Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Piranhas

In the 2006 season, Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen coined the phrase "piranhas" to describe the speedy slap-hitters in the Twins lineup. This comment was the single most effective move any manager has made in the past two seasons. (Remarkably, no left-handed relief pitchers were involved). When he said this, Ozzie knew that the Twins propaganda machine would use this to convince fans that the Twins are lucky to have such an abundance of speedy slap-hitters. Dick Bremer can babble all he wants about how exciting the piranhas are. Meanwhile, the sharks are winning ballgames. The one run that separated the two teams in the standings was a Jim Thome solo shot in the tiebreaker. And let's not forget that in the first two games of the infamous 4-game sweep in June, Joe Crede hit as many home runs as Nick Punto did in 2006, 2007, and 2008 combined.

Friday, December 26, 2008

White Knuckle Fun

Today is worth a brief detour from an exclusive Punto-only focus.

R.A. Dickey? What? Was Tony Fiore's palm ball unavailable? Did Seattle refuse to part with Bob Wells (again)? A knuckle ball pitcher for the bullpen?

Of course, the spin on it is that Dickey is signed to a minor league deal and isn't intended to be the 8th inning guy. I'll believe it when I see it.

Way to go Twins. Upgrading the left side of the infield with leftover Vegetarian Piranha and a guy you let go last year.

Welcome to Twins Territory 2009.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

It's been one week.......

It's been one week since Nick Punto signed a contract that could be worth $13+ million over three seasons.

It's been one year since Nick Punto posted one of the worst offensive seasons in the history of baseball. Need proof? Check out the VORP stats at Baseball-Prospectus.com here. He's a full 8 runs worse than the next guy on the list and in two and a half times as many plate appearances! A quick search reveals that his final total of -27.1 is good for 5th worst of all-time. (Note that David McCarty's 1993 season with the Twins is good for 4th worst, Cristian Guzman's 1999 season 7th worst, and switch-hitting catcher Matt Walbeck's 1994 campaign clocks in at 11th. This is Twins territory. Get to know 'em.)

Surely 2007 must have been an aberration if the Twins are willing to reward this man with such a contract. Well, if Punto's next 3 seasons match his last 3 seasons (2 of which include his "best" ones spent playing for contracts), he will make $137,755 per RBI, or $79,882 per run, or--in more useful terms--about $17 per missed sacrifice bunt.

More enhancements are coming. I just figure there's no rush. There are two (possibly three) full seasons of Punto to follow. Judging by the 587 comments that got posted on the Star Tribune comment board within 24 hours of the signing, everyone is as excited as I am.

Go Twins.