GameChat – Orioles @ Twins #4, 12:10pm

I’m really curious how much energy there is in Twins Territory right now to even try to watch a day game. I know I am getting together for lunch with fellow Knuckleballer, TheatreBrian, and since he picked the restaurant, I’m not sure if the game will be available. I just don’t see a lot of people going out of their way to try to catch games right now. At least it’s a relief to see Cuddyer still in the lineup after last night’s hit and Thome is still here and not with the WSox… at least not yet. *crosses fingers that he says no*

But just in case anyone wants to talk about the Twins chances of at least avoiding a sweep by the Orioles, I’m putting a chat up.  Good luck folks, team & fans alike.

 

Baltimore

@

Minnesota
Andino, 3B   Revere, CF
Hardy, SS   Plouffe, SS
Markakis, RF   Morneau, 1B
Guerrero, DH   Cuddyer, RF
Reynolds, Ma, 1B   Kubel, LF
Reimold, LF   Thome, DH
Adams, R, 2B   Hughes, L, 3B
Tatum, C   Tolbert, 2B
Angle, CF   Butera, C
  Reyes, Jo, P     Liriano, P

 

 

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

R

H

E

Baltimore

0

1

0

0

0

2

3

0

0

6

11

0

Minnesota

0

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

7

0

 

*sigh*

If you didn’t believe me before, this series with the Orioles should basically PROVES that there is an injury curse attached to the foolishness of moving JJ Hardy on….

Not only did we get our butts handed to us offensively in a sweep by a team who basically SUCKS on the road, we had someone injured in every game they were here! Today, it was bad enough that we had Mauer on the bench with a stiff neck and Valencia out getting his wisdom teeth removed but then we added Liriano… yeah, that’s what we needed. Another hurt starting pitcher. At least Cuddyer stuck it out and stayed playing… I really have to admire his fire for the game although even I have to wonder if playing hurt is worth much this far out.

The good news is that the rumors seem to be saying that Cleveland is the claiming team for Thome. If you read the bit from LENIII I posted this morning, you know that he still has the ability to turn down any trade he wants. And I guess there is even a way for him to technically become a free agent if released by the Twins so that he could go to the Phillies if he so desired. I’m not sure what Thome wants at this point and I bet he’s spending some time in serious contemplation.

The bad news (other than the fact that the Twins can’t win a game to save their lives) is that Kubel appears to have been claimed by the White Sox. Anyone else surprised that they might be looking for a DH? *snigger* That being said, if we send him to the WSox, we damn well better get something WORTH it because I really can’t condone improving their team without some improvement of our own.

Oh well, enjoy your evening folks…

Waiver Watch – Thome & Kubel

Once again, in trying to figure out exactly how this waiver situation works for different players given their specific situation, I was trying to do a little research. I figured I would then assemble the various input and spit it back out to you once I hopefully understood what might happen. 

Happily, LENIII over at the StarTribune did a BEAUTIFUL job putting together exactly what kind of factors will come into play and how much power Thome actually has to decide which team he gets to go to.  For that reason, I’m going to just share his article in its entirety – with full credit of course – and link you there.

Kubel, Thome deals may be near

Article by: LA VELLE E. NEAL III , Star Tribune – Updated: August 25, 2011 – 12:52 AM

Twins designated hitter Jim Thome, always the gentleman, smiled as he said, “I have no comment.”

Reports on Wednesday had the Chicago White Sox as one of the teams placing a waiver claim on the Twins slugger, raising the possibility he could jump out of a Twins ship that’s taking on water for a life raft headed for the Windy City, where the White Sox were 6 1/2 games out of first place in the AL Central.

An ESPN report also had Twins outfielder Jason Kubel claimed as well. As of Wednesday night, it was not known if Chicago had won the claims or not.

Thome said that he didn’t know what was going to happen to him over the next two days. At least he knows that, ultimately, nothing will happen unless he says so.

That’s the power that comes with having a no-trade clause, which Thome has in his $3 million contract with the Twins for this season.

Thome can’t be moved unless he agrees to waive the clause, which allows him to leap into a pennant race if he wants to. And, based on comments after he hit his 600th career home run — the one thing he’s missing is a World Series title after losing the series twice with the Indians.

How far the Twins are willing to go to accommodate Thome is not clear. But there is some concern in-house that owner Jim Pohald wouldn’t be comfortable signing off on an elaborate veto-release maneuver that could allow Thome to become a free agent and sign with the team of his choice, which could be the Phillies, where he would be reunited with manager Charlie Manuel.

Thome could veto a deal (Chicago is not a lock for the postseason and neither is Cleveland). The Twins would then put Thome on release waivers, and Thome could reject a move to any team that tried to claim him. That would make him a free agent, able to sign wherever he wants. And, since he’s about to turn 41, Thome likely wants to be on a sure thing for the postseason, which the Phillies are.

If Thome is willing to go to Chicago, the Twins and White Sox could work out their first trade since 1986, when the Twins received Juan Agosto and Kurt Walker for Pete Filson. And who knows? Another team could be in play.

Don’t expect a big-time prospect in return for Thome if he does agree to be traded. Chicago sent Thome, who had cleared waivers, and cash to Los Angeles on Aug. 31, 2009 for infielder Justin Fuller, who is 28 years old and still in the minors.

Another thing to consider is that a team like Chicago puts in a claim on Thome and Kubel just to block other teams from getting them. The Twins then would pull them back off waivers and they can’t be traded.

If a deal is possible, the Twins could get more for Kubel who, like Thome, is a free agent after the season.

“We’ll see what happens,” Kubel said. “Maybe something will happen, Maybe nothing will happen.”

Kubel didn’t show signs of the reports affecting him, as he broke a 0-for-14 skid Wednesday with a double off the right-center field wall.

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said his concern is how players handle trade rumors.

“It happens,” Gardenhire said. “Just like the [July]trade deadline happens. You just have to live with it and move on.”

The next two days will be interesting. If the Twins have a chance to negotiate a trade, they have until noon on Friday to make it happen.

It just so happens that Friday is Jim Thome Wind Up Walker night at Target Field.

Maybe, when you wind it up, it will walk all the way to Chicago. Or Cleveland. Or Philadelphia.

GameChat – Orioles @ Twins #3, 7:10pm

Let’s see… what’s new?

Jim Thome and Jason Kubel have been claimed on waivers (reportedly both by the BitchSox). There’s a shock. Now we just wait to see if either the claiming team(s) or the Twins are actually motivated to make deals. If the claims were made more for the purpose of blocking other teams from getting those guys, the Twins would have to decide whether to let them go for nothing but a little salary relief or pull them off the wire.

If the Twins let either player go without getting anything in return, they’d essentially be telling the fans who have already bought tickets for the rest of the home games that the team is more interested in saving a couple of bucks than putting anyone casual fans have even heard of on the field. It would be a bonehead move from a PR standpoint.

Which, now that I think about it, probably makes it all the more likely to happen.

I’m really not sure how much I’ll watch tonight or the rest of the season. I’m a bit of an Orioles fan (and if the blackout rules don’t change, I still may very well become an Orioles fan/blogger starting in 2012), so I have some level of interest in these games. But there is absolutely no effort being demonstrated by the Twins at this point, so you have to ask, “why should we care if the team doesn’t?”

For those who do, here are the line ups. The Orioles actually have exactly the same batting order as Tuesday night. Is that allowed? Has anyone told Gardy? In fact, other than Thome DHing while Kubel moves up to the #3 spot in the order while Joe Mauer takes another day off, the Twins line up looks pretty similar, too. Gosh, I wonder if the results will be any different.

ORIOLES

@

TWINS
Hardy, SS   Revere, CF
Markakis, RF   Plouffe, SS
Jones, Ad, CF   Kubel, LF
Guerrero, DH   Morneau, 1B
Wieters, C   Cuddyer, RF
Reynolds, Ma, 1B   Thome, DH
Andino, 3B   Valencia, 3B
Reimold, LF   Hughes, L, 2B
Adams, R, 2B   Butera, C
  _Guthrie, P     _Slowey, P

 

  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Baltimore 0 0 0 0 5 0 0 0 1 6 12 0
Minnesota 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 6 1
 

 SO the Twins lost 6-1.

One damn run.

Again.

Wow. Shocking, eh?

GameChat – Orioles @ Twins #2, 7:10pm

Justin Morneau returns to the lineup as the DH, so that’s encouraging (though perhaps it would be more encouraging if he were hitting better since returning from the DL).

Nick Blackburn has an “entrapped nerve”. I have no idea what that is but it doesn’t sound like something you should be pitching with, so I’m going to assume he won’t be pitching for a while. Maybe that’s OK, though.

Today was apparently “picture day”. So y’all make sure to line up early to buy the team picture when it goes on sale. I’m sure you will want to remember THIS team for generations to come! Heck, even Bert Blyleven didn’t even bother showing up for his traditional “mooning” on picture day. Though, as Gardy observed, maybe that’s not something a HOFer does.

Finally, the Twins are facing a 6’6″ starting pitcher tonight. As if these guys aren’t intimidated enough, as it is, whenever they step in the batters box.

Here’s a late update I found interesting… courtesy of Rhett Bollinger, the Twins beat writer from mlb.com: Tonight is the first time Mauer, Morneau, Cuddyer and Kubel have been in the same line up since April 12.

Gosh. I wonder why this team hasn’t won more games.

ORIOLES

@

TWINS
Hardy, SS   Revere, CF
Markakis, RF   Plouffe, SS
Jones, Ad, CF   Mauer, C
Guerrero, DH   Morneau, DH
Wieters, C   Cuddyer, RF
Reynolds, Ma, 1B   Kubel, LF
Andino, 3B   Valencia, 3B
Reimold, LF   Hughes, L, 2B
Adams, R, 2B   Butera, C
  _Simon, P     _Duensing, P

 

  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Baltimore 0 4 3 0 1 0 0 0 0 8 13 0
Minnesota 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 4 1

Brian Duensing got off to a good start in the first inning, but after reaching for a ground ball with his pitching hand in the 2nd inning, things went to hell in a hurry. The good news is that new pitcher Lester Oliveras didn’t totally suck and Mijares, Burnett and Nathan pitched just fine. On the other hand, the offense, once again, managed just one run and made Alfredo Simon look like the next superstar, striking out 8 times and managing just 3 hits against the Baltimore starting pitcher, in 8 innings.

Anyone else starting to feel like Bill Murray in “Groundhog Day”?

Much Ado About Nothing

Yes, it’s true… “Much Ado About Nothing”, the title of a Shakespearean comedic farce, could well be an apt description of the comedic farce that has become the entire Twins season. In this case, however, its use is being applied to the fan angst over Jim Thome and Jason Kubel getting sent through waivers by the Twins.

Jim Thome in Spring Training... when there was still hope

I think the problem is that Twins fans have become a bit spoiled. We’re accustomed to trade deadlines being among the times of the year when we’re wondering which key veteran “spare parts” GM Bill Smith would/could/should snatch from non-contending teams in return for a prospect or two. This, ladies and gentlemen, is what trade deadline life looks like from the other side of the looking glass. Sucks, don’t it?

A year ago, I authored a post here entitled “When Is A Trade Deadline Not A Trade Deadline”, in which I gave a bit of a rambling, not-so-serious look at the waiver-trade process that teams go through in August. Go back and read it if you care to. It wasn’t my best writing, but I thought there was a line or two that worked. I admit, however, that it seemed a bit more humorous last season, when the Twins were “buyers” this time of year. Maybe I was just in a better mood at the time.

But here’s the deal. A team in the Twins’ situation (hopelessly and painfully going through the motions and desperately trying to find someone… anyone… who they think might be a capable MLB baseball player that can help their team in 2012) is going to put a lot of their roster through waivers in August. Most of those players will finish the season with the Twins. Perhaps, some won’t. 

Jason Kubel

Any player that isn’t under contract for 2012 is a likely candidate to be put on the waiver wire. Thome and Kubel are both pending free agents, so why shouldn’t the Twins see if there’s a contender out there who might give up something potentially useful in return for renting their bats for a few weeks? If the Twins want them back next season (and for some unfathonable reason, they would want to return to this crappy organization), they can bid for their services again this offseason, which they would have had to do anyway. Similarly, fans shouldn’t be surprised if Michael Cuddyer and Joe Nathan are put on waivers.

Teams also waive players under team control beyond this season that they think may be overcompensated, in the hope that someone will relieve them of the remainder of that contract. Delmon Young was such a player, as manager Ron Gardenhire pointed out yesterday. He told the media that Young was likely to be “non-tendered” (which is what you do to a young player instead of offering arbitration when you don’t want to pay anything close to what an arbitrator might decide he’s worth). A guy like Carl Pavano might also fit this category. The Twins have him under contract for 2012, but if another team claims him, the Twins may just let him go and let the new team pick up responsibility for the remainder of the contract.

Remember, though, just because a team puts a player on waivers, it doesn’t mean he’s going anywhere. He may not get claimed, which on the one hand, means nobody in either league was certain enough that he’d be any help that he was worth taking a chance on having to pay off the rest of his contract, but on the other hand, means he can then be traded to any team. The terms of the trade could then involve the Twins agreeing to eat some contract.

Also, if a player IS claimed, the Twins can pull him back off of waivers one time. This is where the speculation gets interesting.

I don’t think most Twins fans would begrudge letting a guy like Jim Thome get another shot at the post-season. This may (or may not) be his last such opportunity. Similarly, why should we be upset if Kubel, Cuddyer or Nathan get a little unexpected taste of the post-season? At least it would give us someone to root for in October, because nobody else on this team is going to be playing late baseball.

But what if the first team to have the opportunity to grab one or more of these guys off the waiver wire is the White Sox? Would the Twins really do anything to aid the Bitch Sox in their effort to catch the Tigers?

Hell, yes, they would.

Kenny Williams is notorious (among White Sox fans, themselves) for overpaying to acquire veteran players. If he’s stupid enough to give up highly regarded prospects for the Twins’ spare parts, Bill Smith would be an absolute fool NOT to take advantage. OK… so maybe that means it’s not so likely after all, but he SHOULD take advantage.

It’s not very fun being a Twins fan right now. It’s not fun envisioning the players who have brought so much excitement over the past several years suiting up for other teams the rest of the season. But, as they say, baseball is a business. And while our friend Seth Stohs is trying to cheer us up by pointing out that the Twins minor league system is not totally useless, the fact is that it could use some shoring up (by the way, I firmly believe Seth knows more about the Twins minor leaguers than anyone within the Twins organization itself… I’m just not sure whether that says more about Seth or the people actually getting paid by the Twins). When you’re out of the race and you have the opportunity to get something useful for players that have expiring or expensive contracts, you do it. You have to, if you want to have any hope of getting competitive again any time soon. It’s how the business works.

And hey… look at the bright side… the team, as currently constituted can’t seem to score more than 1 run a game WITH Thome, Kubel and Cuddyer, so how much worse can the offense really get without them? Besides, think about how much cheaper tickets on StubHub or on the street corner the day of games are going to be for a while!

- JC

GameChat – Orioles @ Twins, 7:10pm

WELCOME BACK JJ HARDY!!!

Yes, I have a special soft spot for Mr. Hardy that existed WELL before his actual time with the Twins and continues now that the Twins FO was short-sighted enough to let him go even though they knew that the Japanese star they were paying a fortune to woo was going to need to assimilate into a new style of play…

Ok, there are a few other things to cover from today’s news:

  1. Jim Thome & Jason Kubel were put on waivers today.
    • don’t have a heart attack – all teams do this and most of the players will actually go through waivers this month and seldom does anything come of it.
    • The fact that it was done this early does hint that the Twins want to have some time to work out a deal for either one.
    • I would miss both players but I think we all knew this was coming for both of them. Thome deserves a final shot at the Series and Kubel is actually decent trade bait so he’s worth putting out there to test the market. Especially since we don’t HAVE to let anyone have them if the right situation doesn’t present itself.
  2. We have a new pitcher available to us tonight. Lester Oliveros has been called up from Rochester to fill the spot made by the likelihood that Nick Blackburn will go on the DL. In case the name, Oliveros, isn’t familiar to you, he’s the PTBNL that we got in the Delmon Young trade. *crosses fingers* I hope he works out well!
  3. Nishioka and Morneau are still out with physical difficulties but you’ll notice that Cuddyer is back. I’m hopefull that whatever lingering neck pain he might be dealing with won’t be too much of a limitation.

  

Baltimore

@

Minnesota
Hardy, SS   Revere, CF
Markakis, RF   Plouffe, SS
Jones, Ad, CF   Mauer, 1B
Guerrero, DH   Cuddyer, RF
Wieters, C   Kubel, LF
Reynolds, Ma, 1B   Thome, DH
Andino, 3B   Valencia, 3B
Reimold, LF   Hughes, L, 2B
Adams, R, 2B   Butera, C
  Britton, P     Pavano, P

 

 

 

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

R

H

E

Baltimore

0

0

1

0

1

1

1

0

0

4

9

0

Minnesota

0

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

8

0

 

JJ Hardy sure seemed to like being back here – hitting his 24th HR of the year. Sadly, it didn’t seem like Twins offense could get it’s butt in gear to do the same thing. There was one fantastic Twins moment however. Ben Revere made a very remarkable “Hunter-like” nab at the wall that seemed to surprise even him – it makes for a good watch!

The only other drama the Twins could manufacture (besides pissing me off with more LOB) was Danny Valencia getting himself tossed in the 8th inning and Gardy getting into it with Wendelstadt (again) and getting himself sent to join Danny. The hat toss was a real thing of beauty though!

 

Happy 50K!!!!

Came over to the blog this morning to do a little cleanup work, check on things… pretty normal morning and the little counter on the side read 49,999. I don’t know about you but I thought that was pretty cool! It’s kind of like watching the mileage counter change over in your car. It doesn’t really mean anything other than you’ve spent some time with this now and you’ve passed another milestone together. So, after I did a little other work, I hit refresh and sure enough, it rolled over! 50,000 visitors. Wow.

I guarantee you that when we started this, I never really thought about how many people might actually come share a little corner of the internet with us. And no we aren’t one of the big guys on the net.. it took us a year and a half to hit the big round number. But regardless, we’re pretty happy with it.

Whoever you are who checked the blog from United Healthcare in  Minneapolis (on a Mac, no less) looking for the post about Legends Club??? Yeah, you were the big visitor!!  LOL  I’d love to give you a prize if I knew who you were but I’m not that kind of computer user. So at the moment, I just say thanks to ALL our visitors for coming and sharing whether you comment, chat or just read.

GameChat – Yankees @ Twins #4,

Thank you to the Twins for ever-so-decidedly living up to my request to surprise me! It was a beautiful thing to come home to a victory over the Yankees … finally! It was a good victory and only a bit delayed to be good timing. I’m hoping that this will be the moment that the boys of summer realize that they don’t HAVE to lose to the Yankees just because they are the Yankees. I would love it even more if they could do it again today and split the series!

Injuries continue to plague our lineup. Morneau is resting today because of the sore foot from a foul ball so Mauer is covering 1B for him instead of the planned off-day. Nishioka is still out with a sore back. Cuddyer has one more day out with the neck soreness but he did take batting practice today, is available off the bench and could actually be back in the starting lineup tomorrow. As far as injury updates, A-rod is also back.. yay… *sarcasm dripping on the keyboard*

I don’t know what to expect from Nick Blackburn today – I’m just hoping he does well. I think he has the composure to hold himself together even though he’s facing the Yankees – I just don’t know if he has the skill to keep his pitches consistent against this particular hitting lineup. But it’s baseball so you never know what the actual game will bring!

 

NY Yankees

@

Minnesota
Jeter, DH Revere, CF
Granderson, CF Plouffe, 2B
Teixeira, 1B Mauer, 1B
Rodriguez, Al, 3B Kubel, RF
Cano, 2B Thome, DH
Swisher, RF Valencia, 3B
Martin, C Tosoni, LF
Gardner, LF Tolbert, SS
Nunez, E, SS Butera, C
  Nova, P   Blackburn, P
  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
NY Yankees 0 0 0 0 0 1 2 0 0 3 6 1
Minnesota 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 7 1

So the Twins got shutout by the Yankees. I know, I know… hard to have imagined ahead of time, isn’t it? – JC

What Football Team Should I Root For?

Theyyyyyyyyyyyyyy’re Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack!

Yes, Interpretation By Design, the same people who damn near brought down the internet when they posted the flowchart “What Baseball Team Should I Root For?” (and, not coincidentally, also designed our own blog’s banner!) are back with their new “What Football Team Should I Root For?” flowchart!

Here it is…

And, because I know you may not be able to read the fine print here, you might want click here for a link that might be more legible.

I’m reading through it right now and it’s downright hilarious! I can’t believe… hey… wait one damn minute… who are you calling “dysfunctional”!?

Damn, I hate when the truth hurts.

- JC

 

GameChat – Yankees @ Twins #3, 6:10pm

Not sure I have the heart to watch the Twins tonight again  – which is ok since I have to run off to a DCI competition to see the little brother play – because it’s painful to see the Yankees repeat the same process over and over.  I struggle with the fact that they seem to OWN the Twins no matter how close the Twins can keep the score or not. It always seems to be something.. (and I am not necessarily blaming the officiating). So for all of you who are making the trek to Target Field on this gorgeous day, you have my congratulations on strength of character. For me, I’m hoping to come home to a pleasant surprise!

 

NY Yankees

@

Minnesota
Jeter, SS Revere, CF
Granderson, CF Plouffe, RF
Teixeira, 1B Mauer, C
Cano, 2B Morneau, 1B
Swisher, RF Kubel, DH
Jones, An, DH Valencia, 3B
Martin, C Tosoni, LF
Nunez, E, 3B Hughes, L, 2B
Gardner, LF Nishioka, SS
  Burnett, AJ, P   Liriano, P
  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
NY Yankees 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 2 1 4 7 1
Minnesota 2 5 0 0 2 0 0 0 x 9 13 1

I didn’t see a lot of the game, but what I did see sure looked good. There was hitting and defense and, most of all, some very good pitching from Frankie!

While there certainly were offensive heroes, including Jason Kubel, Ben Revere, Trevor Plouffe, Luke Hughes and Joe Mauer. But we need to reward excellent work by our starting pitchers, so Francisco Liriano and his seven innings of 3-hit work against the Yankees earns our Boyfriend of the Day award! – JC

Francisco Liriano

.