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  1. John Bonnes and Nick Nelson explore the best players of the Minnesota Twins' 2005 season, which including a breakout season from sophomore Joe Mauer. But leading the charge that season was the best pitcher in baseball during the mid-2000s, Johan Santana.
  2. John Bonnes and Nick Nelson explore the best players of the Minnesota Twins' 2005 season, which including a breakout season from sophomore Joe Mauer. But leading the charge that season was the best pitcher in baseball during the mid-2000s, Johan Santana. View full video
  3. Nick Nelson and John Bonnes move to the 2005 season, which saw the end of three consecutive AL Central championships for the team. But in a brighter light, it was also the first full season from the next wave of Twins players; both Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau played their first full seasons in a Twins uniform that year.
  4. Nick Nelson and John Bonnes move to the 2005 season, which saw the end of three consecutive AL Central championships for the team. But in a brighter light, it was also the first full season from the next wave of Twins players; both Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau played their first full seasons in a Twins uniform that year. View full video
  5. Nick Nelson and John Bonnes talk about the Minnesota Twins' top moments from their 2004 campaign, which included their third consecutive AL Central division title. That season we saw the debut of Joe Mauer, the first pitch thrown by Joe Nathan, and a Cy Young award from Johan Santana.
  6. Nick Nelson and John Bonnes talk about the Minnesota Twins' top moments from their 2004 campaign, which included their third consecutive AL Central division title. That season we saw the debut of Joe Mauer, the first pitch thrown by Joe Nathan, and a Cy Young award from Johan Santana. View full video
  7. John Bonnes and Nick Nelson focus on the 2004 Minnesota Twins' most valuable players; as the Twins pursued their third consecutive division title, a trio of pitchers led the charge, accumulating a combined Wins Above Replacement of nearly 15.
  8. John Bonnes and Nick Nelson focus on the 2004 Minnesota Twins' most valuable players; as the Twins pursued their third consecutive division title, a trio of pitchers led the charge, accumulating a combined Wins Above Replacement of nearly 15. View full video
  9. John Bonnes and Nick Nelson move on to the 2004 season, which was the third consecutive division title for the Minnesota Twins. It featured the debut of Joe Mauer in a Twins uniform, Johan Santana at his peak dominance, and (unfortunately), the last postseason win for the franchise through today.
  10. John Bonnes and Nick Nelson move on to the 2004 season, which was the third consecutive division title for the Minnesota Twins. It featured the debut of Joe Mauer in a Twins uniform, Johan Santana at his peak dominance, and (unfortunately), the last postseason win for the franchise through today. View full video
  11. Nick Nelson and John Bonnes continue their conversation about the Minnesota Twins' 2003 season, focusing on the most memorable moments of the season. These moments include the Shannon Stewart trade, the final relief appearance of Johan Santana, the AJ Pierzynski trade that brought back Joe Nathan and Francisco Liriano, and more.
  12. Nick Nelson and John Bonnes continue their conversation about the Minnesota Twins' 2003 season, focusing on the most memorable moments of the season. These moments include the Shannon Stewart trade, the final relief appearance of Johan Santana, the AJ Pierzynski trade that brought back Joe Nathan and Francisco Liriano, and more. View full video
  13. Johan Santana and Joe Nathan were each top pitchers of their generation. Both were one-and-done on the BBWAA ballot, so who was the more significant snub? Voting for baseball’s Hall of Fame can be a challenging process for fans to understand. Some of baseball’s best players are being held out because of their steroid ties, while others with lesser resumes are inducted. Some deserving players fall off the ballot and follow a much longer path to Cooperstown. Two former Twins greats, Tony Oliva and Jim Kaat, were elected to the Hall of Fame this year through the era committee voting process. Four era committees are divided by baseball’s different eras. The Golden Days Committee elected Oliva and Kaat, and next winter, the era up for consideration is Today’s Game which covers 1988-Present. Johan Santana and Joe Nathan will get the opportunity to appear on this ballot in the years ahead. Johan Santana’s Hall of Fame Case Santana’s Cooperstown case is almost the exact opposite of newly elected Kaat. Santana was baseball’s best pitcher for multiple seasons, but his career was cut short due to injury. Kaat pitched for a long time and compiled solid numbers over a long career. He only received Cy Young votes in one season and finished a distant fourth that season. So what’s more important for a Hall of Fame case, longevity or peak value? Injuries clearly impacted the longevity of Santana’s career, but there have been other players with shortened careers to be elected to Cooperstown. Twins fans are well familiar with Kirby Puckett and the injury that forced him to retire early. When he became eligible, voters had no problem selecting him on the first ballot. According to JAWS, Puckett ranks as the 24th best center fielder, with players like Kenny Lofton, Andruw Jones, Jim Edmonds, and Johnny Damon ranking ahead of him. Sandy Koufax is considered one of the best starting pitchers of all time, and he compares very closely to Santana. Like Santana, Koufax pitched 12 years at the big-league level, which meant he retired before his age-31 season. According to JAWS, Koufax is the 96th best starting pitcher, and Santana is 26 places higher in the rankings. Santana also lost out on a third Cy Young that would have significantly helped his HOF candidacy. Joe Nathan’s Hall of Fame Case While Santana was out of baseball in his early 30s, Nathan didn’t become a big-league regular until his late 20s. Nathan pitched into his early 40s and established himself as one of the top-10 relievers of all time. Unfortunately, relievers are criminally underrepresented in Cooperstown, with it being the only position group to have fewer than ten elected players. According to JAWS, Nathan is the eighth-best reliever which puts him ahead of Lee Smith, Rollie Fingers, and Bruce Sutter. Billy Wagner is a prime example of a reliever similar to Nathan, that has been gaining HOF support. Wagner ranks two spots ahead of Nathan regarding JAWS, and their career numbers are very similar. Wagner was named on 51% of the ballots in his seventh year of eligibility, a jump of over 40% since his first year. Now he has three more voting cycles to gain 24% of the vote. Nathan’s career numbers put him in elite company. Among pitchers with at least 900 innings pitched, only Billy Wagner and Nolan Ryan have a lower Hits per Nine Innings ratio. He topped the 30-save mark in nine seasons, including accumulating 40 or more saves in four seasons. Even as a reliever, he had multiple top-five finishes in the AL Cy Young Award Voting. Also, Nathan ranks in the top-7 all-time relief pitchers using a hybrid average of WAR, WPA, and situational or context-neutral wins (WPA/LI). Nathan was clearly one of the best relievers in baseball history. Santana was baseball’s best starting pitcher for multiple seasons. Their Hall of Fame cases are complicated, but they both deserve to be more than one-and-done on the ballot. Who do you think was the bigger, more significant HOF snub? Will either player be elected to the Hall? 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 View full article
  14. Voting for baseball’s Hall of Fame can be a challenging process for fans to understand. Some of baseball’s best players are being held out because of their steroid ties, while others with lesser resumes are inducted. Some deserving players fall off the ballot and follow a much longer path to Cooperstown. Two former Twins greats, Tony Oliva and Jim Kaat, were elected to the Hall of Fame this year through the era committee voting process. Four era committees are divided by baseball’s different eras. The Golden Days Committee elected Oliva and Kaat, and next winter, the era up for consideration is Today’s Game which covers 1988-Present. Johan Santana and Joe Nathan will get the opportunity to appear on this ballot in the years ahead. Johan Santana’s Hall of Fame Case Santana’s Cooperstown case is almost the exact opposite of newly elected Kaat. Santana was baseball’s best pitcher for multiple seasons, but his career was cut short due to injury. Kaat pitched for a long time and compiled solid numbers over a long career. He only received Cy Young votes in one season and finished a distant fourth that season. So what’s more important for a Hall of Fame case, longevity or peak value? Injuries clearly impacted the longevity of Santana’s career, but there have been other players with shortened careers to be elected to Cooperstown. Twins fans are well familiar with Kirby Puckett and the injury that forced him to retire early. When he became eligible, voters had no problem selecting him on the first ballot. According to JAWS, Puckett ranks as the 24th best center fielder, with players like Kenny Lofton, Andruw Jones, Jim Edmonds, and Johnny Damon ranking ahead of him. Sandy Koufax is considered one of the best starting pitchers of all time, and he compares very closely to Santana. Like Santana, Koufax pitched 12 years at the big-league level, which meant he retired before his age-31 season. According to JAWS, Koufax is the 96th best starting pitcher, and Santana is 26 places higher in the rankings. Santana also lost out on a third Cy Young that would have significantly helped his HOF candidacy. Joe Nathan’s Hall of Fame Case While Santana was out of baseball in his early 30s, Nathan didn’t become a big-league regular until his late 20s. Nathan pitched into his early 40s and established himself as one of the top-10 relievers of all time. Unfortunately, relievers are criminally underrepresented in Cooperstown, with it being the only position group to have fewer than ten elected players. According to JAWS, Nathan is the eighth-best reliever which puts him ahead of Lee Smith, Rollie Fingers, and Bruce Sutter. Billy Wagner is a prime example of a reliever similar to Nathan, that has been gaining HOF support. Wagner ranks two spots ahead of Nathan regarding JAWS, and their career numbers are very similar. Wagner was named on 51% of the ballots in his seventh year of eligibility, a jump of over 40% since his first year. Now he has three more voting cycles to gain 24% of the vote. Nathan’s career numbers put him in elite company. Among pitchers with at least 900 innings pitched, only Billy Wagner and Nolan Ryan have a lower Hits per Nine Innings ratio. He topped the 30-save mark in nine seasons, including accumulating 40 or more saves in four seasons. Even as a reliever, he had multiple top-five finishes in the AL Cy Young Award Voting. Also, Nathan ranks in the top-7 all-time relief pitchers using a hybrid average of WAR, WPA, and situational or context-neutral wins (WPA/LI). Nathan was clearly one of the best relievers in baseball history. Santana was baseball’s best starting pitcher for multiple seasons. Their Hall of Fame cases are complicated, but they both deserve to be more than one-and-done on the ballot. Who do you think was the bigger, more significant HOF snub? Will either player be elected to the Hall? 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
  15. David Ortiz had a legendary career, but unfortunately, his best years were outside the Twins organization. He found out that he would be enshrined in Cooperstown on Tuesday night. Ortiz began his big-league career with the Twins back in 1997 after the team acquired him in the 1996 offseason from the Mariners organization. Over the next six seasons, he became a regular in the Twins line-up, and he helped the Twins win the division for the first time since 1991. During his Twins tenure, he hit .266/.348/.461 (.809) with 169 extra-base hits in 455 games. He wasn't on a path to Cooperstown, and Terry Ryan faced a tough decision. Ortiz would start getting expensive through the arbitration process with an expected salary close to $2 million. The Twins front office had multiple reasons for non-tendering Ortiz. Matt LeCroy was an adequate replacement for Ortiz as the team's DH. Also, the club wanted a roster spot to make a Rule 5 pick. Minnesota was being cheap, but there is no guarantee Ortiz would have followed his HOF path if he stayed in Minnesota. After signing with Boston, Ortiz immediately transferred himself into one of the game's best hitters. He finished in the top-5 for AL MVP in his first season outside the Twins organization. Over the next 14 seasons, he hit .290/.386/.570 (.956) with 483 home runs. Ortiz was a 10-time All-Star, a 7-time Silver Slugger winner, and he finished in the top-5 for AL MVP in five straight seasons. October is where Oritz shined as he led the Red Sox to three World Series titles. He played 85 postseason games in his career and posted a .947 OPS with 41 extra-base hits. Ortiz won the ALCS MVP as part of the Red Sox's remarkable comeback over the Yankees in 2004. In 2013, he won World Series MVP as he went 11-for-16 with four extra-base hits and six RBI in the series. He was truly an October legend. Even with his on-field accomplishments, Ortiz wasn't seen as a lock for Cooperstown because of the looming steroid cloud. Back in 2003, 100 players failed a supposedly anonymous steroid survey test. Six years later, The New York Times reported that Ortiz was one of the players that failed the survey test. Other players tied to steroids have struggled to reach the 75% threshold needed for election, but voters were able to look past Ortiz's steroid ties. Congratulations to Ortiz on a Hall of Fame career! Other Twins On the Ballot While other former Twins were on the ballot, many didn't have a chance at being elected in the current cycle. In fact, many were in danger of falling off a crowded ballot. Torii Hunter made his second appearance on the ballot, and the two halves of his career make him an intriguing candidate. He received 21 votes (5.3%) and will remain on the ballot. Joe Nathan is one of the best relievers of all time, but relievers are historically underrepresented in Cooperstown. Nathan finished with 17 votes (4.3%) and fell three votes shy of staying on the ballot. The other former Twins on the ballot were expected to be one-and-done candidates. Justin Morneau was a great player, especially to the current generation of Twins fans. Morneau was named on five ballots (1.3%). AJ Pierzynski played many years at a grueling defensive position, but he doesn't have the resume of other enshrined catchers and he received two votes. HOF Class Includes Oliva and Kaat The Minnesota Twins will be well represented in Cooperstown this summer. Former Twins Tony Oliva and Jim Kaat found out last month that they will be part of the current Hall of Fame class. It was a long time coming for both players as they had waited decades and multiple votes before finally getting the call. Following his election, the Twins also announced that Jim Kaat will become the ninth member of the organization to have his number retired. That ceremony will take place this summer at Target Field. Bonds and Clemens Question Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens entered their tenth and final year on the ballot with their best chance at enshrinement. Leading into the ballot announcement, both players were tracking at over 75% of the announced ballots, but that was no guarantee that they would get the famous call from Cooperstown. There is no question that Bonds and Clemens are two of the best players in baseball history. However, the steroid cloud has surrounded them, which has prevented them from being elected by the writers. Bonds finished second behind Ortiz on the 2022 ballot with 260 votes (66.0%). Clemens was three votes behind Bonds (65.2%). Now, both players will have to wait for their chance on the committee era ballots. What are your thoughts about this year's Hall of Fame voting? 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 View full article
  16. Ortiz began his big-league career with the Twins back in 1997 after the team acquired him in the 1996 offseason from the Mariners organization. Over the next six seasons, he became a regular in the Twins line-up, and he helped the Twins win the division for the first time since 1991. During his Twins tenure, he hit .266/.348/.461 (.809) with 169 extra-base hits in 455 games. He wasn't on a path to Cooperstown, and Terry Ryan faced a tough decision. Ortiz would start getting expensive through the arbitration process with an expected salary close to $2 million. The Twins front office had multiple reasons for non-tendering Ortiz. Matt LeCroy was an adequate replacement for Ortiz as the team's DH. Also, the club wanted a roster spot to make a Rule 5 pick. Minnesota was being cheap, but there is no guarantee Ortiz would have followed his HOF path if he stayed in Minnesota. After signing with Boston, Ortiz immediately transferred himself into one of the game's best hitters. He finished in the top-5 for AL MVP in his first season outside the Twins organization. Over the next 14 seasons, he hit .290/.386/.570 (.956) with 483 home runs. Ortiz was a 10-time All-Star, a 7-time Silver Slugger winner, and he finished in the top-5 for AL MVP in five straight seasons. October is where Oritz shined as he led the Red Sox to three World Series titles. He played 85 postseason games in his career and posted a .947 OPS with 41 extra-base hits. Ortiz won the ALCS MVP as part of the Red Sox's remarkable comeback over the Yankees in 2004. In 2013, he won World Series MVP as he went 11-for-16 with four extra-base hits and six RBI in the series. He was truly an October legend. Even with his on-field accomplishments, Ortiz wasn't seen as a lock for Cooperstown because of the looming steroid cloud. Back in 2003, 100 players failed a supposedly anonymous steroid survey test. Six years later, The New York Times reported that Ortiz was one of the players that failed the survey test. Other players tied to steroids have struggled to reach the 75% threshold needed for election, but voters were able to look past Ortiz's steroid ties. Congratulations to Ortiz on a Hall of Fame career! Other Twins On the Ballot While other former Twins were on the ballot, many didn't have a chance at being elected in the current cycle. In fact, many were in danger of falling off a crowded ballot. Torii Hunter made his second appearance on the ballot, and the two halves of his career make him an intriguing candidate. He received 21 votes (5.3%) and will remain on the ballot. Joe Nathan is one of the best relievers of all time, but relievers are historically underrepresented in Cooperstown. Nathan finished with 17 votes (4.3%) and fell three votes shy of staying on the ballot. The other former Twins on the ballot were expected to be one-and-done candidates. Justin Morneau was a great player, especially to the current generation of Twins fans. Morneau was named on five ballots (1.3%). AJ Pierzynski played many years at a grueling defensive position, but he doesn't have the resume of other enshrined catchers and he received two votes. HOF Class Includes Oliva and Kaat The Minnesota Twins will be well represented in Cooperstown this summer. Former Twins Tony Oliva and Jim Kaat found out last month that they will be part of the current Hall of Fame class. It was a long time coming for both players as they had waited decades and multiple votes before finally getting the call. Following his election, the Twins also announced that Jim Kaat will become the ninth member of the organization to have his number retired. That ceremony will take place this summer at Target Field. Bonds and Clemens Question Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens entered their tenth and final year on the ballot with their best chance at enshrinement. Leading into the ballot announcement, both players were tracking at over 75% of the announced ballots, but that was no guarantee that they would get the famous call from Cooperstown. There is no question that Bonds and Clemens are two of the best players in baseball history. However, the steroid cloud has surrounded them, which has prevented them from being elected by the writers. Bonds finished second behind Ortiz on the 2022 ballot with 260 votes (66.0%). Clemens was three votes behind Bonds (65.2%). Now, both players will have to wait for their chance on the committee era ballots. What are your thoughts about this year's Hall of Fame voting? 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
  17. In early December, it was announced that former Minnesota Twins great pitcher Jim Kaat was being inducted into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame. Elected by the Golden Days Era Committee, “Kitty” was getting his due. Now the Twins have announced they’ll celebrate him too. Becoming the ninth member in organization history to have his number retired, Kaat will join the likes of Joe Mauer, Harmon Killebrew, Rod Carew, Tony Oliva, Kent Hrbek, Kirby Puckett, Bert Blyleven, and Tom Kelly. Kaat was a three-time All-Star and 16-time Gold Glove winner. He won a World Series ring with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1982 and finished with 283 career wins. Jim Pohlad released a statement saying, “For more than sixty years, Jim Kaat has been an important part of the fabric of the Minnesota Twins organization. With ‘Kitty’s’ storied career on the field as well as his accolades in the broadcast booth and his contributions in the community in mind, the Twins family is proud to bestow our highest honor with the retirement of his jersey – number 36. We are excited to celebrate his decades-long commitment to Twins Territory, as well as his much-deserved and long-awaited induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame, this coming season.” Since retirement Kaat has made a home in the broadcast booth working for the Twins and other organizations around baseball. His trademark on the microphone is the ability to tell stories and take us back to the game as it was before. As someone who threw more than 4,500 innings during his career, there’s no doubt he’s seen it all. Kaat was a crafty southpaw, but that didn’t stop him from compiling over 2,400 strikeouts on the mound. For the Twins, number 36 will have been worn by a total of 34 players. It was last worn in 2020 by Tyler Clippard, and since Kaat, most famously by Joe Nathan. Minnesota’s former closer is also up for induction into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame this year, but his candidacy appears to be falling well short. A pregame celebration for Kaat’s jersey retirement will take place on July 16 against the Chicago White Sox. You can bet Minnesota will plan further festivities surrounding the day. MORE TWINS DAILY CONTENT — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email View full article
  18. Next week, Major League Baseball and the National Baseball Hall of Fame will announce the results from this year's voting cycle. Plenty of former Twins are on the ballot, but do any of them have a chance at Cooperstown? To be elected to Cooperstown, a player must be named on 75% of the ballots submitted by the Baseball Writers' Association of America. Players remain eligible for ten years as long as they continue to receive a minimum of 5% of the vote. Some former Twins players are sitting dangerously close to falling off the ballot. David Ortiz, DH Cooperstown Case Ortiz is currently one of three players trending at over 75% of the known ballots, and he has the highest vote total with 83.5% of the vote. Twins fans are well aware of Ortiz and his case for Cooperstown as he went on to a legendary Red Sox career after Minnesota released him following the 2002 season. Entering this voting cycle, Ortiz's first ballot election wasn't guaranteed because his transition from Twins castoff to legendary slugger came under a cloud of steroid suspicion. It doesn't seem like those suspicions will keep him from being elected as it has with other players on the ballot. Joe Nathan, RP Cooperstown Case Nathan is one of the best relievers in baseball history, but relief pitchers are highly unrepresented in Cooperstown. It also means Nathan is dangerously close to falling off the ballot because of a slew of other worthy candidates on the ballot and a 10-vote limit. Through 170 ballots, Nathan has four votes (2.4%) which means he likely needs another 16 votes to reach the 5% threshold to stay on the ballot for 2023. Billy Wagner, another reliever, has comparable numbers to Nathan, and he is tracking at over 47%. Nathan has a Hall of Fame resume, but he may have to wait for a committee vote in the years ahead. Torii Hunter, OF Cooperstown Case Hunter's case is unique because of how he started and ended his career. He was an elite defender who won nine straight Gold Glove awards as a younger player. In his career's second-half, he became an improved hitter as he posted a 120 OPS+ from 2006-2013. Hunter received 8.1% of the vote in 2021, his first year on the ballot. This season, he has three votes (1.8%), and he will need 17 more votes to reach the 5% threshold. Hunter's closest comparison on the ballot may be Andruw Jones, also known as an elite defender, and he is tracking at over 48% of the known votes. Justin Morneau, 1B Cooperstown Case Morneau collected many accolades throughout his big-league career, including an AL MVP Award and an NL Batting Title. Those accomplishments likely will not be enough to keep him on the ballot past 2022, as he currently has one vote, and he will need to be listed on 19 other ballots to reach 5%. Morneau had some great moments throughout his career, but there's no question that one slide in Toronto changed the course of his career. AJ Pierzynski, C Cooperstown Case Pierzynski is best known in Twins Territory for being part of one of the most famous trades in team history. He'd go on to have a long career at a grueling defensive position, and some writers may consider this as part of the voting process. Like Morneau, he has one vote so far, and he would need a significant boost in the remaining ballots to reach 5%. Are the results playing out as you expected? Do you think Nathan or Hunter deserves to stay on the ballot? 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 View full article
  19. To be elected to Cooperstown, a player must be named on 75% of the ballots submitted by the Baseball Writers' Association of America. Players remain eligible for ten years as long as they continue to receive a minimum of 5% of the vote. Some former Twins players are sitting dangerously close to falling off the ballot. David Ortiz, DH Cooperstown Case Ortiz is currently one of three players trending at over 75% of the known ballots, and he has the highest vote total with 83.5% of the vote. Twins fans are well aware of Ortiz and his case for Cooperstown as he went on to a legendary Red Sox career after Minnesota released him following the 2002 season. Entering this voting cycle, Ortiz's first ballot election wasn't guaranteed because his transition from Twins castoff to legendary slugger came under a cloud of steroid suspicion. It doesn't seem like those suspicions will keep him from being elected as it has with other players on the ballot. Joe Nathan, RP Cooperstown Case Nathan is one of the best relievers in baseball history, but relief pitchers are highly unrepresented in Cooperstown. It also means Nathan is dangerously close to falling off the ballot because of a slew of other worthy candidates on the ballot and a 10-vote limit. Through 170 ballots, Nathan has four votes (2.4%) which means he likely needs another 16 votes to reach the 5% threshold to stay on the ballot for 2023. Billy Wagner, another reliever, has comparable numbers to Nathan, and he is tracking at over 47%. Nathan has a Hall of Fame resume, but he may have to wait for a committee vote in the years ahead. Torii Hunter, OF Cooperstown Case Hunter's case is unique because of how he started and ended his career. He was an elite defender who won nine straight Gold Glove awards as a younger player. In his career's second-half, he became an improved hitter as he posted a 120 OPS+ from 2006-2013. Hunter received 8.1% of the vote in 2021, his first year on the ballot. This season, he has three votes (1.8%), and he will need 17 more votes to reach the 5% threshold. Hunter's closest comparison on the ballot may be Andruw Jones, also known as an elite defender, and he is tracking at over 48% of the known votes. Justin Morneau, 1B Cooperstown Case Morneau collected many accolades throughout his big-league career, including an AL MVP Award and an NL Batting Title. Those accomplishments likely will not be enough to keep him on the ballot past 2022, as he currently has one vote, and he will need to be listed on 19 other ballots to reach 5%. Morneau had some great moments throughout his career, but there's no question that one slide in Toronto changed the course of his career. AJ Pierzynski, C Cooperstown Case Pierzynski is best known in Twins Territory for being part of one of the most famous trades in team history. He'd go on to have a long career at a grueling defensive position, and some writers may consider this as part of the voting process. Like Morneau, he has one vote so far, and he would need a significant boost in the remaining ballots to reach 5%. Are the results playing out as you expected? Do you think Nathan or Hunter deserves to stay on the ballot? 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
  20. Becoming the ninth member in organization history to have his number retired, Kaat will join the likes of Joe Mauer, Harmon Killebrew, Rod Carew, Tony Oliva, Kent Hrbek, Kirby Puckett, Bert Blyleven, and Tom Kelly. Kaat was a three-time All-Star and 16-time Gold Glove winner. He won a World Series ring with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1982 and finished with 283 career wins. Jim Pohlad released a statement saying, “For more than sixty years, Jim Kaat has been an important part of the fabric of the Minnesota Twins organization. With ‘Kitty’s’ storied career on the field as well as his accolades in the broadcast booth and his contributions in the community in mind, the Twins family is proud to bestow our highest honor with the retirement of his jersey – number 36. We are excited to celebrate his decades-long commitment to Twins Territory, as well as his much-deserved and long-awaited induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame, this coming season.” Since retirement Kaat has made a home in the broadcast booth working for the Twins and other organizations around baseball. His trademark on the microphone is the ability to tell stories and take us back to the game as it was before. As someone who threw more than 4,500 innings during his career, there’s no doubt he’s seen it all. Kaat was a crafty southpaw, but that didn’t stop him from compiling over 2,400 strikeouts on the mound. For the Twins, number 36 will have been worn by a total of 34 players. It was last worn in 2020 by Tyler Clippard, and since Kaat, most famously by Joe Nathan. Minnesota’s former closer is also up for induction into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame this year, but his candidacy appears to be falling well short. A pregame celebration for Kaat’s jersey retirement will take place on July 16 against the Chicago White Sox. You can bet Minnesota will plan further festivities surrounding the day. MORE TWINS DAILY CONTENT — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  21. Joe Nathan gets his first shot at the Hall of Fame this season. His case for Cooperstown might be stronger than you think, and here is why… The San Francisco Giants drafted Joe Nathan in 1995 from State University of New York at Stony Brook. He was only the second player ever taken from his school, and he was initially drafted as a shortstop. Shoulder surgery forced him to miss the entire 1996 season, and it pushed him to the mound. He spent his first three professional seasons as a starter in the Giants organization, but he struggled with ERAs over 6.00 at Double-A and over 5.50 at Triple-A. It was hardly the perfect start to a Hall of Fame resume. Even with his struggles, the Giants pushed him to the big leagues in 1999. He’d bounce between the majors and the minors for multiple seasons. In his first three big-league seasons, he posted a 4.61 ERA and a 1.51 WHIP in 187 1/3 innings. Nathan wasn’t successful as a starter, so the Giants moved him to the bullpen at age-28. Entering the 2003 season, Baseball Prospectus said, “Nathan continued his comeback from shoulder surgery in 2000, with a year that was impressive only relative to the year before. He was never a great prospect, even before the shoulder woes, but he could be a serviceable innings-eater in middle relief.” During the 2003 season, he made 78 relief appearances and posted a 2.96 ERA with a 1.06 WHIP and 83 strikeouts in 79 innings. It was a marked improvement, and the Minnesota Twins took notice. The Twins acquired Nathan In one of the most famous trades in team history as he was included with Francisco Liriano and Boof Bonser for A.J. Pierzynski. Pierzynski was an All-Star catcher in the prime of his career with multiple years of team control. Nathan, Liriano, and Bonser all had questions surrounding their injury history and previous performance, so it wasn’t initially as lopsided of a trade as it looks in retrospect. Following the trade, Nathan immediately became one of baseball’s best closers. He was a six-time All-Star, and he twice finished in the top-five of the AL Cy Young Award voting. He topped the 30-save mark in nine seasons, including accumulating 40 or more saves in four seasons. Among pitchers with at least 900 innings pitched, only Billy Wagner and Nolan Ryan have a lower hits per nine innings ratio. Unfortunately for Nathan, relief pitchers are significantly underrepresented in Cooperstown. The current HOF relievers are Dennis Eckersley, Mariano Rivera, Hoyt Wilhelm, Rich Gossage, Lee Smith, Bruce Sutter, Trevor Hoffman, and Rollie Fingers. Billy Wagner is one player currently on the ballot that might be paving the way for Nathan to be enshrined. Last year, Wagner received 46.4% of the vote, up from the 10.5% he received back in 2017, his first year on the ballot. Nathan compares well to Wagner and other relievers already elected to the Hall. According to JAWS, he ranks better than Sutter, Wagner, and Hoffman. FanGraphs writer and Hall of Fame expert Jay Jaffe developed the JAWS system, but he prefers a different method for measuring relievers. Nathan ranks in the top-7 all-time relief pitchers using a hybrid average of WAR, WPA, and situational or context-neutral wins (WPA/LI). Before his age-29 season, Nathan had failed as a shortstop and a starting pitcher. From that point forward, he was one of the most dominant relief pitchers in baseball history. His resume alone should put him into the Cooperstown conversation. Nathan will have an uphill climb to enshrinement, but relievers should have a better chance in the years ahead. Do you think he has a strong enough case for Cooperstown? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. OTHER POSTS IN THE SERIES — David Ortiz 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
  22. The San Francisco Giants drafted Joe Nathan in 1995 from State University of New York at Stony Brook. He was only the second player ever taken from his school, and he was initially drafted as a shortstop. Shoulder surgery forced him to miss the entire 1996 season, and it pushed him to the mound. He spent his first three professional seasons as a starter in the Giants organization, but he struggled with ERAs over 6.00 at Double-A and over 5.50 at Triple-A. It was hardly the perfect start to a Hall of Fame resume. Even with his struggles, the Giants pushed him to the big leagues in 1999. He’d bounce between the majors and the minors for multiple seasons. In his first three big-league seasons, he posted a 4.61 ERA and a 1.51 WHIP in 187 1/3 innings. Nathan wasn’t successful as a starter, so the Giants moved him to the bullpen at age-28. Entering the 2003 season, Baseball Prospectus said, “Nathan continued his comeback from shoulder surgery in 2000, with a year that was impressive only relative to the year before. He was never a great prospect, even before the shoulder woes, but he could be a serviceable innings-eater in middle relief.” During the 2003 season, he made 78 relief appearances and posted a 2.96 ERA with a 1.06 WHIP and 83 strikeouts in 79 innings. It was a marked improvement, and the Minnesota Twins took notice. The Twins acquired Nathan In one of the most famous trades in team history as he was included with Francisco Liriano and Boof Bonser for A.J. Pierzynski. Pierzynski was an All-Star catcher in the prime of his career with multiple years of team control. Nathan, Liriano, and Bonser all had questions surrounding their injury history and previous performance, so it wasn’t initially as lopsided of a trade as it looks in retrospect. Following the trade, Nathan immediately became one of baseball’s best closers. He was a six-time All-Star, and he twice finished in the top-five of the AL Cy Young Award voting. He topped the 30-save mark in nine seasons, including accumulating 40 or more saves in four seasons. Among pitchers with at least 900 innings pitched, only Billy Wagner and Nolan Ryan have a lower hits per nine innings ratio. Unfortunately for Nathan, relief pitchers are significantly underrepresented in Cooperstown. The current HOF relievers are Dennis Eckersley, Mariano Rivera, Hoyt Wilhelm, Rich Gossage, Lee Smith, Bruce Sutter, Trevor Hoffman, and Rollie Fingers. Billy Wagner is one player currently on the ballot that might be paving the way for Nathan to be enshrined. Last year, Wagner received 46.4% of the vote, up from the 10.5% he received back in 2017, his first year on the ballot. Nathan compares well to Wagner and other relievers already elected to the Hall. According to JAWS, he ranks better than Sutter, Wagner, and Hoffman. FanGraphs writer and Hall of Fame expert Jay Jaffe developed the JAWS system, but he prefers a different method for measuring relievers. Nathan ranks in the top-7 all-time relief pitchers using a hybrid average of WAR, WPA, and situational or context-neutral wins (WPA/LI). Before his age-29 season, Nathan had failed as a shortstop and a starting pitcher. From that point forward, he was one of the most dominant relief pitchers in baseball history. His resume alone should put him into the Cooperstown conversation. Nathan will have an uphill climb to enshrinement, but relievers should have a better chance in the years ahead. Do you think he has a strong enough case for Cooperstown? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. OTHER POSTS IN THE SERIES — David Ortiz MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  23. It feels like it may be time to shake things up with this Minnesota Twins roster. One way to accomplish that would be by making a challenge trade, swapping big league pieces for big league pieces. It’s a risky endeavor. Let’s take a look back at some of these deals. There are quite a few of these challenge trades in fairly recent Twins history, but this current Twins front office really hasn’t explored this avenue. The Kenta Maeda deal was close, but Brusdar Graterol only had 10 big league appearances to his credit. He was still a prospect. Possibly the LaMonte Wade Jr. trade qualifies as a minor challenge trade, as he had 113 plate appearances and Shaun Anderson had 46 career games pitched at the time of the swap. Considering how that one went, maybe it’s good there haven’t been more challenge trades of late … These deals are risky, but when a team has a surplus or is motivated to make room at the MLB level for a younger player they can make sense. With Josh Donaldson, Jorge Polanco and Luis Arraez already in the third base/second base equation and Jose Miranda waiting in the wings, this current Twins roster could be ripe for a challenge trade. There’s another possible option but I don’t want to ruin your day quite yet. Let’s take a look back at some of these types of deals from past Twins seasons. All of the trades below were completed during the offseason and included established MLB regulars on both sides of the deal. Nov. 14, 2003: A.J. Pierzynski traded to the San Francisco Giants for Joe Nathan, Francisco Liriano and Boof Bonser We’re starting out this list on a high note. One of the ironic elements to this deal is part of its motivation backfired to a degree. In moving AJ Pierzynski, the Twins were making room behind the plate for 20-year-old Joe Mauer. He ended up playing just 35 games in 2004 due to injuries and Henry Blanco ended up as the primary catcher. The Twins still won 92 games that year in part due to Joe Nathan saving 44 games. He had 128 MLB games to his credit at the time of this deal. We’re focusing on the MLB pieces, but I’d say the prospect side of this package also worked out pretty darn nicely for the Twins. Dec. 3, 2003: Eric Milton traded to the Philadelphia Phillies for Carlos Silva, Nick Punto and Bobby Korecky Milton was only a year away from free agency and Carlos Silva had pitched 130 games for the Phillies. Though he only had one career start prior to the trade, Silva was actually a better rotation piece than Milton right out the gate. I’d say that worked out pretty well. Toss in Punto, who also had some MLB experience at the time of the trade (though only 111 plate appearances) and this one was also a success. Kinda nuts that after back-to-back division championships the Twins made these two big trades and took the central again in ‘04. Nov. 28, 2007: Jason Bartlett, Matt Garza and Eddie Morlan to the Tampa Bay Rays for Delmon Young, Brendan Harris and Jason Pridie This was a pretty crazy trade under new GM Bill Smith. A starting shortstop and budding rotation piece for the former No. 1 overall pick and reigning runner-up in Rookie of the Year voting. Plus Brendan Harris and all of his Brendon Harris-ness! This was an incredible trade … for the Rays. They went from 96 losses to 97 wins and a World Series appearance. Delmon had a great 2010 season with the Twins but was dealt away the next year after fizzling out. Nov. 6, 2009: Carlos Gomez traded to the Milwaukee Brewers for J.J. Hardy Gomez went from centerpiece of the Johan Santana deal to trade bait in just two seasons. If you thought that tenure was short, Hardy only lasted one season in Minnesota before being dealt to Baltimore. Both players found much more success with their new orgs than they had in Minnesota. Man, the Twins made a lot of trades back during this time. Dec. 6, 2012: Ben Revere traded to the Philadelphia Phillies for Vance Worley and Trevor May Terry Ryan was back in the GM role and cleared room for another former first-round pick. The Twins traded both Revere and Denard Span that offseason to open the door for Aaron Hicks in center field. Worley made 46 starts for the Phillies prior to the trade. His Twins tenure was, uh, less impressive. May ended up developing into a nice bullpen piece, of course, but Hicks struggled to take advantage of his opportunity. Speaking of which ... Nov. 11, 2015: Aaron Hicks traded to the New York Yankees for John Ryan Murphy The hope was Murphy would be the long-term solution behind the plate. He was not. I guess I don’t really remember the motivation to move Hicks. Byron Buxton missed most of the previous season and started the year in Double-A, so it was a bit premature to make room for him. The Twins opened the season with Jordan Schafer and Shane Robinson platooning in center. Ugh. Looking back, it’s kinda funny how many of these deals revolved around the center field position. I know most Twins fans don’t want to think about this, but it’s time to ruin your day. There’s a possibility of a Buxton challenge trade this winter. We all know it, but most of us don’t want to acknowledge it. I’m on team Pay Byron, but if they don’t extend him … who knows? What do you think? Should the Twins try to pull off a challenge trade this offseason? View full article
  24. There are quite a few of these challenge trades in fairly recent Twins history, but this current Twins front office really hasn’t explored this avenue. The Kenta Maeda deal was close, but Brusdar Graterol only had 10 big league appearances to his credit. He was still a prospect. Possibly the LaMonte Wade Jr. trade qualifies as a minor challenge trade, as he had 113 plate appearances and Shaun Anderson had 46 career games pitched at the time of the swap. Considering how that one went, maybe it’s good there haven’t been more challenge trades of late … These deals are risky, but when a team has a surplus or is motivated to make room at the MLB level for a younger player they can make sense. With Josh Donaldson, Jorge Polanco and Luis Arraez already in the third base/second base equation and Jose Miranda waiting in the wings, this current Twins roster could be ripe for a challenge trade. There’s another possible option but I don’t want to ruin your day quite yet. Let’s take a look back at some of these types of deals from past Twins seasons. All of the trades below were completed during the offseason and included established MLB regulars on both sides of the deal. Nov. 14, 2003: A.J. Pierzynski traded to the San Francisco Giants for Joe Nathan, Francisco Liriano and Boof Bonser We’re starting out this list on a high note. One of the ironic elements to this deal is part of its motivation backfired to a degree. In moving AJ Pierzynski, the Twins were making room behind the plate for 20-year-old Joe Mauer. He ended up playing just 35 games in 2004 due to injuries and Henry Blanco ended up as the primary catcher. The Twins still won 92 games that year in part due to Joe Nathan saving 44 games. He had 128 MLB games to his credit at the time of this deal. We’re focusing on the MLB pieces, but I’d say the prospect side of this package also worked out pretty darn nicely for the Twins. Dec. 3, 2003: Eric Milton traded to the Philadelphia Phillies for Carlos Silva, Nick Punto and Bobby Korecky Milton was only a year away from free agency and Carlos Silva had pitched 130 games for the Phillies. Though he only had one career start prior to the trade, Silva was actually a better rotation piece than Milton right out the gate. I’d say that worked out pretty well. Toss in Punto, who also had some MLB experience at the time of the trade (though only 111 plate appearances) and this one was also a success. Kinda nuts that after back-to-back division championships the Twins made these two big trades and took the central again in ‘04. Nov. 28, 2007: Jason Bartlett, Matt Garza and Eddie Morlan to the Tampa Bay Rays for Delmon Young, Brendan Harris and Jason Pridie This was a pretty crazy trade under new GM Bill Smith. A starting shortstop and budding rotation piece for the former No. 1 overall pick and reigning runner-up in Rookie of the Year voting. Plus Brendan Harris and all of his Brendon Harris-ness! This was an incredible trade … for the Rays. They went from 96 losses to 97 wins and a World Series appearance. Delmon had a great 2010 season with the Twins but was dealt away the next year after fizzling out. Nov. 6, 2009: Carlos Gomez traded to the Milwaukee Brewers for J.J. Hardy Gomez went from centerpiece of the Johan Santana deal to trade bait in just two seasons. If you thought that tenure was short, Hardy only lasted one season in Minnesota before being dealt to Baltimore. Both players found much more success with their new orgs than they had in Minnesota. Man, the Twins made a lot of trades back during this time. Dec. 6, 2012: Ben Revere traded to the Philadelphia Phillies for Vance Worley and Trevor May Terry Ryan was back in the GM role and cleared room for another former first-round pick. The Twins traded both Revere and Denard Span that offseason to open the door for Aaron Hicks in center field. Worley made 46 starts for the Phillies prior to the trade. His Twins tenure was, uh, less impressive. May ended up developing into a nice bullpen piece, of course, but Hicks struggled to take advantage of his opportunity. Speaking of which ... Nov. 11, 2015: Aaron Hicks traded to the New York Yankees for John Ryan Murphy The hope was Murphy would be the long-term solution behind the plate. He was not. I guess I don’t really remember the motivation to move Hicks. Byron Buxton missed most of the previous season and started the year in Double-A, so it was a bit premature to make room for him. The Twins opened the season with Jordan Schafer and Shane Robinson platooning in center. Ugh. Looking back, it’s kinda funny how many of these deals revolved around the center field position. I know most Twins fans don’t want to think about this, but it’s time to ruin your day. There’s a possibility of a Buxton challenge trade this winter. We all know it, but most of us don’t want to acknowledge it. I’m on team Pay Byron, but if they don’t extend him … who knows? What do you think? Should the Twins try to pull off a challenge trade this offseason?
  25. Many relief pitchers can be successful by relying on two to three pitches. For instance, Taylor Rogers has found a lot of success at the big-league level by throwing a two-pitch mix with his fastball and a slider. Relievers can use their best pitches, because they don’t have to worry about facing a hitter multiple times in the same game. Some pitchers are forced to adjust their repertoire if they aren’t finding success. Jorge Alcalá was part of one of the biggest trades under the Derek Falvey and Thad Levine regime. He came to the Twins along with Gilberto Celestino as part of the Ryan Pressly deal. At the time of here is what Baseball America said, “Alcalá has a plus-plus fastball, but there are times as a starter where he gears down to try to maintain his stamina. At his best, he’s reached triple digits in the past. There are days when Alcalá looks like a one-pitch pitcher trying to start, but seen on the right days, he has the makings of being a devastating bullpen option.” Alcalá has shown flashes on turning into a devastating bullpen option, but lefties have given him headaches during his big-league career. Entering play on Wednesday, left-handed hitters had posted a .306/.397/.629 (1.026) slash-line when facing Alcalá. Compare that to the .389 OPS righties had compiled against him and it’s easy to see that something was going to have to change if he was going to progress to being used in more high leverage situations. During his big-league tenure, Alcalá has focused on throwing a fastball and a slider and since that hadn’t worked against lefties, the Twins encouraged him to work on his changeup. He threw the pitch to lefties 24 times during the 2020 season and held them to a .125 BA and a .250 SLG. His changeup breaks down and in on lefties which can make it a tough pitch to square up if he is locating it. “(Alcalá is) making adjustments,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “He’s going out there and figuring out that sometimes facing left-handed hitters as a whole and facing left-handers and right-handers is going to be different, and you’re going to have to have — I end up calling them tricks, sometimes, but you end up coming to have a different approach.” Alcalá is going to have to keep working with the pitch and he knows the importance of what it will mean for the future of his career. “What you practice is the result you get,” Alcalá told reporters through an interpreter. “If it’s working for me in the bullpen or in practice, I think it’s going to work for me during the game. That’s my mindset. His changeup is still a work in progress, but it is the pitch that might transform him from middle reliever into a dominant late-inning option. Do you think one pitch can make the difference for Alcalá? Leave a COMMENT and star 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
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