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Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe suggeststhat the Red Sox somehow move Mike Lowell to the Twins. Even if the Sox pick up the lion’s share of the $12 million Lowell is owed for 2010, I don’t see this happening.
One of our top prospects, Danny Valencia, plays third, so why should we give up prospect to get Lowell for part of a season? If our production from whoever plays third this year is Punto-esque (which is possible since Punto will likely be getting a lot of starts at the hot corner), wouldn’t you rather they give Valencia a chance than trade for Lowell? I like Mike Lowell, but I don’t think its the right move. I think the rest of our lineup is good enough where we can afford to have a black hole at the bottom of the order. It would be nice if Punto (or Harris) could give us something close to league average numbers, but I’m not holding my breath.
Not really a whole lot to discuss on this topic, but I thought I’d point it out as we gear up for the season and I shake off the blogging rust.1 comment
So apparently today is Nick Punto day in the Twins blogosphere. As most of you know, I am not a fan of Lil’ Nicky Punto. Mainly because I don’t like baseball players who aren’t good at baseball. Actually that’s the only reason I don’t like him. So here is my rambling rant, that is bound to piss people off because they like Punto for some idiotic reason.
I’m sure Punto is a very nice guy, but why in the hell does everyone love him so much? He tries hard. So what. So do a lot of people. It doesn’t mean we should cheer for them This isn’t little league where everyone gets a trophy. He is an adequate defender at 3 infield positions. So what? It doesn’t mean I should be cheering for him. I think the biggest problem is Gardy’s inability to gauge his actual value. Which is that of a utility infielder. Not a starter on a contender.
So is this Nick Punto obsession based in his halfway decent 2006 season (which wasn’t really all that good when you factor in he was playing third base) where he was one of the sparkplugs to a team that won the division on the last day of the season? If it is that is BS. Not only has be done very little to help the team since then, I would argue that he has had two seasons that really hurt the team. Everyone has bemoaned our general badness at the infield positions lately. If we simple had league average, or even replacement level production instead of the stinkers Punto put up in 07 and 09 who knows what might have happened. He was a complete black hole offensively, a free out if you will. There is no level of defense that would make Puno 07 or Punto 09 an acceptable major leaguer. I understand the importance of defense, but I also understand that it is half the game.
So can someone explain to me why people love Punto so much? Are there several no talent players who try hard that have a irrational fanbase? Overall I think he is a useful player to have on the team, shouldn’t be starting nor should he be making 4 million dollars a year. I also don’t get why we have him AND Tolbert. Seems like overkill.20 comments
According to something called Scott Miller over at CBSsports.com, the Twins have made an offer to Jarrod Washburn. Here are the reasons Miller thinks the Twins think Washburn can help the team:
As for Washburn, 35, the Twins view him as a perfect fit in that he is left-handed, he’s got a reputation as being a good guy in the clubhouse, he’s pitched enough that he can help anchor a young staff and he’s an Upper Midwest native (he was born in Wisconsin and still lives in there in the off-season, in Webster).As you can see, none of those reasons are “he is a good pitchers who can get people out and win games”.
I see no reason to sign Washburn if we already have Pavano. Is Washburn really much of an upgrade over someone like Perkins/Duensing/Liriano (or Manship if you want to include right handers)? I say no. Especially since the Twins seem reluctant to cut ties with failed free agent pitchers in a timely fashion (see: Hernandez, Livan, and Ortiz, Ramon). Couldn’t you just see the Twins trotting Washburn and his 5.50 ERA out to the mound every fifth day until mid-July? I totally could.
Washburn was excellent for a few months in Seattle last year but he was a) playing in a massive park, and b) had one of the best outfield defenses EVER playing behind him. Everyone claims his knee injury caused his 7+ ERA with the Tigers, but I think it was a combination of the knee and his inherent crappiness rising to the surface.
What do you think? Would Washburn help the team or are we better off filling in the last rotation spot internally?
After Carl Pavano accepted arbitration, the Twins found themselves in a brand new bind — they had 41 players on their 40 man roster. So they had to get rid of someone, and there were certainly plenty of options.* But they chose to cut Boof Bonser, and I can’t say I understand the decision.
* Tolbert if you want to cut the worst player, Keppel if you want to cut the worst pitcher.
Boof pitched poorly enough in 2008 to lose his job, then missed all of 2009 with an injury. The Twins, it’s worth noting, gave him the typical Twins medical advice when he began having shoulder problems during 2008; rest and rehabilitation to waste a few months, then major surgery when it becomes clear rest & rehab never could have actually solved the problem. Hey, it worked for Neshek! So Boof ended up getting the Jesse Crain Special* and missed the year. Of course, he got a year of major league service time for that — just like Liriano and Neshek did — which means Boof would have been arbitration eligible this year, and would almost certainly have cost over $1M.
* That’s the “rotator cuff and torn labrum” surgery that all Twins pitchers seem to need after spending enough time with Rick Anderson. What? Did I say that out loud?
So yes, maybe the move was predicated on money, but it’d only be half a million more than Bobby Keppel makes, and I don’t see a reason to think that Boof couldn’t have bested Keppel’s 91 ERA+ in a long-relief/mop-up role. And given Boof’s arm and stuff and propensity for strikeouts, he certainly had more upside; a pitcher like that could have success as a 7th/8th inning setup man.
I don’t think this move was about money — there’s just not enough of it involved. And I don’t think it’s about talent either — even Gardenhire must know that Keppel’s no great shakes. I’d be somewhat surprised if we haven’t replaced Keppel by the time Spring Training ends.
I think this move indicated something else; that the Twins have soured on Bonser, perhaps much in the same way that they’ve soured on Perkins. I don’t know why they might have given up on him … maybe he put a bunch of weight back on, maybe his velocity is down, maybe he’s not taking well to his workout program, maybe he’s being an asshole, maybe the Twins are being assholes, there are plenty of options. But Boof’s stock has tanked over the last 18 months, and it can’t all be because of performance. (He’d need to have either gotten on the mound, or indicated that he can’t get back onto the mound, for it to be solely or primarily for performance reasons.)
It remains to be seen if there’s any interest around the league. How many teams have a roster spot available for a high-upside strikeout pitcher in his 20s on a minor league contract? Would they be willing to take the risk given his injury history?
If nobody wants Boof, the Twins can keep him at AAA, which is probably what they’re hoping for. But I can’t imagine any reason to take this risk given the option of simply cutting Keppel loose.
What do you think the reasoning here was? Are you happy to see Boof go, or not?21 comments
This is just paperwork at this point, but Miguel Angel Sano/Jean* has received his work visa and will be allowed to travel to the USA and work for the Minnesota Twins.
* When he was negotiating the deal, his name was “Miguel Angel Sano.” When he signed the contract with the Twins, he became “Miguel Jean.” When he got his work visa, he is apparently “Miguel Angel Sano” again. Sano is his mother’s name, and Dominican people typically use their mother’s name out of respect until they come of age and begin using their father’s name — but if you’re in the middle of an identity/age verification process, is this really the type of stuff you want to be doing? I’ll be calling him Sano/Jean for the foreseeable future.
Thus ends the first exciting ordeal of his professional baseball career — the process of proving his identity and age and officially becoming the property of a major league team. As everyone knows by now, Sano/Jean claimed he was 16 years old and few believed him (he’s 6′3″, 190 lbs, and very advanced for his apparent age); the Pirates were said to be most interested in his services, but refused to commit without proof of his age. When MLB said they could verify his identity but not his age, the Pirates submitted a lowball offer to his agent, and the Twins were able to steal him away by taking a risk on him.
“Miguel will pick up his visa on Monday and with that it ends a long and painful process,” [Sano/Jean's agent, Rob] Plummer said. “Many teams were interested in Sano’s talent, but Minnesota always trusted that everything was right and that’s why today they have one of the best young players in the world.”
Sano/Jean will most likely report to the Pacific Gulf Coast league to start his professional career in 2010.
The Sano/Jean signing was, in my mind, one of the three events that marked a turning point in the history of the Twins organization, from the “fill up with low-risk/low-upside middle infielders who can’t hit and supplement with the occasional low-baseball-IQ super-athlete who probably won’t make it” philosophy of the 1990s and 2000s, to a much more aggressive “focus on high-upside talent even if it costs more money and entails considerable risk” strategy that they’ve shown lately with these three moves:
- Signing German teenager Max Kepler to the largest bonus in the history of European players
- Signing Dominican teenager Miguel Angel Sano/Jean to one of the largest bonuses in the history of Latin American players
- Going well above slot to steal Kyle Gibson with the 22nd pick of the draft after he slipped from the top 5/10 due to injury concerns
Obviously, the former strategy has worked well; the Twins rebuilt themselves from the disaster that was the 1990s into a model franchise by following it. But the time for a change had certainly come: it would be virtually (if not completely) impossible for the team to take the next step without focusing on higher-upside prospects. And after the Twins blogosphere clamored for years for the Twins to at least try to take the step from “annually contending within the division but incapable of competing with the top AL teams” to perhaps being able to make a title run and sustain a higher level of success, they’ve finally started to do it.
For now, 2008 and 2009 have been remarkable for the back-to-back Game 163s, and for the transcendent play of Mauer. But by the time Sano/Jean reaches the high minors, 2008/2009 could very well be remembered as the year the Twins changed course and altered their history for the better.
Over the long run, that’s much more significant.No comments
No, this isn’t a post about random Joe Mauer sightings around Minneapolis, it is regarding the Twins to 50th aniversary campaign. Seems like a cool idea, very similar the the Peanuts campaign in Saint Paul a few years back.
I don’t think the Twins need any extra advertising, especially with Target Field opening up, but it can’t hurt. I think they should roll it out sooner, especially the statues from the Twins early years, so younger fans can take in a lot of Twins history before the 2010 season starts. Or they can just use wikipedia, whatever works.4 comments
While perusing the Twins section of the startribune website this morning, I came across Joe C’s Twins offseason to-do list. I glanced over it and it made sense to me. Extend Mauer’s contract, find someone to play third, etc. All pretty standard stuff. Then I noticed what #2 said:
2Explore trades for an ace, such as Josh Johnson or Roy Halladay.Roy Halladay? The same guy who nobody was able to trade for last summer due to JP Riccardi’s incompetence. I can kind of understand Josh Johnson because he plays for the Marlins and will soon be making more than league minimum, therefore there is no place for him in Miami. But Halladay? Are we just throwing names of good pitchers out there? Very unlike Joe C to petition for the Twins to make a fantasy baseball type move.
In other somewhat related news, the Phillies have declined Pedro Feliz’s option. I haven’t done a ton of research on him, but does anyone think he might be a decent option for a year or two? His hitting line doesn’t jump out at me, and he is middle of the pack defensively. Both of those things are better than most of what we have had at third over the years. Obviously I’m not saying lets go out and sign him today, but rather let’s add him to the list of possibilities. Which is pretty short at this point. If one of the options is re-sign Joe Crede and his impressive injury history, you know its slim pickings.1 comment
Well, I haven’t posted anything since the Twins season ended, and a lot has with the Twins since then. Sirsean has covered most of it, but I’ll give you my analysis.
- Earlier this week the Twins traded defensive specialist Carlos Gomez to the Brewers for power-hitting shortstop JJ Hardy. When you say it like that, it sounds as though the Twins got a steal of a deal. Hardy is coming off a career worst season, and spent time in the minors last year. This benefits the Twins because he remains under team control for one additional year. I’ve always been a big JJ Hardy fan and hoped the Twins would make this move at some point. I assumed we would have to give up pitching, which you always hate to do. However, the Twins have a ton of back of the rotation type starters so I wouldn’t have had a problem with them shipping someone like Perkins to the Brewers. So when I heard that we gave up just Gomez I was thrilled. Gomez is an elite defensive centerfielder, and with our flyball pitching staff he was quite the asset. Hardy has shown he can be a good hitter at the major league level, so hopefully his 2009 season was just a fluke.
- I’m cool with exercising Cuddyer’s option. Nyer can suck it.
- There are still a few items left of the offseason checklist. I think we need to address one of second or third base. Possibly re-sign Pavano or someone similar. I don’t want to trade Joe Nathan, so we won’t be doing that.
- I hope to get an offseason goals post up sometime this week.
Now, I’m not someone who gets tricked by flukish numbers often,* but check this out:
It has been nearly eight years since Rivera allowed a run in a postseason game at Yankee Stadium. His current postseason scoreless streak at home is 29 1/3 innings (the most by anyone ever in his home park). And in another amazing coincidence for an amazing pitcher, the first 29 1/3 postseason innings he threw at Yankee Stadium were scoreless as well. Here are the longest postseason scoreless-innings streaks at a home ballpark.
So he went 29.1 IP without giving up a run, gave some up, and then has gone exactly 29.1 IP since then without giving up a run? So you’re telling me that the Twins will come back off Rivera on Friday night? I think that’s what you’re telling me.
* Who am I kidding? Yes I am.
Additional fun numbers:
Rivera wears #42, and he’s pitched 42 games at home in the postseason, and his ERA in those games is 0.42 (if you tried to make something like this up, people would laugh in your face).No comments