Tagged with "Minnesota Twins"
I'm Just Saying.....
Category: User Showcase
Tags: New York Yankees Jacoby Ellsbury Brian McCann Minnesota Twins USC Steve Sarkisian Ed Orgeron Mike Tomlin

I’m Just Saying…..

 

Are the Yankees trying to get under the $189 million dollar payroll like they were talking about all during the 2013 season, or are they trying to make a statement. You can have all the offensive power you want, but, without pitching, you can’t win. By the way McCann signed a 5-year $85 million dollar contract ($17 million a year. He has a full no-trade provision. Ellsbury will sign a 7-year, $153 million dollar contract as soon as he passes his physical.


Is there something in the water that Minnesota Twins general manager is drinking? He spent some big bucks (at least big bucks in Twins dollars) for Ricky Nolasco (4-years, $49 million) and Phil Huges (3-years $24 million).


 

Not that I like USC, but now after what they did to ED Orgeron I will never root for them. Even if they play against the Florida Gators or Notre Dame. Ed takes over a team that is spiraling downhill and rights the ship. USC athletic director, Pat Haden, really never wanted Orgeron so why did he make him the interim coach?


Mike Tomlin knows what he did. See the grin. He should have been fined $500,000.

Mauers Clears Waivers But No Need To Panic
Category: MLB
Tags: MLB Minnesota Twins Joe Mauer

 

 

 

The Major League Baseball waiver process is meant to be confidential. However, like everything else in the information age, nothing is truly confidential and naturally everyone knows about it.

 

All you need is a "major-league source".

 

So it was of little surprise that the entire state of Minnesota went into a panic when reports started to come out that golden boy Joe Mauer had been placed on, and later cleared, revocable waivers. Fans are worried that after clearing waivers, the often fiscally-minded Twins would now have the ability to trade the man making an average of $23.5 million over the course of the next six seasons. By clearing waivers, the Twins can now shop him to any team out there, rather than simply a single team who won a waiver claim.

 

But Minnesota fans can relax a bit. While the Twins are right to feel out the market and see what is out there in terms of offers, they are unlikely to find a similar deal to the one made between the Dodgers and Red Sox a week earlier. That is not to say that it isn't out of the realm of possibility, but there are several factors that would likely prevent any such deal from involving Mauer:

 

1.) While Mauer is a tremendous hitter,especially for a catcher, his power has never developed to the point where his contract makes sense. That is especially true when you consider that his current career path, despite his fielding abilities at the catcher position, are taking him out from behind the plate. His body just won't continue to hold up as a catcher and he is better served to play at first or designated hitter. That is where the lack of power hurts him.

 

2.) Mauer has spent his entire life in Minnesota, which is part of the reason the Twins chose to splurge when extending his contract. He is marketable there as the hometown kid done good. You take him out of Minnesota, and he's just another quiet leader, but not a star.

 

3.) Mauer has a full no-trade clause in his contract, meaning that he can veto any trade to any team. With a limited amount of teams who will be able to not only take on his contract, but also trade the pieces to entice the Twins to make the deal, it is even more prohibitive knowing that the player could not only veto your trade, but also stifle any chances of moving him in the future. Want a reason why this is a big issue, see item #2.

 

None of these items has stopped the media from openly speculating how the suddenly salary free Boston Red Sox could make a run at Mauer, and make him the new face of the franchise. While it is a test of Ben Cherington's resolve to not handcuff the team again, it is made easier by knowing that Mauer doesn't truly fit with Boston either.

 

Case in point, the Red Sox just traded a high-priced first baseman who was not contributing the power numbers expected of him in Fenway Park. When you slot another, similar player into the position, at roughly the same salary, it just does not make any further sense. Oh, and the Red Sox do not do full no-trade clauses.

 

Maybe the suddenly free spending Dodgers could make a run. But then again, Mauer's salary, on top of Crawford's and Gonzalez's, plus the inability to slot him into any other position other than catcher kills that thought. Oh, and did I mention they traded away a good portion of their farm system to Boston?

 

No, in all likelihood, Minnesota is just doing its due diligence and feeling out the market. The Twins are unlikely to pull the trigger on any deal involving Mauer for the time being. They may re-enter conversations during the winter, but even that seems like a long-shot.

 

Nope, Joe Mauer will likely be a Twin for a very long time. But at least he's a fuzzy pair of handcuffs.

This Week In Small Market Baseball - 5-12-2012
Category: MLB
Tags: MLB Cleveland Indians Pittsburgh Pirates Washington Nationals Oakland Athletics Minnesota Twins

 

Welcome friends and baseball fans to another edition of This Week in Small Market Baseball. This week, we tackle the Pirates, the Nationals, the A’s, the Twins, and the Cleveland Indians, so let’s jump right onto the diamond and hit the bases.

 

 

 

-         - Pirates’ starter James McDonald is having a solid season despite his team’s offensive struggles. He is 2-2 on the year with a 2.42 ERA and 39 strike-outs over 44.2 innings pitched. Still, the 27-year-old righty deserves better, as he’s allowed 3 earned runs or less in all 7 of his starts and has taken a loss or a no-decision in 5 of those. He can blame the offensively challenged Pirates who are last in Major League Baseball with only 89 runs scored in 32 games. You can’t win a lot of games when the offensive can’t give you at least 3 runs scored.

 

-         - Just when I was ready to admit that Bryce Harper had become the mature player that I had previously said he needed to grow into, he proves me right. His leap to the majors has been successful, minus the power that will come, but his ability was never the question. He has shown the need to become more professional and on Friday night, he showed why he still has a long way to go. Harper took a strike-out badly and decided to take his frustration out of the dugout wall. The only problem was that this was the one time he didn’t have good bat control, and the bat rebounded off the wall and clocked him in the melon. The subsequent wound required 10 stiches to close up and cost Harper a little bit of the luster from his star. Hopefully it is a lesson learned because Kevin Brown and Amare Stoudemire are horrible role models for a young player.

 

 

 

-         - Think the Tigers are wishing that they had waited out Brandon Inge’s struggles? The third baseman, now with Oakland, has 4 home runs and 17 RBI in 10 games since joining the A’s.  More impressive is the streak he is on, with 4 RBI or more in four of the last five games he’s played. Inge is still batting only .197 on the season, but he’s been a solid boost for an A’s line-up looking for a power bat.

 

-         - At 29-years-old, Joe Mauer should be entering the prime of his career, yet he is starting to look like his best years are behind him, with a .274 average and just 7 extra-base hits in his first 113 at-bats. Since signing the biggest contract in club history prior to the 2010 season, Mauer has played in just 250 games, hitting .308 with a total of 13 home runs and 120 RBI. Granted, he’s had trouble staying healthy through the last two seasons, but his lack of power makes paying $23 million a season to an Ichiro type hitter a bit much. It was a contract that the Twins needed to sign in order to show the fans that they were committed to fielding a winner, but six more seasons at that rate may be a big chunk to swallow for a team that cannot afford to make those kinds of mistakes.

 

 

 

-         - Watch out folks, but the best trade in the entire off-season may have been the Indians acquisition of right-hander Derek Lowe from the Braves. Cleveland sent minor-leaguer Chris Jones to the Braves for Lowe and $10 million to offset his salary prior to the 2012 season, and Lowe has made them look brilliant. The 38-year-old is 5-1 with a 2.47 ERA for the first-place Indians. Causes of concern include the fact that batters are hitting him at a rate of .303 on the season and he sports a meager 2.7 strike-outs per nine innings pitched, but Lowe is also getting a solid 2.33 ground-outs to air outs. He may not keep it up throughout the season, but it may almost be safe to say that the Indians are getting their $5 million worth.

Happy Birthday Kirby Puckett - By The Numbers
Category: MLB
Tags: MLB Minnesota Twins Kirby Puckett

 

 

 

The small market teams have not always been so. Some of them, like the Minnesota Twins, own a rich history which is woven into the fabric of baseball lore.

 

The three-time World Series champions (1987 and 1991 in Minnesota, and 1924 as the Washington Senators) have carved themselves quite the niche in the game. The organization has seen twenty-three National Baseball Hall of Fame inductees, of which sixteen were members of the Washington Senators and seven being members of the Minnesota Twins incarnation. And while Walter Johnson and Harmon Killebrew are likely considered the two greatest players to don an organizational uniform, another man captivated the fans like no other.

 

That man is Kirby Puckett, who would have celebrated his 52nd birthday today.

 

Puckett is one of just seven numbers retired by the Twins, cementing a career that saw the short and stocky outfielder achieve just about everything a player can in 12-season career. Taken from the game due to glaucoma at the age of 35 and then ultimately suffering a fatal cerebral hemorrhage at the age of 45, Puckett's light shone brightly but burned out entirely too fast. At the time of his death, Puckett was the 2nd youngest inducted Hall of Famer to pass away, behind only Lou Gehrig.

 

In honor of Puckett's birthday and his contributions to the game, here is just a brief  rundown of Puckett's career:

 

1- Number of appearances on the Hall of Fame ballot it took Puckett to win election. Despite playing just 12     seasons and failing to accumulate 3000 hits, Puckett appeared on 82.1% of the ballots and was inducted with former teammate Dave Winfield in 2001.

 

2 - World Series championships Puckett helped bring to Minnesota, winning in both 1987 and in 1991.

 

3 - Highest position Puckett would finish in the MVP voting during his career. He would finish third in both 1987 and 1988.

 

4 - Although Puckett would win only batting title during his career, he would lead the league in hits four times.

 

6 - For a man many considered to be overweight, Puckett was a six-time winner of the AL Gold Glove award in the outfield. This was showcased by the amazing catch Puckett made during the 1991 World Series to rob Ron Gant of extra bases

 

 

10 - Puckett would make 10 All-Star game appearances during his career, only missing the honor during his first two seasons in the league.

 

142 - Another underrated part of Puckett's game was his throwing arm. Puckett would accumulate 110 outfield assists during his career, good for 127th all-time.

 

207 - Known for his hitting ability, many fans forget that Puckett could turn on a pitch when he really wanted to, hitting 207 career home runs.

 

.318 - Puckett put up an amazing career batting average of .318, which is saying something when you consider how much of a free-swinger he was. He batted .339 during his career on balls in play.

 

1996 - Puckett took home the Roberto Clemente award in 1996 for his community service work, marking the first and only time a non-active player won the award.

 
Health of M and M Boys Will Determine Twins Fate
Category: MLB
Tags: MLB Minnesota Twins Joe Mauer Justin Morneau

 

2011 was supposed to be the Twins year. They were coming off of a fantastic 2010 season that was capped by another playoff appearance and their customary three-and-out performance in the Divisional Series against the Yankees. They were playing their second season in the brand new Target Field and it appeared that they would not be challenged for the weak American League Central division.

Well, as with a lot of the predictions heading into 2011, they blew away in the wind just as soon as the gates opened.

Instead of winning the division, the Twins suffered through one of their worst seasons in recent memory. They finished at the bottom of the AL Central with a record of 63-99 while they watched Detroit run away with the title. Even their home field, which had been an advantage for years, treated them poorly, holding the Twins to a 33-48 mark at home.

Now in fairness, the Twins were beset with injuries last season, when their three primary bats, Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, and Jason Kubel missed a total of 236 games between them. That left the sole responsibility of producing on the back of Michael Cuddyer, and while he did admirably, that is a lot of weight to shoulder.

2012 doesn’t appear to be any easier for the Twins. Both Cuddyer and Kubel have moved on through free agency, the Tigers added Prince Fielder during the offseason, and that says nothing of the strides expected of both Cleveland and Kansas City for the upcoming season.

The Twins did counteract the loss of Cuddyer by inking Josh Willingham to a 3-year, $21 million deal, but the real hinge for them swings on the health of both Mauer and Morneau.

And isn’t that the rub just about every year with the Twins?

Morneau has missed 200 games over the last three seasons combined as he has dealt with a string of injuries, including two concussions while Mauer has missed an average of 20 games per season, minus the two stellar years he put together in 2009 and 2010. Mauer is back behind the plate after some experimentation of playing him at first base last season in order to keep him healthy, while the decision to let Kubel leave was likely attributable to the desire to give Morneau time in the DH slot for the same reason.

There is no doubt that the pair makes a huge difference for the team. Two MVP award between them is proof to that. The question comes as to what to expect from them in 2012. While Mauer may swing a sweet stick, his power outburst in 2009 may be a bit of a reach to expect again, as his average of 9 home runs per year in the other five full seasons are likely more indicative of his true power, especially given that Target Field isn’t as hitter friendly as the Metrodome once was.

Meanwhile, Morneau’s struggles with post-concussion syndrome may be more worth watching, as they seem to be triggered by other injuries. If he is fully recovered and ready to resume his career, his power numbers are much easier on the eyes than Mauer’s and there is no doubt that the Twins could use his bat. They’ll need it every day if they want to succeed in 2012.

After making the decision to extend both of these young bats a few years ago, the Twins are definitely looking for a little more bang for their buck. That starts with getting them both in the line-up, together.

Otherwise, it could be another long season of looking up at what might have been.

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