Twins Are “Losers”? Say It Ain’t So!

I’m still trying to get my head around all the trades that went down over the last few days. The folks over at MLBTradeRumors always do a terrific job of keeping up on who’s doing what and they put together a recap of the moves, by contending team. Here’s the AL Central:

So who were the winners and losers after all of this past week’s trades? That depends on who you ask.

ESPN’s Jason Stark:

Winners: Rangers, Padres, Yankees, Astros, Phillies, Nationals, D’Backs, Cards, Dodgers

Losers: WhiteSox, BlueJays, Orioles, Giants, Twins, Rays, Mets

MLB Fanhouse (AOL):

Winners: Yankees, Astros, Rangers, Nationals (“may have pulled off the heist of the entire trading season” by getting Ramos for Capps)

Losers: RedSox, Giants, Tigers

Hardball Talk (NBC):

Winners: Angels, Rangers, Phillies, Yankees, Pirates (honorable mention: Nationals, Padres, Dodgers)

Losers: WhiteSox, Twins, Giants, Cardinals, Rays (dishonorable mention: Astros, DBacks, Tigers)

Yahoo Sports:

Winners: Rangers, Angels, Yankees, Phillies, BlueJays, Mets, Dodgers

Losers: WhiteSox, Giants, Tigers, Twins, Cardinals, Rays

So to summarize… it seems most of the national media is agreement with most of the Twins blogosphere in that they feel the Twins overpaid for Matt Capps and overvalued the ‘save’ statistic. The good news is that the Twins AL Central competition is not viewed has having improved themselves much at the deadline. It’s hard to imagine Jhonny Peralta being a true “difference maker” for the Tigers and the WhiteSox appear to have a much higher opinion of Edwin Jackson than… well… pretty much anyone else.

In addition to feeling the Twins gave up too much for Capps, the media also seems to feel the Twins inability to acquire starting pitching help moves them in to the “trade deadline loser” category. But before we all retire to our caves sobbing hysterically about being fans of the “loser” Twins, let’s remember a few things.

First… the Twins Major League team IS better with Matt Capps. Those of us who want to see the Twins win THIS YEAR can look past the cost and point out that while Jon Rauch did a nice job of stepping in for Joe Nathan, Capps (and the extra 3-4 MPH he has on his fastball) is likely going to be more reliable at the end of games and Rauch makes the group of quality set up relief pitchers much deeper.

Second… keep in mind that the nonwaiver deadline has become a very soft deadline. All Much of the help that Bill Smith brought in to push the Twins toward the playoffs in 2009 (Cabrera, Pavano, Rauch, Mahay) was obtained after July 31 last summer. [Correction made thanks to commenter Deb who correctly pointed out that Cabrera was obtained pre-July31 last year and Pavano should have been included in the post-July 31 group. My bad.-JC]

The biggest improvements that can be made to the Twins at this point are the additions of Justin Morneau and Orlando Hudson. Hopefully, they’re both on their way back toward rejoining the team and in the mean time, I doubt Bill Smith plans to take the month of August off.

Oh… and as for the whole trade deadline winners and losers thing, keep in mind that the Yankees were on Jason Stark’s ESPN “trade deadline losers list” last year. They managed to find a way to overcome that label and finish the season in good shape.

So let’s not fold up the tent quite yet. – JC

GameChat – Mariners @ Twins, 1:10

The Twins FINALLY gained a game on the BitchSox yesterday as the A’s and Dallas Braden beat Chicago and allowed the Twins to move within half a game of first place in the AL Central Division entering today. The Twins will be going for their second straight series sweep as they wrap up this homestand with today’s game against the Mariners. I imagine this is where the scoreboard watching starts to get serious as the Sox and A’s will be starting their series finale a couple of minutes before today’s Twins game gets going.

On the medical front, Joe Mauer got a cortisone shot to treat tendonitis in his right shoulder. Hopefully he comes back with less pain after getting today and Monday off from catching duties.

On the positive side, we’ve got a couple of Joe Christensen tweets with good news. Justin Morneau took BP this morning so we’re seeing progress as he works his way back from his concussion. Doc was going to take outdoor practice but went indoors to avoid making “a spectacle” and because of the Sunday family game. Speaking of which, Joe Nathan made his first pitching appearance since his TJ surgery… pitching to his 5 year old son, Cole, in the family game. There’s a punchline in there somewhere with reference to recovery requiring “baby steps”… but I’m just not coming up with it right now.

We all are conditioned to expect a “B team” lineup on Sundays and that’s what Gardy has penciled in today, but I’ve seen Sunday lineups much worse than this one. I’m going to call this one a Sunday “B+ lineup”. – JC

MARINERS @ TWINS
Suzuki, I, RF Span, CF
Figgins, 2B Casilla, A, 2B
Gutierrez, F, CF Young, D, LF
Branyan, DH Cuddyer, 1B
Kotchman, 1B Kubel, DH
Wilson, Jo, SS Valencia, 3B
Tuiasosopo, M, 3B Repko, RF
Saunders, LF Hardy, SS
Johnson, Ro, C Butera, C
French, P Liriano, P

.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Seattle 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0
Minnesota 0 0 0 0 0 4 0 0 x 4 9 1

.

Two straight series sweeps! Can’t beat that with a stick… but we can sweep ‘em away with brooms!

I tried to get back in to the Chatroll by phone from the Kernels/RiverBandits game but it appears Chatroll went back down for “maintenance”. The program certainly has not been reliable this weekend and we apologize for that. Hopefully the Chatroll people get their crap together by Monday night.

I followed the game by phone and caught a few video clips when I got home. Since I wasn’t in the GameChat, I’m going to make an executive decision with regard to the Boyfriend of the Day. It’s pretty tempting to hand the award to Jason Kubel for his bases emptying double that was oh-so-close to a grand slam HR. We’ll award him a great big ole giant chocolate chip cookie and some pastries for Danny Valencia who drove Kubes in with a base hit to top of the scoring.

But when your pitcher goes seven shutout innings, striking out 11 and giving up only 2 hits, that’s indisputable BOD material… and that makes you, ‘Cisco Liriano, the Knuckleballs BOD!