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Monday Morning Notes

23 Aug

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net

It’s going to be a quick update today. Got back from the lake pretty late last night and decided that sleep would be for the best. So, I woke up really early instead and jotted down a few notes. Today, please feel free to comment with any other thoughts that you have after a weekend series win against the Angels. Seriously, this team is playing so well right now. They won two out of three against the Angels, and two out of three against the White Sox. They had a nice 7-2 home stand and have been one of baseball’s best teams since the All Star break. The team headed to Texas late after last night’s game, and will now start a four game series against a very good Texas Rangers team. These games are important. You see, the Twins and Rangers are the current leaders in their respective divisions. Between those two teams (assuming they are the two division’s representatives in the playoffs), the team with the higher record will have home field advantage in the first round of the playoffs against the Wild Card team. They play seven games before Labor Day, and they are important. Here are some thoughts on the Twins, but please feel free to add storylines if I missed any because I had to listen to the game on Friday night, only watched bits and pieces of the Saturday game and thanks to spending more time at the lake than planned on Sunday (a good thing), I had to listen to most of the Twins game, although I also had to spend most of the drive listening to kids’ songs.

  • Unfortunately, arguably the biggest story of the weekend was more injuries. Before the weekend started, Nick Punto was put back on the Disabled List, and Matt Tolbert was brought back. Saturday’s game was painful in a few ways. Kevin Slowey got hit in the second inning, and he left the game after the third inning with that pain behind his right elbow again. Later in the game, Ron Mahay injured his non-throwing shoulder. The two were put on the Disabled List following the game, and Nick Blackburn and Anthony Slama were called back up. Blackburn makes sense for two reasons. First, there isn’t exactly a better option at Rochester, and he has been solid there. Second, this team made a serious commitment to him this spring and will continue to give him opportunities. He has done it before and should be able to do it again. He was supposed to start for Rochester on Monday night, but instead will start for the Twins. In doing so, the Twins also pushed Francisco Liriano back to Thursday, giving him an extra three days to rest his “tired arm” I know some people don’t like that and may want him to push through it, but this is the smartest thing to do. The team has a five game lead in the division and can afford to do this. No, that doesn’t mean they are giving away anything, but Liriano is so important to this team that you have to make sure he’s right, and he’s strong, especially in September and October. And the other promotion with Anthony Slama who has certainly had some ups and downs since his return to Rochester, but is a good pitcher.
  • With Mahay on the DL, and Glen Perkins unable to get left-handed hitters out, the Twins are essentially without a Left-handed relief specialist. Unfortunately, Jose Lugo is the lone lefty in the Rochester bullpen and he’s been overused and has an ERA over 6, and walks too many. Ryan Mullins is a soft-tossing starter, but he’s out for the year with a back injury. In New Britain, Tyler Robertson (a good prospect, young, left-handed) has been pretty bad in his first AA attempt. Blake Martin was just promoted from Ft. Myers.2009 draft pick from the University of Florida, Tony Davis, is probably the lefty in the minors most ready to help the Twins, but he is walking a ton. I have no doubt that the Twins are claiming any left-handed reliever that is being put through waivers. But I also think that having a lefty specialist is quite as big of a deal as many seem to think.  The Angels won a World Series several years ago with no lefties in their bullpen. Of course, that requires that the right-handers in the bullpen actually get left-handed bats out. Or… 2010 third round pick Pat Dean, a lefty out of Boston College, is dominating at Elizabethton. Maybe he can be the Twins’ version of Chris Sale!!
  • The Twins added another game to their division lead over the White Sox this weekend thanks to some horrific scheduling. When Friday night’s game between the White Sox and the Royals was rained out, they scheduled a double-header for Saturday night. Instead of playing a day-night double header with the first game at noon and the second at the normal time, they played two games at night… In fact, the second game didn’t start until after 11:00 central time because the first game went 11 innings (and the Royals won!). That second game didn’t finish until after 2 a.m. which is terrible, and the teams had to play another 1:00 game on Sunday. Three games started and completed within about a 22 hour period. I don’t care if I’m happy that the White Sox lost two of those three, that kind of scheduling isn’t fair for anyone!
  • There are sayings that ball players use sometimes to talk about a batter taking really good swing. “Good wiggle!” “Swing out of your shoes!”  Well, after watching the swing that Danny Valencia put on his home run ball, I think those could apply as he took one of the biggest swings I have seen in a long time. Fortunately, he connected and gave the Twins a needed first run in last night’s game. With Punto back on the DL, Valencia is going to continue playing 3B. He would have anyway, even with Punto back, but Punto could have given him a day off a week or so. With Matt Tolbert as the backup option, let’s hope that Valencia doesn’t get too many more days off!
  • At 9:30 tonight, I’ll be hosting the SethSpeaks.net Weekly Minnesota Twins podcast. Tune in, ask questions. I’ll be taking your questions or comment on the Twins and their minor leaguers throughout the show.

Here are some notes from Sunday’s minor league games:

  • Rochester 3, Lehigh Valley 1 – Anthony Swarzak won for the fifth time this season. The righty gave up one run on five hits in 6.2 innings. He walked one and struck out four. Rob Delaney got the next four outs, two via the strikeout. Alex Burnett gave up a hit and a walk but pitched a scoreless ninth for the save. Brendan Harris and Brock Peterson each went 2-3 with a walk.
  • New Britain 3, New Hampshire 6Tyler Robertson gave up six runs on seven hits and four walks in 4.1 innings to take the loss. Loek Van Mil gave up a hit, walked three and struck out two in 1.2 scoreless innings. Tony Davis threw two shutout innings. The Rockcats managed just three hits.
  • Ft. Myers and Bradenton had their game suspended in the 2nd inning. 2010 draft pick and St. Cloud State alum David Deminsky made the start for the Miracle and struck out two in two scoreless innings before the rains came.
  • Beloit 5, Burlington 8Edgar Ibarra gave up six runs (3 earned) on seven hits and three walks in five innings. Zach See then gave up two runs on three hits and a walk in his two innings. Andrei Lobanov pitched one scoreless inning. Daniel Santana was 2-4 with a walk and his second triple. Wang-Wei Lin went 2-2.
  • Elizabethton 2, Bluefield 0 (10 innings) – The winning run scored on a wild pitch, but the E-Twins are in a close division race, so they’ll take them any way they can get them. Logan Darnell started and gave up just two hits in seven shutout innings. He walked four and struck out ten. Dallas Gallant then threw two scoreless innings before Jose Gonzalez came in and recorded his fifth save. The E-Twins managed just four hits. Derrick Phillips hit his fourth double.
  • The GCL Twins had Sunday off.
  • Cole DeVries is on his way to Rochester. Will he start in place of the scheduled Nick Blackburn tonight?

Any questions or comments on the Twins or the minor league system? Feel free to leave your questions and comments here.

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It’s Friday!

16 Jul

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net (which is where any updates will be posted):

Good morning! Well, I went to the Twins/White Sox game last night. Not much good to say about the game. It was approximately a month long, I think. As Kevin Slowey’s pitch count rose in the first and second inning, and as the Gordon Beckham home run was landing in the left field second deck, I immediately realized that I was wrong. Anthony Slama would not be coming up, but Jeff Manship would need to instead. After the game, Justin Morneau was put on the Disabled List and Manship was called up. It was an easy decision. With Slowey having a short start, and the concerns about Blackburn, and the “never-know” factor, they need someone who can eat up more than two innings when the starter can’t. That’s Manship. I know his AAA numbers are not very good, but first, they’re better than the other starters, and second, for some reason, he’s found a way to pitch better with the Twins than he has in Rochester. Hopefully that can continue. It happened with Brian Duensing. He was a so-so pitcher in AAA and he has really done a tremendous job out of the Twins bullpen.

John Danks gave up six runs in the second inning, yet still found a way to finish six innings. To me, that’s impressive. Whereas when the Twins starters struggle early, they can’t find a way to get it going at all, and generally don’t get out of the second or third inning.

For those of you trying to find out who the Twins should send down or release to make room for Anthony Slama, here are some numbers from the guys that we most frequently hear should be gone:

  • Ron Mahay has given up just two runs since June 1st, both have been on solo home runs. That is a stretch of 15.1 innings and 15 appearances.
  • Jesse Crain has not given up an earned run since June 5th when he gave up two runs in 0.2 innings. Before that, he had not given up an earned run since May 20th. So, since May 20th, Crain has given up two earned runs in 20.1 innings covering 21 outings. He has 19 strikeouts to seven walks in that time frame. That May 20th appearance dropped his ERA from 7.31 to 6.88, and it is now down to 3.72 for the season.
  • Alex Burnett showed early this season what he can do and what he can be, but the about-to-be 23-year-old has certainly struggled of late. In 6.2 July innings, he has given up seven runs in 6.2 innings (9.45 ERA). He has given up multiple runs in three of his six appearances. He also gave up multiple runs in two of his final five June games. That doesn’t include his June 27th game when he gave up two hits and a walk in 1/3 of an inning and somehow didn’t give up a run. I do think he is a guy who could be demoted to Rochester. The team already used up his 2010 option early in the season, and it might be a good thing for him. Like I said, he has shown just how good he can be, and how important he will be in coming years for the Twins.

Be sure to read LaVelle’s Twins Insider blog from yesterday. He’s got good stuff on Anthony Slama and several more minor league updates including injury updates on Aaron Hicks and Spencer Steedley, and another international signing.  

I must get to work this morning, but hopefully I can spend some time adding more Twins notes at lunch.

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.

A Look Back: 2009

31 Dec

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net

If you’re one of the handful of people working today in the office (or if you’re just sitting at home, relaxing on a day off), you’ll want to check out a couple of podcasts from last night. First, I was on the Travis Talks Minnesota Sports podcast, talking Twins, Vikings, Gophers and more. But after that show, I listened to Fanatic Jack’s Twins Talk podcast and it was a great Year in Review, so I definitely recommend listening to it as well.

As we sit here on New Years Eve, we really have two things to do. First, it is important to look back at the year 2009. Second, you have to look forward to 2010. So, my first blog of the day will be a look back at the past 365 days. Later in the day, I will post something looking forward to 2010, so be sure to check back.

Looking back one year, the Twins were coming off of a tough 1-0 loss in Game 163 against the Twins, but the offseason was a pretty quiet one. For the first time in quite some time, the Twins did not go out and sign a veteran starter. Instead, we were all excited about the starting five of Scott Baker, Nick Blackburn, Kevin Slowey, Francisco Liriano and Glen Perkins all performed well enough in 2008 for the team to feel confident going into 2009 with the five youngsters. The bullpen had its struggles in 2008, and the Twins countered by signing Luis Ayala. They also offered arbitration to Matt Guerrier despite his rough final two months in 2008. Names like Eric Gagne, Joe Nelson, Russ Springer and Juan Cruz were discussed ad nauseum. The lineup was pretty solid. The team resigned Nick Punto to a two year, $8.5 million contract following a solid 2008 season. That created plenty of discussion, but I was of the opinion that it was a fair-market signing. There was a lot of discussion about Joe Crede. His agent, Scott Boras, wanted to get his agent $7 million base salary plus incentives. Well, Bill Smith wisely did not give in, and in the end, he beat Scott Boras. Crede signed late for a $2.5 million base with incentives.

In early April, the Twins opened their season without Joe Mauer. He had an injury that was mis-diagnosed, so he missed all of spring training and all of April. When he came back on May 1st, he homered on his first swing and then doubles on his second swing. He just continued to hit the entire season. As you all know, he led the league in batting average, on base percentage and slugging percentage. He won his third batting title, his third silver slugger, his second gold glove and his very first American League MVP. As much adoration and adulation as Mauer deserves, he was not the only story for the Twins in 2009.

Justin Morneau was a legitimate MVP candidate through the first half of the season. Power, batting average, driving runs in. In reality, he was just being Justin Morneau. But he struggled the last six weeks of the season, and in mid-September he was shut down when it was determined that he had a stress fracture in his back. On that day, Michael Cuddyer moved in to first base, and he dominated over the season’s final three weeks. He provided power, clutch hits and solid defense and really catapulted the Twins into the playoffs. He hit 32 homers and came up just shy of 100 RBI. Jason Kubel hit two three run home runs in Game 162 for the Twins and ended the season by hitting .300 with 102 RBI and finally showed all of his potential. Denard Span proved that 2009 was not a fluke at all. He hit .315 and got on base nearly 39% of the time.

Scott Baker missed his first start of the season and really struggled at the start of the season. Some were worried that he let his big contract affect is play. But he came on great after the first six weeks and won 15 games. Nick Blackburn was an All-Star candidate and the team’s top pitcher the first half of the season. After a bad start to the second half, he came on again in September with big start after big start. Kevin Slowey was the first pitcher in the Major Leagues to ten wins before bone chips in his wrist had to be surgically removed. Francisco Liriano and Glen Perkins had their struggles, but the Twins were able to replace that over time. Joe Nathan had another amazing season and set the Twins record for Saves in a season. Matt Guerrier was as good as any set up man in baseball. But the bullpen really struggled in the middle of the season.

But the Twins front office came through with some very good deals. Of course, there was also the failed signing of Mark Grudzielanek, but that was just a minor league deal, so no big loss. At the July 31st deadline, the team acquired SS Orlando Cabrera in exchange for minor league SS Tyler Ladendorf. Cabrera got off to a good start with the Twins, then was horrible offensively and defensively, but he came up big down the stretch. A few days later, the team acquired RHP Carl Pavano for a Player to be Named Later. The player ended up being Yohan Pino. Pavano was big in all but two or three of his starts with the Twins and pitched great in the Game 3 loss to the Yankees. Late in August, Bill Smith bolstered the bullpen by adding Jon Rauch for a PTBNL that turned out to be Kevin Mulvey, who the Diamondbacks claimed from the Twins who knew that Arizona was the first team able to claim him. They also added lefty Ron Mahay who had been released by the Royals a couple of weeks earlier.

When Justin Morneau went down in mid-September, the Twins were down a bunch, and Twins fans were ready to throw in the towel. There were several more times that Twins fans threw in the towel. And yet somehow, some way, the Twins found a way to tie the Tigers after 161 games. Both teams won on the final Sunday to end their regular regular seasons tied. The Twins celebrated their final game in the Metrodome with an incredible program, introducing the current Twins roster and many former players including players from the 1987 and 1991 World Series teams.  Of course, it wasn’t the final game after all. The Twins won the season series against the Tigers which gave them the home field advantage in Game 163 (after MLB learned the previous year that a coin flip is not the best, most fair home field determinant).  Game 163 had enough ups and downs and one of the great games. The Twins would lose to the eventual World Series champion New York Yankees in three games, but it was really another terrific season for the Twins.

There were plenty of other stories from the 2009 year for the Twins that are worth mentioning.

Kyle Gibson fell to the Twins with the 22nd overall pick because of concerns about his forearm. Negotiations went right up until the 11 ½ hour. But the two sides agreed to a $1.85 million signing bonus. That was way over MLB’s slot recommendation. The team’s first four picks were college pitchers, something the Twins have had success drafting this decade. They then selected Gophers 2B Derek McCallum in the 4th round. The next two picks were college catchers. The Twins have had terrific success drafting high school bats and college arms in the last dozen years.

Bill Smith also told TwinsCentric that the organization has been working for the last decade on developing their international scouting department. 2009 was a huge year for the Twins in that market. In July, they signed “the best prospect ever to come out of Europe,” Max Kepler to a $775,000 signing bonus. Kepler is very raw, but has a ton of tools. Jorge Polanco has a very good glove at shortstop. He was ranked by Baseball America as the #23 player from Latin America. And of course, the big news was the late September signing of Dominican shortstop Miguel Angel Sano to a $3.15 million signing bonus. The 6-foot-3, 190 pound shortstop is compared physically to Hanley Ramirez, with quick hands and a bat like Albert Pujols. Of course, he is 16-years-old with a long way to go, but the bigger story here is that the Twins now have a strong presence in the Dominican Republic. They have gained strong credibility. They have created in-roads around the globe, in Europe, in Australia, in the Far East and everywhere in between. This bodes well for the future.

The Twins had a strong presence in both the World Baseball Classic and the World Cup following the season. In the WBC, Tom Stuifbergen became a big name when he threw four shutout innings for The Netherlands in the elimination game against the Dominican Republic. Justin Morneau and Jesse Crain played for Canada. Nick Punto played for Italy. James Beresford and Luke Hughes were key contributors for Australia. Trevor Plouffe was the starting shortstop and second hitter for Team USA in the World Cup tournament in Europe after the season. Plouffe was a key contributor in the USA’s gold medal performance. Stuifbergen was one of the best pitchers in the tournament. Luke Hughes and Canada’s Rene Tosoni were two of the top hitters. Speaking of Tosoni, he also represented the Twins and Canada on the World Team of the Futures Game. Tosoni was named the game’s MVP.

Following the World Series, the Twins traded their fourth outfielder, Carlos Gomez, to the Milwaukee Brewers for JJ Hardy, who will hopefully be their shortstop for the next couple of years.

2009 was a very interesting and exciting year for the Minnesota Twins and their fans. Another very good baseball season, and signs that the Twins may be willing to spend more as they enter their new ballpark in 2010. As a fan, that’s really all you can ask for when you aren’t the Yankees, Red Sox, Mets or Angels!

Thank you very much to everyone for making SethSpeaks.net one of your daily (or weekly) stops. As I’ve mentioned before, it is the reader comments and interaction that make it all worthwhile.  Hopefully on at least a few of those days it was worth your time to stop here!

I want to also thank all of the other Twins bloggers. I need to thank the TwinsCentric crew (John Bonnes, Nick Nelson, Parker Hageman) for all the work and fun that it has been to put those books together and the projects that we have in the works. But the Twins blogosphere is pretty special and great to be a part of. We are all very supportive of each other and that makes it a lot of fun.

I will be back either later tonight or tomorrow morning with a look ahead to 2010, so be sure to stop by if you have a minute.

I wish you all a very happy New Year. Be safe! Don’t drink and drive!

If you have any questions or comments, Please feel free to discuss here.

Twins Acquire Mahay

28 Aug

also available at www.SethSpeaks.net

UPDATE – Apparently the Twins have acquired righty reliever Jon Rauch. He is owed $3 million next year. No information on the subsequent moves.

The Twins just acquired lefty-reliever Ron Mahay from the Royals for basically nothing. According to MLB Trade Rumors, the Royals will pay all but a pro-rated portion of the Major League minimum (so less than $100,000).

Mahay had one good year a couple of years ago and turned it into a two year, $8 million deal with the Royals. This year, he allowed 55 hits and 19 walks in 41.1 innings of work before the Royals DFAd him earlier this week.

Mahay actually made his major league debut as an outfielder with the Red Sox in 1995. He went 4-20 (.200) but had two doubles and a home run. He went back to the minors and returned to the Red Sox in 1997 as a pitcher. Since then, the 38 year old has pitched for the A’s, Marlins, Cubs, Rangers, Braves, Royals and now the Twins.

Obviously the hope is that Mahay can get left-handed batters out for the next 4-5 weeks in the 7th inning. Lefties have an OPS of .778 against him this year while righties are at 1.043.

The big question, again, becomes the subsequent roster decision that the Twins have to make. Will they DFA Philip Humber? Someone else?

Please feel free to Send me an e-mail, or leave your questions or comments here.