Results tagged ‘ Rockies ’
I hated seeing Michael Cuddyer and Jason Kubel leave for Colorado & Arizona, respectively. They have been incredibly fun to watch the last decade or so. I liked Kubel’s no-nonsense approach to success, as well as his live bat and always-improving defensive skills. Cuddyer, of course, was the epitome of the “Twins way” with his positive attitude, versatility, and toughness. There is no way that losing both of them will improve the team in any way, shape, or form for 2012.
The trouble, of course, is that the Twins (because of last season) dug themselves into such a hole that the competitive future is almost surely beyond ’12. As such, as much as I hate to say it, not overpaying for Cuddyer & Kubel was probably a smart decision. We gave them both fair offers (at least from what I heard/read) and they chose greener (literally) pastures. More power to them.
In Cuddy’s case, he’s never really developed into an elite player. He strikes out (on those @#$% outside pitches in the dirt!) far too much, is prone to long slumps, and could just as easily hit .260 with 15 homers next season. We can’t tie up any more money in that risk (see: Mauer/Morneau; unluckiness)
With Kubel, he could absolutely mash subpar pitching…but struggled mightily (sometimes even embarrassingly so) against the elites (see: Yankees in playoffs). Plus, the move to Target Field really dulled his right field gap home run power.
So, as much as I hate to see them go, I have to conclude that it makes sense at this point in the Twins’ future.
We did, however, sign Josh Willingham (formerly of the Marlins, Nats, & most recently A’s)…
I don’t really know much about Willingham, but I like the reviews of him I hear from other players. He seems to have some pop in his bat as well. What I like the most, however, is that his career OPS is over .800. It isn’t tremendous, of course, but far better than most players in our lineups last year. At the very least, he can hopefully provide some veteran leadership to what promises to be an interesting mish-mash of a team in ’12.
Oh yeah, I almost forgot…
We also got Jason Marquis (of basically every NL team, I believe…!). Considering the little money we paid him, this could be a steal…provided he comes back from a leg injury sustained last season. He’s a workhorse who prides himself (much like Pavano) on taking the ball every fifth day. Lord knows we need more of those types around these parts.
My thoughts on a few Twins moves the last month or so…
Kevin Slowey traded to Colorado: You know, I was always a big Kevin Slowey supporter. I thought he had the stuff to be the next “Brad Radke”, and I think that concept still exists. However, it will likely never be realized because of his inability to stay healthy for any prolonged period of time. Slowey is one of those pitchers who needs to be 100% healthy to succeed, as he relies on such pinpoint control and sharp breaking pitches. Any “hitch in his giddyup” will cause him not only to fail, but fail miserably. Thus, despite having high hopes for him, I can’t say I’m all that sorry to see him go.
Matt Capps back as closer: I didn’t like Capps from the beginning, and I haven’t changed that opinion. I honestly do not know what the organization sees in this guy. Does he have the potential to be a decent middle-reliever? I think so. But CLOSER, where the pressure is magnified with every pitch? Nah-uh. He has proven time and time again (when healthy or hurting) that he can’t rise to that occasion like Mr. Nathan could. I know we are a wreck bullpen-wise, but to pin a key spot on this guy is tenuous at best.
Jim Hoey released: This guy was an absolute joke. I don’t understand how you can expect to have a major-league career when you can’t locate a fastball to save your life! Yes, he can throw the ever-loving @#$% out of the ball, but it doesn’t matter a bit…it’ll either be wide of the strike zone or right down the middle (with one option being as unpleasant as the other). Nothing lost here.
Jose Mijares released: Jose had one dominant year with the Twins…and hasn’t come close to that form since. Personality-wise, he never arrives to training camp on time (always visa issues) and, when he does show up, he’s grossly overweight. So, it isn’t until June when he’s even physically ready to pitch effectively. When on the mound, Mijares is wild to the point of frustration. Everyone can see he has “the stuff” to get lefty batters out at an alarming rate, but he just can’t do it consistently. Again, I know our ‘pen is a train-wreck right now, but this guy was beginning to become more trouble than he was worth.
My “official” predictions for the 2010 MLB season (before the season gets too far along and starts to affect my judgement!):
Boston (Wild Card)
Atlanta (Wild Card)
AL Champ: New York
NL Champ: Atlanta
World Series Champ: Atlanta Braves
Questions, comments, rants, profanity-laced tirades?!
Last night, as the Chicago White Sox opened their last three-game series at their personal house of horrors, the Metrodome, the team was essentially playing for the rest of the season in one night. With the post-season roster deadline kicking in at midnight, it represented teams’ last chance to improve their club for the stretch run. The Pale Hose were the epitomy of a bubble team, quickly fading from the AL Central race and needing to win this series to have any realistic hopes of remaining in the conversation.
Good thing that the Twins showed up to play then, huh?! Nick Blackburn (7 IP, 1 ER, 7K) continued his mastery of the Sox, while both Jo-Mo and Kubel went deep for most of the home boys’ offense. Can you believe that Mauer (now at 26 dingers) has a shot at 30?! If Albert Pujols is the undisputed king of NL hitters, than Joe Mauer obviously holds that position in the junior circuit.
After the loss, then, the Pale Hosers decided to cut bait, trading Jim Thome and Jon Garland to the LA Dodgers and sending Jose Contreras to the Colorado Rockies. So even if the Twins don’t game another game on the Tigers all season, at least we have the satisfaction of knowing that he did our part to knock our fiercest rivals out of it (sounds crass, yes, but I cannot and will not sympathize with a team coached by a nutjob like Ozzie Guillen).
-Wild prediction of the day: The Tampa Bay Rays will win the Wild Card in the AL.
-Speaking of the Rays, their big slugger Carlos Pena, quite remarkably, has more home runs than singles this season. Baseball Tonight continues to chart his progress, and it would be funny to see him finish that way. I believe Mark McGwire did that in his 70-homer season, if I’m not mistaken (or at least was close).
Preview (66-65, 2nd, 3.5 GB DET): John Danks (12-8, 3.82) vs. Jeff Manship (0-0, 5.14). Manship starting a game scares me a bit, but at least he won’t have Big Thome to deal with anymore!
Each year, usually after receiving the Sports Illustrated Baseball Preview issue, I make a complete set of MLB picks. It’s always fun to look back at them and see how right/wrong (wrong far outnumbering the right!) I was at the end of the season. Here they are for ’09:
Tampa Bay (Wild Card)
New York (Wild Card)
AL Champion: Boston
NL Champion: Chicago
World Series Champion: Chicago
So, after 100 long seasons of waiting, I think this is the year that the Cubbies will finally win the big one. I just think that their pitching is too good not to make a deep playoff run.
Yes, this is a bit of a late update (deer hunting opening weekend can do that to Twins fans!), but last Thursday it was announced that Twins catcher Joe Mauer received his first-ever AL Gold Glove award for his excellence at the catcher position. Anyone who has watched Mauer catch for the Twins in recent years knows that this award is very deserving, and actually long overdue. However, Gold Glove awards seem to run in bunches (Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez” had a lock on the award in recent seasons), so Mauer could very easily be beginning a long streak of taking home that specific gold hardware.
Next year, besides Mauer, I think Denard Span (if he sees everyday playing time) could very much be a Gold Glove candidate. Wouldn’t it be something to see Torii Hunter and his protege (Span) win the award in the same season?!
-A few rumors have been going around that Twins RF Michael Cuddyer has been mentioned in trade talks with the Colorado Rockies for their 3B Garrett Atkins. Don’t believe a word of it! With the kind of contract we gave Cuddyer prior to this season, he will be a Twin for a LONG time. Barring injury, he is a great right fielder with a cannon arm and good power…he’ll be sticking around.
-Also, the Twins have expressed interest in Dodgers 3B Casey Blake. However, Blake will ultimately have much too high of a price tag for the Twins’ budget. Plus, the platoon of Brian Buscher and Brendan Harris wasn’t all that bad last year, and Buscher has the potential to be an everyday player. My guess is that this rumor started up when Twins GM Bill Smith made one simple phone call to the Dodgers inquiring about Blake (likely at a bargain-basement price) like most other teams in the MLB right now that could use a third baseman. We had our shot at Blake earlier, but we went with Corey Koskie instead.