Busy day today, but it’s nice to now sit back and see what has happened.
When it comes to deals with the Twins, the answer was… nothing happened. Absolutely nothing! I’m normally not one to advocate major changes, but the Twins needed to do something. Even a couple of minor deals. A solid middle infielder and a solid reliever and it would have been a successful day. I wasn’t advocating giving up the farm, but a couple of small deals could have really helped a lot.
But that isn’t to say that nothing will happen. Let’s remember that after this deadline, teams will put a bunch of players on waivers to see who clears. Some players will be claimed and either a trade will be worked out, the team will let the player go to the claiming team (see Jeff Cirillo to Arizona last year) or the player will be taken back from waivers. It is possible that some players that the Twins are interested may be available in the coming days.
But look at the couple of deals that were made… did anyone really win? The Dodgers got Manny Ramirez from the Red Sox. Will he make them better? Sure… But Andruw Jones is still on that roster. And Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier need to play, but Juan Pierre is in the picture too. The Red Sox got rid of a great hitter, and a headache, and they got back a very solid player in Jason Bay who will likely stick around for awhile. I think he’ll do well. But they also had to send a quality reliever in Craig Hansen and a decent young outfielder in Damion Moss, to the Pirates. Along with that, they will not receive the two first round draft picks they could have got by keeping Manny. The Pirates did alright. They have to rid some veterans from their roster, and they have done that. They got the two players from the Red Sox that are both ready to contribute at the big league level now. They also got Andy LaRoche and will team him with his brother, 1B Adam. Andy LaRoche is all about quality at bats and power. They also got a pitching prospect coming back from Tommy John surgery from the Dodgers. Will any of these deals put their team over the edge? Does going from Manny Ramirez to Jason Bay make the Red Sox better? I don’t think that’s a certainty. Is add Manny Ramirez a great improvement for the Dodgers? Maybe, but does it guarantee them anything? No. The Pirates probably came out ahead in this deal.
The White Sox added Ken Griffey Jr, which could help a little. I mean, this is 2008 Griffey, not 1997 Griffey, so it’s not as good as many want to think. I mean, he will play CF which means Nick Swisher won’t (which is good), but if Griffey really a good CF anymore? With Swisher likely playing mostly 1B, that means that Paul Konerko and Jim Thome will split DH at bats. I am sure there will be some sort of rotation involved, but I don’t think this significantly helps the White Sox.
In other words, it’s always a nice time to talk big and wish big, but in the end, most July 31 trade deadline deals aren’t as great as we want to believe. They just rarely make a big positive difference.
The key deadline deal that the Twins appear to be close to making is the recall of Francisco Liriano from AAA. I was shocked to read LaVelle’s blog column tonight called Has Livan Hernandez Made His Last Start for the Twins? As much as we all know that it would be the best move the Twins could make, I really don’t think any of us would actually expect them to do it. If they do, it is a good, bold move that will definitely help the Twins over the final two months of the season.
If you read the comments on the STrib blogs and some of the commenters here, you would think that the sky has fallen down, the roof has caved in and the world (or season) has come to an end. My favorite are those that say things like, “Sure, they’ll maybe make the playoffs, but they’ll be one and done again.” Again, with my belief that the playoffs are a crap shoot, I will certainly take a trip to the playoffs. You can’t guarantee a first-round defeat any more than you can predict a World Series championship (I know, you can, but my main point is that it’s a crap shoot and things happen. Get there and take your chances). So, relax… the Twins will be just fine.
All of this in the trade deadline background and what do the Twins do… they come out and beat the White Sox again to move to within 1/2 game of the Sox. The Twins scored seven of their ten runs after Manager Ron Gardenhire was ejected in the bottom of the 7th. Now, I am in Florida, and obviously not able to see the game, but I heard it on the phone while it was happening, and later I did see the highlight on SportsCenter. Now, I think that Gardy is a great manager of people. I think he does a pretty good job of getting the most from his players. I do like that he backs up his players and is willing to get ejected. But wow… this is the most ridiculous Gardy rant/ejection yet, and he’s had some pretty ridiculous ones. Granted, Gardy was right. I have no clue what the ump was thinking on the strike call to Span. What Gardy did was horrible. Why does he have to get ejected for little things. When I later heard that it was only strike two, it made it even dumber. I’m sorry, but no need to rip off your hat and kick it. He just instigated the entire crowd, several of whom decided it somehow made sense for them to throw their hats on the field. Now, you will read elsewhere that Gardy’s rant rallied the Twins. Seriously? Maybe give Span a little credit for overcoming a tough call and putting together a great at bat for a walk despite being down 1-2 after the call. Maybe give a little credit to Joe Mauer for scoring him with a single. I don’t think Mauer needed Gardy’s rant to come up big. Do you think Jason Kubel was thinking about what Gardy did for the team when he unloaded on his three run homer? The guys were pretty pumped up when the beat him up back in the dugout, but maybe they are professional athletes and they understand the situation and knew it was a big homer. Give Gardy credit for a lot of the positive things he does to help the team win. But don’t give him credit for this one. I hope he is suspended for a game or two for this one, and the Delay of Game should earn him about a $50,000 fine.
3 Run homers are nice, huh? Justin Morneau hit one that made a four-run deficit a one-run deficit, and Jason Kubel hit one that made a tie game a three run lead for the Twins.
Joe Mauer is so good, so calm, and so clutch. When will people simply appreciate him for what he is!?
Now the Twins have three games against Cleveland starting Friday night… be sure to keep your eyes on the Twins starting rotation… is it time for the return of the Franchise?
Minor League Updates
Rochester 6, Pawtucket 7 – It was a bullpen game again for the Red Wings. Carmen Cali started and went the first three innings. He gave up four runs on seven hits and a walk. Danny Graves went the next three innings. He gave up only one hit. Mariano Gomez gave up a run in his inning, but Casey Daigle threw a scoreless eighth inning. But then Bobby Korecky went just 1/3 of an inning and gave up two runs in the bottom of the 9th to take the loss. Randy Ruiz went 3-4 with his 17th homer and three RBI. Howie Clark had two doubles in five at bats. Garrett Jones was 2-4 with a double. Luke Hughes made his first start, played 3B and went 1-5.
Was there anything to the rumors that the Rays were interested in Craig Monroe? Could the Twins have acquired anything, like a Low A pitcher or SS from the Rays to take Monroe? I have eaten a lot of crow when it comes to Randy Ruiz, and I actually think he would be a far better offensive bench option than Monroe. I’m not saying he should start ahead of Morneau or Kubel, of course, but as a right-handed bat off the bench, he deserves a shot. In fact, I would maybe call him up and then just take him off the 40 man roster at the end of the year.
New Britain 3, Bowie 2 – Brock Peterson hit two home runs and drove in all three runs in this game. Jeff Manship put together a very good start. He gave up just two runs (1 earned) on three hits and a walk in six innings. Armando Gabino threw two shutout innings despite giving up four hits and walking two. Ben Julianel threw a scoreless ninth for his 23rd save.
Ft. Myers 15, Clearwater 4 – The Miracle scored 15 runs on 20 hits in this one! Wilson Ramos went 4-5 with his 19th double and five RBI. Steve Singleton went 3-4 with a walk. Yancarlos Ortiz went 3-4. Danny Berg, Danny Santiesteban and Juan Portes each had two hits. Edward Ovalle went 1-2 with three walks. Oswaldo Sosa was able to last just four innings. He gave up three runs (2 earned) on three hits. He walked five and struck out five. Carlos Gutierrez gave up a run in his two innings to record his first professional win. Jose Lugo, Blair Erickson and Matt Williams each threw a scoreless inning.
Beloit 3, Great Lakes 2 (11 innings) – Estarlin de Los Santos tripled to lead off the bottom of the 11th and Yangervis Solarte singled him in for the winning run. The two other runs came on homers by Mark Dolenc and Greg Yersich. De Los Santos, Solarte, Dolenc and Chris Cates had two hits a piece. Both of Cates’s hits were doubles. Shooter Hunt started for the Snappers and went the first five innings. He gave up only an unearned run on two hits in the outing. He struck out nine. The one question mark with Hunt is his ability to consistently throw strikes, and his five walks in this game showed that. Michael Allen came in and gave up a run on three hits and a walk over the next two innings. Blake Martin gave up a hit and two walks in 2.2 innings. Charles Nolte got the final four outs unblemished to record the win.
E-Town and Greeneville were rained out.
GCL Twins 3, GCL Reds 2 (10 innings) – Herbert Lara went 3-4 with a double. Aaron Hicks, Anderson Hidalgo and Juan Sanchez each had two hits. Hicks recorded his ninth stolen base. Miguel Munoz went the first six innings. He gave up two runs on six hits and no walks. He struck out six. Mauro Schiavoni went the final four innings for the win. He struck out five and did not allow a hit.
Plenty of topics to discuss… what are you thinking?