Friday, July 30, 2010

The Trade

Usually, I like to rate trades by how excited I am to get rid of the player the Twins traded. This time, I thought I'd try something different. I wanted to see how the other team's fans reacted. So I perused a Washington Nationals blog. I have two new friends:


Ramos has been an okay minor leaguer. It seems that most of the complements refer to his plus power (which is undeveloped yet) because of his body type. Body Type? That just means fat guy who can potentially swing a stick.


I’m going to be optimistic, which is hard for me, given the way the Nats are managed,
and I’m going to agree that we must trust Mr. Rizzo. At first, I thought,“Wow interesting trade”.
But then I read the fine print on this trade, hinting that Capps might have asked 7-8mil over his present 3.5mil at arbitration for next year. Then I got pessimistic again. Does this mean that any player with the Nats, who makes the All-stars, is a league leader in saves, and is only 26 years old, will be traded for an untried, usually injured, having a bad minor league season 22 year old rookie catcher? Of course, not to mention that a left handed reliever, who was on his way down from AA to A league, was thrown in for some reason (Did the Nats need a new batting practice pitcher?) And on top of this we give the Twins 500K to boot.

In the spirit of fairness, I suppose I should include a rebuttal from Twins fans:


Ramos was the Twins best bargaining chip. He had to go, but really, for a second-rate Rauch? We'll keep this guy for one year, then Nathan will be back as the closer and the Twins will have given up a future all-star catcher for half a season for a new closer that isn't any better than what we've got. BS! Front office: FAIL.


The Twins would have been better off waiting this time. Billy was WAY tooo caviler on this. Was he just trying to prevent Capps going to the ChiSox? Bad move long term for the Twins. Another Garza/Bartlett for Young.

I appreciate Shane's optimistic take on the deal, but I don't think it's that good. Nonetheless, as a rule of thumb, the team that trades a minor league catcher as its main piece of the deal comes out ahead.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Bunt

"If it works out, it's bases loaded for [Jason] Kubel -- I like those chances. I'm not feeling the greatest at the plate right now, and that factors in, but that situation, you get two guys in scoring position with Kubel up and one out, I take my chances with that for sure. Perez on the mound is nasty. He throws a cutter the majority of the time. It'll break away from a lefthanded hitter, and he induces a lot of double plays. So if I hit into a double play, you guys are probably talking about that."

I already used the quote from the movie Rudy about Justin Morneau. Instead, I'll rephrase a line which has been attributed to Mark Twain, Abe Lincoln, and others:

"Better to be presumed a wuss than to open your mouth and remove all doubt."

We like Mauer because he's the quintessential Minnesotan. He won't take the last doughnut. Instead, he'll leave it for Kubel. And when he gets mad, he doesn't show it. He's just passive-diddly-aggressive- almost as though he were raised with the University of Minnesota Spankological Protocol. Instead of showing his anger or frustration, he just says, "If I hit into a double play, you guys are probably talking about that."

I guess for $20 million a year, you can get a player who can at least get the bunt down.

Monday, July 12, 2010


There's a lot of trade talk these days, so I better state my opinion now. It would be nice to pull of a "Michael's Secret Stuff" deal like the Shannon Stewart trade. A solid lead-off hitter and average defensive player somehow completely turned things around. Even Pavano was a savvy acquisition. I'm not sure how wise it is, but this year, I'd like to see absolutely no move or an complete blockbuster. No move tells the players to get their heads in the game and play better baseball. Otherwise, I want a huge deal that moves at least two significant players. There are only two untouchables: Young and Pavano. For better or worse, Mauer is probably just beyond untouchable. He has the no-trade clause, too, right? That leaves Justin Morneau as a prime candidate to be the centerpiece of such a trade. I have no idea what I want or who I'd trade him for or why it would help the team. I'm angry and I want to blast with dynamite!

Oswalt alone is only enough to get the Twins to another division series loss. If, however, he could manage to turn around just one of Slowey, Blackburn, and Liriano, that changes things. I'm not sure that's possible. It's too late and I'm hungry.

Sunday, July 11, 2010


Everybody complains about Gardy's Sunday lineups. Aside from Punto at short, can we make this one permanent? It's amazing what you can string together without Joe hitting into double plays. Now cue the requisite pat themselves on the back for winning one of three. We struggled a little bit there, but we went into the break on a positive note. Now we get a bit of a chance to regroup.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Fair Weather

Every now and then, I skim through comments on various columns and articles about the Twins. I was somewhat surprised to see relatively few people complaining about the fair weather fans. Being a fan does not mean wearing blinders and insisting that you're team is really good. This team is terrible. That does not mean I do not want to see the Twins win. But I don't want to see them win the way they're playing right now. Instead, I need to see an attitude change. This team should be out to prove that they can win a playoff series. In the back of their minds, I think that's their mission, but they don't seem to think they can do much about that right now. They have taken the "one game at a time" philosophy in the wrong direction. To them, it means if we lose tonight, it's only one game. Instead, every night is a chance to prove that they can win a playoff series. They should play tonight as though they are down two games on the Yankees in the Division Series. Then again, maybe that's a bad idea. History says that means they would lose. But they are battling their tails off out there, pressing, and really getting after it.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


"You can find a negative in anything; you can find a positive in anything. I've learned over the course of my career the more often you look at the positive, the better off you're going to be. You can find something negative every single day. You can win a ballgame and come out with something negative. But if you focus on the positive, it doesn't wear you out mentally as much."

"You just summed up your sorry career here in one sentence."

Morneau summarizes what's wrong with the team more than anything else. By his theory, the Twins won a game against one of the top teams in the league this weekend. 'Attaboy, Justin. I'm all for the power of positive thinking, but the Twins seem to take it too far. It's more in the territory of rationalization. They are far more skilled at explaining why a loss is no big deal than they are at winning ballgames. Face it, Justin, if you play better baseball, there won't be so much negative to drag you down. If all the positive thinking prevents mental exhaustion, why do check out for the season in August? Maybe all that positive thinking convinces you to pace yourself for three more months of baseball. Remember the time you were so busy focusing on that positive mammoth home run at Miller Park that you couldn't hit and had to be sent back to AAA?

A few weeks ago, Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano threw a temper tantrum and blamed his first baseman for allowing the home runs. The Twins organization- management, players, the media, and fans- prides itself on not having that type of player on the roster. But do you know what? Carlos cared. I don't care if it was selfish because he wanted a better ERA or unselfish because he wanted to win. He cared. Things went poorly. He got mad. Is that too much to ask? I'd love to see that kind of spark in a Twins uniform. Heck, as long as people are talking deals, I'd love to see Carlos Zambrano in a Twins uniform. Yes, you saw that correctly. I suggested trading for Carlos Zambrano.

Saturday, July 3, 2010


The trade deadline is approaching. I started thinking about all of the ridiculous proposals I've seen on blogs and message boards. You know, the "let's trade Blackburn and Punto for Pujols" type deals. Swapping a starting pitcher with an ERA around 4.00 and light-hitting defensively challenged middle infielder for an MVP seems completely ridiculous. Of course, Blackburn's ERA is nowhere near 4.00 this season. Blackburn would have to pitch out of his mind to match his numbers from '08 and '09. But Matt Garza is on pace to finish the season with about 200 innings and an ERA of 4.00- just like Blackburn has done twice. Jason Bartlett is hitting even worse than Punto. Currently, Pujols is hitting .306 with 19 HRs and 59 RBI's. Delmon Young is hitting .296 with 9 HR's and 54 RBI's. In addition to the advantage in power, Pujols is also drawing more walks with about a .100 point OBP advantage. Young is certainly not Pujols, but he's certainly playing well enough that it actually makes sense to compare the players. I swore to myself that I would never again evaluate this trade, but when I noticed how similar it looks to some of the absurd suggestions- at least for the moment- I had to acknowledge it.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Cuddyer at Third

I'm sure Cuddyer's return to third base has delighted members of the blogosophere. I am not pleased by switch. Is Rush Limbaugh the one who says "follow the money" to analyze any situation? With Ron Gardenhire, just follow the Punto. Then it all makes sense.

Bill Smith and Ron Gardenhire have been playing chess with the lineup since the end of last season. Smith gave Gardy almost no option to keep Delmon Young on the bench. But during interleague play, Gardy moved Cuddyer to third in order to keep the best bats in the lineup. This gets everybody used to Cuddyer at third again. If Cuddyer is at third, then Kubel is in the outfield. If Kubel is in the outfield, all four outfield options on the Twins are in the game. If there are four outfield options in the game, then the Twins need another outfielder. (This much has already happened. My brother could vouch that I saw this coming). When JJ Hardy returns, he'll get his spot back at shortstop. Nick Punto battles out there. He plays great defense for us. He runs around the bases pretty well, too. He's versatile, so we'll find a way to work him in there. Gardy will want to play Punto at third to improve defense. He'll want to keep Cuddyer's bat in the lineup. Cuddyer is versatile. I think he's played just about every position for us at some point. He played right field before. We'll still run him out there now and then. This means Jason Kubel needs a place to go. Kubel will move to left and Young will sit on the bench. Checkmate. Gardy can now bench Delmon Young in order to work Nicky in there. If Gardy could manage a baseball game with this much foresight, I don't think we'd have the pitchers getting so many at bats in American League ballparks. Follow the Punto.