The Twins have struggled mightily on the road recently, but thanks to Kyle Gibson, they were able to snap the road losing skid at 10 games before coming home to drop two of three to the Kansas City Royals. This week we take a look at what’s been going wrong for the Twins and what it means for the franchise going into the All-Star break.
Joe Mauer is on the DL, Brian Dozier is slumping, and Josh Willingham can’t seem to find a hit to save his life (or the team). We were lucky enough to have a full booth of podcasters tonight, and the gang gave out mid-season awards for both the American and National Leagues.
This week’s show features a good deal of disagreement amongst the four of us, so be sure to let us know who you think was right and who was wrong by sending us tweets or emails. We also used some “adult language” so this show may not be suitable for young children or sensitive old people.
Enjoy the show.
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This week we spend time talking about the series of roster moves and player swaps that lead to Jorge Polanco being called up from High-A Fort Myers to the Big League club. We talk about Byron Buxton‘s rehab, Kendrys Morales finally hitting a home run for the Twins, and the Twins’ struggles on the road. We go Down on the pond and talk about Pat Kelly (Cody and Jay interviewed Pat but the audio did not come through clearly, so we have a write up on that interview coming soon) and what he’s been doing since he was drafted in the 12th round of the 2014 draft.
We talk beer, baseball, and we take some questions for the listeners.
Thanks for sticking around!
No reason to bury the lead, Trevor May is BACK! Trevor talked about his approach to pitching, what he’s been doing in 2014 that has allowed him to be successful, and how much fun he’s having as a member of the outstanding pitching staff in Triple-A Rochester.
Just Cody and Eric this week, in addition to talking with Trevor May, they talk about what the Twins have been doing well (pitching) and what they have not been doing at all (hitting) in the past week. They also take a shot at predicting the Twins’ All-Star representative (and fail), and they whip around the world for beers and around the league to talk about great pitching from Clayton Kershaw and bad pitching from Justin Verlander.
84 minutes of cool dudes talkin’ ball.
If you’re listening to this podcast, you probably have more than a passing interest in Twins baseball. You’ve probably read about all of their draft picks, even guys drafted after the first few rounds, like Minnesota native Pat Kelly, who was taken in the 12th round.
You can download the new Talk to Contact (@TalkToContact) episode via iTunes or click here you can download the new episode, and if you want to add the show to your non-iTunes podcast player, this is the RSS Feed.
Jay is driving the episode this week, so prepare your ears for a little different sound, but have no fear, other than lots of cat noises in the background, the show is pretty stellar. We start the episode by saying goodbye to one of the most handsome red beards to ever grace the outfield grass in Minnesota, Jason Kubel. Kubel is gone, but highlighting this last week was the acquisition of Kendrys Morales who along with the emergence of Eduardo Escobar and Danny Santana gives the Twins arguably one of the best line ups in the American League.
We talk a little draft, but save most of the draft talk for our guests from the Twins Hangouts (@TwinsHangouts), Jeremy Nygaard (@jeremynygaard) and Seth Stohs (@SethTweets). With the help of those two we dive into the draft and discuss the Twins moves and what it could mean for this club in the near and long term.
A lot of weird things have happened in the world of baseball this week, and we cover most of them when we go around the league, to include banana and mayo sandwiches, a Seminole Indian rain man and a “fatty mass with tentacles”. Yikes.
Thanks for listening.
Jason Kubel strikes out when he says it, but “This is Talk to Contact.” You can download the new Talk to Contact (@TalkToContact) episode via iTunes or click here you can download the new episode, and if you want to add the show to your podcast player, this is the RSS Feed.
This week on the podcast we talk about the resurgence of Josh Willingham since his return from the Disabled List (being healthy is pretty important, I guess), we ramble on a bit about Aaron Hicks and the failure of the front office to have any sort of reasonable back up plan (has this rant been beaten to death yet? Yes? Good, we’ll keep bringing it up), and we talk about all of the students Down on the Pond pitching for the Rochester Red Wings (Alex Meyer, Trevor May, Logan Darnell, Kris Johnson, Yohan Pino and the still terrible Scott Diamond).
Enjoy the show.
Half of Twins Territory still thinks we’re morons, but “This is Talk to Contact.” You can download the new Talk to Contact (@TalkToContact) episode via iTunes or click here you can download the new episode, and if you want to add the show to your podcast player, this is the RSS Feed.
This week’s episode is highlighted by a lengthy interview with Jim Callis (@JimCallisMLB, MLBpipeline.com) who talks about the draft and a whole mess of Twins topics. The Baseball Pirate makes his return from defending the homeland and the whole gang is back together for the first time in a long time. The show starts out with a rousing discussion of which coach is the most important coach in baseball, and whether or not any of the players on the 25-man roster could be more important than the most important coach. Interesting things are happening.
Brian Dozier continues to impress, the Twins pitchers continue to distress (except for Punxsutawney Phil Hughes), and Eduardo Escobar continues to mash extra-base hits like it’s his job (because it is). Is Eddie Escobar playing over his head? Probably some, but could this also be the natural maturation of a player who’s been in the big leagues since his age-22 season?
Eddie Rosario makes his return from his drug suspension, Ben Revere hits a real life, honest to god, over the wall home run and Carlos Gomez says “It’s sexy batting clean-up!” All this and more on this week’s episode of Talk to Contact.
The Twins are TWO GAMES ABOVE FIVE HUNDRED! That must mean that Gardy is a magician, I don’t know how else to explain in. You can download the new Talk to Contact (@TalkToContact) episode via iTunes or click here you can download the new episode, and if you want to add the show to your non-iTunes podcast player, this is the RSS Feed.
This week we discuss the Twins shift to six-man rotations in Cedar Rapids and Fort Myers, Dozier’s chances of being a 40/40 guy (and a related tangent about Jose Canseco in 1988), what the Twins will do when Mike Pelfrey, Oswaldo Arcia, and Josh Willingham are healthy, and a change in the Twins’ mentality.
We pick a pitcher and hitter of the week, and talk about Minor Leaguer Zack Granite when we go down on the pond.
This week we were lucky to be joined by Fox Sports One’s Gabe Kapler. Kap, as he is affectionately known, is a 12 year MLB veteran, and hosts a couple of shows on FS1, including Fox Sports Live and MLB Whip Around. He talks about his path to the majors, and weighs in on batter perparation and making adjustments to pitchers, a couple of topics very close at hand for Twins Aaron Hicks and Chris Colabello.
We ran long on Twins news this week, so we had to cut the Beer and Around the League segments, but do not fret, we will be back next week at full strength.
Thanks for listening!
Kurt Suzuki is out producing the expectations of even the most optimistic Twins fan. He’s 30 years old and coming in to 2014 had a career line of .253/.309/.375, and even that is rosy considering what he’s done the past two seasons, .234/.282/.332 (for reference, Talk to Contact favorite, Drew “Boat Anchor” Butera, is hitting .231/.300/.385 in 2014). So the Twins bought low on a guy and brought him in with the hopes that he could help out Josmil Pinto, and because Suzuki is seen as a good “clubhouse guy.”
Through his first 34 games of the year, Suzuki is hitting .332/.388/.430. He has an OBP north of .380 against both left and right handed pitchers. The Twins like what he’s doing with the bat so much they have stuck him in the lineup four times as the starting designated hitter.
Maybe just a hot start, right? He’s actually been better in May than he was in March and April. He started hot, and now he is getting hotter. Over his entire career, Suzuki has played better in the first month of the year than any other month, exactly what you might expect from a catcher that the Oakland Athletics ran out as their everyday catcher at least 117 times for five straight years (he caught his fewest games since his rookie season last year, 93).
Kurt Suzuki is doing all of this on a one-year, $2.75 million dollar contract. the Twins bought low and now they are in a great position to turn Suzuki into some surplus value via trade. Or, because he is only 30 years old, the Twins might consider signing him to a modest contract extension, just as they did with Ryan Doumit.*
*Ryan Doumit hit .275/.320/.461 in 2012 in his first year (age 31 season) with the Twins. The Twins extended him for two additional years with an extra $7 million dollars in late June 2012, making his total deal with the Twins three years/$10 million. With Doumit, the Twins were basically getting output from Doumit in line with his career numbers, so there was a little less risk, but in two of the three seasons prior to coming to Minnesota, Doumit either hit poorly or was injured (or both), so they were able to sign (what looks like now) such a team friendly deal. The Twins ultimately flipped Doumit to Atlanta** following a poor 2013 season which saw Doumit struggle at the plate and with concussion issues. He’s hitting .200/.217/.222 for the Braves.
**The Twins received LHP Sean Gilmartin in return for Doumit, a former first round draft pick (2011), who is currently performing well at AA New Britain (3-2, 3.63 ERA 39.2 IP, 12 BB, 37K) and if the Twins raid the AAA roster for pitching prospects Trevor May and Alex Meyer this summer, Gilmartin should be one of the logical selections to move up to AAA, where he pitched for parts of 2012 and 2013 in the Braves Org.
I would guess that the Twins do not expect Kurt Suzuki to continue avoiding outs in almost 40% of his plate appearances, but ZiPS projects the 30 year old catcher to produce as a MLB regular the rest of the way. Combined with with he’s already done in 2014, he’ll end up with a nice 2014 line. If Suzuki keeps up his current pace into the All-Star break, or even just keeps his line to something like .300/.350/.400, which would represent some fairly significant regression over the next month plus, there will be a handful of teams calling Terry Ryan/Rob Antony looking to acquire the veteran catcher for a post season run. Because the Twins have Josmil Pinto (even with his raw defensive skills), and because they are not in a win-now situation, the Twins could feel relatively comfortable flipping Suzuki.
In a trade scenario, the Twins would probably hope to fetch an intriguing Minor League player, as well as some MLB outfield depth, maybe a fourth outfielder capabale of playing center field and aleviating some of the Twins’ current outfield issues (especially if Sam Fuld experiences setbacks returning from the concussion disabled list). Of course, what the Twins ultimately receive for Suzuki will depend on who their trading partner is, and where the Twins think they can add the most value.
If the Twins look to extend Suzuki, I think that something similar to the Ryan Doumit deal is realistic, but with a slightly higher annual value. I would not be surprised if he received two additional years for $10 million dollars, bringing his total package in Minnesota to three years and just under $13 million. He’s younger than Doumit, and he is a much more complete player, providing value on both sides of the ball.
If I am the Twins, I would attempt to extend Suzuki. The extension would not keep the Twins from trading Suzuki in a year or two, and if Josmil Pinto cannot live up to the hype from his 2013 call up when he hit .342/.398/.566, then the Twins have some hope of a bridge to the arrival of their next young catcher (who might be 2013 third-rounder Stuart Turner). If the Twins can make the extension team friendly then there is not a lot of risk in a deal like that, but if Suzuki and his agent (MVP Sports Group) are looking for a larger deal coming off of a big 2014, then the Twins should feel comfortable walking away.
What would you do?
Chris Parmelee hit a walk-off home run to steal a game against the Boston Red Sox, and he’s named after a popular italian food. That’s called bi-winning. You can download the new Talk to Contact (@TalkToContact) episode via iTunes or click here you can download the new episode, and if you want to add the show to your podcast player, this is the RSS Feed.
The Twins have been making roster moves left and right, call-ups, send-downs, concussion DL stints galore. We review what’s been going on with the roster and what may be coming as Josh Willingham begins his rehab. Byron Buxton is back on the DL, is it time to be worried?
Joe Mauer is set to overtake Kirby Puckett in career WAR, but are you ready to admit that he’s a better player? We tackle that debate and more.
This week’s Down on the Pond profile is on Twins AAA LHP Kris Johnson. Hopefully he doesn’t tear his UCL like Jose Fernandez and seemingly everyone else in baseball.