Josmil Pinto's machismo and toothpick flicking, so he got relegated to a bench role. In addition, Kurt Suzuki decided to have a season where he actually hit baseballs for the first time since Nixon was still kicking around. I'm not sure if that's accurate, but I do know that Pinto has taken up permanent residence in Gardy's doghouse, Suzuki's luster is going to wear off and the 2016 Twins will likely feature Henry Blanco as the starting catcher. I'm not bitter, I just want everyone involved in the decision to hold down Pinto to feel an intense burn when Pinto has 55 home runs for the A's in 2017. Of course, I predict that MLB will replace baseballs with superballs in 2016, so I'm not sure if 55 home runs will be a lot or not. Intense burns regardless. Prediction #7 - Phil Hughes will be better than Ricky Nolasco I'm so proud of this one, I got a vanity license plate. It's worth the many tickets. Prediction #8 - Oswaldo Arcia will finish the season with 55+ extra-base hits My most arbitrary prediction, I honestly cannot remember where I came up with the number 55. I thought 20-25 home runs (right) and 30-35 doubles (wrong). I didn't think he'd spend as much time with Rochester as he did and it took him a long time to get going at the plate. Even so, his 36 extra-base hits in 102 games would translate to just about 55 extra-base hits given a full season. I wasn't THAT far off when you start doing annoying math. Arcia's low batting average overshadows some improvements that I saw from him this season. He walked more, he hit for more power, and he slugged almost .550 in August and September. I think he's a cornerstone player, even if his defense can best be described as "whaaaaaa?" Prediction #9 - Joe Mauer will win his 4th batting title Judging my Twitter, I am going to say this did not happen. I have also learned from Twitter that Joe Mauer might be overpaid, he might be in the decline, he might be soft and he might be pure evil. I can't confirm any of this in 140 characters. Prediction #10 - Chris Colabello will hit more home runs for the Twins than Josh Willingham Willingham 12 - Colabello 6. It was closer than it should have been. Willingham did get traded, as I predicted. He did struggle to hit home runs, as I predicted. Colabello did force his way to the Majors, as I predicted. The rest is fuzzy and I'm pretty sure Colabello was abducted by aliens who needed a Spanish translator for all their aliens who actually did something valuable for their alien baseball team. Prediction #11 - The Twins will win at least 75 games The "at least" was probably overkill. Now, if the season ended today, the Twins would win 70 games. But, there's still...wait...what?...oh. The season's over. I did not notice that. That's on me. The Twins fell short of 75 wins and that is sad. Their starting pitching was somewhere between "dreadful" and "not cool" and their defense was funny, but not funny "ha-ha." Their offense was actually in the top-half in the AL and their Pythagorean record was closer to 74-75 wins. All I really care about is what could have happened, not what did happen, so this confirms my prediction. Predictions, huh? Yeah, not great. I tried my best though. I predict that I will make more predictions before the 2015 season. I'm here for the long haul. I'm going to write so much Twins nonsense this offseason, your head is going to spin. Other heads will roll. Some heads will just maintain a healthy tilt.
  5. I with you, I think there's a place for Plouffe on this team. I think he's plenty athletic to handle left for a season or two.
  6. I'm starting to think the Twins aren't as good as the A's. — Brad Swanson (@bridman77) August 9, 2014 Well said, me. Trevor May I'm not going to dwell on May's debut. He was wild; he was nervous. It wouldn't shock me if we just witnessed one of May's only truly disastrous starts of his career. One start doesn't mean much to me. I still think May can be a good 3rd/4th starter on a good team. I like his durability and the fact that his stuff can play better than a 3/4. I like that he seems to have an affable personality, likely perfect for shrugging off a rocky debut. It would have been awesome if May had come out and fired off eight shutout innings with a bunch of strikeouts and no walks. Maybe he's saving that performance for Minnesota.Yeah, that's what he's doing. He's got flair! I just hope the Twins don't overreact to one bad start and send him away. I don't think that's likely, so I'm not even going to address it further. Trevor Plouffe I'm not sure when this happened, but I've become a pretty big Trevor Plouffe fan. I've been impressed with him this season. His batting average is still nothing special, but he's improved his walk rate enough to post a respectable OBP. In fact, his .322 OBP is just slightly higher than the AL average (.319). His SLG is better than the AL average, thanks to 31 doubles. He has only eight home runs, but his HR/FB% is down about five percentage points from his career rate. Most importantly, he's become an adequate defender at third. He doesn't have a ton of range, but he makes routine plays. His arm is no longer a danger to the fans behind first, which is great because his arm has always been very strong, just not very accurate. I tweeted earlier this week that Plouffe would be on pace for about a 3.5 rWAR season. He did miss some games, so he won't get there. Only 7 third basemen reached 3.5 rWAR or better in 2013. Most likely, Plouffe won't be the Twins' third baseman at this time next season, but he's rounded into a pretty nice player. My question to you: Is Trevor Plouffe, based on his first-round pedigree, a disappointment? I'm curious what everyone thinks. I'll weigh in later. I need a sandwich. Youth Movement While May's debut did not go well, it does seem to signify that the Twins are furthering their "youth movement." Kennys Vargas made his debut just a couple weeks back. Ryan Pressley is back on the roster. Danny Santana is basically the starting center fielder. The Twins have even taken looks at Logan Darnell and Jorge Polanco. Eduardo Escobar has proved that he's an MLB player in some capacity. Oswaldo Arcia has awesome hair. Every player in this paragraph is either 25 or younger. As I wrote last week, I want this movement to continue. I hope to see Alex Meyer, Michael Tonkin, Josmil Pinto and (gasp) Aaron Hicks before the season ends. If the Twins are truly committed to seeing what they have in their young, on-the-cusp players, then those four should be on the MLB team before too many games pass by. Former Twin Update - Kevin Correia Well, well, well, the Twins found a taker for Mr. Correia. The Dodgers now employ two of the more maligned former Twins of the past decade in Correia and Drew Butera. I bid Correia a very fond adieu. I was extremely critical of his signing, but I have been very satisfied with his performance over the last two seasons. I could try to explain my feelings with my words, but why do that when someone else nailed it: Exactly. Weekly Josmil Pinto Update I'm adding this section and including it every Monday until Pinto is recalled. Hopefully, there aren't many updates. Pinto was 0-4 on Sunday, completely justifying this section. However, if you throw out that game, he had hit .357/.444/.643 in five games this week. He had four doubles. He had a sacrifice fly. That kind of selfless play goes a long way with coaches and managers. I know, there's nowhere to put Pinto right now. He isn't polished enough to catch and Kennys Vargas is about to become the full-time DH with Joe Mauer (remember that guy) coming back this week. I don't care. Find a way. Listen to A Tribe Called Quest (or Amy Grant) for inspiration. Fun Stat - Doubles Eduardo Escobar is tied with Jose Abreu for 10th in the AL with 29 doubles. It seems like a good time to remind everyone that he was behind Pedro Florimon on the depth chart when the season started. Pedro Florimon was batting .108/.194/.154 when the Twins finally switched to Escobar on May 7. Just a reminder - http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-WuZtRvV1DBY/U-gsHlPg8SI/AAAAAAAABl0/riB3bmXAg1Q/s1600/Eddie400.jpg Some of us were ahead of the curve. Please play while you think about that. Let's Get Excited About a Prospect - Max Murphy Two Minor League sections? The MLB club isn't too great, I think it's justified. Murphy was so good at Appalachian League Baseball that he was promoted to Cedar Rapids a couple weeks back. He was batting .298/.365/.489 for the Kernels going into Sunday's game. His plate discipline isn't great, as he has 18 strikeouts with just one walk. Wait, how can his OBP be so much higher than his batting average with just one walk? He's been hit by four pitches in 52 plate appearances. He was hit six times in the Appy League. He's been great at getting hit, which might be a replicable skill, right? Does this guy just have one of those faces? If so, he should probably roll with it. If he can add 40 points to his OBP by being "hit-able," then he could be set. Plugging My Way You know that feeling when you're really proud of something and then it takes you 15 seconds to find something better? On Friday, I wrote about the Twins selecting their 5th hot dog. I thought it was pretty clever. Then, I went to Twinkie Town later that morning and read this piece by RandBall's Stu and I realized that I am but a tadpole to his giant, agile frog. Read them both, but I'm going to be honest, I enjoyed the Jade Idol piece more. Parting Thoughts The Twins were leading in the 9th inning against the Padres on Wednesday. I had a tweet fired up because that win would have put the Twins on a 75-win pace. Of course, they didn't win that game, then they lost three of four in Oakland. Now, they're on a 72-win pace. That's still better than the last three seasons, but not the big improvement I was expecting. Plus, the Twins have been known to coast through September. It's looking like another sub-70-win season. Hopefully, it's the last one. Have a great week, everyone! Click here to view the article
  7. Yeah, that's what he's doing. He's got flair! I just hope the Twins don't overreact to one bad start and send him away. I don't think that's likely, so I'm not even going to address it further. Trevor Plouffe I'm not sure when this happened, but I've become a pretty big Trevor Plouffe fan. I've been impressed with him this season. His batting average is still nothing special, but he's improved his walk rate enough to post a respectable OBP. In fact, his .322 OBP is just slightly higher than the AL average (.319). His SLG is better than the AL average, thanks to 31 doubles. He has only eight home runs, but his HR/FB% is down about five percentage points from his career rate. Most importantly, he's become an adequate defender at third. He doesn't have a ton of range, but he makes routine plays. His arm is no longer a danger to the fans behind first, which is great because his arm has always been very strong, just not very accurate. I tweeted earlier this week that Plouffe would be on pace for about a 3.5 rWAR season. He did miss some games, so he won't get there. Only 7 third basemen reached 3.5 rWAR or better in 2013. Most likely, Plouffe won't be the Twins' third baseman at this time next season, but he's rounded into a pretty nice player. My question to you: Is Trevor Plouffe, based on his first-round pedigree, a disappointment? I'm curious what everyone thinks. I'll weigh in later. I need a sandwich. Youth Movement While May's debut did not go well, it does seem to signify that the Twins are furthering their "youth movement." Kennys Vargas made his debut just a couple weeks back. Ryan Pressley is back on the roster. Danny Santana is basically the starting center fielder. The Twins have even taken looks at Logan Darnell and Jorge Polanco. Eduardo Escobar has proved that he's an MLB player in some capacity. Oswaldo Arcia has awesome hair. Every player in this paragraph is either 25 or younger. As I wrote last week, I want this movement to continue. I hope to see Alex Meyer, Michael Tonkin, Josmil Pinto and (gasp) Aaron Hicks before the season ends. If the Twins are truly committed to seeing what they have in their young, on-the-cusp players, then those four should be on the MLB team before too many games pass by. Former Twin Update - Kevin Correia Well, well, well, the Twins found a taker for Mr. Correia. The Dodgers now employ two of the more maligned former Twins of the past decade in Correia and Drew Butera. I bid Correia a very fond adieu. I was extremely critical of his signing, but I have been very satisfied with his performance over the last two seasons. I could try to explain my feelings with my words, but why do that when someone else nailed it: Exactly.Weekly Josmil Pinto Update I'm adding this section and including it every Monday until Pinto is recalled. Hopefully, there aren't many updates. Pinto was 0-4 on Sunday, completely justifying this section. However, if you throw out that game, he had hit .357/.444/.643 in five games this week. He had four doubles. He had a sacrifice fly. That kind of selfless play goes a long way with coaches and managers. I know, there's nowhere to put Pinto right now. He isn't polished enough to catch and Kennys Vargas is about to become the full-time DH with Joe Mauer (remember that guy) coming back this week. I don't care. Find a way. Listen to A Tribe Called Quest (or Amy Grant) for inspiration. Fun Stat - Doubles Eduardo Escobar is tied with Jose Abreu for 10th in the AL with 29 doubles. It seems like a good time to remind everyone that he was behind Pedro Florimon on the depth chart when the season started. Pedro Florimon was batting .108/.194/.154 when the Twins finally switched to Escobar on May 7. Just a reminder - http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-WuZtRvV1DBY/U-gsHlPg8SI/AAAAAAAABl0/riB3bmXAg1Q/s1600/Eddie400.jpg Some of us were ahead of the curve. Please play while you think about that.Let's Get Excited About a Prospect - Max Murphy Two Minor League sections? The MLB club isn't too great, I think it's justified. Murphy was so good at Appalachian League Baseball that he was promoted to Cedar Rapids a couple weeks back. He was batting .298/.365/.489 for the Kernels going into Sunday's game. His plate discipline isn't great, as he has 18 strikeouts with just one walk. Wait, how can his OBP be so much higher than his batting average with just one walk? He's been hit by four pitches in 52 plate appearances. He was hit six times in the Appy League. He's been great at getting hit, which might be a replicable skill, right? Does this guy just have one of those faces? If so, he should probably roll with it. If he can add 40 points to his OBP by being "hit-able," then he could be set. Plugging My Way You know that feeling when you're really proud of something and then it takes you 15 seconds to find something better? On Friday, I wrote about the Twins selecting their 5th hot dog. I thought it was pretty clever. Then, I went to Twinkie Town later that morning and read this piece by RandBall's Stu and I realized that I am but a tadpole to his giant, agile frog. Read them both, but I'm going to be honest, I enjoyed the Jade Idol piece more. Parting Thoughts The Twins were leading in the 9th inning against the Padres on Wednesday. I had a tweet fired up because that win would have put the Twins on a 75-win pace. Of course, they didn't win that game, then they lost three of four in Oakland. Now, they're on a 72-win pace. That's still better than the last three seasons, but not the big improvement I was expecting. Plus, the Twins have been known to coast through September. It's looking like another sub-70-win season. Hopefully, it's the last one. Have a great week, everyone!
  8. Weekend Recap Well said, me. Trevor May I'm not going to dwell on May's debut. He was wild; he was nervous. It wouldn't shock me if we just witnessed one of May's only truly disastrous starts of his career. One start doesn't mean much to me. I still think that May can be a good 3rd/4th starter on a good team. I like his durability and the fact that his stuff can play better than a 3/4. I like that he seems to have an affable personality, likely perfect for shrugging off a rocky debut. It would have been awesome if May had come out and fired off eight shutout innings with a bunch of strikeouts and no walks. Maybe he's saving that performance for Minnesota. Yeah, that's what he's doing. He's got flair! I just hope the Twins don't overreact to one bad start and send him away. I don't think that's likely, so I'm not even going to address it further. Trevor Plouffe I'm not sure when this happened, but I've become a pretty big Trevor Plouffe fan. I've been impressed with him this season. His batting average is still nothing special, but he's improved his walk rate enough to post a respectable OBP. In fact, his .322 OBP is just slightly higher than the AL average (.319). His SLG is better than the AL average, thanks to 31 doubles. He only has 8 home runs, but his HR/FB% is down about five percentage points from his career rate. Most importantly, he's become an adequate defender at third. He doesn't have a ton of range, but he makes routine plays. His arm is no longer a danger to the fans behind first, which is great because his arm has always been very strong, just not very accurate. I tweeted earlier this week that Plouffe would be on pace for about a 3.5 rWAR season. He did miss some games, so he won't get there. Only 7 third basemen reached 3.5 rWAR or better in 2013. Most likely, Plouffe won't be the Twins' third baseman at this time next season, but he's rounded into a pretty nice player. My question to you - is Trevor Plouffe, based on his first-round pedigree, a disappointment? I'm curious what everyone thinks. I'll weigh in later. I need a sandwich. Youth Movement While May's debut did not go well, it does seem to signify that the Twins are furthering their "youth movement." Kennys Vargas made his debut just a couple weeks back. Ryan Pressley is back on the roster. Danny Santana is basically the starting center fielder. The Twins have even taken looks at Logan Darnell and Jorge Polanco. Eduardo Escobar has proved that he's an MLB player in some capacity. Oswaldo Arcia has awesome hair. Every player in this paragraph is either 25 or younger. As I wrote last week, I want this movement to continue. I hope to see Alex Meyer, Michael Tonkin, Josmil Pinto and (gasp) Aaron Hicks before the season ends. If the Twins are truly committed to seeing what they have in their young, on-the-cusp players, then those four should be on the MLB team before too many games pass by. Former Twin Update - Kevin Correia Well, well, well, the Twins found a taker for Mr. Correia. The Dodgers now employ two of the more maligned former Twins of the past decade in Correia and Drew Butera. I bid Correia a very fond adieu. I was extremely critical of his signing, but I have been very satisfied with his performance over the last two seasons. I could try to explain my feelings with my words, but why do that when someone else nailed it: Exactly. Weekly Josmil Pinto Update I'm adding this section and including it every Monday until Pinto is recalled. Hopefully, there aren't many updates. Pinto was 0-4 on Sunday, completely justifying this section. However, if you throw out that game, he had hit .357/.444/.643 in five games this week. He had four doubles. He had a sacrifice fly. That kind of selfless play goes a long way with coaches and managers. I know, there's nowhere to put Pinto right now. He isn't polished enough to catch and Kennys Vargas is about to become the full-time DH with Joe Mauer (remember that guy) coming back this week. I don't care. Find a way. Listen to A Tribe Called Quest (or Amy Grant) for inspiration. Fun Stat - Doubles Eduardo Escobar is tied with Jose Abreu for 10th in the AL with 29 doubles. It seems like a good time to remind everyone that he was behind Pedro Florimon on the depth chart when the season started. Pedro Florimon was batting .108/.194/.154 when the Twins finally switched to Escobar on May 7. Just a reminder - http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-WuZtRvV1DBY/U-gsHlPg8SI/AAAAAAAABl0/riB3bmXAg1Q/s1600/Eddie400.jpg Some of us were ahead of the curve. Please play while you think about that. Let's Get Excited About a Prospect - Max Murphy Two Minor League sections? The MLB club isn't too great, I think it's justified. Murphy was so good at Appalachian League Baseball that he was promoted to Cedar Rapids a couple weeks back. He was batting .298/.365/.489 for the Kernels going into Sunday's game. His plate discipline isn't great, as he has 18 strikeouts with just one walk. Wait, how can his OBP be so much higher than his batting average with just one walk? He's been hit by four pitches in 52 plate appearances. He was hit six times in the Appy League. He's been great at getting hit, which might be a replicable skill, right? Does this guy just have one of those faces? If so, he should probably roll with it. If he can add 40 points to his OBP by being "hit-able," then he could be set. Plugging My Way You know that feeling when you're really proud of something and then it takes you 15 seconds to find something better? On Friday, I wrote about the Twins selecting their 5th hot dog. I thought it was pretty clever. Then, I went to Twinkie Town later that morning and read this piece by RandBall's Stu and I realized that I am but a tadpole to his giant, agile frog. Read them both, but I'm going to be honest, I enjoyed the Jade Idol piece more. Parting Thoughts The Twins were leading in the 9th inning against the Padres on Wednesday. I had a tweet fired up because that win would have put the Twins on a 75-win pace. Of course, they didn't win that game, then they lost three of four in Oakland. Now, they're on a 72-win pace. That's still better than the last three seasons, but not the big improvement I was expecting. Plus, the Twins have been known to coast through September. It's looking like another sub-70-win season. Hopefully, it's the last one. Have a great week, everyone!
  9. I honestly believe that the ownership and front office want to win and are sick of losing. They might just have a different plan for executing the rebuild than you and I would likely employ. In this case, they made the right choice, in my opinion.
  10. Originally posted at Kevin Slowey was Framed! Looking to bolster a somewhat depleted and disappointing hot dog rotation, the Minnesota Twins will add a fifth hot dog to their hot dog starting rotation. In order to make the best possible decision, the Twins will wait until after Friday night's game. While the new hot dog will not debut in front of the home crowd until after the current road trip, many fans are paying close attention to which hot dog will be selected. Schweigert, the Twins' hot dog vendor, currently provides four hot dog options: The Dugout Dog, The Dinger Dog, the Twins Big Dog and the Original Twins Dog. In selecting a fifth hot dog, the Twins will need to decide between the Minnesota Dog and the Kelsobasa hot dog, a play on this hot dog's Washington roots and the popular kielbasa sausage. The Minnesota Dog is a hot dog very similar to the Original Twins Dog and a hot dog that many Twins fans are used to because of how similar it is to their traditional hot dogs. The Kelsobasa hot dog is considered to be the more exciting and talented option, although it is new and young and that scares some members of the front office and coaching staff. Count Ron Gardenhire among those leery of the Kelsobasa hot dog: "For me, I want a hot dog that I can rely on. I don't need bells and whistles. I need a dog that will play hard in my stomach without leaving a bad aftertaste. If I'm going to be honest, the Minnesota Dog sounds like an attractive option. It reminds me of the Twins Dog and I like that familiarity. I've never had a Kelsobasa and that makes me nervous." Fans appear to be divided. Some fans prefer the more familiar Minnesota dog, much like Gardenhire. Others have heard about the Kelsobasa Dog from various websites and news sources and are intrigued by the hot dog's upside. Many feel this Kelsobasa hot dog could be a mainstay at Target Field while the Minnesota Dog is not different enough to be a fixture in the hot dog rotation. Gerald Reid of Andover is one of those fans: "If the Twins add another freaking pitch-to-contact hot dog like the Minnesota Dog, I'll be beyond upset. I'm ready for a more exciting hot dog. We've basically been eating Minnesota Dogs since the 90s and I'm sick of it!" When pressed to explain how a hot dog can pitch-to-contact, Reid repeatedly apologized for the mixed metaphor and ran off crying. It is possible that the Twins will add the Minnesota Dog and then replace another similar, but more established hot dog with the Kelsobasa Dog down the line. However, the Twins have been slow to adapt to the concession-related evolution in Major League Baseball. Some fans are worried that the Twins will not act even though the time is right and even though they've said all the right things about trying to add more zip to their hot dog selection. Andrew Mathis of New Hope has that very concern: "My biggest worry is that the Kelsobasa Dog will be at Target Field for a few weeks, not perform to a high standard that has been unreasonably set and then disappear for a long time. The Twins are prone to going back to the safe option. If that happens, we could be eating Minnesota and Twins dogs for a really long time." An anonymous member of the Twins' front office explained that the choice is ultimately not all that important. The casual fan is likely not very aware of either option and will simply listen to what Dick Bremer thinks of the new hot dog. Regardless of their choice, the new hot dog will arrive from Schweigert's little-known Rochester distribution center prior to Saturday's game, even though the Twins are currently in Oakland. It is logical to assume that the new hot dog will wear the same wrapper as it wore while with Rochester.
  11. You might want to look into this: http://www.baseball-reference.com/linker/ I use it with my blog (K-Slow was Framed, free plug) and if you pair it with adding your blog to their newsfeed, it generates some traffic as well. Obviously, you get a ton of traffic, but it also automatically puts links into the HTML of the post so that anyone can click on the player's name and it takes the reader to the player's B-Ref page. I'm not sure if it's compatible with the site, but I'm sure there's a way. It is very easy to set up and use. Each writer would have to set it up on their own CPU, but it's a pretty simple process. I figured it out, for what it's worth.
  12. I have no idea where this came from or what the context was, but I love it and I now want to marry Dan Gladden.
  13. I managed to catch the entire series this weekend, but I also had a pretty nasty fever so I'm not really sure what I did and did not see. I've nearly recovered, but this is still going to be a bit on the short side because I'm all out of cool washcloths. I'm pretty sure I saw a beatdown on Sunday, but that just doesn't seem right. I know the Twins took two of three in Chicago and that's always fun. Danny Santana My friend sent me a text last week and he was wondering when the last time the Twins had a guy come up from the Minors and completely exceed expectations. I couldn't come up with anyone off the top of my head, but Santana is the obvious answer. He's been outstanding at the plate and he's played a pretty competent center despite being an infielder and inspiring this movie poster: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-4Bjl1xdLWWs/U97mylAGmpI/AAAAAAAABlE/I2CzzfuTdzE/s1600/infieldersintheoutfield.jpg Over the weekend, Santana had a dynamite series. He went 0-5 on Friday, but I can't blame him because that giant swamp monster in the outfield was really creating havoc for everyone. Then, from Saturday to Sunday, he went gonzo. He went 7-10 with a double, triple, home run, two walks, two stolen bases, five RBI and five runs scored. Santana is an exciting player with game-changing speed. I'm not sure he should be kept in center, but he might just be outstanding regardless of where he plays. Santana's counterpart in center is a pretty exciting player himself. Adam Eaton was all over the place this weekend. He's a pest, but I respect him. Although, on Saturday, he singled, then ran up a rainbow and punched a hornless unicorn and got thrown out at second. I cannot condone those baseball and non-baseball actions. Just reckless. Originally posted at Kevin Slowey was Framed! Josh WillinghamJosh Willingham wasn't terrible this weekend, although he did go 1-7 during Sunday's hit parade. I don't remember his dragon wings from before, but I'm guessing they help him in the field? The Twins weren't able to trade Willingham before the deadline and might not be able to move him before the end of August. If that happens, I think the Twins need to play Willingham sparingly in September. I appreciate Willingham's contributions to the Twins, but by September, he'll be in the final month of his contract and extremely unlikely to return. Even if he starts breathing fire, I don't think he changes the Twins' fortunes in 2014, so it makes way more sense to get more at-bats for players who will be in Minnesota in 2015 and beyond. Kyle Gibson Gibson has taken over as the Twins' best starter, as his ERA is lower than Phil Hughes' and that's the only stat I can look up without getting up. Gibson was good on Sunday and six strikeouts in seven innings is a great recipe for Gibson success. That one pitch he threw that sunk under the plate and then popped back up into Eric Fryer's glove was particularly nasty. I'm not sure if it was completely legal, but it was something to see. Former Twin Update - Sam Fuld The Twins were quiet at the trade deadline, disappointing Brad Swanson and likely some other people. I hoped they would make more moves so that I could complain about them on Twitter, but it didn't work out that way. The Twins were able to parlay an early-season waiver claim into a 27-year-old starter with some MLB success. While I am not a huge Tommy Milone fan, even I have to admit that this was a fantastic trade. Fuld appears to be the World Series favorite's starting center fielder, thus nullifying the second part of the first part of this sentence. Baseball Card from the past? http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-DU9K-mjjrNQ/U97m9ARZ38I/AAAAAAAABlM/i51cYXTlK1U/s1600/willthethrill.jpg I really don't remember Will Clark's face being quite so melty, but that's what I see on my screen. In the days before photoshop, you really saw the players' facial imperfections, huh? It seems completely irresponsible and insensitive of Topps to match the background to his face. Just classless; he can't help who he is. Fun Stat - Sunday's Game During Sunday's game, the Twins had back-to-back-to-back home runs, an inning when they batted around, a 5-hit game and a giant half lizard-half toad playing first base. I am 100% certain that this combination of events has never happened in an MLB game. If you know whether or not the first three feats are unique on their own, please make sure to leave a comment. Oswaldo Arcia's hair I'm pretty sure I'm not hallucinating that hair, right? Plugging My Way I wrote a bunch of words about the Hall of Fame last week. I read these posts again this weekend and it seems like I made some pretty outlandish statements. I think I inducted a Yeti into the Hall of Fame, but you'll just have to read to find out. Here's part one and here's part two. Was it just me or were Joe Mauer's sideburns growing on the field on Saturday? Parting Thought It was really irritating to have to see all those pink and purple flashes on the screen all weekend. I hope that whatever Fox Sports North was attempting with this new feature is very short-lived. It was impossible to concentrate on the action with those periodic splotches. I turned off the TV for a little while, but then it just turned itself back on. Anyway, I'm feeling a lot better now and I'm looking forward to seeing if the Twins can take a home series against a pretty poor Padres team. Have a great week, everyone! Click here to view the article
  14. Originally posted at Kevin Slowey was Framed! Josh Willingham Josh Willingham wasn't terrible this weekend, although he did go 1-7 during Sunday's hit parade. I don't remember his dragon wings from before, but I'm guessing they help him in the field? The Twins weren't able to trade Willingham before the deadline and might not be able to move him before the end of August. If that happens, I think the Twins need to play Willingham sparingly in September. I appreciate Willingham's contributions to the Twins, but by September, he'll be in the final month of his contract and extremely unlikely to return. Even if he starts breathing fire, I don't think he changes the Twins' fortunes in 2014, so it makes way more sense to get more at-bats for players who will be in Minnesota in 2015 and beyond. Kyle Gibson Gibson has taken over as the Twins' best starter, as his ERA is lower than Phil Hughes' and that's the only stat I can look up without getting up. Gibson was good on Sunday and six strikeouts in seven innings is a great recipe for Gibson success. That one pitch he threw that sunk under the plate and then popped back up into Eric Fryer's glove was particularly nasty. I'm not sure if it was completely legal, but it was something to see. Former Twin Update - Sam Fuld The Twins were quiet at the trade deadline, disappointing Brad Swanson and likely some other people. I hoped they would make more moves so that I could complain about them on Twitter, but it didn't work out that way. The Twins were able to parlay an early-season waiver claim into a 27-year-old starter with some MLB success. While I am not a huge Tommy Milone fan, even I have to admit that this was a fantastic trade. Fuld appears to be the World Series favorite's starting center fielder, thus nullifying the second part of the first part of this sentence. Baseball Card from the past? http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-DU9K-mjjrNQ/U97m9ARZ38I/AAAAAAAABlM/i51cYXTlK1U/s1600/willthethrill.jpg I really don't remember Will Clark's face being quite so melty, but that's what I see on my screen. In the days before photoshop, you really saw the players' facial imperfections, huh? It seems completely irresponsible and insensitive of Topps to match the background to his face. Just classless; he can't help who he is. Fun Stat - Sunday's Game During Sunday's game, the Twins had back-to-back-to-back home runs, an inning when they batted around, a 5-hit game and a giant half lizard-half toad playing first base. I am 100% certain that this combination of events has never happened in an MLB game. If you know whether or not the first three feats are unique on their own, please make sure to leave a comment. Oswaldo Arcia's hair I'm pretty sure I'm not hallucinating that hair, right? Plugging My Way I wrote a bunch of words about the Hall of Fame last week. I read these posts again this weekend and it seems like I made some pretty outlandish statements. I think I inducted a Yeti into the Hall of Fame, but you'll just have to read to find out. Here's part one and here's part two. Was it just me or were Joe Mauer's sideburns growing on the field on Saturday? Parting Thought It was really irritating to have to see all those pink and purple flashes on the screen all weekend. I hope that whatever Fox Sports North was attempting with this new feature is very short-lived. It was impossible to concentrate on the action with those periodic splotches. I turned off the TV for a little while, but then it just turned itself back on. Anyway, I'm feeling a lot better now and I'm looking forward to seeing if the Twins can take a home series against a pretty poor Padres team. Have a great week, everyone!
  15. Originally posted at Kevin Slowey was Framed! Weekend Recap I managed to catch the entire series this weekend, but I also had a pretty nasty fever so I'm not really sure what I did and did not see. I've nearly recovered, but this is still going to be a bit on the short side because I'm all out of cool washcloths. I'm pretty sure I saw a beatdown on Sunday, but that just doesn't seem right. I know the Twins took two of three in Chicago and that's always fun. Danny Santana My friend sent me a text last week and he was wondering when the last time the Twins had a guy come up from the Minors and completely exceed expectations. I couldn't come up with anyone off the top of my head, but Santana is the obvious answer. He's been outstanding at the plate and he's played a pretty competent center despite being an infielder and inspiring this movie poster: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-4Bjl1xdLWWs/U97mylAGmpI/AAAAAAAABlE/I2CzzfuTdzE/s1600/infieldersintheoutfield.jpg Over the weekend, Santana had a dynamite series. He went 0-5 on Friday, but I can't blame him because that giant swamp monster in the outfield was really creating havoc for everyone. Then, from Saturday to Sunday, he went gonzo. He went 7-10 with a double, triple, home run, two walks, two stolen bases, five RBI and five runs scored. Santana is an exciting player with game-changing speed. I'm not sure he should be kept in center, but he might just be outstanding regardless of where he plays. Santana's counterpart in center is a pretty exciting player himself. Adam Eaton was all over the place this weekend. He's a pest, but I respect him. Although, on Saturday, he singled, then ran up a rainbow and punched a hornless unicorn and got thrown out at second. I cannot condone those baseball and non-baseball actions. Just reckless. Josh Willingham Josh Willingham wasn't terrible this weekend, although he did go 1-7 during Sunday's hit parade. I don't remember his dragon wings from before, but I'm guessing they help him in the field? The Twins weren't able to trade Willingham before the deadline and might not be able to move him before the end of August. If that happens, I think the Twins need to play Willingham sparingly in September. I appreciate Willingham's contributions to the Twins, but by September, he'll be in the final month of his contract and extremely unlikely to return. Even if he starts breathing fire, I don't think he changes the Twins' fortunes in 2014, so it makes way more sense to get more at-bats for players who will be in Minnesota in 2015 and beyond. Kyle Gibson Gibson has taken over as the Twins' best starter, as his ERA is lower than Phil Hughes' and that's the only stat I can look up without getting up. Gibson was good on Sunday and six strikeouts in seven innings is a great recipe for Gibson success. That one pitch he threw that sunk under the plate and then popped back up into Eric Fryer's glove was particularly nasty. I'm not sure if it was completely legal, but it was something to see. Former Twin Update - Sam Fuld The Twins were quiet at the trade deadline, disappointing Brad Swanson and likely some other people. I hoped they would make more moves so that I could complain about them on Twitter, but it didn't work out that way. The Twins were able to parlay an early-season waiver claim into a 27-year-old starter with some MLB success. While I am not a huge Tommy Milone fan, even I have to admit that this was a fantastic trade. Fuld appears to be the World Series favorite's starting center fielder, thus nullifying the second part of the first part of this sentence. Baseball Card from the past? http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-DU9K-mjjrNQ/U97m9ARZ38I/AAAAAAAABlM/i51cYXTlK1U/s1600/willthethrill.jpg I really don't remember Will Clark's face being quite so melty, but that's what I see on my screen. In the days before photoshop, you really saw the players' facial imperfections, huh? It seems completely irresponsible and insensitive of Topps to match the background to his face. Just classless; he can't help who he is. Fun Stat - Sunday's Game During Sunday's game, the Twins had back-to-back-to-back home runs, an inning when they batted around, a 5-hit game and a giant half lizard-half toad playing first base. I am 100% certain that this combination of events has never happened in an MLB game. If you know whether or not the first three feats are unique on their own, please make sure to leave a comment. Oswaldo Arcia's hair I'm pretty sure I'm not hallucinating that hair, right? Plugging My Way I wrote a bunch of words about the Hall of Fame last week. I read these posts again this weekend and it seems like I made some pretty outlandish statements. I think I inducted a Yeti into the Hall of Fame, but you'll just have to read to find out. Here's part one and here's part two. Was it just me or were Joe Mauer's sideburns growing on the field on Saturday? Parting Thought It was really irritating to have to see all those pink and purple flashes on the screen all weekend. I hope that whatever Fox Sports North was attempting with this new feature is very short-lived. It was impossible to concentrate on the action with those periodic splotches. I turned off the TV for a little while, but then it just turned itself back on. Anyway, I'm feeling a lot better now and I'm looking forward to seeing if the Twins can take a home series against a pretty poor Padres team. Have a great week, everyone!
  16. Download attachment: Deduno_Samuel_US_Celbrate_720.jpg The Twins dropped two of three from the Tigers this weekend, falling to 7.5 games out of a division that they were never going to win. While the Twins have played better in 2013, they still do not have the talent to match the Tigers over a full season. Yet, there were some positives from the weekend and I have some apologies to make as well. I apologize to Clete Thomas. Just one week ago, I accused a wild turkey of creating a lineup that featured Clete Thomas batting second.While I still feel that Thomas in the top half of an order is a move made out of desperation, it hasn't been a disaster because Thomas isn't as terrible as I made him out to be. He strikes out a lot and he doesn't walk, but he can hit the ball and he plays a solid center field. Clete, I don't despise you. Unless he takes at-bats from Aaron Hicks when Hicks is healthy. Then, I lose it. [PRBREAK][/PRBREAK] I apologize to Sam Deduno. I expected nothing but chaos from Deduno, and while I have been partially right, he has been more effective than I thought he would be. Two things: he doesn't throw hard and he doesn't get strikeouts. So, he might be more effective than I thought he would be, but it's because he has gotten ground balls at a ridiculous 61.8% rate. He has also limited home runs and stranded runners very well. If all these skills are real, then he can be effective long-term. If he's been lucky (and watching him, he has been lucky), then this could all fall apart quickly. I apologize to Trevor Plouffe. I think he wears too much eye black, but perhaps I'm wrong. Since his return from the DL, he has hit the ball very well. I thought the lack of eye black over his rehab would make for a tough adjustment on his return. I was wrong. Perhaps he wore the eye black while injured. Saturday's game was the best of the weekend, not only because the Twins won, but because I was able to watch Glen Perkins pitch. I love to watch Glen Perkins pitch. He struck out Torii Hunter, which I always enjoy. It's more than that though. Perkins comes in and challenges hitters. He knows he has good stuff and he forces hitters to deal with it. He pumps that fastball until he needs to go to his secondary stuff and he commands his pitches extremely well. It's a shame his role only allows for him to pitch in very specific game situations. Enough with apologies and admiration, here is some madness: Former Twin Update: Danny Valencia has somehow become a fairly regular contributor to the Baltimore Orioles. I honestly thought his MLB career was over when the Twins shipped him out for bubble gum last season. Instead, he crushed AAA this season and earned a call-up to Baltimore. He doesn't need his glove anymore, as Baltimore isn't going to let him see any time in the field unless they get desperate. At the plate, he has slugged over .650 in limited DH duty this season. Baltimore is using him more against lefties, and he is crushing them as he always has. Perhaps Valencia has found his role. Cool, good for him. Random Paint Image For those who have read anything I have written this season, it is clear that I am the biggest Aaron Hicks defender/bobo in the fan base. As such, this was how I reacted when I heard that Hicks was injured and needed time on the DL: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-u-e4CMJsDCI/UbaYWfjxOcI/AAAAAAAAAuY/OuPjtCAhj9c/s320/mehicks.png I did get a haircut since this was drawn. It looks worse. The One Save Club Since 1961, there are 176 MLB players who have recorded exactly one save and have not started a single game. Odd combo, I agree, but taking starters out removes guys like Johan Santana, who started their careers in long relief. Your task is to name as many of the 12 Twins who have accomplished this feat. Not all 12 earned their save with the Twins. Please leave names in the comments. One player is currently playing for the Twins. I'll post the 12 names at some point, if I remember. Fun Baseball Card From the Past http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-b_voR0MMpdg/Ub4lPkTqQsI/AAAAAAAAAuo/hnkuERZXNjw/s320/shane_mack.jpg First, I wrote about baseball cards on Friday. If you missed it, you can read it here. You should seriously consider buying the Joe Mauer card. Second, these Studio cards were awesome. I believe the idea was that they were shot in a studio. Third, Shane Mack, if you, Shane, read my blog for some reason, please let me know. I'd love to set up an interview. Not for an article or anything like that, just for me. Fourth, Mack was underrated. He did not get enough credit for his mustache.Links to some funny baseball stuff: I am not ashamed to admit that I love Grant Brisbee. I think he is funny and that's all it takes for me. This week, he chronicled the Dodgers-Diamondbacks brawland then later graded the suspensionsthat were handed out as a result (of the brawl, not his article). If you like to laugh, you should read them. If you hate to laugh, you should not read them. Link to something stupid I wrote: The Twins released Anthony Slama last week, which was only notable to me because I knew it would allow me to display my vast knowledge of school-yard jerkery. I created a (fake) time line of events that shows a pattern of poor behavior toward Slama. You can read it here. It's complete stupidity. Parting Stat! The Twins play the hated White Sox this week. There have been only 8 players in MLB history who have played exclusively for the White Sox and Twins: Glenn Borgmann, Jesse Crain, Joe Crede, Jerry Crider, Eduardo Escobar, Pedro Hernandez, Randy Johnson (not the right one though), and Cotton Nash. You're probably thinking, "hey dippy, what about Earl Battey?" Well, Battey played one year for the Washington Senators, and that makes him a fat cat bureaucrat. Have a nice week, everyone! Click here to view the article
  17. Download attachment: baseball_statistics02.jpg I just realized that my free trial of the Baseball Reference play index is going to expire on Monday. Very sad. Although, if you read this post, you already know that I am planning to purchase a subscription anyway. Happy times! Now that you can relax with this knowledge, let's find some fun stats and occurrences and seasons and whatever. Oh, and I apologize for the word "stizzles" in the title. It should read "stats" but you know how touchy autocorrect can be. [PRBREAK][/PRBREAK]Round Numbers Round numbers are excellent. Del Ennis is the only player in MLB history to have a season where with 10 triples, 20 home runs and 30 doubles. He also scored 90 runs. However, he ruined everything by driving in 107 runs. That kind of non-round numbering does not endear him to me. If he had ended with 7 fewer RBI, he'd be my favorite player of all time. Round! Roy Smalley had 80 walks and 80 strikeouts in 1979. This is fitting because he also has 80 hair. Round! In 1993, Mike Bordick had 10 stolen bases and was caught stealing 10 times, for a nice, terrible, round 50% success rate. He also scored 60 runs, walked 60 times, had 170 total bases and had 10 sacrifice bunts. His WAR that season was 2.0 and he ended his career with exactly 1500 hits, 500 walks and 800 strikeouts. He hit .260 for his career. Round! In 1973, Dick Woodson had 10 wins and posted a 100 ERA+. Round! Josh Collmenter went 10-10 with 100 strikeouts in 2011. How did I not know this? He also had zero complete games! Vida Blue posted the same numbers in 1986 and he also hit zero batters. Round! Ok, hold on, here comes the hotsteppa. In 1990 (round number), Jeffrey Leonard hit 10 home runs, 20 doubles, 0 triples, had 120 hits and as a result had 170 total bases. He also grounded into an astounding 20 double plays. But get this: he wore jersey number 00! 00!! 00!!! His WAR that season: --1.8. Perhaps round numbers aren't all that valuable. Round! The Greatest Blown Save of all-time On June 11, 1963, the Boston Red Sox played the Detroit Tigers. In the bottom of the 7th, Dick Radatz replaced Wilbur Wood with one out and a runner on first. The Red Sox were leading 3-2. Radatz struck out the first batter he faced, then issued a walk and a single, allowing his inherited runner to score. He got the next batter and the game went on. From there, Radatz pitched 8 more innings, giving up just 2 hits and striking out 11 total batters. The Red Sox hung four runs on the Tigers in the top of the 15th and Radatz was allowed to complete the game in the bottom of the inning. He ended the game with a blown save and a win. Not the way they drew it up, but not bad either. Goin' Streaking! Old School is 10 years old. Last season, Kris Medlen had a huge breakout. However, if you are a fan of odd streaks, you probably had already heard of him. Medlen had exactly 5 strikeouts in 5 straight games. This is a feat that has only been accomplished 8 times. Pete Harnisch did it twice. Kris Benson joins Kris Medlen as the two guys who accomplished this feat with a misspelled name. Back in 2000, Scott Williamson struck out exactly three batters in five straight save opportunities. He got four saves over that stretch, totally blowing the first game in this streak by issuing 5 walks in his appearance. In the other four, he only walked one. He went to Friendswood High School, which sounds friendly. Bob Gibson has the longest streak without a pickoff. He never had one in his career. So, his streak sits at 482 straight starts without a pickoff. The record stands and technically is still active, as he retired with the streak intact. If he could just come back for 18 more starts, it would be a nice, even 500 starts. Round! Ken Ray did not strike out a batter in his first 13 appearances, back in 1999. This is a record. Ray posted a robust 8.74 ERA in his rookie season and then did not play in the Majors again until 2006, when he resurfaced with the Braves as Kwang the Ninja. Carlos Quentin was hit by a pitch in a record six straight games. Quentin always seems to have a look on his face as though he'd been hit by a pitch, so this is fitting. F.P. Santangelo was hit by a pitch in four straight games and that was prior to anyone hearing him as an commentator. I kid. Julio Cruz Julio Cruz entered the lineup in the 9-hole on May 8, 1984. About a day later, he had completed 11 at bats, the most ever out of the 9 spot in the lineup. The game went 18 innings that night, then was suspended until the next day. After 7 more innings the following day, the game concluded when Harold Baines hit a walk-off home run. Cruz went 1-11 with 2 strikeouts. At least his team got the win. Other Fun Stuff I found something I am calling a xylophone game: 5IP, 4H, 3ER, 2K, 1BB, 0 HR. It's only happened four times. The last time was by Jimmy Jones on 9/24/1987. He lost that game 5-4. So... Wilkin Ramirez reached on catcher's interference during Sunday's game against Baltimore. This hadn't happened for a Twins player since 2008 when Brian Buscher reached in a September 16 game against the Angels. When these guys enter the Twins' Hall of Fame together, they should both tell their story of reaching base in the oddest way possible. No one walked more batters with the bases loaded than Nolan Ryan, who did so nine times. Mitch Williams walked a batter with the bases loaded seven times. I had the opportunity to look up how many innings each player pitched and found that Ryan threw 5386 innings and Williams threw 691.1 innings. If you extrapolate, Williams would have walked a batter with the bases loaded 54 times if he had pitched as long as Ryan. Or something like that. Cleatus Davidson stole a base in each of his first two MLB games. He never stole another base and only played in 10 more games. He ended his career with an OPS+ of -31. This seems like a good place to stop. The play index is entertaining. I hope you enjoyed the exact same things I enjoy. Brad Swanson is. Philosophy! Click here to view the article
  18. Download attachment: Plouffe.jpg We are getting closer and closer to draft day. With a little over a week left until the Twins make their next draft choices, I present to you my recaps from 2001, 2002, and 2003. Just click the years to see which of those three drafts was the most handsome. Here is 2004: The 2003 draft produced Scott Baker and heartache. First-round pick Matt Moses never reached the majors, marking the 3rd time in 6 years the Twins' top pick did not play MLB baseball (not the video game, the real life). Adam Johnson was one of the three who made it, so I'm not sure that really counts.[PRBREAK][/PRBREAK] The solution to that problem? Have a whole mess of first round picks! The Twins had five in 2004. Five! They received a first and a supplemental first for both Eddie Guardado and LaTroy Hawkins. Both of those guys had their moments, but wow, that is just way too much compensation. The Twins did not complain. Would they cash in? Originally posted at Kevin Slowey was Framed! 1st Round Picks They kind of cashed in. With the 20th pick, the Twins selected Trevor Plouffe. Plouffe was a high school shortstop and has proved to be a relatively valuable player due to his power and low salary. With the 22nd pick, the Twins selected Glen Perkins. Perkins did not pan out as a starter, but has become a reliable closer. The next three don't go so well. Kyle Waldrop at 25, Matt Fox at 35 and Jay Rainville at 39. Waldrop and Fox pitched briefly for the Twins and Rainville was out of baseball after 2009. Waldrop is having a really good season at AAA for Pittsburgh, but that's of little value these days. These five first-round picks have produced just under 6.0 WAR so far. I do expect that number to climb, mostly from Perkins and possibly from Plouffe. Ah, but what if? Let's keep Perkins. Other than Perkins, there are probably four names the Twins would rather have. Gio Gonzalez went 38th, right before Rainville. In the second round, Yovani Gallardo went 46th, Hunter Pence went 64th and Dustin Pedroia went 65th. What if the Twins had somehow hit the jackpot and left the 2004 draft with Perkins, Gonzalez, Gallardo, Pence and Pedroia? I believe MLB would just stop holding drafts and award the Twins the winners trophy. Also, what if the Twins could have packaged their five firsts and traded up for Justin Verlander? That would be cool, though I'm not sure those five firsts were worth the second-overall pick, where Verlander went. Also, it's very cool to follow the rules, so this scenario is actually uncool. So many what ifs! Best Player Drafted Glen Perkins, which sounds like a nice fielded area to visit. Perkins did not thrive as a starter, as I mentioned before. He also did not appreciate the treatment he received from the organization. However, fences were mended and then immediately destroyed by Perkins' revived fastball. It seems that relieving agrees with Perkins, as he has turned into a dominant closer. Seems appropriate that he was compensation for losing Eddie Guardado. Worst Player to Reach MLB In 2010, Matt Fox made one start with the Twins, going 5.2 innings and giving up four runs, eight hits, two walks with no strikeouts. He then made three appearances with Boston, giving up two more earned runs in 1.2 innings. He never recorded a strikeout. At least not yet... He's still kicking around, pitching for the Mets' AAA team. The One Who Got Away Toronto's own Rene Tosoni! Tosoni was a 34th-round pick out of Terry Fox SS, which probably stands for Super School or something Canadian that I am not aware of. However, Tosoni wanted to pursue his dream of playing one year at Chipola College in Marianna, Florida, so he did not sign. Don't be too sad, we all know how this story ends. Best Name Eammon Portice, in the 17th round. He did not sign, but he made an impact with his name. Fun Facts Trevor Plouffe went to Crespi Carmelite High School, which sounds like a tasty candy bar. 32nd-round selection Nolan Mulligan was drafted three times, which seems appropriate. The Twins drafted Anthony Swarzak with the 61st overall pick, in the second round. At least, that's what they want you to think... Twins' 18th-round pick Josh Rose was the inspiration for Seal's song, "Kiss from a Rose." 16th-round pick Matt Tolbert looks a little bit like a bird. Four of the Twins' five first-round picks reached the majors. I think that's pretty good.All those drafted who made it to the Bigs Glen Perkins, Kyle Waldrop, Anthony Swarzak, Matt Tolbert, Matt Fox, Trevor Plouffe, and Rene Tosoni One Sentence Summary It would be impossible to convert five first-round picks. Link to the Twins' 2004 draft from Baseball Reference Click here to view the article
  19. Everywhere I go these days, it seems that people have questions for me. What's that stain on your shirt? Did you do that to your hair on purpose? Can you please move back a couple steps? I figured, with so many questions to answer, the only reasonable response is to breakout the old mailbag and answer some of the more burning questions that ESPN, Fox Sports One and Telemundo refuse to answer. Here's some mailbag: On a recent TV broadcast, FS North asked Twitter who the Twins MVP was this year. The choices were Justin Morneau, Brian Dozier and Glen Perkins. I voted for Nader, but who would be your choice? Thanks! Brad S., St. Paul, MN This list seems incomplete. There's a specific guy who should really be included, but was omitted, likely due to an anti-Minnesota bias. Joe Mauer is clearly the team MVP. He leads the team in batting, OBP, slugging, WAR and babies born. Brian Dozier has been great since June and Glen Perkins is tremendous in a role that is rarely used by a terrible team, but Mauer is the team MVP. Dozier would be my choice from those three, because of the combo of his surprising power, excellent defense, and radiant hair [prior to his actual good play (balance)]. At the beginning of August, you said that you weren't surprised by the Twins and their lack of movement at the trade deadline. Were you surprised with the moves the Twins made in August? Thanks! Brad S., St. Paul, MN No, thank you! I was surprised. Since August 1, the Twins have optioned Aaron Hicks, Scott Diamond and Kyle Gibson to Rochester. I thought that all three of those guys would be providing value for the Twins until the end of the season. Diamond and Gibson seemed like solid pitchers who would be certainly better than the dregs that made up the rest of the staff. I thought Hicks would struggle early, adjust, and then be good down the stretch. I was wrong about the lot of them. I think they all bounce back next year, but it is surprising to see them in Rochester in September. The Morneau trade was surprising. I already wrote/cried about it, so I won't rehash it here. However, I didn't think the Twins had it in them to trade such a popular player for so little. I guess that extra cash is pretty nice though. I'd spend it on hard drugs, but that's just me. ​ Originally posted at Kevin Slowey was Framed! Are you excited for September call-ups?????????????!?!?!?!!??? Brad S., St. Paul, MN I am excited for Josmil Pinto, and he has delivered so far. Michael Tonkin seems cool. Otherwise, not really. I don't really care about Minor League veterans and re-treads. Seen 'em. Sorry to be so curt, but that's how I feel. But seriously, thank you for the question. It looks like Clete Thomas is the 4th outfielder now. At the very least, he doesn't seem like the full-time starter anymore. Are you happy, sir? You've ragged on this poor man for weeks and weeks and now he's out of the lineup. I hope you're satisfied. Brad S., St. Paul, MN I'm not. You'd think that after weeks of harping on his continued presence in the starting lineup, that I'd be elated when he was finally removed. Instead, I have some form of complainers' buyer's remorse. I was far too hard on Mr. Thomas. He's a fine ballplayer. If he and I engaged in some sort of one-on-one baseball match, he'd destroy me and probably freeze my dress clothes while I am in my baseball clothes, a la Mighty Ducks 3. In fact, Thomas would probably beat me in just about any athletic competition. If Thomas was back on the team in a bench role next year, I'd be fine with it. He's versatile. I want to challenge him to a staring contest. Did you see that article on ESPN.com regarding Max Scherzer and Jim Leyland's rant about pitching stats? Brad S., St. Paul, MN I did. It doesn't surprise me. What is Leyland supposed to say? "I agree, Scherzer probably isn't that great, his FIP is worse than his ERA and he's gotten too much run support." That would be surprising. Leyland also doesn't have to care an iota about advanced stats. He won a World Series without them. However, I don't really get the anger and hostility toward stats. If you don't want to use them, don't use them. If some dork chains Leyland to a wall and forces him to look through Excel spreadsheets, then I could see Leyland getting a bit agitated. In the context of this article, it seemed like an innocent enough question, if maybe a bit loaded. I don't get why anyone would refuse new stats altogether. More information is better than less. I can understand confusion or frustration, but hostility seems too extreme. That's just how I feel 95% of the time. Are you ready to give up give up on Aaron Hicks yet? A Hicks., Rochester, NY Not at all. I think Hicks is still destined for a productive career. I still see an All-Star appearance or two as well. He's so talented. He has speed, power, arm, defense, etc. He'll be 24 all next season and there isn't anyone blocking him from center field right now. Of course, he'll probably get leapfrogged by superfreak Byron Buxton sometime next season. To me, having to move Hicks to right is one of those "nice problems to have." His arm will play extremely well in right and his range in the outfield will really compliment Buxton in center. Those two humans in the same outfield is downright scary defensively. So, no, I am not ready to give up on him (you). Keep your head up, rook. Target Field has such exciting food options. What is your favorite ballpark fare? Brad S., St. Paul, MN That's easy. Empty a hot-water balloon. Fill it with beef stew. Cram it in your pant leg (shirt sleeve can work if you wear really tight t-shirts). Wait for the sun to do its part. Eat. If said beef stew doesn't have peas in it, it's not going to be good. Thanks for all the great questions, me. Enjoy your weekend! Click here to view the article
  20. Download attachment: Jeter_Derek_Smiling_US_720.jpg This is the 3rd story in "Those Damn Yankees" series, stories about Twins-Yankees rivalry by some of our favorite Twins Daily writers, leading up to the Bombers visit July 1st to the 4th. Psst. You there. Yeah, you in the Twins hat and Joe Mauer shirsey. Put down that plush TC bear, I have a secret that I can't hold in any longer. This is very hard for me to say. I've been thinking about it for a long time and I've felt this way even longer. I can't hold it in; I need to confess to someone. I'm trusting you to keep my secret, but it won't be easy. Are you ready? I don't hate the Yankees.[PRBREAK][/PRBREAK] There, I said it. I don't hate them. I don't loathe them. I don't detest them. I don't even simply dislike them. In reality, I admire them. I respect them. I marvel at them. I like them. I like the way they play baseball. I like the way they reward their fans on the field. I like their history. I like their players. I even like their uniforms. ~~~ Originally posted at Kevin Slowey was Framed!Direct your hate mail appropriately. ~~~ I like the way they go about their business. Business might be the key word. The Yankees play baseball like a business. For many, a business-like approach to a professional sport is boring or even abhorrent. For someone like me, a person who demands efficiency and order, the Yankees are like an Excel Spreadsheet on a baseball diamond. I know exactly what they want to do within the game: take a lot of pitches, mash the mistakes, pitch methodically and wear out the other team. Above all else: win. It's all so well organized, sometimes I feel I can conditionally format them while I watch them play. I'm in awe of their history. As a Twins fan, I fondly remember both World Series titles, I remember all the playoff "runs" from the 2000s and I have heard wonderful stories from their successful 60s and 70s teams. However, the Yankee fan history is a completely different animal. Their fans can discuss which of their 27 World Series winners is the best. Twenty seven! They miss the playoffs about once in a generation. Only four franchises have made the playoffs as frequently as the Yankees have won the World Series. My goodness, to have their history. Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, CC Sabathia, Mike Mussina, Don Mattingly, Reggie Jackson, Mickey Mantle, Joe DiMaggio, Lou Gehrig, Babe Ruth... I could go on. The sheer number of superstar, Hall of Fame players is staggering. The Yankees can boast an all-time player, at any given point in their history. Whenever you watch the Yankees, you are watching greatness. Eventually, the Yankees are going to have to start issuing fractional or triple-digit uniform numbers, as they have retired a vast number of whole numbers. If you do hate their players, it can only be because you secretly wish they wore the Minnesota Twins uniform. I am jealous of their fans. I'm not happy to feel jealousy, but I can't help but wish that my favorite team went into each season with a realistic chance to win the World Series. While the fan experience has certainly diminished since the construction of New Yankee Stadium, you cannot discount the experience of watching the Yankees play baseball each and every year. In the average fan's lifetime, the Yankees are likely to win multiple championships. Is there another fan base who can make that claim? I even like their look. The pinstripes are timeless. They are the closest thing to a nice, designer suit that you'll find on the field. Somehow, their uniforms look even better when they get sullied. The dirt really accentuates the gray. Their hats are classic too. In fact, you could make the argument that the Twins borrowed their TC logo from the Yankee's NY logo. I like that they make their players shave stupid beards. I can't grow a beard, no one else should be allowed to either! As the Twins head toward a series with the Yankees, I know that many Twins fans will be looking forward to rooting against the Yankees almost as much as they look forward to rooting for the Twins. Not me. I'll root for the Twins, but I won't root against the Yankees any more than I would root against any given opponent. I might even secretly hope that Mariano Rivera gets into a game, just to see him in person one last time. The Yankees may be the evil empire, but they certainly play some great baseball. I apologize once more, but I can't change the way I feel. I don't hate the Yankees. I can't muster up the energy to try. In fact, when the Yankees aren't playing the Twins, I enjoy them. If you have to hate me as a result, I understand. This was not easy for me to confess. I've carried this secret like a lush gift basket given to a lucky lady after a chance encounter with the great Derek Jeter. I can't get rid of it, but I also don't really want to admit to having it. Does this make me a bad Twins fan? Maybe it does. I just don't know anymore. I feel so conflicted. Alas, it isn't all bad. I do hate Alex Rodriguez. He's a dolt. ~~~ For more of Those Damn Yankees, check out.... The Cuzzi Call by Nick NelsonThe Twins and Yankees Go Way Back by Thrylos Click here to view the article
  21. Before today's win, the Twins had lost three of four from the Tigers this weekend and eleven of their last twelve. Yikes. After flirting with .500 through six weeks, the Twins now have the second worst record in the American League. The Twins are 11th in runs scored and 11th in runs allowed. Bad combo, bro. The dream has died, as this team doesn't appear to have the talent to hover at .500 for a full season. The Front Office had a busy week too. Here is a list of moves that were made this week: Pedro Hernandez sent to AAA Caleb Thielbar called up to Minnesota Trevor Plouffe placed on seven-day DL. Chris Colabello called up to Minnesota and added to the 40-man roster Darin Mastroianni transferred to 60-day DL Vance Worley sent to AAA Tim Wood transferred to 60-day DL Oswaldo Arcia sent to AAA Samuel Deduno called up to Minnesota and added to the 40-man roster P.J. Walters called up to Minnesota and added to the 40-man roster Joe Benson placed on outright waivers and claimed by the Texas Rangers Wilkin Ramirez placed on seven-day DL Chris Herrmann called up to MinnesotaWOW! Have you ever played in a fantasy league with that one guy who makes a billion moves per year? Even that guy is exhausted looking at this list. I don't think,alone, any of the individual moves are all that upsetting(. I don't like sending Arcia to AAA and I didn't like waiving Benson, but each move makes sense individually. ~~~Originally posted at Kevin Slowey was Framed!~~~ When these moves are coupled with the Twins' poor play, the level of discontent within the Twins fan base only increases. The one move that wasn't made is probably the (non-)move that is most upsetting to Twins fans. Kyle Gibson was not one of the two starting pitchers called up and, since he was on the 40-man, his call-up would have made the Benson move moot. The Twins want Gibson to be more consistent and they want to further his development, but they made that choice at the expense of another young player who is now with another organization. The Front Office often has to make tough decisions. At times, their decisions look questionable and at times they look flat-out stupid. Personally, I don't see any flat-out stupid decisions in the list above. Some of the moves look smarter than others, but that's just the way it goes. Since things haven't been great in the past week or so, let's try to have some fun. On to the Madness! Random Photoshops http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-QxKL7x7QfMw/UaKZMRUWNOI/AAAAAAAAAsw/bgQzL83ecPE/s400/belve.jpg We're off to a bad start. Here's the deal. I thought of this in the middle of the night. I woke up giggling, typed it into my phone and then executed it in the morning. All along the way, I was seeing how stupid it was, but I went through with it. I am a determined individual. As if some form of compromise, I decided that it was fine that it looks horrible. If you want some context, click here. I'm not sure the context really helps though. All is not lost, as the photoshop above did inspire this one: http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-E3ClfwpaSWc/UaKZTzDdvBI/AAAAAAAAAs4/mk3JveOGgNI/s400/just_the_ten_of+wayne.jpg See, all is never lost. And yes, I am obsessed with Gary Wayne. Random Link Grant Brisbee is just fantastic and I know I have linked to him before. However, he's just that good. Here is something he wrote about the Rafael Soriano/Bryce Harper kerfuffle from last week. It has great balance of gifs, analysis and calling a guy a dingus. KWL Chart Here is a KWL chart I made with Sam Deduno as the topic. Remember, the KWL chart tells you what I know, what I want to know and what I have learned. Pro-tip, click on it. http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-fYOX6aFNb_g/UaKZdHfMl-I/AAAAAAAAAtA/aVjlfDjt8L0/s640/KWL+Deduno.png Former Twin Update Danny Valencia is somehow back in the Majors. He has been acting as Baltimore's DH the past few games, which keeps him the court-mandated 50 feet from third base while holding a glove. Valencia is slugging over .600 and has two home runs in just five games! He, Alexi Casilla, and J.J. Hardy make up a third of the Orioles' lineup and yet they are 27-23. Baseball is wild. I look forward to watching Chris Parmelee patrol their right field area in a couple seasons. Kidding! Liz Thoughts Every so often I will present thoughts directly from my wife. Liz is a big-time baseball fan. She has some crazy ideas. She generally thinks all players are overweight and that their pants are too long. In addition, she has no patience for any form of poor play. She does not grade on a curve for young players, old players or injured players. That sounds so familiar... She had some thoughts on Gardy that I am going paraphrase in order to clean it up and clear it up: "Gardy gets tossed all the time! It's all an act. He doesn't even look that angry, he's just trying to get on camera and get attention. He shouldn't get paid for games when he gets thrown out. If I were manager, I'd get thrown out all the time and go hang out in the clubhouse and collect my check. (I tell her that he might be trying to fire the team up). That's stupid." Random Top 10 List The Twins head to Milwaukee for an early week series with the Brewers. There are only 47 players who have played for both the Twins and the Brewers in their career. That number seems low, but who am I to question Baseball Reference? Here are the Top Ten players who played for both the Twins and the Brewers, in order based on my personal preferences: Paul Molitor - all-time great Brian Harper - combo of hitting/mullet Corey Koskie - Canada Tom Brunansky - bonus points for being traded for Tom Herr J.J. Hardy - very handsome Henry Blanco - purely sentimental Rich Becker - 1996 season Grant Balfour - Australia LaTroy Hawkins - he's still active! Carlos Gomez - "Joe Mauer, the first baseman, and the other guy"BTW - 47. Livan Hernandez. Link to something stupid I wrote I wrote something about how I would punish fans if elected to the presidency and if the president had the power to punish fans. It's pretty stupid, so it certainly fits in this section. I'd say I'm half-kidding, half-serious, half-hungry. You can find it here. If you agree, please contribute to my Kickstarter campaign for President. Parting Haiku Lush curly blonde hair A wild and hot demeanor I will miss you Joe Have a great week everyone! Click here to view the article
  22. Download attachment: p-501272-joe-mauer-baseball-card-2005-donruss-48-rated-rookie-minnesota-twins-rookie-card-aw-403.jpg Ranking players is the single most important thing we can do as fans. If we don't know when players are better than other players, how can we properly argue about things? I certainly do not want to live in a world where rankings don't matter. However, the traditional measures - WAR, height, pants length, nicknames - are flawed. My solution: we agree to rank players based on the cost of their rookie cards. I'm just going to say this, and I know it makes me sound like I'm a million years old, but baseball cards are too dern complicated. I searched eBay for this exercise and I am more confused than I would have ever thought possible. There are cards, then there are cards with different colored borders, then there are cards called "refractors." I had to look up what that word means - "one that refracts." Super helpful, dictionary. To refract is to deflect light. Why do baseball cards need to deflect light? Are we secretly developing baseball card technology to assist with fixing tears in the space/time continuum? What is going on? I am more upset than confused and I am really confused. Originally posted at Kevin Slowey was Framed! Well, I'm not that upset. If refractor technology exists, I suppose a baseball card is the best possible use for it. I was confused, but I've recovered. Anyway, since you know baseball cards are weird now, I present to you the ten best Twins, ranked by the cost of their most expensive rookie card. This is just simple science. I did an eBay search for each current Twin (including Aaron Hicks because I break all the rules) and made a dope spreadsheet. You can see it here. Oh, and every player has like 5000 rookie cards now, so if I got anything wrong, just calm the H down. Click each description to view/purchase the card on eBay. 10. Kevin Correia - 2003 Upper Deck Rookie Card BGS 9.5 GEM MINT Giants Twins - $79.99 Point, Terry Ryan. Obviously, Ryan knew to look up Correia's rookie card. I love the way people label their cards on eBay. Basically, you have to do anything it takes to get people to happen to search for your card. In this case, the seller knows that no one will ever look for a Correia rookie card, so you have to litter your description with other words that people might like. 80 bucks seems like a lot for any card, but this one is GEM MINT! If you are anything like me, you remember that guy with the mustache selling baseball cards in the middle of the night. Everything was gem mint, which I think is a good thing. I'm guessing it isn't a flavor. 9. Josh Willingham - 2003 Bowman Chrome GOLD Refractor SP Rookie Card RC /170 TWINS - $95.99 There's a lot going on here, so here are some translations for those who are not often searching for baseball cards. SP means short print, which I am assuming makes it more rare. /170 means there were only 170 of these cards made. RC is rookie card and also redundant when written right after the words "rookie card." The most baffling thing to me is that this card is $95.99. What kind of sociopath picks $95.99? I bet this seller tells people that he'll arrive at 7:13 and that he's about .37 miles away. Anyway, the card might be worth a little extra because Willingham is wearing one of those wrap-around ear flaps. Also, he was a first baseman, meaning he improved on the defensive spectrum as he aged. Value! 8. Glen Perkins - 2007 Exquisite Collection Rookie Futures Auto Silver Spectrum 4/5 - $99.99 This card is worth more because it has been autographed. The autograph sits right on a little plate, which is cute! This particular one is 4/5, and it makes me wonder if number 1 or 5 would be worth a bit more. This one is a history card as well, stating that "Perkins shines in his first contest on the hill." I wonder if Exquisite made cards like these in later years. For instance, "Perkins files his first grievance against the Twins" and "Perkins fails as a starter." That last one was unkind. A hundred bucks is a lot to spend, but you could own all five of these cards for just $500. No info on if it is gem mint or not. 7. Trevor Plouffe - SP Prospects Auto Rookie BGS 9.5/10 #'d/400 Minnesota Twins - $99.99 Plouffe wins the tie-breaker over Perkins because he had a second card also costing $100. This one is more fun than the other. Plouffe looks like he is 18 years old. He was. But, he also looks like James Franco. He wasn't. This one also contains a signature and is BGS 9.5/10. I looked that up and it means that Beckett has graded it for the seller. I grade papers all the time, maybe I should get Beckett to do them for me. There isn't much to this card. Plouffe is wearing a plain black hat and plain black shirt. I'm guessing SP did not have an MLB license, or Plouffe was trying to lose a few pounds of water weight. 6. Brian Dozier - 2012 Topps Chrome Baseball Rc Rookie Red Refractor Parallel 01/25 - $100.25 That extra quarter is really making me reconsider. Here's some solid research for you: most "chrome" cards come with various colored parallels. In this case, red is rare. There are also blues, golds, greens, xfractors (which we'll talk about later) and purples (personal fave). A hundred bucks for a Brian Dozier card is borderline crazy. This is especially true when you take advantage of this offer: 1,500 Brian Dozier rookie cards for $199.99! If you've ever thought to yourself, "man, I wish I had like 1,500 Brian Dozier rookie cards so I can swim in them like in Ducktales" then this is the eBay item for you. I did the math, that's 13 cents per card. Savings! 5. Aaron Hicks - 2011 BOWMAN CHROME RC ROOKIE GOLD REFRACTOR 14/50 - $179.99 If you had one of the fifty Aaron Hicks gold refractor rookie cards, you'd be shouting too. This one has been written on by Hicks, which the seller fails to mention. You'd think if you were trying to draw attention to your item by shouting, you'd mention one of the qualities that makes it most valuable. Regardless, this card looks very shiny. I certainly did not have any cards from my childhood that were this shiny. I noticed that it says "Topps certified autograph issue" but it was a Bowman card. I thought this must have been a huge conspiracy or a photoshop or some other shenanigans, but Topps and Bowman are the same company. How disappointing. 4. Chris Parmelee - 2006 Bowman Chrome GOLD REFRACTOR SP JERSEY 27/50 Rookie Card RC - $279.99 You're probably thinking "280 bucks for a Chris Parmelee anything?" Well one, it's an investment and two, it's marked down from $350. That's a 20% savings that you can apply to your Brian Dozier rookie card orgy. The description says "JERSEY," which confused me. First, there are cards that have pieces of jerseys in them. This is not one of those. Second, I thought maybe Parmelee is from New Jersey. He's not. I read the description and it says jersey because 27 is his jersey number and that is the number printed on the card. Well then. 3. Oswaldo Arcia - 2013 BOWMAN - MINI RED REFRACTOR ROOKIE #CC-MT3 5/5 SP!! TWINS - $299.00 I searched for "Oswaldo Arcia Rookie Card" and eBay switched it to "Oswaldo Garcia Rookie Card" and proceeded to give me results for Arcia. I immediately assumed that #CC-MT3 was some sort of robot, but it's just the card number. Also disappointing. This is a mini-card, so it's smaller. It also looks like it was rained on. I get that there are mini-cards and refractors, but it completely blows my mind that we have the technology to create mini refractor cards. And yet, we can't get to Mars. 2. Justin Morneau - 2001 BOWMAN CHROME XFRACTOR JUSTIN MORNEAU ROOKIE PSA 9 - $499.99 Morneau is listed as a catcher on this card. If you look closely though, he appears to be pitching while wearing catching gear. Safety first! According to the seller, "Card features very nice centering??" Not only is the seller not sure, he's double not sure. If you are purchasing this card for its centering, you might want to reconsider. "Xfractor" is not in the dictionary. I did look though. It appears that this technology makes the card look pixelated and might give you headaches. Perhaps this is the plan. If we can refract and xfract all at the same time, we could really do some damage. 1. Joe Mauer - 2002 BOWMAN'S BEST RED ROOKIE AUTO PSA 10 1/3 - $3,549.99 Finally, some metric shows Mauer's true value. This card has Mauer's name all over it. Literally; he autographed it. In addition, it looks pretty cool. It has the "M" logo in the back and Mauer is laying a sweet swing. It is GEM MINT 10!!! However, the "o's" and "a's" look a bit similar, so his name kind of looks like Joe Mouer. Joe Mouer can't carry a 3500 card. As it is, I can't imagine spending that much money on a baseball card, even if he did write his name on it. If nothing else, this clearly shows that Mauer is at least seven times better than anyone else on the team and roughly 35 times better than Josh Willingham. By the way, you can own Jamey Carroll's rookie card for the very affordable cost of 1 dollar with 1 dollar shipping. What a slap in the face. Perhaps if Carroll writes his name on the card, it could fetch five dollars. At long last, we have settled the debate of who the ten best Twins players are. You can officially update your personal rankings now. Maybe this was a flawed exercise. If nothing else, we have all learned that baseball cards are needlessly complicated, refractor technology can only take us so far, and if a guy writes his name all over your card, it improves the value. Happy collecting! Click here to view the article
  23. Download attachment: bernardo%u00252Bback.jpg For those who are unfamiliar with this feature, I scour the most reliable internet sites trying to determine whether or not a former Minnesota Twin is forgotten or not. I use all the best sites – Wikipedia, Google, Bing, eBay, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Baseball Reference. If the player isn't featured to my liking, he is officially forgotten. The entire first paragraph will come from my own memory though. No guarantees of accuracy or insight. At the very end, I will ask one random person if he remembers the player. Let’s start with someone I barely remember. My memories of Bernardo Brito Can I say pass? I certainly remember his name because it's hilarious. [PRBREAK][/PRBREAK]But who is Bernardo Brito? I'm going to say he was an outfielder and that he was only with the Twins for two seasons. I want to say that he was on a Hall of Fame path as well. I'll guess he played for the Twins from 1993 to 1994 and that he hit about 7 home runs. As you can clearly see, I have basically no recollection of Bernardo Brito. Let's do some research! ~~~ Originally posted at Kevin Slowey was Framed! ~~~ Wikipedia Oh goodness what a gold mine! Apparently he is known as "El Pupo." Fantastic. I love Bernardo Brito. I can't find a translation, but Google Image seems to think it means bellybutton. Is Bernardo Brito "The Bellybutton?" I am so glad I chose him. Brito was born on December 4, 1963 in San Cristobal, Dominican Republic. He made his MLB debut on September 15, 1992. He was known for his power and hit five career home runs. He was an outfielder! He played in Japan after leaving the Twins in 1995 and also played for the Sioux Falls Canaries. His nickname was "The Bellybutton." Baseball Reference Brito was signed out of the Dominican Republic in 1980 and made his debut in 1992. That is wild! Brito is the most fascinating player ever. Brito played 40 games for the Twins spread out over 1992, 1993 and 1995. He hit .219/.237/.466 in those games. His Minor League stats are amazing. He hit 295 career Minor League home runs. He played over 700 AAA games. He had just under 1500 hits in the minors. His 1994 season at AAA: .309/.353/.572, 24 doubles, 29 home runs, 122 RBI. The Bellybutton! Google Well, the third result down is a bit discouraging. Apparently I completely ripped this idea off from RandBall. Great. We've come too far to not proceed; I'll just have to make sure to not completely rip him off. Stu's Hunt Down No! That would be ripping him off. Idiot Back to Google Bernardo Brito E Cunha appears to be a Portuguese writer. Down South America way, I guess. Anyway, he does not seem to be related to our Brito. Here's a great Google Image result of Brito when he was apparently 13 years old: Young Pupo. The card looks to be a million years old, and I really wish I had it. Bing Bing is stupid. Regardless, I'll use it. The Stu's Hunt Down feature is at the bottom of the second page of results, so that's something different. On the fourth page of results, I did find this baseball card on Amazon, which you can buy for just over 7 bucks. It's a great way to commemorate that awesome 1994 season I mentioned earlier. The paid search results seem to be imploring me to "find Bernardo Brito" and "uncover Bernardo Brito", which makes me worried that we have a missing person case on our hands. Probably not the case. eBay Oh man. Did you ever want a really fake looking baseball card AND a signed note card of Bernardo Brito? Here you go! You know this is an authentic autograph because no one would forge a note card. I had a friend write the third verse from Onyx's "Slam" on a note card in 3rd grade and that is the only note card I would take over this Brito autograph. No word on whether or not the note card is GEM MINT 10!!! Facebook Bernardo Brito doesn't have a facebook page that I can find. He doesn't have a fan page yet either. That's garbage. El Pupo needs a fan page. If anyone wants to go ahead and start one, I'll add a link at a later date. Garbage. Twitter Ok, there is definitely a guy named Bernardo Brito on Twitter and he tweets a lot. I don't think it's our man though. I can't read any of it, because I don't speak any languages, but the picture doesn't match and I can see faces. I decided to look for "el pupo brito" and that led me to this man who is arguing that Brito is a better hitter than Albert Pujols and Jose Bautista. Do you want to argue that? El Pupo Brito. RT @Josearmandoacta: Quién es mejor jugador en la actualidad: José Bautista o Albert Pujols? — Carlos Maxwell (@carlosmaxwell) June 29, 2012 There are all kinds of tweets including Brito and other fun baseball players but I can't read any of them because I only took 8 years of Spanish and I'm a fantastic student. YouTube I decided to roll the dice using "el pupo brito" as my search terms on YouTube, but the first result was about Julia Stiles, so I think I failed. I tried everything, you guys. I looked for Brito, Brito plus Twins, Brito plus baseball and there's just nothing. The internet is devoid of Bernardo Brito videos. This video of the will have to suffice. Random Person I sent a text to a friend regarding Brito: Me: Do you remember Bernardo Brito? Friend: Nope Me: Did you know he was nicknamed "El Pupo?" Friend: How would I?Good point. Verdict I say he's forgotten. You can't have an HOF nickname like El Pupo or The Bellybutton, have such a lack of quality internet information and still be remembered. When you throw in his minor league career, Japanese career and huge power, it just feels like there should be more to uncover. Thus, Bernardo Brito goes into the "forgotten" category, joining Pedro Munoz and Freddie Toliver. I also wrote about Brian Harper and Gary Wayne this week. If you click on their names, you can learn a whole lot more about each of them. What is your favorite El Pupo memory? Do you even have one? Click here to view the article
  24. My one resolution for 2014 is to answer more fake questions. If someone (me) is going to go to the trouble of asking a question, the least I can do is answer it. In addition, I'm going to answer the really tough questions that others are too scared to tackle. In fact, 2014 is the year of answering the tough questions. I won't be afraid of what the answers reveal. I intend to get to know myself better through this exercise. It's going to be quite cathartic and important, really. Most important, we need to get off on the right foot with a really important question. What type of food is each Twins player? ~ Brad S., St. Paul, MN We're off! I'll flesh this out in more detail in the future. I might even devote a full post to it and possibly create some stupid photoshops. That said, I'll provide some of the easier answers: Joe Mauer: Wonder Bread. Kind of goes without saying.Brian Dozier: Penne Arrabiata. Spicy, good-looking, complex, yet traditional and non-threatening.Glen Perkins: Tremendous Twelve. Just outstanding, lots of variety, affordable, very filling.Mike Pelfrey: Burnt Popcorn. Some people actually like it; the result of taking too much time.Sam Deduno: McRib. Bounces between available and not available, saucy, incites excitement, makes some people crazy, not really very good.Hi-yo. What do you think the lineup will look like at the beginning of next season? How about 2015? Thanks, I'm a huge fan. ~ Brad S., St. Paul, MN That's a very excellent and timely question. It's possible that the Twins could still add one more position player who could weasel his way into the starting lineup. Of course, I'm not sure the Opening Day lineup will change much, as our current skipper tends to err on the side of sentimentality/tradition. Therefore, here is what I expect in 2014: Alex Presley, CF Brian Dozier, 2B Joe Mauer, 1B (still looks weird) Josh Willingham, LF Oswaldo Arcia, RF Trevor Plouffe, 3B Josmil Pinto, DH Kurt Suzuki, C Pedro Florimon, SS Nothing shocking, and I could see Plouffe hitting ahead of Arcia for those sentimental reasons. Pinto and Suzuki are in the lineup because I think the Twins like Pinto's bat, but won't trust his defense initially. Florimon's there, but I don't think he'll be there for long (more on that later). Presley should hold off Aaron Hicks for a couple months, but I expect Hicks to tear up AAA because I am very irrational about him. As for 2015, I foresee a couple of changes: Aaron Hicks, CF Brian Dozier, 2B Joe Mauer, 1B Oswaldo Arcia, LF Miguel Sano, 3B Josmil Pinto, C Trevor Plouffe, DH Alex Presley, RF Eduardo Escobar, SS Obviously, I prefer Escobar to Florimon, Hicks to Presley and Sano to Plouffe. Unless the Twins sign some free agents, these are the guys who should be on the Opening Day roster in 2015. I believe Sano will be ready but Byron Buxton will be a midseason entry. Sano is a better defender than Plouffe and Hicks has better range than Presley (Hicks has a vastly superior RF arm too, but range > arm). If Eddie Rosario plays like gangbusters upon return from his suspension (and plays in the outfield), he could supplant Presley, but I don't see that happening. Originally posted at Kevin Slowey was Framed! Which player do you want to see more of in '14?~ Brad S., St. Paul, MN Take a look at my starting shortstop in 2015. I want to see much more of Eduardo Escobar next season. In fact, I'm starting "The Eddie 400" and I won't stop writing/talking about it until it is apparent that Escobar has no chance of getting 400 at-bats. I'm not really sure that he's good, but I am quite certain he can hit at least as well as Pedro Florimon. Plus, he's two years younger and might be an even better defender. Even if the Twins are happy with Florimon, I'd love to see Escobar get some starts at 3rd and enhance the team defense. http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-qRLvRxtVGkQ/UsRbLXXnkjI/AAAAAAAABIM/3jIinF24APY/s1600/Eddie400.jpg Next week, I plan to fully outline "The Eddie 400." I'll outline all of the reasons why I'm smitten with Mr. Escobar. I just really hope that someone calls him "Eddie" or this whole thing is quite loony. There are rumors that the Twins are interested in Johan Santana. How does that make you feel? ~ Brad S., St. Paul, MN http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-t1cintWWhpk/UsRbV8m-y9I/AAAAAAAABIU/ipcUiuYdfbs/s320/Ron-Swanson-Dance.gif Don't ruin my New Year, Twins. Make this happen. What is the core of the Twins team? ~ Brad S., St. Paul, MN The core has to contain the players who will lead the team to glory. Guys like Brian Dozier and Glen Perkins are great and nice and super, but they aren't really core players. Dozier is good, but not great. Perkins is great, but fills a role that can be filled much more easily than other roles. So, the Twins core is Joe Mauer, Oswaldo Arcia, Miguel Sano, Bryon Buxton and Alex Meyer. Obviously, only two of those players have MLB experience. There is a lot riding on Buxton, Sano and Meyer. If all three reach their ceilings, the Twins will have an insane core. If two of three pan out, the core will still be great. Perish the thought, but if all three crap out, well...let's just not think that way. That core is excellent, but one more pitcher would be nice. I'm actively wooing Masahiro Tanaka in my weekly POWER RANKINGS. Check out my Ranking's here. Tanaka would be a nice sixth in that core. What's your Pelfrey problem? ~ Brad S., St. Paul, MN Ah, nothing really. He seems very nice and he'll be great at the back of the rotation. Calling him burnt popcorn will be my final jab at Pelfrey. At least until he starts pitching. Then, I might have to start in on him, just to pass the time between pitches. Have a great weekend, everyone! Click here to view the article
  25. Ok, I'm going to need a second. It's just... it's hard to talk about this one. I mean... it's Johan. He was my favorite... PLAYER! BLAHAWAAWA! I'm sorry. I'm sorry! I can't do it! I'M JUST SO UPSET. I MEAN, HE'S JOHAN SANTANA, WHY DID THE TWINS HAVE TO TRADE HIM AWAY?!? ... Download attachment: Santana_Johan_Mets_US_600.jpg YOU'RE CRYING! ... NO! JUST LEAVE ME... I DON'T NEED TO BLOW MY NOSE! OH JOHAN, WHY?!?!? [PRBREAK][/PRBREAK] The Trade: BREAKDOWN! The Minnesota Twins traded Johan Santana to the New York Mets for Carlos Gomez, Philip Humber, Kevin Mulvey and Deolis Guerra. Johan Santana is the greatest. Santana was fantastic for the Mets from 2008-2010. He was robbed of the Cy Young Award in 2008, much like he was robbed in 2005. He should really have four Cy Youngs. Four! There were some signs of decline in 2010 and then he missed all of 2011 with an injury. He returned last season but succumbed to another injury in 2013 and may need to retire at the age of 33. That makes me a sad panda. ~~~ Originally posted at Kevin Slowey was Framed! I also wrote about the Carl Pavano mustache trade earlier this week. You can read it here. ~~~ Carlos Gomez seemed like the kind of guy who might round the bases the wrong way, if you just let him do his thing. He was an exciting player though. He flashed power and speed and was always an excellent defender. Humber and Mulvey were nothing special and have done nothing special. Nope, neither guy has done anything special ever. Especially Humber. Nothing special. Guerra was viewed as the crown jewel of the trade, but has yet to pitch an MLB inning and it is looking more and more like he never will. So, that's all a bummer. How did I feel at the time? Awful. We all knew this trade was coming. In fact, it had been a long time coming. Santana was upset as far back as the second Luis Castillo trade, which was as hard to swallow as the second Bald Bull was to knock down. The rumors had been floating around for such a long time and so many different players were involved that it almost seemed like it would never actually happen. Of course, with Santana's contract running out, time was running out on getting value for one of the best pitchers in Twins' history. I felt awful, but I moved on. But man, sanding that Santana tattoo off of me hurt like crazy. Why make the trade? We all remember this trade and the hoopla vividly, so I'm not going to bombard you with quotes. I did find some good stuff from this ESPN.com article that was written just prior to the trade actually occurring: "If Santana agrees to a deal -- and it is thought he will seek a six-year, $150 million contract -- then he also would have to pass a physical. In return for Santana, the Twins would receive center fielder Carlos Gomez and pitchers Phil Humber, Kevin Mulvey and Deolis Guerra -- a package which some talent evaluators believe could be the fourth-best offer that Minnesota received during this process." In the Wild Card era, the fourth-best team usually makes the playoffs. So there. In reality, the Twins delayed this process so much that some of their Johan suitors dropped out. Which is exactly what you want in a bidding war. Mets third baseman David Wright was ecstatic about Santana possibly joining the team "If it's true, obviously, you're getting arguably the best pitcher in the game," Wright said, according to AP. Is it possible that Bill Smith made this trade entirely with the focus on making David Wright happy? If so, that certainly changes my perception on how successful this trade was. David Wright aside, perhaps the other packages were filled with garbage: In early December, the Yankees had offered a package built around pitcher Phil Hughes and center fielder Melky Cabrera, and the Red Sox talked about two separate deals, one built around left-hander Jon Lester and the other around center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury, with pitcher Justin Masterson and infielder Jed Lowrie prominently involved. Well, I've never heard of any of those players, so clearly this article is stupid. If we're going to be serious, the Twins should have taken the Lester package. He's been up and down, but he is also the closest to Santana that the Twins could have received in return. Hindsight is nice. So is opportunity: With Santana gone, there is a big opening in the Twins' rotation. Francisco Liriano is on track to return after missing last season following elbow surgery, but Carlos Silva signed with Seattle as a free agent, leaving youngsters Scott Baker, Boof Bonser and Kevin Slowey as the starters with the most experience. What we didn't know when this article was written is that the Twins were planning to sign Livan Hernandez to join those studs in the rotation. Of course, that signing directly lead to the Great Chocolate Bunny shortage of 2008, so it wasn't a total win. We've read about how this trade will affect the Twins' rotation, but how will it affect Joe Mauer? "Joe Mauer's job, and my job, just got a lot tougher," backup catcher Mike Redmond said. "We're going to have to work a lot harder to help these guys out the best we can." Upon completing this sentence, Redmond took his pants off, put his cup on his head like a tiny beret and went and took batting practice. Just like he did every day. Analysis Disgruntled superstar trades kind of suck. First, there is a limited market for such a devastating and therefore, expensive player. Second, the other team knows that the trading team is desperate to move the unhappy player and can make low-ball offers. Finally, unhappy players are often unhappy for legitimate reasons. In this case, Santana was upset that the Twins were cheap and only thought of the future. In some ways, he was right, although the Twins did offer him $20 million per season on a couple occasions. Therefore, the player packages were going to be prospect heavy and were going to come from just a few teams. The Yankees had some fun prospects, but apparently none that fully intrigued the Twins. The Red Sox had two elite prospects, but rightfully did not want to part with both. The Dodgers were offering Matt Kemp and Clayton Kershaw, but the Twins passed. That's not true, but I definitely remember it that way and lie to people about it to this day. In the end, the Mets offered three starting pitching prospects, one with very high upside, and an outfielder who could "go get it." The package was reasonable, but the players didn't pan out at all. Very sad. The impact of the trade was felt immediately in 2008 as the Twins lost to the White Sox in Game 163, thus missing the playoffs by one game. You will never convince me that having Santana on that 2008 team wouldn't have added at least one win to the Twins' total. Never! Who won the WAR? Santana with the Mets: 15.2 WAR Gomez with the Twins: 2.6 WAR Mulvey with the Twins: 0.0 WAR Humber with the Twins: -0.1 WAR WAR won by the Mets! One Analogy Summary Say you have a hundred dollars and you want to cut down to smaller bills. One friend is going to give you two fifties. One friend is offering five twenties. Another friend is offering a fifty, a twenty and three tens. One friend is offering you a twenty, a used postage stamp, Kevin Mulvey and some sidewalk chalk. Which deal do you take? And yes, I am aware that Philip Humber pitched a perfect game. I like jokes. Click here to view the article
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