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I have not blogged too much this week, or really the last couple of weeks. There are a couple of reasons for that. First, there simply is not a lot going on with the Twins, or hasn’t been. Second, I am working with a couple of other Twins bloggers to finish up the Minnesota Twins 2011 Prospect Handbook. It’s getting close. Obviously my hope is for it to get better and better each year. I don’t know if it will be quite the same as last year’s version, but I think that the content will be terrific. Again, the meat and potatoes will be the profiles. There will be over 150 prospect profiles on players throughout the Twins farm system. Josh Johnson is helping me with some of those. There will again be several articles by myself, but also articles from Josh, Travis Aune and a couple of others. Anyway, hopefully I will have a lot more information on the book in a week or so. Finally, John Bonnes and the TwinsCentric guys, with the help of several terrific writers, are putting the final touches on the Twins 2011 Annual with the Maple Street Press. It will again be available on news stands around the Upper Midwest, but you will also be able to order online a little earlier. Like last year, it will be about 120 pages of ad-free Twins content. What’s not to like about that!? I’ve written a few Twins player profiles, a big article on the top Twins prospects by position, and a fun article on Elizabethton’s success and specifically on manager Ray Smith who is a very interesting person. I’m really happy with that project.
So I do apologize for lack of content here. It hasn’t been due to laziness! Believe me! Today, here are a few thoughts and links for you to read and consider:
Carl Pavano Situation
On Wednesday early evening, I was sitting around when an idea popped into my head. I should have blogged it to prove its true, but there are a few Twins bloggers that I talked to about it. I said that Carl Pavano would have an agreement with the Twins by Friday. I actually spelled it out like this. First, the Twins would let absolutely nothing leak on the day that Bert Blyleven got into the Hall of Fame, and they wouldn’t let anything leak on Thursday when the Baseball Hall of Fame was hosting Blyleven and Roberto Alomar in Cooperstown. I said, that I bet that later in the day on Thursday, someone would tweet that the Twins and Carl Pavano are close on a two year deal. I said that it would not be made official then until an announcement on Friday. Well, at about 8:00 on Thursday night, FoxSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal tweeted, “Sources: #Twins closing in on Pavano. Deal expected to be for two years.” I guess we shall see what happens tomorrow, but it all does make sense.
What is the reasoning for my gut feeling on the situation? Well, there were several things really. The first was simply that Pavano and his agent overplayed their hand. At this point, they had really no options. Bill Smith played it perfectly again. The only teams interested in Pavano seem to be the Twins, the Pirates and the Royals. If Pavano is the competitor that we saw in 2010, then it should be easy to determine which of those teams he would sign with. And at this point, why not just sign? What is the value of waiting any longer. He isn’t getting that third year that he so desperately wanted. Pavano’s birthday is Saturday. Suddenly he will go from a 34 year old free agent pitcher to a 35 year old starting pitcher. Obviously teams aren’t dumb enough to alter their thinking based on one day, but it also is a milestone that Pavano would likely want to sign before. It just makes sense for Pavano, and for the Twins, it will just be nice to have it done, and have that piece in place in the starting rotation.
Starting last July, I started getting the question about whether or not I would bring back Pavano. I answered several times in this blog, and it came up a lot on podcasts. I said I would offer Pavano two years and $18 million and leave it up to him. If he signed for that, it would be a fair deal. Anything more than that, I’d happily take the draft picks. Well, it is now starting to look like that would be a good place to put the Over/Under for a Pavano deal. According to Jon Heyman, the Twins increased their offer to Pavano to two years just yesterday. He made $7 million in 2010. He earned a raise, but I can’t imagine that he will get to the $10 million range that we all thought was a given at the start of the offseason. I think that 2 years and $18 million is pretty realistic. In fact, I think it could be as low as two years and $16 million. For financial reasons, I would not be surprised if he makes less money in 2011 and more in 2012.
No, the deal is not done. Nothing has been confirmed, but there is little reason to think that it won’t happen, that it isn’t imminent.
Jim Thome Situation
Does signing Pavano affect the Twins decision to bring back Jim Thome? It could. However, if Thome is truly looking to make $8 million in 2011, then the Pavano decision has nothing to do with not bringing Thome back. The Twins have made a concerted effort to add speed to the lineup, and they need a right-handed bat to counter all of their left-handed batters, and because they traded one of their right-handed hitters. So, really… how much sense does it really make to bring Thome back anyway? That’s not to say bringing him back would be bad. Not at all. I mean, the bench needs some pop, and Thome provided that. There are so many intangible reasons to bring him back. But a right-handed, power bat who could actually play some defense, would be a much better fit. Man, Matt Diaz would have been perfect!
Twins Fest – Sold Out
I got a press release yesterday morning saying that Twins Fest was sold out. I knew that the Twins were encouraging people to order in advance, something I’ve typically done, but I was surprised to see that announcement. The National Sports Complex in Blaine is huge, but it isn’t quite as convenient as the Metrodome would be. I still plan on going. I just don’t know if I’ll be able to get into the event. I’ll find a way!
As mentioned many times, there are a lot of terrific Twins blogs out there. So even if I don’t blog, you can still get plenty of great Twins content, and more. Be sure to check back here throughout the weekend for more and more blogs worth reading.
- Not a Twins blog, but Joe Posnanski is awesome and he wrote a tremendous blog article about the inner circle, Willie Mays Hall of Fame attitude of some.
- Here is the interview I did yesterday on The Dan Hammer Show on 740 The Fan in Fargo.
- Check out Aaron Gleeman’s Link-O-Rama.
- Twinkie Town’s Top Prospect vote is now in round 25. Vote now!
- Nick Nelson wrote a blog called “Settling” regarding the impending Pavano signing.
- Fetch posted an interesting WAR Graph of the Day over at Twinkie Talk.
- Fanatic Jack blogged about why Blyleven wasn’t in the Hall of Fame.
- K-Bro wrote that Getting into the Hall of Fame isn’t supposed to be easy…
- Ed Thoma, in his Baseball Outsider blog, wrote about Barry Larkin, Alan Trammell and the Golden Age of Shortstops.
- Jim Crikket of Knuckleballs wrote about the Twins bullpen recently in a terrific blog asking if they are White Knights or a Black Hole.
- FunBobby of Hitting the Foul Pole asks if re-signing Carl Pavano is a good idea.
- On the Road With… is writing it’s Top 50 Twins prospects, and here are 41-45.
- Travis took a look at the current Twins roster and its associated payroll and asks, “Are the Twins done spending?” Must Read!
- It has been a very busy week for the NoDak Twins fan! Check it all out!
- Here are the TwinsCentric StarTribune.com posts of the Week:
- Seth wrote Change or No Change discussing the frequent coaching changes with the Vikings and the continuity with the Twins.
- Nick wrote Eyes on Diamond about Twins Rule 5 draft pick Scott Diamond.
- John’s On Bert, Zealotry and Jack discusses the Hall of Fame voting and such.
- Today Parker wrote What the Twins could bring to the Twins in 2011.
- Howard Sinker’s A Fan’s View blog from yesterday was probably the best explanation, for me, on why it took Bert so long to get into the Hall.
NFL “Expert” Picks Champion, LaVelle E. Neal!
Well, the NFL “Expert” Picks finished up last weekend after Week 17. I want to thank those who participated. With over 30 people making picks each week, it became too much work, so it likely will be the final year of the contest. Below are the final results and standings. Congratulations to the Star Tribune’s LaVelle E. Neal for dominating the competition this year! He had five more games right than any other person and was correct nearly 67% of the time. Chris Parmelee led all Twins players by accurately predicting almost 65% of the games in 2010. Andrew Bryz-Gornia led Twins bloggers with 164 correct picks. Last year’s champion, Dan Slowey, finished in fourth place, tied with Doogie Wolfson. Again, thanks to all of the below for participating. Please take a minute and visit some of the blogs listed below.
|LaVelle Neal||Star Tribune||171||85||66.80%|
|Chris Parmelee||Twins 1B Prospect||166||90||64.84%|
|Andrew Bryz-Gornia||Off the Mark||164||92||64.06%|
|Darren Wolfson||Twins Wrap||163||93||63.67%|
|Cody Christie||NoDak Twins Fan||161||95||62.89%|
|Jack Michaels||ESPN 710am, Bismarck||161||95||62.89%|
|Jeff Manship||Twins Pitcher||161||95||62.89%|
|BJ Hermsen||Twins SP Prospect||159||97||62.11%|
|Kyle Waldrop||Twins RP Prospect||158||82||65.83%|
|Cory Hepola||WROC-TV, Rochester, NY||157||99||61.33%|
|Blake Meyer||Twins Cards||156||100||60.94%|
|Andrew Kneeland||Twins Target||155||101||60.55%|
|Emily Jipp||Cheap Seats Chatter||155||101||60.55%|
|Travis Aune||Travis Twins Talk||153||103||59.77%|
|Kirsten Brown||K-Bro Baseball||152||104||59.38%|
|Roger Dehring||Twinkie Town||146||110||57.03%|
|Judd Spicer||City Pages||145||111||56.64%|
|Vic Quick||KOTA-TV Rapid City, SD||139||101||57.92%|
|Topper Anton||Curve for a Strike||136||104||56.67%|
|Steve Blevins||Twins RP Prospect||135||82||62.21%|
|Seth Kaplan||Fox 9 – TV (Twin Cities)||131||43||75.29%|
|Shawn Berg||On the Road with Shawn||126||86||59.43%|
|Kyle Gibson||Twins SP Prospect||117||91||56.25%|
|Josh Johnson||Josh’s Thoughts||114||66||63.33%|
|Dan Osterbrock||Twins SP Prospect||106||78||57.61%|
|John Meyer||Twins MVB||106||59||64.24%|
|Matt Fox||Red Sox Pitcher||98||52||65.33%|
|Dan Wade||BB Daily Digest||96||52||64.86%|
|Alex Burnett||Twins Pitcher||95||59||61.69%|
|Nate Hanson||Twins IF Prospect||94||73||56.29%|
|Matt Schuld||Twins P Prospect||85||63||57.43%|
|Kevin Slowey||Twins Pitcher||73||48||60.33%|
Any thoughts? Feel free to e-mail me or leave your comments here.