Almost Over… Almost!

14 May

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It was yet another rough day for Twins fans on several levels, and it just gets harder and harder to hold out any hope. Last night, the Twins lost 2-0 to the Blue Jays which in itself is not a big deal. Ricky Romero was tremendous for 8.2 innings. He is one of the better left-handed pitchers in baseball and had a no-hitter into the sixth inning when Denard Span and Trevor Plouffe had soft singles. They got a couple of base runners on in the bottom of the 9th, but Frank Francisco came in and got Michael Cuddyer to check swing at a 96 mph fastball just off the black. On its own, this 2-0 loss to the Blue Jays with a terrific pitcher on the mound is not a big deal. Carl Pavano needed about 1950 pitches to get into the 6th inning, but he kept the strong Jays lineup off the scoreboard. Alex Burnett came on with two of Pavano’s runners on base and nobody out and didn’t allow the runners to score. He went out for the next inning and got a couple of runners on and Jim Hoey was brought in. He gave up a run on a bloop single with a bad Delmon Young throw. He then got a big double play. Glen Perkins was good again. Joe Nathan had a nice battle with Jose Bautista that Bautista won with a solo home run, but I thought Nathan looked much better.

The good news is that Delmon Young was back in the lineup. Again, based on what he did last year, this is a great thing. Trevor Plouffe was back in the lineup as well, and although he’s had just two good games, he at least appears to be a better option than the other options. Jim Thome will hopefully be back next week. Jason Repko will hopefully be back next week.

But, hope is certainly dwindling. Right now, this is a really bad baseball team. No, I don’t believe that it means someone should be fired, or even that anyone needs to be blamed. We’ve discussed all that before. It’s just a bad, bad year. As Aaron Gleeman pointed out after the game, if the Twins play at a 90-win pace the rest of the season, they will end the year with an 82-80 record. 82-80 probably won’t get them to the playoffs (although it could), and frankly, things are not going to just get better overnight, so really, they’ll have to play at an even better level.

And another thing, if Joe Mauer isn’t back in the Twins lineup by Memorial Day, he might as well sit out until the 4th of July. If Joe Mauer isn’t back my Memorial Day, then they need to allow Tsuyoshi Nishioka to use as much rehab time as he needs, and to let him spend time the 20 day rehab schedule playing in the minors and adjusting to American baseball. That is what would be best for his long-term future. If Joe Mauer isn’t back until after Memorial Day, then the Twins should start looking to deal, to be sellers for the first time in over a decade. They might as well start that process right away as many they can get more for guys in June than in late July. At that point, they might as well go with Valencia, Plouffe and Hughes in the Twins infield every single day to see what they have.

I’m not quite ready to discuss all of that, but it likely won’t be long before I start thinking about 2012.

And, that’s why it’s good to keep tabs on what is going on in the Twins minor league system. Yesterday, I posted a bunch of Twins minor league notes, but here are a bunch more:  

  • There have been some transactions:
    • With Delmon Young coming off of the Disabled List, it was Rene Tosoni sent back to Rochester. I think this makes sense. In my mind, Tosoni profiles as a big league starter while Ben Revere profiles as a fourth outfielder… that the Twins will likely make a starter.
    • With Tosoni going to Rochester, 2B Steve Singleton was sent back to New Britain (see how he did on Friday night), which of course makes no sense to me.
    • Ryan Mullins will go to New Britain.
    • Logan Darnell will report to Ft. Myers
    • Pat Dean and Ben Tootle are set to go to Beloit.
    • Last week, when Matt Parker was promoted to Beloit, it was because Kyle Knudson was put on the Disabled List.
  • Want to know what happens in Extended Spring Trainings? Todd Van Steensel is a right-handed pitcher that the Twins signed this offseason from Australia. He has a blog called The Clubhouse Chronicles that is absolutely terrific!
  • Allan de San Miguel is heading to Ft. Myers to rehab his elbow. He is not having Tommy John surgery at this time.
  • It’s Saturday morning, which means you will want to go to Twinkie Town for Roger’s Minor League Report.

If you have any questions or comments about the Twins minor league system, please feel free to e-mail me, ask me in the comments, or on Twitter.

Minor League Notes

Friday Minor League Hitter of the DaySteve Singleton, New Britain Rock Cats 

Friday Minor League Pitcher of the DayBobby Lanigan, New Britain Rock Cats

Red Wings Ramblings

Friday – Red Wings 4, Charlotte 6 – Scott Diamond gave up six runs on 11 hits and a walk in 4.2 innings. He struck out three. Carlos Gutierrez came in and threw 2.1 scoreless innings. He gave up just one hit, walked none and struck out two. Phil Dumatrait pitched one scoreless inning. Ray Chang went 3-4 with a walk. Seven other players had one hit. Dustin Martin had a double and drove in three runs.

Rock Cats Report

Friday – Rock Cats 2, Portland 0 – Bobby Lanigan started and threw eight shutout innings to record his fourth win of the year. He gave up just three hits, walked none and struck out four. Jake Stevens records the same with a scoreless ninth. The offense managed just three hits. Steve Singleton was back from Rochester and went 2-3 with his 12th double and third home run.

Miracle Matters

Friday – Game 1 – Miracle 2, Dunedin 3 – Andrew Albers started the first game for the Miracle. He went five innings and gave up two runs on seven hits. He also walked none and struck out three. Shooter Hunt came in and in the two innings he threw, he gave up one run. He walked one and struck out one. The team managed just six hits, and Ramon Santana had the only extra base hit, a double.

Friday – Game 2 – Miracle 1, Dunedin 7 – Tom Stuifbergen gave up three uearned runs on three hits in three innings. He walked none and struck out none. Matt Tone then gave up two earned runs on three hits in his two innings. He struck out two. Jhon Garcia gave up two runs on four hits and a walk in one inning. And Dakota Watts threw a scoreless ninth frame. Nick Romero went 2-3. Aaron Hicks was 1-3 with a walk, and Danny Rams hit his sixth double.

Snappers Bites

Friday – Snappers, Quad Cities – Postponed by Rain.  

As always, if you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below.


21 Responses to “Almost Over… Almost!”

  1. Matt Foster May 14, 2011 at 7:23 am #

    The denial phase has been over quite a while for me. Literally, they dont do a single phase of the game well. It not reasonable to think they will turn it all around. This is a worse team than 2000 but it could be a golden opportunity to retool. They have an opportunity to get quality players that are close to the majors. I would trade cuddy, thome, young, capps, nathan and hold kubel until somebody caves in and gives a super prospect. If not try to resign him and if you cant take the picks. Hopefully they do this.

    • Twinsoholic May 14, 2011 at 9:00 am #

      Who in the world would take Cuddyer given his salary and performance to date? Why would you trade Young? Sign Kubel. The 2012 Twins could be very competative if they work out the bull pen and avoid the terrible string of injuries we’ve seen this year. Here is what the 2012 Twins could look like:
      C: Mauer + back up not named Butera
      1B: Morneau — should be stronger next year
      2B: Nishi
      3B: Valencia
      SS: Plouffe or FA or Trade acquisition
      LF: Young
      CF: Span
      RF: Kubel
      DH: FA or trade acquisition
      Extra OF: Repko or Revere or Tosoni
      U Infielder: Gasp! Punto return possible
      Bench Player: Hughes or someone they sign

      SP: Baker, Pavano, Duensing, Liriano, Blackburn (one of these guys is likely to be traded so Slowey or a FA could be in the mix)

      RP: Perkins, Mijares, (Slowey possibly), Guittierez, player from trade/or FA, another player from trade or FA. I don’t imagine that the Twins will sign high-end FAs except, possibly, a closer. The Twins have some players who might get better: Burnett and Hoey but they might not. The pen is going to require some creativity on Bill Smith’s part.

      Let Cuddyer, Thome, Nathan, and Capps go. Hope to get a draft pick for Capps.

      The position players would be strong, and the starting pitching would be a veteran group who surely have to walk fewer batters next season. The pen is a problem.

      The 2012 Twins should be much stronger than this season’s bunch. Sorry for the long post.

      • Kunza May 14, 2011 at 10:40 pm #

        Isn’t this the same team we have this year and the same team we had the last few years?

      • TT May 17, 2011 at 8:06 am #

        No, that isn’t “the team we have had this year”. The Team we have this year has Butera catching, a failing Morneau at first, Hughes/Cuddyer/Tolbert at second, Casilla/Tolbert at shortstop, Valencia struggling at third, Cuddyer struggling in right, Span in Center and Repko/Tosoni/Revere in left and Kubel DH’ing. There are only two players on this team that are playing like major league players, Span and Kubel.

  2. Han Joelo May 14, 2011 at 9:11 am #

    I thought it was interesting that Dinkelman played 2B last night for Rochester, and Singleton played SS while Solarte stayed at 2B for the Rock Cats. A throwing error for Steve, but he started two double plays–in addition to the homer and the double. Solarte’s bat speaks for itself. Seems like the Twins are maybe getting serious about developing some MI’s that can hit.

    Also cool to see Hermann handling AA so well. Seems like he is on the fast track to being Mauer’s caddy.

    Also good to see Hicks hitting above the Mendoza line.

  3. mike wants wins May 14, 2011 at 3:43 pm #

    I agree with most of what you said, Seth, except I’d start the sell off. But I don’t expect that to happen. Frankly, I don’t expect them to sell off anything this year, other than maybe Young. They don’t really have much else that they’d be willing to deal that someone else would want, I don’t think.

  4. Kunza May 14, 2011 at 11:14 pm #

    The Twins need to start thinking about next year right now. How about these guys? Thoughts?

    MICHAEL CUDDYER – not getting traded to any team. Horrible contract and the Twins will surely resign him for too much money and too many years this offseason.

    JOE NATHAN – similar to Cuddyer – horrible player right now that has no value and bad, bad contract. He is not getting traded.

    1a – Get on the phone with the Cincy Reds and figure out a deal to get Yonder Alonso over here in Minnesota. I would definitely think the Reds would trade Alonso, who is completely blocked by Votto, for a pretty good CL/RP.
    First base situation resolved.

    1b – Get on the phone with the LA Angels and work out a trade for 2B Jean Segura and some other mid-level prospect. Segura is going to be a beast and would be an absolute steal for Minnesota to play 2B for years to come.

    2a – Send Carl Pavano to Colorado for Wilin Rosario – a pretty good catching prospect blocked for now by Ianetta. I don’t know if the Rockies would part with him though but Pavano would upgrade their rotation. That would make people forget about Ramos pretty darn quick.

    2b – Send Carl Pavano to St. Louis for Allen Craig and some other prospect – I think it would be a good addition for the Twins to add the RH Craig to the OF/DH mix and is still a pretty decent prospect that could help the Twins for years to come.

    2c – Send Carl Pavano back to the Indians for 2B Jason Kipnis and SP Jason Knapp or SP Nick Hagadone. Similar to Segura, we need a good 2B prospect and Kipnis would be a great addition.

    2d – Send Carl Pavano to New York Y for C Austin Romine and SP Andrew Brackman. Romine would also be a great addition to Minnesota’s farm system for a year or 2 and then take over for Mauer.

    GLENN PERKINS – strike while iron is hot! Is what he doing this year a fluke or is it real. If it is a fluke, dump him now. Someone would definitely overpay for LHRP that has been as dominant as he has.

    DENARD SPAN – Would it make sense to trade him?

    JUSTIN MORNEAU? – How about a trade to Toronto for SP Deck McGuire or SP Zack Stewart.

    JASON KUBEL – How about Kubel and Pavano to Tampa Bay for SP Matt Moore, SP Chris Archer and mid level prospect? That would instantly change our starting rotation in 2013 to a dominant, strikeout type top of the rotation?

    My honest guess is the Twins do absolutely nothing. Nothing. Maybe trade someone like Jim Hoey for a few baseballs.

    • USAFChief May 15, 2011 at 2:43 pm #

      I think you’re seriously overvaluing these assets. The Yankees could have had Pavano this winter for nothing but money, and how they’re going to give the Twins Romine AND Brackman? Yeah, that’s not happening. Capps isn’t going to net Alonzo, either. Bill Smith doesn’t work for the Reds, and he’s the only person that wouldn’t laugh at that offer…

      I do agree that it’s not too early to start shopping anything that isn’t a core part of the 2012 team though.

  5. Wavedog May 15, 2011 at 5:39 pm #

    Interesting – the largest payroll ever in for the franchise combined with the worst record. All the good luck from years past has turned around to bad. Don’t have to worry about getting humiliated by the Yankees in the playoffs – we get humiliated now. Not impressed that Gardy can’t manage them out of the slump. If he deserved Manager of the year last year – he should be fired for this effort. Bill Smith gets an “F” for this offseason. Hardy for Hoey – not having a backup cathing plan….Anyway, let’s do everything possible to plan for 2012….I don’t know who would take our overpriced players but maybe we can move Nathan, any two of our startersand as a mercy, let Thome go to a contending team.

  6. Dustin Bonn May 15, 2011 at 10:33 pm #

    Seth, what year was it that they traded Luis Castillo just before the deadline? They were sellers that year. 2007 maybe?

  7. TT May 16, 2011 at 10:07 pm #

    The idea the Twins should start thinking about “selling” is ludicrous. Until they get Mauer and Nishioka back on the field along with Thome and see what they have have in Young and Plouffe, they are not out of the division race. THIS team is terrible, but THIS team is not the Twins.

    If Morneau isn’t on track when Thome gets back, they need to pull the plug and put Kubel out in right and move Cuddyer to first. I don’t know what all the crap is about Cuddyer. He had a bad April, but he is hitting over .300 so far in May.

    • USAFChief May 17, 2011 at 2:16 am #

      The idea the Twins SHOULDN’T sell what they can is ludicrous. They would have to play .600 ball for 4.5 months just to get into the mid-80’s for wins. They’ve played .600 ball exactly one season in their history.

      Eat salary (sunk cost) and get what you can for Pavano (get rid of that 2012 contract), Cuddyer, and Thome at least. See if anyone will take a chance on Nathan as well if it doesn’t cost them any money. None of those players will be on the 2012 team, which is what Bill Smith should be thinking about right now.

      • mike wants wins May 17, 2011 at 8:13 am #

        Agreed. Teams wait too long to make moves all the time. Fear drives that mostly. Mauer and Nishi are still weeks away, from what we can tell. Two more weeks of Butera and whomever at 2B should be about a 3-7 or so record, putting them another 2-6 games out…..It is time to sell. As for Cuddeyer, if you look at his last 3 full seasons plus this season, he’s below average offensively and defensively in 2 full seasons and this season. He’s had 1 good year in the last 3+ years. Teams that look at themselves honestly and identify their problems and try to fix them are more likely to win at some point than teams that just refuse to honestly assess themselves. It’s a pretty basic tenet of business.

      • TT May 17, 2011 at 9:39 am #

        BTW –

        If you are going to make arguments based on history, you should at least get the history right. The Twins have played .600 ball over an entire season twice in their history, 1965 and 1970, not once.

        For a more appropriate comparison, the last half of 2006 they had winning percentage of .645. If they did that well the rest of this year, they would have 91 wins. Their winning percentage starting in June that year was even better.

        Apparently, they should have given up in 2006 too. I am sure if you look back you will find exactly that argument from some of the same people making it now.

      • mike wants wins May 17, 2011 at 12:58 pm #

        As people have pointed out, they had Santana and Liriano on that roster. They don’t have anyone like that on this roster.

      • TT May 17, 2011 at 5:55 pm #

        Mike –

        Liriano and Santana started only 50 games that year. They also had Bonser, Baker, Lohse, Garza and Mike Smith start 52 games combined.

  8. TT May 17, 2011 at 8:22 am #

    “They’ve played .600 ball exactly one season in their history.”

    A team with Mauer, Morneau, Young and Kubel all hitting on all cylinders is perfectly capable of putting up a .600 record over 4 months. The Twins coming back is not likely, but it certainly isn’t impossible.

    Even is you were going to sell off parts, they still need to know what they are looking for in return. Is Morneau’s career over? Is Plouffe a major league shortstop. Is Valencia a major league third baseman? Is Nishioka a second baseman or a shortstop? Is Kubel just hot, or is it time to extend his contract?

    As for Pavano, the Twins would be very foolish to trade away any of their pitching. This spring would have been even worse if they had been run pitchers through the rotation while Slowey was injured. They had to do that once as it was. Some of us remember what it was like when every 4th and 5th day they sent a starter out who wasn’t likely give them a chance to win, no matter how much offense they were generating.

    There is a group who has the past talked about calling up some prospect from the minors because they “would rather see a young guy with a future out there”. What’s amusing is that it seems to be the same people now complaining because the Twins have a bunch of young guys out there with predicable results. They really should be enjoying watching Valencia, Hughes, Plouffe, Revere, Tosoni, Burnett, Hoey et al. They don’t appear to be.

    • mike wants wins May 17, 2011 at 12:57 pm #

      I don’t think anyone said “call up every young player at the same time”. I think some of us said, “have a minor league system where you have at least one MLB ready player a year, and call him up when ready. Also, call him up if the veteran is awful and has no future with this team.” That doesn’t mean we’d actually enjoy watching the outcome at that time…..It does mean it is one way to see what you have or don’t have.

      I actually agree with your first two paragraphs completely.

      • TT May 17, 2011 at 6:06 pm #

        Mike –

        The fact is the Twins have been adding at least one MLB ready player every year. How do you think they have stayed in contention. Last year I suppose it is was Valencia … but it was also Drew Butera and Brian Duensing. And yes, I know there are people here who don’t think Butera is any good.

        Of course this year we have Luke Hughes, who everyone was calling for during spring training.

  9. MrHockey May 17, 2011 at 12:38 pm #

    It’s the trees–but them back into Target Field.

    • mike wants wins May 17, 2011 at 12:57 pm #

      It sure makes taking them out look silly. It isn’t the sand trap that makes you hit a bad shot…..It’s your swing.

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