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  1. We may be deprived of current player baseball news due to the lockout, but the Minnesota Twins provided an update on their team Hall of Fame Thursday when it was announced Ron Gardenhire, Dan Gladden, and Cesar Tovar would join the ranks. The trio will become the 35th, 36th, and 37th members of the Minnesota Twins Hall of Fame. The organization began the Hall of Fame with its inaugural class back in 2000. In the 22 years since, we’ve seen names like Bert Blyleven, Torii Hunter, Zoilo Versailles, and Justin Morneau added to the ranks. The lone player to be elected but not inducted was Chuck Knoblauch back in 2014. Ron Gardenhire served the Twins as a manager for 13 seasons. He posted a .507 winning percentage owning a final record of 1,068-1,039. His wins trail only Tom Kelly for most all-time in team history. During six of Gardy’s 13 seasons as manager, the Twins won the American League Central Division. Gardenhire’s high win total came in 2006 when Minnesota recorded 96 wins. The team was strapped in the postseason, having recently lost starting lefty, Francisco Liriano. He went on to win the American League Manager of the Year award in 2010 when the Twins ripped off 94 victories. Ron Gardenhire will always be synonymous with the strong divisional Twins clubs of the 2000s. Dan Gladden may now be most known for his work with Twins Radio but has been a member of the organization for 28 years. Winning two World Series rings in Minnesota, Gladden operated as the leadoff hitter and owns the club record for postseason runs scored and stolen bases. Gladden crossing home plate in the bottom of the 10th inning during Game 7 of the 1991 World Series gave the Twins their second World Series. A staple on Twins Radio, Gladden is coming up on an opportunity to land himself as the fourth-longest tenured broadcaster in club history. Cesar Tovar has long been advocated for enshrinement by fans and now will finally get his due. Playing eight seasons for the Twins, Tovar racked up MVP votes in five consecutive years from 1967-1971. A speed threat, Tovar is third all-time in stolen bases for the Twins and ranks seventh in triples. While position players pitching may have become a thing now, Tovar became the second player in American or National League history to play all nine positions in a single game on September 22, 1968. The Minnesota Twins announced that on-field ceremonies would take place pre-game on August 20 and 21st at Target Field before Minnesota’s tilts with the Texas Rangers. What are your favorite memories of Gardy, Gladden, and Tovar? Who would you like to see inducted next season? View full article
  2. The trio will become the 35th, 36th, and 37th members of the Minnesota Twins Hall of Fame. The organization began the Hall of Fame with its inaugural class back in 2000. In the 22 years since, we’ve seen names like Bert Blyleven, Torii Hunter, Zoilo Versailles, and Justin Morneau added to the ranks. The lone player to be elected but not inducted was Chuck Knoblauch back in 2014. Ron Gardenhire served the Twins as a manager for 13 seasons. He posted a .507 winning percentage owning a final record of 1,068-1,039. His wins trail only Tom Kelly for most all-time in team history. During six of Gardy’s 13 seasons as manager, the Twins won the American League Central Division. Gardenhire’s high win total came in 2006 when Minnesota recorded 96 wins. The team was strapped in the postseason, having recently lost starting lefty, Francisco Liriano. He went on to win the American League Manager of the Year award in 2010 when the Twins ripped off 94 victories. Ron Gardenhire will always be synonymous with the strong divisional Twins clubs of the 2000s. Dan Gladden may now be most known for his work with Twins Radio but has been a member of the organization for 28 years. Winning two World Series rings in Minnesota, Gladden operated as the leadoff hitter and owns the club record for postseason runs scored and stolen bases. Gladden crossing home plate in the bottom of the 10th inning during Game 7 of the 1991 World Series gave the Twins their second World Series. A staple on Twins Radio, Gladden is coming up on an opportunity to land himself as the fourth-longest tenured broadcaster in club history. Cesar Tovar has long been advocated for enshrinement by fans and now will finally get his due. Playing eight seasons for the Twins, Tovar racked up MVP votes in five consecutive years from 1967-1971. A speed threat, Tovar is third all-time in stolen bases for the Twins and ranks seventh in triples. While position players pitching may have become a thing now, Tovar became the second player in American or National League history to play all nine positions in a single game on September 22, 1968. The Minnesota Twins announced that on-field ceremonies would take place pre-game on August 20 and 21st at Target Field before Minnesota’s tilts with the Texas Rangers. What are your favorite memories of Gardy, Gladden, and Tovar? Who would you like to see inducted next season?
  3. Francisco Liriano announced his retirement from Major League Baseball today. After 14 years, 419 games, and over 1,800 innings, he’s calling it quits. As a Minnesota Twins fan, though, it’s worth wondering what could have been thinking back to 2006. Having made his Major League Debut in 2005, Liriano had just 23 2/3 innings under his belt coming into the 2006 season. Ron Gardenhire put Liriano on his Opening Day roster, but the talented lefty was set to begin out of the bullpen. He made his season debut in the second game, throwing two innings of relief against the Toronto Blue Jays. Minnesota won that game 13-4, and Liriano tallied his first three strikeouts of the season. From there, Gardenhire used Liriano mainly for late-inning work. Across 12 games, Liriano pitched 22 1/3 innings of relief work, compiling a 3.22 ERA and impressive 32/4 K/BB mark. Of the eight earned runs given up, five came in a three-inning clunker against the Detroit Tigers. Minnesota lost that game 18-1, and it was the lone stain on Liriano’s relief work. Then the switch happened. On May 19, 2006, Francisco Liriano took the ball to start for the Twins against the Milwaukee Brewers. He didn’t relieve a game again the rest of the way. Against the Brewers, Liriano went five strong innings giving up just one run on two hits while striking out five. A few turns later, this time against the Pittsburgh Pirates on June 16, 2006, Liriano punched out double-digit batters for the first time in his career. Notching 11 strikeouts against the Buccos, Liriano improved to 6-1 on the season, and his ERA sat at just 2.16. Facing the Brewers again on July 2, 2016, Liriano set a new career-high in strikeouts with 12. Throwing eight shutout innings, Liriano pushed his ERA down to 1.99. After a couple more wins, Liriano then put a bow on his early work with a 10 and 12 strikeout performance against Cleveland and Detroit, respectively. Then things changed. Making a start against the Tigers on August 7, 2006, Liriano threw just 67 pitches while allowing four runs on ten hits before being lifted. He was scratched the start prior with forearm inflammation and then lifted against Detroit with what was called a left elbow injury. After an MRI revealed only inflammation on July 31, Liriano was set for another one and told reporters he was more scared this time, saying, “it bothered me. It’s getting worse you know.” Liriano returned for a start on September 13, 2006, but lasted just 27 pitches before his season was over. He had suggested hearing a pop in his elbow. The 1st place Minnesota Twins would be without one of their top arms, ultimately falling to the Oakland Athletics in the American League Division Series. Discussing the MRI’s Liriano had undergone, Twins General Manager Terry Ryan said, "The MRI came back exactly the same as the previous one. He has a ligament strain, but there is no structural damage. That's the good news.” On September 15, 2006, surgery was not the planned course of action. Fast forward less than a month, and on November 6, 2006, Francisco Liriano underwent Tommy John surgery. Working on getting back from his procedure, Liriano returned to the mound for Minnesota on April 13, 2008. It was his first start in more than a year, and the rust showed. He allowed four runs on six hits and didn’t make it through the 5th inning. Throwing his fastball at just 91.9 mph, he’d lost nearly 3 mph off the 94.7 mph he averaged in 2006. The All-Star and third place Rookie of the Year finisher didn’t look the same and ultimately never would. Those 121 innings from a 22-year-old Liriano in 2006 were among the highlights of the Minnesota Twins during the 2000s. Paired with Johan Santana, Ron Gardenhire appeared to have a duo of lefties that could mow down even the best opposing offenses. Playing 12 more seasons and putting up a 4.28 ERA is hardly something to scoff at, but there’s no denying that this is a talent you have to wonder what could have been. Liriano doesn’t have a shot at the Hall of Fame, but maybe he would have. Perhaps the Twins wouldn’t have flipped him for Eduardo Escobar in 2012. His career was solid but ultimately defined by a “what if?” Outside of Liriano as a player on his own, it's worth wondering how the 2006 Minnesota Twins season would've ended had he been a healthy part of the Postseason rotation. The Twins were ultimately swept by a good Oakland Athletics team, but they had to start Boof Bonser in game 2 and turned to Brad Radke in game 3. The Twins came in with home field advantage and have not won a Postseason game dating back to 2004. Just another part of the what could've been story. Do you remember back to that first season of Francisco Liriano? What did you think the Twins had in him? What are some of your favorite memories? View full article
  4. Having made his Major League Debut in 2005, Liriano had just 23 2/3 innings under his belt coming into the 2006 season. Ron Gardenhire put Liriano on his Opening Day roster, but the talented lefty was set to begin out of the bullpen. He made his season debut in the second game, throwing two innings of relief against the Toronto Blue Jays. Minnesota won that game 13-4, and Liriano tallied his first three strikeouts of the season. From there, Gardenhire used Liriano mainly for late-inning work. Across 12 games, Liriano pitched 22 1/3 innings of relief work, compiling a 3.22 ERA and impressive 32/4 K/BB mark. Of the eight earned runs given up, five came in a three-inning clunker against the Detroit Tigers. Minnesota lost that game 18-1, and it was the lone stain on Liriano’s relief work. Then the switch happened. On May 19, 2006, Francisco Liriano took the ball to start for the Twins against the Milwaukee Brewers. He didn’t relieve a game again the rest of the way. Against the Brewers, Liriano went five strong innings giving up just one run on two hits while striking out five. A few turns later, this time against the Pittsburgh Pirates on June 16, 2006, Liriano punched out double-digit batters for the first time in his career. Notching 11 strikeouts against the Buccos, Liriano improved to 6-1 on the season, and his ERA sat at just 2.16. Facing the Brewers again on July 2, 2016, Liriano set a new career-high in strikeouts with 12. Throwing eight shutout innings, Liriano pushed his ERA down to 1.99. After a couple more wins, Liriano then put a bow on his early work with a 10 and 12 strikeout performance against Cleveland and Detroit, respectively. Then things changed. Making a start against the Tigers on August 7, 2006, Liriano threw just 67 pitches while allowing four runs on ten hits before being lifted. He was scratched the start prior with forearm inflammation and then lifted against Detroit with what was called a left elbow injury. After an MRI revealed only inflammation on July 31, Liriano was set for another one and told reporters he was more scared this time, saying, “it bothered me. It’s getting worse you know.” Liriano returned for a start on September 13, 2006, but lasted just 27 pitches before his season was over. He had suggested hearing a pop in his elbow. The 1st place Minnesota Twins would be without one of their top arms, ultimately falling to the Oakland Athletics in the American League Division Series. Discussing the MRI’s Liriano had undergone, Twins General Manager Terry Ryan said, "The MRI came back exactly the same as the previous one. He has a ligament strain, but there is no structural damage. That's the good news.” On September 15, 2006, surgery was not the planned course of action. Fast forward less than a month, and on November 6, 2006, Francisco Liriano underwent Tommy John surgery. Working on getting back from his procedure, Liriano returned to the mound for Minnesota on April 13, 2008. It was his first start in more than a year, and the rust showed. He allowed four runs on six hits and didn’t make it through the 5th inning. Throwing his fastball at just 91.9 mph, he’d lost nearly 3 mph off the 94.7 mph he averaged in 2006. The All-Star and third place Rookie of the Year finisher didn’t look the same and ultimately never would. Those 121 innings from a 22-year-old Liriano in 2006 were among the highlights of the Minnesota Twins during the 2000s. Paired with Johan Santana, Ron Gardenhire appeared to have a duo of lefties that could mow down even the best opposing offenses. Playing 12 more seasons and putting up a 4.28 ERA is hardly something to scoff at, but there’s no denying that this is a talent you have to wonder what could have been. Liriano doesn’t have a shot at the Hall of Fame, but maybe he would have. Perhaps the Twins wouldn’t have flipped him for Eduardo Escobar in 2012. His career was solid but ultimately defined by a “what if?” Outside of Liriano as a player on his own, it's worth wondering how the 2006 Minnesota Twins season would've ended had he been a healthy part of the Postseason rotation. The Twins were ultimately swept by a good Oakland Athletics team, but they had to start Boof Bonser in game 2 and turned to Brad Radke in game 3. The Twins came in with home field advantage and have not won a Postseason game dating back to 2004. Just another part of the what could've been story. Do you remember back to that first season of Francisco Liriano? What did you think the Twins had in him? What are some of your favorite memories?
  5. "I'm done. I'm hanging 'em up." That's what Brian Dozier told media members on Thursday morning. In addition, his former Twins managers Ron Gardenhire and Paul Molitor, as well as former GM Terry Ryan were on the call. Eduardo Escobar called in briefly from Arizona, on the practice field. Josh Willingham called in as well. It wasn't easy, but Dozier said that he did talk to a lot of players this offseason who have retired and that decision. "Tough decision. Many prayers went into this, especially after last season. I kind of made up my mind a couple of months ago." He had opportunities to play after the Mets released him last year, but he noted: "I told my wife, 'This COVID thing is the worst thing that ever happened to us because I got to be home and wake my daughter up every single morning. I love doing this. There is nothing in baseball that has given me this happiness and joy.'" He talked to some teams this past offseason, but he decided that he was ready to be done playing. "My wife? She wanted me to play until I was 50!" he joked. ---------------------------------------------- Brian Dozier joined the Twins organization in June of 2009 after the Twins drafted him as a 'senior sign' out of Southern Mississippi in the draft. He was coming off an injury and after five GCL games moved up to Elizabethton. In 2010, he split the season between Beloit and Ft. Myers, but 2011 was his breakout year as a prospect. He began the season with 49 games in Ft. Myers before jumping to New Britain for the final 78 games. Combined, he hit .320/.399/.491 (.890) with 33 doubles, 12 triples and nine home runs. He also stole 24 bases. The Twins, and Twins Daily, named him the Twins minor league hitter/player of the year. He debuted with the Twins in May of 2012, just a week before his 25th birthday. He played in 84 game and hit .234 (.603) with 11 doubles and six homers. However, he was sent down and did not receive a September call up. Dozier looks back at it now and says, "I thought I would, but it was the best thing that happened to me because it made me work even harder." That offseason, he worked a lot with Paul Molitor on moving to second base. He also gives a lol of credit to Tom Brunansky for working with him offensively. He was the Twins starting second baseman on Opening Day 2013 and remained in that role until he was traded to the Dodgers at the deadline in 2018. In between, he become one of the more prolific power hitters in Twins history. He hit 18 home runs in 2013, a record for Twins second baseman at the time. He then broke that record with 23 homers in 2014 in 2015. He made the All Star team that season. In 2016, he became just the fourth second baseman to hit 40 homers. He hit 42 total home runs that season. In 2017, he came back with 34 homers. In addition, he won a Gold Glove Award. Since the Twins traded him, he has had his struggles. He hit just .182 in 47 games for the 2018 Dodgers, but he provided nine doubles and five home runs. He played in the World Series. In 2019, he hit .238 with 20 doubles and 20 homers for the Nationals team that went on the win the World Series. And he danced... and sang... usually shirtless. He played in seven games for the Mets in 2020. In seven seasons with the Twins, Dozier played in 955 games. He hit .248/.325/.447 (.772) with 202 doubles, 167 home runs, 593 runs scored and 491 RBI. He had four straight 20 double, 20 homer seasons. But Dozier was fantastic on and off the field. From the Twins press release< "Dozier’s hustle on the field was matched by an electric personality off it that inspired camaraderie across the organization and the sport. Among other honors, he was the recipient of the 2013 Mike Augustin “Media Good Guy” Award by the Twin Cities Chapter of the BBWAA, the Twins’ 2014 Heart and Hustle Award by the MLB Players Alumni Association, the 2015 Carl R. Pohlad Award for Twins Outstanding Community Service and the 2016-17 Bob Allison Award for Twins leadership." On Thursday, he is retiring. The 33-year-old lives in Hattiesburg, Mississippi with his wife and two young kids. His daughter Reese is two years old, and his son Rip was born in mid-December. He will keep busy. He plans to travel a lot and visit friends from the organizations he's played in. He said he's had a real estate companies for years. He also has an investment company. He golfs and hopes to play in several tournaments. "I play the piano every day, but other than that, no music for me. One of the biggest things that I look forward to is hunting more. Not necessarily hunting. I loved planting food plots in the summertime when I was in high school, and I haven't been able to do that. I'm looking forward to that. I'm heading to my hunting camp in a couple of weeks to plant some corn. I'm looking forward to that. Haven't been able to do that in about 15 years. A lot of hunting. A lot of golf. But most than that, being a full-time dad." Comments from the press conference: Eduardo Escobar: "I want to say Congrats, man. Thank you so much. You're the best. I love you. You know how much I respect you. You taught me to play this game the right way, and that's why I'm still playing today. You are the best. God bless you and your family!" Ron Gardenhire: "I got to watch you first-hand in that dugout, watch you grow up and break into the big leagues. Handled everything so easily. One of the nicest people I've ever been around in my life.... Of course, after I left he started hitting bombs into the seats. He waited..." Paul Molitor: "I remember a trip out there in Double-A, and the week I watched your team, you were the best player on the field no matter who else was playing. You did it all. You made teammates better. You carried yourself tremendously well for where you were at in your career." Molitor: "I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to manage you." Molitor: "In addition to your performance, how you took care of your teammates, and made everybody better. You were never selfish. You understood the humility that it takes to be successful." Terry Ryan: "I followed you from Elizabethton to Beloit to Ft. Myers and you didn't hit a home run. So I'm thinking, well, we've got a shortstop here that has no power, and he's not really a burner, and all of a sudden you're hitting second base and hitting 42 home runs. Brian, I couldn't be more proud of the things you've accomplished and provided to the Twins organization. You went on the win a World Series. You had an outstanding career, and you were a great person involved in the Twins organization, and I was just happy to be a small part of it." Brian Dozier: "The people that I played for, they demanded you play the game the right way. I'm telling you, I've gotten to see other places throughout my career, but it was a blessing playing for Minnesota who takes it above and beyond, and it starts with Terry Ryan. You carry yourself the right way not only on the field but off it. It wasn't something they just suggested. It was demanded." Brian Dozier: "It sucks to say, but I kind of fell out of love with playing the game, but I always loved baseball." Brian Dozier: "Right now, I might possibly pursue managing in the big leagues the next couple of years. I've learned a lot from all the managers I played for, and my wife and I have talked about it. The playing side I kind of fell out of love with, but I fell in love with possibly pursuing [managing]." Brian Dozier to Twins Fans: "I tell people all the time, and my wife and I talk about it all the time, that (Minnesota) is my second home. It always will be. I said a farewell back in 2018 when I got traded, but I do want them to know that it's like family. Not just the people in the clubhouse, managers, general managers, and everybody in the stadium. There are so many people throughout the years that we have become close with. It's some of the best fans in baseball. It really is a special place to play." Brian Dozier on current Twins: "I've watched them from afar. It is tremendous for me just to sit there and watch them and see what they've become. Polanco. Max. Rosario, Sano... It is a joy for me to see for me. They'll continue to get better which is scary. I still talk to a lot of them. It really is a joy for me to sit back and watch them."
  6. On Thursday morning, former Twins infielder Brian Dozier announced his retirement from baseball. Dozier spent the first seven of his nine MLB seasons with the Twins and was a great representative of the organization on and off the field. "I'm done. I'm hanging 'em up." That's what Brian Dozier told media members on Thursday morning. In addition, his former Twins managers Ron Gardenhire and Paul Molitor, as well as former GM Terry Ryan were on the call. Eduardo Escobar called in briefly from Arizona, on the practice field. Josh Willingham called in as well. It wasn't easy, but Dozier said that he did talk to a lot of players this offseason who have retired and that decision. "Tough decision. Many prayers went into this, especially after last season. I kind of made up my mind a couple of months ago." He had opportunities to play after the Mets released him last year, but he noted: "I told my wife, 'This COVID thing is the worst thing that ever happened to us because I got to be home and wake my daughter up every single morning. I love doing this. There is nothing in baseball that has given me this happiness and joy.'" He talked to some teams this past offseason, but he decided that he was ready to be done playing. "My wife? She wanted me to play until I was 50!" he joked. ---------------------------------------------- Brian Dozier joined the Twins organization in June of 2009 after the Twins drafted him as a 'senior sign' out of Southern Mississippi in the draft. He was coming off an injury and after five GCL games moved up to Elizabethton. In 2010, he split the season between Beloit and Ft. Myers, but 2011 was his breakout year as a prospect. He began the season with 49 games in Ft. Myers before jumping to New Britain for the final 78 games. Combined, he hit .320/.399/.491 (.890) with 33 doubles, 12 triples and nine home runs. He also stole 24 bases. The Twins, and Twins Daily, named him the Twins minor league hitter/player of the year. He debuted with the Twins in May of 2012, just a week before his 25th birthday. He played in 84 game and hit .234 (.603) with 11 doubles and six homers. However, he was sent down and did not receive a September call up. Dozier looks back at it now and says, "I thought I would, but it was the best thing that happened to me because it made me work even harder." That offseason, he worked a lot with Paul Molitor on moving to second base. He also gives a lol of credit to Tom Brunansky for working with him offensively. He was the Twins starting second baseman on Opening Day 2013 and remained in that role until he was traded to the Dodgers at the deadline in 2018. In between, he become one of the more prolific power hitters in Twins history. He hit 18 home runs in 2013, a record for Twins second baseman at the time. He then broke that record with 23 homers in 2014 in 2015. He made the All Star team that season. In 2016, he became just the fourth second baseman to hit 40 homers. He hit 42 total home runs that season. In 2017, he came back with 34 homers. In addition, he won a Gold Glove Award. Since the Twins traded him, he has had his struggles. He hit just .182 in 47 games for the 2018 Dodgers, but he provided nine doubles and five home runs. He played in the World Series. In 2019, he hit .238 with 20 doubles and 20 homers for the Nationals team that went on the win the World Series. And he danced... and sang... usually shirtless. He played in seven games for the Mets in 2020. In seven seasons with the Twins, Dozier played in 955 games. He hit .248/.325/.447 (.772) with 202 doubles, 167 home runs, 593 runs scored and 491 RBI. He had four straight 20 double, 20 homer seasons. But Dozier was fantastic on and off the field. From the Twins press release< "Dozier’s hustle on the field was matched by an electric personality off it that inspired camaraderie across the organization and the sport. Among other honors, he was the recipient of the 2013 Mike Augustin “Media Good Guy” Award by the Twin Cities Chapter of the BBWAA, the Twins’ 2014 Heart and Hustle Award by the MLB Players Alumni Association, the 2015 Carl R. Pohlad Award for Twins Outstanding Community Service and the 2016-17 Bob Allison Award for Twins leadership." On Thursday, he is retiring. The 33-year-old lives in Hattiesburg, Mississippi with his wife and two young kids. His daughter Reese is two years old, and his son Rip was born in mid-December. He will keep busy. He plans to travel a lot and visit friends from the organizations he's played in. He said he's had a real estate companies for years. He also has an investment company. He golfs and hopes to play in several tournaments. "I play the piano every day, but other than that, no music for me. One of the biggest things that I look forward to is hunting more. Not necessarily hunting. I loved planting food plots in the summertime when I was in high school, and I haven't been able to do that. I'm looking forward to that. I'm heading to my hunting camp in a couple of weeks to plant some corn. I'm looking forward to that. Haven't been able to do that in about 15 years. A lot of hunting. A lot of golf. But most than that, being a full-time dad." Comments from the press conference: Eduardo Escobar: "I want to say Congrats, man. Thank you so much. You're the best. I love you. You know how much I respect you. You taught me to play this game the right way, and that's why I'm still playing today. You are the best. God bless you and your family!" Ron Gardenhire: "I got to watch you first-hand in that dugout, watch you grow up and break into the big leagues. Handled everything so easily. One of the nicest people I've ever been around in my life.... Of course, after I left he started hitting bombs into the seats. He waited..." Paul Molitor: "I remember a trip out there in Double-A, and the week I watched your team, you were the best player on the field no matter who else was playing. You did it all. You made teammates better. You carried yourself tremendously well for where you were at in your career." Molitor: "I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to manage you." Molitor: "In addition to your performance, how you took care of your teammates, and made everybody better. You were never selfish. You understood the humility that it takes to be successful." Terry Ryan: "I followed you from Elizabethton to Beloit to Ft. Myers and you didn't hit a home run. So I'm thinking, well, we've got a shortstop here that has no power, and he's not really a burner, and all of a sudden you're hitting second base and hitting 42 home runs. Brian, I couldn't be more proud of the things you've accomplished and provided to the Twins organization. You went on the win a World Series. You had an outstanding career, and you were a great person involved in the Twins organization, and I was just happy to be a small part of it." Brian Dozier: "The people that I played for, they demanded you play the game the right way. I'm telling you, I've gotten to see other places throughout my career, but it was a blessing playing for Minnesota who takes it above and beyond, and it starts with Terry Ryan. You carry yourself the right way not only on the field but off it. It wasn't something they just suggested. It was demanded." Brian Dozier: "It sucks to say, but I kind of fell out of love with playing the game, but I always loved baseball." Brian Dozier: "Right now, I might possibly pursue managing in the big leagues the next couple of years. I've learned a lot from all the managers I played for, and my wife and I have talked about it. The playing side I kind of fell out of love with, but I fell in love with possibly pursuing [managing]." Brian Dozier to Twins Fans: "I tell people all the time, and my wife and I talk about it all the time, that (Minnesota) is my second home. It always will be. I said a farewell back in 2018 when I got traded, but I do want them to know that it's like family. Not just the people in the clubhouse, managers, general managers, and everybody in the stadium. There are so many people throughout the years that we have become close with. It's some of the best fans in baseball. It really is a special place to play." Brian Dozier on current Twins: "I've watched them from afar. It is tremendous for me just to sit there and watch them and see what they've become. Polanco. Max. Rosario, Sano... It is a joy for me to see for me. They'll continue to get better which is scary. I still talk to a lot of them. It really is a joy for me to sit back and watch them." View full article
  7. For 13 years, Ron Gardenhire was at the helm of the Minnesota Twins. He would win six division titles and finish his Twins tenure with the second most wins in franchise history. On Saturday, he announced his retirement from baseball, but his legacy will be long lasting in Twins Territory.News broke on Sunday that Ron Gardenhire was retiring, effective immediately. The former Twins manager had been Detroit’s skipper for the last three seasons. He’s had a losing record in every season for the Tigers as they have been in full rebuild mode. Initially, his plan was to retire at the conclusion of the 2020 season, but a case of food poisoning and underlying health conditions pushed him into an early exit. In a press release, Gardenhire said, ““This is a bittersweet day for myself and my family. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the countless players and coaches that I’ve had the honor of working alongside for the last 16 seasons as manager. I’d also like to thank the Detroit Tigers and Minnesota Twins for giving me the privilege of leading their clubhouses. While I’m stepping away from managing, I’ll be watching this group of Tigers closely in the next few years. There’s a lot of talent on this team, and a lot coming through the farm system. Tigers fans are going to enjoy the exciting times on the horizon.” Gardy’s Twins tenure started back in 1986 in his final year as a professional player. He played 117 games for the club’s Triple-A affiliate and hit .272/.347/.380 with 26 extra-base hits and a 70 to 45 strike out to walk ratio. He must have impressed the Twins, because he retired following the season and immediately started coaching in the Twins system. He quickly made his mark in his first three years as a minor league manager. He led teams in the Midwest League (Class A) and Southern League (Class AA) to one second place and two first place finishes. From there, he was promoted to being a coach on the big-league squad and he served as a coach for over the next decade (1991-2001). When Tom Kelly retired, Gardy took over with a flurry. In his first season as manager, he would lead the Twins to the AL Central crown and all the way to the ALCS before eventually losing to the eventual World Series champions, the Anaheim Angels. The Twins have yet to win a playoff series since that run, but Gardenhire’s impact was far from over. Minnesota would complete a three-peat of AL Central titles in 2004 before winning the title again in 2006. The club lost to the White Sox in Game 163 to end the 2008 season before coming back and winning a Game 163 against the Tigers to close out the Metrodome one year later. His final AL Central crown came in 2010 when he won his lone the AL Manager of the Year award. Many great players came to stardom under Gardenhire’s watchful eye. Johan Santana went on one of the greatest pitching runs in franchise history as he won two Cy Young awards before being traded to the Mets. Joe Mauer made his debut in 2004 and played a large portion of his potential Hall of Fame career under Gardenhire. Other players like Torii Hunter, Corey Koskie, Denard Span, Joe Nathan, Justin Morneau, and Michael Cuddyer would have long careers tied to Gardy’s tenure. Gardenhire’s personality was what separated him from previous Twins managers. He was able to connect with players and fans and he brought a passion that would overflow into the game. His club record 71 ejections would attest to that fact. If Twins teams were in contention, he pulled the right strings to be able to keep them in the race. Overall, he seemed to be able to get the best out of his players and to guide young players as they entered the league. Following the 2010 season, things went the wrong way in a hurry for Gardenhire and the Twins. For four straight seasons, the club lost over 90 games in the worst stretch of losing in franchise history. At his final Twins press conference, he said, “Sometimes people need to hear a different voice. They need a new face. I just want this organization to win; I’ll be rooting just like everybody else.” His 27 years in the Twins organization were over, but he was still part of the Twins family. Twins President Dave St. Peter said, “Baseball has always been better with Ron Gardenhire part of it. His legacy is highlighted by the hugely positive impact he made on players and staff. I will always remember his authentic connection to the fans. The Gardenhire family will always be part of the Twins family.” Twins fans might not have agreed with every on-field decision during the Gardenhire era, but his legacy will be felt throughout Twins Territory for years to come. Congratulations on retirement to Gardenhire and his family. May he stay healthy and enjoy the years ahead. What are some of your favorite Gardy memories? 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 Click here to view the article
  8. News broke on Sunday that Ron Gardenhire was retiring, effective immediately. The former Twins manager had been Detroit’s skipper for the last three seasons. He’s had a losing record in every season for the Tigers as they have been in full rebuild mode. Initially, his plan was to retire at the conclusion of the 2020 season, but a case of food poisoning and underlying health conditions pushed him into an early exit. In a press release, Gardenhire said, ““This is a bittersweet day for myself and my family. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the countless players and coaches that I’ve had the honor of working alongside for the last 16 seasons as manager. I’d also like to thank the Detroit Tigers and Minnesota Twins for giving me the privilege of leading their clubhouses. While I’m stepping away from managing, I’ll be watching this group of Tigers closely in the next few years. There’s a lot of talent on this team, and a lot coming through the farm system. Tigers fans are going to enjoy the exciting times on the horizon.” Gardy’s Twins tenure started back in 1986 in his final year as a professional player. He played 117 games for the club’s Triple-A affiliate and hit .272/.347/.380 with 26 extra-base hits and a 70 to 45 strike out to walk ratio. He must have impressed the Twins, because he retired following the season and immediately started coaching in the Twins system. He quickly made his mark in his first three years as a minor league manager. He led teams in the Midwest League (Class A) and Southern League (Class AA) to one second place and two first place finishes. From there, he was promoted to being a coach on the big-league squad and he served as a coach for over the next decade (1991-2001). When Tom Kelly retired, Gardy took over with a flurry. In his first season as manager, he would lead the Twins to the AL Central crown and all the way to the ALCS before eventually losing to the eventual World Series champions, the Anaheim Angels. The Twins have yet to win a playoff series since that run, but Gardenhire’s impact was far from over. Minnesota would complete a three-peat of AL Central titles in 2004 before winning the title again in 2006. The club lost to the White Sox in Game 163 to end the 2008 season before coming back and winning a Game 163 against the Tigers to close out the Metrodome one year later. His final AL Central crown came in 2010 when he won his lone the AL Manager of the Year award. Many great players came to stardom under Gardenhire’s watchful eye. Johan Santana went on one of the greatest pitching runs in franchise history as he won two Cy Young awards before being traded to the Mets. Joe Mauer made his debut in 2004 and played a large portion of his potential Hall of Fame career under Gardenhire. Other players like Torii Hunter, Corey Koskie, Denard Span, Joe Nathan, Justin Morneau, and Michael Cuddyer would have long careers tied to Gardy’s tenure. Gardenhire’s personality was what separated him from previous Twins managers. He was able to connect with players and fans and he brought a passion that would overflow into the game. His club record 71 ejections would attest to that fact. If Twins teams were in contention, he pulled the right strings to be able to keep them in the race. Overall, he seemed to be able to get the best out of his players and to guide young players as they entered the league. Following the 2010 season, things went the wrong way in a hurry for Gardenhire and the Twins. For four straight seasons, the club lost over 90 games in the worst stretch of losing in franchise history. At his final Twins press conference, he said, “Sometimes people need to hear a different voice. They need a new face. I just want this organization to win; I’ll be rooting just like everybody else.” His 27 years in the Twins organization were over, but he was still part of the Twins family. Twins President Dave St. Peter said, “Baseball has always been better with Ron Gardenhire part of it. His legacy is highlighted by the hugely positive impact he made on players and staff. I will always remember his authentic connection to the fans. The Gardenhire family will always be part of the Twins family.” Twins fans might not have agreed with every on-field decision during the Gardenhire era, but his legacy will be felt throughout Twins Territory for years to come. Congratulations on retirement to Gardenhire and his family. May he stay healthy and enjoy the years ahead. What are some of your favorite Gardy memories? 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
  9. Augie Ojeda grew up in southern California where he learned to love the game of baseball. “I was a big Dodgers fan. I was diehard!” He continued, “Fernando Mania in 1981! All the excitement and the hype that he brought to the Dodgers.” But because he was small, he didn’t have scouts looking at him in high school. He went to Cypress College, a two-year program with a strong baseball tradition. That’s where he started to get noticed as a ballplayer. “You still haven’t developed into that prototypical 6-2 baseball player, especially back in those days. Scouts were big on height and numbers and the 40-yard dash. I started realizing I had a chance in junior college. I grew a little bit, got stronger, and played really well against better competition.” He still wasn’t a big guy, but he was attracting the attention of some of the top baseball schools in the country. Because of scholarship limitations, many of the prominent southern California baseball schools didn’t really recruit him. But he was hearing from all over the country. His five school trips were to Arizona State, Oklahoma, Miami, Tennessee and Texas Tech. Each school gave him a 100% scholarship offer. “My decision was kind of easy. It was basically my pick, and I chose Tennessee. They had a good team the prior season and went to the College World Series, and most of the guys were coming back. It was between Tennessee and Miami, and Miami at the time had Alex Cora at shortstop.” He chose Tennessee where he continued to find great success. In 1996, Ojeda was the 13th round draft pick of the Baltimore Orioles. He didn’t sign right away, but there was a good reason for that. He was heading to the Olympics. He joined some great college players, including former Twins Jacque Jones, Matthew LeCroy and Chad Allen on the 1996 USA Olympic team. The team won the bronze medal in those Atlanta Olympics. “It was a blessing. It was awesome. It kind of snuck out of nowhere. I didn’t really see that coming.” Ojeda added, “Any kid wants to represent the flag. It’s an honor, and a fun experience that words cannot describe. It was a blessing playing with all these first rounders. I was just happy to be a part of it, and anytime you get a chance to represent your country is an honor.” Following the Olympics, Ojeda went back to school for a semester before signing with the Orioles. Things moved pretty quickly in 1997. It started with an invite to big league camp. “Getting ground balls next to Cal Ripken… that was pretty cool.” Because of an injury to another shortstop, Ojeda began his pro career in Double-A. He played in three levels that season, even getting some time at Triple-A Rochester, a place he would return years later. He was traded to the Cubs before the 2000 season. “I was kind of heart broken because I was the type of kid who followed baseball in the ‘80s and guys stayed with one team forever. Rivalries, and you don’t like the Giants because you’re a Dodgers fan, and you see the same faces for seven, eight years. I was bummed. I was crushed. I thought I was going to be an Oriole forever.” “It turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to me.” That June, he made his big league debut with the Cubs. He spent parts of the next four seasons as a utility infielder for the Cubs. He became a fan favorite because of his size and work ethic, but also because he played really strong defense all around the infield. “The Cubs fans are really supportive, and they do their homework on the minor league guys. And they didn’t know much about me, but they saw my size and thought I was a long shot to make it. I hit a double in my first game and I got a standing ovation, and they started calling my name.” What an experience. However, following the 2003 season, the Cubs placed him on waivers and the Twins claimed him. Minnesota Twins “I got a call from Terry Ryan that they were picking me up. I didn’t know much about the Twins. But from playing in the same league in Double-A, I realized they were strict on their development. Every single guy played together for years, and they had to produce. It wasn’t like any other organization where if you do well or you do bad you skip or you stay back. You had to earn your stripes. And they were stacked. They did a really good job with their scouting and player development.” He returned to Rochester to start the 2004 season. In early August, he was called up to the Twins. He spent August in a utility role, but by September, he was playing nearly every day… and putting up numbers. “The coaches did a good job of working extra with the guys. So every day at home, it was extra batting practice. Every day, extra batting practice. And I took advantage of that. I never had that in my career. The coaches would throw a half hour of extra batting practice, and I was a switch-hitter so I got a lot of reps. They were a young team. They emphasized big time extra work and working hard, and I think that helped me the most. In 30 games for the Twins in 2004, Ojeda hit .339/.429/.458 (.886) with a double and two home runs. “That was the best month I had in my entire life.” He continued, “I played all of September, and that was in a pennant race. We won the Central that year. Gardenhire sat (Luis) Rivas. He was struggling. I came into a game in Anaheim, and I went 2-for-4 in late August. Then after that I played almost every day. Playing every day is a little easier. You know your rhythm. You know your timing.” For whatever reason, Ojeda spent all of 2005 in Rochester with the Red Wings. “To this day, I never knew what happened. What did I do to them? I helped them. I was part of the big push in a pennant race. Then I never got called up. I never knew what was going on.” “The coaches really worked hard. Really worked hard. They were different though. It was a different organization. I was kind of shocked the way the way they handled things. Gardenhire, I don’t know if he got it from Tom Kelly, but they were really big on picking their own apples.They didn’t get bad apples. And when they got good apples, they wanted to control them, which was different. The guys were young so they didn’t say much, but it opened my eyes.” After that season, he became a free agent. He re-signed with the Cubs but spent all of 2006 in Triple-A. In 2007, the Diamondbacks gave him a chance. It was a chance for him to play at home in Arizona where he had bought a house during his time in the Cubs organization. He fully took advantage once he was called up. He spent the second half of 2007 with the Diamondbacks. He played over 100 games in both 2008 and 2009 and another 59 in 2010. “Bob Melvin. I give him all the credit. He believed in me. Kind of similar to the Twins. Orlando Hudson got hurt my first year in ‘07, and that summer I hit .340 in September playing every day. We made the playoffs. I stuck around and got rewarded. I made the team the next year. I did well in ‘08 again. I spent four years there, and that’s the best little run in my career, and I had the best time of my life, thanks to the Diamondbacks and Bob Melvin.” Since retiring, Ojeda has had offers and options for coaching in pro baseball, but he is happy living in Arizona, and helping his wife take care of their three kids. He’s got two daughters, an eight year old and a five year old. They are both in swimming and gymnastics. The couple have a two-year-old son as well. “With my three kids being so young, I don’t have time, and I don’t want to leave them. I’d rather stay home and raise them and see them develop. Playing all these years, you see teammates interact with their parents or their kids and there really isn’t a relationship. I told myself that’s not the life I want to live when I have kids. You’re basically gone for six, seven months out of the year. You’re not going to see them. You’re not going to bond. You’re not going to have a relationship. It’s definitely not worth it.” He’s also proud of what he was able to accomplish on the baseball field despite the odds being against him. He was “too small”. He had the “utility player” label. And yet, he had a nine-year, major-league career. “I never thought I would have the resume that I have. Never in a million years did I think I’d be a big leaguer. Never in a thousand years did I think I’d play in the Olympics. Went to a big-time college on a full scholarship. Being in high school and 5-4, 130 pounds. No scouts. No connections, and three years later I was in the Olympics, getting drafted and then minor league ball. My goal was to be a big leaguer. I didn’t know if I would make it. I knew what scouts wanted, and I knew that’s not what I had. But I had the heart and determination. I worked hard, and that’s what got me over the hump. I look back in awe, to be honest. I’m ecstatic and blessed.” He adds, “To all the kids who don’t have the size, keep working. Outwork them. There’s no talent for outworking people. There’s no talent for grinding and putting in the work.” While Augie Ojeda doesn’t tweet much, but you can follow him at @augieojeda.
  10. Looking for a good story on perseverance and believing in oneself? There have been many in baseball’s history. Former Twins infielder Augie Ojeda was told that he wasn’t big enough, wasn’t tall enough, wasn’t a lot of things that baseball people look for in prospects. Instead, he worked and played really hard. He persevered and ultimately put together a career that should be looked back upon and inspire other ballplayers who are told they can’t do something. Did you remember that Ojeda spent a couple of months in a Twins uniform?Augie Ojeda grew up in southern California where he learned to love the game of baseball. “I was a big Dodgers fan. I was diehard!” He continued, “Fernando Mania in 1981! All the excitement and the hype that he brought to the Dodgers.” But because he was small, he didn’t have scouts looking at him in high school. He went to Cypress College, a two-year program with a strong baseball tradition. That’s where he started to get noticed as a ballplayer. “You still haven’t developed into that prototypical 6-2 baseball player, especially back in those days. Scouts were big on height and numbers and the 40-yard dash. I started realizing I had a chance in junior college. I grew a little bit, got stronger, and played really well against better competition.” He still wasn’t a big guy, but he was attracting the attention of some of the top baseball schools in the country. Because of scholarship limitations, many of the prominent southern California baseball schools didn’t really recruit him. But he was hearing from all over the country. His five school trips were to Arizona State, Oklahoma, Miami, Tennessee and Texas Tech. Each school gave him a 100% scholarship offer. “My decision was kind of easy. It was basically my pick, and I chose Tennessee. They had a good team the prior season and went to the College World Series, and most of the guys were coming back. It was between Tennessee and Miami, and Miami at the time had Alex Cora at shortstop.” He chose Tennessee where he continued to find great success. In 1996, Ojeda was the 13th round draft pick of the Baltimore Orioles. He didn’t sign right away, but there was a good reason for that. He was heading to the Olympics. He joined some great college players, including former Twins Jacque Jones, Matthew LeCroy and Chad Allen on the 1996 USA Olympic team. The team won the bronze medal in those Atlanta Olympics. “It was a blessing. It was awesome. It kind of snuck out of nowhere. I didn’t really see that coming.” Ojeda added, “Any kid wants to represent the flag. It’s an honor, and a fun experience that words cannot describe. It was a blessing playing with all these first rounders. I was just happy to be a part of it, and anytime you get a chance to represent your country is an honor.” Following the Olympics, Ojeda went back to school for a semester before signing with the Orioles. Things moved pretty quickly in 1997. It started with an invite to big league camp. “Getting ground balls next to Cal Ripken… that was pretty cool.” Because of an injury to another shortstop, Ojeda began his pro career in Double-A. He played in three levels that season, even getting some time at Triple-A Rochester, a place he would return years later. He was traded to the Cubs before the 2000 season. “I was kind of heart broken because I was the type of kid who followed baseball in the ‘80s and guys stayed with one team forever. Rivalries, and you don’t like the Giants because you’re a Dodgers fan, and you see the same faces for seven, eight years. I was bummed. I was crushed. I thought I was going to be an Oriole forever.” “It turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to me.” That June, he made his big league debut with the Cubs. He spent parts of the next four seasons as a utility infielder for the Cubs. He became a fan favorite because of his size and work ethic, but also because he played really strong defense all around the infield. “The Cubs fans are really supportive, and they do their homework on the minor league guys. And they didn’t know much about me, but they saw my size and thought I was a long shot to make it. I hit a double in my first game and I got a standing ovation, and they started calling my name.” What an experience. However, following the 2003 season, the Cubs placed him on waivers and the Twins claimed him. Minnesota Twins “I got a call from Terry Ryan that they were picking me up. I didn’t know much about the Twins. But from playing in the same league in Double-A, I realized they were strict on their development. Every single guy played together for years, and they had to produce. It wasn’t like any other organization where if you do well or you do bad you skip or you stay back. You had to earn your stripes. And they were stacked. They did a really good job with their scouting and player development.” He returned to Rochester to start the 2004 season. In early August, he was called up to the Twins. He spent August in a utility role, but by September, he was playing nearly every day… and putting up numbers. “The coaches did a good job of working extra with the guys. So every day at home, it was extra batting practice. Every day, extra batting practice. And I took advantage of that. I never had that in my career. The coaches would throw a half hour of extra batting practice, and I was a switch-hitter so I got a lot of reps. They were a young team. They emphasized big time extra work and working hard, and I think that helped me the most. In 30 games for the Twins in 2004, Ojeda hit .339/.429/.458 (.886) with a double and two home runs. “That was the best month I had in my entire life.” He continued, “I played all of September, and that was in a pennant race. We won the Central that year. Gardenhire sat (Luis) Rivas. He was struggling. I came into a game in Anaheim, and I went 2-for-4 in late August. Then after that I played almost every day. Playing every day is a little easier. You know your rhythm. You know your timing.” For whatever reason, Ojeda spent all of 2005 in Rochester with the Red Wings. “To this day, I never knew what happened. What did I do to them? I helped them. I was part of the big push in a pennant race. Then I never got called up. I never knew what was going on.” “The coaches really worked hard. Really worked hard. They were different though. It was a different organization. I was kind of shocked the way the way they handled things. Gardenhire, I don’t know if he got it from Tom Kelly, but they were really big on picking their own apples.They didn’t get bad apples. And when they got good apples, they wanted to control them, which was different. The guys were young so they didn’t say much, but it opened my eyes.” After that season, he became a free agent. He re-signed with the Cubs but spent all of 2006 in Triple-A. In 2007, the Diamondbacks gave him a chance. It was a chance for him to play at home in Arizona where he had bought a house during his time in the Cubs organization. He fully took advantage once he was called up. He spent the second half of 2007 with the Diamondbacks. He played over 100 games in both 2008 and 2009 and another 59 in 2010. “Bob Melvin. I give him all the credit. He believed in me. Kind of similar to the Twins. Orlando Hudson got hurt my first year in ‘07, and that summer I hit .340 in September playing every day. We made the playoffs. I stuck around and got rewarded. I made the team the next year. I did well in ‘08 again. I spent four years there, and that’s the best little run in my career, and I had the best time of my life, thanks to the Diamondbacks and Bob Melvin.” Since retiring, Ojeda has had offers and options for coaching in pro baseball, but he is happy living in Arizona, and helping his wife take care of their three kids. He’s got two daughters, an eight year old and a five year old. They are both in swimming and gymnastics. The couple have a two-year-old son as well. “With my three kids being so young, I don’t have time, and I don’t want to leave them. I’d rather stay home and raise them and see them develop. Playing all these years, you see teammates interact with their parents or their kids and there really isn’t a relationship. I told myself that’s not the life I want to live when I have kids. You’re basically gone for six, seven months out of the year. You’re not going to see them. You’re not going to bond. You’re not going to have a relationship. It’s definitely not worth it.” He’s also proud of what he was able to accomplish on the baseball field despite the odds being against him. He was “too small”. He had the “utility player” label. And yet, he had a nine-year, major-league career. “I never thought I would have the resume that I have. Never in a million years did I think I’d be a big leaguer. Never in a thousand years did I think I’d play in the Olympics. Went to a big-time college on a full scholarship. Being in high school and 5-4, 130 pounds. No scouts. No connections, and three years later I was in the Olympics, getting drafted and then minor league ball. My goal was to be a big leaguer. I didn’t know if I would make it. I knew what scouts wanted, and I knew that’s not what I had. But I had the heart and determination. I worked hard, and that’s what got me over the hump. I look back in awe, to be honest. I’m ecstatic and blessed.” He adds, “To all the kids who don’t have the size, keep working. Outwork them. There’s no talent for outworking people. There’s no talent for grinding and putting in the work.” While Augie Ojeda doesn’t tweet much, but you can follow him at @augieojeda. Click here to view the article
  11. Jeopardy!’s prime time Tournament of Champions has found a lot of fans this week, with one notable exception with local ties. “The heck is a game show on at night for anyway,” asked former Twins manager Ron Gardenhire. “Phrase that in the form of a question.” The Detroit Tigers skipper was looking for “my stories” on ABC this week and instead found Alex Trebek peppering three of the game show’s greatest players with “answers” about art, history, college football and more. Gardenhire was not amused. “You watch the news, you watch Wheel (of Fortune), you watch your stories, and you go to bed,” he said. “I don’t Netflix and chill, I don’t have Lulu (sic), and I’m fine with that. But man alive, you see these wisenheimers buzzing and booping, talking about Van Gogh and Mozart when you just want to watch a show about doctors. It’s enough to drive you crazy.” Gardenhire didn’t limit his criticism to the pre-emption of normal programming. “None of these contestants look like they know a goldang thing about baseball,” said the Oklahoma native. “You know who Paul Gauguin is, Einstein? How about Paul Goldschmidt, or how to pitch to him? That’ll impress the hell out of me, because I sure don’t.” The rapid approach of spring training only irked the baseball lifer more. “My Christmas vacation is pretty much done, and I have to head south pretty soon to get back to work. I just want to see some cops take down some bad guys or an unconventional district attorney take down some Wall Street fat cats. Instead I get these jokers. May as well just tell Andy (Tigers pitching coach Rick Anderson) to rent the RV early so we can hit the road. Sick of this.”
  12. December 29 Happy Birthday, Jim Brower Happy 47th birthday to 1991 Minnetonka graduate and Golden Gophers all-time great Jim Brower (1994 Dave Winfield Pitcher of the Year Award winner). He spent parts of nine seasons in the majors with Cleveland, the Reds, Expos, Giants, Atlanta, the Orioles, Padres, and Yankees. He led the majors with 89 appearances with the Giants in 2004. (Bonus Fact: 2008 Chaska graduate Brad Hand led the majors with 82 appearances with San Diego in 2016). December 30, 1923 Birthdate of Harry Elliott 1942 Watertown graduate Harry Elliott was born in San Francisco on this date in 1923. The Golden Gophers all-time great had some prodigious minor league seasons, but missed his window of opportunity for a significant major league career, not signing his first professional contract until he was almost 27—after a brief stint as a touring jazz pianist, service in the Navy Air Corps, and attending the University of Minnesota on the G.I. Bill. The stocky 5-foot-7, 175-pound Elliott possessed a quick bat, deceptive power to all fields, and a fiery competitive disposition. After getting a cup of coffee in 1953, he spent the entire 1955 season with the Cardinals, but his best years were already behind him. For more about Harry Elliott, check out my blog post (it’s about an eight-minute read): TwinsAlmanac.com/HarryElliott December 30 Happy 75th Birthday, Jose Morales Former Twin Jose Morales was born in the U.S. Virgin Islands on this date in 1944. He set a major league record with 25 pinch hits for the Expos in 1976 (broken by Jon Vander Wal with 28 in 1995). He played for the Twins from 1978 to ‘80. In 1978, he led the American League with a .323 average as a designated hitter (.314 overall), and set a team record with 14 pinch hits (since tied by Chip Hales in 1995, and broken by Hale with 19 in ‘96). Morales’s 36 pinch hits over three seasons with the Twins is fourth-most in team history. He tied 1964 Waterville graduate Jerry Terrell’s 1975 team record by grounding into three triple plays on May 17, 1980. He hit a grand slam off future Twins Dan Schatzeder on June 19, 1980 (Schatzeder was the winning pitcher in Game 6 of the 1987 World Series). December 30, 2010 Killebrew Reveals Cancer Diagnosis 74-year-old Twins legend Harmon Killebrew issues a statement announcing that he has been diagnosed with esophageal cancer. He passed away just over five months later, on May 17, 2011. December 31 Happy 58th Birthday, Rick Aguilera Longtime Twins closer Rick Aguilera was born in San Gabriel, CA on this date in 1961. The Twins acquired Aggie on July 31, 1989 in what was perhaps the greatest trade in team history, sending 1987 World Series MVP and ’88 Cy Young winner Frank Viola to the Mets for David West, Aguilera, Kevin Tapani, Tim Drummond, and Jack Savage (as a player to be named later on October 16). Aggie saved 254 games for the Twins between 1989 and ’99, second only to Joe Nathan‘s 260. He saved 42 regular season games for the 1991 World Series Champion Twins. Aggie, who hit three home runs with the Mets, pinch-hit in the 12th inning of Game 3 of the World Series, becoming the first pitcher to do so since Don Drysdale pinch-hit for Sandy Koufax vs. Jim Kaat in Game 2 of the ’65 Series. He was the winning pitcher in two of the most memorable Game 6’s in World Series history: 1986 (Buckner game), and 1991 (Puckett game). January 1 Happy 36th Birthday, Neil Wagner 2002 Eden Prairie graduate Neil Wagner was born in Minneapolis on this date in 1984. He pitched for North Dakota State for three seasons before signing with Cleveland in 2005. He made his major league debut pitching for the Oakland Athletics against Cleveland on August 30, 2011. He pitched five innings over six games with the Athletics that season. He made it back to the majors with the Toronto Blue Jays, getting into 36 games in 2013, and 10 in 2014. Wagner pitched three scoreless innings over four appearances against the Twins, holding them to 1-for-11 (.091). Chris Colabello hit a seventh-inning double for the Twins’ only hit off Wagner in the second game of a doubleheader at Target Field on April 14, 2014. The next inning, Blue Jays pitchers combined to give up six runs on EIGHT walks and just one hit. January 2 Happy 55th Birthday, Greg Swindell Seventeen-year major leaguer and 1989 All-Star Greg Swindell was born in Fort Worth, TX on this date in 1965. He led the Twins with a 3.58 in his only full season with the team—1997. He made 64 appearances with the 2001 World Series champion Arizona Diamondbacks. 1980 New Ulm graduate Terry Steinbach homered off Swindell in his first major league at-bat on September 12, 1986. January 3, 1897 Birthdate of Pete Turgeon Pete Turgeon was born in Minneapolis on this date in 1897. He got into three games (one start at shortstop) with the 1923 Cubs, going 1-for-6 with a run scored altogether. The Cubs lost all three games he played in. January 3 Happy 77th Birthday, Bob Gebhard Former Twins pitcher and front office exec Bob Gebhard was born in Lamberton, MN on this date in 1943. The Twins drafted Gebhard out of the University of Iowa in the 44th round of the very first amateur draft in 1965. That summer he went 11-2 with a 1.91 ERA for the St. Cloud Rox. Gebhard pitched professionally for 11 years, including 30 relief appearances with the Twins between 1970 and ‘71, and two innings with the ‘74 Expos. He was a player/coach with the Expos’ triple-A club in ‘74 and ’75, minor league field director and pitching coach from 1976 to ’81, part of the major league coaching staff in ’82, and director of minor league operations through 1986. Andy MacPhail brought Gebhard home to Minnesota in 1987, hiring him as director of major league personnel. Here’s a fun remembrance MacPhail shared of Gebhard’s first season back in Minnesota: “Literally we had just won the world championship and Bob Gebhard turns to me and goes ‘Damn, Andy, we won this thing. We were just trying to get organized!’” He assumed the title of vice president of player personnel in 1988. Following the 1991 World Series, Gebhard became general manager of the expansion Colorado Rockies, who began play in 1993. He hired ’87 Twins World Series hero Don Baylor as manager, signed first baseman Andres Galarraga the day before the ’92 expansion draft, and pulled off a trade for slugger Dante Bichette immediately following the draft. He signed Larry Walker in the spring of ’95, and that year, just the team’s third in existence, the Rockies won the NL West. The following season the Rockies won the NL’s first-ever wild card spot. Gebhard resigned from the Rockies on August 20, 1999 amid speculation that he was about to be fired. Gebhard served in the St. Louis Cardinals front office from 2000 to 2004, and as vice president, special assistant to the general manager of the Diamondbacks from 2005 to 2016. He received the Roland Hemond Award from the Society of American Baseball Research (SABR) in 2012 in recognition of his contributions to the community of professional baseball scouts. Gebhard makes his home in Centennial, Colorado. (See the @TwinsAlmanac Twitter account on January 3rd for a chance to win an autographed 1972 Topps card) January 3 Happy 40th Birthday, Michael Restovich It’s the birthday of former major league outfielder Michael Restovich, born in Rochester, MN in 1979. Restovich was named Minnesota High School Baseball Player of the Year in 1997, his senior season at Rochester Mayo. He was drafted by the Twins in the second round that June (the Twins’ first-round draft choice Virginia high schooler Michael Cuddyer). Restovich hit .369 in 76 games between the Rookie League Elizabethton Twins and class-A Fort Wayne Wizards in 1998. In 1999 he hit .312 with 19 HR and 107 RBI for the class-A Quad City River Bandits. Restovich made his major league debut on September 18, 2002. His first major league hit was a ninth-inning pinch-hit homer in a 14-4 Twins loss at Comiskey Park on September 21. Future Twins closer Jon Rauch started the game and earned the victory for Chicago despite giving up lead-off home runs to David Ortiz and Corey Koskie in the second and fourth innings. Koskie hit a second leadoff homer in the sixth off reliever Mike Porzio. Brad Radke had an uncharacteristically bad day, allowing six earned runs on nine hits in just three innings. Restovich went on to play parts of six major league seasons with the Twins (’02-’04), Rockies (’05), Pirates (’05), Cubs (’06), and Nationals (’07). He made 297 plate appearances over 152 games, hitting .239 with 28 walks, six home runs, and 21 RBI. Fun Fact: Wuertz and 1997 Austin graduate Michael Wuertz would have played against each other a handful of times in high school, and presumably on summer teams as well. I know Restovich homered off Wuertz in high school at least once. Wuertz spent eight seasons in the majors with the Cubs and the Athletics, but the two never met on the big stage. January 4 Happy 76th Birthday, Charlie Manuel It’s the birthday of baseball lifer Charlie Manuel, born in West Virginia on this date in 1944. He spent parts of six seasons in left field with the Twins, hitting .198 with four home runs over 242 games between 1969 and 1972. After 19 games over two seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Manuel moved on to a very successful six-year career in Japan. He averaged .319 with 41 home runs per year over the four seasons from 1977 to 1980. Manuel spent five seasons managing in the Twins system, ending with the 45-96 triple-A Portland Beavers, which included Ron Gardenhire and Billy Beane. He managed the Phillies to back-to-back World Series, winning it all in 2008. January 4, 2002 Gardenhire Named Manager The Twins announce former third base coach Ron Gardenhire as the 12th manager in team history, succeeding Tom Kelly, who, after the team’s first winning season in nine years, announced his retirement on October 12, 2001. TK was the longest tenured manager or head coach in all of professional sports at the time of his retirement. The Twins won the AL Central in each of Gardy’s first three seasons, and in six of his first nine. They only advanced past the divisional round, however, in Gardy’s first season of 2002. After five runner-up finishes, he was named AL Manager of the Year in 2010. He managed the Twins for 13 seasons before being fired on September 29, 2014, having amassed 1,068 wins—just 72 shy of TK’s team record of 1,140. After serving as Arizona Diamondbacks bench coach in 2017, Gardy took over the Tigers’ managerial job in 2018. Keep in touch with @TwinsAlmanac on Twitter.
  13. High-profile blown calls and ridiculous strike zones in the 2019 playoffs have only enhanced the call for robot umpires. One “old school” MLB manager accepts that something needs to be done. However, he urges caution. “I just need to know this: can I yell at the robots?” asked Detroit Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire. “If the guys are out there getting after it, picking it and taking it the other way, I want blue to keep it fair. If they’re missing calls, they need to hear about it.” The former Twins manager and notoriously fiery baseball lifer allowed that making the strike zone more consistent was necessary. “If I got my guy out there rocking and firing, I want the strikes to be strikes and the balls to be balls. But if they have a robot back there and one of their wires gets crossed, I’m going to defend my guy. Is it a person-shaped robot like The Terminator? Is it just a goldang laptop on a card table? I’m going to give it what for regardless, but I just need to know if I can do that.” A spokesperson for Major League Baseball said that no determination on changes in umpiring have been made, and likely wouldn’t be until the Winter Meetings. Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the ghost of Earl Weaver issued a statement that Weaver wants all robot umpires to know that, like their human forebears, they can perform a physically impossible sexual act upon themselves and then do the same to their mothers, grandmothers, and a startling variety of woodland creatures. For his part, Gardenhire just wants there to be clear guidelines when there are issues to be addressed. “Robots are one thing, but what if they use one of them flying robots,” said Gardenhire, referring to drones. “Nothing gets my blood up more than an umpire who turns his back on me when I’m saying my piece. They get a robot that can fly away? Not gonna happen, not on my watch. I gotta hear your bleeps and bloops, you're gonna hear me, that's for certain.”
  14. Brief Overview: The Tigers have managed to win just 46 games despite playing 155 thus far. A winning percentage below 30% in baseball is laughable at best, and this team is worse than both assumed bottom-feeders in Baltimore and Miami. Ron Gardenhire has had little to work with, and has gotten less from them. He’ll be back in 2020, along with Miguel Cabrera’s anchor of a contract, but this team is hapless in their current construction. What They Do Well: It’s not a surprise that a team this bad would have little going for it. We’ve harped on their deficiencies in this space all season long so continuing to beat that dead horse does little for me. They are in the bottom third across all facets of the game, and while the farm system has some big names, no significant contributors (sorry Jake Rogers) are currently up with the big club. To really fish for something they’ve done well in 2019, there’s probably no better place to look than their record against the Cleveland Indians. Detroit managed to go 1-18 with a -78 run differential against Terry Francona’s club. Obviously that’s not good at all, but you almost have to be trying to stink up the place that badly against a common opponent. With little place else to turn, the Tigers were great at losing to the Indians this year. What They Do Not Do Well: As the flip side of the section above this is also a bloodbath for the home club. In fielding they are 26th and dead last in batting, I suppose they can be proud of their 20th ranking in terms of pitching. Minnesota needs a few homers to catch the Yankees for the MLB single season record, and Detroit should provide them in spades. During a three-game series earlier this month the Tigers coughed up 10 longballs to the Bombers. Spencer Turnbull has been an arm of intrigue in 2019 for Detroit, but he’s 3-15 with a 4.66 ERA. Wednesday’s starter Daniel Norris was a once-heralded arm but has taken his lumps as well, going 3-13 with a 4.58 ERA. Sweeps are never an easy ask, regardless of the competition, but Detroit will do its best to provide the Twins ample opportunity. Individuals of Note: Former Twins farmhand Niko Goodrum has actually provided the greatest fWAR for Detroit this season, but his year is over due to a groin strain. Victor Reyes is one of the lone productive bats in the lineup at this point. He’s been worth 1.6 fWAR in just over 60 games this season. Although he is batting .304 on the year, his .772 OPS leaves a bit to be desired. The staff ace Matthew Boyd won’t be seen having just taken a turn, but the aforementioned Turnbull will throw. He’s responsible for the second highest fWAR on the pitching staff and has a FIP that suggests a bit better numbers than what he’s accounted for. Of the trio that Minnesota will square off against it’s Turnbull who keeps the ball in the park the best. Recent History: These two clubs have not seen each other since the end of August. A four-game series in Detroit was won by the Twins dropping only game two. On the year Minnesota is 11-5 against Detroit. Recent Trajectories: The Twins are 7-3 over their last 10 games while the Tigers are an opposite 3-7. Minnesota hasn’t lost a series to a sub-.500 team since dropping two of three to the White Sox on August 21st. Detroit last won a series on July 31st taking two of three against the Angels. Pitching Matchups: Tuesday: Odorizzi vs Turnbull Wednesday: TBD vs Norris Thursday: TBD vs Zimmermann Ending Thoughts: Detroit is terrible and the Twins have an eye on the postseason. I’d like to see Mitch Garver be available this week even though he didn’t initially make the trip to the Motor City. Max Kepler playing in a regular capacity would be good for his playoff outlook as well. Minnesota is three positive outcomes from an AL Central division title, and 100 wins is in reach as well. A sweep here would go a long way to positioning them well for both opportunities.
  15. Game 1 Box Score Pineda: 6.0 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 5 K, 68.4% strikes (65 of 96 pitches) Home Runs: Castro (5), Cron (8) Multi-Hit Games: Castro (2-for-4, HR) WPA of +0.1: Cron .288, Harper .161, Castro .127 WPA of -0.1: Cruz -.120, Rosario -.137, Kepler -.214, HIldenberger -.402 (chart via FanGraphs) The Twins entered the ninth inning tied and had a freakishly fresh bullpen to work with. Rocco Baldelli had both Trevor Hildenberger and Taylor Rogers warming in the pen during the bottom of the eighth inning. He went with Hildy. It didn’t work out. Hildenberger gave up a solo homer, his first home run allowed this season, and allowed a second Tiger run to score in the inning. He’s now surrendered eight runs in his last six appearances. You have to wonder when it’s time to roll him back to low-leverage work whenever possible. Michael Pineda started this game. In the fourth inning, he gave up his third home run of the day to the struggling Tigers lineup, sparking conversations about what to do about his spot in the rotation going forward. He ended up providing a quality start. The Twins’ starting pitching has been so dominant of late that a performance the club would have been desperate for from a back of the rotation guy in recent years inspires cause for concern in 2019. Pineda ended up giving up just those three runs on the solo homers over his six innings of work. Pineda did get an assist from Ryne Harper, who stranded two inherited runners in the seventh, but Big Mike ended up surrendering just six hits and didn’t walk anyone. Serving up taters is bad, obviously, but Pineda has always done a nice job limiting damage by limiting free passes. He now has 35 strikeouts and just nine walks on the season, a 3.88 K:BB ratio. That ranks second on the starting staff behind only Jose Berrios. In the sixth inning, Jason Castro appeared to have been hit by a pitch. Detroit should have left well enough alone, but instead they challenged the call and it was overturned. Castro responded by destroying a home run to bring the Twins within a run of the Tigers. C.J. Cron tied things up in the eighth with a home run of his own. Unfortunately, that’s when Hildenberger came in and allowed Detroit to re-take the lead. The Twins’ lineup failed to make the most of their opportunities in this game. They drew five walks and had a batter hit by a pitch, but were also 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position and left 10 men on base. Ron Gardenhire was ejected from this game, drawing a fun reaction from the Target Field crowd. Good to see Gardy still has some fire left in him. https://twitter.com/TFTwins/status/1127332006029864966 Bonus Fun with Morneau and Perkins Bullpen Usage Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days: Next Three Games Sun vs. DET, 1:10 pm CT (Perez-Norris) Mon vs. LAA, 6:40 pm CT (TBD) Tue vs. LAA, 6:40 pm CT (TBD) Last Game MIN 6, DET 0: Odorizzi Deals (Again), Twins Win Fourth in a Row
  16. The Tigers decided to take a page out of the Twins’ playbook and hit four home runs in the first of two games at Target Field today. Detroit ended up taking the advantage in the ninth inning, as Rocco Baldelli decided to go with Trevor Hildenberger over Taylor Rogers.Game 1 Box Score Pineda: 6.0 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 5 K, 68.4% strikes (65 of 96 pitches) Home Runs: Castro (5), Cron (8) Multi-Hit Games: Castro (2-for-4, HR) WPA of +0.1: Cron .288, Harper .161, Castro .127 WPA of -0.1: Cruz -.120, Rosario -.137, Kepler -.214, HIldenberger -.402 Download attachment: Win511g1.png (chart via FanGraphs) The Twins entered the ninth inning tied and had a freakishly fresh bullpen to work with. Rocco Baldelli had both Trevor Hildenberger and Taylor Rogers warming in the pen during the bottom of the eighth inning. He went with Hildy. It didn’t work out. Hildenberger gave up a solo homer, his first home run allowed this season, and allowed a second Tiger run to score in the inning. He’s now surrendered eight runs in his last six appearances. You have to wonder when it’s time to roll him back to low-leverage work whenever possible. Michael Pineda started this game. In the fourth inning, he gave up his third home run of the day to the struggling Tigers lineup, sparking conversations about what to do about his spot in the rotation going forward. He ended up providing a quality start. The Twins’ starting pitching has been so dominant of late that a performance the club would have been desperate for from a back of the rotation guy in recent years inspires cause for concern in 2019. Pineda ended up giving up just those three runs on the solo homers over his six innings of work. Pineda did get an assist from Ryne Harper, who stranded two inherited runners in the seventh, but Big Mike ended up surrendering just six hits and didn’t walk anyone. Serving up taters is bad, obviously, but Pineda has always done a nice job limiting damage by limiting free passes. He now has 35 strikeouts and just nine walks on the season, a 3.88 K:BB ratio. That ranks second on the starting staff behind only Jose Berrios. In the sixth inning, Jason Castro appeared to have been hit by a pitch. Detroit should have left well enough alone, but instead they challenged the call and it was overturned. Castro responded by destroying a home run to bring the Twins within a run of the Tigers. C.J. Cron tied things up in the eighth with a home run of his own. Unfortunately, that’s when Hildenberger came in and allowed Detroit to re-take the lead. The Twins’ lineup failed to make the most of their opportunities in this game. They drew five walks and had a batter hit by a pitch, but were also 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position and left 10 men on base. Ron Gardenhire was ejected from this game, drawing a fun reaction from the Target Field crowd. Good to see Gardy still has some fire left in him. Bullpen Usage Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days: Download attachment: Pen511g1.png Next Three Games Sun vs. DET, 1:10 pm CT (Perez-Norris) Mon vs. LAA, 6:40 pm CT (TBD) Tue vs. LAA, 6:40 pm CT (TBD) Last Game MIN 6, DET 0: Odorizzi Deals (Again), Twins Win Fourth in a Row Click here to view the article
  17. Other American League Previews AL West: Houston, We Don’t Have a Problem AL East: New York State of Mind Key Additions: Josh Harrison, Jordy Mercer, Matt Moore, Tyson Ross Josh Harrison, a two-time All-Star, will take over at second base. The Pirates declined his $10.5 million option and Harrison signed with Detroit on a one-year, $2 million deal. He can play multiple positions, but he figures to get the majority of his time at second base. During the last three seasons, he has hit .270/.317/.398. Jordy Mercer joins the Tigers from the Pirates organization. He hopes to fill the middle infield hole left by Jose Iglesias. Over the last three seasons, he has hit .254/.324/.387 while averaging 10 home runs and 25 doubles. According to SABR’s Defensive Index, he was the third worst defensive shortstop in the NL last season. Matt Moore and Tyson Ross signed one-year pacts in Detroit, and they will fight to be in the rotation. Moore was once considered one of the best pitching prospects in the game. Over the last three seasons, he has posted a 5.20 ERA and a 1.46 WHIP. Tyson Ross has put up similar numbers over the same stretch with a 5.21 ERA and 1.44 WHIP. However, Moore has pitched 270 more innings than Ross. Key Departures: Victor Martinez, Alex Wilson, James McCann, Jose Iglesias Victor Martinez retired at the end of last season and that leaves a hole in the Tigers offense. James McCann leaves a spot open behind the plate for Greyson Greiner to take over. Wilson pitched 60 innings or more in each of the last four seasons, but he wasn’t tendered a contract. Since 2015, Jose Iglesias has started a minimum of 119 games at shortstop. He was an All-Star in 2015. Cincinnati signed him to a minor league contract at the end of February. Due to an injury, he will get to begin the year as a starter for the Reds. Potential X-Factors: Nick Castellanos It’s no secret that Detroit has been trying to deal Castellanos this off-season. He will be a free agent at season’s end. That being said, he is coming off a year where he hit .298/.354/.500 with 23 home runs and 46 doubles. Entering his age 27 season, he might be playing for a decent off-season contract. He’s played third base in the past, but he has shifted to the corner outfield in recent years. Corresponding with that shift has been a much-improved offensive player. His slugging percentage has been .490 or higher in each of the last three seasons. Can he be part of the solution in Detroit? Or will a hot start from Castellanos result in a trade before the deadline? FanGraphs Projected 2019 Record: 66-96 My Projected 2019 Record: 63-99 2018 Record: 64-98, (3rd Place in the AL Central) 2017 Record: 64-98 (5th Place in the AL Central) 2016 Record: 86-75 (2nd Place in the AL Central)
  18. In a nice moment, Toby Gardenhire, the Ft. Myers Miracle manager, walked out to exchange the lineup card with Twins Hall of Famer Rod Carew. There to meet them, along with the umpires, was his father, Ron Gardenhire. Toby Gardenhire spent some time with the Twins as an extra coach in September and the Twins did the same thing then. Kyle Gibson looked good on Monday. He worked three scoreless innings, and he had to work himself out of a little trouble in that third inning. Three straight singles loaded the bases, but after a Wes Johnson mound visit, Gibson really bore down. Gibson said, “You want to work on stuff and you want to use all your pitches, but today was a day that I probably should have just thrown more fastballs. All three of those hits in the third inning were on offspeed pitches and not that they were necessarily bad pitches all the time but I mean just probably could have just challenged them a little bit more and used the fastball a little bit more but that’s why it’s spring training.” He got Jeimer Candelario to ground into a three-two-three double play (first base to catcher and back to first base). But the danger was far from over. Miguel Cabrera stepped to the plate. Gibson struck out the future Hall of Famer in the first inning, but this time Gibson fell behind 3-0. He came back and struck out Cabrera again to end the inning. While often pitchers have certain goals in mind and things to work on in spring training, there was value in being able to work out of a tough situation too. Following the game, Rocco Baldelli noted, “It all matters. When we’re out there and it doesn’t matter what kind of games we’re talking about, he’s very competitive and was not going to just give in and let the at-bat go. Instead of just throwing a breaking ball in the dirt and be done with it, he refused to let that at-bat end.He kept battling and competing, and that’s nice to see. It doesn’t matter that it’s a spring training game for me.” Always humble, Gibson noted that it was just about working a game-situation in March so that he is ready for it when it presents itself in the season. “Once you get to this point, the hitters are treating it like they’re trying to get at-bats and for me I’m still looking at sequences and trying to see what the hitters’ approach is and I try to read what they’re trying to do. Spring training’s a little bit harder. Miggy’s probably not quite in midseason form trying to do this or trying to do that in certain at-bats. He’s really just seeing pitches but you try to attack it like it’s a game and focus on the sequences that you’re doing so when it comes end of March, beginning of April, you’re in that kind of mode where you don’t have to flip a switch and get into game mode.” Gibson said that the plan was to throw 60 pitches and he finished at 53. As Gibson’s post-outing press conference came to a conclusion, the Twins game was on the TVs in the clubhouse. Taylor Rogers gave up three runs in the fourth inning. Gibson joked, “Those are probably the first runs he’s given up since May.” And, at the end, those were the only runs of the game. The Tigers won 3-0. GAME NOTES AND QUOTES Lefty Tim Collins came on to pitch the seventh inning for the Twins. The non-roster invite struck out all three batters he faced. He has been impressive to his manager. Baldelli said, “he looks healthy to me. He's thrown the ball well. He's missed a lot of bats. That's one thing that is impressive and it's something that you do want to see. You bring a guy in from the bullpen with his good breaking ball and good riding fastball, and that's what you want to see. You want to see bats missed, and that's exactly what he's done,” In the bottom of the third innings, infielder Ehire Adrianza lined a solid single to center. As he reached first base, he and Miguel Cabrera embraced. They are both from Venezuela and are friends. Soon after, Tyson Ross threw over to first base to try to pick off Adrianza. There wasn’t really a play. Cabrera faked throwing back to the mound as Adrianza stood up. Cabrera, still holding the ball in his glove, tagged Adrianza for the out. The ol’ Hidden Ball Trick. Rocco Baldelli was asked about it after the game and chuckled. “ It happens. It happens. Miggy has been working on that play for about 15 years and he’s getting pretty good at it so it happens.” And MLB’s official twitter feed had the video up quickly... https://twitter.com/MLB/status/1105169673543405569 Baldelli continued, “Truthfully being a spring training game, it’s probably a lot easier to take and smile about. Again, I’m not going to say I was smiling but I might have smirked.” Trevor May struggled in his inning of work. He needed a lot of pitches and issued two walks to go with a strikeout. That was the only out he recorded before Baldelli came and took him out of the game. DJ Baxendale came in and issued a walk on a close pitch to load the bases. However, he got a hard-hit grounder right at second baseman Luis Arraez who tossed to Nick Gordon at second who completed the double play with a strong throw to first base to get out of the inning. Arraez and Gordon teamed for another inning-ending double play an inning later. Arraez’s defense has always been a question mark. But while he has played mostly second base in his career, he has played some third base too in spring training and held his own. Nick Gordon showed a strong arm. At the plate, he also showed some serious strength when he drilled a line drive off the wall just to the left of center field for a triple. Baldelli noted, “He hit that ball really well. I mean it’s a pretty big yard out there and for a guy, he’s a wiry, strong guy and it shows us, again I haven’t had too many at-bats with him, but it’s a good glimpse at what’s in there.” Asked about the weight and strength, Baldelli pointed out, “I don’t really worry, I don’t check the scale. The actual weight doesn’t matter. I think it’s more of a strength discussion and an endurance discussion but he’s plenty strong. The thing is, he’s plenty strong enough. He’s a strong guy. You shake his hand, it’s there. We saw it today. It’s there and it’s inside him. I think it’s more along the lines of putting a entire complete season because he’s shown for periods of time that he can do it at a high level.” Baldelli noted that he had seen Gordon play going way back to his high school days in Orlando. And finally, yes, there is this… https://twitter.com/dohyoungpark/status/1105185211862663169 LaMonte Wade hit a foul ball. I didn’t think it would get here, and it barely did. I was afraid it would hit my laptop, so I jumped up and lunged forward. I got a finger on it, and it dropped into the crowd below. And yes, my finger hurts. The catch probability on that ball, however, was only 3.2% so just getting a piece of it was pretty impressive if you ask me. Following the game, in the clubhouse, Tommy Watkins found me and asked me why I didn’t catch the ball and if my finger was OK. Ah yes, good times. In my defense, I was multi-tasking. I was editing the thousand or so pictures that I have taken in the first two days here in Ft. Myers. And I was working with FSN’s Audra Martin on finding the perfect shot or her. We think we found it. https://twitter.com/Audra_Martin/status/1105190039934431232 Feel free to discuss and ask questions as you like. On Tuesday, the Twins are sending a team up to Bradenton to play the Pirates. I will be staying in Ft. Myers and watching a lot of minor league baseball.
  19. On Monday afternoon, Ron Gardenhire rode his motorcycle down from Lakeland and then led his Detroit Tigers to a 3-0 win against his old team, the Twins. Notes on Tim Collins, Nick Gordon, Luis Arraez, the missed foul ball and much, much more.In a nice moment, Toby Gardenhire, the Ft. Myers Miracle manager, walked out to exchange the lineup card with Twins Hall of Famer Rod Carew. There to meet them, along with the umpires, was his father, Ron Gardenhire. Toby Gardenhire spent some time with the Twins as an extra coach in September and the Twins did the same thing then. Kyle Gibson looked good on Monday. He worked three scoreless innings, and he had to work himself out of a little trouble in that third inning. Three straight singles loaded the bases, but after a Wes Johnson mound visit, Gibson really bore down. Gibson said, “You want to work on stuff and you want to use all your pitches, but today was a day that I probably should have just thrown more fastballs. All three of those hits in the third inning were on offspeed pitches and not that they were necessarily bad pitches all the time but I mean just probably could have just challenged them a little bit more and used the fastball a little bit more but that’s why it’s spring training.” He got Jeimer Candelario to ground into a three-two-three double play (first base to catcher and back to first base). But the danger was far from over. Miguel Cabrera stepped to the plate. Gibson struck out the future Hall of Famer in the first inning, but this time Gibson fell behind 3-0. He came back and struck out Cabrera again to end the inning. While often pitchers have certain goals in mind and things to work on in spring training, there was value in being able to work out of a tough situation too. Following the game, Rocco Baldelli noted, “It all matters. When we’re out there and it doesn’t matter what kind of games we’re talking about, he’s very competitive and was not going to just give in and let the at-bat go. Instead of just throwing a breaking ball in the dirt and be done with it, he refused to let that at-bat end.He kept battling and competing, and that’s nice to see. It doesn’t matter that it’s a spring training game for me.” Always humble, Gibson noted that it was just about working a game-situation in March so that he is ready for it when it presents itself in the season. “Once you get to this point, the hitters are treating it like they’re trying to get at-bats and for me I’m still looking at sequences and trying to see what the hitters’ approach is and I try to read what they’re trying to do. Spring training’s a little bit harder. Miggy’s probably not quite in midseason form trying to do this or trying to do that in certain at-bats. He’s really just seeing pitches but you try to attack it like it’s a game and focus on the sequences that you’re doing so when it comes end of March, beginning of April, you’re in that kind of mode where you don’t have to flip a switch and get into game mode.” Gibson said that the plan was to throw 60 pitches and he finished at 53. As Gibson’s post-outing press conference came to a conclusion, the Twins game was on the TVs in the clubhouse. Taylor Rogers gave up three runs in the fourth inning. Gibson joked, “Those are probably the first runs he’s given up since May.” And, at the end, those were the only runs of the game. The Tigers won 3-0. GAME NOTES AND QUOTES Lefty Tim Collins came on to pitch the seventh inning for the Twins. The non-roster invite struck out all three batters he faced. He has been impressive to his manager. Baldelli said, “he looks healthy to me. He's thrown the ball well. He's missed a lot of bats. That's one thing that is impressive and it's something that you do want to see. You bring a guy in from the bullpen with his good breaking ball and good riding fastball, and that's what you want to see. You want to see bats missed, and that's exactly what he's done,” In the bottom of the third innings, infielder Ehire Adrianza lined a solid single to center. As he reached first base, he and Miguel Cabrera embraced. They are both from Venezuela and are friends. Soon after, Tyson Ross threw over to first base to try to pick off Adrianza. There wasn’t really a play. Cabrera faked throwing back to the mound as Adrianza stood up. Cabrera, still holding the ball in his glove, tagged Adrianza for the out. The ol’ Hidden Ball Trick. Rocco Baldelli was asked about it after the game and chuckled. “ It happens. It happens. Miggy has been working on that play for about 15 years and he’s getting pretty good at it so it happens.” And MLB’s official twitter feed had the video up quickly... Feel free to discuss and ask questions as you like. On Tuesday, the Twins are sending a team up to Bradenton to play the Pirates. I will be staying in Ft. Myers and watching a lot of minor league baseball. Click here to view the article
  20. Yesterday, we took a look back at the 2001 draft. Specifically, we reviewed the decision that the Twins had with the first overall draft pick. Should they take Joe Mauer, or should they take Mark Prior? Well, 17 years later, it sure looks like the Twins made the right choice, though Prior was tremendous before injuries ended his career prematurely. Today, I thought it might be fun to take a look at the situation and just ask what might have been if the Twins would have drafted, and been able to sign, Mark Prior.Back in 2009, Mark Potash of the Chicago Sun-Times opined, “What looked like an incredible break - the Twins passing on Prior and taking the more ‘signable’ Mauer with the #1-overall pick - has turned into yet another example of how fate seems to taunt the Cubs and Cubs fans.” In hindsight, it is easy to say that the Twins made the right choice, but it is also fun to consider what would have happened if things had gone differently. What if the Twins would have drafted (and signed) Prior instead of Mauer? Let’s consider. … for the Twins Let’s start with an assumption that the Twins were actually able to convince Prior to sign. That’s a big assumption as Prior made it clear that he did not want to sign with the Twins at that time. But let’s think more positively. The Twins have a strong history of drafting high school hitters and college pitchers. That was even more the case at that time for years to follow. Looking at some of the pitchers that the Twins employed in the early-to-mid ‘90s, you see a lot of college guys. Starting pitchers included names like Scott Baker, Kevin Slowey, Nick Blackburn, Brian Duensing, and Jeff Manship, who were all drafted out of college. The Twins moved each of them fairly aggressively in the minor leagues, and yet, in comparison to Prior, they were very patient. Of course, none of them were the #2 overall pick, or even first round picks. The Twins likely would have had Mark Prior begin his professional career at Ft. Myers (High-A). He would have maybe spent a half-season there, and after the Florida State League All-Star Game, he may have been promoted to New Britain (Double A affiliate at that time). Honestly, because the Twins were in the playoffs, he probably would have been called up directly from Double A. If not, he would have gone to spring training 2003 with an opportunity to make the Opening Day roster. And he probably would have. The Twins have been known for taking care of their pitchers, especially young pitchers, at least once Ron Gardenhire took over as manager. Dusty Baker was willing to let Kerry Wood and Mark Prior throw 120 to 140 (or more) pitches late into the season. I have no doubt that the Twins would have controlled pitch and inning counts much more tightly. Does that mean that Prior would have stayed healthy? There’s no way to know that with any certainty. It is possible that Prior had underlying arm issues that may have caused inevitable injury. However, it is also possible that he could have been an All-Star, Cy Young-contending starter for the Twins from 2003 through 2008, and maybe beyond. And think about the Twins 2006 team. That roster included the AL MVP (Justin Morneau), a top closer (Joe Nathan) and the AL Cy Young Award winner Johan Santana. They also had Michael Cuddyer, Torii Hunter, Jason Bartlett, Brad Radke and a strong bullpen. How much could a healthy Mark Prior have helped that team? The thought of Prior and Santana in the same rotation, along with Brad Radke, and ideally a healthy Francisco Liriano is sure fun to think about. (Of course, the AL Batting title winner (Mauer) would not have been on the team.) … for the Cubs Had the Twins taken Prior, the likelihood is that the Cubs would have drafted Georgia Tech third baseman Mark Teixeira who was said to be looking for a $15 million deal after the draft. (With the Rangers, as the fifth pick, he signed a four-year, $9.5 million big league contract with a $4.5 million bonus.) Teixeira would have moved quickly through the Cubs farm system and probably put up numbers similar to those he has put up with the Rangers, Braves, Angels, and Yankees in his career. But would the Cubs have kept Aramis Ramirez or acquired Derrek Lee? Would they have gone after Alfonso Soriano? I would venture to guess that Teixeira would have been a building block for the Cubs and would likely not have played for as many teams in his career. … for Joe Mauer To me, it makes a lot of sense that the Tampa Bay Devil Rays would have selected Joe Mauer with the third pick in the 2001 draft. The Rays were a team that was constantly building at that time. They had a lot of early draft picks that they used to select several talented high school players. They took Carl Crawford in 1999, Rocco Baldelli in 2000, BJ Upton in 2002, and Delmon Young with the first-overall pick in the 2003 draft. Mauer likely would have thrived with the Rays had this scenario played out. While he batted third through most of his career with the Twins, you have to assume that Joe Maddon may not have been afraid to bat him leadoff. As earlier adopters of analytics, the Rays would have loved Mauer’s on-base percentage at the top of the lineup. Assuming health, it’s hard to believe that Mauer would not have been equally successful with the Rays. Now, the economic reality is that the Rays would not have been able to keep him through free agency. The Twins actually extended him for two years beyond free agency before giving him the big contract. The Twins had to do the deal for a variety of reasons, including the new stadium, his performance on and off the field, and being a hometown player. If the Rays would have pushed him to the big leagues as quickly as the Twins did (likely), he probably would have been traded either before or after his 2009 season. At that time, Jorge Posada and Jason Varitek were on their last legs with the Yankees and Red Sox, respectively, so there would have been a big market and the Rays could have received a lot for Mauer. Mauer would likely have gone to a team that was in the playoffs often and would have had some great playoff and maybe World Series moments. Assuming health, he would have received, probably, an even bigger contract than the Twins gave him. CONCLUSIONS The Twins had a huge decision to make in 2001. Should they draft the All-American, can’t-miss college pitcher from a baseball-rich college? Or, should they take the tremendous high school athlete with the full ride scholarship to Florida State for football and baseball - a guy from their backyard with the perfect swing, a strong arm, and the perfect mentality? The Twins went chose Mauer, and have never looked back or questioned it. Fortunately for the state of Minnesota, Mauer has proven the Twins right over time, regardless of what Prior has done in his career, by being one of the best players in baseball. Even if Prior somehow goes on to win three or four Cy Young Awards, the Twins’ selection is justified. It was not a case of the team being “cheap”: Mauer’s signing bonus still ranks among the highest of all time (in part because of baseball going to the slotting system in the draft). It was not a case of picking the hometown kid over a better player (as the Padres did in 2004 when they picked Matt Bush instead of Justin Verlander). Scouting and the baseball draft can be such an inexact science. The Twins have a solid track record in drafting and player development, but no team is perfect all of the time. In 2001, the Twins had a difficult decision, and they made the right choice. Click here to view the article
  21. Back in 2009, Mark Potash of the Chicago Sun-Times opined, “What looked like an incredible break - the Twins passing on Prior and taking the more ‘signable’ Mauer with the #1-overall pick - has turned into yet another example of how fate seems to taunt the Cubs and Cubs fans.” In hindsight, it is easy to say that the Twins made the right choice, but it is also fun to consider what would have happened if things had gone differently. What if the Twins would have drafted (and signed) Prior instead of Mauer? Let’s consider. … for the Twins Let’s start with an assumption that the Twins were actually able to convince Prior to sign. That’s a big assumption as Prior made it clear that he did not want to sign with the Twins at that time. But let’s think more positively. The Twins have a strong history of drafting high school hitters and college pitchers. That was even more the case at that time for years to follow. Looking at some of the pitchers that the Twins employed in the early-to-mid ‘90s, you see a lot of college guys. Starting pitchers included names like Scott Baker, Kevin Slowey, Nick Blackburn, Brian Duensing, and Jeff Manship, who were all drafted out of college. The Twins moved each of them fairly aggressively in the minor leagues, and yet, in comparison to Prior, they were very patient. Of course, none of them were the #2 overall pick, or even first round picks. The Twins likely would have had Mark Prior begin his professional career at Ft. Myers (High-A). He would have maybe spent a half-season there, and after the Florida State League All-Star Game, he may have been promoted to New Britain (Double A affiliate at that time). Honestly, because the Twins were in the playoffs, he probably would have been called up directly from Double A. If not, he would have gone to spring training 2003 with an opportunity to make the Opening Day roster. And he probably would have. The Twins have been known for taking care of their pitchers, especially young pitchers, at least once Ron Gardenhire took over as manager. Dusty Baker was willing to let Kerry Wood and Mark Prior throw 120 to 140 (or more) pitches late into the season. I have no doubt that the Twins would have controlled pitch and inning counts much more tightly. Does that mean that Prior would have stayed healthy? There’s no way to know that with any certainty. It is possible that Prior had underlying arm issues that may have caused inevitable injury. However, it is also possible that he could have been an All-Star, Cy Young-contending starter for the Twins from 2003 through 2008, and maybe beyond. And think about the Twins 2006 team. That roster included the AL MVP (Justin Morneau), a top closer (Joe Nathan) and the AL Cy Young Award winner Johan Santana. They also had Michael Cuddyer, Torii Hunter, Jason Bartlett, Brad Radke and a strong bullpen. How much could a healthy Mark Prior have helped that team? The thought of Prior and Santana in the same rotation, along with Brad Radke, and ideally a healthy Francisco Liriano is sure fun to think about. (Of course, the AL Batting title winner (Mauer) would not have been on the team.) … for the Cubs Had the Twins taken Prior, the likelihood is that the Cubs would have drafted Georgia Tech third baseman Mark Teixeira who was said to be looking for a $15 million deal after the draft. (With the Rangers, as the fifth pick, he signed a four-year, $9.5 million big league contract with a $4.5 million bonus.) Teixeira would have moved quickly through the Cubs farm system and probably put up numbers similar to those he has put up with the Rangers, Braves, Angels, and Yankees in his career. But would the Cubs have kept Aramis Ramirez or acquired Derrek Lee? Would they have gone after Alfonso Soriano? I would venture to guess that Teixeira would have been a building block for the Cubs and would likely not have played for as many teams in his career. … for Joe Mauer To me, it makes a lot of sense that the Tampa Bay Devil Rays would have selected Joe Mauer with the third pick in the 2001 draft. The Rays were a team that was constantly building at that time. They had a lot of early draft picks that they used to select several talented high school players. They took Carl Crawford in 1999, Rocco Baldelli in 2000, BJ Upton in 2002, and Delmon Young with the first-overall pick in the 2003 draft. Mauer likely would have thrived with the Rays had this scenario played out. While he batted third through most of his career with the Twins, you have to assume that Joe Maddon may not have been afraid to bat him leadoff. As earlier adopters of analytics, the Rays would have loved Mauer’s on-base percentage at the top of the lineup. Assuming health, it’s hard to believe that Mauer would not have been equally successful with the Rays. Now, the economic reality is that the Rays would not have been able to keep him through free agency. The Twins actually extended him for two years beyond free agency before giving him the big contract. The Twins had to do the deal for a variety of reasons, including the new stadium, his performance on and off the field, and being a hometown player. If the Rays would have pushed him to the big leagues as quickly as the Twins did (likely), he probably would have been traded either before or after his 2009 season. At that time, Jorge Posada and Jason Varitek were on their last legs with the Yankees and Red Sox, respectively, so there would have been a big market and the Rays could have received a lot for Mauer. Mauer would likely have gone to a team that was in the playoffs often and would have had some great playoff and maybe World Series moments. Assuming health, he would have received, probably, an even bigger contract than the Twins gave him. CONCLUSIONS The Twins had a huge decision to make in 2001. Should they draft the All-American, can’t-miss college pitcher from a baseball-rich college? Or, should they take the tremendous high school athlete with the full ride scholarship to Florida State for football and baseball - a guy from their backyard with the perfect swing, a strong arm, and the perfect mentality? The Twins went chose Mauer, and have never looked back or questioned it. Fortunately for the state of Minnesota, Mauer has proven the Twins right over time, regardless of what Prior has done in his career, by being one of the best players in baseball. Even if Prior somehow goes on to win three or four Cy Young Awards, the Twins’ selection is justified. It was not a case of the team being “cheap”: Mauer’s signing bonus still ranks among the highest of all time (in part because of baseball going to the slotting system in the draft). It was not a case of picking the hometown kid over a better player (as the Padres did in 2004 when they picked Matt Bush instead of Justin Verlander). Scouting and the baseball draft can be such an inexact science. The Twins have a solid track record in drafting and player development, but no team is perfect all of the time. In 2001, the Twins had a difficult decision, and they made the right choice.
  22. In the top of the ninth inning on Wednesday afternoon in Detroit, Max Kepler hit his tenth home run of the season and of his brief major league career. It gave the Twins a 2-1 lead and they went on to their tenth win in fifteen games. Max Kepler has been one of the most productive hitters in baseball over the last four-to-six weeks. While his batting average remains just shy of .230, he has taken good at-bats, shown a lot of power (nine homers in the past 30 games) and driven in as many runs as anyone in baseball. Kepler was our choice for Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Year in 2015. It was a breakout season of sorts for the German outfielder. He made his debut in the big leagues late last September after leading the Chattanooga Lookouts to the Southern League championship following being named the league’s MVP.He became a huge prospect nationally. Now, he has too many at-bats to still be called a prospect. Through Wednesday’s game, Kepler has ten home runs in 196 major league plate appearances. He has quickly climbed the prospect ladder as he worked his way toward the big leagues. Now in the big leagues, he is climbing the list of top rookies in the American League, arguably behind only Detroit’s Michael Fullmer if Rookie of the Year voting were done today. Der Schlager (The Slugger) is also climbing the statistical leaderboard for German-born major league players. According to Baseball-Reference.com, there have been 43 big leaguers who were born in Germany. As of today, Kepler ranks 14th in plate appearances. His ten home runs are already fifth on the list. A brief look at the players born in Germany who have more plate appearances than him tells even more about the unique story of Max Kepler. When the Twins signed him for about three-quarters of a million dollars, it was the highest bonus ever given to a player from the country, or anywhere in Europe. Assuming health, Kepler will most likely set all of the records for players from Germany. Glenn Hubbard - Those of us old enough to remember when most Atlanta games were on TBS in the ‘80s remember the long-time second baseman fondly. He is the current leader in plate appearances with 5,122 over 12 seasons in the big leagues. He was born in Germany, the son of a father who was in the United States Air Force. He moved to the States when he was very young and went to school in California and Utah. Bill Kuehne - Born in the German Confederation city of Leipzig in the mid-1800s, Kuehne accumulated 4,423 plate appearances over his ten year career. He grew up in Chicago. Mike Blowers - Blowers was a power-hitter, mostly playing for the Mariners, during the years that Ken Griffey, Edgar Martinez and Jay Buhner played in Seattle. He had 2,585 plate appearances over 11 big league seasons. Born in Wurzburg, he was the son of a US army dad and moved to the United States at a very young age. Jeff Baker - Baker spent parts of 11 seasons in the big leagues. He accumulated 1,958 plate appearances between 2005 and 2015 as a utility player (primarily). He also was born to a military family, his dad being in the Army. Fritz Mollwitz - A Coburg native, Mollwitz played in the big leagues between 1913 and 1919. He had 1,909 plate appearances. Charlie “Pretzel” Getzien - Getzien became the first MLB player from Germany when he debuted in 1884. A pitcher, there are multiple stories on how he earned the Pretzel nickname. Maybe it was based on his country of origin. Some believed it was because of his curveball, which people say curved at least twice, like a pretzel. He came to the plate 1,140 times over his nine big league seasons. Ben Koehler - Born in Schoerndorn, Koehler had 804 plate appearances in just two big league seasons. He played major league baseball in 1905 and 1906. Ron Gardenhire - The long-time Twins manager and coach was born in Butzbach, West Germany. He is the son of a Army man. He moved to the States as a very young child. He came to the plate 777 times between 1981 and 1985. Dutch Schliebner - The Berlin native spent just one season in the big leagues, 1923. He batted 587 times that year but never got another opportunity. Marty Krug - He played in 20 games for the Red Sox in 1912 and then got into 127 games for the Cubs in 1922. He accumulated a total of 571 plate appearances. Born in Koblenz, he left Germany when he was three years old. Heinz Becker - Between 1943 and 1947, Becker spent parts of four seasons in the big leagues. He had 412 plate appearances in MLB. He was born in Berlin but his family left Germany following World War I. They went to Venezuela before moving to the United States. He was the only player from Germany during World War II. Edwin Jackson - Jackson was recently called up to the big leagues again. He has spent parts of 14 seasons in the big leagues, starting in 2003. He has accumulated 412 career plate appearances. Next in line is Max Kepler, just shy of 200 plate appearances. Let’s guess, and hope, that Kepler stays healthy and productive the rest of 2016 and through 2017. He could reach 1,000 plate appearances by the end of 2017 which would rank eighth on this list. As far as the home run list, Kepler already ranks tenth, though it’ll take him a few years to climb the list. Bill Kuehne (25), Jeff Baker (54), Glenn Hubbard (70) and Mike Blowers (78) are the four German-born players ahead of Kepler on the list. So what we see from the list of players born in Germany, they fit into a couple of categories. Players born in Germany before World War 1.Players whose family left Germany when they were young.Players born to military families who were based in Germany for their birth.In some cases, players fit into a couple of these categories. Kepler is unique in many ways, but he is certainly one of the first in nearly a century to be raised in Germany. Though his mother is from the United States and he visited family in Texas on vacations, Kepler grew up in Berlin. When he signed, his only real baseball experience came in Germany. Kepler signed in July of 2009, the same day the Twins signed Jorge Polanco. Miguel Sano was signed in October of the same year. That’s an impressive class filled with a lot of potential. Kepler has the potential to be the greatest player ever born in Germany. He may already be the greatest player who ever grew up in Germany. And he is the first player from Germany ever to grace the cover of the Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook.. Click here to view the article
  23. He became a huge prospect nationally. Now, he has too many at-bats to still be called a prospect. Through Wednesday’s game, Kepler has ten home runs in 196 major league plate appearances. He has quickly climbed the prospect ladder as he worked his way toward the big leagues. Now in the big leagues, he is climbing the list of top rookies in the American League, arguably behind only Detroit’s Michael Fullmer if Rookie of the Year voting were done today. Der Schlager (The Slugger) is also climbing the statistical leaderboard for German-born major league players. According to Baseball-Reference.com, there have been 43 big leaguers who were born in Germany. As of today, Kepler ranks 14th in plate appearances. His ten home runs are already fifth on the list. A brief look at the players born in Germany who have more plate appearances than him tells even more about the unique story of Max Kepler. When the Twins signed him for about three-quarters of a million dollars, it was the highest bonus ever given to a player from the country, or anywhere in Europe. Assuming health, Kepler will most likely set all of the records for players from Germany. Glenn Hubbard - Those of us old enough to remember when most Atlanta games were on TBS in the ‘80s remember the long-time second baseman fondly. He is the current leader in plate appearances with 5,122 over 12 seasons in the big leagues. He was born in Germany, the son of a father who was in the United States Air Force. He moved to the States when he was very young and went to school in California and Utah. Bill Kuehne - Born in the German Confederation city of Leipzig in the mid-1800s, Kuehne accumulated 4,423 plate appearances over his ten year career. He grew up in Chicago. Mike Blowers - Blowers was a power-hitter, mostly playing for the Mariners, during the years that Ken Griffey, Edgar Martinez and Jay Buhner played in Seattle. He had 2,585 plate appearances over 11 big league seasons. Born in Wurzburg, he was the son of a US army dad and moved to the United States at a very young age. Jeff Baker - Baker spent parts of 11 seasons in the big leagues. He accumulated 1,958 plate appearances between 2005 and 2015 as a utility player (primarily). He also was born to a military family, his dad being in the Army. Fritz Mollwitz - A Coburg native, Mollwitz played in the big leagues between 1913 and 1919. He had 1,909 plate appearances. Charlie “Pretzel” Getzien - Getzien became the first MLB player from Germany when he debuted in 1884. A pitcher, there are multiple stories on how he earned the Pretzel nickname. Maybe it was based on his country of origin. Some believed it was because of his curveball, which people say curved at least twice, like a pretzel. He came to the plate 1,140 times over his nine big league seasons. Ben Koehler - Born in Schoerndorn, Koehler had 804 plate appearances in just two big league seasons. He played major league baseball in 1905 and 1906. Ron Gardenhire - The long-time Twins manager and coach was born in Butzbach, West Germany. He is the son of a Army man. He moved to the States as a very young child. He came to the plate 777 times between 1981 and 1985. Dutch Schliebner - The Berlin native spent just one season in the big leagues, 1923. He batted 587 times that year but never got another opportunity. Marty Krug - He played in 20 games for the Red Sox in 1912 and then got into 127 games for the Cubs in 1922. He accumulated a total of 571 plate appearances. Born in Koblenz, he left Germany when he was three years old. Heinz Becker - Between 1943 and 1947, Becker spent parts of four seasons in the big leagues. He had 412 plate appearances in MLB. He was born in Berlin but his family left Germany following World War I. They went to Venezuela before moving to the United States. He was the only player from Germany during World War II. Edwin Jackson - Jackson was recently called up to the big leagues again. He has spent parts of 14 seasons in the big leagues, starting in 2003. He has accumulated 412 career plate appearances. Next in line is Max Kepler, just shy of 200 plate appearances. Let’s guess, and hope, that Kepler stays healthy and productive the rest of 2016 and through 2017. He could reach 1,000 plate appearances by the end of 2017 which would rank eighth on this list. As far as the home run list, Kepler already ranks tenth, though it’ll take him a few years to climb the list. Bill Kuehne (25), Jeff Baker (54), Glenn Hubbard (70) and Mike Blowers (78) are the four German-born players ahead of Kepler on the list. So what we see from the list of players born in Germany, they fit into a couple of categories. Players born in Germany before World War 1. Players whose family left Germany when they were young. Players born to military families who were based in Germany for their birth. In some cases, players fit into a couple of these categories. Kepler is unique in many ways, but he is certainly one of the first in nearly a century to be raised in Germany. Though his mother is from the United States and he visited family in Texas on vacations, Kepler grew up in Berlin. When he signed, his only real baseball experience came in Germany. Kepler signed in July of 2009, the same day the Twins signed Jorge Polanco. Miguel Sano was signed in October of the same year. That’s an impressive class filled with a lot of potential. Kepler has the potential to be the greatest player ever born in Germany. He may already be the greatest player who ever grew up in Germany. And he is the first player from Germany ever to grace the cover of the Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook..
  24. WARNING: THE FOLLOWING IS A PREDICTION. IF IT WERE KNOWN FACT, THE AUTHOR WOULD BE IN LAS VEGAS LIVING IT UP INSTEAD OF WRITING THIS MERE PIECE FOR YOU. DO NOT BEND, FOLD, SPINDLE, OR MUTILATE THE AUTHOR. SUMMARY: How Paul Molitor will get Bill Smithed You can buy a high-end tip sheet or just read this post, brought to you gratis and without expectation of any pecuniary or personal reward, and you'll get the same value for your money. Despite their spending millions or billions of dollars on research and marketing, if you want to know the weather a month from now, you would be better off looking at history books than relying on the glossing and exciting predictions published by forecasters. Yes, history is the best predictor. It may not repeat, but it definitely rhymes. And what does history tell us about baseball that could be useful for predicting the future? Or at least for writing this electronic fish wrapper article? At least two things. (1) Former managers are often preferred for open jobs. That's good for Ron Gardenhire. As one of only a handful of managers in history with more than 1,000 wins, and as one of the youngest living members of that club, any Karnak, Swami or Sammy can comfortably predict that he will manage again in the major leagues. This doesn't sound so bad, now, does it? Everybody wishes Gardy well, right? Right? (2) Terry Ryan likes to bring the old gang back together. Uh, oh, this sounds more ominous. Gardenhire and Ryan are friends. As far as that goes, Bill Smith and Ryan are friends. If Ryan were to have an opening, history suggests you can safely expect him to give priority consideration to his old friends. Now, what does that mean about Gardenhire managing in 2016? Well, it would not take much more than we've seen for someone to decide that Paul Molitor is not cut out to manage the current version of the Twins. I can't stand the meme that veteran leadership is needed on the field and dugout; leadership is what the manager is supposed to do. Bruce Bochy, Ned Yost and Joe Maddon never cry about needing veteran leadership, the '87 Twins did not grow up with veteran leadership (no, Bert did not provide clubhouse leadership), and, going back at least to Phil Nevin, the veterans brought in to provide leadership are more often than not of little value as leaders and/or players. That said, it does appear that Molitor needs someone to be his emotional balance, someone to be hot to his cool. This is a weakness of Molitor as a manager. So let's say the current miasma continues for a couple of months and the clubhouse starts to be an uncomfortable place. Management starts worrying about damaging the futures of its valued young players (well maybe not worried enough to hire personal trainers for them, but enough to allow anonymous quotes about the clubhouse to appear in newspaper articles written by their favorite local writers). Terry Ryan, he of the amazing one playoff series win in nearly 20 years of upper executive baseball management, will look for someone to take the fall. Well, hello Paul! And goodbye, Paul. Molitor has been playing TR's line-up, running the team the way TR wanted it run (does anyone want to bet against the proposition that the most important factor in getting hired as manager two years ago was whether the person would be a good soldier?) and doing an all-around good job at being a company guy. Well, like Bill Smith (who must have consulted TR on many of his worst moves, including the trade for a "proven closer" that TR said he would do again), if things don't improve, Paul Molitor is going to be labeled as a good guy who just isn't cut out for all the responsibilities of a high level position. Now, TR will need someone willing to be an "interim" manager. We've seen how "interim" works. Dougie Baseball would probably be willing, but TR will say that he doesn't want to interrupt Chattanooga's season. He'll stress the need to calm the clubhouse and bring in someone who can command immediate respect, yada yada yada. And then TR will say that Ron Gardenhire is refreshed and willing to do whatever he's asked to do on an "interim" basis. And, abra cadabra, ipso facto, "please join me in welcoming Ron Gardenhire as the Twins manager for the rest of 2016."
  25. Aaron and John talk at Lynlake Brewery about the Twins' mortality, Tyler Duffey's spot start, Ron Gardenhire's return to the organization, watching you be a Twins groundkeeper, Miguel Sano coming out of his funk, Byron Buxton drifting toward a demotion, Brian Dozier chasing high heat, losing John Hicks for nothing, Chris Colabello's suspension, and partying for Prince.You can listen by downloading us from iTunes, Stitcher or find it at GleemanAndTheGeek.com. Or just click the Play button below. Click here to view the article
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