Results tagged ‘ Twins ’

RIP Don Mincher

 A former Minnesota Twin by the name of Don Mincher passed away today.  He was before my time, but I know his name from old stories and old highlight reels (especially of the 1965 World Series, a season & series in which he played a key role).

Mincher never accumulated more than 500 at-bats in a single season, but he was a solid platoon player, backup, and fill-in.  For his career (six years of which were spent here in Minny), Mincher hit .249, smacked 200 home runs on the dot, and had a pretty decent .798 OPS.  For a guy who hit the ball with authority, he almost had as many career walks as strikeouts, so he must have had a pretty good eye at the plate to boot.

Though Mincher may always be remembered as “Killebrew’s backup”, at least he is remembered fondly here in Minnesota.

Well, That Was Quick…

 Well, after just 13 warm-up pitchers in his first bullpen session of spring training, new Twins acquisition Joel Zumaya torn a ligament in his throwing shoulder and will be out for the rest of the season and probably his career barring extensive rehab.

On one hand, I feel really bad for the guy.  I mean, he’s tried to come back so many times that this must be a crushing blow for him.

On the other hand, I sincerely hope that this is not a harbinger of things to come for the Twins.  Pure logic would indicate that one player’s injury cannot “cause” another, but superstition is a powerful force in baseball clubhouses.  If a team feels as if they have been bit by the injury bug (see: 2011 Twins), then every scratch turns into a DL stint.

But here’s some good news to leave off with for now…

 Justin Morneau has had four good days in a row (knock on wood)!!

Retiring Numbers & Twins HOF ’12

Two comments on “Twins Legacy” happenings upcoming in 2012…

1. Tom Kelly’s #10 will be retired by the Twins:

Though many of my fellow Twins fans don’t agree with this decision, I have no problem with #10 being “taken off the books” in honor of Kelly.  Why, then, should a manager with a losing record be given such an honor?

Well, first of all, he just happened to preside over the worst talent drought (1993-2000) in franchise history, when the team gave him (financially-speaking) absolutely no chance to win.  Thus, all those losing seasons seriously tarnished his record.

When I think of TK, though, I think of the stability and (more importantly) respectability he brought to the Twins’ organization.  There was no “Twins way” (pitching, defense, fundamentals, etc.) before Mr. Kelly took the reigns.  Both during and since his tenure, however, the Twins have developed into a model baseball organization from the bottom up (with a few hiccups along the way, of course).

Thus, I am happy to see TK given the ultimate honor in the Twins organization.

2. Camilo Pascual was voted into the Twins Hall of Fame (seen here in Senators dress)…

Camilo spent all but the tail end of his career with the Senators/Twins.  His curveball is compared to Bert Blyleven’s by old-timers, he racked up impressive strikeout totals for his day, and (during his prime) routinely completed half of the games he started.

Camilo also had that ” ace” persona about him, where he was the guy you wanted to have the ball in the big games.

I never got to see Camilo pitch, obviously, but I’ve “heard/read” enough to convince me that he belongs in the Twins’ HOF.

Tiger Cub Prince

After hearing the news yesterday that Prince Fielder signed a monumental deal with the Detroit Tigers, I was conflicted as to my response.

On one hand, I have always been a huge fan of Fielder, who I rank as probably my favorite non-Twins baseball player.

I have always enjoyed his violent and powerful (yet just somehow controlled) swing that produces such massive power…

As well as his youthful exuberance for playing the game…

At the same time, though, I dread the thought of him facing Twins pitching more than six games per year (now MUCH more).  He’ll have no trouble jacking them out of Target Field on multiple occasions, I’m afraid.

Rolling The Dice

Yesterday, the Twins announced the one-year signing of former Detroit Tigers reliever Joel Zumaya.  I’ve always like this guy, what with his blazing fastball and overall intimidating presence.  This guy can be a game-changer out of the pen.

Why is this not bigger news, then?  Because the last time Zumaya threw a major league pitch (at Target Field, oddly enough), this was the result…

Yeah, he pretty much completely blew out his arm (fractured elbow) and writhed in agony out on the Target Field mound in 2010.

Supposedly his rehab is going quite well, but it remains to be seen if he can ever regain the health and confidence to be dominant again.  Considering the short duration and monetary involvement of the Twins in this deal, though, it sure seems like a risk worth taking (considering how desperate we are for strong bullpen arms).

Notes:

-The Twins and Glen Perkins reached a one-year deal to avoid arbitration.

Saying Goodbye…And Hello

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.

December Ramblings…

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.

“I Think I’ll Miss You Most Of All, Scarecrow”

After a 99-loss season, change is inevitable.  However, I was very sad to hear today that Joe Nathan is now a Texas Ranger.

Since his arrival in Minnesota in 2004, Joe Nathan (with the exception of perhaps Brad Radke) has been my favorite Twin.  He had the dominant “stuff” that Everyday Eddie lacked, the humble attitude, and the most incredible “walk-up” theme in Twins history.  I had his jersey for awhile and it is no coincidence that the name of this blog is so closely related to Mr. Nathan.

I realize that this is strictly a business decision for the Twins organization (and I guess we offered him a decent proposal, too), but oh I’m going to miss this so much…

Mr. Terry Ryan, Ladies and Gentlemen…

Well, once again Terry Ryan seems to have made another shrewd move in trying to re-tool a somewhat lost franchise.

Ryan Doumit (formerly of the Pittsburgh Pirates) was brought in to back-up Joe Mauer in 2012.  As we all know, that gig means catching noon “getaway” days as a given, as well as perhaps being thrust into a starting role should Mauer succumb to injury again.

After seeing Drew Butera & Rene Rivera make Tim “Buck Ninety” Laudner seem like a batting champion, Ryan realized that a backstop with a good combination of defense and pop in the bat is a must on this club.

Doumit has hit .271 in seven seasons with the Pirates, including an OPS of .777.  Nothing all-star worthy, but better than what we’ve got behind Joe now.  Plus, Doumit (from what I have read) seems like a real “gamer” who will quickly buy into Gardy’s (hopefully) increased work on fundamentals and become a team leader.  Plus, Ryan can play a little outfield and first base if needed.

Again, Terry Ryan rubs a little salve on the wounds in hopes of healing their roots.

Remembering ’11


Although the 2011 season did not end well for the Minnesota Twins (the understatement of the year, to be sure), it is still another baseball season in the books, full of ups and downs and memorable moments along the way. This post list those moments that I remember…

-On my couch, hot dogs and brats in hand, to watch Opening Day…and then seeing the Twins out of it in Toronto before it even began, really.  Should have known something from Day One, I guess.

-Getting all excited about Nishioka, then seeing the Yankees take him out early and him become a basket case late.

-Liriano’s May no-no against the White Sox.  Probably the most unimpressive no hitter I’ve ever seen, but still a special night.

-The mid-June surge that saw Ben Revere and Alexi Casilla ignite the team.

-Watching at Target Field as Matt Capps blew ANOTHER save against the Brew Crew.

-Walking on the hallowed “Field of Dreams” in Iowa as part of a baseball-themed vacation.

-Seeing the Twins play the White Sox at The Cell as part of said vacation.

-Attending (at one point in early July) four games in the span of five days.

-The terrible months of August & September which, towards the end, even tested my patience in sitting through an entire error-ridden, pitching-splintered game.

And then, of course, there was perhaps the most meaningless season finale in Twins history.  Except, of course, that it wasn’t.  With John Gordon behind the microphone for the final time, the Twins rallied in the ninth for a walk-off win thanks to the bat of Trevor Plouffe and the legs of Denard Span.

Though, for sure, those last few months were trying and many times I just wished the season would mercifully come to a close, that final game really put things in perspective.  With each passing day without baseball (and especially when football comes to an end), all I’ll want is simply this, with my Minnesota Twins…

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