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  1. Flags fly forever or so the saying goes. During the 2010 season, the Twins had a roster that seemed built for October success. Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau were in the middle of a powerful line-up that helped to open Target Field with a bang. One of the team’s biggest weaknesses was the bullpen and this meant Terry Ryan went shopping at the deadline to look for a “proven closer.” Minnesota’s bullpen wasn’t completely inept during the season’s first half as players like Matt Guerrier, Jesse Crain, and Jose Mijares fit into their designated roles. Jon Rauch was given the opportunity to be the team’s primary closer. Prior to the trade deadline, Rauch posted a 3.05 ERA as opponents hit .283/.321/.395 against him in 37 games. He was doing the job, but more bullpen depth seemed like it would bolster the team for the stretch run. Matt Capps served as Pittsburgh’s closer for parts of three seasons before being non-tendered and eventually signing with the Washington Nationals. During the first half of 2010, he’d make his first All-Star team as he had a 2.74 ERA with a 1.30 WHIP in 46 innings. His ERA was strong, but he gave up a lot of contact and didn’t strike out many batters (under 7.0 K/9 for his career) which can be cause for concern from a reliever. From the Twins perspective, they were acquiring a reliever with control over the next season and a half and their competitive window seemed to be open. He was worth 0.9 WAR during his Twins tenure, but it was more about what the Twins gave up acquiring that slight bullpen boost. To make matters worse, Minnesota doubled down on Capps and signed him to an extension. When that contract ended, he wouldn’t pitch in the big leagues again. Wilson Ramos and Joe Testa were the two players sent to Washington for the rights to Capps. Ramos was a consensus top-65 prospect in all of baseball entering the 2010 season. Before being traded, he also had an impressive big-league debut as he collected seven hits in his first two games. That being said, Minnesota had just signed Joe Mauer to the richest contract in team history and it seemed like he was going to be behind the plate for the foreseeable future. This might have made Ramos more expendable to the team. During his Washington tenure, Ramos turned into a solid piece of their big-league roster. He’d finish fourth in the NL Rookie of the Year voting after hitting .267/.334/.445 with 38 extra-base hits in 113 games. His final season in Washington was his best as he posted an .850 OPS with 22 home runs and 25 doubles on the way to winning the Silver Slugger award and being selected to his first All-Star Game. In total, he produced 10.5 WAR in his seven seasons of team control that the Twins let go for under 100 innings of Capps. It’s clear why Washington wanted to make this trade as Ramos became their primary catcher for most of a decade. For the Twins, Mauer was still the team’s primary catcher for the next three seasons before being forced to move to first base. Even considering this, it doesn’t seem like the Twins were able to maximize the value of one of baseball’s top catching prospects. Capps was very good in 2010 and there’s no question that he helped the Twins solidify their bullpen. There was no way the team knew what would happen in the playoffs. Minnesota is often criticized for not going for it and hanging on to their prospects when they have a chance to make a deeper playoff run. This was a time when the front office decided to go against this traditional mantra and the results speak for themselves. What are your thoughts after looking back at this trade? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. OTHER POSTS IN THE SERIES — Tom Brunansky — Johan Santana MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  2. Wilson Ramos Many fans will be upset when mentioning the Wilson Ramos for Matt Capps trade. Ramos was a top-65 prospect by Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus. He recorded seven hits in his first two professional games, and it seemed like he could team up with Joe Mauer as a tremendous catching duo. Having Mauer still behind the plate made a catching prospect more expendable. Minnesota also needed more relief help during the 2010 campaign. If Capps had helped the Twins to an extended playoff run, his trade might have been forgotten. Instead, Twins fans watched Ramos blossom into an All-Star catcher with the Nationals and Rays. WAR Acquired: 0.9 WAR (Before Capps Resigned) WAR Lost: 10.4 WAR Matt Garza Trading Matt Garza for Delmon Young seemed like a perfect fit for both teams at the time with each player being a highly ranked prospect. Tampa needed more pitching to help them take the next step and Young provided a powerful right-handed bat between Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau in the Twins line-up. Tampa would ride Garza to a World Series run, while the Twins made playoff appearances but Young was never a difference maker. Young, a former number one overall pick, finished second in the 2007 Rookie of the Year voting. After joining Minnesota, he hit .287/.324/.429 (.753) but his bat never reached the potential he showed as a prospect and his defense was atrocious. Garza was the ALCS MVP and provided WAR totals of 3.4 or above in two of his three seasons in Tampa. WAR Acquired: 1.0 WAR WAR Lost: 8.5 WAR Alex Meyer and Trevor May These two trades seemed to get lumped together since they happened in the same off-season. With both trades above, the Twins were sending away top-100 prospects, but these trades were a little different. Minnesota dealt established outfielders Denard Span and Ben Revere in exchange for pitching prospects Alex Meyer and Trevor May along with Vance Worley. Meyer struggled as he moved through the upper levels on the minor leagues and he would only pitch in parts of four seasons in the organization. Eventually, he was traded to the Angels before injuries ended his career. He played 22 games at the big-league level and retired after his age-27 season. When trading for May, the Twins likely saw him as a starting pitching prospect, but he has found his niche in the Twins bullpen. Last season, he posted a sub-3.00 ERA while striking out 79 batters in 64 1/3 innings. He can be a free agent at season’s end so he will have plenty to pitch for during the 2020 campaign. WAR Acquired: -0.6 (Meyer), 2.0 (May), and -1.1 (Worley) WAR Lost: 7.0 (Span) and 4.1 (Revere) How did the Twins fare in these trades involving former top-100 prospects? 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
  3. Throughout the history of the Minnesota Twins, there have been few trades of top prospects in the organization. Minnesota has been forced to build from within and this has meant teams have been required to live and die through prospect development. Brusdar Graterol was clearly a top-100 prospect so how have the Twins done when trading away, or for other top prospects?Wilson Ramos Many fans will be upset when mentioning the Wilson Ramos for Matt Capps trade. Ramos was a top-65 prospect by Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus. He recorded seven hits in his first two professional games, and it seemed like he could team up with Joe Mauer as a tremendous catching duo. Having Mauer still behind the plate made a catching prospect more expendable. Minnesota also needed more relief help during the 2010 campaign. If Capps had helped the Twins to an extended playoff run, his trade might have been forgotten. Instead, Twins fans watched Ramos blossom into an All-Star catcher with the Nationals and Rays. WAR Acquired: 0.9 WAR (Before Capps Resigned) WAR Lost: 10.4 WAR Matt Garza Trading Matt Garza for Delmon Young seemed like a perfect fit for both teams at the time with each player being a highly ranked prospect. Tampa needed more pitching to help them take the next step and Young provided a powerful right-handed bat between Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau in the Twins line-up. Tampa would ride Garza to a World Series run, while the Twins made playoff appearances but Young was never a difference maker. Young, a former number one overall pick, finished second in the 2007 Rookie of the Year voting. After joining Minnesota, he hit .287/.324/.429 (.753) but his bat never reached the potential he showed as a prospect and his defense was atrocious. Garza was the ALCS MVP and provided WAR totals of 3.4 or above in two of his three seasons in Tampa. WAR Acquired: 1.0 WAR WAR Lost: 8.5 WAR Alex Meyer and Trevor May These two trades seemed to get lumped together since they happened in the same off-season. With both trades above, the Twins were sending away top-100 prospects, but these trades were a little different. Minnesota dealt established outfielders Denard Span and Ben Revere in exchange for pitching prospects Alex Meyer and Trevor May along with Vance Worley. Meyer struggled as he moved through the upper levels on the minor leagues and he would only pitch in parts of four seasons in the organization. Eventually, he was traded to the Angels before injuries ended his career. He played 22 games at the big-league level and retired after his age-27 season. When trading for May, the Twins likely saw him as a starting pitching prospect, but he has found his niche in the Twins bullpen. Last season, he posted a sub-3.00 ERA while striking out 79 batters in 64 1/3 innings. He can be a free agent at season’s end so he will have plenty to pitch for during the 2020 campaign. WAR Acquired: -0.6 (Meyer), 2.0 (May), and -1.1 (Worley) WAR Lost: 7.0 (Span) and 4.1 (Revere) How did the Twins fare in these trades involving former top-100 prospects? 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
  4. Nelson Cruz? But isn't he, like, really old? This was probably what Seattle Mariners fans were asking when their team signed him four years ago. Cruz is 38 now, but he's somehow been able to avoid a decline and was still among the best power hitters in baseball last season. Cruz hit .256/.342/.509 (.850 OPS) with 37 home runs for Seattle last season, but that was a 74-point drop in his OPS from the prior year. Why? Well, it definitely doesn't have anything to do with how hard he hit the ball. Cruz led the league in average exit velocity (minimum 300 batted ball events) at 93.9 mph and was fourth in hard hit % at 51.3, per Baseball Savant. His hard hit rate per FanGraphs was 42.3 percent, a career high. His BABIP, however, was just .264, the 22nd-lowest mark among qualified hitters. Cruz has a career .305 BABIP. The man they call Boomstick has also hit for power in Safeco, no easy task, but his .295/.372/.527 (.900) line on the road was even more impressive last year. He's also a .325/.355/.667 (1.022 OPS) hitter in 124 career plate appearances at Target Field. Cruz had a 132 DRC+ last season according to Baseball Prospectus. That ranks 24th among all hitters with at least 400 PAs. Eddie Rosario led the Twins with a 113 DRC+ last season. No matter the track record, his age has to be a concern, but I'm willing to believe that Cruz can be a well above average middle of the lineup hitter for a couple more years. Only eight players hit more home runs than Cruz last season, and he still isn't having to completely sell out for that power. His strikeout rate (20.6) was comfortably below league average (22.3). MLB Trade Rumors actually predicted the Twins would sign Cruz, putting the expected contract at two years, $30 million. That's probably the cheapest a hitter of this caliber is going to be acquired. The Twins aren't going to spend on Bryce Harper or Manny Machado and they didn't trade for Paul Goldschmidt or Robinson Cano. You get left with a 38-year-old (and that's if you're lucky). I'd expect a Cruz signing would almost certainly result in the end of Tyler Austin's stay in Minnesota. It would be awfully difficult to fit Cruz, C.J. Cron and Austin (who is out of options) all on the same 25-man roster. Trevor Cahill had a strong season in his second stay with the A's, pitching to a 3.76 ERA and 1.19 WHIP, but he was much better at home than on the road. In fact, Cahill has been especially comfortable at the Oakland Coliseum over his career. In 383 innings in Oakland, Cahill has a 3.01 ERA. In his other 960 1/3 innings, he has a 4.50 ERA. But one skill that should translate anywhere is his ability to induce ground balls. Among the pitchers to log 190 innings over the past two seasons (138), Cahill's 54.4 GB% ranked eighth. He also had a career-high 11.7 swinging strike rate, which ranks 33rd among the 140 pitchers who threw at least 100 innings in 2018. Kyle Gibson was at 11.5 and Jose Berrios 11.3. Those ballpark splits worry me, but I still think Cahill could be a boost to the 2019 Twins rotation. MLB Trade Rumors projected him to fetch a two year, $22 million deal. I mentioned in a rundown last week how I felt Joakim Soria was the one reliever who I felt best fit with the Twins in terms of both need and expected salary. He's had a few slip ups, but in terms of bullpen arms he's been pretty reliable over his career. Both his walk rate and strikeout rate have been trending the right direction each of the past three seasons. Among the pitchers to log 60 innings in 2018 (273), Soria's 4.69 K:BB ratio was tied with Taylor Rogers for 27th place. I like the idea of the Twins signing Soria, who has 220 career saves, to be the closer. He performed nicely in that role for the White Sox last season before being traded over to Milwaukee. He's 34-years-old, so fastball velocity will be a concern, but he did buck a recent trend of losing velo as the season progressed last year. Soria's expected contract is two years, $18 million, per MLB Trade Rumors. The Twins would need to further address the bullpen, in my opinion, but this would be a start. Finally, Wilson Ramos ... we know all too well this guy has been good when healthy. The former Twins prospect cranked it up a notch last year, hitting .306/.358/.487 (.845) for the Rays and Phillies. Catchers are so difficult to find, so I have a hard time believing Ramos, 31, is going to be available at a discount. MLB Trade Rumors had him signing for three years and $36 million. It's hard to imagine the Twins making that kind of a commitment to a catcher, given they have Jason Castro and Mitch Garver (and Willians Astudillo), but who knows? Castro is only under contract for one more season and, as Nick pointed out last week, Garver has some injury concerns right now. So I suppose it could happen. OK, now it's your turn. What do you think about these guys?
  5. FanCred's Jon Heyman reported Monday that the Twins were in the mix for Nelson Cruz. New Twins beat writer for MLB.com Do-Hyoung Park confirmed and added that there was mutual interest between Cruz and the Twins. Darren Wolfson of KSTP also revealed that the Twins were kicking the tires on Joakim Soria, Trevor Cahill and Wilson Ramos. So that's four names we've got to dissect, let's get into it.Nelson Cruz? But isn't he, like, really old? This was probably what Seattle Mariners fans were asking when their team signed him four years ago. Cruz is 38 now, but he's somehow been able to avoid a decline and was still among the best power hitters in baseball last season. Cruz hit .256/.342/.509 (.850 OPS) with 37 home runs for Seattle last season, but that was a 74-point drop in his OPS from the prior year. Why? Well, it definitely doesn't have anything to do with how hard he hit the ball. Cruz led the league in average exit velocity (minimum 300 batted ball events) at 93.9 mph and was fourth in hard hit % at 51.3, per Baseball Savant. His hard hit rate per FanGraphs was 42.3 percent, a career high. His BABIP, however, was just .264, the 22nd-lowest mark among qualified hitters. Cruz has a career .305 BABIP. Download attachment: CruzExitVelo3.png The man they call Boomstick has also hit for power in Safeco, no easy task, but his .295/.372/.527 (.900) line on the road was even more impressive last year. He's also a .325/.355/.667 (1.022 OPS) hitter in 124 career plate appearances at Target Field. Cruz had a 132 DRC+ last season according to Baseball Prospectus. That ranks 24th among all hitters with at least 400 PAs. Eddie Rosario led the Twins with a 113 DRC+ last season. No matter the track record, his age has to be a concern, but I'm willing to believe that Cruz can be a well above average middle of the lineup hitter for a couple more years. Only eight players hit more home runs than Cruz last season, and he still isn't having to completely sell out for that power. His strikeout rate (20.6) was comfortably below league average (22.3). MLB Trade Rumors actually predicted the Twins would sign Cruz, putting the expected contract at two years, $30 million. That's probably the cheapest a hitter of this caliber is going to be acquired. The Twins aren't going to spend on Bryce Harper or Manny Machado and they didn't trade for Paul Goldschmidt or Robinson Cano. You get left with a 38-year-old (and that's if you're lucky). I'd expect a Cruz signing would almost certainly result in the end of Tyler Austin's stay in Minnesota. It would be awfully difficult to fit Cruz, C.J. Cron and Austin (who is out of options) all on the same 25-man roster. Trevor Cahill had a strong season in his second stay with the A's, pitching to a 3.76 ERA and 1.19 WHIP, but he was much better at home than on the road. In fact, Cahill has been especially comfortable at the Oakland Coliseum over his career. In 383 innings in Oakland, Cahill has a 3.01 ERA. In his other 960 1/3 innings, he has a 4.50 ERA. But one skill that should translate anywhere is his ability to induce ground balls. Among the pitchers to log 190 innings over the past two seasons (138), Cahill's 54.4 GB% ranked eighth. He also had a career-high 11.7 swinging strike rate, which ranks 33rd among the 140 pitchers who threw at least 100 innings in 2018. Kyle Gibson was at 11.5 and Jose Berrios 11.3. Download attachment: Screenshot 2018-12-10 at 8.25.33 PM.png Those ballpark splits worry me, but I still think Cahill could be a boost to the 2019 Twins rotation. MLB Trade Rumors projected him to fetch a two year, $22 million deal. I mentioned in a rundown last week how I felt Joakim Soria was the one reliever who I felt best fit with the Twins in terms of both need and expected salary. He's had a few slip ups, but in terms of bullpen arms he's been pretty reliable over his career. Both his walk rate and strikeout rate have been trending the right direction each of the past three seasons. Among the pitchers to log 60 innings in 2018 (273), Soria's 4.69 K:BB ratio was tied with Taylor Rogers for 27th place. I like the idea of the Twins signing Soria, who has 220 career saves, to be the closer. He performed nicely in that role for the White Sox last season before being traded over to Milwaukee. He's 34-years-old, so fastball velocity will be a concern, but he did buck a recent trend of losing velo as the season progressed last year. Download attachment: SoriaVelo.jpeg Soria's expected contract is two years, $18 million, per MLB Trade Rumors. The Twins would need to further address the bullpen, in my opinion, but this would be a start. Finally, Wilson Ramos ... we know all too well this guy has been good when healthy. The former Twins prospect cranked it up a notch last year, hitting .306/.358/.487 (.845) for the Rays and Phillies. Catchers are so difficult to find, so I have a hard time believing Ramos, 31, is going to be available at a discount. MLB Trade Rumors had him signing for three years and $36 million. It's hard to imagine the Twins making that kind of a commitment to a catcher, given they have Jason Castro and Mitch Garver (and Willians Astudillo), but who knows? Castro is only under contract for one more season and, as Nick pointed out last week, Garver has some injury concerns right now. So I suppose it could happen. OK, now it's your turn. What do you think about these guys? Click here to view the article
  6. Snapshot (chart via FanGraphs) Blake Snell was dealing tonight for the Rays. The Twins played some small ball to put up a run on him in the first, but then Snell shutdown the Twins for the next six-innings before he stranded Robbie Grossman on third to end his night in the seventh. Snell was one of the Rays more highly touted pitching prospects as he was coming up through the minors, but he struggled with control issues during his first two seasons in the majors. However, Snell appears to have found his form in 2018, and is showing off his nasty stuff with pitches like this one to strikeout Eddie Rosario in the second. https://twitter.com/PitchingNinja/status/987823886766084096 Kyle Gibson was having a strong start, having given up just a two-run home run through his first six innings of work. However, things unraveled in the seventh, where Gibson and Gabriel Moya combined to give up five runs to let the Rays blow the game open. C.J. Cron had himself a day, belting two two-run home runs, one in third and the other in the five-run seventh. Both home runs were carbon copies of each other, as the second lander just four seats over from where the first one ended up. Denard Span came up big for the Rays again tonight after he came up with a two-out, two-RBI base hit up-the-middle during the seventh inning to expand the Rays lead to 5-1, the Rays would late expand the score to 7-1 in the seventh off Cron’s second home run of the night. The Twins tried to get a rally going in the eighth, getting the first two runners on with the top of the order coming up. However, Rays reliever Matt Andriese quickly shut the door by striking out Brian Dozier and getting Joe Mauer to ground into an inning-ending double play. The Rays added onto their lead in the bottom half of the eighth when Daniel Robertson blasted a 431- foot bomb to centerfield off Tyler Kinley bring the score to 8-1. That was followed by a walk and three more singles, including another RBI single from Denard Span. When all was said and done the score stood at 10-1 in favor of the Rays. The Twins did have a sparkling night defensively. First, Ehire Adrianza robbed Denard Span in each of his first two at-bats with defensive web gems at short. Here was the second one during the third inning. https://twitter.com/fsnorth/status/987828546369347584 During the 4th inning Miguel Sano showed off his rocket of an arm to nab Daniel Robertson to get the second out of the inning. Then Mauer followed it up by spearing a ground ball off the bat of Wilson Ramos to end the inning. Next Three Games Sun at TB 12:10 pm CT Mon at NYY 6:05 pm CT Tues at NYY 5:35 pm CT
  7. It was a rough night for the Minnesota Twins, as they were walloped 10-1 by the Tampa Bay Rays. For the better part of seven innings, this game was a pitchers’ dual, but it quickly turned into a route in favor of the Rays.Snapshot (chart via FanGraphs) Blake Snell was dealing tonight for the Rays. The Twins played some small ball to put up a run on him in the first, but then Snell shutdown the Twins for the next six-innings before he stranded Robbie Grossman on third to end his night in the seventh. Snell was one of the Rays more highly touted pitching prospects as he was coming up through the minors, but he struggled with control issues during his first two seasons in the majors. However, Snell appears to have found his form in 2018, and is showing off his nasty stuff with pitches like this one to strikeout Eddie Rosario in the second. Kyle Gibson was having a strong start, having given up just a two-run home run through his first six innings of work. However, things unraveled in the seventh, where Gibson and Gabriel Moya combined to give up five runs to let the Rays blow the game open. C.J. Cron had himself a day, belting two two-run home runs, one in third and the other in the five-run seventh. Both home runs were carbon copies of each other, as the second lander just four seats over from where the first one ended up. Denard Span came up big for the Rays again tonight after he came up with a two-out, two-RBI base hit up-the-middle during the seventh inning to expand the Rays lead to 5-1, the Rays would late expand the score to 7-1 in the seventh off Cron’s second home run of the night. The Twins tried to get a rally going in the eighth, getting the first two runners on with the top of the order coming up. However, Rays reliever Matt Andriese quickly shut the door by striking out Brian Dozier and getting Joe Mauer to ground into an inning-ending double play. The Rays added onto their lead in the bottom half of the eighth when Daniel Robertson blasted a 431- foot bomb to centerfield off Tyler Kinley bring the score to 8-1. That was followed by a walk and three more singles, including another RBI single from Denard Span. When all was said and done the score stood at 10-1 in favor of the Rays. The Twins did have a sparkling night defensively. First, Ehire Adrianza robbed Denard Span in each of his first two at-bats with defensive web gems at short. Here was the second one during the third inning. During the 4th inning Miguel Sano showed off his rocket of an arm to nab Daniel Robertson to get the second out of the inning. Then Mauer followed it up by spearing a ground ball off the bat of Wilson Ramos to end the inning. Next Three Games Sun at TB 12:10 pm CT Mon at NYY 6:05 pm CT Tues at NYY 5:35 pm CT Click here to view the article
  8. Crickets... That's the sound coming from Minnesota Twins camp so far at the Winter Meetings in Washington DC. There has been some Brian Dozier talk, though some of that was because he was scheduled to be at the meetings for other reasons. They promoted a couple of guys in the scouting department. They signed Ben Paulsen to a minor league deal. Traditionally, Wednesday is the busiest day at the Winter Meetings. The first few days involve a lot of discussions, and then the GMs (and Chief Baseball Officers) take what they've heard and start to reach agreements, be it with free agents or with other trade partners.While such a quiet Winter Meetings may have been frustrating under the Terry Ryan regime, it is completely understandable under Derek Falvey and Thad Levine. As Nick wrote last night, "The Twins moved quickly on Jason Castro, because doing so was necessary to lock up the coveted catcher, but now there is little need for urgency." They should not feel pushed to rush on a Brian Dozier trade. They are 100% correct in saying that they need to be "inspired" to trade him. They should expect elite, young pitching in return. I agree with their philosophy of taking a broad view of the organization before jumping into too much drastic. That’s why I think they’re wise in keeping a lot of the current front office, shifting some people around, and bringing in new talent when it is available. Likewise, they need to know the ins and outs of their 40-man roster and the entire minor league system. While they certainly had some information on everyone in the organization, they likely have grown their knowledge of their new organization tenfold since taking over. There is talent in the organization. Consider in the last year or two the Twins have called up Byron Buxton, Miguel Sano, Max Kepler, Eddie Rosario, Jose Berrios, JT Chargois. Adalberto Mejia was acquired in the Eduardo Nunez deal, and he’s a solid starting pitching prospect who should get more of an opportunity in 2017. Also in the next year or two, we could see players like Mitch Garver, Nick Gordon, Engelb Vielma, Nick Burdi, Jake Reed, Mason Melotakis, Trevor Hildenberger, John Curtiss, Stephen Gonsalves, Kohl Stewart, Felix Jorge, Fernando Romero, Tyler Jay and others. I’m not naive enough to think that they will all pan out. I do know that the more players with the potential of the above names, the more likely that a few of them will pan out and become very good major leaguers and several more will still be able to contribute in a role of some sort. Add to that list a few more prospects with big league potential from a likely Brian Dozier trade, and that’s encouraging. But again, that’s not to say that the Twins should do nothing at all. It’s just important to know that they don’t have to have all of their offseason transactions complete by Thursday. We have heard that the Twins have had discussions regarding Dozier. Yesterday, we learned that they’ve had some discussions regarding Brandon Kintzler. We heard last week that they’ve had some discussions about Kennys Vargas. And, while we haven’t heard it, I would think that some discussions have been had about Hector Santiago. The Winter Meetings are about having those discussions in person. Some deals could be made today or tomorrow, but some discussions with teams or free agents could linger for the next few weeks. And, frankly, there are always still quality players available in January. So, the crickets are chirping, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. BRIAN DOZIER UPDATE TUESDAY RECAP A few things did happen at the Winter Meetings on Tuesday. Here’s a quick rundown: Mike Berardino informed us early in the day on Tuesday that the Twins had re-signed RHP Yorman Landa to a minor league deal. That is almost surprising because why wouldn't they wait until after Thursday's Rule 5 draft to do that. Assuming he's actually signed (and hasn't just agreed to terms) before Thursday morning's Rule 5 draft, he would be eligible to be selected.The big news was, without question the Chris Sale trade to the Boston Red Sox. While there were rumors involving the Nationals earlier in the week, it sounds as if the Red Sox made their offer late last week and let the White Sox see if anyone could top it. Well, offering Yoan Moncada (the #1 prospect in baseball), Michael Kopech (a risk, but a guy who throws 100+ and ‘could’ be a starter) and two other prospects would be tough to beat. Making it better for the White Sox, the Red Sox are still on the hook for the $30 million signing bonus they gave Moncada. For the Red Sox, well, they have a rotation of Chris Sale, David Price, Rick Porcello, Steven Wright and Eduardo Rodriguez.The White Sox likely aren’t done, and they will likely maintain contact with the Nationals. Jose Quintana is one of the more underrated starting pitchers in baseball, and the Nationals may be a place for him to go. The White Sox will likely also continue shopping 3B Todd Frazier and RP David Robertson.The Red Sox were actually quite busy on Tuesday. Earlier in the day, the acquired reliever Tyler Thornburg from the Brewers for three young players including corner infielder Travis Shaw. Thornburg is another strong bullpen arm ready to set up for Craig Kimbrel. Shaw is the guy who beat out Pablo Sandoval as the Red Sox opening day third baseman. Sandoval ended up having surgery. He returned to the Instructional League this fall, and clearly the Red Sox would like him to be their third baseman and this helps open that up for him.The Red Sox also signed veteran first baseman Mitch Moreland. Moreland has an OPS over 1.000 in his career at Fenway Park. He also is statistically one of the best first basemen in baseball defensively. Makes me wonder if Hanley Ramirez makes the move to DH at this point.After midnight, Bob Nightengale tweeted that the Cubs and Royals have an agreement in place. Wade Davis will go to the World Series champs with OF Jorge Soler heading to the Royals. Davis has just one year left on his contract. Soler is immensely talented, but he’s stuck behind the likes of Ben Zobrist, Kyle Schwarber, Jason Heyward and even Albert Almora in the Cubs talented outfield.A couple of former Twins players found 2017 homes on Tuesday. Carlos Gomez re-signed with the Texas Rangers. He agreed to a one year, $11.5 million deal (pending physical, of course).Wilson Ramos, who would have made a ton of money if not for his late-season knee injury, agreed to terms with the Tampa Bay Rays on a two year deal with $12.5 million guaranteed and incentives that could push the deal to $18.25 million over those two years. Again, it is pending physical, which, based on how his rehab is going, could be complex. He is likely to miss at least the first half of the 2017 season, so my assumption is that his incentives would be simply based on Games Played or Plate Appearances. If he’s healthy and able to play, he’ll make more money. But the Rays minimize their risk somewhat too.Yesterday, we heard that Cleveland was talking to Edwin Encarnacion, probably the best hitter on the market. He’s not a guy I would necessarily want to see in the lineup against the Twins 19 times a season. Tuesday, we learned that they talked to another former Blue Jays hitter as well, Jose Bautista. The thought of him hitting against the Twins 19 games a year, rather than six of seven, is a bit scary.Aroldis Chapman allegedly has a $92 million offer on the table. To me, that would likely be a six year deal, right? The Yankees have said they haven’t offered him that. It’s hard to believe that Miami would have offered him that. So, who could have made that offer? Or, is that a case of an agent leaking something, hoping to boost the deals that Chapman has already been offered. He’s going to get paid, for sure. Kenley Jansen is going to make a ton of money too.Feel free to ask questions, discuss rumors or transactions, and enjoy the day. Click here to view the article
  9. While such a quiet Winter Meetings may have been frustrating under the Terry Ryan regime, it is completely understandable under Derek Falvey and Thad Levine. As Nick wrote last night, "The Twins moved quickly on Jason Castro, because doing so was necessary to lock up the coveted catcher, but now there is little need for urgency." They should not feel pushed to rush on a Brian Dozier trade. They are 100% correct in saying that they need to be "inspired" to trade him. They should expect elite, young pitching in return. I agree with their philosophy of taking a broad view of the organization before jumping into too much drastic. That’s why I think they’re wise in keeping a lot of the current front office, shifting some people around, and bringing in new talent when it is available. Likewise, they need to know the ins and outs of their 40-man roster and the entire minor league system. While they certainly had some information on everyone in the organization, they likely have grown their knowledge of their new organization tenfold since taking over. There is talent in the organization. Consider in the last year or two the Twins have called up Byron Buxton, Miguel Sano, Max Kepler, Eddie Rosario, Jose Berrios, JT Chargois. Adalberto Mejia was acquired in the Eduardo Nunez deal, and he’s a solid starting pitching prospect who should get more of an opportunity in 2017. Also in the next year or two, we could see players like Mitch Garver, Nick Gordon, Engelb Vielma, Nick Burdi, Jake Reed, Mason Melotakis, Trevor Hildenberger, John Curtiss, Stephen Gonsalves, Kohl Stewart, Felix Jorge, Fernando Romero, Tyler Jay and others. I’m not naive enough to think that they will all pan out. I do know that the more players with the potential of the above names, the more likely that a few of them will pan out and become very good major leaguers and several more will still be able to contribute in a role of some sort. Add to that list a few more prospects with big league potential from a likely Brian Dozier trade, and that’s encouraging. But again, that’s not to say that the Twins should do nothing at all. It’s just important to know that they don’t have to have all of their offseason transactions complete by Thursday. We have heard that the Twins have had discussions regarding Dozier. Yesterday, we learned that they’ve had some discussions regarding Brandon Kintzler. We heard last week that they’ve had some discussions about Kennys Vargas. And, while we haven’t heard it, I would think that some discussions have been had about Hector Santiago. The Winter Meetings are about having those discussions in person. Some deals could be made today or tomorrow, but some discussions with teams or free agents could linger for the next few weeks. And, frankly, there are always still quality players available in January. So, the crickets are chirping, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. BRIAN DOZIER UPDATE TUESDAY RECAP A few things did happen at the Winter Meetings on Tuesday. Here’s a quick rundown: Mike Berardino informed us early in the day on Tuesday that the Twins had re-signed RHP Yorman Landa to a minor league deal. That is almost surprising because why wouldn't they wait until after Thursday's Rule 5 draft to do that. Assuming he's actually signed (and hasn't just agreed to terms) before Thursday morning's Rule 5 draft, he would be eligible to be selected. The big news was, without question the Chris Sale trade to the Boston Red Sox. While there were rumors involving the Nationals earlier in the week, it sounds as if the Red Sox made their offer late last week and let the White Sox see if anyone could top it. Well, offering Yoan Moncada (the #1 prospect in baseball), Michael Kopech (a risk, but a guy who throws 100+ and ‘could’ be a starter) and two other prospects would be tough to beat. Making it better for the White Sox, the Red Sox are still on the hook for the $30 million signing bonus they gave Moncada. For the Red Sox, well, they have a rotation of Chris Sale, David Price, Rick Porcello, Steven Wright and Eduardo Rodriguez. The White Sox likely aren’t done, and they will likely maintain contact with the Nationals. Jose Quintana is one of the more underrated starting pitchers in baseball, and the Nationals may be a place for him to go. The White Sox will likely also continue shopping 3B Todd Frazier and RP David Robertson. The Red Sox were actually quite busy on Tuesday. Earlier in the day, the acquired reliever Tyler Thornburg from the Brewers for three young players including corner infielder Travis Shaw. Thornburg is another strong bullpen arm ready to set up for Craig Kimbrel. Shaw is the guy who beat out Pablo Sandoval as the Red Sox opening day third baseman. Sandoval ended up having surgery. He returned to the Instructional League this fall, and clearly the Red Sox would like him to be their third baseman and this helps open that up for him. The Red Sox also signed veteran first baseman Mitch Moreland. Moreland has an OPS over 1.000 in his career at Fenway Park. He also is statistically one of the best first basemen in baseball defensively. Makes me wonder if Hanley Ramirez makes the move to DH at this point. After midnight, Bob Nightengale tweeted that the Cubs and Royals have an agreement in place. Wade Davis will go to the World Series champs with OF Jorge Soler heading to the Royals. Davis has just one year left on his contract. Soler is immensely talented, but he’s stuck behind the likes of Ben Zobrist, Kyle Schwarber, Jason Heyward and even Albert Almora in the Cubs talented outfield. A couple of former Twins players found 2017 homes on Tuesday. Carlos Gomez re-signed with the Texas Rangers. He agreed to a one year, $11.5 million deal (pending physical, of course). Wilson Ramos, who would have made a ton of money if not for his late-season knee injury, agreed to terms with the Tampa Bay Rays on a two year deal with $12.5 million guaranteed and incentives that could push the deal to $18.25 million over those two years. Again, it is pending physical, which, based on how his rehab is going, could be complex. He is likely to miss at least the first half of the 2017 season, so my assumption is that his incentives would be simply based on Games Played or Plate Appearances. If he’s healthy and able to play, he’ll make more money. But the Rays minimize their risk somewhat too. Yesterday, we heard that Cleveland was talking to Edwin Encarnacion, probably the best hitter on the market. He’s not a guy I would necessarily want to see in the lineup against the Twins 19 times a season. Tuesday, we learned that they talked to another former Blue Jays hitter as well, Jose Bautista. The thought of him hitting against the Twins 19 games a year, rather than six of seven, is a bit scary. Aroldis Chapman allegedly has a $92 million offer on the table. To me, that would likely be a six year deal, right? The Yankees have said they haven’t offered him that. It’s hard to believe that Miami would have offered him that. So, who could have made that offer? Or, is that a case of an agent leaking something, hoping to boost the deals that Chapman has already been offered. He’s going to get paid, for sure. Kenley Jansen is going to make a ton of money too. Feel free to ask questions, discuss rumors or transactions, and enjoy the day.
  10. May 2, 1963 Twins Trade Jack Kralick for Jim Perry The Twins traded pitcher Jack Kralick, who had come with the team from Washington, to the Cleveland Indians for Jim Perry. Kralick pitched the Twins’ first no-hitter the previous season, on August 26, 1962, as the Twins beat the Kansas City Athletics at home 1-0. Kralick lost the perfect game by giving up a walk with one out in the ninth. The final two outs were recorded on foul pop flies. Though the Twins’ first season in Minnesota, 1961, was probably Kralick’ best, he did garner his lone all-star selection with Cleveland in 1964. Perry’s career got off to a hot start in Cleveland. In 1959 he was runner-up to the Senators’ Bob Allison for American League Rookie of the Year. He tied with Baltimore’s Chuck Estrada for the American League lead with 18 wins in 1960, and made his first all-star team in 1961. http://i1074.photobucket.com/albums/w413/mjohnso9/20160430_194048_zpsqon7m9qi.jpg During Perry’s first five seasons with the Twins he was used both as a starter and relief pitcher, including the ninth inning of game 7 of the 1965 World Series. In 1969 he started 36 of the 46 games he appeared in, winning 20 as the Twins won the American League West pennant. Perry won the Cy Young award in 1970, his first season in Minnesota in which he was used exclusively as a starter, and tied for the league lead with 24 wins as the Twins again won the West. Perry played ten seasons in Minnesota. He is fifth in Twins history in both wins (128) and innings pitched. In 2011, Perry became the sixteenth player inducted into the Twins Hall of Fame. May 2, 1964 Twins Hit Four Consecutive Home Runs Tony Oliva gave the Twins a 2-0 lead vs. the Athletics in Kansas City with a third inning home run. The teams were tied 2-2 entering the top of the ninth when Harmon Killebrew hit a solo home run to put the Twins in front. Rocky Colavito, however, tied it up in the bottom of the inning, singling in Ed Charles. The A’s came perilously close to the walk-off win. After Colavito advanced to second on a passed ball, the Twins filled first with an intentional walk. Both runners moved up on a ground out to the pitcher, the second out of the inning. The Twins then issued a second intentional walk, loading the bases. Manager Sam Mele then brought Bill Pleis in from the bullpen. With zero margin for error, Pleis struck out his man, forcing extra innings. Neither team threatened to score in the tenth. Then Tony Oliva led off the top of the eleventh with a home run, followed by Bob Allison and Jimmie Hall. Kansas City then went to the bullpen, but to no avail, as Harmon Killebrew made in four in a row and the Twins beat Kansas City 7-3. http://i1074.photobucket.com/albums/w413/mjohnso9/20160430_104505_zpslpeqgcvm.jpg Seven teams in the history of Major League baseball have hit four consecutive home runs, most recently the Diamondbacks in 2010. The last American League team to do so was the White Sox in 2008 when Jim Thome, Paul Konerko, Alexei Ramirez and Juan Uribe went back-to-back-to-back-to-back. This wasn’t the only time the Twins made home run history against the Kansas City Athletics. The Twins set an American League record by hitting five home runs in a single inning on June 9, 1966 against KC at the Met in Bloomington. The Athletics erupted for four runs in the first off Camilo Pascual, who only lasted ⅔ of an inning. Facing 1987 Hall of Fame inductee, Catfish Hunter, the Twins pulled within 4-3 on a Bob Allison RBI double in the fifth and a two-run Killebrew homer in the sixth. Then, in the bottom of the seventh, Rich Rollins and Zoilo Versalles connected for back-to-back home runs off of Hunter to take the lead. Reliever Paul Lindblad retired Sandy Valdespino before allowing back-to-back homers to Tony Oliva and Don Mincher. The Athletics then turned to John Wyatt who allowed the Twins’ third consecutive home run, and the fifth of the inning, to Harmon Killebrew, his second of the game. Four National League teams have hit five home runs in an inning. The first time was in 1939 and the most recent in 2006. All four were against the Cincinnati Reds. May 2, 2010 Wilson Ramos Debuts with 4-Hit Game 22-year-old Venezuelan catcher, Wilson Ramos, made his Major League debut going 4-for-5 with a double and run scored in Cleveland. The following night, at home versus Detroit, Ramos went 3-for-4 with a double, becoming the third player in Major League history with 7 hits in his first two games, and the first since the Chicago Cubs’ Coaker Triplett in 1938. Ramos played 7 games for the Twins before being traded to the Washington Nationals for closer, Matt Capps. The Twins would go on to win the American League Central with a 94-68 record. They were swept out of the playoffs by the New York Yankees. http://i1074.photobucket.com/albums/w413/mjohnso9/20160501_110914_zpsrrdo52fb.jpg Ramos was the second Twin to debut with a 4-hit game. 24-year-old Kirby Puckett went 4-for-5 with a run scored in his Major League debut on May 8, 1984 in Anaheim as the Twins won 5-0. Hitting leadoff, Kirby grounded out in his first at-bat before collecting four straight singles. Kirby would finish third in American League Rookie of the Year balloting behind Seattle’s Alvin Davis and Mark Langston. The Twins’ Tim Teufel finished right behind Kirby in fourth place. Roger Clemens came in sixth. In the National League, future-World Series Hero Dan Gladden finished fourth behind Doc Gooden, Juan Samuel, and Orel Hershiser. Keep in touch by following @Twins Almanac on Twitter. And, in case you missed it, here is the Twins Almanac for May 1: May 1, 1996 Twins Win on Paul Molitor Walk-Off Hit-By-Pitch The Twins held a 5-3 lead vs. Kansas City heading into the top of the ninth when 1994 AL Rookie of the Year, Bob Hamelin, hit a two-run home run off of Dave Stevens with Jose Offerman aboard to tie the game. Hamelin had also homered with Offerman aboard in the second. Royals all-time saves leader, Jeff Montgomery, set the Twins down in order in the bottom of the ninth. His second inning of relief did not go so smoothly. After popping Pat Meares up for the first out, Montgomery walked Rich Becker and Chuck Knoblauch. A single by Chip Hale loaded the bases for the future-Hall of Famer, Paul Molitor, who Montgomery beaned, forcing in the winning run. http://i1074.photobucket.com/albums/w413/mjohnso9/20160423_080543_zpsyfgsqcho.jpg May 1, 2005 Johan Santana Loses for First Time in 20 Starts Johan Santana pitched 8 strong innings versus the Angels at the Metrodome, allowing only 2 runs on 2 hits, solo home runs by Vladimir Guerrero and Jose Molina. Bartolo Colon, however, held the Twins scoreless, allowing only 2 hits through 7 ⅓ innings. Shannon Stewart drove in the Twins only run with a solo home run off Francisco Rodriguez in the ninth. Santana had gone 17-0 in his last 20 starts going back to his 2004 Cy Young-winning season. He would go 16-7 in 2005 and finish 3rd in Cy Young balloting. He won the award again in 2006 when he and the Yankees’ Chien-Ming Wang tied for the Major League lead with 19 wins. http://i1074.photobucket.com/albums/w413/mjohnso9/20160430_104141_zpsogidtzul.jpg May 1, 2009 Joe Mauer Homers in First At-Bat Back from Disabled List After missing the first 22 games of the season with a lower back injury, Joe Mauer homered in his first at-bat back from the disabled list. Playing Kansas City at the Metrodome, Mauer came up with two down in the first. After taking Sidney Ponson’s first two pitches, Mauer deposited his 2-0 pitch in the left-center field seats. Mauer led-off the fourth inning with an opposite field double and scored on a Justin Morneau single up the middle. Mauer walked in the fifth and scored on Morneau’s sixth home run of the season. Mauer finished the day 2-for-3 with a walk and 3 runs scored as the Twins beat the Royals 7-5. Mauer went on to hit 11 home runs and drive in 32 runs in the month of May en route to his third batting title and being named the 2009 American League MVP. The Twins won the Central Division in ‘09 with a dramatic 12th inning walk-off win in Game 163 vs. Detroit, but were swept by the Yankees in the first round of the playoffs. http://i1074.photobucket.com/albums/w413/mjohnso9/20160430_100755_zpspkq3dnwz.jpg Keep in touch by liking Facebook.com/TwinsAlmanac.
  11. Unfortunate news out of the nation's capitol: Wilson Ramos tore his ACL and will be out for the rest of the season. As if this guy hasn't gone through enough over the last year. Rooting for a quick recovery.
  12. In my post that I wrote earlier today, I asked a simple question. Are we living in the "Golden Age" of catchers? There have been some great eras for catchers in the past but this season could turn out to be one of the best seasons ever for players behind the plate. Do you think we are in the midst of the "Golden Age" of catchers? If you had to pick one catcher to build a team around, who would it be? Why? Here are some of the players to pick from or feel free to select someone not on this list. AL Catchers: Mike Napoli, Alex Avila, Matt Wieters, Carlos Santana, Joe Mauer, Salvador Perez, Jesus Montero, Travis d'Arnaud NL Catchers: Miguel Montero, Yadier Molina, Wilson Ramos, Brian McCann, Buster Posey, Devin Mesoraco
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