Spring Training Q&A: Nate Hanson

15 Mar

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net

Before we get to the Q&A with Twins prospect Nate Hanson, here are a couple of notes from the weekend:

  • One Saturday, the TWINSCENTRIC Viewing Party at Major’s Sports Café in Apple Valley was a great success. Although we don’t have an official count, we know that there was at least 60 and probably closer to 70 in attendance. It was a ton of fun meeting many of you and putting faces to e-mail addresses and names. I got there about 11:25 and there were already people there, including a father-son from Iowa. They had made the 200 mile trek that morning and it was great to meet them. I told them that they would likely be the winner of the farthest distance traveled award (if there were such a thing!), but soon after, I met someone who had driven up from Chicago for the day. So… wow! But again, I think it was a great time. It was so much fun to be seeing live baseball again, although with all of the mingling, I’m not certain how much of the game I actually saw, but that’s alright. The crowd was excited for the Wilson Ramos double off the centerfield wall. They were thrilled for Pat Neshek’s two strikeout performance. Matt Tolbert’s horrendous defensive outing didn’t go unnoticed. I shouldn’t even mention names because then I know I’ll forget someone and feel bad, but here’s a try. All four TwinsCentric guys were there (John Bonnes, Nick Nelson, Parker Hageman and myself). Doogie Wolfsen and Phil Miller were in attendance. Andrew-Bryz Gornia (Off the Mark), Karlee Kanz (OMG Mn Twins), Eric Johnson (Undomed), Josh Johnson (Josh’s Thoughts), Barb and Kristie (Knuckleballs). Roger Dehring of Twinkie Town fame was there. Phil Mackey couldn’t be there, but he sent shots over the phone! And Scott from the Twins Train was there as well. Of course, what people who were there are still talking about today is the Kirsten Brown brownies!! They were incredible, and in fact, I mentioned on Facebook that I thought she should change the name of her blog from K-Bro’s Baseball Blog to K-Bro’s Baseball and Brownies Blog! Overall, I think the day was an incredible success. I had a great time, and I hope everyone that was there did. Hopefully we can try to do something like this once a month around the Twin Cities. Let us know what you think.
  • By the way, the general consensus at the event regarding Joe Mauer was surprisingly similar to my thoughts. Maybe he doesn’t want to play in Minnesota. Maybe he does want the money. All of that is his right as a free agent at the end of the year. Therefore, the Twins need to do what they have to. Committing $20-25 million to a catcher who missed a month of the year LAST YEAR, missed most of 2004, and has missed time with stress reactions and other injuries caused by being a catcher, it isn’t the smartest allocation of funds. I know, we all know, that with Mauer, the hometown kid, there is more to the story, but it is going to be interesting to see how this plays out, and what the fan reaction is to whatever happens.
  • As I was getting myself ready for the viewing party, I was running around tying up loose ends. I also was on another podcast. DW The Great (Twin-Keys) asked me last minute if I could be a guest for a few minutes on his new Saturday morning/10:00 a.m. podcast, so I said I would. First question was “So, Seth, what do you think of the Denard Span extension?” “umm… well… what is it?” It was announced just before 10:00, so I hadn’t seen it yet, but we did know it was five years. I know a lot of people are leery of these long-term extensions, but I am a huge proponent of them. Later it came out that the deal was for five years and $16.5 million. To me, that sounds very fair. There is risk. I mean, Span isn’t even arbitration-eligible until after the 2011 season, but I love the idea of these deals. If Span simply stays on the same level that he has in his first two seasons, this is a great deal for the Twins. If he improves at all, that’s where the true benefit to the team comes in. That said, for Span it’s great because anything can happen and he is assured that he will make $16.5 million. I love long-term deals. They can be risky, but they provide salary certainty for the Twins, and they show commitment to the build-from-within philosophy. I love this deal for the Twins, and I’m thrilled for Denard Span too.

With that, let’s get to the Q&A of the Day! Nate Hanson was born in California, but he grew up in Minnesota. He went to Eden Prairie High School before being a member of the University of Minnesota Gophers baseball team. So when the Twins made him their 28th round draft pick in the 2008 draft, it was a very exciting thing for him and his family. He was primarily a 3B in college, but with the Beloit Snappers in 2009, he also played some at first base, shortstop and second base. He even pitched in one game. He can even boast a 0.00 ERA! That said, he is quite humble and likely won’t boast about anything. He should move up to Ft. Myers in 2010 and again probably play around the infield. Today, he answers our questions so we can get to know him a little better.

(To see all previous SethSpeaks.net Q&As, click here) (and feel free to leave questions or comments here)

…Let the Questions Begin!

SethSpeaks: Now that you’ve had a few months to look back and reflect, what are your thoughts on your 2009 season?

Nate Hanson: I had a decent year overall. Played a lot of games and actually played some first base which was a new experience for me and a fun one at that. I finished the year strong and was healthy the entire year which was big.

SethSpeaks: What do you do when you’re not playing baseball or working out in preparation for the upcoming season?

Nate Hanson: This past fall I went back to school. I also give lessons to youth kids in my community, so I stay busy when I am not preparing for the upcoming season. I also am a crazy Vikings and Wild fan so I watch a ton of hockey and football!

SethSpeaks: When did you start getting ready for the 2010 season, and what was your routine?

Nate Hanson: I started in October. I eased my way back into lifting and hitting. Around Christmas time, I was hitting and lifting 3-4 times a week. Then after the first of the year, I was throwing and hitting and lifting about 5 days a week.

SethSpeaks: What are your goals for the 2010 season? Where would you like to play, and are there any statistics that you are looking to improve?

Nate Hanson: My goals for 2010 are to have a successful year statistics wise and help our team make the playoffs wherever I am. I want to improve my batting average a bit and that will come with more consistency. More so just have good at bats and do whatever I can to help the team win ball games when I am at the plate.

SethSpeaks: What does spring training mean for you, and what are you looking forward to this year?

Nate Hanson: Spring Training is a time to get prepared for the upcoming season. You must work hard and show you belong. I can’t wait to get rolling with spring training and the season and run into the big leaguers and pick their brains a bit on the game of baseball.

SethSpeaks: Who was your Favorite Player?

Nate Hanson: I had a few favorite players, but I would say right now David Wright. He plays the game the game with passion and plays it hard. I love the way he plays 3B!

SethSpeaks: Any question who your Favorite Team was/is?

Nate Hanson: When I was younger I was a huge Angels fan as I was born in CA. But when I moved to MN, I became a Twins fan. I like all my MN sports team, especially the Wild!

SethSpeaks: What were you hearing leading up to the draft about where you might be selected? when it was the Twins that took you, what went through your mind?

Nate Hanson: I heard some stuff but I wanted the process to run its course. I knew if it was meant to happen it would happen, if not, I had another year of school. Then when Mark Wilson called to tell me he and the Twins had drafted me, it was awesome. Nothing better than the home town team drafting you!

SethSpeaks: Best thing of career in baseball? 

Nate Hanson: Well, I am getting paid to play a game and a game I love to play. I get to be a role model for the youth in my community and that really is what it is all about.

SethSpeaks: Toughest thing of career in baseball? 

Nate Hanson: It is tough playing 142 game season after you have played 56 in a college year. Also tough finding it deep inside you when you are in slump. You know you have a game every day and need to find a way to stay positive.

SethSpeaks: Funniest story in your minor league career? 

Nate Hanson: There have been many, but I will say last year in Beloit it seemed like everyone was a prankster! It kept the team loose when we were struggling as a team.

SethSpeaks:  What would it mean to make your big league debut?

Nate Hanson: It would be a dream come true. That is what everyone says, but it would be. Being from MN, playing at Target Field would be mean the world to me and everyone who helped me throughout my baseball career.

Thank you very much to Nate Hanson for taking some of his time to respond. As you can see, he spent some time and put some thought into his response. If you would like, you can e-mail me, or feel free to leave your comments here.


8 Responses to “Spring Training Q&A: Nate Hanson”

  1. mike wants wins March 15, 2010 at 9:21 am #

    entertaining answers. Thanks for the interview!

    Seth, what was the consensus on what the Twins should do if Mauer won’t sign? Trade him? Keep him? What would you do if he won’t sign?

  2. dave March 15, 2010 at 9:58 am #

    When I mentioned six months ago that the odds were not good the Twins would re-sign Mauer, I got pelted. Didn’t understand how much he loved the Twin Cities’ didn’t grasp what a saintly agent Ron Shapiro is; didn’t know nothing about nothing. Well, guess what? Souhan, who rarely gets anything right, has grasped where there this train is headed. In the video he shot with Christensen he was honest enough to admit the sportswriters’ role in all this. By insisting the Twins HAD to resign Mauer and that they had an obligation to give him whatever he wanted, they helped set the current stage. My point then and now is simply that it never made any sense to give Mauer close to a quarter of the team’s budget. That is fiscal insanity. If he signs today for $23 million for six or seven years, the Twins have taken a tremendous gamble that could put them in the hole for years and years. Trade him.

  3. Kunza March 15, 2010 at 12:48 pm #

    Giving anything more than $16-$18 million for Mauer is absolutely absurd. I definitely want him signed and value his importance, but come on!!!!

    If I had a choice between 1 guy making that much money or 2 better than average guys making decent money, I’ll take the 2 players any day of the week.

    The Twins are not obligated to give him whatever. Does he really mean that much to this franchise or are some of you thinking that because he is a Minnesota kid we need to take care of him? For me, he doesn’t have anywhere near the value that Kirby Puckett had. Puckett lead us to 2 World Series titles. Mauer hasn’t lead us too far in the playoffs last time I checked.

    My thought on the contract with Mauer is the Twins have more leverage than people think. Mauer is a true Minnesotan and he knows the financial strains the club has always had. You offer him a big contract and put the ball in his court. If he turns it down, you go public with the offer. People in this state, as much as they love Mauer, would quickly turn against him if he turned down huge money. It would be a clear indication that he doesn’t want to play here or thinks he is worth much more money.

    The Twins are in a win-win situation with Mauer. Mauer is in a true lose-lose situation. The Twins win if Mauer signs a reasonable contract and they also win if they have to trade him. His worth coming back from a contender would probably bring the biggest package back in players in history. Mauer is going to have to take less money and if he doesn’t, he will definitely take the wrath of 95% of Minnesotan’s who will think of him as a traitor and being greedy. The golden boy will be looked upon as a greedy, selfish, unloyal and biggest traitor that has ever graced our great state!

    Simply put… the Mauer contract is ridiculous. We don’t want and don’t need a contract that big on our books of for the next 10 years. What happens if he misses more than 4-6 weeks this year or reverts back to his 10-15 home runs a year? Then the contract looks even worse!!!

  4. Jesse H March 15, 2010 at 10:02 pm #

    OK, to the people who say lets get 2 good guys for what it would cost to get Mauer I would like you to go to this site (http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/features/freeagents?type=dollars&season=2009), find 2 Type B (because the Twinkies will not give up draft picks) or less guys who make a combined $18 million and justify why having those two guys on this team would make the team better then having Mauer would. Are we talking Beltre and Pinero? I would like to hear an argument that includes actual examples.

    Here is how I am personally appraoching the Mauer contract debacle. Until proven otherwise it is the Twins fault. They have signed only 2 guys without at least a year of arbitration hanging over their heads since 2000 (Brad Radke, Joe Nathan) and both of those deals were only for 4 years. Anybody see Joe signing a 4 yr/$80 million contract? I saw Santana walk away from that and nearly double it in New York and he was a pitcher. People always bring up the fact Hrbek and Puckett took less money to stay but always forget to mention they took EQUAL years. I am convinced that Mauer will take a discount to stay here but I think some people need to understand that for Joe a discount could very well be a 10 year/$220 million contract as opposed to $250 million. According to reports the Mauer camp wants some deferred money and the Pohlads are against it which shows me that Mauer and Shapiro could be trying to make this contract work by stating Give us 10 Years/$220 but take $40 million of that and pay it to Joe in $2 million a year from 2020-2040. Those reports are a sign to me that the Mauer/Shapiro team is maintaining flexibility in these negotations and the Smith/Pohlad team has a hardening position.

  5. Gopher Nation March 15, 2010 at 11:44 pm #

    As I have stated previously, the Twins cannot pay Joe Mauer more than $18-$20 million and field a competitive team. Unfortunately, I think Mauer and his agent have significant leverage with the new stadium and the constant barrage of fans threatening that the twins better not trade him. His interview over the weekend with Rosen didn’t say reveal a lot through answers but reading into his nonverbal and I am not all that convinced the Twins are his first choice. If $18-$20 million for a catcher that has a tough time lasting physically through a year won’t do it, lets trade him. I would be ok with that. Even at $18-$20 million if he signed I am not convinced that would be good long-term for the Twins anymore.

  6. Pradesh March 16, 2010 at 1:45 am #

    Joe should take note of how fast Minnesotans turned against hometown boy Perkins once he stopped pulling for the team. Being Minnesotan is as a Minnesotan does. Most fans here know and respect that.

    Still, I keep hope that he is actually the real thing (until this past month, I had never doubted it). A real class act. Wouldn’t that be refreshing?! And that he will find a way to stay here with the fans who have cheered him on since he was a kid in high school, rallying him on to succeed.

    If he isn’t ultimately of that metal, I won’t fault BS and the FO the least if they cut their loses and ship him for a great closer, and a bunch of worthy prospects.

  7. Alan Harrer March 16, 2010 at 3:10 am #

    Maybe Mauer is putting Pressure on the Twins to lock up some players so they will stay competitive for many of his years here if he signs.

  8. mike wants wins March 16, 2010 at 8:36 am #

    Can the Twins field a WS class team, if Mauer makes 20+% of the salary structure? They can, but their margin for error will be tiny. They’ll need to be right on nearly every move where they spend money, because every contract they sign restricts their options. I think Mauer is one of the 5 most valuable players in baseball, but that does not mean they should sign him for infinite money. There needs to be a sensible limit here.

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