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Twins Transaction Thoughts

9 Nov

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net -

Before I discuss the Twins transactions of the day, I do want to mention that I had a great time on Fox9’s Sports on Demand this afternoon. It was fun being on with Jim Rich, Seth Kaplan and Doogie Wolfson and talking about the Twins and more. The archived show is now online, you can click here to watch all five parts.

The Twins traded Carlos Gomez for JJ Hardy on Friday. On Saturday, they picked up the 2011 option on Michael Cuddyer’s contract. Both of those moves, I can 100% back and agree with. 

Today they announced that three players were involved in transactions.

  • Justin Huber cleared waivers and was sent to Rochester. I believe there is a chance that he remains with the organization although he can become a free agent. He knows that this team gave him a chance, and he came through in AAA and called him up. If not for an oblique injury, he would have been in the Twins lineup several times down the stretch. In fact, remember the Sunday that Justin Morneau did not play for the first time, it was Huber that was supposed to play 1B that day. Unfortunately for him, he hurt himself in batting practice. What if he had stayed healthy, had a good game and played strong defense? How would the season have wound up. Michael Cuddyer would have stayed in RF, Jason Kubel would have played LF. Huber may have been in the lineup with Delmon Young remaining on the bench. Anyway, taking Huber off of the 40 man roster is an easy choice. But hopefully he will decide to remain with the organization, come to spring training, go to Rochester and contribute again.

That move made sense. The other transactions made far less sense, at least to me.

  • The Baltimore Orioles claimed righty Armando Gabino from the Twins. This means that the Twins took him off the 40 man roster. With the worst record in the AL, the Orioles would have been the first team with the opportunity to claim him, and they did. As I am working on prospect profiles for the Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook – 2010, I got to the G’s over the weekend. Since he won’t be with the Twins, I won’t have his profile in the book. Here is the unedited version of what I had:

Armando Gabino – RHP – (8/31/83)

Acquired: Min. Lg. Rule 5 selection in Dec. 2004 from Indians

2009 Team(s): Rochester Red Wings, Minnesota Twins

2009 Minor League Stats: 6-4, 2.94 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 98 IP, 24 BB, 64 K

2009 Major League Stats: 0-0, 17.18 ERA, 3.82 WHIP, 3.2 IP, 5 BB, 2 K

Gabino signed with the Cleveland Indians in 2001 as a 3B. In 2004, they moved him to the pitcher’s mound. That offseason, the Twins saw him and drafted him in the minor league Rule 5 draft. 2007 was his coming out season when he pitched at Low-A, High-A and AA. In 75 total innings, he went 5-2 with eight saves and a 1.80 ERA. He backed it up with a full season at AA with a 3.10 ERA in 81.1 innings. In 2009, he was Rochester’s best, most consistent pitcher throughout the season whether out of the bullpen or in his seven starts. Twins fans got to see him make one start for the big league club, and it didn’t go so well. His seven starts in Rochester in 2009 were his first starts since one start in 2006 in Elizabethton. His big league future is in middle or long relief. Gabino has a fastball in the low-90s. He also has a good slider. As you would expect from a former infielder, he fields his position very well.

  • Juan Morillo was added to the 40 man roster. When the Twins claimed Morillo from the Rockies early this season, it was very exciting that the Twins now had a guy who could literally throw a fastball in the upper 90s. Three appearances later, the Twins sent him back through waivers. He cleared and spent the rest of the season in Rochester. The thought was that he could work there all year and try to gain better control. So, as a Twins fan, which do you pay more attention to… his 87 strikeouts in 67 innings, or his 51 walks in 67 strikeouts? As wonderful as a 98 mph fastball can be, 6.9 walks per nine innings is horrible. Of course it is better than the 8.4 walks per nine innings in 2008. If he could find a way to throw enough strikes to walk less than five per nine innings, he could be a decent reliever. If he could get it below four, he could be an 8th inning guy. Does anyone see that happening? Not me.
    • So there needs to be another explanation, right? I think I’ve got one. A few days ago, NPB reported that there may be some interest in Japan for Morillo. If Morillo became a free agent (something he would have), he could have signed with any team in the US or Japan. The Twins decided to protect him. Therefore, if he wants to go to Japan, or a Japanese team wants to sign him, they will have to compensate the Twins.

Both Gabino and Morillo will turn 27 years old during the 2010 season. Morillo throws hard. Gabino throws strikes. Morillo’s ceiling is dominance. Gabino’s ceiling is solid long reliever. Gabino has two option years left. Morillo is out of options.  

What do you think? Send me an e-mail, or leave your Comments here.

Weekend Game Reports

16 Aug

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net -

I’ve got a few postings in the works, so I’m going to post the Game Notes from Saturday and Sunday here. I also posted the Friday Game notes here. It was a fun weekend. I was at the Twins game on Friday night and had a good time. On Saturday, I went to the Stick & Ball Guy Convention, which is always a great time. It was good to see people again! And on Sunday, it was back to the Twins game, sitting in the nosebleed section out in the left field.  

SATURDAY – TWINS 3, CLEVELAND 7

SUNDAY – TWINS 4, CLEVELAND 7

So after Scott Baker two-hit this Cleveland team on Friday night, both Anthony Swarzak and Nick Blackburn were unable to get the Twins through even five innings. The Twins biggest problem all year lied under the surface longer than it probably should have. It wasn’t the bullpen. It wasn’t the bottom of the lineup. The Twins biggest problem this entire season has been any consistency from the starting pitching staff. There was small glimmer of hope on Saturday night. Scott Baker has been very good of late. Francisco Liriano’s last game was actually good. Those were the two we expected so much from coming into this season. Kevin Slowey is out for the year. Nick Blackburn, who pitched so far over his head in the first half, is getting destroyed in the second half. And the weaknesses in Anthony Swarzak’s pitching repertoire have certainly been found by advanced scouts… or anyone who realizes that he doesn’t have much beyond a fastball, which he can’t always locate either.

Now some will complain about the Twins inability to hit Cleveland’s barrage of soft-tossing lefties, and they have every right to do so. David Huff and Aaron Laffey made most of the Twins hitters just look silly. How many of those same types of pitches has Cleveland had in recent years?

Joe Mauer continues to amaze. After getting on base all five plate appearances on Friday night, he was 3-5 on Saturday and extended a hitting streak to 12 games with a single on Sunday. 

How demoralizing for the Twins it had to be on Sunday when the Twins hitters gave the team a 3-0 lead after two innings only to see Nick Blackburn give up three home runs, and six runs in the top of the 3rd. Jesse Crain did fine when he came in. Then Jeff Manship, Jose Mijares, Matt Guerrier and Joe Nathan combined for five shutout relief innings. I was at that game, and the boo birds were definitely out in full force. (By the way, congratulations to Jeff Manship who made his major league debut with a scoreless innings on Saturday night that included a strikeout of Shin Soo Choo, his first batter faced.)

It’s official. It is time to start thinking about 2010. Too much was made of the Twins needing to go 6-0 against Kansas City and Cleveland on this home stand. That’s not realistic to expect, but I do believe 5-1 was needed. Going 2-4 on this home stand pretty much puts the nail in the coffin of the 2010 season. Sure, it was actually over weeks earlier, but like most Twins fans, I wanted to hold on to even just a glimmer of hope. At this stage, all hope is gone. I seriously, seriously hope that I am wrong.

Now, in a blog article to be written later, I will try to give an idea of what I would do with this team for the remainder of the 2009 season in preparation for 2010, so please be sure to check back for that.  

MINOR LEAGUE REPORT

Saturday – SethSpeaks.net Hitter of the Day – Brian Dozier, Elizabethton Twins

Saturday – SethSpeaks.net Pitcher of the Day – Matt Fox, New Britain Rockcats

Sunday – SethSpeaks.net Hitter of the Day – Justin Huber, Rochester Red Wings

Sunday – SethSpeaks.net Pitcher of the Day – Armando Gabino, Rochester Red Wings

ROCHESTER REPORT

Saturday – Rochester 3, Syracuse 9 – Steve Tolleson went 4-4 with his 17th double. Matt Tolbert was 2-5 with his seventh double. Brian Buscher was 2-4. That was about it for the offense. R.A. Dickey was again on the mound, and again was not very good. He gave up seven runs on 11 hits and two walks, but he at least was able to give seven innings. Tim Lahey then gave up two runs on two hits in an inning.

Sunday – Rochester 8, Syracuse 1 – Justin Huber has been the main offensive source for the Red Wings throughout this season. In this game, he was 3-4 with his 17th and 18th home runs. He drove in three runs. The other bat for the team this year has been David Winfree. In this game, he was 3-3 with a walk, three doubles and three RBI. He now has 30 doubles on the season. Brian Buscher went 2-3 with a walk. Matt Tolbert was 2-5 with his seventh stolen base.   

ROCKCAT RECAP

Saturday – New Britain 4, Akron 1 – Matt Fox evened his record at 8-8 in this game. He threw seven shutout innings, allowing just two hits and two walks. He struck out six. Frank Mata gave up a run on two hits and got no outs. Spencer Steedley got an out but also allowed a hit. Alex Burnett came in and got all five batters he faced out for his fourth save.

  • Quick note – I know that LaVelle reported last weekend that Burnett had broken his hand. It turned out not being broken, and instead just a bad bruise, so he is still able to pitch, which is good because he has been incredible this year.

Sunday – New Britain 1, Akron 8 – Cole DeVries has really had his struggles the second half of this season after a great start. In this game, he gave up seven runs on eight hits (three of them home runs). He walked one and struck out one. Kyle Waldrop gave up a run on a hit in his inning. Loek Van Mil struck out two and walked on hit two scoreless innings. Frank Mata pitched a perfect ninth. Erik Lis went 2-4 with his 22nd double. 

MIRACLE MEMOS

Saturday – Ft. Myers 3, Sarasota 1 Evan Bigley not only went 2-3 with two walks, but he had the chance to play hero. Bigley hit his fourth home run of the season, a big two run homer that ended this game with a Miracle win! Chris Cates went 2-4. Santos Arias gave up just one run on five hits over the first seven innings. He didn’t walk a batter and struck out seven. Joe Testa improved to 3-0 with two scoreless innings. He gave up one hit, one walk and struck out five.

Sunday – Game 1 – Ft. Myers 6, Sarasota 3 – Bigley remained hot in the second game. He went 2-3 with his 20th and 21st doubles. Joe Benson was 2-3, was hit by a pitch and stole his 11th base. Ben Revere was 2-4 with his 38th and 39th stolen bases. Steve Hirschfeld was back on the mound. He went 6.1 innings and gave up three runs on six hits. He walked two and struck out five. Blair Erickson got the final two outs for the save.

Sunday – Game 2 – Ft. Myers 4, Sarasota 3 (8 innings) Bobby Lanigan made his first FSL start. He gave up three runs on eight hits in four innings. He walked none and struck out three. Henry Arias pitched the next four innings and gave up just one hit and walked two. Chris Parmelee hit his 15th homer of the year. Joe Benson got the game-winning hit in the 8th, a single to give the Miracle a 4-3 win.   

SNAPPERS SNIPPETS

Saturday – Beloit 4, Wisconsin 2 Dan Osterbrock won for the sixth time this year. He gave up two runs (1 earned) on four hits and a walk in five innings. He struck out seven. Kyle Carr gave up two hits and a walk but did not allow a run while recording five outs. Steve Blevins got the next four outs, two on strikeout. Billy Bullock recorded his sixth save with a scoreless ninth.

Sunday – Beloit 1, Wisconsin 3 Liam Hendriks had another very good start for the Snappers. In 7.2 innings, he gave up three runs on eight hits. He walked none and struck out eight. But he was tagged with the loss. Thomas Wright came up and issued a walk before getting the final out. Jeff Lanning went 3-4. James Beresford went 2-4. Aaron Hicks hit his tenth double.   

E-TWINS EXTRAS

Saturday – Elizabethton 4, Bristol 5 Brian Dozier has certainly been on fire of late. That continued this weekend. On Saturday, he went 4-5 with his 11th and 12th double. Anderson Hidalgo hit his 10th double and fourth home run. Jhon Garcia made the start for the E-Twins. He gave up four runs on six hits and a walk in three innings. He struck out two. Then Kelvin Mota relieved him and gave up just one run on one hit over four innings in which he struck out four. Kane Holbrooks struck out two  in a scoreless inning.  

Sunday – Elizabethton 4, Danville 5 Tom Stuifbergen lots for just the second time this season. He gave up five runs on eight hits in six innings. He walked no one and struck out seven. Peter Kennelly gave up two hits and four walks in just two innings, but gave up no runs. Dakota Watts gave up a walk and a hit in a scoreless inning. The bats managed just four hits in the game. Brian Dozier went 2-4 with a walk and his 13th double. Josmil Pinto went 0-1 but he walked three times.

GCL TWINS GOINGS ON

Saturday – GCL Twins 2, GCL Red Sox 1 Adrian Salcedo was on the mound again. He gave up one run on five hits. He walked one and struck out four. Oswaldo Sosa struck out three over two scoreless innings of rehab. Andrei Lobanov recorded his sixth save of the year. Daniel Santana went 2-4 with his seventh double. Trayvone Johnson hit his second double.

Please feel free to Send me an e-mail, or leave your questions or comments here.

Monday Night Notes

11 Aug

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net -

It was an off day for the Twins, but there is still plenty to talk about. Here are a few topics for your discussion before getting to the minor league updates:

  • The SethSpeaks.net Weekly Minnesota Twins podcast last night was  lot of fun. Pat Neshek was on for the first 25 minutes or so. We talked about what he is doing in his rehab and several other Twins topics. The second half of the show, I was joined by Phil Mackey and Darren “Doogie” Wolfson.
  • I posted a StarTribune.com Your Voices Blog asking people to comment and rank their favorite sports to watch. With Tiger Woods shooting some golf this week in Chaska, I wondered where golf ranks, which may be directly dependent upon whether Tiger is in the tournament or not.
  • Speaking of Your Voices blogs, Doogie Wolfson’s newest blog article is on the White Sox acquisition of OF Alex Rios for nothing. Definitely an interesting topic for discussion.
  • Joe Christensen reported that the Twins have released 2B Mark Grudzielanek. Reports indicated that he looked really rusty. Shocking, you know, since he hadn’t played in a year.
  • Those of you that listened to last night’s podcast know that I also have a Q&A that is ready to be posted.  I fell asleep at my computer last night and will get that posted later today, so be sure to check back for that.  

 The Twins will send Nick Blackburn to the mound tonight to face Kyle Davies and the Royals in the first game of a crucial homestand. The Twins will play three against Kansas City and three against Cleveland, and winning less than five out of six will make it tough.

MINOR LEAGUE REPORT

Monday – SethSpeaks.net Hitter of the Day – Angel Morales, Beloit Snappers

Monday – SethSpeaks.net Pitcher of the Day – Tom Stuifbergen, Elizabethton Twins

ROCHESTER REPORT

Monday – Game 1 – Rochester 8, Buffalo 2 – Armando Gabino made another start and threw six shutout innings. He gave up two runs in the 7th inning, but after Juan Morillo got the final out of the game, Gabino had his fourth win. Brock Peterson went 3-4 with his 14th double. Jose Morales went 2-3 with a walk. Steve Tolleson went 2-5. Danny Valencia, David Winfree and Trevor Plouffe each hit a double.  

Monday – Game 2 – Rochester 7, Buffalo 8 – R.A. Dickey made his first start since being sent back down to Rochester. It didn’t go so well. The veteran knuckleballer gave up seven runs on nine hits and two walks in just 3.1 innings. Jason Jones gave up four hits in 2.2 shutout innings. Rob Delaney threw two shutout innings, but with two outs, he gave up a bloop single that drove in the game-ending run. Drew Butera went 3-4 with two doubles. Brock Peterson went 2-4 with his 15th double. Jason Pridie was 2-4. Justin Huber had just one hit, but his 7th inning grand slam tied the game.    

ROCKCAT RECAP

Monday – New Britain  – No games scheduled in the Eastern League.    

MIRACLE MEMOS

Monday – Ft. Myers, Sarasota – Postponed by Rain.   

SNAPPERS SNIPPETS

Monday – Beloit 7, Cedar Rapids 5 Angel Morales remained white-hot. In his last 30 games, he had hit .367 with a .647 Slugging Percentage. On this day, he was 4-5 with his 18th double. Ramon Santana hit his eighth home run. Bobby Lanigan gave up four runs on five hits in 5.2 innings. He walked two and struck out seven. Steve Blevins went two innings and gave up one run. Billy Bullock got the final four outs for his fourth save.  

E-TWINS EXTRAS

Monday – Elizabethton 3, Greeneville 2 Tom Stuifbergen was impressive yet again. The Dutch righty went the first eight innings. He gave up just one run on four hits. He walked none and struck out three. Dakota Watts came in and gave up a game-tying run but got the Win when the E-Twins scored a run in the bottom of the 9th. Derek McCallum went 2-3 with a walk and a double.  

GCL TWINS GOINGS ON

Monday – GCL Twins 11, GCL Red Sox 6 Wilson Ramos has been solid in his rehab time with the GCL Twins. In this game, he hit a double and his third home run in three games. Yesterday, his triple should have shown that his hamstring is better. Today, he caught. Yangervis Solarte was also rehabbing and went 2-4. Nick Freitas, Oswaldo Arcia and Matej Hejma each went 2-4. Freitas had two doubles and four RBI. Arcia notched his seventh double. Hejma had a triple and a walk.    

Please feel free to Send me an e-mail, or leave your questions or comments here.

Thursday Game Notes

5 Jun

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net -

  • Justin Murphy writes for seamheads.com, but he also writes for the Twins page of BaseballDigest.com. He was at all three games of the Cleveland series, and posted his Game Recaps. Here is his recap of the Twins 11-3 win on Thursday afternoon. Then to top off his week, he joined me as the co-host of last night’s MNGameNight.com podcast, so be sure to listen in to that as you have time.
  • Just a few notes:
    • I didn’t realize what a slump Jason Kubel had been in. In his previous six games, he went 1-17 which dropped his batting average from .340 to .311. He also had not homered since May 13th and that was his only home run in his previous 30 games, since he hit two home runs against Cleveland on April 25th.
    • The 2-3-4 hitters came through big time in this game. Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau and Jason Kubel combined to go 9-11 with four walks, a double, three home runs, nine runs scored and nine RBI. I have not received confirmation yet that they also picked up all the groceries in the morning and made everyone pancakes, eggs, hash browns and various juices for breakfast, or that they piloted the team charter to Seattle after the game.
    • Scott Baker earned his third win with seven solid innings. He gave up three runs (2 earned) over seven innings. He had excellent control and movement. He struck out ten hitters. He did not allow a hit until the fifth inning.
  • Alright, I now need to finish up my Top 50 Twins Prospects ranking by posting my Top 10. So please check back in a little bit to see how they rank.

Here are the minor league game notes for Thursday:

MINOR LEAGUE REPORT

Thursday – SethSpeaks.net Hitter of the Day – Brock Peterson, Rochester Red Wings

Thursday – SethSpeaks.net Pitcher of the Day – Armando Gabino, Rochester Red Wings

RETIREMENT I heard from Nick Papasan on Thursday afternoon. He was the Twins 24th round pick in 2006 out of Granbury (TX) high school. He fell in the draft because many teams believed he was headed to Texas A&M. He signed with the Twins, and when he was able to play, he could certainly hit. Unfortunately, he has fought injuries since signing. The most recent was a hand injury that kept him from being able to grip a bat. He told me that he suffered yet another injury on Thursday and decided to pull the plug. I’m sure he was very frustrated by the injuries. Obviously we with Nick the best in his future endeavors, whatever they may be.

ROCHESTER REPORT

Thursday –Rochester 5, Gwinnett 12 – Jason Jones had his worst start yet. In just three innings, he gave up eight runs (7 earned) on 11 hits and two walks. He didn’t strike anyone out. Armando Gabino continued to pitch well. He gave up just one run on one hit over four relief innings. Juan Morillo came in and gave up three runs on two hits and two walks in an inning. He did strikeout three. Finally, Rob Delaney pitched a scoreless inning in his AAA debut. Brock Peterson went 3-4 with his fifth double. Steve Tolleson hit his first AAA home run.  

ROCKCAT RECAP

Thursday – New Britain 4, Connecticut 8 – In a game that started in the morning, the Rockcats fell 8-4 to Connecticut. Jay Rainville started and gave up four runs (3 earned) on seven hits and a walk. Zach Ward came in and gave up two runs on three hits in 1.1 innings. Frank Mata gave up two unearned runs on two hits in an inning. Yohan Pino threw a shutout inning. Rene Tosoni went 2-3 with a walk and his ninth double. Wilson Ramos was 2-4. Juan Portes went 1-3 with a walk and his second home run, a two run shot that tied the game in the middle innings. 

MIRACLE MEMOS

Thursday – Ft. Myers 9, Clearwater 8 (10 innings) Glen Perkins made his first rehab appearance. He was on a 70 pitch limit. In four innings, he gave up five runs (3 earned) on six hits and a walk. He struck out five. After the game, he told me that his arm felt good, but he was a “little rusty.” He will likely make at least one more rehab start before getting back with the Twins. Steve Hirschfeld threw two scoreless innings. Santos Arias gave up a run to blow the save, but he went 2.2 innings and that was the only run he gave up, so when the Twins scored in the bottom of the tenth, he got the win. Deibinson Romero went 3-5 with his 12th double. Evan Bigley was 3-5 with his second double. Chris Cates was 3-5. Nick Romero and Rene Leveret were each 2-5.    

SNAPPERS SNIPPETS

Thursday – Beloit 1, Peoria 4 – Another game and the Snappers bats managed just four hits. Ramon Santana hit his first triple. Brad Tippett started and gave up four runs on seven hits and two walks over 5.1 innings. He struck out four. Blake Martin came in and struck out the two batters he faced. Steve Blevins and Bruce Pugh each gave up two hits in a shutout inning.  

Please feel free to Send me an e-mail, or leave your questions or comments here.

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