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Ted Schwerzler

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  1. Like
    Ted Schwerzler got a reaction from glunn in Who Can the Twins Deal?   
    Derek Falvey has suggested that the Minnesota Twins plan for 2022 isn’t to rebuild. This team wants to compete, and if that’s the case, they have areas needing to be fixed. They’ll spend, but maybe they need to trade pieces to bridge the gap.
    Coming off a pandemic-shortened 2020, the Twins did a solid job holding serve regarding payroll. While it dropped, it didn’t fall off a cliff. I don’t know where I expect Minnesota to be in terms of dollars this season, but I think we’re in for an offseason that sees some major-league assets moved. If that’s going to be the case, who are the combinations that are defined by value and expendability?
    Max Kepler
    I’m torn on the idea of moving Kepler, given the Twins commitment to getting more out of him. He posted just a .719 OPS this season, and it was a down year. He remains one of the best outfield defenders in baseball, however, and that has significant value. For a guy that plays on the corners, you’d certainly like to see the power production of 2019 return. Given his name was dangled at the deadline, I can’t imagine Minnesota is against the idea of moving him, but it’d need to be a situation where someone is parting with assets based on what they believe Kepler can be rather than what he is currently. Alex Kirilloff can fill some of the gap here, and Trevor Larnach is also an option should the Twins move on.
    Mitch Garver
    After a down year in the shortened 2020 season, Garver has rebounded with a vengeance. Mitch is back to hunting fastballs, and despite some fluke injuries this season, he put up impressive numbers from the minute he got settled in. His final 51 games were played to the tune of a .991 OPS. I’m reluctant to hand the reigns over to Ryan Jeffers full-time, but Garver is the older of the two, and this is a position where Minnesota could exploit the strength and use it to secure pitching help. The Twins don’t have much for a backup option unless they want to go defense only with Ben Rortvedt behind the plate. That said, a veteran backup shouldn’t cost much on the open market, and there’s plenty of names they could chase after. Cody recently did a great breakdown of a partner for Garver.
    Luis Arraez
    Once again near the top of the league in batting average, Luis Arraez continues to be as predictable as they come. 2021 was his first season with an average south of .300, but that’s more related to a late-season slide than it is the body of work. He is always going to hit, there’s not much in terms of speed or pop, and his glove is just ok in the field. What Minnesota has to determine is where Jorge Polanco will play and what they want to do at shortstop. Arraez is either a rotational player with plenty of avenues for playing time, or he’s a luxury that they can parlay into something more necessary. A lot of Arraez’s functionality for this club directly correlates to the build-out of their infield.
    Miguel Sano
    In the final year of his three-year extension, Sano will cost Minnesota just over $9 million this season. He hasn’t lived up to the .923 OPS he posted in 2019, but he has plenty of functionality as a bottom-of-the-order hitter. He’s continued to post OPS+ numbers north of league average, and the power potential was once again evident in a season where he blasted 30 homers. I can’t imagine his value bringing back a whole lot for the Twins, but with the designated hitter expected to be league-wide, there may be more suitors interested in his services. I prefer the Twins don’t utilize a consistent batter as a designated hitter this season, but that’s definitely where Sano is at his best. Rocco Baldelli will also need to balance first base playing time with Alex Kirilloff returning to action.
    Obviously, if the Twins decide against paying Byron Buxton, then he’d likely be on the move as well and bring the greatest return. I can’t see a scenario in which any arms are moved, most notably because of that being Minnesota’s greatest need. Who else could you see as potential interest for another organization?
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  2. Like
    Ted Schwerzler got a reaction from Hosken Bombo Disco in Houston, Does the Central Have a Problem?   
    Each of the past two seasons, the AL Central Division winner has faced the Houston Astros. For the second straight season, Dusty Baker’s club has had the upper hand. Is there more to it than circumstance?
    Last season the Minnesota Twins played Houston in a three-game series and was swept, scoring just two runs in 18 innings of work. The 2020 club wasn’t the 2019 Bomba Squad, but they still won the division over Chicago and Cleveland while playing at a 97-win clip. The Twins looked well-positioned, with Kenta Maeda pitching like a Cy Young and Jose Berrios being a formidable starter in his own right. The lineup was still plenty scary, and distancing themselves from an insufferable Postseason losing streak was no doubt the goal.
    That didn’t happen. Unfortunately, they needed to break in rookie Alex Kirilloff out of necessity, and star third basemen Josh Donaldson couldn’t go. Jorge Polanco made a critical throwing error, and the Twins were done in mainly by their ineffectiveness. This season, they were expected to compete for a third straight division title, but after fumbling out of the gate, the Chicago White Sox represented the Central against the same foe.
    This time around, a Chicago team looked plenty capable of knocking off Houston but yet has thus far suffered the same fate. Lance Lynn and Lucas Giolito should both get Cy Young votes this season. Along with Carlos Rodon, the South Siders have a trio of talented arms. Defense isn’t Tony La Russa’s club’s calling card, but the lineup is plenty potent. With Eloy Jimenez and Luis Robert back, Jose Abreu and Yasmani Grandal get help with the heavy lifting.
    It shouldn’t have been expected to go this way, but now down 2-0, Chicago is backed up against the wall. They won’t have a pitching advantage in game three but will get the game back at home. Barring a miraculous three-in-a-row run, the Central division winner will bow out quickly for the second year in a row.
    I’ve seen it suggested that the White Sox, and probably Minnesota last season, are just division-winning good. The AL Central was expected to be down this year, and given the Twins performance, it wasn’t as top-heavy as expected, but it’s hardly the doldrums of baseball. No team in the Central lost 90 games, the Royals got off to a strong start, and the Tigers finished playing good baseball. While the group as a whole didn’t have a herculean frontrunner, there’s no denying it played competitive baseball on a nightly basis.
    Suggesting that the White Sox weren’t in the same tier as Houston falls on deaf ears for this writer. The lineup, rotation, and pieces of the pen can compete with anyone. I think the Astros are being slept on some as they look to fly under the radar following the fallout of their cheating scandal. What takes place in a five-game series doesn’t define the body of work necessary to reach this point. Chicago dealt with some of the most crippling injuries this season and still ripped off 93 wins. Minnesota battled through a weird year a season ago and lost two in a row at the wrong time.
    Houston is good, the Central is OK, and the only problem may be Chicago returning this core next season. The Twins, and everyone else, are on notice.
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  3. Like
    Ted Schwerzler got a reaction from Brandon in Who Can the Twins Deal?   
    The Twins need pitching. Anyone of value should be kept.
  4. Like
    Ted Schwerzler got a reaction from Tim in Who Can the Twins Deal?   
    The Twins need pitching. Anyone of value should be kept.
  5. Haha
    Ted Schwerzler reacted to TwinsDr2021 in What Happens to the Twins Emerging Star?   
    So am I understanding correctly, The Twins should trade a 3B with a 3.2 WAR in in 132 games, and 3.6 in 160 games and eat millions and millions of dollars , for salary relief and hand a spot to rookie 3B?
     
     
  6. Like
    Ted Schwerzler reacted to Nashvilletwin in What Happens to the Twins Emerging Star?   
    Ted - I think you nailed all the issues. I’ll go first. 

    The 2022 Twins are a going to be about the future - not the present. The team is not likely to be in the position to realistically compete given the projected staff and ownership’s probable (and justifiable) reluctance to go all in again (particularly after possibly losing a boatload of cash over the past two years). 
    Consequently, Josh should be moved for whatever salary relief we can get. I liked the move when we signed him, but the window that made that deal a decent bet has closed. Use the savings to redeploy into singing Buxton, a new SS and pitching (I’d add Kepler to the move list too with the same target use of proceeds)
    Miranda plays 3B, Polanco 2B, Kiriloff 1B and Sano is DH. Luis plays LF and Larnach is RF. The new SS and Buxton provide strong defensive chops up the middle. Resign Pineda (to a lumber deal between a 2x4 and 2x6). Let the young guys start and build a shutdown pen. That team could play competitive ball, be within realistic payroll expectations, and build for the start of a new window in 2023. 
     

     
     
     
  7. Like
    Ted Schwerzler reacted to Omgbenji in Twins Minor League Report (9/22): Game Twos and an 0-fer   
    Joe Ryan, what a damn stud. I hope this trade works out for both parties, but it seems to be showing some early excellent returns for us!
  8. Like
    Ted Schwerzler reacted to ashbury in Twins Minor League Report (9/22): Game Twos and an 0-fer   
    I clicked Like even though I didn't like any of these outcomes.  Please bring us better news next time.
  9. Like
    Ted Schwerzler got a reaction from ashbury in Twins Minor League Report (9/22): Game Twos and an 0-fer   
    It was an 0-fer on the farm for Twins affiliates tonight, and while Joe Ryan dazzled in the big leagues, prospect production was in short supply.
    SAINTS SENTINEL
    Iowa 4, St. Paul 1
    Box Score
    Entering their final stretch of games on a balmy evening, the Saints grounds crew busted out some new field artwork. David Youngs recently wrote up a great piece on the guys the get things ready in St. Paul.
    Derek Law made the start tonight for St. Paul but unfortunately recorded just two outs before being lifted. He gave up a run on one hit and two walks while striking out one. Former Twins outfielder Ian Miller scored the run on a 1st inning wild pitch.
    After a three-run blast in the 2nd inning put Iowa up by four, it was on the Saints to chip away. Ben Rortvedt came through with the first tally for St. Paul on a 6th inning single that scored Tomas Telis.
    Despite out hitting Iowa 6-to-5, St. Paul couldn’t push across another run. Jose Miranda continued his great season with a two-hit night after signing autographs on the off day. He was the long batter to record a multi-hit effort.
    WIND SURGE WISDOM
    Game 2: NW Arkansas 5, Wichita 1
    Box Score
    After the Wind Surge dropped game one of the series with Jordan Balazovic on the mound, Cole Sands took the ball in game two. Wichita’s starter went five innings allowing five runs on seven hits while walking one and striking out four. The bullpen did their job blanking the Naturals over the next three innings, but the Wind Surge were able to generate just one run off of their seven hits.
    Giving up three runs in the 4th inning, Wichita needed to rebound fast. D.J. Burt scored Aaron Whitefield with a sacrifice fly in the 5th inning to trim the deficit, but that was the lone run production available on the evening. Catcher Chris Williams kept the base paths in order for Wichita all night. Nabbing three would-be base stealers, he shut the Naturals running game down.
    As Northwest Arkansas tacked on, the Wind Surge saw their hill to climb steepen, and they’ll now face the test of winning three straight should they want to capture a title. Austin Martin and Jermaine Palacios both had two-hit nights for Wichita. The Wind Surge didn’t have anyone record an extra-base hit in this one.
    KERNELS NUGGETS
    Game 2: Quad Cities 6, Cedar Rapids 0
    Box Score
    Jumping out to a 1-0 series lead last night, Cedar Rapids turned to Sean Mooney for game two. He went three innings allowing three earned runs on three hits. Mooney did fan six while allowing just a single free pass. Two long balls are what did him in for an early exit.
    The River Bandits scored first on a two-run blast in the 1st inning, and they added on with a solo shot in the third. Another run crossed in the 4th inning before a pair were plated in the 7th inning.
    Cedar Rapids was held to just three hits in the contest, and DaShawn Keirsey was responsible for two of them. The Kernels didn’t have a player reach third base, and Michael Helman was the lone player to touch second after his single was followed by an Aaron Sabato walk.
    TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY
    Pitcher of the Day - Joe Ryan (Minnesota) - 5.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, BB, 11 K
    Hitter of the Day - Jose Miranda (St. Paul) - 2-4
    PROSPECT SUMMARY
    #2 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 2-5, K
    #6 - Jose Miranda (St. Paul) - 2-4
    #7 - Joe Ryan (Minnesota) - 5.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, BB, 11 K
    #12 - Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) - 0-3, 2K
    #13 - Gilberto Celestino (St. Paul) - 1-2, BB
    #16 - Brent Rooker (Minnesota) - 0-3
    #19 - Cole Sands (Wichita) - 5.0 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 1 BB, 4 K
    #20 - Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 0-4, 2 K
    THURSDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS
    Iowa @ St. Paul (7:05 PM CST) - RHP Bryan Sammons (1-3, 6.50 ERA)
    NW Arkansas @ Wichita (7:05 PM CST) - RHP Austin Schulfer (0-0, 0.00 ERA)
    Cedar Rapids @ Quad Cities (6:30 PM CST) - RHP Casey Legumina (0-0, 0.00 ERA)
    Please feel free to ask questions and discuss the playoff games from Wednesday!

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  10. Like
    Ted Schwerzler got a reaction from glunn in Twins Minor League Report (9/8): Homers and Hits Abound   
    Between the blasts for St. Paul and Cedar Rapids and Noah Miller’s near cycle down in the Complex League, there was plenty of offense to go around this afternoon in the Twins system. It’s not often a two home run game gets outdone, but here we are.
    TRANSACTIONS
    None reported SAINTS SENTINEL
    St. Paul 17, Omaha 3
    Box Score
    It was Drew Strotman’s turn today for the Saints, and he danced around a good Omaha lineup. Working 5 1/3 innings, Strotman picked up six punch outs while allowing three runs on four hits and three walks. Uber-prospect Bobby Witt Jr. tagged him for a solo shot that never left the park. The Saints provided him with plenty of offensive support. 
    Looking to make up for the inside-the-park homer from Witt Jr., St. Paul answered quickly. Jose Miranda recorded his 18th double to drive in Sherman Johnson, and Tomas Telis then lifted a two-run blast over the left-center field wall.
    Tied up after the top half of the 4th inning, the Saints took the lead again in the bottom half. Drew Maggi hit his 15th homer of the year before David Banuelos recorded his first for St. Paul. Up 5-3 in the 7th inning, B.J. Boyd recorded his first double with the club and scored Mark Contreras on the play. After a bases loaded walk allowed Gilberto Celestino to score, Banuelos crushed his second home run of the day. A grand slam put the Saints up 11-3 and this one was way out of reach.
    In the bottom of the eighth, the Saints scored six more runs. JT Riddle hit the team's second grand slam of the game, and Jose Miranda followed with a solo shot, his 13th with the Saints. 
    Banuelos went 3-for-5 with his first two Saints homers, three runs scored and six RBI. Drew Maggi went 3-for-4 with a walk and his 15th homer of the season. Miranda went 3-for-6. Tomas Telis, Mark Contreras and BJ Boyd each had two hits. Sherman Johnson walked four times in this contest. 
    Strotman got his first Win with the Saints. Chris Nunn recorded the next four outs. Nick Vincent got the final out of the seventh inning. Chandler Shepherd pitched the eighth and ninth innings. 
    WIND SURGE WISDOM
    NW Arkansas 1, Wichita 0
    Box Score
    Austin Schulfer shoved tonight for the Wind Surge. Yes, he lacked command, but he went 4 1/3 innings giving up just two hits and working around five free passes. Schulfer also recorded six strikeouts before turning the ball over to Ben Gross. Gross then put in solid work of his own going 3 2/3 innings allowing just a single run on five hits while walking two and fanning three.
    Despite combining for 13 hits, these two teams plated just one run. An 8th inning single for the opposition put Wichita behind and that was enough to do them in for the evening. 
    Roy Morales recorded three hits while D.J. Burt had two of his own. Jordan Gore worked a scoreless 9th inning but the offense remained dormant and Wichita wound up being shut out on the evening.
    KERNELS NUGGETS
    Cedar Rapids 11, Wisconsin 5
    Box Score
    Cody Lawyerson was on the bump for Cedar Rapids in today’s matinee and worked six strong. He was dominant, striking out nine and walking just two while allowing only three hits.
    The Kernels have a thing for threes in today’s tilt. Putting up the first runs of the game, it was a three-spot in the third inning. Edouard Julien lifted his 11th homer to driver in Daniel Ozoria, and Michael Helman made it back-to-back jacks with his 18th. Then in the fourth inning it was again a three spot started by a Julien walk with the bases loaded. Helman ripped a single to center plating both DaShawn Keirsey and Ozoria on the play.
    As had been the case all afternoon the 6th inning featured another three-spot. Last night’s hero Matt Wallner drove in Julien on a single before Alex Isola hit his 14th dinger to also bring home Wallner.
    Giving up five runs across the 7th and 8th innings, Cedar Rapids looked to grab some extra breathing room. Wallner homered for the second straight game, his 13th on the season, and Seth Gray drove in Yunior Severino to push the final tally up to 11-5.
    Wallner and Gray both had three hits on the afternoon with Helman adding two of his own.
    Following Laweryson was Derek Molina who gave up one run in the seventh inning. Stephen Cruz came in for his High-A debut in the eighth frame. He gave up four runs (3 earned) on two hits and two walks. He recorded just one out, but it was on a strikeout. Melvi Acosta came on and got the final five outs. 
    MUSSEL MATTERS
    Fort Myers 3, Palm Beach 2 (Susp B/4)
    Box Score
    John Stankiewicz was tonight's starter as he celebrated his 23rd birthday. Working through four innings, he allowed just two runs on five hits and two walks. Stankiewicz also struck out four. Despite being at just 69 pitches, his night was done in by rain with the game being suspended in the 4th inning.
    Fort Myers scored first tallying a run on a Kyler Fedko walk with the bases loaded in the 1st inning. After giving the run back in the 2nd inning, Alerick Soularie reached on an error that allowed Mike Perez to scamper home. Again tied after the top half of the 4th inning, Perez drove in Willie Joe Garry in the bottom half to retake the lead for the Mighty Mussels.
    The clubs will finish this one out tomorrow evening.
    COMPLEX CHRONICLES
    FCL Orioles Orange 15, FCL Twins 8
    Box Score
     
    If you’re a fan of offensive outputs then this one was for you. A makeup of a previously postponed contest, the Twins and Orioles complex clubs combined for 23 runs on 25 hits. It was also a rather sloppy affair with both teams adding to the eight total errors on the day.
    After a starter Juan Mendez was able to record just a single out before giving up four runs, Cole Bellair worked 4 ⅓ innings. He was tagged for seven runs, but just one of them was of the earned variety. His eight strikeouts looked very nice up against just one walk. Ricardo Velez gave up one run over 2 1/3 innings of relief. Rafael Feliz gave up three runs over the final two innings. 
    Down 8-1 after the 3rd inning, this one got out of hand early. The Twins did combine for seven runs the rest of the way, including a four-run effort in the bottom of the 9th inning. 2021 draftee Noah Miller was the star of the show with a 5-for-5 effort where he finished just a double shy of the cycle. Malfrin Sosa (three hits) and Luis Baez (two hits) joined Miller with multi-hit efforts of their own.
    TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY
    Pitcher of the Day - Cody Lawyerson (Cedar Rapids) - 6.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 9 K
    Hitter of the Day - Noah Miller (Complex) - 5-5, 3B, HR(2), R, 5 RBI
    PROSPECT SUMMARY
    #1 - Royce Lewis (rehab) - Out for season (torn ACL)
    #2 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 0-3, K
    #3 - Jordan Balazovic (Wichita) - Did not pitch
    #4 - Simeon Woods Richardson (Wichita) - Did not pitch
    #5 - Jhoan Duran (St. Paul) - Injured List (elbow strain)
    #6 - Jose Miranda (St. Paul) - 3-6, 2B (18), HR (13), 2 R, 2 RBI, K
    #7 - Joe Ryan (Minnesota) - 7.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 K
    #8 - Matt Canterino (Cedar Rapids) - Injured List (right elbow strain)
    #9 - Chase Petty (Complex) - Did not pitch
    #10 - Keoni Cavaco (Fort Myers) - Did not play
    #11 - Josh Winder (St. Paul) - Injured List (right shoulder impingement)
    #12 - Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) - 3-5, 2 R, 2 RBI, 2B, HR(13), 2 K
    #13 - Gilberto Celestino (St. Paul) - 1-2, 2 BB
    #14 - Drew Strotman (St. Paul) - 5.1 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 6 K
    #15 - Noah Miller (Complex) - 5-5, 3B, HR(2), R, 5 RBI
    #16 - Brent Rooker (Minnesota) - Did not play
    #17 - Blayne Enlow (Cedar Rapids) - Out for season (Tommy John surgery)
    #18 - Misael Urbina (Fort Myers) - 2-2
    #19 - Cole Sands (Wichita) - Did not pitch
    #20 - Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 0-3, K, BB
    THURSDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS
    Omaha @ St. Paul (7:05 PM CST) - RHP Beau Burrows (2-4, 6.20 ERA)
    NW Arkansas @ Wichita (7:05 PM CST) - RHP Simeon Woods-Richardson (0-0, 0.00 ERA)
    Cedar Rapids @ Wisconsin (6:35 PM CST) - RHP Louie Varland (5-1, 1.85 ERA)
    Palm Beach @ Fort Myers (6:00 PM CST) - RHP Casey Legumina (3-2, 3.23 ERA)
    Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Wednesday’s games

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  11. Like
    Ted Schwerzler got a reaction from roger in Twins Minor League Report (9/8): Homers and Hits Abound   
    Where is he going to play right now for the Twins with Donaldson, Arraez, and Polanco in the mix?
  12. Like
    Ted Schwerzler reacted to roger in Twins Minor League Report (9/8): Homers and Hits Abound   
    What a game for Miller.  After watching the putrid numbers for several years from Javier and Cavaco, sure is great having a top draft pick shortstop who is actually getting some results.
  13. Like
    Ted Schwerzler reacted to Karbo in Naming the Twins 2022 Opening Day Starter   
    I have to say the odds are 99.9% that the opening day starter isn't on our current roster. FO will need to sign at least 2 Starters.
  14. Like
    Ted Schwerzler reacted to Brock Beauchamp in Century Old Baseball Hobby in Jeopardy?   
    Nailed it, this world is all about verticality and it's not good for consumers because we're ultimately left with 1-3 choices and none of them fit our particular preference.
  15. Like
    Ted Schwerzler reacted to Sousy in Century Old Baseball Hobby in Jeopardy?   
    I watch this market through the eyes of my ten year old that really likes the idea of cards, but there are big parts of the market that exceed a ten year old’s budget.
    I’m not sure what to think about cards in that context - there is not the ubiquity there once was, and it’s interesting that cards become a digital currency in games like MLB The Show. What is probably my biggest concern is all of this concentration of brands under the umbrella of the Fanatics company. They already seem to control much of the merchandising and all of the online presence of MLB and others; it’s not the best experience for fans and seemingly not for teams. The Twins online store is a Fanatics site that has far fewer products available than you can find in person at Target Field for instance - and that retail arm of the Twins has no online presence.
    I’m curious what that experience will translate to for card collectors. I’m not confident that a one source for all things baseball will be a good thing.
  16. Like
    Ted Schwerzler reacted to mikelink45 in Century Old Baseball Hobby in Jeopardy?   
    It is sad and I am sorry to see this move.  I loved my cards as a child and adult.  Topps was tops and I liked it when Upper Deck pushed the envelop, but this just pushes cards to a new level that I do not want to be part of. 
  17. Like
    Ted Schwerzler reacted to bean5302 in Century Old Baseball Hobby in Jeopardy?   
    I haven't been interested at all in baseball cards since I was a kid. I do find the single licensee platform to be the way the major sports, ultra especially, MLB have operated. It seems to me, this is just more of the same MLB policy. Short term gains without any vision at all costs.
    There has been a magnificent decline in baseball card brands over the past couple of decades.
    https://www.bbonly.com/baseball-cards-by-year-and-brand.php
    2008 - 49 brands 2009 - 36 brands 2010 - 19 brands 2011 - 16 brands 2012 - 12 brands 2015 - 11 brands 2017 - 17 brands 2018 - 19 brands 2019 - 13 brands 2020 - 9 brands 2021 - 2 brands We've seen the same move in regards to television, etc. It's not without similarities across other sports or product lines, either. With the decline in market competition, gaining sole access to an entire marketplace (monopoly) has been pursued at length. Apple's iPhone was originally exclusive to AT&T and Palm's Pre was exclusive to Sprint, for example. The big names no longer do this as it's proven to be a disaster, but I suppose MLB's ability to offer a double monopoly (product market and product together) is enticing. Kinda like cable companies owning not only the lines that go to your house, but also the content you receive. 
  18. Like
    Ted Schwerzler got a reaction from glunn in Century Old Baseball Hobby in Jeopardy?   
    If you haven’t seen the news in recent weeks, retail-giant Fanatics has made massive waves in the card collecting world, and while we’re still sorting through the details, change is coming.
    A couple of weeks ago, it was announced that Fanatics would become the exclusive licensee for baseball cards. It wasn’t there where things stopped, though. The NBA and NFL also joined in the venture. That means over the next few years, it will no longer be Topps or Panini that produces sports cards, but instead this new brand entering into a completely new venture.

    Specifically looking at baseball, Topps is the only player to be considered. Their current deal with Major League Baseball runs through 2025, but the license with the MLB Players Association expires following the 2022 season. Whereas Panini can produce unlicensed cards with big-league players, Topps would no longer have rights to major leaguers for their cards. The lone SKU they’d be able to make in 2023 would be the Bowman line featuring minor leaguers.

    The blow to Topps is substantial, and the impending public merger with Mudrick Capital was called off following the news. Also notably, Alex Rodriguez’s intentions to buy Topps’ competitor Panini were also called off. For the New York-based card company, the exit from MLB leaves Topps holding only soccer as their notable sport-based license.

    Rob Manfred is looking out for the almighty dollar here. Fanatics' purchase price is reportedly ten times larger than any previous deal agreed to by the union. It also directly benefits Major League Baseball and those within the MLBPA. The league owns equity in Fanatics and effectively allows all parties to further capitalize from one another.

    A recent report from CNBC suggests that Fanatics' interests span far more than just cardboard. The retail giant is looking to create a whole new pillar within its company. From grading to selling, the company wants to have avenues for every aspect of the lifecycle of card collecting. Based on the report, it appears that the new giant entrant will explore any potential opportunity within the hobby.
    The rub is that Fanatics and the leagues themselves seem to be betting on the popularity and collectibility residing with the product rather than the brand. Topps and Panini have done themselves no favors over the years. Poor customer service, slow redemption turnarounds, and dated websites are just touching the surface of current problems. What they do have, however, is an established identity. Topps is celebrating 70 years of baseball cards this season, and the iconic offerings being paid handsomely for are as much because of the subject as they are the established desire rooted in the brand.

    Vintage cards have soared due to their scarcity. Key rookies have experienced a boom because of the sets Topps included them in. Lesser competitors such as Leaf and Onyx have seen little success in driving desire to the same levels despite similar subjects and chase offerings. Fanatics will have to buck that trend.

    We’re still months, and potentially years, from understanding how this all will look. For the sake of Topps and Panini, being bought and allowing their brands to be used under the Fanatics umbrella seems like a promising avenue to pursue. Maybe that’s not one the new head honcho will be agreeable to. I find it hard to get excited about an entirely new offering from my collecting seat, no matter how much of a draw the shiny feeling may bring. Topps is iconic with baseball cards, and while I enjoy the hobby, it’s an unnecessary venture into disposable income.

    Years down the road, some may consider this era vintage, so maybe I just shifted my focus. I’d love to be surprised by Fanatics and find myself drawn in, but for now, I’m more than comfortable sitting on the sidelines and working through the bewilderment of what just took place.
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  19. Like
    Ted Schwerzler got a reaction from glunn in Minor League Report (8/31): Wichita Whacks, Louie Lights it Up   
    For both Wichita and Cedar Rapids the scoring was the highlight tonight, but that’s not to overshadow a strong pitching performance and a rout led by the bats down in the complex league.
    TRANSACTIONS:
    The Twins traded Saints LH RP Andrew Vasquez to the Dodgers for minor league catcher Stevie Berman.  RHP Jason Garcia promoted from Double-A to St. Paul C Kyle Schmidt promoted from High-A to St. Paul RHP Ben Gross promoted from High-A to Wichita IF Andrew Bechtold placed on 7-day IL SAINTS SENTINEL
    Postponed (Rain)
    WIND SURGE WISDOM
    Wind Surge 10, Travelers 3
    Box Score
    Twins pitching prospect Jordan Balazovic threw tonight for the Wind Surge, and it was a bit of a mixed bag. He gave up nine hits in just 4 2/3 innings, but he also limited the damage to just three runs (two earned) while walking two and striking out three. Hardly dominant, but he did work around danger.
    After getting down in the 1st inning, Wichita took the lead in the 4th inning and never looked back. Leobaldo Cabrera tallied his fifth double of the season scoring Austin Martin and Roy Morales. D.J. Burt then singled to drive in Trey Cabbage and Cabrera, doubling the tally to four.
    Arkansas made noise in the 5th inning, but Jermaine Palacios lifted his 19th homer of the year in the top of the 6th inning to make it a 5-3 lead. Aaron Whitefield then singled in the 7th inning scoring Burt and extending the lead before Cabrera, Burt, and Whitefield drove in runs on a trio of singles in the 8th inning.
    Palacios pushed across Wichita’s 10th run scoring Cabbage in the 9th on a single, and the 17 hits for the Wind Surge resulted in double-digit runs. Arkansas used a 9th inning grand slam in an effort to make things interesting, but the 10-7 score held strong.
    Morales and Burt both recorded three hits on the evening, while Palacios picked up a four-hit effort. Cabbage, Cabrera, and Whitefield all had two-hit nights for Wichita in the rout.
    KERNELS NUGGETS
    Kernels 12, River Bandits 2
    Box Score
    It was a Louie Varland start tonight for the Kernels, and that’s good news when you’re looking for a win. The righty went five strong innings and allowed just one run on three hits. He struck out eight and worked around three walks. His ERA drops to 1.85 since the promotion to High-A Cedar Rapids.
    Cedar Rapids gave up the first run tonight on a 4th inning single, but they quickly erased the deficit with a crooked number in the bottom half. Aaron Sabato recorded his third Kernels double to score Alex Isola before a Michael Helman single plated Matt Wallner. Wander Javier then grounded into a fielder’s choice that featured a Quad Cities throwing error, and Sabato was able to scamper home. Before the inning ended, Seth Gray hit a two-run single driving in both Helman and Javier.
    Tacking on in a big way again, it was a seven-spot in the 6th inning for the home team. Javier’s 14th double drove in Helman before a Gray single brought Wander across the plate. Edouard Julien crushed his ninth dinger with the Kernels, a three-run blast, making it 10-1. Isola followed up with a solo shot of his own, his 12th of the year, and Helman picked up another RBI on a single to score Wallner.
    With 12 hits recorded by the Kernels tonight, there was a trio of hitters putting up multi-hit efforts. Isola and Gray both recorded two while Michael Helman went 3-for-5 on the evening.
    MUSSEL MATTERS
    Tortugas 9, Mussels 1
    Box Score
    A.J. Labas made his first start for the Mighty Mussels tonight, just his second appearance for the club. The recently-signed righty from LSU recorded just two outs, however, and gave up five runs on six hits while both walking and striking out a single batter.
    After the Tortugas put up a five spot in the home half of the 1st inning, Fort Myers was going to be up against it all night. Daytona added another run in the 2nd inning and then two more in the 4th inning. Trailing 8-0, the Mussels needed a response.
    Christian Encarnacion-Strand provided the first offense for Fort Myers. His 7th inning single scored Will Holland and they finally found themselves with a tally in the run column.
    Encarnacion-Strand compiled two hits on the evening and was joined with that designation by Jake Rucker. 
    COMPLEX CHRONICLES
    FCL Twins 15, FCL Orioles Orange 2
    Box Score
    Niklas Rimmel took the ball for the Twins FCL squad today and worked two innings giving up a single run on two hits. Brandon Koch started his rehab stint and came on in relief punching out two. Juan Mendez worked three innings and earned his second win of the season.
    DaShawn Keirsey also kicked off his rehab while leading off. He went 1-for-3 with two runs scored before being lifted. Three runs crossed in the first as Noah Miller roped his third double of the season to score Keirsey. A Rubel Cespedes single then scored both Emmanuel Rodriguez and Kala’i Rosario.
    Entering the 4th inning leading 4-1, the Twins added in some less conventional ways. Miller and Rodriguez both drew RBI on bases loaded hit by pitches and then Keirsey scored on a wild pitch with the bases still chucked. Leading 7-1, Rosario drove in another on a ground out, and it wasn’t until a Carlos Aguiar single that a run scored on a hit.
    Another goofy run scored in the 7th inning when Rodriguez came home on an Orioles balk. The tally stood at 11-2 going into the 9th inning. Because this one wasn’t enough of a laugher yet, Aguiar crushed a grand slam that pushed the final total to 15-2.
    TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY
    Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Louie Varland (Cedar Rapids) - 5.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 8 K
    Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Jermaine Palacios (Wichita) - 4-5, 2 R, 2 RBI, BB, HR(19)
    PROSPECT SUMMARY
    Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Top 20 Twins Prospects performed:
    #1 – Royce Lewis (Rehab) - Out for season (torn ACL)
    #2 – Austin Martin (Wichita) - 0-4, R, BB, K
    #3 – Jordan Balazovic (Wichita) - 4.2 IP, 9 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 3 K
    #4 – Simeon Woods Richardson (Wichita) - Did not pitch
    #5 – Jhoan Duran (St. Paul) - Injured List (Right Elbow Strain)
    #6 – Jose Miranda (St. Paul) - No game
    #7 – Joe Ryan (St. Paul) - Did not pitch
    #8 – Matt Canterino (Cedar Rapids) - Injured List (Right Elbow Strain)
    #9 – Chase Petty (Complex) - Did not pitch
    #10 – Keoni Cavaco (Fort Myers) - 0-3, BB, 3 K
    #11 – Josh Winder (St. Paul) - Injured List (Right Shoulder Impingement)
    #12 – Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) - 1-3, 2 R, 2B, BB, 2 K
    #13 – Gilberto Celestino (St. Paul) - No game
    #14 – Drew Strotman (St. Paul) - No game
    #15 – Noah Miller (FCL Twins) - 2-4, 2 R, RBI, 2B, BB
    #16 – Brent Rooker (Minnesota) - 1-2, K
    #17 – Blayne Enlow (Cedar Rapids) - Out for Season (Tommy John surgery)
    #18 – Misael Urbina (Fort Myers) - 0-2, 2 BB, K
    #19 – Cole Sands (Wichita) - Did not pitch
    #20 – Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 1-4, BB, 2
    TRANSACTIONS
    RHP Miguel Rodriguez reinstated from 7-day IL at A Fort Myers
    RHP Ramon Pineda transferred from FCL Twins to A Fort Myers
      Saints Sentinel
    St. Paul 9, Toledo 9 (Paused game)
    Box Score
    Drew Strotman: 2 2/3 IP, 3 H, 6 ER, 6 BB, 2 K
    HR: None
    Multi-hit games: 
    Well, I had a write-up here, but apparently the game ran so late that it was paused due to a curfew. I'll leave the box score link so that people can check it out as they please, but know that the game is not technically finished. Also know that this is the first time I have ever seen something like this happen in a minor league game. Weird stuff.
    Wind Surge Wisdom
    Wichita 13, Tulsa 4
    Box Score
    Cole Sands: 3 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 3 K
    HR: Leobaldo Cabrera (8), Andrew Bechtold (16), Austin Martin (2), Spencer Steer (13)
    Multi-hit games: Spencer Steer (2-for-4, HR, 2B, 4 R, 2 RBI, BB), Austin Martin (3-for-5, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI), 
      Wichita gave Tulsa the business on Saturday.
    ...Oh, I need to say more? (Editor's Note: Yes, please.)
    Here are a few questions: Is it a good thing when eight out of nine of your batters get a hit? Is it a good thing when six different hitters earn an RBI? Is it a good thing when your 1-2 hitters combine for six runs? I’m not a baseball expert, but I tend to think that the answer to all of those questions is yes.
    Tulsa actually had the first lead of the game but a homer by Leobaldo Cabrera put the lead firmly in Wichita’s grasp. They would not let go. With five runs already on the board, Andrew Bechtold demolished a three-run homerun to make it a cruel seven-run lead. With a nine-run lead, Austin Martin clobbered a homer to make it an evil 11-run lead. Finally, with 12 runs on the board, Spencer Steer obliterated a solo shot to add a cherry on top of this battered cake. Tulsa actually out-hit the Wind Surge on Saturday which is objectively hilarious. 
    Cabrera:
    Bechtold:
      Martin:
      Steer:
      Cole Sands allowed only one run over three innings but was inefficient as he tossed 80 pitches in order to do so. From there the combination of Kody Funderburk, Zach Neff, and Hector Lujan took Wichita to the finish line on Saturday.
      Kernels Nuggets
    Cedar Rapids 1, Beloit 6
    Box Score
    Ben Gross: 5 IP, 10 H, 6 ER, 0 BB, 8 K
    HR: None
    Multi-hit games: Daniel Ozoria (2-for-3, RBI)
    Cedar Rapids had the lone offensive dud on Saturday.
    Ben Gross brought the strikeouts, but the Snappers proved resilient, and dropped 10 hits on the starter. It was an all-or-nothing approach that netted Beloit six extra-base hits off of Gross en route to a lead that would never really be challenged.
    The lone Kernels run came thanks to a Daniel Ozoria infield single in the 5th inning. The team put together just six hits on the night, but oddly enough, three of those hits were doubles. 
    In another odd turn, both teams had matching one walk, 14 strikeout performances by their respective pitching staffs (and lineups, technically). But, Beloit bunching their extra-base hits proved to be a wise strategy as they easily beat Cedar Rapids on Saturday.
    Mussel Matters
    Fort Myers 6, Bradenton 8 
    Box Score
    Miguel Rodriguez: 1 IP, 4 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 0 K
    HR: Jesus Feliz (7)
    Multi-hit games: Jake Rucker (2-for-5, 3 R), Will Holland (3-for-4, 2B, R, RBI)
      Fort Myers was unable to recover from a 4-0 deficit on Saturday.
    Starter Miguel Rodriguez had one to forget. The righty was activated just before the game and more than a bit rusty on Saturday. Allowing three walks over just a single inning more or less speaks for itself. Let’s hope that Rodriguez can get back on the horse the next time he’s called upon.
    To their credit, the Mighty Mussels did not lie down and let the Marauders win this game without a fight. They were down by a score of 7-1 before a burning offensive spirit took hold across the dugout. 
    Jesus Feliz kicked off the rebuttal with a solo homer in the 7th while Will Holland doubled home a run later in the inning. This would be just the first attack. Kyler Fedko unloaded the bases in the 8th with a double that was followed by the classic double error on the part of the Marauders. Unfortunately, the fight would end there. Bradenton plated one more run in the 9th, and Fort Myers fell narrowly short of a victory.
    Casey Legumina provided a strong effort in the loss. He was able to siphon off the bleeding over five strong innings of one-run ball in relief of Rodriguez.
    Complex Chronicles
    The FCL Twins game was suspended in the 8th inning on Saturday. Nash will have the update for you on this game when it is completed on Sunday.
    TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY
    Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Casey Legumina
    Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Spencer Steer 
      PROSPECT SUMMARY
    Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Top 20 Twins Prospects performed:
    #1 – Royce Lewis (Rehab) - Out for season (torn ACL)
    #2 – Austin Martin (Wichita) - 3-5, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI, K
    #3 – Jordan Balazovic (Wichita) - Did not pitch
    #4 – Simeon Woods Richardson (Wichita) - Did not pitch
    #5 – Jhoan Duran (St. Paul) - Injured List (Right Elbow Strain)
    #6 – Jose Miranda (St. Paul) - Suspended game
    #7 – Joe Ryan (St. Paul) - Did not pitch
    #8 – Matt Canterino (Cedar Rapids) - Injured List (Right Elbow Strain)
    #9 – Chase Petty (Complex) - 
    #10 – Keoni Cavaco (Fort Myers) - Did not play
    #11 – Josh Winder (St. Paul) - Injured List (Right Shoulder Impingement)
    #12 – Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) - Did not play
    #13 – Gilberto Celestino (St. Paul) - Suspended game
    #14 – Drew Strotman (St. Paul) - 2 2/3 IP, 3 H, 6 ER, 6 BB, 2 K
    #15 – Noah Miller (FCL Twins) - 1-3, RBI, BB, 2 K
    #16 – Brent Rooker (Minnesota) - 0-1, R, BB, K
    #17 – Blayne Enlow (Cedar Rapids) - Out for Season (Tommy John surgery)
    #18 – Misael Urbina (Fort Myers) - 1-3, 2 BB
    #19 – Cole Sands (Wichita) - 3 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 3 K
    #20 – Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 2-4, HR, 2B, 4 R, 2 RBI, BB
    WEDNESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS
    St. Paul @ Columbus (5:15CT PM) RHP Bryan Sammons (0-2, 5.86 ERA)
    Wichita @ Arkansas (7:10CT PM) TBD
    Quad Cities @ Cedar Rapids (6:35CT PM) RHP Sawyer Gipson-Long (2-1, 2.12 ERA)
    Fort Myers @ Daytona (6:05CT PM) RHP Matthew Swain (6-2, 4.99 ERA)
    If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to ask below. 

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  20. Like
    Ted Schwerzler got a reaction from wabene in Buck Can Bankroll His Future in Final Month   
    Have tweeted this as well. If it's truly the incentives that are a sticking point, the Twins should be willing to pay any amount in that scenario. Incentives are basically a loan for the organization to guarantee production prior to payment. Why would you not sign up for that?
  21. Like
    Ted Schwerzler got a reaction from terrydactyls in Buck Can Bankroll His Future in Final Month   
    Have tweeted this as well. If it's truly the incentives that are a sticking point, the Twins should be willing to pay any amount in that scenario. Incentives are basically a loan for the organization to guarantee production prior to payment. Why would you not sign up for that?
  22. Like
    Ted Schwerzler got a reaction from gunnarthor in Buck Can Bankroll His Future in Final Month   
    Byron Buxton is nearing a return to the Minnesota Twins, and while the season is lost from a team perspective, the final month could do plenty to set up his future.
    In the final days of July, Buxton was a hotly-discussed name related to potential trade rumors. Minnesota had made him multiple long-term extension offers, and the suggestion was that it was either accept or be moved down the line. Buxton’s camp wisely passed on what would seem below-market deals, but there have been few rumblings of further conversation since.
    I am a staunch believer that the Twins should be paying Byron Buxton. The only reason a player of his caliber is even remotely in their wheelhouse from an expense perspective in the first place is because of his injury history. Whatever valuation is placed on him will account for the reality that he’s been unavailable for significant portions of a season. Once the other 29 teams can bid on his services, or he puts up a 2022 season free of injury, the opportunity to retain him is now out the window.

    That’s why this next month could be so imperative for Buxton and the Twins.

    Having now been surpassed by Jorge Polanco due to his recent tear, Buxton was Minnesota’s fWAR leader (2.7) for most of the year despite playing in just 27 games this season. He was on pace to remain in the MVP discussion despite otherworldly seasons being had by the Angels Shohei Ohtani and the Blue Jays Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Assuming he returns on Friday night when the Twins host Milwaukee, he’ll have 36 games of runway left to go.

    There was a time that Buxton’s bugaboo was not only injury but effectiveness. We’ve long since overcome that hurdle, given Buxton’s .903 OPS over the past three seasons. Combined with the fact that he’s arguably the best defensive centerfielder in baseball, it’s impossible to overstate his overall impact on the diamond. Even if Buxton returns and plays at a slightly muted level, the likelihood that he remains All-Star caliber or better the rest of the way is a good bet.

    For Buxton and the Twins, 36 games is a crucial bargaining piece. Knowing his extension would be highly incentive-laden, it would serve the centerfielder well to be completely available until the book closes on this year. Should production stay in the realm of where it was, he may be able to use that as an “I told you so” effort to bump Minnesota’s offer. If the Twins see another injury derail the final stretch, it could be a feather in their cap to suggest the risk they’re taking on is immense.

    No matter how the last few games play out, I think this offseason is one of a critical juncture. Allowing Buxton to play out his final season without an extension would be a mistake. Minnesota needs to decide whether they’re going to commit to the uber-talented home-grown talent or move him for a package that helps to supplement the future. Either way, both sides will have one last hoorah in 2021 to point to when they reconvene at the negotiating table.
    MORE FROM TWINS DAILY
    — Latest Twins coverage from our writers
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    View full article
  23. Like
    Ted Schwerzler got a reaction from glunn in Buck Can Bankroll His Future in Final Month   
    Byron Buxton is nearing a return to the Minnesota Twins, and while the season is lost from a team perspective, the final month could do plenty to set up his future.
    In the final days of July, Buxton was a hotly-discussed name related to potential trade rumors. Minnesota had made him multiple long-term extension offers, and the suggestion was that it was either accept or be moved down the line. Buxton’s camp wisely passed on what would seem below-market deals, but there have been few rumblings of further conversation since.
    I am a staunch believer that the Twins should be paying Byron Buxton. The only reason a player of his caliber is even remotely in their wheelhouse from an expense perspective in the first place is because of his injury history. Whatever valuation is placed on him will account for the reality that he’s been unavailable for significant portions of a season. Once the other 29 teams can bid on his services, or he puts up a 2022 season free of injury, the opportunity to retain him is now out the window.

    That’s why this next month could be so imperative for Buxton and the Twins.

    Having now been surpassed by Jorge Polanco due to his recent tear, Buxton was Minnesota’s fWAR leader (2.7) for most of the year despite playing in just 27 games this season. He was on pace to remain in the MVP discussion despite otherworldly seasons being had by the Angels Shohei Ohtani and the Blue Jays Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Assuming he returns on Friday night when the Twins host Milwaukee, he’ll have 36 games of runway left to go.

    There was a time that Buxton’s bugaboo was not only injury but effectiveness. We’ve long since overcome that hurdle, given Buxton’s .903 OPS over the past three seasons. Combined with the fact that he’s arguably the best defensive centerfielder in baseball, it’s impossible to overstate his overall impact on the diamond. Even if Buxton returns and plays at a slightly muted level, the likelihood that he remains All-Star caliber or better the rest of the way is a good bet.

    For Buxton and the Twins, 36 games is a crucial bargaining piece. Knowing his extension would be highly incentive-laden, it would serve the centerfielder well to be completely available until the book closes on this year. Should production stay in the realm of where it was, he may be able to use that as an “I told you so” effort to bump Minnesota’s offer. If the Twins see another injury derail the final stretch, it could be a feather in their cap to suggest the risk they’re taking on is immense.

    No matter how the last few games play out, I think this offseason is one of a critical juncture. Allowing Buxton to play out his final season without an extension would be a mistake. Minnesota needs to decide whether they’re going to commit to the uber-talented home-grown talent or move him for a package that helps to supplement the future. Either way, both sides will have one last hoorah in 2021 to point to when they reconvene at the negotiating table.
    MORE FROM TWINS DAILY
    — Latest Twins coverage from our writers
    — Recent Twins discussion in our forums
    — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email

    View full article
  24. Like
    Ted Schwerzler got a reaction from Dman in Twins Minor League Report (8/25): Ryan Cruises, Sabato's Kernels Debut   
    He's old from minor league standpoint now, but was with the Twins in Spring Training. There was a time he looked like a legit big league bat.
  25. Like
    Ted Schwerzler reacted to Seth Stohs in Twins Minor League Report (8/25): Ryan Cruises, Sabato's Kernels Debut   
    Zero concerns about Larnach... 
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