Jump to content
  • Create Account

Search the Community

Showing results for tags 'jim thome'.

  • Search By Tags

    Type tags separated by commas.
  • Search By Author

Content Type


Categories

  • Twins
  • Minors
  • Saints
  • Just For Fun
  • Twins Daily

Categories

  • Unregistered Help Files
  • All Users Help Files

Categories

  • Twins & Minors
  • Vintage
  • Retrospective
  • Twins Daily

Forums

  • Baseball Forums
    • Minnesota Twins Talk
    • Twins Minor League Talk
    • Twins Daily Front Page News
    • Other Baseball
    • Archived Game Threads
  • MinnCentric Forums
    • The Sports Bar
    • Minnesota Vikings Talk
    • Minnesota Wild Talk
    • Minnesota Timberwolves Talk
  • Current Affairs's Politics and Human Rights
  • Current Affairs's Non-political current affairs
  • Twins Daily's Questions About The Site

Blogs

  • Blog awstafki
  • The Lurker's Annual
  • Mike Sixel's Blog
  • Twins fan in Texas
  • highlander's Blog
  • Patrick Wozniak's Blog
  • Blog dennyhocking4HOF
  • From the Plaza
  • The Special Season
  • Twins Daily's Blog
  • Blog Twins best friend
  • Kyle Eliason's Blog
  • Extra Innings
  • SkinCell Pro: How Does Remove Mole & Skin Tag Work?
  • Blog Badsmerf
  • mikelink45's Blog
  • MT Feelings
  • Keto Burn Max Benefits
  • Blog crapforks
  • Off The Baggy
  • VikingTwinTwolf's Blog
  • A Blog to Be Named Later
  • Cormac's Corner
  • Blog MaureenHill
  • Halsey Hall Chapter of SABR
  • Road Tripping with the Twins
  • Greg Allen
  • Classic Minnesota Twins
  • The Line of Mendoza
  • BombazoMLB
  • Blog Twins Daily Admin
  • joshykid1's Blog
  • What if the Twins had drafted Prior or Teixeira instead of Mauer?
  • the_brute_squad's Blog
  • Better Baseball Is Ahead
  • Nick's Twins Blog
  • Blog jianfu
  • joshykid1's Blog
  • The PTBNL
  • Levi Hansen
  • SethSpeaks.net
  • Blog leshaadawson
  • Underwriting the Twins
  • Small Sample Size
  • parkerb's Blog
  • Tim
  • TwinsGeek.com
  • Blog Roaddog
  • Mauerpower's Blog
  • SotaPop's Blog
  • Face facts!!!
  • Over the Baggy
  • curt1965's Blog
  • Heezy1323's Blog
  • LA Vikes Fan
  • North Dakota Twins Fan
  • Blog Reginald Maudling's Shin
  • curt1965's Blog
  • Miller1234's Blog
  • Twins Curmudgeon
  • Blog Kirsten Brown
  • if we aint spendin 140 million
  • Boone's Blog
  • Rounding Third
  • Kirilloff & Co.
  • Shallow Thoughts - bean5302
  • The Hanging SL
  • Red Wing Squawk
  • Distraction via Baseball
  • Nine of twelve's Blog
  • Blog Lindsay Guentzel
  • Blog Karl
  • Vance_Christianson's Blog
  • Curveball Blog
  • waltomeal's Blog
  • Knuckleballs - JC
  • Blog jrzf713
  • The Minor League Lifestyle
  • Jason Kubel is America
  • weneedjackmorris' Blog
  • Off The Mark
  • Blog freightmaster
  • Playin' Catch
  • Sethmoko's Blog
  • Dome Dogg's Blog
  • Blog Scott Povolny
  • Blog COtwin
  • Hrbowski's Blog
  • Minnesota Twins Whine Line
  • Bomba Blog
  • Blog Chad Jacobsen
  • Blog ScottyBroco
  • tobi0040's Blog
  • Back Office Twins Baseball Blog
  • DannySD's Blog
  • nobitadora's Blog
  • blogs_blog_1812
  • Blog Adam Krueger
  • Hammered (adj.) Heavily inebriated, though to a lesser extent than ****faced.
  • Thegrin's Blog
  • 3rd Inning Stretch's Blog
  • Jeremy Nygaard
  • The W.A.R. room
  • Christopher Fee's Blog
  • Postma Posts
  • Rolondo's Blog
  • blogs_blog_1814
  • Blog Fanatic Jack
  • Dominican Adventure
  • Cory Engelhardt's Blog
  • markthomas' Blog
  • blogs_blog_1815
  • Blog AJPettersen
  • Blog AllhopeisgoneMNTWINS
  • BW on the Beat
  • jfeyereisn17's Blog
  • 2020 Offseason Blueprint
  • Blog TimShibuya
  • Fumi Saito's Blog
  • This Twins Fans Thoughts
  • Long Live La Tortuga
  • Blog TonyDavis
  • Blog Danchat
  • sdtwins37's Blog
  • Thinking Outside the Box
  • dbminn
  • Blog travistwinstalk
  • jokin's Blog
  • Thoughts from The Catch
  • BlakeAsk's Blog
  • Tom Schreier's Blog
  • less cowBlog
  • Hansen101's Blog
  • The Gopher Hole
  • 2020 Twins BluePrint - HotDish Surprise
  • Blog bkucko
  • The Circleback Blog
  • All Things Twins
  • Blog iTwins
  • Drinking at the 573
  • The Thirsty Crow and the google boy from peepeganj
  • Catching Some Zs
  • Blog TCAnelle
  • Singles off the Wall
  • tarheeltwinsfan's Blog
  • A View From The Roof
  • The Blog Days of Summer
  • Jordan1212's Blog
  • You Shouldn't Have Lost
  • TwinsTakes.com Blog on TwinsDaily.com - Our Takes, Your Takes, TwinsTakes.com!
  • Blog SgtSchmidt11
  • Dantes929's Blog
  • Critical Thinking
  • Blog Matt VS
  • Blog RickPrescott
  • The Dollar Dome Dog
  • Travis M's Blog
  • Diamond Dollars
  • Blog jorgenswest
  • Twinsfan4life
  • Travis M's Interviews
  • whatyouknowtwinsfan's Blog
  • Blog righty8383
  • Blog TwinsWolvesLynxBlog
  • Supfin99's Blog
  • tarheeltwinsfan's Blog
  • Blog glunn
  • Blog yumen0808
  • Unkind Bounces
  • Doctor Gast's Blog
  • One Man's View From Section 231
  • Don't Feed the Greed? What does that mean...
  • Diesel's Blog
  • Blog denarded
  • Blog zymy0813
  • Twins Peak
  • Minnesota Twins Health and Performance: A Blog by Lucas Seehafer PT
  • Blog kirbyelway
  • Blog JP3700
  • twinssouth's Blog
  • Ports on Sports Blog
  • Blog Twins Fan From Afar
  • Blog E. Andrew
  • The 10th Inning Stretch
  • Hans Birkleberry's Blog
  • Blog twinsarmchairgm
  • Pitz Hits
  • samthetwinsfan's Blog
  • Blog JB (the Original)
  • soofootinsfan37's Blog
  • You Can Read This For Free
  • One Post Blog
  • Blog Dez Tobin
  • South Dakota Tom's Blog
  • hrenlazar2019's Blog
  • MNSotaSportsGal Twins Takes
  • Blog kemics
  • Blog AM.
  • DerektheDOM's Blog
  • Twins Tunes
  • Blog jtrinaldi
  • Blog Bill
  • Not Another Baseball Blog
  • Down on the Farm
  • Most likely pitchers making their MLB debut in 2021 for Twins.
  • Blog Wookiee of the Year
  • mike8791's Blog
  • Pensacola Blue Wahoos: Photo-A-Day
  • Puckets Pond
  • Blog Jim H
  • A trade for the off season
  • curt1965's Blog
  • Kasota Gold
  • The POSTseason
  • Blog guski
  • Blog rickyriolo
  • SgtSchmidt11's Blog
  • Twinternationals
  • Blog birdwatcher
  • Blog acrozelle
  • Axel Kohagen's Catastrophic Overreactions
  • Bashwood12's Blog
  • Spicer's Baseball Movie Reviews
  • Beyond the Metrodome
  • Blog yangxq0827
  • The Pat-Man Saga
  • TheTeufelShuffle's Blog
  • ebergdib's blog
  • Blog Thegrin
  • Zachary's Blog
  • scottyc35
  • Danchat's Aggregated Prospect Rankings
  • Thrylos' Blog - select Tenth Inning Stretch posts
  • Blog taune
  • scottyc35's Blog
  • World's Greatest Online Magazine
  • Blog tweety2012
  • DRizzo's Blog
  • mrtwinsfan's Blog
  • Blog asmus_ndsu
  • Otto Gets Blotto
  • Betsy Twins Report
  • Blog shawntheroad
  • Blog David-14
  • Blog Buddy14
  • Blog keithanderson
  • Blog Topperanton
  • Blog lightfoot789
  • Blog Axel Kohagen
  • Blog Lesser Dali
  • Blog Neinstein
  • Blog Bob Sacamento
  • Blog J-Dog Dungan
  • Thoughts of a Bullpen Catcher
  • Blog Dilligaf69
  • blogs_blog_1599
  • Twin Minds
  • My Opening Day Poem
  • Blog Teflon
  • Blog yanking it out...
  • Blog Anare
  • Blog Charlie Beattie
  • Blog Coach J
  • What to do with Morneau?
  • Peanuts from Heaven
  • Blog Physics Guy
  • Twins Adjacent
  • Field of Twins
  • Martin Schlegel's Blog
  • The Long View
  • Blog grumpyrob
  • Off The Mark
  • Blog Jeff A
  • Blog jwestbrock
  • by Matt Sisk
  • Blog Sarah
  • Blog RodneyKline
  • Blog JeffB
  • Anorthagen's Twins Daily Blogs
  • Low Profile MI Trade
  • Blog CC7
  • Blog dwintheiser
  • Blog Docsilly
  • Blog cmathewson
  • Blog mnfireman
  • Blog twinsfanstl
  • Blog dave_dw
  • Blog MN_Twins_Live
  • Standing Room Only
  • Blog gkasper
  • Blog puck34
  • Blog Old Twins Cap
  • Blog diehardtwinsfan
  • Blog Twinfan & Dad
  • Blog LimestoneBaggy
  • Blog Brian Mozey
  • vqt94648's Blog
  • Blog Loosey
  • Blog fairweather
  • World Series Champions 2088
  • Blog Drtwins
  • Blog peterb18
  • Blog LindaU
  • Kevin Slowey was Framed!
  • Blog Christopher Fee
  • Very Well Then
  • Pitch2Contact.com
  • A View from the Slot
  • Blog severson09
  • Blog husker brian
  • Blog Ray Tapajna
  • Sell high?
  • Blog bogeypepsi
  • Blog tshide
  • Blog Gene Larkin Fan Club
  • Blog jimbo92107
  • Blog DefinitelyNotVodkaDave
  • Blog Cap'n Piranha
  • The Blog Formerly Known as Undomed
  • Frank Vantur's Blog
  • Blog Ricola
  • Blog AScheib50
  • SamGoody's Blog
  • Blog clutterheart
  • Blog Trent Condon
  • Blog bwille
  • blogs_blog_1635
  • Blog strumdatjag
  • Blog huhguy
  • blogs_blog_1636
  • Blog 3rd Inning Stretch
  • Blog 10PagesOfClearBlueSky
  • blogs_blog_1637
  • Blog Tyomoth
  • SD Buhr/Jim Crikket
  • blogs_blog_1638
  • Blog bear333
  • Blog sln477
  • Blog abbylucy
  • Blog Gernzy
  • Troy's Twins Thoughts
  • Blog OtherHoward219
  • blogs_blog_1642
  • Blog ScrapTheNickname
  • Blog TicketKing
  • Blog sotasports9
  • Twins Rubes
  • Blog goulik
  • Hosken's Blog
  • Blog one_eyed_jack
  • Blog joelindell
  • Blog rikker49
  • Blog nickschubert
  • Blog DreInWA
  • You're Not Reading This
  • Blog Hugh Morris
  • The Blog Formerly Known as Undomed
  • Kottke's Cuts
  • Blog Dakota Watts
  • Blog markroehl
  • Blog jjswol
  • Blog Tibs
  • blogs_blog_1654
  • Blog jlovren
  • Blog Boone
  • Puckmen's Blog
  • Minnesota native to attend Twins predraft workout
  • Blog obryaneu
  • Blog JohnFoley
  • Blog TwinsArmChairGM_Jon
  • Bloop Singles
  • Blog Ryan Atkins
  • Blog the blade
  • Blog Lonestar
  • Blog jdotmcmahon
  • Blog WayneJimenezubc
  • Blog Sconnie
  • Blog PogueBear
  • Blog pierre75275
  • cHawk Talks Baseball
  • Blog Paul Bebus
  • flyballs in orbit
  • Blog A33bates
  • Blog lunchboxhero_4
  • lidefom746's Blog
  • Blog coddlenomore
  • Blog Trevor0333
  • Blog lee_the_twins_fan
  • Blog StreetOfFire
  • Blog clark47dorsey
  • Texastwinsfan blog
  • Blog KCasey
  • Blog Joey Lindseth
  • Blog jakelovesgolf
  • Blog mchokozie
  • Thoughts from the Stands
  • cHawk’s Blog
  • Blog best game in the world
  • Heather's thoughts
  • Blog sammy0eaton
  • HitInAPinch's Blog
  • Blog Mauerpower
  • Blog Jdosen
  • Blog twinsfanohio
  • Beyond the Limestone
  • Blog dougkoebernick
  • Get to know 'em
  • 5 Tool Blog
  • Cole Trace
  • Blog Sunglasses
  • Blog CTB_NickC
  • Blog Colin.O'Donnell
  • "And we'll see ya' ... tomorrow night."
  • Blog richardkr34
  • Gopher Baseball with Luke Pettersen
  • Blog KelvinBoyerxrg
  • Blog twinsfan34
  • Blog CaryMuellerlib
  • Blog jtkoupal
  • FunnyPenguin's Blog
  • Blog Sierra Szeto
  • Blog ExiledInSeattle
  • A Realistic Fix to the 2014 Twins
  • Blog naksh
  • Blog bellajelcooper
  • rickymartin's Blog
  • Blog twinsajsf
  • Blog keeth
  • Blog Murphy Vasterling Cannon
  • Twins Winter Caravan
  • Blog tracygame
  • Blog rjohnso4
  • Half a Platoon
  • Blog jangofelixak
  • Blog SirClive
  • tooslowandoldnow's Blog
  • Blog Troy Larson
  • Blog thetank
  • nicksaviking blog
  • Blog iekfWjnrxb
  • Blog SouthDakotaFarmer
  • Bill Parker
  • East Coast Bias
  • Blog tobi0040
  • Lee-The-Twins-Fan's Blog
  • Blog foe-of-nin
  • Blog cocosoup
  • Minnesota Groan
  • Blog wRenita5
  • rgvtwinstalk
  • Major Minnesotans
  • Blog Aaron 12
  • Blog janewong
  • The Twins Almanac
  • Blog boys
  • Blog bennep
  • Hambino the Great's Blog
  • Blog JadaKingg25
  • Jesse Lund's Blog
  • Blog Brabes1987
  • RealStoriesMN
  • Blog sanal101
  • Blog Spikecurveball
  • Blog Devereaux
  • D-mac's Blog
  • Blog tarheeltwinsfan
  • kakakhan's Blog
  • Blog Oliver
  • Blog travis_aune
  • Twins and Losses
  • In My Opinion
  • Blog ieveretgte4f
  • Blog Sam Morley
  • Pinto's Perspective
  • Blog curt1965
  • VeryWellThen's Blog
  • Extcs
  • The Foul Play-by-Play Twins Blog
  • Dave The Dastardly's Blog
  • Blog winunaarec
  • Negativity Police's Blog
  • Blog Robb Jeffries
  • Adam Houck's Blog
  • SaintsTrain
  • Loosey's Blog
  • Blog EE in Big D
  • Talkin' Twins with Jonathon
  • Steve Penz's Blog
  • Blog jtequilabermeah
  • The Tenth Inning Stretch
  • Apathy for the Game
  • Dave The Dastardly's Blog
  • Blog hmariloustarkk
  • Car detailing
  • Blog Brendan Kennealy
  • Twins Fan From Afar's Blog
  • Visit500
  • Blog totocc
  • SD Buhr's Blog
  • KirbyHawk75's Blog
  • Blog Bark's Lounge
  • huhguy's Blog
  • Blog TwinsFanLV
  • NumberThree's Blog
  • Blog pandorajewelry
  • The Go Gonzo Journal Twins Blog
  • Twinsnerd123's Blog
  • Blog cClevelandSmialekp
  • Talk to Contact
  • Boo-urns
  • Blog silverslugger
  • jtkoupal's Blog
  • Broker's Blog
  • Blog Twinsoholic
  • diehardtwinsfan's Blog
  • Brad's Blog
  • Javier Maschrano - the rising star of Argentina
  • Be Always in Fashion &in Trendy Look
  • Blog Salazar
  • curt1965's Blog
  • Be Always in Fashion &in Trendy Look
  • ThejacKmp's Blog
  • Blog vMaymeHansone
  • stringer bell's Blog
  • Blog brvama
  • AJPettersen's Blog
  • WiscoTwin
  • Rants (not Rantz)
  • iec23966's Blog
  • Blog loisebottorf83
  • CodyB's Blog
  • Staying Positive
  • Target Field of Dreams' Blog
  • Intentional Balk
  • Blog rodmccray11282
  • ReturnOfShaneMack's Blog
  • Blog SksippSvefdklyn
  • A blog about the Twins & more
  • Thome the Moneyball
  • tobi0040's Blog
  • Lefty74's Blog
  • USAFChief's Blog
  • tobi0040's Blog
  • Tony Nato's Blog
  • Clear's Blog
  • Blog LeeStevensonuuf
  • Waking up the Twins
  • Blog GrahamCharleshqr
  • First Base and the legacy of Kent Hrbek
  • carly148
  • Blog MWLFan
  • Minnie Paul and Mary
  • twinstarheelsfan's Blog
  • This game's fun, OK?
  • Blog TimeAgreell
  • Tsuyoshi's Island
  • NASCAR Steve's Blog
  • Kevin Horner's Blog
  • blogs_blog_1742
  • Blog CDog
  • Hold for the Batter
  • John the Analytics Guy
  • mrmpls' Blog
  • Zlog
  • samberry's Blog
  • nmtwinsfan's Blog
  • Under Teflon Skies
  • Views from the road
  • St. Paul Saints
  • Blog tkyokoperkinsn
  • Alskn's Northern Lights
  • Talkin' Turnstiles
  • Find Stats Elsewhere
  • Blog LaBombo
  • hugelycat's Blog
  • Deduno Abides' Blog
  • Milldaddy35's Blog Area
  • Blog Fire Dan Gladden
  • Baseball Intelligence
  • framedoctor's Blog
  • Blog Riverbrian
  • Blog Brandon
  • Organizational Depth Chart
  • Left Field Gap
  • gtkilla
  • Hicks' Left-Handed Helmets
  • MauerState7's Blog
  • 80MPH Changeup
  • Twins Pitch Breakdown
  • What you know about that blog
  • Blog DaTwins
  • positive1's Blog
  • rikker49's Blog
  • baxterpope15's Blog
  • Blog ThejacKmp
  • Random Thoughts About Baseball
  • Don't Feed the Greed Guy's Blog
  • Run Prevention
  • Blog ericchri
  • pierre75275's Blog
  • Don't Feed the Greed Guy's Blog
  • Cargo Cult Sabermetrics
  • Blog 81Exposruledbaseball
  • Deduno Abides' Blog
  • David Howell's Blog
  • Blog daanderson20
  • Twin Billing
  • sorney's Blog
  • TCAnelle's Blog
  • Blog shs_59
  • rikker49's Blog
  • Crackin' Wax's Cardboard Corner
  • Blog jm3319
  • jsteve96's Blog
  • The Always Fashionable; Uncle Charlie
  • Blog stringer bell
  • twinssouth's Blog
  • Baseball Good
  • Blog everettegalr
  • twinsfan34's Blog
  • menthmike's Blog
  • Blog Obie
  • B Richard's Blog
  • Brazilian Twins Territory
  • The Hidden Baseball
  • Blog SpinnesotaGirl
  • Marthaler
  • InfieldFlyRuled
  • Coopcarlson3's Blog
  • Blog SoDakTwinsFan5
  • Blog LastOnePicked
  • Bob Sacamento's Blog
  • MnTwinsTalk's Blog
  • Blog Top Gun
  • Twinfan & Dad's Blog
  • Nebtwinsfan's Blog
  • Blog TKGuy
  • GLO Blog
  • Ben Fadden's Blog
  • ajcondon's Blog
  • Blog TheMind07
  • Daily Twins Daily
  • TwinkiePower's Blog
  • Blog Michael Blomquist
  • VeryWellThen
  • MN_ExPat's Blog
  • Channing1964's Blog
  • Blog Darin Bratsch
  • Twin's Organizational News
  • Around The Horn
  • Blog beckmt
  • jjswol's Twins Trivia Blog
  • BeantownTwinsFan's Blog
  • Blog YourHouseIsMyHouse
  • jjswol's Twins Trivia Blog
  • Blog jay
  • SF Twins Fan's Blog
  • Morneau
  • TNTwinsFan's Blog
  • Musings from Twins Territory
  • Original Twin
  • Blog El Guapo
  • Doubles' Blog
  • Kirbek's Leaps and Pulls
  • Blog jokin
  • Brandon's Blog
  • A Look Back
  • Science of Baseball
  • Blog IdahoPilgrim
  • Sam Morley's Blog
  • oregontwin's Blog
  • Rounding Second
  • Blog Lyric53
  • The Curse of the Trees
  • gagu's Blog
  • Twins in CA
  • Blog Oldgoat_MN
  • Giant Baseball Cards
  • Blog twinfan49
  • docsillyseth's Blog
  • Kirby O'Connor's Blog
  • dfklgkoc
  • Blog ContinuumGuy
  • Wille's Way
  • Minnesota Sports Statistics Analysis
  • Ryan Stephan's Twinpinions
  • blogs_blog_2805
  • Blog tradingadvantage
  • brvama's Blog
  • Minnesota SSA's Blog
  • Danchat's Strat-O-Matic Blog
  • Blog Chance
  • NoCryingInBaseball's Blog
  • It Takes All Kinds
  • TFRazor's Blog
  • Blog twinslover
  • Sarah's Blog
  • theJemmer's Blog
  • Spikecurveball's Blog
  • Four Six Three
  • blogs_blog_2809
  • 2012 Draft.
  • travistwinstalk's Blog
  • Seth Stohs' Blog
  • Through a Child's Eyes
  • Colexalean Supplement Reviews
  • Blog jiamay
  • Dome Dogg's Blog
  • Fanspeak's Twins and AL Central Blog
  • In Pursuit of Pennants
  • minnesotasportsunlimited's Blog
  • Jacob Booth Blogs
  • Blog stewthornley
  • mickeymental's Blog
  • Baseball Bat's Offseason Blueprint
  • AJswarley's Blog
  • Twins Outsider's Blog
  • Blog h2oface
  • Iowa Twins Fan
  • Twinkie Talk
  • Battle Your Tail Off
  • JackWhite's Blog
  • bikram's Blog
  • Twins Nation Podcast

Find results in...

Find results that contain...


Date Created

  • Start

    End


Last Updated

  • Start

    End


Filter by number of...

Joined

  • Start

    End


Group


Website URL


Personal Blog Name


Personal Blog URL


Location:


Biography


Occupation


Interests


Twitter

  1. Flashback to 2011 and the Minnesota Twins found themselves at 41-48 when the All-Star Break took place. Just a few weeks later, they were a dismal 55-75 shipping Jim Thome to Cleveland. It’s happening again, but Nelson Cruz will hurt worse. Don’t get me wrong, I remember Thome’s time with the Twins fondly. His first season, the year Target Field opened, the slugger that tormented Minnesota for all those years put up a 1.039 OPS across 108 games. A year later he’d record his 600th career home run, only further cementing his place in Cooperstown. Thome was adopted as the Twins lumberjack, and his power played in the role perfectly. When Thome was dealt however, it was clear this was the beginning of the end. Not only did the Twins stink, but he’d lost over 200 points on his OPS from the year prior and sending him to a mediocre Cleveland club was about a proper sendoff as much as it was an asset acquisition. He’d make stops in Philadelphia and Baltimore during 2012, but the end came just 58 games into his season. At the end of the day, Thome was an integral part of a very good 2010 club, but then watched as the age counter flipped to 40 and Father Time proved undefeated yet again. Enter Minnesota’s current designated hitter. Nelson Cruz has now played 247 games in a Twins uniform. That’s roughly 50 games more than Thome, but Cruz went through the shortened 2020 season stunting that growing total. He was the unquestioned leader of the Bomba Squad, a club that hit a Major League record 307 dingers. Despite playing for the organization between ages 38-41, he’s compiled a .307/.389/.607 slash line and 75 homers across that stretch. Age notwithstanding, he’s been among baseball’s best in his latest years. When Derek Falvey ultimately deals Cruz later this month, it will feel different as well. He’s not going back to Seattle or Texas. This isn’t a sendoff and Cruz isn’t riding off into the sunset. Two likely landing spots include the Oakland Athletics and Toronto Blue Jays. Minnesota will be looking to maximize value, and Cruz will be counted upon as a lineup fixture. This is a true asset, no longer a privilege for Minnesota to enjoy because the 2021 season fell flat. It’d be silly to assume that Cruz will continue this level of production for another decade. Even another couple of years would be unprecedented. What he’s doing now though, is something that any contending team needing a designated hitter should covet. That makes his market limited in that half the league is then cut in half again, but you can bet that suitors will fight for his services. There’s also not going to be a reunion tour. Minnesota and Cruz’s camp played a staring contest this winter. Neither wanted to blink first, but a return always seemed to be the best fit for both sides. As the Twins head into 2022 with uncertainty, the luxury of a big money designated hitter doesn’t seem reasonable. On top of that, we won’t know the direction chosen by the front office until July 31 comes and goes with Taylor Rogers, Jose Berrios, and Josh Donaldson still wearing Twins threads. When the dust settles on this eventual move the Twins will have dealt one of the best power hitters ever to wear a Minnesota uniform. While Cruz’s time was ultimately brief, the impact (and especially that felt in 2019) will be talked about for years to come. Nelson was a late blooming player that never stopped getting better, has continued to impart wisdom on the game’s next generation, and his absence will sting more than just a bad team shedding moveable parts. 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
  2. Don’t get me wrong, I remember Thome’s time with the Twins fondly. His first season, the year Target Field opened, the slugger that tormented Minnesota for all those years put up a 1.039 OPS across 108 games. A year later he’d record his 600th career home run, only further cementing his place in Cooperstown. Thome was adopted as the Twins lumberjack, and his power played in the role perfectly. When Thome was dealt however, it was clear this was the beginning of the end. Not only did the Twins stink, but he’d lost over 200 points on his OPS from the year prior and sending him to a mediocre Cleveland club was about a proper sendoff as much as it was an asset acquisition. He’d make stops in Philadelphia and Baltimore during 2012, but the end came just 58 games into his season. At the end of the day, Thome was an integral part of a very good 2010 club, but then watched as the age counter flipped to 40 and Father Time proved undefeated yet again. Enter Minnesota’s current designated hitter. Nelson Cruz has now played 247 games in a Twins uniform. That’s roughly 50 games more than Thome, but Cruz went through the shortened 2020 season stunting that growing total. He was the unquestioned leader of the Bomba Squad, a club that hit a Major League record 307 dingers. Despite playing for the organization between ages 38-41, he’s compiled a .307/.389/.607 slash line and 75 homers across that stretch. Age notwithstanding, he’s been among baseball’s best in his latest years. When Derek Falvey ultimately deals Cruz later this month, it will feel different as well. He’s not going back to Seattle or Texas. This isn’t a sendoff and Cruz isn’t riding off into the sunset. Two likely landing spots include the Oakland Athletics and Toronto Blue Jays. Minnesota will be looking to maximize value, and Cruz will be counted upon as a lineup fixture. This is a true asset, no longer a privilege for Minnesota to enjoy because the 2021 season fell flat. It’d be silly to assume that Cruz will continue this level of production for another decade. Even another couple of years would be unprecedented. What he’s doing now though, is something that any contending team needing a designated hitter should covet. That makes his market limited in that half the league is then cut in half again, but you can bet that suitors will fight for his services. There’s also not going to be a reunion tour. Minnesota and Cruz’s camp played a staring contest this winter. Neither wanted to blink first, but a return always seemed to be the best fit for both sides. As the Twins head into 2022 with uncertainty, the luxury of a big money designated hitter doesn’t seem reasonable. On top of that, we won’t know the direction chosen by the front office until July 31 comes and goes with Taylor Rogers, Jose Berrios, and Josh Donaldson still wearing Twins threads. When the dust settles on this eventual move the Twins will have dealt one of the best power hitters ever to wear a Minnesota uniform. While Cruz’s time was ultimately brief, the impact (and especially that felt in 2019) will be talked about for years to come. Nelson was a late blooming player that never stopped getting better, has continued to impart wisdom on the game’s next generation, and his absence will sting more than just a bad team shedding moveable parts. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  3. The question is – should we sign Cruz or just let a number of players DH? I thought I would look back at the Twins DH history. I ignore any DWAR since I am only interested in the DH. Tony Oliva was the first DH. In 1973 he was in 146 games. He hit 291/345/410 and his WAR was 0.7. The next year he was in 127 games with a line of 285/326/414 and 0.4 WAR. 1975 he played 131 games with a line of 270/344/378 and WAR of 0.5. 1976 saw Craig Kusick as the DH – 259/344/432 – 1.5 WAR. In 77 his line was 254/370/433 0.9 WAR. Glen Adams became the DH in 1978 with a line of 258/297/390 and a WAR of -0.3. In 1979 Jose Morales became the DH - 267/319/335 – WAR -0.9 and despite this negative WAR he was still DH in 1980, 303/361/490 and positive 1 WAR. Then in 1981 Glen Adams was once again the primary DH with a line of 209/273/282 and a -1.6 WAR which was the worst on the team. Randy (who?) Johnson became the main DH in 1982 248/325/419 and a WAR of zero. After a few questionable years of – anybody can DH we came to Randy Bush in 1983. His line was 249/.323/.418 with 0.4 WAR. In 1984 he was still the main DH .222/.292/.389 and WAR -0.3. We have good memories of Randy, but maybe he is not as good as we remember. In 1985 Roy Smalley took over DH. .258 /.357/.402 WAR 1.2. For the first time since 1976 we had a DH with a WAR over 1.In 1986 Roy was still DH .246/.342/.438 and a WAR of 1.0. 1987 Roy had a line of .275/.352/.411 and WAR OF ONLY 0.5. After tying Oliva with three years as DH he was replaced. Gene Larkin was 1988 DH .267/.368/.382 and 1.8 WAR. Despite that outstanding year Jim Dwyer was the primary DH in 1989 with .316/.390/.404 and 0.8 WAR. In 1990 Larkin was the main DH again with a line of .269/.343/.392 and a WAR of 1.1. In 1991 Chili Davis became the first DH with a slugging PCT over 500 and a line of .277/.385/.507. His 3.3 WAR also set a new high for the team. In 1992 he was not quite as good with a line of .288/.386/.439 and WAR of 2.1. That was the end of Chili. Dave Winfield was DH in 1993 with .271/.325/.442 and WAR of 0.9. In 1994 he hit .252/.321/.425 with 0.2 WAR. In 1995 Winfield was retired and Pedro Munoz took over with an outstanding year .301/.338/.489 and still only a 0.9WAR. The next hometown HOF batter came in 1996 when Paul Molitor became the principal DH and hit .341/.390/.468. It would be the top BA for any Twins DH. His WAR was 3.5 which was the best WAR so far. In 1997 Molitor his .305/.351/.435 for a WAR of 1.5. In 1998 Paul hit .281/.335/.382 and a WAR of 0.2. Having tied Oliva and Smalley for the most years at DH – 3, he was replaced. In 1999 Marty Cordova was the primary DH. He hit 285/365/464 with a WAR of 1.2. David Ortiz was our primary DH in 2000. No I do not want to speculate on what it could have meant if Tom (overrated) Kelly had not had his head up his… Ortiz was .282/.364/.446 with a WAR of 0.8. In 2001 Kelly had messed with Ortiz so much that he hit .234/.324/.475 and WAR fell to 0.3. His third year as DH he hit .272/.339/.500 which made him only the second Twin DH with a 500 slugging his WAR was 1.5. Having tied the longest DH service with three years we replaced him with Matt LeCroy. Yes, that is the truth and it still hurts and still stinks. Matt LeCroy had a good 2003 season - .287.342/.490 with 1.3 WAR. Then 35-year-old Jose Offerman took over in 2004 with .256/.363/.395 and -0.2 WAR. Matt LeCroy came back in 2005 .260/.354/.444. 0.9 WAR. Then it was 34-year-old Rondell White, .246/.276/.365 and -0.9 WAR, the worst on the team. This led to Jason Tyner .286/.331/.355. Are you paying attention to these slugging percentages? 0.2 WAR. Which led to Jason Kubel, .272/.335/.471 in 2008 with a 1.8 WAR. Kubel came back with one of the all-time DH lines in 2009 - .300/.369/.539, 3.3 WAR. Kubel then moved to the field and Jim Thome came to Minnesota. Thome in 2010 had a line of .283/.412/.627 giving the team their first 400 OPS and first 600 slugging DH! 3.6 WAR. 2011 did not reach the heights of 2010, .243/.351/.476 and 1 WAR. Then we turned to another veteran – Ryan Doumit for 2012 - .275/.320/.461, 2.3 WAR. Doumit in 2013 hit .247/.314/.396, 1.4 WAR. After two years he was done Then rookie Kennys Vargas, 23 years old, took over DH .274/.316/.456, 0.7 WAR. Miguel Sano replaced him the next year (2015) and in 80 games had a line of .269/.385/.530 bringing back the 500 slugging and he had a WAR OF 2.4 (why isn’t he replacing Cruz?). 2016 we went international and Byung Ho Park hit .191/.275/.409, -0.1. That international experiment ended quickly and in 2017 Robbie Grossman was primary DH, .246/.361/.380, 1.1 WAR. And, yes, for some reason many on TD want to bring him back?????? In 2018 he was also the primary DH, 273/.367/.384 moderately good OBP, but is that what you want in the DH? 1.8 WAR IN 2018. Then in 2019 Nelson Cruz arrived. .311/.392/.639 – a record 41 DH Hrs, our second 600+ slugging. 4.2 WAR – our highest for a DH. In 2020 Cruz was still DH and hit .303/.397/ .595 with a 1.6 WAR in an abbreviated (1/3) season. Who was the best – Cruz, who was mismanaged – Ortiz, who was a star at DH for us? Molitor, Thome. We have had some very good and some real duds – Rondell White. And some real question marks like what happened to Vargas? Three years seems to be the lifespan of the DH on the Twins. So would I resign Cruz? For one year – yes. Beyond that no – what you pay for year two needs to be added to year one because you are probably only getting one year of real production.
  4. Minnesota Over the Last Decade Ervin Santana’s four-year, $55 million contract represents the biggest free agent contract in franchise history. Over the life of the contract, Santana compiled a 3.68 ERA with a 1.22 WHIP in 525 1/3 innings. He was named an All-Star in 2017 as he finished the year with a 16-8 record and a 3.28 ERA with a league leading five complete games and three shutouts. The 2018 season saw him limited to five starts as he dealt with injuries and had a falling out with the club. Minnesota’s best free agent signing of the last decade was signed last off-season as the club took a chance on 38-year old Nelson Cruz, He went on to lead the Bomba Squad with 41 home runs while being named the DH on the inaugural All-MLB Team and being awarded a Silver Slugger. According to ESPN, Cruz has been responsible for three organization’s best free agent contracts in the last decade. Before Cruz, Jim Thome might have represented the organization’s best free agent signing of the decade. Prior to the 2010 season, he signed for $1.5 million and hit .283/.412/.627 (1.039) with 25 home runs. Minnesota would bring him back for 2011 on a $3 million deal on his way to crossing the 600-home run plateau. He’d be limited in his final big-league season, so his last productive season came in a Twins uniform. Not all of Minnesota’s deal have worked out in the team’s favor. Prior to Santana’s deal, Minnesota handed Ricky Nolasco a four-year, $49 million deal. He struggled to the tune of a 5.44 ERA with a 1.47 WHIP in parts of three seasons. The deal was so bad, the Twins wound up dealing him to the Angels in 2016 and he hasn’t pitched at the big-league level since 2017. Major Free Agent Teams When it comes to free agency, there are some of the usual suspects at the top of the spending list, but there are some other surprising teams. The Red Sox (1st), Yankees (2nd) and Cubs (4th) have all found success in the last decade and some of that success can be attributed to spending millions on the open market. Boston won multiple titles and the Cubs were able to end their own curse. Philadelphia and Detroit are the other top five teams. Detroit had strong teams near the beginning of the decade, and they spent money to help them to multiple AL Central titles. Philadelphia spent a third of all their free agent money last offseason on one player, Bryce Harper. Detroit currently seems to be a mess, but Philadelphia might be trending in the right direction. Result Free agency is a tough gamble for every team. Players are paid based on their previous performance when most of these players are in the prime of their careers. Prime years for a player are usually associated with their mid- to late-20s. When a player hits their 30s, there is usually a decline in performance and that is when they are getting paid the most money. Players like Albert Pujols, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Prince Fielder were paid a lot of money for some poor seasons. There are some ageless players that seem to find success into their 30s. Nelson Cruz has fit that mold for multiple clubs as he entered the 2010s at age 29 and hit a decade-leading 346 home runs. MLB.com just named him to the all-decade team as the club’s designated hitter. Cruz is more of the exception to the rule than the standard, but Minnesota certainly benefitted from his signing last year. How do you feel about Minnesota’s free agent choices over the last decade? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  5. Honorable Mention: Twins open Target Field with win over Red Sox (2010) Kennys Vargas walk-off homer against league-leading Cardinals (2015) Twins come back from 6-0 deficit to beat Orioles (2017) Minnesota defeats Boston in 17 innings (2019) Eddie Rosario hits three homers against Cleveland, including walk-off (2018) 10. Devin’s Day (2019) When Devin Smeltzer was just 9, he was diagnosed with cancer. Doctors found a grapefruit-sized cancerous tumor against his bladder. He had surgery, and went through chemotherapy, and the cancer went into remission in 2012. Smeltzer was selected in the fifth round of the 2016 MLB Draft by the Los Angeles Dodgers. Before the 2018 trade deadline, he was traded to the Minnesota Twins in a deal that sent Brian Dozier to LA. In double-A in 2018, he went 5-5 with a 4.52 ERA. He started at double-A Pensacola in 2019 and was unhittable. He was 3-1 with a 0.60 ERA in five starts. Smeltzer was then promoted to triple-A Rochester, and was flawless again. When Michael Pineda went on to the injured list, Minnesota needed a fill-in pitcher and Smeltzer got the call. It was at home, against the Milwaukee Brewers, led by reigning National League MVP Christian Yelich. The 23-year-old was brilliant, working out of trouble a few times to throw six shutout innings. Minnesota was also held scoreless, so he picked up a no-decision, but he did hold down a high-powered offense until the Twins offense could get going, which it did, and the Twins won 5-3. Many did not think this day would come for Smeltzer, but after fighting to defeat cancer, making the majors did not seem as tough. The Brewers, with a record of 31-24, were a piece of cake considering what he’s gone through. That was evidenced by his three up, three down first inning, mowing through the Milwaukee hitters, striking two out. The three batters are not too bad either: Lorenzo Cain, Yelich and Ryan Braun. With the score still 0-0, Milwaukee catcher Yasmani Grandal hit a triple off the wall to lead off the second. But Smeltzer was fearless, striking out Mike Moustakas, getting Jesus Aguilar to ground out and Hernan Perez to fly out to work around the triple, keeping it scoreless. Smeltzer worked around a one-out single in the third, getting Cain and Yelich out to end the inning, and then a leadoff double in the fourth. He was doing this while the Twins offense was doing nothing against Milwaukee’s Zach Davies. Smeltzer finished off a terrific first start with back-to-back 1-2-3 innings, striking out Cain and Yelich to finish his outing. Just an incredible performance. He would not get a decision, but he put the team in position to win against the ace of the Brewers. Finally, the Twins offense woke up. Two doubles and a two-run homer from Eddie Rosario put Minnesota in front 5-0. The Twins went on to win 5-3, and much of that has to do with the terrific start by Smeltzer. No dream is too big, and he proved it that night. 9. Hader-ade (2019) After a June 2 victory against Tampa Bay, Minnesota was sitting 11.5 games up on Cleveland for the lead in the AL Central. That lead had evaporated on Aug. 11 after the Indians came into Target Field and took three of four. Cleveland took the lead in the division the following day, defeating Boston on a walk-off homer by Carlos Santana, while the Twins were off. Minnesota went into Miller Park a half game behind the Tribe, the first time out of first place since April 18. With Minnesota trailing in the top of the eighth, it was free agent acquisition Marwin Gonzalez who put the Twins back on top in the division for good. Gonzo swung at a first pitch fastball from one of the fiercest relievers in baseball, Josh Hader, and drilled it over the left-center field wall for a three-run homer to give Minnesota a 7-5 win. Coupled with Cleveland’s loss to Boston, the Twins moved back into first place and would stay there for the remainder of the season. Milwaukee came in fighting for a playoff spot, while Minnesota needed to win to keep pace with the red-hot Indians. Martin Perez gave the Twins an excellent outing, allowing just an unearned run in six innings and he handed the ball over to the bullpen with his team in front 4-1. A Mitch Garver two-run bomb got things started and the visitors looked like they would win game one in Milwaukee. Then Ryne Harper happened. Harper had a good spring training, which earned him a spot on the team, but he was scuffling in the second half of the year. Harper allowed a single to Keston Huira and a double to Christian Yelich, and all of a sudden, it was 4-2 with nobody out and the tying runner on base. Then, a catcher’s interference allowed Ryan Braun to reach, and Yasmani Grandal batted with two on and nobody out. Well, Grandal hit a shot over the right field wall and Milwaukee took the lead. Needless to stay, Harper was taken out. One batter too late, though. Tyler Duffey came in and got the team out of the inning without more damage, so the Brewers had the 5-4 lead into the eighth. Normally, the Brewers have a stout bullpen, especially Hader. He has two-inning saves occasionally, so him coming in in would not be a surprise. However, the Brewers brought in Drew Pomeranz to begin the eighth. He allowed a double to Eddie Rosario and walked Miguel Sano to bring the go-ahead runner to the plate. He induced a fly ball from Luis Arraez before giving way to Matt Albers, who struck out the only man he faced. Then, Hader was brought in to face Marwin. The Brewers reliever is known for his great fastball, so he threw a low one on the first pitch to Gonzalez. The Twins utility man swung and did not miss it, send a laser to left-center over the wall for a three-run homer. It was Marwin’s biggest hit since a double off Corey Kluber on opening day to help the Twins defeat Cleveland. The two trade deadline acquisitions closed the door on the Brew Crew, as Sam Dyson threw a 1-2-3 bottom of the eighth and Sergio Romo did not allow a hit in the bottom of the ninth and the Twins came away with the 7-5 win. With Minnesota’s win, the Twins moved into first and would remain there for the remainder of the season. 8. Brian’s Song (2017) Minnesota was closing in on its first playoff appearance in seven years. The magic number was two, as the Twins faced the best team in the American League, the Cleveland Indians. It looked like Los Angeles, which was chasing after Minnesota for the second Wild Card, would gain a game as the Angels clobbered the White Sox 9-3 and the Twins were down late. That was until Brian Dozier got ahold of one. With two on and one out in the eighth with the Indians leading by two, Dozier hit an opposite field homer off Brian Shaw to move the Twins in front. The lead was held onto and Minnesota moved the magic number to just one. It was a matchup on suspect starters, as Minnesota’s Bartolo Colon battled against Cleveland’s Josh Tomlin. Minnesota got to Tomlin first, as it took a lead on a Jorge Polanco RBI groundout and Eddie Rosario solo shot. But Cleveland answered in the bottom of the inning with two runs of its own on an Edwin Encarnacion two-run single. It was still 2-2 in the third when Rosario continued his great day at the plate, plating two on a double. But once again, Cleveland answered with two in the bottom of the inning, as back-to-back singles by Encarnacion and Jay Bruce tied it back up. Cleveland scored single runs in the sixth and seventh to put the Tribe in front 6-4, which set the stage for Dozier’s dramatics. The inning did not start promising, as Buxton struck out swinging. But back-to-back singles by Jason Castro and Robbie Grossman put runners on the corners with one out. Then Brian Dozier came up, and Brian did not want the Twins to lose. Dozier hit a 96 mph fastball to the opposite field and it hit the top of the wall and bounced over for a homer. That three-run tater gave the Twins a 7-6 lead. A Buxton single scored another in the ninth, and Trevor Hildenberger and Matt Belisle went six up, six down to slam the door on the Indians, and the Twins were one win or an Angels loss away from clinching. Minnesota would only have to wait until the following day to make the playoffs, as the Twins lost, but so did the Angels, on a walk-off to Chicago. 7. No. 600 for the man with an ox in the batter’s box (2011) In 2010, Minnesota won the AL Central and hosted a playoff series. However, in 2011, nothing was going right. The team had one of the worst records in the league. The only thing that kept fans coming to games was slugger Jim Thome’s pursuit of 600 homers. On August 15, that became a reality when Thome hit not one, but two homers in a 9-6 victory at Detroit. Minnesota was 52-67, while Detroit was 64-56 and fighting for a playoff spot. Thome hit No. 599 in the sixth and in an inning later, Thome put the game away with a three-run shot to left field. It was a terrific night in what was a dismal season for the Twins. Minnesota jumped on Rick Porcello in the third. After former Twin Delmon Young hit a homer in the bottom of the first, the Twins scored three runs on three hits, with the help of two Tigers errors. Victor Martinez tied the game with a homer off Francisco Liriano. In the sixth, Thome hit No. 599 off Porcello to left-center to give the Twins a 5-3 advantage. The Twins scored another on a triple by Ben Revere and it was 6-3. Detroit responded with two in the bottom half of the sixth, and the Minnesota lead was down to one. The Twins put it away with another bomb by Thome. With runners on the corners after a pair of walks and a stolen base, Thome stepped to the plate with two outs in the seventh facing Daniel Schlereth. Daniel is the son of NFL analyst Mark Schlereth. Thome was thrown an offspeed pitch on 2-1 and Thome hammered it to left over the fence and into the bullpen. All the Twins players exited the dugout to congratulate him after he crossed home plate, as well as his family greeted him. Detroit fans, aware of the big moment and milestone, all applauded him, even though it essentially gave the Twins the victory. Minnesota won it 9-6 to improve its record to a woeful 14 games below .500, but everyone remembers this night when Thome hit No. 600. Less than two weeks later, he was traded to his first home, the Cleveland Indians, since the Twins were in fire sale mode. 6. Twins turn the tide in the AL Central (2010) Minnesota came into a mid-July series just after the All-Star break at 3.5 games in back of Chicago for the division lead. It was a four-game series, so a split would not help the Twins, and they absolutely could not lose the series. Chicago came out to Target Field and won the first game 8-7. Minnesota needed to win the next three. The Twins won the next two 7-4 and 3-2 to cut it to a 2.5-game Chicago lead. The next one was huge. It was either a lead of 3.5 or 1.5 for the White Sox. Chicago took a 6-3 lead into the ninth, so it looked like the Twins would not make up any ground in the series. But then, the Twins scored four runs without anybody getting out in a crazy ninth inning, and Minnesota walked away only down 1.5 and had worlds of confidence moving forward. After losing the first one to Chicago in the four-game series, Minnesota won seven of the final nine and ran away with the division. The Twins started the game well, as Delmon Young hit a homer to left to give them a 2-0 lead. It was 3-1 entering the fifth, but the Sox scored one in the fifth and four more in the sixth to take control of the game, and their hope was the division as well. Chicago began the sixth with three straight hits, with the last being a double by Carlos Quentin, to take their first lead of the game at 4-3. They added two more on back-to-back singles later in the inning by Ramon Castro and Gordon Beckham and it was 6-3. That would remain the score until the bottom of the ninth. Back-to-back walks opened the ninth, and if you ask any pitcher, they’ll tell you leadoff walks are killers. But then Jason Kubel singled to score Orlando Hudson, and the Twins had it within two, and the tying run was on base. Then, Michael Cuddyer hit a line drive single to right-center to score Joe Mauer, and the lead was cut to a single run. That knocked out Bobby Jenks and he was replaced by Sergio Santos. After another walk loaded the bases with no one out, Young hit a shallow fly ball to right-center, and the Twins were content with a tie game. But Chicago center fielder Alex Rios tried throwing it to.....a cutoff man, I guess? Well, he airmailed everyone and bounded past the third base line and near the dugout, and Cuddyer jogged home and the Twins had the series win with the 7-6 win. After that season-changing series win, the Twins won 21 of their next 27 to move into first place in the AL Central, and they’d never look back, ultimately winning the division by six games. 5. Garv Sauce (2019) The Twins had regrouped and taken a 6.5-game lead over Cleveland in early September after falling out of place in August, setting up two final series between the two. The Indians took the first game of the critical three-game set to cut it 5.5. The Tribe needed the sweep. Cleveland had a tougher schedule remaining and needed to take at least five of six of the remaining games between the two. With the game tied at two in the seventh, Mitch Garver unloaded on a three-run homer to right field to give the Twins a 5-2 lead. It was his second of the day. They would hold on for a 5-3 victory, keeping distance between them and the Tribe in the division race. Garver hit his first homer in the opening inning to give the Twins an early 1-0 advantage. It stayed that way until the sixth when Cleveland capitalized on two walks with an extra base hit and a wild pitch to take the lead 2-1. That lead lasted just one inning. With Adam Cimber pitching, Willians Astudillo singled, and scored on a Jonathan Schoop triple and the game was tied. Schoop wasn’t known for coming through in big spots, but that was one of his biggest hits of the season. Oliver Perez relieved Cimber and promptly walked Max Kepler on five pitches. Terry Francona then called on Nick Goody to get out of the two on, nobody out jam with minimal damage. His first batter was Garver, who belted a 1-1 pitch just over the overhang in right field to put the Twins back on top, this time for good. Cleveland strung together a couple of hits in the eighth off Sergio Romo to cut it to 5-3, but Romo just allowed the one run and Taylor Rogers slammed the door in the ninth and the Twins had their 6.5 game lead back. 4. In the words of LL Cool J, don’t call it a comeback (2015) It was a surprising season for the Twins, who had been in the cellar of the league since 2011. The Under new manager Paul Molitor, Minnesota was 46-40 and in the thick of the playoff chase at the All-Star break. The Twins had trouble beating the Tigers, dropping eight of the first 10 against the Motor City Kitties during the 2015 season. And Minnesota was on the verge of falling to 2-9, as it trailed 6-1 in the bottom of the ninth inning before magic happened. Minnesota had seven of eight batters reach to start the inning, and the game was capped off by a Brian Dozier walk-off shot. Dozier wasn’t even elected to the All-Star game, but put the finishing touches on this improbable rally in the bottom of the ninth. It also took the hex off the Twins against the Tigers, and Minnesota won the final two games of the series as well to finish off taking three of four against Detroit and head into the break at 49-40. ' Detroit knocked around Ervin Santana, smacking three homers, including a three-run shot, to get its six runs. Justin Verlander, on the other hand, sailed along through seven, not allowing a run, before a Brian Dozier single broke up the shutout and it was 6-1 after eight innings. That would set the stage for the wildest ninth inning in Target Field history. Detroit hit a double and single and it had runners on second and third with nobody out. Trevor May responded by getting Victor Martinez, J.D. Martinez and Alex Avila to pop up to escape the inning still trailing 6-1. Then came the bottom of the ninth. Joe Mauer led off the inning with what seemed like a meaningless single, but it was followed by a Miguel Sano ground-rule double, so runners were on second and third with nobody out. Rondon struck out Trevor Plouffe, and there were two on, one out. Unfortunately for Detroit, that was the only out recorded in the half-inning. An RBI single by Eddie Rosario knocked Rondon out of the game. That would put runners on the corners with the score now at 6-2. A Joakim Soria walk to Aaron Hicks loaded the bases, and that was followed by hitting Kurt Suzuki to force in a run, and the tying run was on base. Danny Santana, of all people, lined a single to center to bring home a pair and cut it to 6-5, to bring up Dozier. Runners were on first and second with still one out for the Twins second baseman. The tying runner was on second, and winning run on first. Dozier proved he was screwed of an All-Star appearance (he was added later on due to injury) by pouncing on the first pitch from Soria. The Tigers closer threw a hanging breaking ball, which was destroyed by Dozier and deposited into the upper deck and the Twins celebrated the improbable win at home plate after an 8-6 win. As Twins play-by-play announcer Dick Bremer said, it was “the most electrifying moment at Target Field in years.” 3. Sano-doubter daggers Cleveland (2019) The Twins entered the last series against the Indians in front by 3.5 games, but Minnesota had the easier schedule the remainder of the season, so Cleveland needed to sweep to keep pace with Minnesota and make it a race to the finish. Jake Odorizzi was scheduled to start the opening game of the series, but after a few innings, the game was called. Because of that, Odorizzi couldn’t start again in the series. Already needing to play nine innings of bullpen on the second game because of a suspension to Michael Pineda, they were forced to play a double header and both games were to be bullpen games for the Twins. They needed to go 18 innings using relievers……in the biggest series of the year. Minnesota not only threw nine innings of bullpen game one of the day, but six pitchers combined to shut out the Tribe. One win was nice, but the Twins had a chance to really put the Indians in the rearview mirror if it could win one of the next two in Cleveland. In game one, the Twins went all out, pitching most of their shutdown relievers. Lewis Thorpe started against Tyler Clippard and Thorpe allowed five runs in 3.2 innings, digging the team into a 5-2 hole. Nelson Cruz hit a homer in the sixth to cut it to 5-4. While the Twins were crawling back, the pitching staff was putting up zero after zero. Cody Stashak, Brusdar Graterol and Trevor May combined to allow no runs on just one hit in 5.1 innings. The game remained 5-4 heading to the eighth, but that inning became the biggest inning for the Twins of the season. Not in runs, but in significance. Jonathan Schoop began the inning with a single and Kepler grounded out, but advanced on a throwing error. With a runner on second with one out, Jorge Polanco doubled to left to switch places with Kepler and, more importantly, tie the score. Oliver Perez proceeded to walk Nelson Cruz and Eddie Rosario to load the bases for Sano. The big man was 0-3 on the night with a pair of strikeouts, but he could light up a scoreboard at any moment, and the Indians found out the hard way. Just like a few weeks prior when Mitch Garver took him deep, Nick Goody was brought in to pitch in a big spot. The power hitter did not waste long to break open the game. Goody’s first pitch was a breaking ball that could not have been thrown in a worse location. The result was predictable, as Miguel destroyed the baseball into the left field bleachers to break the game open 9-5 and end the AL Central race once and for all. May threw two perfect innings to close the door on a double header sweep. That put Minnesota in front by 5.5 games with 13 games remaining for the Indians. Not only did it damage the division hopes for the Tribe, but also the Wild Card as well. Cleveland actually won seven of eight after the double header sweep, but could only gain 1.5 games on the Twins. The Indians closed out the season by dropping five straight and Minnesota won the division by eight games. Cleveland’s slump at the end of the season knocked them out of the playoffs entirely. 2. Back-to-back walk-off homers (2017) It was a magical season for the Minnesota Twins. In 2016, the Twins were an awful 59-103, which was the worst record in the majors. That record was nine games behind the second worst team. But Minnesota had a turnaround season for the ages in 2017, going 85-77, and earning a Wild Card berth. With the bounce back season, they become the first team in Major League Baseball history to reach the postseason after losing 100 games the previous season. In mid-September, the Twins were clinging to a two-game lead for the second Wild Card spot and the Twins needed some late game heroics to maintain the lead. That would come on back-to-back nights, when they received walk-off homers from Eddie Rosario and Byron Buxton against San Diego and Toronto, respectively. The games were very similar. On the first night, the Twins played the San Diego Padres. Minnesota took the lead on a wild pitch in the second, but there wouldn’t be another run scored until the eighth. Minnesota starter Ervin Santana was brilliant, throwing six shutout innings, but would not figure in the decision. That would be because Austin Hedges took Trevor Hildenberger deep in the top of the eighth to tie up the game. Alan Busenitz and Matt Belisle escaped jams in both the eighth and the ninth to keep the game even at 1. Brad Hand blew threw the Twins lineup in the eighth and ninth, and they went to the 10th tied. Belisle had a 1-2-3 inning in the top of the 10th, and Rosario made sure there was no 11th. With one on and two out, Rosario worked the count in his favor against Phil Maton. On the 2-0 pitch, Maton tried to go inside with a fastball, but Eddie turned on it and blasted it deep to right. The only question was if it was going to stay fair. It did, and the Twins won 3-1 to keep a bit of distance between themselves and the Angels in the Wild Card race. But Minnesota wasn’t done with the walk-off homers. The next night, it was Buxton’s turn. Like the previous night, Minnesota had a one-run lead late in the game. After a Toronto run in the top of the fifth, Jorge Polanco hit a two-run single to take give the Twins the advantage. That lead would hold up until the ninth. Belisle got the first two batters, including the dangerous Josh Donaldson, on just seven pitches. But then Justin Smoak, with the Blue Jays down to their final out, hammered a homer to right to even the game. Dillon Gee worked around a one-out double in the 10th, and Minnesota came to the plate in their half of the inning. Luis Santos induced a pop-up from Polanco and he struck out Eduardo Escobar, bringing Buxton to the plate with two outs. A few weeks before, he hit three homers in a game at Toronto. This game, he didn’t to hit three, as one did the trick. Santos’ off speed pitch was a hanger and Buxton did not miss it, and launched a no-doubter into the upper deck to keep their distance with the Angels. It was only the second time in Twins history that they have had walk-off homers on consecutive days, and the first time since August 6-7 of 1970 when George Mitterwald and Jim Holt did it to the Angels and A’s, respectively. The two walk-offs helped keep distance between themselves and Los Angeles, and Minnesota would wind up playing in the playoffs for the first time since 2010. 1. Jim Thome. (2010) Minnesota was 68-50, and finally had overtaken Chicago, which led the AL Central for much of the year. The Twins were three games up on the White Sox entering a crucial three-game set in Minneapolis. Minnesota would take 2-of-3 from Chicago, and essentially put the Sox away in the division. It all started with a series-opening win courtesy of free agent acquisition Jim Thome, who hit the first walk-off homer in Target Field history with a two-run shot off Matt Thornton. The Twins started out hot, as the second batter of the game, Orlando Hudson, homered to give Minnesota the early lead. A two-run triple by Jason Kubel and RBI single by Thome pushed the lead to 4-0 after one. But home runs by Mark Kotsay and Twins killer Paul Konerko cut the lead to one. They would later tie up the game on a double by A.J. Pierzynski. Delmon Young homered in the fifth to put the Twins in front 5-4, and they thought the lead would hold up, as it was still 5-4 heading into the ninth inning. But trade deadline pickup Matt Capps served up a home run to Alexei Ramirez leading off the ninth, and they headed to extra innings knotted up. Capps was able to get Konerko to end the ninth on a bases loaded double play. It looked like the lead was being cut to two games when Ramirez (again) hits an RBI single to center and the Sox led 6-5 going to the bottom of the 10th. Thornton was on for his second inning of work after just allowing a harmless two-out single in the ninth. Young led off with a single to give him three hits on the night, and Thome came up with a man on first and nobody out. As a Twins fan, my thinking was that it would either end really good (home run) or really bad (strikeout, double play). There would be no in between. This one ended really well for the home team. After a strike by Thornton on the first pitch of the at-bat, Thornton threw a 93 mph fastball down the middle of the plate. As Pepper Brooks said in Dodgeball, “That’s a bold strategy, Cotton. Let’s see how it plays out for them.” Yeah, Thome swung hard, and the ball went far, as he deposited it deep near the American flag at Target Field. That hit was a no doubter by Thome. The win was Minnesota’s 26th in its last 33, and it went 23-10 in its next 33 to sew up the division. Chicago lost 18 of its next 32, and the division race was over.
  6. Nelson Cruz (2019) Baseball Reference WAR: 4.0 Cruz has smashed almost every designated hitter record in Twins history. He became only the third player in franchise history to hit 40 home runs following in the footsteps of Harmon Killebrew and Brian Dozier. He set the team’s DH records for home runs and RBIs and will add to those totals with a handful of games remaining this season. The influence of Cruz goes well beyond the numbers he has put up on the field as he has served in a mentor role to many players on the Twins roster. There’s no doubt in my mind that Miguel Sano wouldn’t have hit 30 home runs this season if not for the mentorship provided by Cruz. Josh Willingham (2012) Baseball Reference WAR: 3.3 Willingham doesn’t get as much reignition for his impact because he played on a pair of bad Twins teams. However, his 2012 campaign was one of the best in franchise history for a free agent signing. His defense was atrocious in the outfield, but he clubbed 35 home runs and collected 110 RBI, both career highs. He’d be out of the league after two more seasons, but it doesn’t take anything away from his first year in a Twins uniform. Like Cruz, he was credited with being a mentor to other players and he helped Brian Dozier turn in to a power-hitting threat in the years that followed his signing. Jim Thome (2010) Baseball Reference WAR: 3.6 At his signing,Thome was near the end of a career that led him to be enshrined in Cooperstown, but he had a little magic left in the tank during Target Fields’ first season. He hit 25 home runs, but it sure felt like a lot more with his foul pole shot and walk-off hits to help the club. Target Field was packed on a nightly basis and Thome was certainly helping the club on their way to the AL Central title. Heck, even Sports Illustrated did a story on him that season and it takes a lot for them to make their way to Minnesota. He hit his 600th home run while in a Twins uniform, but his impact on the club was felt long after he had left the city. Jack Morris (1991) Baseball Reference WAR: 4.3 Jack Morris only played one season in a Twins uniform, but it was certainly a memorable one. He went on to be an All-Star that season and pitched one of the greatest games in baseball history. At age 36, it would be his last All-Star appearance and it would be the last season he pitched over 245 innings. He led the American League in games started for only the second time in his career and he had 10 complete games to his credit by season’s end. He was a workhorse on a team that needed starting pitching help to reach the ultimate goal. Other pitchers like Kevin Tapani and Scott Erickson were able to outperform expectations that season and maybe Morris and his example were able to play a role in helping the team. These are just a few of the team’s best free agent signings. Who was left off the list? Who would you rank as the team’s best free agent signing? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  7. Nelson Cruz clocked his 40th home run over the weekend and in the process became a member of the 400-home run club. Earlier in the year, I wrote about his unlikely quest for 400 home runs with the biggest caveat being that he didn’t hit his first home runs until he was 26 years old. Now he’s on the brink of one of the best seasons ever for a 39-year old player and it certainly looks like the Twins stole him on the free agent market. So how does Cruz stack up against the other top free agents in Twins history?Nelson Cruz (2019) Baseball Reference WAR: 4.0 Cruz has smashed almost every designated hitter record in Twins history. He became only the third player in franchise history to hit 40 home runs following in the footsteps of Harmon Killebrew and Brian Dozier. He set the team’s DH records for home runs and RBIs and will add to those totals with a handful of games remaining this season. The influence of Cruz goes well beyond the numbers he has put up on the field as he has served in a mentor role to many players on the Twins roster. There’s no doubt in my mind that Miguel Sano wouldn’t have hit 30 home runs this season if not for the mentorship provided by Cruz. Josh Willingham (2012) Baseball Reference WAR: 3.3 Willingham doesn’t get as much reignition for his impact because he played on a pair of bad Twins teams. However, his 2012 campaign was one of the best in franchise history for a free agent signing. His defense was atrocious in the outfield, but he clubbed 35 home runs and collected 110 RBI, both career highs. He’d be out of the league after two more seasons, but it doesn’t take anything away from his first year in a Twins uniform. Like Cruz, he was credited with being a mentor to other players and he helped Brian Dozier turn in to a power-hitting threat in the years that followed his signing. Jim Thome (2010) Baseball Reference WAR: 3.6 At his signing,Thome was near the end of a career that led him to be enshrined in Cooperstown, but he had a little magic left in the tank during Target Fields’ first season. He hit 25 home runs, but it sure felt like a lot more with his foul pole shot and walk-off hits to help the club. Target Field was packed on a nightly basis and Thome was certainly helping the club on their way to the AL Central title. Heck, even Sports Illustrated did a story on him that season and it takes a lot for them to make their way to Minnesota. He hit his 600th home run while in a Twins uniform, but his impact on the club was felt long after he had left the city. Jack Morris (1991) Baseball Reference WAR: 4.3 Jack Morris only played one season in a Twins uniform, but it was certainly a memorable one. He went on to be an All-Star that season and pitched one of the greatest games in baseball history. At age 36, it would be his last All-Star appearance and it would be the last season he pitched over 245 innings. He led the American League in games started for only the second time in his career and he had 10 complete games to his credit by season’s end. He was a workhorse on a team that needed starting pitching help to reach the ultimate goal. Other pitchers like Kevin Tapani and Scott Erickson were able to outperform expectations that season and maybe Morris and his example were able to play a role in helping the team. These are just a few of the team’s best free agent signings. Who was left off the list? Who would you rank as the team’s best free agent signing? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. Click here to view the article
  8. Fan favorite, and longtime Twins great, Torii Hunter was brought back by Terry Ryan prior to the 2015 season. He was playing that year at the age of 39 and coming off just a .765 OPS. Despite no longer being a good defensive outfielder, the front office ponied up for $10 million and he played 139 games in his final year. As expected, the production sagged further, and the OPS ended up at just .702 on the season. 83 wins were accomplished, and Hunter’s impact was felt most within the clubhouse. If judging this by motivational impact, the contract was a win. Back in 2010, the Ryan regime went the way of a 39-year-old yet again. This time recently inducted Hall of Famer Jim Thome found himself joining one of his longtime rivals. 2009 saw Thome post an .847 OPS and hit 23 longballs. His first year in Minnesota was incredible, owning a 1.039 OPS and earning MVP votes for the first time since 2006. He’d then go on to join the 600-home run club in a Minnesota uniform the following year and did so with an .827 OPS across 71 games. Thome was a leader on one good team, and one bad one, but there was clearly plenty left in the tank as well. Paid just $4.5 million after making $13 million in his final year with the White Sox, this was larceny for the Twins. So where does that leave Nelson Cruz, and the expectations for what he can bring in 2019? From the get-go we can count out any sort of defensive effort. Cruz hasn’t been a regular fielder in years, and given his offensive prowess, that’s a plenty fine stipulation. He’s a year removed from a .924 OPS, and since 2013 his 230 homers rank first in all of baseball. Cruz has surpassed the 40-home run plateau in three of the past five seasons, while hitting 39 and 37 in the other two. In 2016 Brian Dozier hit 42 dingers for the Twins, but the only other player to surpass the 40 mark is Harmon Killebrew. It’s certainly fair to note that there’s risk relying on Nelson’s offense. After all, he’s 38 and his .850 OPS in 2018 was roughly a 75-point drop from the year prior. He’s a strong on-base contributor, and while there’s a strikeout potential, it isn’t close to danger territory. Last season Cruz posted his worst fWAR (2.5) since 2013, and we already know the overall package is completely reliant on plate production. In looking at the numbers, somewhat of a rebound seems possible. Outside of completely hitting an age cliff, Cruz has many things still going in his favor. The 42.3% hard hit rate last season was a career high, and there’s room for a better BABIP with the ground ball rate jumping up to 44% (a 4% increase over 2017). Cruz has owned a consistent swing profile for roughly six years now though, and he’s coming to a park with a much more batter friendly left field line. A marriage between these two parties seemed destined from the onset, and the eventual deal is much more about production then it is nostalgia. I’d still imagine Cruz will be plenty beneficial to players like Miguel Sano in the clubhouse (assuming he has willing observers), but there’s reason to think he can pace this lineup. ZiPS projects Cruz for a .266/.348/.500 line with 30 longballs this season. I’d argue that’s reflective of his slide in 2018 and take the over on almost all of that. Nelson Cruz isn’t the Hall of Famer that Jim Thome was, but I think he could have a similar impact for the Twins in 2019. Reaching the 400-homer run plateau (he’s currently 40 shy) and raking in the middle of Rocco Baldelli’s lineup are good bets. Torii Hunter was fun, and his dance parties helped to spark a looseness that elevated a Twins squad. Jim Thome was on a 94-win team that grabbed a division title, and that seems like a much more fun outcome this time around.
  9. There are a lot of similarities between Jim Thome and Joe Mauer, though they may not be obvious at first glance. Sure, Mauer has been mostly a singles and doubles hitter, batting for high average while Thome knocked over 600 home runs in his career. Mauer is long and lean while Thome is power-packed and burly. Hey, there’s a reason that the Paul Bunyan comparisons (and bobbleheads) have been made. But as Paul Molitor discussed the impact that Thome made in his brief time in Minnesota, it was natural for the conversation to swing toward Mauer and his accomplishments on and off the field. Jim Thome spent the 2010 season with the Twins and hit 25 home runs. In 2011, he played with the Twins until an August 25th trade sent him back to Cleveland. According to Molitor, Thome certainly made an impact. “He did. I think it’s to his credit that, although the time wasn’t very long, there was a bigger impact that maybe didn’t match up with the time.” Molitor continued, “What he did on the field was obviously impressive, added to his Hall of Fame credentials, but the influence he had on our group of young players. I remember in spring training, he’d go over to to the minor league fields to get extra at bats. Just the way he responded to those young kids and the example he set (provided an impact). He never took himself too seriously. It was always about enjoying the game and trying to make people around him better. It’s nice that we have the chance to honor him tonight.” But both Jim Thome and Joe Mauer are such nice people, caring people. Generally, they are quiet people as well. But don’t doubt their drive. Players don’t achieve as much as Thome and Mauer have in their careers without being extremely competitive and driven. Molitor noted. “I don’t think that you should be misled by the external demeanor or the fire of both of those guys. For a long time, I’d be asked ‘What’s Joe like in the clubhouse?’ He’s top shelf. You may not see it. He handles the ups and downs without the heavy outbursts. But even last night, in talking to his teammates, it was about staying in the moment and looking forward to come out today and trying to win a baseball game.” He noted that Mauer and Thome are strong leaders. “People define vocal. Vocal doesn’t mean volume.” Jim Thome’s career began in 1991 in Cleveland. At that time, Molitor’s Milwaukee Brewers were still in the American League. Then Molitor moved to the Blue Jays and ended his career with three years for the Twins. So, he saw a lot of Thome through the 1998 season when Molitor retired. Molitor noted that it’s been a long time, but he remembers Thome’s early years. “I remember him coming up as a third baseman. I’m not sure if I bunted on him somewhere along the way. You could tell early on. A guy who was exuberant on the field and played with passion and his power stuck out back then as a young player, maybe a little smaller version of the current Jim Thome. His run in Cleveland. Transition to first baseman. DH. Turned into one of the better power hitters of his generation.” In the same way that Thome had an impact on the field and in the clubhouse, Mauer still is having an impact. One way that he does that is providing a game ball after each Twins win. The ball doesn’t always go to the obvious choice. According to Molitor, “I think his biggest intent in getting up there is to make sure he recognizes all the little contributions. It’s not always about the two-run homer or the 7-inning shutout. It can be about a guy making a play or advancing a runner or battling with two strikes.” After the Friday night game when Mauer passed Rod Carew on the Twins all-time hit list, Molitor addressed the team following the game. “We took a moment. Talked about the history of the organization, how far back it goes, and over that span of time, Joe has more hits than anyone wearing this uniform than anyone else except one guy. It speaks a lot.” The Twins have stated publicly that they have not approached Mauer about a contract extension, and the Mauer side hasn’t reached out to them about his plans beyond 2018 when his contract ends and he can become a free agent. Mauer continues to do so much around the community. You may hear often about the work he and his wife Maddie do with the Gillette’s Childrens Hospital, but we have probably all heard stories of things that Mauer has done in the community which have never been made public. Mauer has been making an impact in the Twin Cities for a couple of decades. Jim Thome impacted this community for a couple of seasons. Both are Hall of Famers on and off the field.
  10. Joe Mauer had been given Wednesday afternoon off in Chicago. On Thursday night, the Twins returned home to Target Field and Mauer was back in the lineup, Mauer singled to tie Rod Carew for second on the Twins all-time hits list. On Friday, he executed a perfect hit-and-run for a single and hit #2,086, passing the great Carew. On Saturday night, the Minnesota Twins honored Hall of Famer Jim Thome in a pregame ceremony. Joe Mauer caught the ceremonial first pitch from his former teammate and then went out and added two more base knocks on his quest toward catching Kirby Puckett atop the Twins all-time hit list. Or just to end his season strong.There are a lot of similarities between Jim Thome and Joe Mauer, though they may not be obvious at first glance. Sure, Mauer has been mostly a singles and doubles hitter, batting for high average while Thome knocked over 600 home runs in his career. Mauer is long and lean while Thome is power-packed and burly. Hey, there’s a reason that the Paul Bunyan comparisons (and bobbleheads) have been made. But as Paul Molitor discussed the impact that Thome made in his brief time in Minnesota, it was natural for the conversation to swing toward Mauer and his accomplishments on and off the field. Jim Thome spent the 2010 season with the Twins and hit 25 home runs. In 2011, he played with the Twins until an August 25th trade sent him back to Cleveland. According to Molitor, Thome certainly made an impact. “He did. I think it’s to his credit that, although the time wasn’t very long, there was a bigger impact that maybe didn’t match up with the time.” Molitor continued, “What he did on the field was obviously impressive, added to his Hall of Fame credentials, but the influence he had on our group of young players. I remember in spring training, he’d go over to to the minor league fields to get extra at bats. Just the way he responded to those young kids and the example he set (provided an impact). He never took himself too seriously. It was always about enjoying the game and trying to make people around him better. It’s nice that we have the chance to honor him tonight.” But both Jim Thome and Joe Mauer are such nice people, caring people. Generally, they are quiet people as well. But don’t doubt their drive. Players don’t achieve as much as Thome and Mauer have in their careers without being extremely competitive and driven. Molitor noted. “I don’t think that you should be misled by the external demeanor or the fire of both of those guys. For a long time, I’d be asked ‘What’s Joe like in the clubhouse?’ He’s top shelf. You may not see it. He handles the ups and downs without the heavy outbursts. But even last night, in talking to his teammates, it was about staying in the moment and looking forward to come out today and trying to win a baseball game.” He noted that Mauer and Thome are strong leaders. “People define vocal. Vocal doesn’t mean volume.” Jim Thome’s career began in 1991 in Cleveland. At that time, Molitor’s Milwaukee Brewers were still in the American League. Then Molitor moved to the Blue Jays and ended his career with three years for the Twins. So, he saw a lot of Thome through the 1998 season when Molitor retired. Molitor noted that it’s been a long time, but he remembers Thome’s early years. “I remember him coming up as a third baseman. I’m not sure if I bunted on him somewhere along the way. You could tell early on. A guy who was exuberant on the field and played with passion and his power stuck out back then as a young player, maybe a little smaller version of the current Jim Thome. His run in Cleveland. Transition to first baseman. DH. Turned into one of the better power hitters of his generation.” In the same way that Thome had an impact on the field and in the clubhouse, Mauer still is having an impact. One way that he does that is providing a game ball after each Twins win. The ball doesn’t always go to the obvious choice. According to Molitor, “I think his biggest intent in getting up there is to make sure he recognizes all the little contributions. It’s not always about the two-run homer or the 7-inning shutout. It can be about a guy making a play or advancing a runner or battling with two strikes.” After the Friday night game when Mauer passed Rod Carew on the Twins all-time hit list, Molitor addressed the team following the game. “We took a moment. Talked about the history of the organization, how far back it goes, and over that span of time, Joe has more hits than anyone wearing this uniform than anyone else except one guy. It speaks a lot.” The Twins have stated publicly that they have not approached Mauer about a contract extension, and the Mauer side hasn’t reached out to them about his plans beyond 2018 when his contract ends and he can become a free agent. Mauer continues to do so much around the community. You may hear often about the work he and his wife Maddie do with the Gillette’s Childrens Hospital, but we have probably all heard stories of things that Mauer has done in the community which have never been made public. Mauer has been making an impact in the Twin Cities for a couple of decades. Jim Thome impacted this community for a couple of seasons. Both are Hall of Famers on and off the field. Click here to view the article
  11. John Bonnes I've followed the Twins since 1972, and in my mind, there is no doubt that Kirby Puckett has had the biggest impact. It wasn't just the World Series championships or the postseason heroics. Indeed that was just a small fraction of what he brought, as was his performance on the field. His personality, specifically his childlike enthusiasm and joy, separated him from any other athlete I've witnessed. He was also fortunate enough to have his career fall into the perfect media landscape: media was ubiquitous, but not chaotic and social. I wasn't able to witness first-hand the greatness on and off the field that Harmon Killebrew embodied, but I have trouble imagining that any player from the 60s could impact an organization and community the way Puckett did in the 80s and 90s. Nick Nelson For me personally, it’d have to be Kirby Puckett. He was easily the team’s biggest star while I was growing up, and had a major impact on my fledgling affinity for Twins baseball at the time. However, given that Kirby’s playing career was relatively brief (by HoF standards) and his greatness somewhat overstated (*ducks*) I’ve gotta go with Harmon Killebrew. I didn’t have the privilege of watching him play, but the numbers speak for themselves: to still own essentially all the franchise’s power-hitting records 30-plus years after retiring is nothing short of incredible. Plus, Killebrew stuck around as a fantastic ambassador for the organization many years after his playing career ended, whereas Kirby faded from the spotlight unceremoniously. Puckett’s legacy is ultimately a complicated and checkered one, but Killer’s is rock-solid through and through. He arrived along with the team from Washington in 1961, on the front end of a legendary run, and will forever be emblazoned in my mind as the eternal face of the franchise. Cody Christie When looking at the organization, Tony Oliva, a player not in the Hall of Fame, might have had the greatest impact on the organization. He’s been a great ambassador for the game and an asset for the organization. However, other players elected to Cooperstown like Kirby Puckett, Harmon Killebrew, Rod Carew, and Bert Blyleven have impacted the organization in different ways. Puckett brought multiple titles to the Twin Cities. Killebrew was the heart and soul of the organization’s first pennant winning team. Carew and his Heart of 29 campaign have brought him back into the fold in Minnesota. Even Blyleven and his terrible announcing have left an impact on the organization. If I am picking one player, it has to be Killebrew. His on and off the field impacts have touched every generation of Twins fans. Puckett was my idol growing up but his post career life was filled with various demons. Killebrew wasn’t perfect but his reach goes far beyond Twins Territory. Steve Lein Just to point this out while I go into my why: this is a tough question for me (for reasons discussed below and others I won’t). I grew up as a little kid loving baseball and my home/favorite team won two world series before I was ten years old. My views may be a little skewed because of that and the vivid memories I still have (one of those World Series was the first time I can remember my parents letting me stay up late). Since I’ve grown up and sought to learn much more about the franchise’s history, I know the name Harmon Killebrew should top a lot of our writer’s lists. I don’t know if you could find a Hall of Famer anywhere that without a doubt could be called a better human being. Because of that, while I was in a vintage store this past weekend I was very tempted to drop far too much money on an okay-condition Killebrew baseball card from 1958, while still in a Senators jersey. But as far as impact on the organization for me, the answer to this question will likely always be Kirby Puckett. He’s unquestionably the reason why you came to the Metrodome during his star-studded career, his joy playing the game was apparent every day with his smile, and his charisma was known throughout the major leagues. He also led his teams to those two World Series Championships, so he’s my pick. SD Buhr Given my advanced age, it’s not surprising that I’m going to go with Harmon Killebrew. Many fans may not have an appreciation for just how sorry the Washington Senators franchise was at the time Calvin Griffith moved the team to Minnesota. Washington won the AL pennant in 1933. From that point until the franchise landed in Minnesota, the Senators had three seasons in which they finished in the top half of the A.L. standings (two were during the talent-challenged World War II era). They finished dead last in the standings in four of their final six seasons in Washington. That is the legacy that Calvin Griffith brought to Minnesota. Fortunately, he also brought Harmon Killebrew to Minnesota. With Killebrew as the face of the franchise, the Twins quickly became one of most successful teams of the 1960s.They finished 6th in their debut season of 1961, but finished 2nd in 1962, 3rd in 1963 and won the franchise’s first A.L. pennant in 32 years in 1965. They were runners-up in 1966 and 1967 and then won the first two Western Division pennants of the Divisional era in 1969 and 1970. Under Griffith’s frugal ownership, the Twins became an also-ran during the following decade and a half, until Griffith sold the team to Carl Pohlad. Killebrew was the virtual embodiment of “Minnesota Nice” off the field, while being a cold blooded “killer” when he stepped into the batter’s box. If the Twins had continued their Senators legacy of being the league doormats, it’s not hard to imagine that Griffith would have been forced to sell his team much sooner than he did and who knows whether there would have been much local interest in even trying to keep the team in Minnesota. Thanks to Killebrew and his friends, the Twins were still around when Kirby and his buddies won their Championships. Andrew Thares Now batting, number 34, Kirbyyyyyyyyyyyyy Puckett! In the history of the Minnesota Twins, there isn’t a single player who has had a greater impact on the organization than Kirby Puckett. It would be easy to talk about him being the best player on both World Series winning teams, or reminisce on his brilliant preforming in Game 6 of the 1991 World Series, but really it was how Kirby played the game that left the lasting impact on the organization. As a Twins fan who isn’t old enough to remember Kirby Puckett before he retired, I think it speaks volumes to the fact that he is still my favorite baseball player of all time. Ted Schwerzler While Harmon was a man that has been gone from baseball for quite some time now, I think it's safe to say his impact has been felt over multiple generations. He was consistently a figurehead for the Twins organization even after his playing days, and his instruction towards young players is still disseminated today. He instilled a way in which to go about doing things that has been bought into by players like Torii Hunter, and consistently passed down as those guys give back to the organization today. If you missed any of the most recent roundtable discussions, here are the links: Baseball in 2028 Floundered Second Half Star Sell, Sell, Sell? Fixing the Offense
  12. New show! Glen Perkins' retirement, Yu Darvish, more potential MLB rules changes, the MLB HoF, and more! https://www.spreaker.com/user/the4dpodcastnetwork/twins-and-losses-supershow-episode-54-sl
  13. In June 1989 the MInnesota Twins completed what would be one of their most well-rounded drafts and one that aided in bringing a second World Series title to the organization. In the first four rounds they nabbed Chuck Knoblauch and Scott Erickson (two pillars of the 1991 team) as well as Denny Neagle (who the Twins would trade to Pittsburgh for 20-game winner John Smiley in efforts to replace the departing Jack Morris for the 1992 season). In the tenth round they would land future Rookie of the Year outfielder Marty Cordova, then pitcher Mike Trombley, who provided nine years of service for the organization, in the fourteenth. Oh, and even the Twins’ long-time utilityman, Denny Hocking, was selected in the fifty-second round. It was a good yield, to be sure, but the Twins passed over on one player who would have made that draft class legendary.Earlier that spring, 18-year-old James Howard Thome, all of six-foot-four and fungo thin, was manning shortstop at Illinois Central College. The Limestone High School graduate from just outside of Peoria, was getting little interest from within the professional baseball ranks. The summer after high school Thome attended a St. Louis Cardinals camp and was dismissed. Dozens of scouts would be at the junior college games, mostly looking at players on the opposing team. One scout, Ellsworth Brown, had noticed him. He saw him in high school and followed him around the state’s junior college circuit. Brown was working for the Minnesota Twins. Several years prior, he had scouted Kirby Puckett and eventually signed the center fielder. Brown could recognize hitters no matter the shape. He believed, in spite of the obvious positional limitations, that Jimmy Thome would indeed hit. Download attachment: Thome.PNG He tried to convince everyone above him that this kid would hit. For their part, the Twins’ higher ups told him that they didn’t believe Thome could play shortstop. There are eight other positions, Brown informed them. According to Terry Ryan, then the team’s scouting director, power was a high priority in the draft. It was the reason the team spent the second round pick on a little remembered outfielder out of Riverside, California by the name of John Gumpf. Other picks were spent in search of power. As Brown was trying to convince his superiors that Thome would be worth the investment, the Cleveland Indians had a scout named Tom Couston who was also enamored of Thome’s hit tool. After spending a game with the intention of tracking an opposing player, Thome caught his attention by hitting rockets all over the field. According to Couston, Thome was seen running a 5.2 down the line to first, which is a full-second slower than the average left-handed major leaguer. Couston also had timed Thome running a 6.8 60-yard dash time so he was confident there was enough athleticism to find him a position. Watch this kid hit, was the mantra Couston repeated to his bosses. With Couston’s endorsement, the Indians opted to draft Thome in the thirteenth round of the 1989 draft, with 332 players drafted ahead of him. They offered $10,000 to sign him. He asked for $15,000. They agreed. Two rounds prior, the Twins drafted Dan Masteller, a first baseman out of Michigan State, who saw a spattering of starts in 1995. A round later, they drafted a catcher, Alvin Brown, who eventually converted to being a pitcher in the Tigers organization. They drafted outfielders and middle infielders, leaning more towards athleticism than power. Eventually they tabbed two hulking first baseman in the later rounds hoping for some slug. None, of course, would compare to Jim Thome. Needless to say, the draft is filled with stories of scouts saying they begged their bosses to draft so-and-so, whether it was Mike Trout or Albert Pujols or Jim Thome. With every great player comes the tale of a scout who believed in him when others doubted. It is hard to say what his career trajectory would be had the Twins listened to Brown and drafted Jim Thome. The Twins obviously had Kent Hrbek at first but you could easily see them shifting Hrbek to the DH spot in 1993 or 1994 and allowing a young Thome to learn first. Had the Twins drafted him, the mid-to-late 1990s could have been radically different. Instead of shoehorning Dave McCarty at first or experimenting with Scott Stahoviak for several seasons, they would have had 40 home run potential locked in. It’s possible they never trade for David Ortiz or try to draft Travis Lee (which means they don’t get Matthew Lecroy either). Thome’s presence with the Twins would not have fixed the dreadful pitching problems but it could have been improved considering he wouldn’t be in a Cleveland uniform blasting white missiles into the blue seats at the Metrodome. At the same time, it’s possible Thome never fulfills his destiny if he were drafted by Minnesota. After all, Thome credits a lot of his success to working with Charlie Manuel while in AAA Charlotte. It was Manuel who gave Thome is iconic pre-pitch bat point, a move he borrowed after watching The Natural. It was after that season that Thome’s home run power arrived. Then again, hitters hit. It would likely be a matter of time before he sandblasted baseballs all across the universe no matter what uniform he was in. Fortunately, MInnesotans did get to witness Thome’s Hall of Fame power up close and firsthand. While he was in the twilight of his career and moving at the speed of a glacier, Jim Thome could still melt baseballs like no other. The 600th home run milestone was achieved in a Twins uniform and that moment will forever be associated with the organization. Still, what if Terry Ryan and others listened to Ellsworth Brown when he described Thome’s hitting abilities all those years ago? How different would the Twins’ franchise look today? While we can all dream of an alternate history, in the end, Jim Thome reaches the Hall of Fame, he will don a Cleveland Indians hat, just the way the baseball gods intended. Click here to view the article
  14. Earlier that spring, 18-year-old James Howard Thome, all of six-foot-four and fungo thin, was manning shortstop at Illinois Central College. The Limestone High School graduate from just outside of Peoria, was getting little interest from within the professional baseball ranks. The summer after high school Thome attended a St. Louis Cardinals camp and was dismissed. Dozens of scouts would be at the junior college games, mostly looking at players on the opposing team. One scout, Ellsworth Brown, had noticed him. He saw him in high school and followed him around the state’s junior college circuit. Brown was working for the Minnesota Twins. Several years prior, he had scouted Kirby Puckett and eventually signed the center fielder. Brown could recognize hitters no matter the shape. He believed, in spite of the obvious positional limitations, that Jimmy Thome would indeed hit. He tried to convince everyone above him that this kid would hit. For their part, the Twins’ higher ups told him that they didn’t believe Thome could play shortstop. There are eight other positions, Brown informed them. According to Terry Ryan, then the team’s scouting director, power was a high priority in the draft. It was the reason the team spent the second round pick on a little remembered outfielder out of Riverside, California by the name of John Gumpf. Other picks were spent in search of power. As Brown was trying to convince his superiors that Thome would be worth the investment, the Cleveland Indians had a scout named Tom Couston who was also enamored of Thome’s hit tool. After spending a game with the intention of tracking an opposing player, Thome caught his attention by hitting rockets all over the field. According to Couston, Thome was seen running a 5.2 down the line to first, which is a full-second slower than the average left-handed major leaguer. Couston also had timed Thome running a 6.8 60-yard dash time so he was confident there was enough athleticism to find him a position. Watch this kid hit, was the mantra Couston repeated to his bosses. With Couston’s endorsement, the Indians opted to draft Thome in the thirteenth round of the 1989 draft, with 332 players drafted ahead of him. They offered $10,000 to sign him. He asked for $15,000. They agreed. Two rounds prior, the Twins drafted Dan Masteller, a first baseman out of Michigan State, who saw a spattering of starts in 1995. A round later, they drafted a catcher, Alvin Brown, who eventually converted to being a pitcher in the Tigers organization. They drafted outfielders and middle infielders, leaning more towards athleticism than power. Eventually they tabbed two hulking first baseman in the later rounds hoping for some slug. None, of course, would compare to Jim Thome. Needless to say, the draft is filled with stories of scouts saying they begged their bosses to draft so-and-so, whether it was Mike Trout or Albert Pujols or Jim Thome. With every great player comes the tale of a scout who believed in him when others doubted. It is hard to say what his career trajectory would be had the Twins listened to Brown and drafted Jim Thome. The Twins obviously had Kent Hrbek at first but you could easily see them shifting Hrbek to the DH spot in 1993 or 1994 and allowing a young Thome to learn first. Had the Twins drafted him, the mid-to-late 1990s could have been radically different. Instead of shoehorning Dave McCarty at first or experimenting with Scott Stahoviak for several seasons, they would have had 40 home run potential locked in. It’s possible they never trade for David Ortiz or try to draft Travis Lee (which means they don’t get Matthew Lecroy either). Thome’s presence with the Twins would not have fixed the dreadful pitching problems but it could have been improved considering he wouldn’t be in a Cleveland uniform blasting white missiles into the blue seats at the Metrodome. At the same time, it’s possible Thome never fulfills his destiny if he were drafted by Minnesota. After all, Thome credits a lot of his success to working with Charlie Manuel while in AAA Charlotte. It was Manuel who gave Thome is iconic pre-pitch bat point, a move he borrowed after watching The Natural. It was after that season that Thome’s home run power arrived. Then again, hitters hit. It would likely be a matter of time before he sandblasted baseballs all across the universe no matter what uniform he was in. Fortunately, MInnesotans did get to witness Thome’s Hall of Fame power up close and firsthand. While he was in the twilight of his career and moving at the speed of a glacier, Jim Thome could still melt baseballs like no other. The 600th home run milestone was achieved in a Twins uniform and that moment will forever be associated with the organization. Still, what if Terry Ryan and others listened to Ellsworth Brown when he described Thome’s hitting abilities all those years ago? How different would the Twins’ franchise look today? While we can all dream of an alternate history, in the end, Jim Thome reaches the Hall of Fame, he will don a Cleveland Indians hat, just the way the baseball gods intended.
  15. Let’s take a quick look back at all the articles from the front page in the order they were published. This edition of Twins Weekly covers Friday, Jan. 19 to Thursday, Jan. 25. Diamond Awards A Big Success | John Bonnes Players’ Union Rejects Pace Of Play Proposals | Cody Christie Johan Santana Elected To Twins Hall of Fame | Seth Stohs The Twins Almanac for January 21–27 | Matt Johnson Gleeman & The Geek, Ep 352: Winter Meltdown 2018 | John Bonnes Can Addison Reed Become Minnesota's Bullpen Ace? | Nick Nelson Twins On Deck With Seth Podcast (Episode 3) | Seth Stohs Top Ten Twins Players Under 25 (6-10) | Cody Christie Overheard at TwinsFest: Granite Wants to Kick Yankee @!# | Tom Froemming Fernando Romero Is Healthy, Ready To Compete | Seth Stohs Glen Perkins: Tribute To A Twins Daily Hall Of Famer | Nick Nelson Would You Rather: Darvish or a Cobb/Lynn Combo? | Tom Froemming 5 Challenges The Twins Should Be Prepared To Face In 2018 | Nick Nelson Report: Darvish Decision Expected This Week, Twins In Consideration | Cody Christie Video: Slowing Things Down To See Jason Castro’s Silent Skill | Tom Froemming Get To Know Rule 5 Pick Tyler Kinley | Seth Stohs The Minnesota Twins Said No To Jim Thome | Parker Hageman Dollars Make Sense for 2018 Twins | Ted Schwerzler Twins Daily Blogs Below are some additional items of note from the blog area. I've pulled excerpts from each piece in an attempt to hook you in. The Sport of Immigrants By mikelink45 From the start the Minnesota Twins had an international connection. In the 1960’s before the recent surge in Foreign born players, the Twins had a Cuban connection that brought us Camilo Pascual, Tony Oliva, Zoilo Versalles, Sandy Valdespino, and Luis Tiant. And from Venezuela – Cesar Tovar who took us to the 1965 World Series. In their first years, when I was an usher, I always tried to get near the first base bag as the game moved on and the seats were full so I could watch my favorite player – Vic Power from Puerto Rico. I loved Pedro Ramos who complimented Pascual on the mound and does anyone remember Elmer Valo from Slovakia? Or Reno Bertoia from Italy who lived in Canada and is in the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame? There were 9 foreign born players on our first Minnesota Twins team.Twins Analytics Infrastructure By jharaldson This Twins have had a bit of a tortured history with analytics. In 2010 Rob Antony did an interview with TwinsDaily’s own Parker Hageman and revealed some interesting facts about the Twins and Sabermetrics. Antony stated this about their analytics department, “we're probably one of the last, if not the last, team to address it with a person dedicated solely to that.”. He went on further to fail to understand some fairly basic concepts about Sabermetrics. He thought FIP was “first strike in inning pitched” and was unable to guess about BABIP. He then revealed they had just hired their analytics guy and stated he would be “Gathering information and creating databases. This will be his first year. The guy that we brought in will start creating systems to build a foundation of our own that we can look at.” This is what I primarily want to get into as I have a background in IT.WAR on Twins Hall of Fame By sethmoko The announcement of Johan Santana's well-deserved selection to the Minnesota Twins Hall of Fame as well as the round-and-round Twitter and blog conversation about MLB Hall of Fame selections got me thinking: Who is in the Twins Hall of Fame that might surprise and who are other deserving candidates.Twins Showing Interest in Wade Miley By Andrew Thares Wade Miley isn’t the sexiest name out there on the starting pitcher market, but he could be a value grab for the Twins as they look to add depth to their rotation. One thing the Twins will be able to count on in Miley is his durability, as he has averaged 186 innings per season over the last six years. Miley has a respectable 4.38 ERA, and 3.95 xFIP, over his career, though he has been suspect of late with a 5.48 ERA over the past two seasons. This will make Miley a cheap signing, that the Twins could take a flyer on.Bullish - The Upside of the 2018 Bullpen By Jamie Cameron Looking at the most effective bullpens of 2017, an even more integral stat is K/9. This makes a ton of sense, not much can go wrong if you’re striking hitters out on a consistent basis. In 2017, there were 9 teams with a bullpen K/9 of at least 9.5. Between them, these clubs averaged a WAR of 6.5 for their bullpen. The Twins bullpen WAR in 2017 was 2.2, not a disaster, good for 22nd in MLB. By K/9, the Twins ranked 29th, with just 7.66 strikeouts per nine innings. Hardly surprising, when you are cycling through nearly 30 relievers over the course of the season. So how do the Twins new additions stack up in generating more strikeouts?What does one of the newest predictive measurements tell about the Twins' bats in 2018? By Thrylos As indicated only Joe Mauer, and in a lesser degree, Jason Castro are projected to improve, as far as the 2018 startling 9 of the Twins go. Pretty much everyone else is projected to decline. If one looks at several projections about what the 2018 will do, which are based on xwOBA, expect them to show an overall decline in wins.Video of the Week New Hall of Famer Jim Thome was only with the Twins for two seasons, but he sure gave us some tall tales during his time here. eBay Item of the Week It’s too bad Glen Perkins’ prime coincided with a down period for the Twins, but Perk closing out the All-Star Game at Target Field was one of the highlights of that period. Check out this sweet program from that game with the hometown boy on the cover: This isn’t on eBay, but if you’re looking to score some other sweet Twins memorabilia and support a good cause, check out the listings at the Darrell and Merry’s Cancer Fund charity auction. There are 14 items up for grabs from Twins legends like Tony Oliva to prospects like Royce Lewis and everybody in between. Additional Links Baseball: Twins' Curtiss saves the day in relief By the Duluth News Tribune John Curtiss took the call on Monday in Dallas asking if he could fill in for fellow Minnesota Twins pitcher Jose Berrios on the team's annual Winter Caravan after Berrios returned home to Puerto Rico to attend to a family matter. Curtiss sprang into action, but his flight to Minneapolis on Monday was delayed due to the blizzard that hit the Twin Cities. He even offered to fly to Omaha, Neb., and then drive the rest of the way, but he instead ended up flying out Tuesday morning, where he joined the Winter Caravan later that day.Target Field renovations for 2018 unveiled By Maija Varda of Twinkie Town The biggest change happening is that the Metropolitan Club — the big glass area in right field reserved exclusively for season ticket holders — will be no more. Instead, it will be replaced by a new club called Bat & Barrel, and will be open to all ticket holders. It’ll have bar, table, and lounge seating, a bunch of TVs, alcohol, new food, and all the other things you’d expect the Twins to put in there. More unexpectedly, the club will also be the home for various team awards, including both World Series Championship trophies! Woo! Unfortunately, the team didn’t say whether these would be the real World Series trophies, or replicas like the ones they already display in the Champions Club behind home plate (the real trophies are kept in the team offices).Torres, Tatis Jr. lead Top 10 SS Prospects list (includes Royce Lewis and Nick Gordon) By Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com Keep an eye on - Wander Javier, Twins By the end of the year, it's possible that Javier will be getting more of the attention among Twins shortstops. Signed for $4 million in 2015, he had a strong United States debut in the Rookie-level Appalachian League in 2017 and could really break out with a move to the Midwest League this season.Minnesota Twins Spring Training Countdown: 22, Brad Radke By Benjamin Chase of Puckett’s Pond The Minnesota Twins are preparing for a 2018 season with expectations after making the playoffs in 2017 as a Wild Card. We will have bring out numbers from team history that represent the number of days until spring training from now until pitchers and catchers report on February 13th. Some pitchers put up incredible ERA numbers, some pitchers put up incredible strikeout numbers, and some pitchers simply put up consistent numbers year-after-year to create their value over time. One of the best examples of that model is Twins Hall of Fame starter Brad Radke, who wore #22.Baseball is Good By Cory Engelhardt I had my 32nd episode last night. I was my own guest. It was really interesting/unusual doing a show all on my own, and I felt at times like I was rambling on a bit. Outside of that, I enjoyed doing the show and asking myself some of the questions that I have asked other people in previous podcast. I touched on how I grew to love the sport, why I enjoy still talking about baseball, what I see as the future of Baseball is Good, and lastly I ended the show going over some memories I had from TwinsFest this past weekend. Please give it a listen!Calling All Bloggers!!! Reminder: Anyone can start a blog at Twins Daily. If you're interested in being a regular writer for the site, the blog section is how you get your foot in the door. The only reason you're reading my words right now is because I started my own blog at Twins Daily. Calling All Readers!!! I don’t want to leave you out, either. If there's anything you'd love to read about next week, please let us know in the comments. That does it for this edition of Twins Weekly, have a great weekend everyone.
  16. If you missed any of the series on Johan Santana’s Cooperstown Case, there were three parts to the series. The first post looked at the Kirby Puckett Clause and how it can be applied to Santana. The second article touched on the similarities in careers between Santana and the great Sandy Koufax. The third and final piece touched on his missing third Cy Young. Class of 2018 Vladimir Guerrero: In his first year on the ballot, Guerrero garnered 71.7% of the vote and finished a mere 15 votes shy of induction. He will most certainly get the call this season. Across 16 big league seasons, he hit .318/.379/.553 with 449 home runs, 477 doubles and 2,590 hits. He ranked in the top five in the MVP voting four times and took home the 2004 AL MVP. His .318 average and 449 home runs have only been matched by Babe Ruth, Stan Musial, Lou Gehrig, Ted Williams and Jimmie Foxx. Trevor Hoffman: Much like Guerrero, Hoffman fell just votes shy of being elected last year. He received 74% of the vote and only needed five more votes to be inducted. He held the all-time record for career saves before Mariano Rivera took over the lead. Even as a relief pitcher, he finished second in the Cy Young voting twice and had two other top six finishes. He was the first pitcher to reach 500 saves and he is one of two players to reach the 600-save mark. Chipper Jones: The long-time Braves third baseman is making his first appearance on the ballot and he should easily make it to Cooperstown. During his 19-year career, he hit .303 while combining 468 home runs with a .930 OPS. He took home the 1999 NL MVP Award. He is one of five players to compile a .300 batting average, .400 on-base percentage, .500 slugging percentage, at least 450 home runs and at least 2,700 hits over a career. The other players are Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Stan Musial and Mel Ott. Jim Thome: Twins fans are well aware of the legend of Jim Thome. From home runs off the top of the flag pole to his devastating Game 163 bomb, Twins Territory has seen the good and the bad of Thome’s career. Thome smashed over 600 home runs, got on base over 40% of the time and compiled a career .956 OPS. Beside his performance on the field, he was known as one of baseball’s great ambassadors for his contributions off the field. Because of a log-jam on the ballot, he might be close in his first year but I still think he makes it. Future Inductions Omar Vizquel: Vizquel is an interesting case in that nearly all of his value came on the defensive side of the ball. He slashed .272/.336/.352 including only two seasons with a 100-plus OPS+ in his 24-year career. He was a defensive wizard who won 11 Gold Glove awards. Many compare him to Ozzie Smith, a first ballot Hall of Famer, who didn’t provide a lot of offensive value. With a loaded ballot, I’m guessing Vizquel won’t be elected in 2018 but he will gain some support in the years to come. Edgar Martinez: I continue to push for Edgar Martinez since he is one of the best designated hitters in history. Unfortunately, voters continue to hold his lack of defensive value against him. It’s shaping up to be a very close race for him. Out of the almost 60 public ballots, he is polling at over 80%. This would be good enough to get in but there are still plenty of unknown ballots to be counted. May Never Get In (But Still On My Ballot) Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Mike Mussina, Johan Santana Bonds and Clemens are two of the greatest players of all time but their connection to the steroid era has kept them out of Cooperstown. Mussina continues to make it on to my ballot and I think he might start to pick up some voters in the years to come. He was a very good pitcher for a long time but it might not be enough to find a place in Cooperstown. I built Santana’s Cooperstown case in multiple posts. I think he deserves to get in. To be transparent, little has changed in my ballot from last year to this year. I correctly predicted the three players who would be elected last year (Bagwell, Raines and Rodriguez) and I dropped Curt Schilling from the end of my ballot. I have replaced those four players on this year’s ballot with four first-time nominees (Jones, Thomes, Vizquel and Santana). Here is the official list of players available to be voted for by the BBWAA. Who makes your list? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  17. Officially sent out on December 1st, the Internet Baseball Writers Association of America has began accepting 2018 Hall of Fame Ballots. This is now my third year voting, and I'm proud of the privilege to induct players alongside fellow bloggers and other smaller outlets. Linked here, you can find my 2017 ballot as well. Before diving into the selections, I'd like to lay out a few notations. Both Vladimir Guerrero and Edgar Ramirez have previously been honored, which is why the remain off the current ballot. Despite the ability to vote for up to 15 candidates, I have previously elected to vote just 10. This year, I felt the need to expand that number a bit. Finally, here is my stance on steroids and performance enhancing drugs as they relate to the Hall of Fame. For players I have voted previously, I will denote them as such with an asterisk. I will also be using the same explanation as the previous vote. With that out of the way, let's get into it. *Barry Bonds: 164.4 fWAR It's a no brainer. The all-time home run king (762) is arguably the best player to ever step on the field. A seven-time MVP, eight-time Gold Glove winner, and 14-time All Star, Bonds did it all. *Roger Clemens: 133.7 fWAR The Rocket is one of the greatest pitchers to ever grace the mound. He's won seven Cy Young awards, claimed an MVP as a pitcher, and was invited to 11 All Star Games. His 4,672 strikeouts were buoyed by leading the big leagues five separate times. *Trevor Hoffman: 26.1 fWAR At one point the All-Time saves leader, Hoffman's 601 career saves still rank second, trailing only Mariano Rivera. His career 2.87 ERA was is dazzling, and the seven-time All Star has a place in the Hall. *Fred McGriff: 56.9 fWAR The Crime Dog spent many of his early season among MVP discussions. Despite never winning won, he finished fourth in 1993. He was elected to five All Star games and won three Silver Slugger awards. It's his 493 career home runs that get him over the top and into the Hall however. *Mike Mussina: 82.2 fWAR Pitching his entire career in the AL East, Mussina was a household name for Yankees and Orioles fans. Making five All Star games, and winning seven Gold Gloves, Mussina has his fair share of awards. Totaling 270 wins, and just over 2,800 strikeouts, Mussina comes up just short of the guaranteed numbers. *Curt Schilling: 79.7 fWAR Bloody sock nonsense aside, Schilling is a three time Cy Young runner-up, and six-time All Star. He struck out 3,116 batters in his career and owns a 3.46 ERA while totaling more than 200 wins. Three World Series rings, an MVP, and a 2.23 postseason ERA do him favors as well. Since voting for him last year, Schilling has made plenty of splashes in the media. He's not well liked off the field, but the character clause is among the most dated pieces of inclusion into the Hall of Fame. On baseball merit alone, he's worthy of the nod. *Larry Walker: 68.7 fWAR Although he played the field plenty, Walker also turned in a nice run spending time in both the infield and outfield. He was the 1997 NL MVP and made five All Star games. His glove netted him seven Gold Gloves and his bat produced three Silver Slugger awards. Walker finished his 17 seasons with 383 homers and drove in over 1,300 runs. Andruw Jones 67.1 fWAR Jones's 17 year career is often going to be questioned as he held on for five uninspiring seasons to closer out his time as a big leaguer. That aside, the 10 year stretch from 199-2007 was one for the ages. With 10 Gold Glove's and five All Star appearances, he was easily among the greatest in the game for a decade. Chipper Jones 84.6 fWAR An eight-time All Star, MVP and World Series winner, and a batting title to boot, Larry Wayne Jones was among the greatest third basemen to ever field the position. While he falls short of the 500 HR club, and the 3,000 hit club, it's a no-brainer that he deserves enshrinement in Cooperstown. Scott Rolen 70.1 fWAR Vastly under appreciated, Rolen started as a Rookie of the Year winner, and went on to tally eight Gold Glove awards. He was a seven time All Star and among the best to ever field the Hot Corner. With an .855 career OPS, his bat more than does enough to supplement what was an exceptional defensive career. Johan Santana 45.3 fWAR After suffering injuries and setbacks, it was apparent that Santana's career carried on much after his time had come. That being said, there's an argument to be made that there was no more dominant pitcher for a seven year stretch than what Santana brought to the table. In that time, he owned a 2.88 ERA, racked up 111 wins, and tallied 1,500 strikeouts. Two Cy Young awards were supplemented with four All Star games, three ERA titles, and a Triple Crown. While it wasn't lengthy, calling it anything but astounding would be selling him short. Jim Thome 69.0 fWAR A five-time All Star and a Silver Slugger Award recipient, Thome's accomplishments are more apparent in the numbers. His 612 career home runs rank 8th all time, and his .956 OPS across 22 seasons is remarkable. A giant for the Phillies and Indians, Home even posted a 1.000+ OPS at the age of 39 with the Minnesota Twins. The slugger should have no problem finding his plaque in Cooperstown. For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow @tlschwerz
  18. Thome’s Resume Thome’s numbers speak for themselves. Only nine players have surpassed the 600 home run plateau and Thome is one of them. He also compiled 1,699 RBIs, 1,583 runs scored, a .402 OBP and 2,328 hits. According to Baseball Reference’s Offensive WAR, he has the 44th highest total in baseball history and his WAR for position players is in the top 55. His career slugging (.544) and OPS (.956) both rank in the top 25 all-time. He also ranks seventh in base on balls (1,747). His demeanor on and off the field also separated him from the pack. Former teammate Joe Crede said, “He’s the epitome of a baseball player.” That kind of resume will be tough for the writers to ignore. Santana’s Resume Santana provides a more interesting case for the Hall of Fame. He was the most dominant pitcher in the game for a five-year stretch but his career was eventually derailed by injuries. Earlier this year, Seth compared Santana’s career to the great Sandy Koufax. There are similar career paths for both players. Baseball Reference’s Cy Young Career Shares (2.72) has him 12th all-time. Of the players in front of him, eight are in the Hall of Fame. The four not in the Hall are Roger Clemens, Clayton Kershaw, Roy Halladay, and Max Scherzer. Clemens may never get in but the other three all have a very strong chance. He ranks in the top 20 all-time in strikeouts per nine and adjusted ERA+. Predictions Other sluggers from Thome’s era have struggled to make it on the first ballot. A steroid era cloud has hung over some players like last year’s inductee Jeff Bagwell. Thome’s numbers are some of the best all-time and his overall contributions to the game will make it tough to keep him out of Cooperstown. This year’s ballot is stacked so he could fall victim to too many people passing him over to keep other players on the ballot. That being said, I still think he gets in. Santana is going to be a tough player for the writers to consider. I think it would take multiple years of him being on the ballot to start building up a case in his favor. He would need writers talking about how dominant he was before the injury. Twins fans saw a player like Kirby Puckett get inducted even though his career was cut short by an injury. Could the baseball writers do the same thing with Santana? It doesn’t seem likely for him to make it in 2018. Do you think either player makes the cut? Should Santana make it for his dominant stretch? Who else on the ballot will be elected? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  19. The 2018 Baseball Writers’ Association of America released their Hall of Fame ballot on Monday. Returning names like relief pitcher Trevor Hoffman and outfielder Vladimir Guerrero are almost assured of election. Hoffman fell five votes short in 2017 and Guerrero was 15 votes shy of induction. There is a strong crop of first time nominees as well. Third baseman Chipper Jones and shortstop Omar Vizuel each have strong resumes. Two former Twins, Jim Thome and Johan Santana, will also be on the ballot for the first time. Could Thome or Santana be inducted next summer?Thome’s Resume Thome’s numbers speak for themselves. Only nine players have surpassed the 600 home run plateau and Thome is one of them. He also compiled 1,699 RBIs, 1,583 runs scored, a .402 OBP and 2,328 hits. According to Baseball Reference’s Offensive WAR, he has the 44th highest total in baseball history and his WAR for position players is in the top 55. His career slugging (.544) and OPS (.956) both rank in the top 25 all-time. He also ranks seventh in base on balls (1,747). His demeanor on and off the field also separated him from the pack. Former teammate Joe Crede said, “He’s the epitome of a baseball player.” That kind of resume will be tough for the writers to ignore. Santana’s Resume Santana provides a more interesting case for the Hall of Fame. He was the most dominant pitcher in the game for a five-year stretch but his career was eventually derailed by injuries. Earlier this year, Seth compared Santana’s career to the great Sandy Koufax. There are similar career paths for both players. Baseball Reference’s Cy Young Career Shares (2.72) has him 12th all-time. Of the players in front of him, eight are in the Hall of Fame. The four not in the Hall are Roger Clemens, Clayton Kershaw, Roy Halladay, and Max Scherzer. Clemens may never get in but the other three all have a very strong chance. He ranks in the top 20 all-time in strikeouts per nine and adjusted ERA+. Predictions Other sluggers from Thome’s era have struggled to make it on the first ballot. A steroid era cloud has hung over some players like last year’s inductee Jeff Bagwell. Thome’s numbers are some of the best all-time and his overall contributions to the game will make it tough to keep him out of Cooperstown. This year’s ballot is stacked so he could fall victim to too many people passing him over to keep other players on the ballot. That being said, I still think he gets in. Santana is going to be a tough player for the writers to consider. I think it would take multiple years of him being on the ballot to start building up a case in his favor. He would need writers talking about how dominant he was before the injury. Twins fans saw a player like Kirby Puckett get inducted even though his career was cut short by an injury. Could the baseball writers do the same thing with Santana? It doesn’t seem likely for him to make it in 2018. Do you think either player makes the cut? Should Santana make it for his dominant stretch? Who else on the ballot will be elected? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. Click here to view the article
  20. And here is the Twins Almanac for the weekend of August 27-28, 2016. Mrs. Johnson and I have been busy getting settled here in Minnesota. It's good to be back after a decade out west. Look for a fresh batch of Twins trivia by open of business Monday. http://i1074.photobucket.com/albums/w413/mjohnso9/20160810_105324_zpsinrwxudh.jpg August 27 Happy 46th Birthday, Jim Thome It’s the birthday of Jim Thome, born in 1970 in Peoria, IL. He had already hit 564 home runs when he signed with the Minnesota Twins prior to the 2010 season. He hit a dramatic walk-off home run on August 17, 2010, the first Twins walk-off hit at Target Field. On August 15, 2011 Thome hit two opposite field home runs in Detroit, the 599th and 600th of his career. The Twins sold him to Cleveland 10 days later. In total he hit 40 home runs as a Twin. Thome, whose final season was 2012, officially retired on August 2, 2014 with 612 home runs. He hit 61 home runs against the Twins. The only team he more against was Detroit, 66. Jim Thome is eligible for the Hall of Fame in 2018. August 27, 1975 Kusick Ties Record, Blyleven Hurls Gem Craig Kusick tied a major league record by being beaned three times in the Twins’ game versus the Brewers in Milwaukee. That record stands to this day. Bert Blyleven, meanwhile, pitched an 11-inning shutout as the Twins won 1-0. Don Baylor, incidentally, owns the American League record for times hit-by-pitch in a career. He was beaned 267 times in his career played entirely in the AL. He was beaned four times while played for the 1987 World Series-champion Twins. August 27, 2012 Mauer Passes Battey for Most Games Caught Joe Mauer caught his 832nd game, surpassing Earl Battey for most games caught in Twins history. Battey played for Minnesota from 1961-’67. The game versus Seattle at Target Field was a pitchers duel between Felix Hernandez and rookie Liam Hendricks who would go the distance allowing only 3 hits. The Twins could only muster 5 hits off of Herndandez, with Mauer hitting a two-out single to center in the fourth. With the game still scoreless, Justin Morneau led-off the bottom of the seventh with a triple but was stranded there as three straight Twins batters grounded out. With Hendricks pitching a 2-hit shutout into the eighth, Seattle’s Eric Thames hit a leadoff home run and Seattle went on to win 1-0, with both Hendricks and Hernandez pitching complete games. http://i1074.photobucket.com/albums/w413/mjohnso9/Laudner.82D.89DAS_zpsl4ir6evw.jpg August 28, 1981 Tim Laudner Homers in MLB Debut 1976 Park Center High School graduate Tim Laudner homered in his major league debut, a 6-0 Twins win versus the Tigers in Bloomington. Laudner singled in his first MLB at-bat leading off the third and worked a walk in his second at-bat. In the seventh inning, in his third big league at-bat, Laudner hit a home run driving in Gary Ward. He popped out to the catcher in his final at-bat. Minnesota-native Jerry Koosman entered the game in the seventh inning, earning a seven-out save. Laudner hit his second major league home run the following day against Tigers pitcher Dan Schatzeder who would later win game 6 of the 1987 World Series for the Twins. Laudner had hit a whopping 42 home runs at AA Orlando in ‘81. The 44 he hit in total between the minors and majors led all of professional baseball. Laudner was one of three Twins to homer in his major league debut in 1981. Just four days earlier Kent Hrbek -- who, like Laudner, had also played his high school ball in the Twin Cities area -- hit a twelfth-inning home run in his major league debut off of George Frazier at Yankee Stadium. Frazier, like Schatzeder, would also go on to pitch for the ‘87 Twins. On September 20th, Gary Gaetti homered in his first major league at-bat. Keep in touch with @@TwinsAlmanac on Twitter.
  21. Tonight, Alex Rodriguez will be playing in his final game for the New York Yankees. On Sunday, he and the team announced that he would get one final game at Yankees Stadium before being let go. He will become an advisor in the team’s system. But there has been a lot of discussion about whether or not tonight will be the final game in the storied career of A-Rod. Many assume he will return to play for someone. In fact, some have suggested that the Twins might be a reasonable match. Though I find it rather unlikely, I do think it’s worth the discussion.Let’s start with this. Alex Rodriguez is one of the greatest baseball players of the last 25 years. His numbers speak for themselves. He arrived in Seattle about a year after being the #1 overall pick in the 1993 draft. He was a 14-time All-Star, starting at age 20. In 2,783 games, he has a career line of .295/.380/.550 (.930) with 547 doubles, 696 home runs and 2,085 RBI. He has won three MVP awards, won ten Silver Slugger awards and even a couple of Gold Gloves. But for all of his accomplishments on the field, most people in and around and outside of baseball choose to jump straight to his PED usage and his elaborate cover-up. He missed the entire 2014 season because of suspension. It’s an era of baseball that we can’t move past and that’s understandable. This year with the Yankees, he is hitting just .199/.247/.348 (.525) with nine homers in 64 games. He has been relegated to Joe Girardi’s bench the last few weeks. It makes sense for the Yankees to get rid of him. But again, the assumption is that he will sign somewhere. If I was a betting man, I’d say he winds up signing with the Miami Marlins. It just makes the most sense. But, I did want to take just a little bit of time to consider whether it makes any sense at all for the Twins to sign A-Rod. The Pros While my sense as I start typing this is that the Cons will outnumber (and out-value) the Pros, there are legitimate reasons to at least consider it. While 2016 has been a bad year for Rodriguez, he was really pretty good in 2015. He hit .250/.356/.486 (.842) with 22 doubles, 33 homers and 86 RBI in 151 games as a 39-year-old. He can still provide some power. At 696 home runs, it would be pretty cool for a fan base to be able to watch a chase to 700 home runs. It certainly was fun watching Jim Thome chase his 600th home run. Many have indicated that Rodriguez has done a very nice job as a teammate, particularly with the young Yankees players. Many have said that the Twins need a veteran leader on the roster, particularly with so many young players. Rodriguez is eloquent and fluent in both English and Spanish, and with the Twins having so many young players from Latin American countries, his voice could be helpful. It would not require much money, if he chose to sign. He is owed and will be paid $23 million by the Yankees in 2017, the final year of his 10-year, $275 million deal. The Cons I think it’s fair to say that Alex Rodriguez comes with some baggage. The PED stuff is always a topic in the minds of media and fans. There certainly would be plenty of public scrutiny. Some of it fair. Some of it unnecessary. His age-40 season has been a disaster. Age is certainly not his friend. While his 2015 season was solid, the precipitous drop in production in 2016 doesn’t bode well for his presumed productivity in 2017. The Twins already have plenty of DH options. As much as it may be nice to have Alex Rodriguez around as a mentor for Miguel Sano, Jorge Polanco, Jose Berrios, Eddie Rosario, Kennys Vargas, Byron Buxton, Max Kepler and other young players, he would have to accept that he would basically be a pinch-hit option. Miguel Sano, Kennys Vargas, Byung Ho Park, Daniel Palka and Adam Brett Walker are all DH candidates, as well as DH days for Joe Mauer. While the reports of Rodriguez's work with young players has been positive, there does seem to be a general uneasiness and lack of trust in him. Signing an aging veteran could be positive, but it could be destructive if it doesn't play out as you hope. My Opinion Certainly you have your opinions on Rodriguez the player, Rodriguez the person, or Rodriguez the legacy. Maybe there are other Pros or Cons that you would include. Feel free to (respectfully) discuss them below. While I would love to watch Alex Rodriguez finish his career in a Twins uniform, I just don’t think it makes a lot of sense for the Twins. He likely would be a terrific mentor for the Twins' young players. It would be fun to watch a chase for 700 wins. However, his at-bats would likely come at the expense of some young players who either are, or hope to be, a part of the Twins future. With that, it makes it harder to justify the PR hit that the Twins might take (by some) for signing someone with such a tainted history. In the end, I would be very excited if the they signed Rodriguez either yet this season or going into the 2017 season. I just can’t see it as making sense for the Twins. Click here to view the article
  22. Let’s start with this. Alex Rodriguez is one of the greatest baseball players of the last 25 years. His numbers speak for themselves. He arrived in Seattle about a year after being the #1 overall pick in the 1993 draft. He was a 14-time All-Star, starting at age 20. In 2,783 games, he has a career line of .295/.380/.550 (.930) with 547 doubles, 696 home runs and 2,085 RBI. He has won three MVP awards, won ten Silver Slugger awards and even a couple of Gold Gloves. But for all of his accomplishments on the field, most people in and around and outside of baseball choose to jump straight to his PED usage and his elaborate cover-up. He missed the entire 2014 season because of suspension. It’s an era of baseball that we can’t move past and that’s understandable. This year with the Yankees, he is hitting just .199/.247/.348 (.525) with nine homers in 64 games. He has been relegated to Joe Girardi’s bench the last few weeks. It makes sense for the Yankees to get rid of him. But again, the assumption is that he will sign somewhere. If I was a betting man, I’d say he winds up signing with the Miami Marlins. It just makes the most sense. But, I did want to take just a little bit of time to consider whether it makes any sense at all for the Twins to sign A-Rod. The Pros While my sense as I start typing this is that the Cons will outnumber (and out-value) the Pros, there are legitimate reasons to at least consider it. While 2016 has been a bad year for Rodriguez, he was really pretty good in 2015. He hit .250/.356/.486 (.842) with 22 doubles, 33 homers and 86 RBI in 151 games as a 39-year-old. He can still provide some power. At 696 home runs, it would be pretty cool for a fan base to be able to watch a chase to 700 home runs. It certainly was fun watching Jim Thome chase his 600th home run. Many have indicated that Rodriguez has done a very nice job as a teammate, particularly with the young Yankees players. Many have said that the Twins need a veteran leader on the roster, particularly with so many young players. Rodriguez is eloquent and fluent in both English and Spanish, and with the Twins having so many young players from Latin American countries, his voice could be helpful. It would not require much money, if he chose to sign. He is owed and will be paid $23 million by the Yankees in 2017, the final year of his 10-year, $275 million deal. The Cons I think it’s fair to say that Alex Rodriguez comes with some baggage. The PED stuff is always a topic in the minds of media and fans. There certainly would be plenty of public scrutiny. Some of it fair. Some of it unnecessary. His age-40 season has been a disaster. Age is certainly not his friend. While his 2015 season was solid, the precipitous drop in production in 2016 doesn’t bode well for his presumed productivity in 2017. The Twins already have plenty of DH options. As much as it may be nice to have Alex Rodriguez around as a mentor for Miguel Sano, Jorge Polanco, Jose Berrios, Eddie Rosario, Kennys Vargas, Byron Buxton, Max Kepler and other young players, he would have to accept that he would basically be a pinch-hit option. Miguel Sano, Kennys Vargas, Byung Ho Park, Daniel Palka and Adam Brett Walker are all DH candidates, as well as DH days for Joe Mauer. While the reports of Rodriguez's work with young players has been positive, there does seem to be a general uneasiness and lack of trust in him. Signing an aging veteran could be positive, but it could be destructive if it doesn't play out as you hope. My Opinion Certainly you have your opinions on Rodriguez the player, Rodriguez the person, or Rodriguez the legacy. Maybe there are other Pros or Cons that you would include. Feel free to (respectfully) discuss them below. While I would love to watch Alex Rodriguez finish his career in a Twins uniform, I just don’t think it makes a lot of sense for the Twins. He likely would be a terrific mentor for the Twins' young players. It would be fun to watch a chase for 700 wins. However, his at-bats would likely come at the expense of some young players who either are, or hope to be, a part of the Twins future. With that, it makes it harder to justify the PR hit that the Twins might take (by some) for signing someone with such a tainted history. In the end, I would be very excited if the they signed Rodriguez either yet this season or going into the 2017 season. I just can’t see it as making sense for the Twins.
  23. The Twins Almanac for August 13-19 http://i1074.photobucket.com/albums/w413/mjohnso9/20160810_105206_zpsixc8dcyp.jpg And here is the first full-fledged Twins Almanac in awhile. In my absence from Twins Daily, many of you have been keeping in touch on Twitter, with over 1,000 new people following @TwinsAlmanac over the past month. It's good to be back writing posts of greater than 140 characters, though. This was a fun week in Twins history to write about. My childhood hero Kent Hrbek's number 14 was retired this week in 1995, Tom Kelly's 66th birthday is this week, and Jim Thome hit two very memorable home runs. In other news, after nearly a decade in Seattle (and lately Bellingham...) I'm moving back to Minnesota next week, and I'm bringing Mrs. Almanac with me. We are expecting our rookie to make it's debut in January. I'm sure we'll make it out to Target Field a time or two before winter sets in. Hopefully we'll be seeing you. August 13 Happy 81st Birthday, Mudcat Grant It’s the birthday of Jim “Mudcat” Grant, born in 1935 in Lacoochee, FL. Grant had a 14-year major league career spanning from 1958 to 1971. The Twins acquired Grant in a trade with Cleveland on June 15, 1964. He was an All-Star in ‘65 and finished sixth in American League Most Valuable Player balloting. He led the league with 21 wins and 6 shutouts. He also tied with St. Louis’s Bob Gibson for most home runs allowed with 34. Grant started three games in the 1965 World Series, winning games one and six before Sandy Koufax outdueled Jim Kaat in game seven. Following the 1967 season, the Twins traded Grant and Zoilo Versalles to the Dodgers for 1969 All-Star catcher John Roseboro, Ron Perranoski, and Bob Miller. http://i1074.photobucket.com/albums/w413/mjohnso9/20160810_105721_zpsvx70ievr.jpg August 13, 1986 Twins Swap Ron Davis for George Frazier The Twins traded pitchers Ron Davis and Dewayne Coleman to the Chicago Cubs for Julius McDougal, Ray Fontenot and George Frazier. Davis, who was the supposed centerpiece of the trade that sent Roy Smalley to the Yankees and brought Greg Gagne to Minnesota in 1982, had a shaky tenure as Twins closer. In 1984 he tied a single season record with 14 blown saves, a dubious feat which no pitcher has since matched. Four pitchers had blown 14 saves in a season prior to Davis, including Hall of Famers Rollie Fingers (1976) and Bruce Sutter (‘78). George Frazier pitched in 54 games for the Twins’ 1987 World Series champion team. It was his final season. http://i1074.photobucket.com/albums/w413/mjohnso9/Hrbek.teamissue_zpsfdujvojg.jpg August 13, 1995 Kent Hrbek’s Number Retired Kent Hrbek grew up in Bloomington, less than a mile from Metropolitan Stadium. He graduated from Kennedy High School in 1978 and was drafted by the Twins that spring in the 17th round. He jumped straight from A ball to make his major league debut on August 24, 1981 at Yankee Stadium. With the game tied at 2-2 in the 12th, Hrbek hit a home run off of future-Twin George Frazier for his first big league hit. Four days later Tim Laudner would also homer in his major league debut, and less than a month later Gary Gaetti would homer in his first at-bat. In 1982, his first full season in the show, Hrbek batted .301 with 160 hits, 23 HRs and 92 RBI, made his only All-Star appearance, and finished second to Cal Ripken Jr. for American League Rookie of the Year. In 1984 Hrbie was runner-up to Tigers pitcher Willie Hernandez for American League MVP. Kent Hrbek hit a career-high 34 home runs in 1987. It would be the Twins’ last 30-home run season until Justin Morneau hit 34 in his 2006 MVP season. So much for the Steroid Era in Minnesota. Only Harmon Killebrew and Kirby Puckett played more games in a Twins uniform than Kent Hrbek. His 293 career HRs, 1,086 RBI and 838 walks are each second in Twins history to only Harmon Killebrew. In addition to being one of the most prodigious sluggers in Twins history, Hrbek is widely praised for his defense. Many, in fact, go so far as to rank Hrbek among the greatest defensive first basemen in baseball history. And though he was not the fastest man, Tom Kelly regarded Hrbie as an excellent baserunner. Hrbek’s number 14 was the fourth number retired by the Twins, after Harmon Killebrew in 1974, Rod Carew in 1987 and Tony Oliva in 1991. Kent Hrbek was inducted along with Harmon Killebrew, Rod Carew, Tony Oliva, Kirby Puckett and Calvin Griffith as the inaugural class of the Twins’ Hall of Fame on August 12, 2000. August 14, 2010 Brian Duensing Pitches 3-Hit Complete-Game Shutout On a Saturday night at Target Field Brian Duensing pitched the first of two career shutouts as the first-place Twins beat the Athletics 2-0. Duensing gave up a hit in each of the first three innings before holding the A’s hitless the final six innings of the ballgame. He also walked two batters while striking out four. Reigning American League MVP Joe Mauer went 3-for-4 with an RBI. Orlando Hudson drove in the Twins’ other run. The Twins went on to win the Central Division in 2010, their sixth division crown in nine seasons. They were swept out of the playoffs by the New York Yankees. http://i1074.photobucket.com/albums/w413/mjohnso9/20160810_105519_zpskdl32b6s.jpg August 15 Happy 66th Birthday, Tom Kelly It’s the birthday of Tom Kelly, born in 1950 in Graceville, MN, though he grew up in Sayreville, New Jersey and attended Monmouth University also in New Jersey. Graceville, with a population of 565 at last check, is also the birthplace of Bill Davis, who played sparingly for Cleveland and San Diego in the sixties. Davis attended Richfield High School just south of Minneapolis. Kelly was drafted in the 8th round by the Seattle Pilots in 1968. After three lackluster seasons in the Pilots/Brewers organization, TK was signed by the Minnesota Twins prior to the ‘71 season. He made his major league debut on May 11, 1975 at age 24. He played 49 games in the majors, going 23-for-117 (.181) while playing primarily first base. In his tenth game, May 26th, TK hit his one and only big league home run in Detroit off of Vern Ruhle. Ruhle makes at least one other appearance in the annals of Twins home run history. On August 22, 1975, Ruhle, who shares a 1975 Topps rookie card with Edina High School and University of Minnesota alumnus Paul Siebert, gave up a home run to the Twins’ Dave McKay in his first big league at-bat. Kelly spent the 1976 season in the Baltimore Orioles’ organization playing for the Rochester Red Wings, who were Baltimore’s AAA affiliate at the time. Kelly returned to the Twins’ organization in 1977 as a player-manager. Kelly joined the major league club as a coach in 1983 under manager Billy Gardner. Kelly, only 35-years-old, was named Twins manager with 23 games remaining in 1986, replacing Ray Miller. In 1987, with a cast of characters many of whom he played a large role in cultivating down on the farm, Kelly “became the youngest non-playing manager to win the World Series since John McGraw in 1905” (per Baseball Reference). Following back-to-back losing seasons in 1989 and ‘90, TK won his second World Series in 1991 with only seven players and four starters remaining from the ‘87 World Series roster. The only pitcher remaining from 1987 was Allan Anderson who only played in 4 regular season games in ‘87 and did not play in either postseason. After eight of the most miserable seasons in Twins history, TK piloted the club to second place in the Central in 2001 before handing the helm to Ron Gardenhire who won three consecutive division championships in his first three seasons, a total of five in the decade and another in 2010. Tom Kelly’s number 10 was retired on September 8, 2012. August 15, 2011 Jim Thome Joins the 600-HR Club The Twins traded outfielder Delmon Young to the Tigers prior to the first game of their series against them in Detroit. Young, batting third in his debut with his new team, hit a 2-out home run off of Francisco Liriano in the first inning. It would prove to be Jim Thome’s day, though. With the Twins and Tigers tied at 3 in the sixth, Thome hit a 2-run opposite field home run to left-center off of Rick Porcello, driving in Jason Kubel. It was the 599th home run for the 40-year-old Thome, playing in his 21st big league season. Then, just one inning later, the Twins clinging to a 6-5 lead, two on and two out, Thome hit Daniel Schlereth’s 2-1 offering to straightaway left field and into the Tigers’ bullpen, becoming the eighth member of the 600-HR Club. The Twins went on to beat the first place Tigers 9-6. Thome finished the day 3-for-4 with 5 RBI and the 2 runs scored. Thome, whose final season was 2012, officially retired on August 2, 2014 with 612 home runs. He hit 66 of those home runs against the Tigers, more than he hit against any other team. The team he hit the second-most against was the Twins, 61. http://i1074.photobucket.com/albums/w413/mjohnso9/20160810_110645_zpskw8dunrg.jpg August 16, 1975 All Nine Twins Get 2+ Hits Twins batters collected 20 hits in a 9-1 victory over Cleveland at Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington. All nine Twins batters got at least 2 hits. Center fielder “Disco” Dan Ford and catcher Phil Roof each got 3 hits. Of the 20 hits only five went for extra bases, with Roof hitting a home run. The starting lineup that day was Lyman Bostock, Dan Ford, Rod Carew, John Briggs, Tony Oliva, Eric Soderholm, Steve Braun, Jerry Terrell (Waterville High School ‘64; Minnesota State, Mankato ‘68), Phil Roof. http://i1074.photobucket.com/albums/w413/mjohnso9/20160810_105324_zpsinrwxudh.jpg August 17, 2010 Jim Thome Walk-Off Home Run Trailing the Twins by three games in the Central Division standings, the White Sox were in town for the first of a three-game series. The Twins jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first against Chicago pitcher John Danks. Entering the top of the ninth, however, the Twins clung to a 5-4 lead. White Sox shortstop Alexei Ramirez, hitting in the 8-hole, tied the game on closer Matt Capps’ second pitch of the inning. The White Sox threatened to take the lead, but after intentionally walking Alex Rios to load the bases, Capps induced an inning-ending double play from none other than Paul Konerko. Alexei Ramirez came to the plate again in the tenth, this time with big Jon Rauch on the mound, and this time with a runner in scoring position. Ramirez singled to center, driving in the go-ahead run. Delmon Young led off the bottom the tenth with a single against 2010 All-Star Matt Thornton. Jim Thome then hit Thornton’s 1-0 offering, a belt-high fastball, well-over the limestone facade onto the plaza for the first walk-off hit in Target Field history. It was Thome’s 17th home run of the season, and 581st of his career. http://i1074.photobucket.com/albums/w413/mjohnso9/20160810_110930_zpshmzusjfs.jpg August 18, 1986 Tom Seaver Wins 311th and Final Game Pitching for the Red Sox, 41-year-old Tom Seaver won his 311th and final major league game in a narrow 3-1 Boston victory over the Minnesota Twins in the Metrodome. Seaver pitched 8 ⅔ innings, allowing just 1 run on 3 hits and 4 walks while striking out 7. Seaver gave up a single to the first batter he faced, leadoff hitter Kirby Puckett. In the bottom of the third he gave up a solo home run to Roy Smalley, tying the game at 1-1. Seaver, though he would issue 4 walks over the course of the game, would not give up another hit until he had two outs in the ninth. Frank Viola, too, pitched a strong game. After finding himself in a 1-0 hole two batters into the game, he held the Red Sox scoreless, allowing just 4 hits in the second through eighth innings. Tied 1-1 in the ninth, however, Viola gave up a single to center fielder Tony Armas and 2-run home run to catcher Rich Gedman to give the Red Sox a 3-1 lead heading into the bottom of the ninth. With two out in the ninth, Seaver gave up a his third and final hit, a double to Randy Bush. With Tom Brunansky pinch-hitting for Billy Beane and representing the tying run, Red Sox manager John McNamara brought in Bob Stanley who got Bruno looking to secure Tom Seaver’s 311th win. It is also interesting to note that Tom Seaver earned his 300th win the previous August while pitching for the White Sox against the Yankees in the city that he is most associated with, New York, on the same day that Rod Carew got his 3,000th hit off of Frank Viola, pitching, of course, for Carew’s former club. August 19 Happy 58th Birthday, Gary Gaetti It’s the birthday of Gary Gaetti, born in 1958 in Centralia, IL. The 20-year major leaguer played 10 seasons in Minnesota, 1981-1990. On September 20, 1981, Gaetti homered in his first major league at-bat. He was the third Twin that season to homer in his first major league game (Kent Hrbek, August 24, and Tim Laudner, August 28). Six Twins have homered in their first major league at-bat: Rick Renick, Dave McKay, Gaetti, Andre David, Luke Hughes and Eddie Rosario. Like Eddie Rosario, Andre David's home run was on the first pitch. The pitcher was Jack Morris and it was the only major league home run he would ever hit. Gaetti won Gold Gloves at third in 1986, ‘87 and ‘88 and represented the Twins in the 1988 and ‘89 All-Star Games. He hit 201 home runs in a Twins uniform, eighth most in team history, one spot behind Kirby Puckett (207). August 19, 1991 Randy Bush Hits Record Pinch-Hit Double In an 8-7 loss to division-rivals Oakland at the Metrodome Randy Bush got his seventh consecutive pinch-hit dating back to July 5, tying an American League record set in 1981 by the Rangers’ Bill Stein. Jose Canseco and Kirby Puckett had traded solo home runs in the first inning. Tied at 7-7 in the ninth, 1980 New Ulm High School graduate Terry Steinbach drove in Dave Henderson with a two-out line drive single to center off of Steve Bedrosian. After Oakland closer Dennis Eckersley struck out Mike Pagliarulo to lead-off the ninth, Bush pinch-hit for Al Newman, hitting a 1-0 double to right. Eckersley, however, retired Knoblauch and Larkin to preserve the victory for the Athletics. August 19, 2007 Johan Santana Strikes Out Twins Record 17 In a Sunday afternoon game at the Metrodome versus Texas, reigning Cy Young Award-winner Johan Santana struck out a team record 17 batters in only eight innings. Santana struck out all nine Rangers at least once. The only two hits that Santana allowed were to the designated hitter, known steroid user Sammy Sosa who singled in the fifth and doubled in the seventh. Santana finished strong, striking out the side in his eighth and final inning. He did not issue a walk. Joe Nathan came in in the ninth to preserve the 1-0 Twins win. Michael Young, who had struck out in all three at-bats against Santana, struck out swinging to end the game. The only run that the Twins could muster against Rangers starting pitcher Kevin Millwood was a Michael Cuddyer home run leading off the second. The End Well, that's all. Thanks for reading. And if your townball team is looking for a legitimate 32-year-old base stealing threat for next summer, stop into Johnson's Hardware Hank & Rental in scenic downtown Zimmerman and ask for the prodigal son. And keep in touch with the Twins Almanac on Facebook.
  24. MLB.com's Cut4 reminds us of a weird little bit of Twins history: "on March 6, 1973, Larry Hisle took the first at-bat as a DH in the history of the game." It was spring training, of course, and in fact Hisle -- who the Twins had acquired the prior November to be their primary center fielder -- wouldn't play a regular game as designated hitter until 1975. As the article notes, the first regular-season DH was the Yankees' Ron Blomberg, who was born to play the "position." Still, though, Hisle was the first guy ever to fill the slot of "designated hitter" in a Major League Baseball game, 43 years ago yesterday, and that's kind of cool. It got me thinking about the Twins and the designated hitter. In my mind -- in which the days when Ron Gardenhire would just plug in Jason Tyner or Mike Redmond are still fairly fresh, along with the more recent (and hopefully temporary) disappointments of Oswaldo Arcia and Kennys Vargas -- it's just always been a position they've struggled to fill with anyone who wasn't something approaching embarrassing.And it's worth noting that in 43 seasons with the DH, only 13 times has a Twins player put up more than 1 win above replacement during a season in which he spent 50% or more of his time as the DH. I didn't have a great sense of what that means either, but the Yankees have had 21 such seasons, the Royals 18, and the Rangers 23, to take the first three I checked. I'm pretty comfortable saying 13 times is not great. At the same time, though, there have been some good performances, and maybe more than you remember. Here are the ten best, ranked by Baseball-Reference's batting runs component of WAR (since WAR itself would include credit or demerits for time spent in the field, which I don't particularly care about here): 10.) Jose Morales, 1980: No relation to the late-last-decade backup catcher, this Morales was a journeyman first baseman who appears to have been viewed as a strict platoon player, getting almost twice as many plate appearances against lefties as against righties--a bit strange, since his splits are hardly overwhelming (744 OPS against LHP, 733 against RHP). In 1980, he was used almost exclusively as a designated hitter against lefties, or as a pinch hitter when a lefty came into the game, hitting .303/.361/.490 in 269 PA, 212 of them against southpaws, even though he fared at least equally well in his 57 PA against same-sided pitching. He gets held down a bit (9 batting runs) due to his low playing time; the 125 OPS+ is 8th among Twins DHs with at least 200 PA in a season. 9.) David Ortiz, 2002: Ortiz owns the seasons with the 5th, 11th, 12th, 26th, 28th, 34th, 46th, 60th, 66th, 78th, 110th and 198th most batting runs all-time for a DH, but all of those seasons came with some other team, because Doug Mientkiewicz's defense was just that good. He's also got the third-most batting runs for a DH all-time, behind Edgar Martinez and Frank Thomas. He's only on this list the once, though: he played in 125 games for Minnesota in '02, 95 of those as the DH, and hit .272/.339/.500 (120 OPS+), good for 10.1 batting runs, with 20 homers. That represented a huge step forward from 2001, but the Twins must've figured the 26-year-old had peaked. Whoops! 8.) Craig Kusick, 1976: Quick, click that link and check out those shades and that 'stache. Then guess where he was born, and look below and see if you were right! Wasn't that fun? Anyway, Kusick filled a similar role in 1976 and '77 to the one Morales filled a couple of years later. The plate appearance difference wasn't quite as stark, but maybe it should have been, as Kusick hit just .223/.264/.379 against right-handed pitching in '76 and .193/.282/.339 against them in his career. Kusick still got most of his PA against lefties in '76, and crushed them, winding up with a .259/.344/.432 overall line in 306 PA. He did about the same thing in '77, but quickly fell off after that. 7.) Glenn Adams, 1977: Brought over from the GIants to serve as Kusick's platoon partner that second year, Adams faced a lefty only 7 times, going 0-for-5 with two walks, but hit an eye-popping .345/.378/.477 in 283 plate appearances against righties to give him a 130 overall OPS+. He'd never approach that kind of success again, putting up an 88 OPS+ in his five remaining seasons. 6.) Chili Davis, 1992: Thanks mostly to the 60% drop in home runs from the previous season, Davis's year, like so many other things about 1992, felt like a huge disappointment--and it was disappointing, a little. Still, though, Davis hit .288/.386/.439, good for a 130 OPS+--third on the team behind Puckett and Mack--and 17.5 batting runs. 5.) Miguel Sano, 2015: Only 80 games, 335 PA, and with 18.4 batting runs, it was still the fifth-most productive DH season in Twins history. He also holds the Twins DH strikeout record, with two more than Jim Thome's 117, but never mind that. That was fun. 4.) Paul Molitor, 1996: With the benefit of park factors and normalization, it's not quite as amazing as it seemed at the time that Molitor could come home at age 39 and bat .341. The park-adjusted league average line that year was .278/.352/.447, so Molitor's .341/.390/.468, which would've generated MVP talk 20 years later, was good for "just" a 118 OPS+. Still a great season, though, and Molitor played all but one of the team's games, leading the league with 225 hits and the team with 113 RBI. That was about all he had left in him, as it turned out, but Molitor and Knoblauch provided a good deal of excitement on what otherwise was a pretty depressing '96 team. 3.) Jason Kubel, 2009: Oh man, oh man. Remember this? Former top prospect busts out at age 27, hitting .300/.369/.539 (137 OPS+) with 28 homers and 35 doubles, appears poised for a six-to-eight-year run of dominance. That was as good as it got, of course; he'd never play in as many as 146 games again, and never came particularly close to that level of production again. But that was a helluva year. Kubel was a special kind of terror against right-handed pitching, batting .322/.396/.617 with 26 of his 28 homers when he had the platoon advantage. 2.) Chili Davis, 1991: You knew this would be here, right? Davis is one of only two players on this list who played as few as two seasons in Minnesota (see #1), and is the only player who appears twice on this list. It turns out I had another homer-related prejudice against Davis; I had always thought he tailed off badly that season, since he had 19 homers at the All-Star break but finished with "just" 29. But it turns out he was probably even better in the second half, just different: .269/.366/.521 before the break, .287/.407/.492 after it. It was an all-around great year at a really tough time to be a hitter, and of course, helping to lead the team to a world championship helps, too. 1.) Jim Thome, 2010: There have been a few hitters in my time as a Twins fan who I felt like I had to drop everything to watch: Mauer, Puckett, Knoblauch, and Shane Mack for me, at various times in their careers, each for his own idiosyncratic reasons. But Thome is the only one that gave you the feeling that at any time the next pitch might just suddenly disappear somewhere over a neighboring county. He turned 40 in August of 2010, and he played in only 109 games, with only 340 plate appearances (and is the only one on this list not to take the field with a glove even once all season), but every one of them was An Event. I can't write responsibly about it, because his time with the Twins was just so great. Just , instead. I want to marry that clip.Thome's 31.7 batting runs top Davis's by nearly three runs in just over half the number of PAs, and his 182 OPS+ is second in Twins history (minimum 250 PA) to Justin Morneau, from that same 2010 season. He was just. I mean. I need some time here. So there's a lot of fun there at the top, but overall, it's a pretty underwhelming list. The Twins had the first DH, kind of, but have never quite found the right guy to take the job, or at least not for long. It will be interesting (I hope!) to look back at this at the end of the year to see where Byung-ho Park fits in, if he makes the cut at all. His ZiPS and Steamer projections would almost certainly put him somewhere in the top five, for whatever that's worth. Click here to view the article
  25. And it's worth noting that in 43 seasons with the DH, only 13 times has a Twins player put up more than 1 win above replacement during a season in which he spent 50% or more of his time as the DH. I didn't have a great sense of what that means either, but the Yankees have had 21 such seasons, the Royals 18, and the Rangers 23, to take the first three I checked. I'm pretty comfortable saying 13 times is not great. At the same time, though, there have been some good performances, and maybe more than you remember. Here are the ten best, ranked by Baseball-Reference's batting runs component of WAR (since WAR itself would include credit or demerits for time spent in the field, which I don't particularly care about here): 10.) Jose Morales, 1980: No relation to the late-last-decade backup catcher, this Morales was a journeyman first baseman who appears to have been viewed as a strict platoon player, getting almost twice as many plate appearances against lefties as against righties--a bit strange, since his splits are hardly overwhelming (744 OPS against LHP, 733 against RHP). In 1980, he was used almost exclusively as a designated hitter against lefties, or as a pinch hitter when a lefty came into the game, hitting .303/.361/.490 in 269 PA, 212 of them against southpaws, even though he fared at least equally well in his 57 PA against same-sided pitching. He gets held down a bit (9 batting runs) due to his low playing time; the 125 OPS+ is 8th among Twins DHs with at least 200 PA in a season. 9.) David Ortiz, 2002: Ortiz owns the seasons with the 5th, 11th, 12th, 26th, 28th, 34th, 46th, 60th, 66th, 78th, 110th and 198th most batting runs all-time for a DH, but all of those seasons came with some other team, because Doug Mientkiewicz's defense was just that good. He's also got the third-most batting runs for a DH all-time, behind Edgar Martinez and Frank Thomas. He's only on this list the once, though: he played in 125 games for Minnesota in '02, 95 of those as the DH, and hit .272/.339/.500 (120 OPS+), good for 10.1 batting runs, with 20 homers. That represented a huge step forward from 2001, but the Twins must've figured the 26-year-old had peaked. Whoops! 8.) Craig Kusick, 1976: Quick, click that link and check out those shades and that 'stache. Then guess where he was born, and look below and see if you were right! Wasn't that fun? Anyway, Kusick filled a similar role in 1976 and '77 to the one Morales filled a couple of years later. The plate appearance difference wasn't quite as stark, but maybe it should have been, as Kusick hit just .223/.264/.379 against right-handed pitching in '76 and .193/.282/.339 against them in his career. Kusick still got most of his PA against lefties in '76, and crushed them, winding up with a .259/.344/.432 overall line in 306 PA. He did about the same thing in '77, but quickly fell off after that. 7.) Glenn Adams, 1977: Brought over from the GIants to serve as Kusick's platoon partner that second year, Adams faced a lefty only 7 times, going 0-for-5 with two walks, but hit an eye-popping .345/.378/.477 in 283 plate appearances against righties to give him a 130 overall OPS+. He'd never approach that kind of success again, putting up an 88 OPS+ in his five remaining seasons. 6.) Chili Davis, 1992: Thanks mostly to the 60% drop in home runs from the previous season, Davis's year, like so many other things about 1992, felt like a huge disappointment--and it was disappointing, a little. Still, though, Davis hit .288/.386/.439, good for a 130 OPS+--third on the team behind Puckett and Mack--and 17.5 batting runs. 5.) Miguel Sano, 2015: Only 80 games, 335 PA, and with 18.4 batting runs, it was still the fifth-most productive DH season in Twins history. He also holds the Twins DH strikeout record, with two more than Jim Thome's 117, but never mind that. That was fun. 4.) Paul Molitor, 1996: With the benefit of park factors and normalization, it's not quite as amazing as it seemed at the time that Molitor could come home at age 39 and bat .341. The park-adjusted league average line that year was .278/.352/.447, so Molitor's .341/.390/.468, which would've generated MVP talk 20 years later, was good for "just" a 118 OPS+. Still a great season, though, and Molitor played all but one of the team's games, leading the league with 225 hits and the team with 113 RBI. That was about all he had left in him, as it turned out, but Molitor and Knoblauch provided a good deal of excitement on what otherwise was a pretty depressing '96 team. 3.) Jason Kubel, 2009: Oh man, oh man. Remember this? Former top prospect busts out at age 27, hitting .300/.369/.539 (137 OPS+) with 28 homers and 35 doubles, appears poised for a six-to-eight-year run of dominance. That was as good as it got, of course; he'd never play in as many as 146 games again, and never came particularly close to that level of production again. But that was a helluva year. Kubel was a special kind of terror against right-handed pitching, batting .322/.396/.617 with 26 of his 28 homers when he had the platoon advantage. 2.) Chili Davis, 1991: You knew this would be here, right? Davis is one of only two players on this list who played as few as two seasons in Minnesota (see #1), and is the only player who appears twice on this list. It turns out I had another homer-related prejudice against Davis; I had always thought he tailed off badly that season, since he had 19 homers at the All-Star break but finished with "just" 29. But it turns out he was probably even better in the second half, just different: .269/.366/.521 before the break, .287/.407/.492 after it. It was an all-around great year at a really tough time to be a hitter, and of course, helping to lead the team to a world championship helps, too. 1.) Jim Thome, 2010: There have been a few hitters in my time as a Twins fan who I felt like I had to drop everything to watch: Mauer, Puckett, Knoblauch, and Shane Mack for me, at various times in their careers, each for his own idiosyncratic reasons. But Thome is the only one that gave you the feeling that at any time the next pitch might just suddenly disappear somewhere over a neighboring county. He turned 40 in August of 2010, and he played in only 109 games, with only 340 plate appearances (and is the only one on this list not to take the field with a glove even once all season), but every one of them was An Event. I can't write responsibly about it, because his time with the Twins was just so great. Just , instead. I want to marry that clip.Thome's 31.7 batting runs top Davis's by nearly three runs in just over half the number of PAs, and his 182 OPS+ is second in Twins history (minimum 250 PA) to Justin Morneau, from that same 2010 season. He was just. I mean. I need some time here. So there's a lot of fun there at the top, but overall, it's a pretty underwhelming list. The Twins had the first DH, kind of, but have never quite found the right guy to take the job, or at least not for long. It will be interesting (I hope!) to look back at this at the end of the year to see where Byung-ho Park fits in, if he makes the cut at all. His ZiPS and Steamer projections would almost certainly put him somewhere in the top five, for whatever that's worth.
×
×
  • Create New...