Fan Frustration

4 Dec

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I read a lot of comments from Twins fans at this time of the year, and they vary. Some are frustrated because the Twins don’t go out and sign big name free agents. Some are frustrated because the Twins are not involved in as many rumors as other teams. Some Twins fans see Placido Polanco signing with the Phillies and wonder why the Twins were never really involved in any rumors involving him. Marco Scutaro is apparently signing with the Red Sox and fans are frustrated that he was never mentioned. Some want to see the Twins sign a Type A free agent and forfeit a draft pick and over pay in dollars and years for players that have already seen their best years. And there are some fans who are frustrated by lack of information on negotiations with Joe Mauer. With the Winter Meetings set for next week in Indianapolis, I thought it appropriate to blog on some of these topics.

What are the Winter Meetings about for the fans? Well, as happens every year, there are a few free agent signings made right before the meetings. That gets fans’ hopes up that there will be a lot of moves made, specifically by their team. The Winter Meetings mean that baseball fans will go to and hit refresh about every five minutes throughout the whole week. At the meetings, GMs, agents, some players and the media walk around a hotel lobby, hold meetings and talk baseball. In general, all it takes for a rumor to start is for an agent to mention a team name, or a GM to mention a player’s name. It gets onto a blog or a sports report, and it flies around the country in a hurry. If you aren’t already on Twitter, you may want to sign up now (and follow @SethTweets)! It is a fun time for fans to dream.

Twins fans know a couple of things going into the meetings. The Twins front office will hold meetings with agents and other teams. They will talk about years and dollars regarding a bunch of players. We will also hear a few rumors. But compared to other teams, the Twins will appear relatively quiet. Why? Because the Twins don’t talk. They don’t give out their plans. They don’t really address any rumors. Fans, that is a good, smart thing!

A lot of Twins fans are not happy about that. As much as I want the Twins in the news and hear a lot of names rumored to be coming to the Twins, I am perfectly fine with not knowing anything. Why should the Twins brass give away their plans and their trade secrets? Generally speaking, the Twins do things quietly, behind the scenes. Do you remember reading rumors about the Twins and Rays talking about Matt Garza and Delmon Young before that trade was made? Very little.

The worst right now is all of the talk about Joe Mauer. As I wrote the other day, the biggest non-story was the alleged deadline for a deal, which Mauer texted to LaVelle E Neal was not true. Honestly, I don’t care if it is reported that the two sides have had general conversation about a deal, are heavily negotiating, or are yet to start negotiations. All I care about is that the two sides are talking. They don’t need to negotiate through the media. What good does that do? One day, we will just hear about a press conference and we will find out that Joe Mauer has signed an extension. I don’t care if it happens by Christmas, at the onset of Spring Training, on Opening Day, or my prediction, January 26th. The Twins are very quiet and confidential. Joe Mauer is very quiet and confidential. Maybe stressing would be better for me, but I’ve got enough other stuff to stress about than to worry about some stuff that I have no control over. I’m pretty sure that there is nothing that I could tell Bill Smith about Joe Mauer and why he should remain a Twin that he hasn’t already thought about.

I love all the rumors. But it is also something that we have to take with a grain of salt. I mean, maybe Orlando Cabrera is marketing himself as a 2nd base option. He shouldn’t be, and I think we are all smart enough to know that the Twins aren’t bringing him back. I am certain that the Twins and Marlins have and will have discussions on potential deals. But the Twins aren’t going to get Dan Uggla and a potential top of the rotation starter like Josh Johnson or Ricky Nolasco. We all know that. I’d love to see the Twins go after either of those pitchers though! So as you’re reading through, you can sift through those rumors and  know that some just aren’t going to happen, and some may make sense.

I fully believe that the Twins will remain active throughout the offseason.  They already added a new starting shortstop. Often times, very little happens at the Winter Meetings, but having all of those people there, in one place, encourages thinking, and thinking outside the box, and things can happen later because of it.

On Monday, I’ll jot down the things that I believe the Twins need to work on the rest of the offseason, starting with the Winter Meetings.  

This is the fun time of the year. It’s so early in the offseason, that I’m not ready to be excited by names like Carl Pavano, Jarrod Washburn or Placido Polanco. If I am going to hear rumors, I want to hear about guys like Josh Johnson, Felipe Lopez or Matt Cain.

So, you can certainly use the comments section to talk Twins, Twins rumors, deals made by other teams with players you thought the Twins should go after, or whatever you want to talk about. It should be a fun and interesting week!

  • Be sure to head over to Twinkie Town and vote on the Twinkie Town Top Prospect list. Right now, you can vote for the Twins top prospect. By late afternoon on Friday, a winner will be determined and the vote for #2 will start right away. Roger D and I are going to be trying to put that together.  

Alright, that is it for now. Be sure to check out the Twins Chat at noon today.  Are there any other Twins topics of note? If so, Send me an e-mail, or leave your Comments here.


26 Responses to “Fan Frustration”

  1. Peter J. December 4, 2009 at 3:57 am #

    You are in a position to fan the flames of the rumor engine … but you don’t. You don’t throw Rich Harden’s name back out there or any of the host of other players that make for exciting fantasy Twins rosters. I would. Heck, I’d love to start an off-the-wall, unsubstantiated rumor of my own: Justin Duchscherer. You heard it here first. Now pass it along.

  2. Kunza December 4, 2009 at 7:55 am #

    No way Peter. The only other name the Twins will sign will be Carl Pavano. We’re not getting any help in the rotation besides him. You know it. I know it. The Twins know it.

    The Twins desperately need an upgrade at 2B and 3B, but with the dead Punto contract, he isn’t going anywhere either. Get ready for a Matt Tolbert to Nick Punto 5-4-3 double play combo at 3B and 2B.

    The Twins are like that loser guy in school wanting to go to the prom – they really want to go but don’t have the guts to ask anyone decent, so they sit back and wait, and wait, and wait to see what is left that they can use.

    Oh wait, we WILL sign someone else, I’m sure of it. Ask Livan Herandez, Sidney Ponson, Luis Ayala, Mike Lamb….eh,my fingers just went numb thinking about the wasted money.

    Now we hear that Figgins is getting signed for 4 years and about 8-9 million per year – I sure am glad we have Punto at 4.5 million and can’t find the extra money to get in on the Figgins deal.

    Seth, I like your optimism but in reality you can’t get excited about the Twins in the offseason. The last significant FA signing????? Molitor??? Steinbach??? (And that is when we really sucked.

    • Edward P. Hands December 4, 2009 at 7:40 pm #

      Kunza- You seem like you have some pent up frustration. Come visit me. I have a movie for you to watch. Edward P. Hands.

  3. mike wants wins December 4, 2009 at 9:07 am #

    I have no issue with the Twins not sharing their plans. That approach makes sense to me. I’m hopeful that they will do something different this year, and get a legit pitcher somehow. The trade for Hardy was certainly not what they usually do, so that’s an indicator that they may be changing strategy. However, if that is it, does anyone think that is enough to make them legit WS contendors?

    • gobbledygookguy December 4, 2009 at 9:18 am #


  4. j-sin December 4, 2009 at 9:38 am #

    The thing that Seth’s post sort of gets at, is that the Twins’ management is doing a good job because they don’t have many bad contracts. Look at the Cubs with Milton Bradley, the Tigers with Jackson/Granderson, the White Sox with Rios, the Mets…., the Blue Jays when they had Rios, and the list goes on. Teams like the Twins can’t afford to have bad contracts eating up an extra $5million except for the occasional Adam Everett or Mike Lamb, or Nick Punto (at least punto plays and can be a utility guy).

    It’s also a good thing we didn’t extend Santana because then we wouldn’t be talking about extending Mauer, and we know Mauer should be a better investment than Johann (a pitcher).

    So we know we’ll be lucky to land a #2-3 type pitcher for 1-2 years because we can only afford $8-10million more in payroll, that also includes landing either a 2B or 3B to fill, as we reach $90 million.

  5. GBG December 4, 2009 at 9:54 am #

    Well said, Seth! I giggled the other day when someone at MLBtraderumors asked “Look, why don’t you just have a sticky post that says ‘Red Sox interested in ‘”. It’s a little crazy, unless the Sox have an exemption to the 25-man roster limit!

    Your best point in your post? == “I’ve got enough other stuff to stress about than to worry about some stuff that I have no control over”. Amen, brother. (Of course, if everyone felt that way, that’d kind of sap your readership, now wouldn’t it)

  6. ScottyB December 4, 2009 at 11:37 am #

    Admittedly, a big splash signing for someone like Lopez would be nice (and would re-unite him with Hardy) or a trade for a Josh Johnson. Just as or maybe more important to me is that it seems like the smaller trades aren’t being made. We seem more likely to just dump players when we could be trading for prospects. Lord knows that we need middle infield prospects who have a chance to be more than utility guys. I’m talking trades like Buchanan for Bartlett or Romero for Casilla, not immediate impact trades, but trades for prospects. If we had traded him early enough, we could have gotten something for a JD Durban before he crashed and burned.

    It’s pretty clear that we’re some excess baggage. I think guys like Perkins and Bonsor could have value to some teams, but we have to be proactive. If Billy Smith waits until the end of spring training, when it’s clear they are going to be cut – we’ll get nothing. With Neshek hopefully coming back, our bullpen is likely to be pretty full. We’re going to have some pitching with no options left. Let’s use them to build our stockpile for the future. This will be a make or break season for Liriano as well. He’s got to find his niche either starting or bullpen, to rebuild his stock. So let’s not forget about the small ripple trades besides the big splashes.

  7. rghrbek December 4, 2009 at 12:38 pm #

    ScottyB, you are right that the twins should be dangling or trying to dump some of the many middle of the row pitching prospects we have. We have too many guys in our system, that are fly ball pitchers, who don’t miss bats, that will never be better than a #5 starter, if even, or long relief help. The key is, there are many of these guys that still rate out high because their numbers are good in the minors. Now is the time to shed a few of these “good” prospects.

    I mean, c’mon, who wants to see us give a ton of starts to Anthony Swarzack over the next 3 years, before we realize he is a righthanded version of Glen Perkins (without the attitude).

    Would love to get a legit #2 guy (which would be a #1 guy on our staff if that makes sense), and also Pavano for the back end.

    Seth I love that you mentioned Lopez. People are, or were, far too hung up on Palanco. Lopez is simply better, at his age, and should come at a cheaper price. He’s a legit #2 hitter.

    I agree, I could care less about rumors. Results are what I want to see (not optimistic that I will see any, except overpaying Pavano for a few years).

    Keep up the good work!

  8. Jesse H December 4, 2009 at 1:27 pm #

    Chat seems to be busted.

  9. Seth December 4, 2009 at 1:36 pm #

    so, it’s not just me having issues?

  10. cryan27 December 4, 2009 at 1:39 pm #

    rghrbek –

    So are Twins fans so willing to toss Swarzak out after Twins fans were so high on him to begin with? Sure, Swarzak had a rough few months with the Twins but so did the following:

    Johan Santana, Scott Baker, Kevin Slowey, etc.

    Swarzak is a legit option and many Twins fans believe that he is a #2 starter (or did before his callup last year). Twins fans were very high on Swarzak but as soon as he has a bad day, its into the Nick Punto/Matt Tolbert/Mike Lamb/Livan Hernandez pile with you.

    I hate fans because they are so FICKLE!

  11. mike wants wins December 4, 2009 at 2:52 pm #

    Wow, I can’t think of one person that projected Swarzak to be a number 2 type. No way. I think Seth even had doubts about his ability to be a starter in the majors before last year (he and I chatted about that).

    • mike wants wins December 4, 2009 at 3:14 pm #

      To clarify, most of the stuff I’ve read on line had him pegged at a #4 type, or reliever even. I argued he was a #3 type, and others disagreed.

    • TT December 4, 2009 at 10:22 pm #

      Link to Swarzak projected as number 2 starter:

      • mike wants wins December 7, 2009 at 9:06 am #

        Fascinating. When I emailed him about that before the 2008 season, he told me I was wrong. He must have changed his mind.

  12. Joel Thingvall December 4, 2009 at 2:53 pm #

    Swarzak or Perkins. I rule trade Perkins (just for service time alone).

    Rumor. Mark DeRosa (and his agent) threw out a $9 for three year seek. Sounds somewhat okay. Maybe I would be content with Punto/Casilla at second then, and some grooming of Valencia.

    Again, with multi-year contracts — the player is always available for trade!

    Mets shopping Luis Castillo. Maybe we can trade them Butera and Martin!

    Any idea if the Twins are searching out minor elague free agents, or are they resting until after the Rule 5?

    • gobbledygookguy December 4, 2009 at 3:10 pm #

      castillo would have looked very good in the 2 hole and at 2b last year!!

    • Adam Peterson December 5, 2009 at 6:50 pm #

      No thanks on DeRosa. If we were willing to do 3/27 on a third baseman, I’d have made a run at Figgins. I’d take De Rosa, but not at that price. Perhaps 2/12 plus an option, which would give us flexibility for another signing (Pavano?).

  13. SHS December 4, 2009 at 10:27 pm #

    Well Seth,
    (as you may already know)
    I’m not one of those fans at all
    I love it when we save money to use towards guys like Mr. Joe Mauer.
    and go with our internal options
    I get the BIG picture here….

    Most FA’s are a waste of time, money, effort..

    I like it when there is LITTLE rumors involving the Twins

    I’d NEVER want to see Ramos or Revere go in a Trade EVER.

    • Adam Peterson December 5, 2009 at 6:52 pm #

      I can’t say “ever”. I need to get value for my prospects. If Revere plays a large part in a package that gets us a Yunel Escobar type, then I’m all for it. We can’t fall too much in love with our own prospects.

  14. Lala72 December 5, 2009 at 2:23 pm #

    Big money players that have seen their best years? Since when is $6 mil a year “big money”? When, 1996?

    Here’s the issue many of us have. Signing a “veteran” pitcher makes no sense at this stage. Baker, Blackburn, Liriano, and Slowey ARE veteran pitchers. Enough of that tired platitude. We need an “ace”!

    Secondly, when we’re spending $17 mil on our RF/DH combo, when we’re spending $15 mil on our first baseman and soon-to-be $22-$25 mil per season on our catcher, doesn’t it reason that we should spend $15-$20 mil on our middle to left-side infield? Isn’t that a fair allocation of resources–something quite “equitable”??? Isn’t that more reasonable than spending $3-plus million on Jesse Crain???

    This team needs to get an “ace” not a veteran pitcher. It needs to quit respecting the father-son relationship of Ron Gardenhire and Nick Punto and seriously upgrade its middle infield, like a REAL baseball franchise bent on winning would do.

    Even if Crede does sign, the Twins have–from 2B to 3B–committed roughly $7.5 mil to their middle and left-side infield…or about HALF what Justin Morneau makes.

    That’s pitiful.

    If this team is serious about getting better and winning a world championship (or even winning 90 games again!), it MUST upgrade its infield so that it is at least on the same ballpark as teams like the Yankees, Red Sox, Phillies, and Dodgers. It must!

    Seth, make all the excuses for this franchise you want, but paying $4 million to Nick Punto instead of $6 or $7 million to a player like Orlando Hudson is absurd! In fact, it’s the work of an idiot!!

    In other words, if Gardy and LNP are lovers, let them keep that affection for one another OFF the field.

    • Adam Peterson December 5, 2009 at 6:54 pm #

      I don’t think this is Seth’s point. He’s not defending the Punto contract, etc. But he is explaining (very well) the frustration that we are all likely to feel during the winter meetings. The Twins front office simply doesn’t generate many rumors because they’re tight lipped. This is a good thing.

  15. Seth December 5, 2009 at 4:29 pm #

    LaLa, my point is that we don’t know who the Twins can or will sign. Maybe they are talking to Hudson or Lopez or someone else. I’m not making excuses for the Twins at all. I’m just saying, the Twins don’t talk about who they are talking to, etc., and I’m fine with that. I certainly hope they are talking to some players.

    But, I 100% disagree with the contention that the TWins need to spend equally across the infield. Morneau got what he got because he earned it and the Twins did their part by keeping him long term. Who cares if they spend $20 million on the right side of the infield and just $7 million on the left side?

    And, I don’t disagree that Baker, Blackburn and Slowey are no longer rookies and shouldn’t need a veteran just to have one. That said, are you comfortable with Liriano as a starter? You do need 5 starters, not 3.

    • Adam Peterson December 5, 2009 at 6:56 pm #

      Liriano – No, I’m not comfortable depending on him as a starter next year. I’m ok with him being in the mix, but we need other options. Hopefully he turns it around, but I’m not putting money on it…

  16. GBG December 7, 2009 at 12:38 am #

    Lala- can we stop with the homophobic comments, please? Disgusting.

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