Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Hughes, Arroyo, and Vargas

According the Twins are reportedly interested in pitchers Phil Hughes (Yankees), Bronson Arroyo (Reds), and Jason Vargas (LA Angels). Hughes and Arroyo are expected to receive multi- year deals and large sums of money in that contract, which could scare off the Twins when trying to sign these guys.

Phil Hughes, 26, RHP, is coming off an acceptable year that would be a definite upgrade for the Twins if they were to sign him. In 2013 he went 8-3, with a 3.52 ERA,  and 87 IP, 75/21 K/BB, and a 1.20 WHIP. Overall he is coming off a year that looks great on paper and on the field. If he were to sign with the Twins I could see these numbers improve as he would move into a larger ballpark, in Target Field as compared to Yankee stadium. According to Twins Daily offseason Handbook, Hughes is estimated to receive a 3 year $30 million deal, which is more than reasonable for the Twins, especially at his young age of 26.

Bronson Arroyo, 37, RHP, who for his age pitched in 202 innings in 2013, in those innings he had an ERA of 3.79, which isn't terrible but would be something worth looking at if he were to come over to the American League. He also got paid $16.5 million last year and is now, according to the Twins Daily offseason Handbook, looking for a 2 year $24 million deal. Something the Twins could afford, along with the Hughes contract, giving us two front of the rotation guys, that would only take up $24 million a year.

Jason Vargas, 30, LHP, compared to the other two pitchers listed he has the highest ERA of 4.02 in 150 innings. Also In the middle of last season he was removed due to a blood clot in his shoulder, which is something I hope the Twins don't get themselves involved with. Coming off of a one year deal with the Angels, in which he started 24 games, he is most likely looking for another one year, at my best guess, around $4-6 million in that contract.

Overall I could see all three of these pitchers wearing a Minnesota Twins jersey Opening day, but the best options for the Twins would be to sign pitchers Phil Hughes and Bronson Arroyo. For Hughes, it is his age that is most attractive and with a new home in Target Field there is no reason why he shouldn't be more successful here. As for Arroyo It is his innings pitched that grabs your attention the most, and they should for his age, being 37 years old it makes it even more likely the Twins could sign him for a cheaper value compared to other pitchers.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Who Stays and Who Goes?

In a year of ups and downs the Twins will, without question, finish in the bottom half of the standing for the third year in a row, and end the season with possibly more questions than answers.

Going into the year many wondered if this would be Morneau's last year, if Dimamond could repeat and lead the rotation this year, if Plouffe could tear the cover off the ball as he did the year, could Hicks excel at the majors, how long the middle infield would last and if the rotation got any better.

Well now going into the final games of the season some questions got answered and some didn't. Such as Morneau eventually did get traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates who are only two game back of the St.Louis Cardinals. Even though it was sad to see him go after so many excellent years with the Twins. It was time to move on. But now the question lies, who is going replace him? This I could see Parmelee or Colabello taking over. With the occasionally Mauer over there as well.

Diamond, who started the year on the DL and was never the same. He ended up going back to AAA, only to return as a September call-up. Where he looks like he hasn't changed from earlier in the season.

Over at 3rd base Plouffe has been inconsistent all year, has battled injuries every now and then and has been about average defensively. Overall he won't be the third baseman of the future as Sano comes up, he will most likely be the opening day starter but will be benched by June or July. From there he will most likely become a super utility guy.

Now as if Hicks can ever succeed at the major league level, I don't see a reason why shouldn't be able to in the future. He is, after all a five tool player and hopefully can be the opening day centerfield for next season. Which I could see happen, if he can show his talents in spring training.

Dozier, unlike Plouffe, has started to make a name for himself this season. Out of all the players on the team Dozier is defiantly the most improved. Hitting for a slightly higher average than he did in years past, along with becoming a solid run producer, especially in the home run category, setting the record for home runs by a second baseman in a Twins uniform. Should have no problem making the team next year. Florimon, similar to Dozier, has shown off his skills over at short, lasting the entire season in the majors and could be the starting opening day shortstop for the Twins as no one seems to be knocking on the door for shortstops in the farm system.

Last year after completing the second straight losing season the Twins knew one thing had to be fixed and that was the starting rotation. So in an attempt to fix it they traded away Denard Span for pitching prospect Alex Meyer, who will mostly be called up next year. Also trading away Ben Revere for, major league ready pitcher,Vance Worly who was a 2ed or 3rd pitcher at best. Who got pushed into be the opening day starter and never lived up to the high expectations. He I could see in the rotation next year as the number 2 or 3 starter. The other pitcher who the Twins acquired in the trade with the Philles was pitching prospect Trevor May who started the year in AA, New Britain and came up to AAA Rochester to join the bullpen in the playoffs. He also should join the Twins in the 2014 season.

Pitchers such as Kevin Correia, Mike Pelfrey, Liam Hendricks, Andrew Albers, P.J. Walter, Samuel Deduno, Pedro Hernandez, and Kyle Gibson are all different stories, yet all of them have made a start for the Twins this year. Mike Pelfrey who signed a one year deal with the Twins over the offseason shouldn't be back next season simply because he has given the Twins no reason to re-sign him. Correia, who signed a two year contract, will be back in the starting rotation most likely at the number two or three spot. Hendricks, Hernandez and Walters I don't see coming back to the majors leagues any time soon, unless for a spot start or as a long reliever. As for the others, Deduno ,Albers and Gibson I could see in the major league rotation next year and hopefully making an impact.

Here are my 2014 Opening Day Predictions (if the Twins don't sign a big name free agent) :

And the Starting Rotation

1.Samuel Deduno
2.Kevin Correia
3.Scott Diamond
4. Vance Worly
5. Kyle Gibson

As we near the end of the 2013 season some will stay and some will go. Share  with me of who you think will stay and who will go.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Who is Alex Presley?

In the recent news of the Justin Morneau trade the Twins have welcomed aboard a new outfielder to an already crowded outfield. Alex Presley is  one (and now two players, Duke Welker a RHP reliver who is from AAA) who will come over to the Twins organization in this trade. Out of all the articles I have read over the past few hours about the this trade I have always found myself saying the same thing after reading them, Who is Alex Presley? And why did the Twins get him specifically?

First off Alex Presley was drafted in the 8th round of the 2006 Amateur Draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates, at the age of 21. From there he spent 4 years in the minor leagues to then make his debut on September 8, 2010. He was what he is now, a September call up. In 2010 he played in 19 Major League games to have only 6 hits and an OPS of .596. After that he returned to the minor leagues to start the season. Then would be called back up again to the Majors and would go on to play in 52 games and have 64 hits with 4 home runs and 20 RBIs. Following that season, going into 2012 at the age of 26, he would play in 104 games with the Pirates, batting .237 (as compared to .298 the year before) with 10 home runs and 25 RBIs, this would turn out to be his make or break season for Presley. Now most recently in 2013, starting the year at 27 years old now at 28, his career seemed to have taken a wrong turn. He started the year in Triple-A, where he had a modest stat line of .298/.376/.427 , in 89 games for Louisville. Then In the middle of that season he had been called up to the Majors once again at the age of 28. Playing in only 29 games for the Pittsburgh Pirates batting a little over career average of .264. After his short stint there he found himself back in Triple-A on August 12 only to be traded away 18 days later to the Minnesota Twins organization.   

Because of him being traded one day away from September 1st he will be a September call up, and will be given a chance to prove himself to the front office and the dugout on why he should be included in next years opening day roster. Also I believe the Twins choose him in this trade to take over for Thomas in the centerfield until Hicks or Buxton are ready to take it over in Minnesota. Once that time comes I think he will either be a fourth outfielder for the Twins or be the starting center fielder for the Rochester Red Wings. Whatever may happen it was defiantly a steal for the Pittsburgh Pirates, getting a former MVP who is now starting to get his swing back.

P.S. After watching the movie 42 I can't help but think of Mauer and Morneau having this conversation. 

Mauer: Where'd you get traded?

Morneau: Pittsburgh!!!  

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Willingham claimed by unknown team

According to Phil Miller of the Star Tribune Josh Willingham has been claimed by an unknown team through waivers. The Twins now have until Friday to either trade him and his $7 million salary or pull him back and keep him for the rest of the year.

Knowing that Willingham is now back healthy and starting to pick up the pace offensively it would be a smart move for many contending teams to take a bid at the 34 year old left fielder. With waivers it would start with the American league, then if no team in the American League has claimed him, it then would then move over to the National League.

Assuming he has been claimed by a contending American League team, a team that would need a right handed left fielder, in my opinion are the Rangers, or the Rays. At the begining of the season the Rays had the 3rd best farm system while thr Rangers had the 4th best. If he had made through waivers in the American League and was claimed by a National League team he could have been claimed by the the Arizona Dimanondbacks. Who I think is the most probably option due to Jason Kubel being designated for assignment. The Diamondback had the 13th best farm system at the beginning of the season. The Daimondbacks also have the 6th best prospect in Archie Bradley.

UPDATE: The Star Tribune and the Baltimore Sun are reporting that the Orielos have claimed Josh Willingham off of waivers. No deal has been made yet

Monday, August 26, 2013

Mauer's Value

This past series,and the next, Mauer will be watching his teammate,from home, as they get ready to face the Kansas City Royals. A month ago us fans were hoping by now we would be ahead in the standings looking down on the Royals and maybe even the Indians. And after having 23 games in the month of August against central division opponents this isn't the case. The Twins only ended up winning 9 out of those 20 games (3 left to be played against Kansas City).

After going onto the 7-day Disabled-List with a concussion the Mauer-less Twins have gone 3-3, a steady .500. Now it has been nice to see some rookies play as of late, such as Herrmann or Colabello. But nothing compares to the high average, low strikeout catcher that is Joe Mauer. On the radio the other day, I heard some say that the Twins are just fine without Mauer just as the Vikings were with Percy Harvin. Rather there is no need for the Twins to pay so much for so little of what he is doing. See what this is, is just a misunderstanding, nothing more. Mauer's presence in a major league lineup is something that is rare and something very few teams have in a catcher. He is something the Twins can't live without at this moment, he is the only good offensive player the Twins have right now. Sure they can score runs without him, but very few of them. Mauer's value to this team is needed yet it is limitless.

Mauer has the abilities to play catcher, his one true position, first base which is most likely his future position or even the occasional right field, something that he and I hopes never happens again. Yet the only and main reason that he plays in different positions across the field is so that his bat can stay in the lineup. No matter if he bats second or third. No matter who follows him in the lineup, weather it's Morneau or Willingham, he is going to make an impact in the Minnesota Twins lineup. His bat is what makes him who he is, yes he has won some gold gloves in the past, but who knows if he will win any over at first base. His offensive potential has been reached and met by people's expectations back when he was drafted first overall in the 2001 Amateur Draft. Because of his offensive abilities his WAR is an outstanding 5.2 this season which ranks best across the league for catchers. He also leads all catchers in At Bats this season with 445 along with having the 2ed best average in the league. So he's not just healthy this year, but he's consistent as well.

Right now no one can replace Mauer's ability to play the game of baseball, not Herrmann, nor Doumit, or Sano or even Buxton. Sure we all think Buxton and Sano will be superstars one day but right Mauer is the bigger man in the Minnesota Twins organization. He has shown us day in and day out that he can hit a Chapman's 100-Mph fastball, Sabathia's Curveball and whatever Verlander has to offer. The point is that he can and he will hit for average at an exceptional level that Buxton and Sano quite possibly may never reach. So embrace his value now, while he's in his prime years of his career.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Grady's "The Twins Way"

Ron Gardinhire should stay, although despised by some he deserves to stay. His methods, year in and year out, have proven to be effective in winning and ethics. The "Twin's Way" is what he calls it and for him it's defense and pitching that top his list in "The Twin's Way". And this year he has once again shown us "The Twin's Way.

Last year the Twins were one of the worst teams winning and defensive wise, having the 4th worst fielding percentage of .983 in the American League. And committing 111 errors, also 4th worst in the American League. Overall it was an ugly year for the Minnesota Twins and their fans.

Going into the 2013 season Gardinhire and the Twins had one common goal and that was to regain their mentality of "The Twins Way". Wanting to improve their pitching and defense in order to contend in the upcoming season.

After completing 4, and soon 5 months of the season it became clear what the Twins had improved on and what they hadn't improved on. Their pitching was always questioned from day 1 of the season over speculation that it was merely last years rotation but with new faces. Which turned out to be true as pitchers were moved from Minnesota to Rochester quite frequently. Only Correa and Pelfrey have stayed in the rotation the entire year. Meanwhile the bullpen has been one of the best in the league with an All-Star closer at the end of it. Oddly enough this bullpen was made of rule 5 picks, minor league overlooks and no free agent pickups. Making it a 100% pure-Twins bullpen.

The amount of games the Twins have won this year hasn't changed much either. As they started off much better, unlike in years past. But unfortunately the end result will ultimately stay the same. Having a losing record and failing to contend in the division. Breaking ours and Terry Ryan's heart.

But possibly the brightest spot in what seems like an endless dark tunnel, is the defense. Defense is more then just making those routine plays day in and day out, its making those plays that the average ball player wouldn't make. Such as robbing home runs (Aaron Hicks), leading the American League in Outfield assists with 33, diving to their right and left to stop what would singles (Brian Dozier and Pedro Florimon).

While making the routine play and exceptional plays all over the field, the Twins have earned themselves the 3rd best fielding percentage in the American League having it at .989. And only committing 49 errors this season, the 4th fewest among teams in the American League.

With the Twins having a little over a month left of another losing season some areas have improved such as their defense, through Pedro Florimon and Brian Dozier. While others have not, such as their pitching where no more then 2 starters have stayed with the major league club over the course of the season.

With what it is, "The Twins way" has improved in one ways of three.  And as we know that the third piece (winning) cannot be completed without that ever-so rare pitching. Without that the Twins are merely a lost puppy in a world of German shepherds.

*all stats are from

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Is Plouffe worth keeping?

With the end of July getting closer and closer each day it brings forth the question; are the Twins buyers or sellers? Well from a fan’s perspective you always want your team to be buyers rather than sellers. (C’mon who wants to see their favorite player get traded). But there is a very good chance that the Twins will be sellers this year. And for that their are many possibilities for the Twins. So many that I will not be covering them all, and someone else will most likely do so on this website.

Now as for who the Twins could trade by the end of July or during the offseason. These, I believe are most realistic options and it is a personal opinion. So I think that the Twins could trade Willingham (maybe not now but in the offseason), Morneau, Perkins, and Plouffe. Now all of those player seem like legitimate candidates to get traded, with the surprising name of Plouffe in that list. With him being an average 3rd baseman with the potential to be a 25 Home Run guy. Along with having the ability to play virtually anywhere on the diamond (with the exception of pitcher/catcher of course). When he came up he played Short stop (although not very well), later he moved to Right field which also gives him the ability to play left as well. Not to mention he played a few games at 2ed base last year early in the season. So why would any team want a slightly above above average 3rd baseman who has the capabilities of playing elsewhere on the diamond and has the potential to hit 25 Home Runs a year? In other words I'm asking.... is Plouffe worth keeping?

To answer that question involves many variables, that are quite challenging to focus on one at a time, and therefore I am only going to go through the ones that seem most obvious and clear at this point in time. First off, we all know what he can do offensively after last year's prolific rain of terror, in about a months span. But as of lately he has been productive in a sense of a losing team. As of today he has 8 Home runs, a average just under .300 and doing what a 3rd baseman is supposed to do, which is driving in runs. What he can do with the glove is another story. Although improving his defense at 3rd base this past year, he still has some work to do over there if he wants to keep his job at 3rd.

Speaking of third baseman, a monster of a player is making his way through the minor leagues and may be with the Twins as of soon as next year. His name is, of course, Miguel Sano, who ranks in the top ten of every baseball prospect list in America and has been living up to those heavy expectations. By hitting 20 Home Runs in High-A ball and currently hitting 8 Home Runs in Double A. It is no question that this guy can hit and be a major run producer in any lineup. With all of that he has done in the past, present and later in the future, it should hopefully be quite obvious, to the Twins that he belongs in the Major Leagues and is deserving of a starting job once he arrives. But if he gets a starting job that means someone will with have to move to a new position or be sent packing their bags. And that player is Trevor Plouffe.

To trade Plouffe now would be the easiest way to let him go. Avoiding the hatred and sadden emotions from both the fans and the player. But to trade him means we must get someone worthy in return. Which would be the challenging part. He is in some what of a hot streak right now but not enough to say "We need to trade him now if want to get anyone good in return for him". I just think that will never be the case with Plouffe, so it is either trade him now or later for the same return.

Another, more fan and player friendly, option would be to keep him on the team by switching his main position, yet again, and taking the risk that his bat might suffer with the change. A possible position for him to switch to would be first base. This would not only be an easy transition from 3rd to 1st but would be a finically sound one as well. This is because of the, soon to be, ex-Twin Justin Morneau. I can only assume this because the Twins would not want to pay him millions of dollars for a slow, aging player when they a just as good, younger and cheaper player playing first base, in Trevor Plouffe.

Overall this all depends on the development of Miguel Sano in the Minor leagues, whether it impacts Morneau's career as a Twins is to soon to be told, but if Sano gets a major injury, for some unfortunate reason, and it ends up delaying his Major league debut then so be it. Plouffe gets the lucky opportunity to keep his job longer. And if Plouffe gets traded by seasons end then I wish him the best of luck elsewhere. I, myself cannot control what the Twins do, therefore I can only speculate, and anticipate what they might do.