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SethSpeaks.net Top 10 Twins Highlights of 2010

30 Sep

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net

At 9:20 on Thursday morning, I will be on KFAN and KFAN.com to talk about the Twins. PA is away, so I’ll be talking with Judd Zulgad which should be a lot of fun!

Earlier in the week, we took a look at the Twins MVP candidates, Pitcher of the Year and their Rookie of the Year. With just four games remaining in the regular season, and the playoffs beginning in less than a week, it’s time to take a look back at the 2010 regular season and recap some of the highlights that stood out at the top of my mind. I’m certain I missed some moments, and I’m sure for each of you have some memories that stand out as highlights to you, maybe even some personal stories and highlights. So, after looking at my list, but sure to discuss your favorite moments from the 2010 Twins season in the comments section.

#10 – Butera Homers in Philadelphia

We held a monthly TwinsCentric Viewing Party. On this particular day, it was held at Park Tavern in St. Louis Park. It was a great opportunity to talk to a lot of the Twins fans and bloggers that were there because the Twins fell way behind early against the Philadelphia Phillies. But slowly the team came back. Late in the game, Joe Mauer hit a home run and somehow the Twins were tied. However, with a pitcher due up, there was only one pinch hitting option on the bench, Drew Butera. I recall Andrew Bryz-Gornia yelling, “Why is Butera batting?” One pitch later, Butera gave the Twins a lead by drilling a long, solo home run into the left field bleachers. Jon Rauch gave back the lead in the bottom of the inning, but the Twins went on to win one of the more exciting games of the season.

#9 – Ramos Makes Great First Impression

So he’s no longer with the organization… The debut of Wilson Ramos on May 2nd in Cleveland was quite impressive. In his first game with the Twins, he went 4-5, putting his name with Kirby Puckett as the only Twins with four hits in their big league debut. In an attempt to prove that he was more than just a one-game wonder, Ramos had three more hits in his second game. Sure, he really struggled following those two games and had a very disappointing 2010 AAA season before being dealt to the Nationals in the Matt Capps deal.

#8 – Welcome Back, Jacque

The Twins came to Target Field for two exhibition games against the St. Louis Cardinals in early April in preparation for the inaugural season at the new stadium. It was a great evening that saw Denard Span get a triple and a home run. But the highlight of those two games was the incredible, amazing and emotional standing ovation given both days to Jacque Jones. It was a tremendous gesture of gratitude by the fans to a member of the Twins family who was such a big part of the Twins return to prominence at the turn of the century. Jones was clearly embarrassed and moved by the moment. I know I had goose bumps.

#7 – Have a (Souvenir) Ball!

Maybe it’s the minor league follower that I am, but there are few things in baseball that I find greater than the first big league hit for players. When you think of the amount of work that the player put in during their amateur careers and then the journey through the minor league ranks, getting that first big league hit kind of makes it all real, official. This year, the Twins had first big league hits from six players. On April 22nd, Drew Butera singled to left field off of Cleveland’s Mitch Talbot. On May 2nd, Wilson Ramos singled to left against Cleveland’s David Huff. On May 21, Trevor Plouffe singled in his first at bat, driving in a run against Dave Bush of the Brewers. On June 3rd, Danny Valencia hit an infield single off of Felix Hernandez. On September 19th, Ben Revere singled up the middle off of Oakland’s Bobby Cramer.

#6 – Hughes Homers in First At Bat

You were probably wondering if I had forgotten that first Major League hit for infielder Luke Hughes. He was called up to the Twins in late April, primarily as a right-handed bat off the bench. On April 28th, he was given his first start in a game against the Detroit Tigers. His first plate appearance ended prematurely when Delmon Young was caught stealing. So, Hughes led off the 3rd inning and hit a long opposite field home run off of Max Scherzer. He became just the fifth Minnesota Twins player to hit a home run in his first at bat.

#5 – Speaking of First Home Runs

Danny Valencia started the 2010 season in Rochester. He had no home runs when he was promoted to the Twins in the first days of June. He remained homerless on the season until July 26th when, in the first inning against the Kansas City Royals, he hit a grand slam off of reigning Cy Young Award winner Zach Greinke. He became the first Twins player in team history to hit a grand slam for his first home run. Since that time, Valencia has added six more home runs and maintains a batting average well over .320 on the season.

#4 – Crain Closes Case in Chicago

Two weeks ago, the Twins went into Chicago for a three game series with a six game lead in the AL Central. Popular belief was that the White Sox needed to sweep the series if they were to have any shot at catching the Twins. In the first game of the series, the Twins were holding on to a slim one-run lead. In the 7th inning, Matt Guerrier let the first two batters on. Jesse Crain was summoned from the bullpen. He recorded the first out on a sacrifice bunt. After a walk to load the bases, Crain shut the door by striking out the Sox best hitter Paul Konerko, and their big-name acquisition Manny Ramirez. The Twins held on to win that game and swept the White Sox, leaving Chicago with a nine game lead. Maybe it is overstating it to say that that performance by Crain ended the Sox season. We don’t know what might have happened later in the game if Crain had given up a run or two. We don’t know what would have happened in subsequent days. We do know that after those strikeouts, the Sox quit and it was easy to see on the field. That’s why this is such a highlight for me.

#3 – Kubel Grand Slam Tops Yankees

The Yankees have had the Twins number in recent years. I don’t think anyone can deny that. When the Twins went to Yankees Stadium in mid-May, they lost the first two games to the Yankees. Nick Blackburn pitched well in the third game of the series, but found his team losing 3-1. But in the 8th inning, the Twins loaded the bases against Joba Chamberlain. Joe Girardi went to Mariano Rivera looking for a four-out save. Rivera walked Jim Thome to bring in a run and cut the lead to 3-2. Jason Kubel came to the plate and hit a line drive down the right field line that found itself landing just over the fence for a grand slam. The Twins held on for the win. Does it mean that the Twins had overcome whatever ailed them against the Yankees and in New York? I don’t know about that, but that was as exciting as it gets!!

#2 – Opening Day at Target Field

The Twins won their first game at Target Field 5-2 over the Boston Red Sox. The game seemed to be almost an afterthought. It was an incredible event. FSN started broadcasting before 6:00 in the morning. They told a bunch of stories. They showed batting practice. The pregame festivities were terrific. There was a fly over. Sure, Marco Scutaro tallied the first hit in Target Field history. Orlando Hudson had the first Twins hit. Michael Cuddyer drove in Denard Span for the first run in the stadium. Joe Mauer recorded the first extra base hit, a double. And Jason Kubel made a lot of people right when he was the first player to hit a home run at Target Field. It was just a tremendous day to be a Twins fan, the history coming together with the present, looking to an exciting future.

#1 – Thome Walks Off Against the White Sox

On August 17th, the Twins jumped out to a 4-0 lead after the first inning. By the fourth inning, Scott Baker had given the lead back. In the fifth inning, Delmon Young hit a solo homer to give the Twins a 5-4 lead, a lead they would hold until the top of the 9th. Matt Capps came in and gave up a solo home run to Alexei Ramirez. In the top of the 10th, Ramirez singled in another run to give the Sox a 6-5 lead. It had the potential to be a very difficult loss for the team at the time. Matt Thornton came out to pitch the 10th for the White Sox. He had already recorded four outs for the team. Young led off with a single which brought up Thome. On the first pitch, Thornton threw a slider that Thome missed by a foot. One the next pitch, he tried to sneak a fastball past his former teammate, and Thome didn’t miss it. Thome drilled a long blast well beyond the right field wall. A major celebration ensued. I was there, and I got a high-five from Khalid El-Amin. It was one of the most exciting games I have ever been at.

Just Missed The List:

Being at the first exhibition game and making my FSN debut, eating some nachos as Bert Blyleven noted that I was “stuffing my face.” That was terrific. The Long-Awaited Debut of Anthony Slama finally happened and he struck out two in his first inning. The night the Twins clinched the division was pretty cool too. It would have been better if the Twins would have been able to celebrate after their own win as opposed to waiting for the White Sox to lose (again) to the A’s in Oakland just a few minutes before midnight. But champagne celebrations certainly seem fun! Even if it is just celebrating being the best out of five teams.

And I’m certain that there are many more memories from the 2010 regular season that you will remind me of in the comment section. And hopefully, there will be plenty more playoff memories coming as well.

Share your favorite memories here.

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2010 Rochester Red Wings Preview

7 Apr

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net

The 2010 Twins minor league roster previews are brought to you by the Minnesota Twins 2010 Prospect Handbook. Get your copy here!

Second, I will be on KFAN at 10:30 central time with Paul Allen. If you can get it on the radio, great. If not, head over to KFAN.com and listen live.

And, by the way, if you’re able to, be sure to join me and the rest of TwinsCentric at Majors Sports Café in Blaine on Saturday from 11:30 a.m. until the end of the Twins/White Sox game. Drink and appetizer specials. Lots of prizes to give away. Lots of talk with Twins fans. It’d be fun to meet you!

On Thursday night, Anthony Swarzak will take the mound for the Rochester Red Wings against Boof Bonser and Pawtucket. Tom Nieto will be the Red Wings manager in 2010 after leading the New Britain Rockcats a year ago. Floyd Rayford will be the hitting coach while Bobby Cuellar is the pitching coach. Let’s take a look at players on the Red Wings roster to start the 2010 season (note – prospect ranking for my choices for Top 30 Twins prospects as updated in the Minnesota Twins 2010 Prospect Handbook):

The Starting Pitchers

Anthony Swarzak, Jeff Manship (16), Glen Perkins, Mike Maroth, Yoslan Herrera.

As far as upside, I think most would agree that Glen Perkins could be the most talented pitcher in this group. Does that mean he’s the best pitcher? Probably not. Manship and Swarzak both profile as back of the rotation starters. Both showed in 2009, in short stints with the Twins, that they are capable big league pitchers, but they also both showed that they have more to learn. Having talked with Manship several times, I know that he’ll take a lot from what he learned at the big league level and incorporate it into his game. I like to assume the same for Swarzak. Mike Maroth is a veteran. He was the last 20 game loser in the big leagues. I had so much respect for him during his Tigers days for being strong enough mentally to keep pitching, and he wasn’t as bad as that win-loss record indicated. Of course, a couple of years later, he was that bad and out of baseball. This spring, he was given a chance by the Twins and had a solid camp, so he can be a veteran in the AAA rotation. Herrera signed a four year contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates after defecting from Cuba. Those four years are up. He became a free agent and signed with the Twins. At 28, he’s not a prospect, but he has been solid enough in the minor leagues that this is a worthy risk to take. I also believe that Matt Fox and Ryan Mullins will each get an opportunity to start at some point during the season.

The Bullpen Arms

Anthony Slama (23), Rob Delaney, Jose Lugo, Kyle Waldrop, Tim Lahey, Matt Fox, Ryan Mullins, Ron Mahay.

The back-end of the Twins bullpen is incredibly talented and should be a strength of this roster. Anthony Slama has done nothing but dominate since signing in early 2007. Rob Delaney has been just about as good, although he struggled more in his time in AAA than did Slama. Jose Lugo is pretty similar to Jose Mijares. Occasional lapses and loss of control, but has tremendous stuff, especially against lefties. Kyle Waldrop was a pleasant surprise in camp this spring. The non-roster invitee was one of the Twins first-round picks in 2004 out of his Tennessee high school. He missed all of 2008 with surgery in his shoulder. He stayed healthy in 2009 and should be strong in 2010. Fellow 2004 first round pick Matt Fox and 2005 3rd round pick will be the righty and lefty (respectively) to pitch out of the bullpen, and as I said earlier, both could get opportunities to start. Tim Lahey was drafted as a catcher, and soon the Twins made him a reliever. He quickly worked through the system and last year he really struggled. But he lost nearly 30 pounds in the offseason and looked strong in camp, so it will be a very big year for the right-hander. And remember, in all likelihood, Alex Burnett will be optioned to Rochester, a place he has not yet played. But he could be the best relief pitching prospect in the Twins system too. Ron Mahay will start the season in Rochester, but he is expected to be up with the Twins relatively soon. Big league veteran, Brad Hennessey, who had a couple of very good years with the San Francisco Giants, missed last year and will spend the first couple of months this year. But this was a nice

The Catchers

Wilson Ramos (2), Allan de San Miguel.

When it came to on-field, baseball decisions, Wilson Ramos was probably the story of spring training. Ramos did not lose the battle to Drew Butera, but Butera was – rightfully – given the Twins backup catcher duties until the return of Jose Morales. Ramos is an incredible prospect. I ranked him the team’s #2 prospect this winter. He has displayed an ability to hit for both average and power, and play a very solid catcher defensively. The incredible thing is that he isn’t even the top prospect in the International League this year. Both Jesus Montero of the Yankees and Carlos Santana of the Indians will also be playing in the league.

De San Miguel has been in the Twins farm system for a long time and yet he is still just 23 years old. He knows and understands that his future with the Twins is as a backup catcher, and he has embraced the role. Offensively, he hasn’t hit for average or power, but he has really improved his ability to get on base. But again, that’s all secondary to what he provides for the pitching staff. Jose Morales would likely rehab in Rochester at some point, and when he returns to the Twins, Drew Butera would likely come back to Rochester to back up Ramos.

The Infielders

Brock Peterson, Luke Hughes (27), Trevor Plouffe (21), Danny Valencia (7), Erik Lis, Matt Tolbert, (Matt Macri)

Peterson became a free agent this past offseason, but the Twins were happily able to bring him back. He was the Red Wings top hitter in the second half of 2009. Plus, it’s fun to cheer for a former 49th round draft pick! Erik Lis likely will not play much first base and will get plenty of at bats as the team’s designated hitter. This is a big year for Trevor Plouffe. He’s still just 23, but now in his third year at Rochester. With the acquisition of JJ Hardy, Plouffe may need to play other positions as well. Danny Valencia is immensely talented, and there are questions at 3B with the Twins. There could be a scenario in which he is up with the Twins by June, but most of that depends as much on the performances of Nick Punto and Brendan Harris, along with his own performance. Matt Tolbert, simply, is not very good, but he can play all around the infield and on opening night, he will actually be the Red Wings leadoff hitter and center fielder. Ron Gardenhire loves him, so he likely remains in the plans. Matt Macri begins the season on the Disabled List.

The Outfielders

Brian Dinkelman, Jason Repko, Jacque Jones, Dustin Martin, (Brandon Roberts)

Jacque Jones was one of the great Twins stories of spring training. Brought back for camp, almost as a courtesy for all he did at the beginning of last decade for the team, Jones was not going to make the big league roster. But he almost did, and now he will head to Rochester. If a need arises in the outfield for the Twins, Jones might be the first promoted. On Monday, the Twins signed Jason Repko, a centerfielder who had spent time with the Los Angeles Dodgers four of the past five seasons. Not a great hitter, he is right-handed and probably the best option to play center field. Dustin Martin had a very good 2008, a strong performance in the Arizona Fall League, and a nice showing in spring training 2009. And then the season started, and Martin didn’t even get an invite to big league training camp this year. Brian Dinkelman was a second baseman throughout his career, until Steve Singleton was promoted to New Britain last year. Then Dinkelman started playing in the outfield, and he performed fairly well. A good contact hitter who finds ways to get on base, I think he will be hitting near the top of the Red Wings order throughout the year. Finally, Brandon Roberts spent most of the past two years in New Britain, on their Disabled List, and that’s where he will begin the 2010 season with the Red Wings.

SUMMARY

Overall, I think this is a very solid roster. For AAA, it is a good mix of veteran players, with decent AAAA types of players and a good number of prospects who will likely contribute to some degree, some significantly, in the next couple of seasons. On Opening Night, Danny Valencia will be batting 8th with Brian Dinkelman betting 9th. I’m not saying agree with that, but if that is the case, this should be a very strong lineup. As I mentioned before, the back end of the bullpen should be very strong, so the starters can hopefully provide at least six good innings each night. The fans in Rochester should get to see some quality baseball this season. Hopefully they can not only develop players for the Twins to use as necessary, but also compete for a playoff spot in the International League.  

If you have any questions or comments on this preview of the roster, please feel free to ask… Leave your questions or comments.

Roster Projections: Rochester Red Wings

23 Mar

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net – 

Before we jump into my Twins AAA projection, here are a couple of quick notes:

  • I was on part of Travis Talks Minnesota Sports podcast last night talking about Twins minor leaguers which obviously I always thoroughly enjoy doing that.
  • Tonight, I will be hosting an episode of the SethSpeaks.net Weekly Minnesota Twins podcast. I’ll be joined by Baseball Daily Digest’s Joe Hamrahi who was at the Joe Mauer press conference on Monday night. There may be another guest or two as well, and lots of Twins talk.
  • There will be an episode of The Show on Thursday night at a special time of 8:00 p.m. I already two Twins minor leaguers (one of which some have been clamoring for me to bring on for awhile now).  During that show, we will also announce the regularly scheduled night and time for The Show throughout the season. So be sure to take in that show.
  • And please be sure to go to the Star-Tribune’s TwinsCentric blog today. Parker had a chance to sit down with Twins Assistant GM Rob Antony down in Ft. Myers last week. He transcribed his interview and posted the first half of it here. The rest of it can be found at Over the Baggy.

The Twins open their season on April 5th. The Rochester Red Wings season begins on April 8th in Pawtucket. Their first home game is on April 17th.  They will be managed this year by Tom Nieto, who managed the New Britain Rockcats a year ago.

So here are my thoughts on the 2010 Opening Day roster of the Rochester Red Wings:

The Hitters

  Rochester
C Wilson Ramos
1B Brock Peterson
2B Luke Hughes
3B Danny Valencia
SS Trevor Plouffe
LF Brian Dinkelman
CF Charlton Jimerson
RF Dustin Martin
DH Erik Lis
Bu C Danny Lehmann
Bu IF Toby Gardenhire
Bu OF Jacque Jones
Bench Matt Tolbert
DL… (Brandon Roberts)

Analysis: I discussed my thoughts on the Twins backup catcher situation yesterday, and I will stand behind my feelings that Wilson Ramos needs to play, not sit on the bench. That is why I have him starting in Rochester. When Drew Butera is optioned to AAA (when Jose Morales comes back), he will take over as the Red Wings backup catcher, behind Ramos. Danny Lehmann would then go back to New Britain. Lehmann is very respected among pitchers and coaches. Bringing back Brock Peterson (a six year free agent) is a great thing for the Red Wings, and I am just hoping that the former 49th round draft choice gets a chance to get a cup of coffee with the Twins. He was the Red Wings best hitter during the second half of 2009. Although I expect to see Matt Tolbert play a lot, I really believe that we will see a lot of Luke Hughes at second base. He played there, and played pretty well there, in spring training, and he could be another option for 2010. Think Jeff Kent? Danny Valencia should play most days at 3B, and hopefully he can get off to a fast start and be in Minnesota by mid-June. Trevor Plouffe will likely see time at all three infield positions as well, and if anything happens to JJ Hardy (or he doesn’t come back well), Plouffe could get a big league call too. Brian Dinkelman played mainly 2B until last year when Steve Singleton was promoted to New Britain. Then he started playing in left field where he is still learning, but works hard and can get better. The other two outfield positions could be a rotating carousel. Charlton Jimerson’s defense and speed is terrific. Dustin Martin needs a rebound season. Jacque Jones needs to play well. Really, all three of them need to play well because Rene Tosoni may not be far away from AAA. Erik Lis has hit well in AA New Britain for two years, so he needs to move up. And the DL seemed like an appropriate place to place Brandon Roberts at this time. Yes, I am not including Matt Macri here, although it is possible he could be another utility infield type. That said, defensively, I think Toby Gardenhire is just as good and can play eight positions. And no, this is not at all a choice, by me, that has anything to do with nepotism. He’s got a very strong glove.  

The Pitchers

  Rochester
SP Anthony Swarzak
SP Jeff Manship
SP Matt Fox
SP Ryan Mullins
SP Brian Duensing
   
CL Rob  Delaney
8L Jose Lugo
8R Chris Province
BP Yoslan Herrera
BP Kyle Waldrop
BP Mark McLemore
BP Mike Maroth
   
  (Glen Perkins)
  (Brad Hennessey – DL)
  (Tim Lahey)

Analysis: As you can see there several question marks in this pitching rotation. That really starts with Glen Perkins. If he doesn’t make the Twins roster (which he won’t), will they be able to trade him? If not, he will be sent to Rochester. Will he start? Will he pitch out of the bullpen? Will he be put on the Fake DL? Since I included Anthony Slama on the Twins roster, it meant Brian Duensing goes to the Red Wings, and I believe he will start. Should there be an early-season injury, he would be the first promoted. Anthony Swarzak and Jeff Manship both were rushed to the big leagues a year ago, and both showed signs that they can be solid big league performers, but each showed that they could also use more seasoning. Matt Fox spent the entire season in the New Britain starting rotation last year. It was the first time that the 2004 supplemental first round pick had done that. I think he deserves the shot to do it again as he has improved remarkably his arm strength and seen success. Ryan Mullins had a solid season last year in New Britain. It was his third with the Rockcats. He needs to move up. He actually pitched a couple of games for the Red Wings in 2007. So there is my starting five. 

The bullpen is even more perplexing. Again, with Slama on my big league roster, I’ll move Rob Delaney to the closer role. Jose Lugo will certainly be back in the Red Wings bullpen. I have Tim Lahey on the outside looking in, but he would be another option. Chris Province came from the Red Sox in the Boof Bonser deal. Yoslan Herrera was signed as a free agent recently. The lefty was very solid last year in AA, but needs to show he can pitch well in the International League. I really like this signing. He can replace Reid Santos as a lefty who could pitch both out of the bullpen and start as well. Mark McLemore could be that as well. He started his comeback from Tommy John surgery last year, and this will be his second year back. Mike Maroth has done better in spring training than I would have guessed he would do. That’s not to say great, but enough that if he wants to, he could go to AAA. There is really no risk in signing a former big leaguers like Herrera, McLemore and Maroth, letting him get healthy and seeing where he is at. Maybe he comes back fully. Speaking of healthy, Brad Hennessey was a solid bullpen arm a couple for a couple of years in the big leagues. He is likely to miss at least a couple of months, but I like this signing as well as a no risk, potentially decent reward signing.  

If you would like, you can e-mail me, or feel free to leave your comments here. 

2010 Roster Projections: Minnesota Twins

21 Mar

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net

Alright, Opening Day is just two weeks away. The minor league seasons will begin in about 2 ½ weeks. It’s late time for me to post my roster projections. I know a lot of people in the cities of the Twins affiliates appreciate this, having an idea of who they may be able to see in their home stadium this year. Today I will be posting my projected Twins roster. Tomorrow I’ll post my projection on the Rochester Roster and so on through the week until I post my projected Beloit roster on Friday.

So here we go, starting with, the Minnesota Twins:

The Hitters

  Minnesota
C Joe Mauer
1B Justin Morneau
2B Orlando Hudson
3B Brendan Harris
SS JJ Hardy
LF Delmon Young
CF Denard Span
RF Michael Cuddyer
DH Jason Kubel
Bu C Drew Butera
Bu IF Nick Punto
Bu IF,OF Alexi Casilla
Bench Jim Thome
DL (Jose Morales)

 Analysis: I guess there really aren’t any surprises here. Yes, Nick Punto will likely start at 3B just as much as Brendan Harris. I think as long as he isn’t traded, Alexi Casilla will make the roster because he is out of options and they don’t want to lose him for nothing. And, I think I’ve been fairly clear on my thoughts that Wilson Ramos needs at bats and time behind the plate, so being a backup, even for a short time, makes no sense. Mauer, Morneau, Hudson, Hardy, Young, Span, Cuddyer, Kubel, Thome. This is a pretty exciting lineup that is going to score a lot of runs.

The Pitchers 

  Minnesota
SP Scott Baker
SP Nick Blackburn
SP Kevin Slowey
SP Carl Pavano
SP Francisco Liriano
   
CL Matt Guerrier
8L Jose Mijares
8R Jon Rauch
BP Jesse Crain
BP Pat Neshek
BP Anthony Slama
BP Clay Condrey
DL (Joe Nathan)

Analysis: Starting Five looks set and looks really good. We’ve spent the last couple of months trying to convince ourselves that Francisco Liriano could turn things around, and so far, so good. The other four are just very solid, if not underrated. I put Matt Guerrier in the closer’s role, just because he did such a good job in the 8th inning (often against the other team’s best hitters), that there is no reason to think he can’t do it in the 9th inning. If not, Jon Rauch, Jesse Crain or even Pat Neshek can get the job done. My thoughts on Neshek’s return have changed somewhat. He appears to be back and continues to get better and stronger. I now believe that he will make this roster, and who knows, by midseason, he could be closing too. Clay Condrey hasn’t been very good in spring, but he was solid for the Phillies the last three years, so I trust that over six or seven innings in March. Finally, the final bullpen spot may be determined by how much Gardy wants a second left-hander. If he is insistent upon it, then Brian Duensing is the guy. If he’s looking for the best relief pitcher, then Anthony Slama is the guy. Slama hasn’t pitched much this spring, but when he has, he has done well. It will be good to see him facing some big league hitters the next couple of weeks.

If you would like, you can e-mail me, or feel free to leave your comments here.

Interesting Decisions…

9 Feb

Also available at www.SethSpeaks.net

Alright, it started with the Twins announcing that Greg Gagne would become the 22nd member of the Twins Hall of Fame. I’m a big Gagne fan, but Hall of Famer?? How is Chuck Knoblauch not in the Twins Hall of Fame?

Then we heard that Jacque Jones was signed by the Twins to a minor league contract with an invitation to big league spring training. He hasn’t played in the big leagues since early in the 2008 season when the Tigers released him. But not a big deal, I always liked Jacque. Great guy. Underrated player for several years with the Twins. Couldn’t hit lefties, but he was fun to watch. I have no problem with signing him and giving him a shot. No problem at all.

But then it was announced (by a tweet from the great Kelly Thesier) that the Mets had claimed Jason Pridie. So, currently, the outfield depth on the Twins 40 man roster is Delmon Young, Denard Span, Michael Cuddyer. And although he is listed as a DH, Jason Kubel is there too.

I am a little surprised that Pridie was put on waivers. I don’t think he’s very good, but he provided the Twins with what they needed out of 5th outfielder. Great speed. Great defense. And some pop in his bat when he actually did make contact. But I’m far from heart-broken that he is now gone.

But now who is the Twins 5th outfielder? Could Jones really be an option for that role? Could Willy Taveras be an option as a 5th outfielder at least minimum? Could Rene Tosoni be an option?

Does this mean they couldn’t find a taker for Glen Perkins, Alexi Casilla or Matt Tolbert?

I expect more is brewing in the Twins front office. But what? Your guess is as good as mine!

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to e-mail me or leave them in the Comments section.