Guess Who’s Back? Twins Notes

19 Dec

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net

It started out with all good intentions. I had been extremely busy with work for a couple of weeks. We had been putting together nightly Twins podcasts during the Winter Meetings. I took a day off of work and had a fun weekend in the Cities with my daughter and my sister. On Friday night, I enjoyed being a guest on the Gleeman and the Geek podcast. That was a ton of fun! Then on Saturday we went to the Como Zoo which was a blast as always. After some time at the mall, it was a lot of fun to hang out with Parker Hageman, Nick Nelson, Aaron Gleeman, Cody Christie, Howard Sinker, Darren “Doogie” Wolfson, Rhett Bollinger, Judd Zulgad, and Phil Mackey on Saturday night. I got to enjoy the role of DD yet again! It was a great weekend. The only concern was how tired I would be making the drive back up to Warroad, a good seven hour drive.

However, that’s where all the positivity ended for the past week. Around 3:30 Sunday morning, I woke up not quite feeling right. But about 6:30, I had figured out what my problem was. It was a problem I had twice previously, five and six years ago. I had a kidney stone. You don’t want all the details. This is probably more than enough, but a trip to the doctor on Monday was followed by a ‘passed stone’ on Wednesday morning. I thought that was it. Nope! Increased pain Wednesday night meant a trip to the hospital which turned into a trip to Fargo and a Saturday surgery that frankly didn’t rid the remaining stone. However, enough was done to alleviate the pain until I can have another surgery next week sometime to finish.

I apologize for being away from my computer completely for over a week. I read some of the comments on my phone that talked about how I ‘used to’ blog all the time about the Twins. OK, not going to apologize. I literally could not look at my computer screen for more than a minute at a time without getting nauseous.

But, I do need to thank my parents who were great, helpful all week and were there the whole time. My siblings were constantly asking questions. And there are a ton of you who sent messages and notes and well wishes. I just needed to say thank you to everyone and there’s no easy way to do that. So, here I’ll just blog it. Thank you!

Unfortunately, in the one week where I literally had to stay away from the computer, the Twins were quite busy. So, without going into too much detail, I thought I’d post my thoughts on several of the topics in an attempt to catch up.

CUDDYER FOR WILLINGHAM

OK, it wasn’t a trade, of course, but in essence, the Twins ‘traded’ Michael Cuddyer for Josh Willingham. As you know by now, Cuddyer inked a three year, $31.5 million deal with the Colorado Rockies. I hate to see Cuddyer leave. He had been with the Twins and in the organization since he was drafted in the first round of the 1997 draft. Although he certainly had his ups and downs, he was a very popular, major contributor to the Twins success for nearly a decade. And yes, part of that is his good-guy attitude, his willingness to talk to the media all the time, his work in the community, and to some demographics, there were the dimples.

Willingham is the same age as Cuddyer and has been equal, if not a little better, offensive player. The Twins got a very similar player for the same three year tenure but for $10.5 million less. The Twins also will get two draft picks for losing Cuddyer. I’ve liked Willingham for a long time. I named him as a Top 20 Rookie Hitters for 2006 because of his power and Isolated Discipline. That is what makes him. He won’t hit for a high average, and like Cuddyer, he won’t play great defense, but he can be a force in the Twins lineup.  

So, although I will miss Cuddyer and his presence on the roster and in the city, at the end of the day, the Twins got the same player for less money and added two draft picks.  As I’ve written previously, Michael Cuddyer will always be a Minnesota Twin. I am curious where he would rank among the all-time best Twins players. Off the top of my head, he has to easily be in the Top 20.    

INTERESTED IN KUBEL?

I keep hearing and reading that the Twins are now targeting Jason Kubel, even after bringing in Willingham. Like Cuddyer, Kubel has been in the Twins organization since being drafted in the previous millennium. I think Kubel is an impact free agent who will really help whatever team that he signs with. Its’ pretty clear that he doesn’t want to return to Target Field. And with Ben Revere, Denard Span, Trevor Plouffe, Josh Willingham and Ryan Doumit on the roster and the likes of Rene Tosoni and Joe Benson on the horizon, I just don’t think that the Twins really need to spend $5-7 million for a year or two on Kubel. That is especially the case if the Twins have a lower payroll. They need to add another pitcher. I would love to see Edwin Jackson in a Twins uniform, but if I had to put money on which free agent pitcher the Twins will sign, I’d have to say Paul Maholm. I know that the Twins have been linked more to Jeff Francis and Joel Pineiro, but I can’t get past Maholm as the right option.

HOEY AND FLORIMON DESIGNATED

The Twins designated two players off of their 40 man roster. RHP Jim Hoey was claimed by the Toronto Blue Jays. The hard-thrower just could not get his straight fastball by big league (or often AAA) hitters because he never did find a secondary pitch. The Twins have added several players who throw hard and struggle with their control.

SS Pedro Floriman, who the Twins claimed a week earlier, as also DFAd, but he was able to clear waivers and will remain in the Twins organization. He still has an option remaining, so this is great news for the Twins.

TWINS NON-TENDER MIJARES

In a somewhat surprising move, the Twins did not tender a contract for 2012 to LHP Jose Mijares. It isn’t that he has pitched well the last couple of years (He Hasn’t), but he is still young and does have really good stuff when he’s on. Because of how he has pitched the last couple of years, he would likely have made around $750,000, just over $250,000 over the league minimum. That said, it also is a clear indication that the Twins will be moving Brian Duensing to the bullpen where he’ll join Glen Perkins. Not a huge loss, although I will not be at all surprised when Mijares resurfaces elsewhere and becomes a dominant reliever again.

INTERNATIONAL DRAFT

Imagine if there was an international draft in place today? The Twins would have the second overall pick. Even though that probably means that Yu Darvish would not have made himself available, the Twins could have been left with either Yoenis Cespedes or Jorge Soler, both incredibly talented outfielders from Cuba.

TWINS SIGN MORE MINOR LEAGUE FREE AGENTS

I thought the Twins had already signed a bunch of minor league free agents, but they signed a few more pretty impressive names.

  • Sean Burroughs – the former Little League World Series hero hasn’t done much in the big leagues, but is a very solid AAA player who did some pinch hitting in 2011 with the Diamondbacks. With a big league invitation, is it at all possible the team could be signing him as competition for Danny Valencia?
  • Rene Rivera – We saw what the catcher could do in 2011. Decent behind the plate. Horrifying offensively.
  • PJ Walters – The RHP is 26 years old and pitched in five big league games in 2011 between the Cardinals and the Blue Jays. In 24 AAA starts, he went 8-7 with a 5.17 ERA between Memphis and Las Vegas (AAA). He went 7-4 with a 4.27 ERA in 17 starts in the International League before heading to the PCL where he posted a 8+ ERA. Looks like a solid AAA starter.
  • JR Towles – The former Astros backstop used to be a pretty good prospect, the guy in line to take over for Brad Ausmus years ago. In parts of four years in the big leagues, he has hit .187.
  • Steve Pearce – In 2007, Pearce hit a combined .333/.394/.622 with 40 doubles and 31 home runs between High-A, AA and AAA. He became a Top 100 prospect, and although he has continued to hit well in the minor leagues since, it hasn’t transferred to the big leagues. In parts of five big league seasons, he has hit .232/.302/.366 with 29 doubles and nine homers in 521 plate appearances. No surprise that the Twins drafted Pearce out of high school in the 45th round.
  • Daryl Thompson – He made one appearance with the Reds in 2011 and in three innings, he gave up five runs on six hits and five walks. Not so good. Last year, between AA and AAA, the 25-year-old went 4-8 with a 4.26 ERA. In 137.1 innings, he walked 40 and struck out 123.

 BILL SMITH RETURNS TO TWINS FRONT OFFICE

It is no surprise to hear that Bill Smith will be back with the Twins as a special assistant to the president and GM. Hey, the guy did a ton of great things for the organization for the 25 years prior to him becoming the Twins GM, back when no one knew his name. So, I think it’s great news that Smith will return to the organization in his new role.

So, did I miss anything? Am I all caught up? Feel free to comment.

17 Responses to “Guess Who’s Back? Twins Notes”

  1. Jack Steal December 19, 2011 at 5:42 am #

    Seth,

    Glad you are feeling better. It sounds like it was a difficult week for you and sure hope this one it much better. Merry Christmas and happy new year.

  2. Chuck December 19, 2011 at 7:28 am #

    Seth,
    Welcome back and am glad you are feeling much better. And from Fort Myers, I wish you and all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. May the Twins shine in 2012.

  3. Han Joelo December 19, 2011 at 7:40 am #

    Glad you are ok. Believe it or not, I was a little worried. Seth wouldn’t stop blogging without an explanation!

  4. Chad Groetsch December 19, 2011 at 8:37 am #

    Concise synopses of the happenings in the Twin-everse. Good to see your in process to feeling better. I feel like crap regarding my comment earlier considering the circumstances, but I know this is your off season. Sorry. I just lean on your knowledgeable insight more than others.

  5. mini_tb December 19, 2011 at 8:46 am #

    Welcome back, Seth! I’m glad you’re feeling better right now, and I’m sorry to hear that it’s not all fixed yet.

    Every time I type up a new blog entry, which admittedly isn’t very often, I am amazed at how much time it takes. We all take what you do for granted. Thank you for the countless hours of entertainment you have provided over the years.

    Chad, please don’t interpret that as a shot you – totally not my intention. I’m just throwing out a nice thank you to Seth.

  6. Chad Groetsch December 19, 2011 at 8:50 am #

    No shot taken. Giving credit to where credit is due(ie Seth) and in a very good way is what it’s all about. I’ll be Seth feels all warm and squishy after that. lol

  7. DH in Philly December 19, 2011 at 8:59 am #

    Seth – re: kidney stones remember the old Persian proverb “This too shall pass”.

    Thanks again for everything and Happy Holidays.

    • DH in Philly December 19, 2011 at 9:06 am #

      and many thanks to mini-tb for filling in!!!

  8. gobbledy December 19, 2011 at 9:24 am #

    nice to have you back!

  9. dave December 19, 2011 at 10:20 am #

    Health and family is ALWAYS first. Good to have you almost completely back in the saddle.

  10. roger December 19, 2011 at 11:20 am #

    Welcome back Seth. Hopefully, this next procedure will put this behind you for good. I expect that would be the best Christmas present you could hope for.

    Get well!

  11. Greg December 19, 2011 at 11:32 am #

    Welcome back Seth, ?Glad you are getting bettr and seemingly must feel better.

    Thought your title should be Where are we now Seth. LOL.

    As a Twins fan in Nor Cal, always lookfroward to your page, insight.

    Seems to be on target. Maholm, be good. Like Pineiro also from seeing him pitch. What about Luke Scott to replace Kubel?

    Win Twins!

  12. dave December 19, 2011 at 11:38 am #

    I live in the DC/Virginia/Maryland metro area and having watched Luke Scott play, that would not be a bad pickup at all.

  13. mike wants wins December 19, 2011 at 2:00 pm #

    Glad to read you are ok now, Seth. I’ve had some friends with stones, and it just sounds AWFUL. Let’s hope this is the last time you need to worry about them. I’m happy for you that you have a strong support structure, it is always helpful. Looking forward to your blog post on the next signing, which I also fear won’t be the pitcher I’d want.

  14. Ben H. December 19, 2011 at 5:36 pm #

    It does my soul well to see you post again, Seth.

    Pee restfully.

  15. John Hassett December 20, 2011 at 2:02 am #

    Do you think the Twins will be interested in bring Casey Blake back? I am unfortunately very familar with neck surgery for a pinched nerve. They have made great strides in that area. Right handed hitter with power could fill in at the corner positions. Wouldn’t think it would take much of a guaranteed contract to land.

    Of the pitchers I like Pineiro. Anderson use to coach Silva out of his sinkerball funks. Maybe he can do the same with Pineiro.

  16. Brent M. December 20, 2011 at 7:16 am #

    Glad you are back, Seth. I enjoy reading your blog. I feel your pain as I have had two bouts with kidney stones in the past but did not require surgery, but did have a stay in the hospital. I can understand how you would not feel like working on the computer.
    Was wondering how soon you think Joe Benson would be ready for full time in the big leagues. Am thinking that if he could play center field, the twins might think of moving Span (if healthy) for pitching options. Not sure Joe would be a leadoff hitter replacement for Span but maybe Revere could fit in there?
    By the way, did the doctors/urologist give you any indication of what you might be eating specifically that contributes to your stones? I could never get a clear answer on that one for mine.

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