also available at www.SethSpeaks.net -
The Minnesota Twins 2010 Prospect Handbook is complete. The TwinsCentric/Maple Street Press Twins 2010 Annual is complete. The FoxSports/Scout.com magazine is complete. Twins Fest is complete. A break may be necessary, but instead, I thought it would be good to go another nine innings with Seth (Please stop back around noon for Park 2):
First Inning – What’s Going on with Joe?
OK, so my January 29th prediction proved untrue. I’m OK with that. But on Monday afternoon, WCCO’s Mark Rosen got Twins fans attention by saying that he has a source that says that Twins and Mauer have reached a preliminary agreement on a ten year contract. Since then, Twins fans got incredibly excited, national writers like Buster Olney and Jon Heyman tried to discredit the rumor, Twins fans got frustrated, an d the story kind of went away.
So what do we make of all this? I don’t know.
Oh, you were hoping for something a little more than that? Alright, I’ll venture a guess. And please, remember this, it is just my guess.
- Mark Rosen has a lot of local sources. He has been apologist and supporter for years. My guess is that he has a source close to Joe Mauer that has been able to give him something. Let’s not forget that the ten year story is not news. Rosen himself mentioned that on a newscast about a month ago. The story is the “agreed in principal” portion. Mark Rosen is pretty credible locally, so I tend to believe he would not comment on this if he didn’t have something pretty solid.
- Buster Olney is a Yankees guy for ESPN. He’s trying to make a bigger story. SI.com’s Jon Heyman has proven quite a bit of credibility in the last couple of years, but he has been anything but a Twins person going all the way back to some ridiculous articles a couple of years again, including about Johan Santana. These guys have some contacts, no question.
- The Twins front office won’t say anything until something if finalized.
- Robert Shapiro, Mauer’s agent, is not going to leak anything.
- Joe Mauer isn’t exactly going to talk.
- But again, I believe that Mark Rosen has something credible. He isn’t going to put himself and his reputation on the line. Remember, he was the first to note that the Vikings had signed Brett Favre long before it actually happened. He never said Mauer had signed. He didn’t say that the deal was finalized. Think about the small print and the minute details necessary in a contract that includes incentives, potential opt-outs, no-trade clauses, deferred money and more. That would take a week or four of lawyer time.
- I believe that the deal will be announced before spring training.
- In the end, I don’t care if it’s eight years or ten years. If ten years, I am going to stand behind my $185 million projection. If it’s eight years, I would project $160 million.
- The Twins need to resign Mauer. They need to for reasons beyond the baseball field. However, Twins fans need to understand that this contract (whatever is may become) is incredibly risky. A ten year contract extension would make him 37 years old when it expires. Can Mauer remain this good throughout the next ten years? $18-20 million worth of good for ten more years?
Second Inning – Will O-Dawg Crush the Nats?
Over the weekend at MLB Trade Rumors, it was reported that Orlando Hudson was still asking for $9 million a year, but the Washington Nationals were only offering him $3 million. Yesterday, it came out that the Rockies were now out of the running for both Hudson and Felipe Lopez. The Twins were mentioned as a team that would have some interest. Well, if the cost for one year of Orlando Hudson comes anywhere near $3 million, they should be. The Twins were apparently willing to offer Jarrod Washburn $5 million. Imagine signing Jim Thome and Orlando Hudson (two players actually able to contribute positively) for about the same price.
In general, the market is so slow, the contracts are so low. It is a good time to have a little extra money available. Twins fans should be happy they haven’t signed anyone yet because over the next two weeks, they should be active and maybe even sign a player at a huge discount. Hudson makes too much sense, and if that means going a million over budget, that works of me.
Third Inning – Twins Lose Tolleson to Take on Thome
I was thinking that maybe a trade was in the works. When the Twins announced that they had agreed to terms with Jim Thome last week, immediately I started wondering who would be removed from the 40 man roster. Would Glen Perkins be dealt? How about Alexi Casilla? Well, once no one was traded, there was really no choice in who the Twins would remove from the 40 man roster. The question became, would Steve Tolleson be claimed by another team? Well, on Monday, the utility player was claimed by the Oakland A’s. Here is what I wrote about Tolleson in the Minnesota Twins 2010 Prospect Handbook:
Steven Tolleson – IF – (11/1/83)
Acquired: 5th round pick in 2005 from U. of South Carolina
2009 Team(s): New Britain Rockcats, Rochester Red Wings
2009 Stats: .266/.340/.380, 27-2B, 3-3B, 8 HR, 40 RBI
Following the 2008 season, the Twins added Steve Tolleson to their 40-man roster. Despite lingering injuries in the second half of the season, including a bad finger, Tolleson had hit .300/.382/.466 with 28 doubles and nine home runs for New Britain, in just 93 games. He went to Twins spring training in 2009, but he was slowed by injury and didn’t see much time. Because of that, he began 2009 back in New Britain where he got off to a horrible start. In April, he hit just .172/.238/.207 with just two doubles. But by May, he heated up and hit .310/.408/.506 with 11 extra base hits. He was promoted to Rochester and in June he hit .310, but his monthly batting averages after that month were .271/.250/.133, and his OPS fell from .806, to .753, to .647, to .345.
Tolleson stands close to the plate and has a very short, quick swing. That does make it difficult to know how to pitch him. He has a very good eye at the plate. He is a good contact hitter who generally hits the ball on the ground or line drives. Defensively, he is solid, but certainly unspectacular. He has limited range and arm, but he makes almost all of the routine plays. He played shortstop at South Carolina, and played mainly the middle infield spots earlier in his career. He spent some time at third base in 2006. He got a little bit of time in centerfield in 2008. In 2009, he played primarily shortstop at New Britain, but when promoted to Rochester, he played everywhere. He played all three outfield positions. He played three infield positions as well. He mostly played second base and left field, but it appears now that we can officially put Tolleson into the utility player listing. Also worth noting is that his father, Wayne Tolleson, played a utility infielder role for the Texas Rangers, Chicago White Sox and New York Yankees during the 1980s.
Fourth Inning – Why Won’t Washburn’s Name Just Go Away?
Because there is a pretty good chance that he ends up with the Twins, I fear. A couple of front office guys really like him. There is no question that Washburn wants to be with the Twins. The Mets are allegedly out of the running, and the Mariners likely don’t want him back. The Twins are likely competing against nobody. I can totally see him signing a low-base, high-incentive contract. The reality is that you can never have enough pitching. The Twins have nine options for five rotation spots already, and in reality, they have five options for just one rotation spot, so I just question the need for Washburn. But I know a couple of people (that matter) really think he can bring something to the team.
Like I said, I will be back around noon with the final 5 innings, including links to other Twins blogs and the unveiling of the lineup for tonight’s SethSpeaks.net Weekly Minnesota Twins podcast. I think you’ll like the guest list.
If you have any thoughts on the topics we’ve covered in the first four innings, let me know. Leave you comments here.