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.
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.
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 Phil Hughes out dueled Justin Verlander in Detroit and the Twins stole the series from the Tigers. Did Phil Hughes do enough to garner this week’s Pitcher of the Week?
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.
iTunes and MLB, tyrants of industry, don’t cha know! You cannot download the new Talk to Contact (@TalkToContact) episode via iTunes but if you click here you can download the new episode. And if you want to add the show to your podcast player, this is theRSS Feed.
In our little part of the internet, the big news this week was MLB asking iTunes to remove several baseball themed podcasts because of what they believe was copyright infringement. We were one of the podcasts removed, we were fired up, and spent the first ten or so minutes discussing this entire situation.
We also had the opportunity to purchase some free tickets through ScoreBig.com, an online ticket auction site. We detailed the purchase process and the pros and cons of using this ticket provider.
Then we finally circled back around to Twins news. We talked about the phantom DL and Mike Pelfrey, Aaron Hicks’ concussion, and the current Twins roster construction. Jay took a strong stand on Joe Mauer’s toughness, and Eric strongly disagreed.
Darren Wolfson joined us for almost thiry minutes to give us the scoops on the upcoming MLB draft, and all thing Twins.
We closed out the podcast with our regular segments selecting hitters and pitchers of the week, talking beer, baseball and the news.
With three off days in the last week, it’s been a bit of a slow week for the Twins. Alex Meyer learned to throw a nasty change up and Eduardo Escobar seems to have taken over the SS duties from Pedro Florimon. No one in the starting rotation is very good at throwing baseballs lately.
With so many off days instead of finding a hitter and pitcher of the week, we recap the first month of the season to look for a hitter and pitcher of the month.
And a big thanks to the guys from Twins and Losses for joining us to talk a little bit of baseball. You can follow them on the twitter too (@twinsandlosses).
Paul is gone again, but we’re still here! While he’s gone we put pine tar all over our bodies and get ejected in the 2nd inning. You can download the new Talk to Contact (@TalkToContact) episode via iTunes or by clicking here.
The Twins won a double header against the Jays, but other than that things have been less than stellar for the team in the pas week. We dive into some stories from the week that was, including the acquisition of Sam Fuld and what it means for Aaron Hicks, the retirement of Jason Bartlett, and what to make of Chris Colabello. It is an exciting time to be a podcast listener because this week Cody runs an interview for the first time in the history of the podcast as we chatted with the Cedar Rapids Kernels’ Hitting Coach, Tommy Watkins. Watkins has coached several of the current Minnesota Twins and shares some of his baseballing knowledge with us. We also take some time to talk about the unhearlded pitcher Yohan Pino who has been pitching in Minors for 10 years without a MLB appearance. Of coure, the usual – beer, baseball and the news to round out the show.
Enjoy the show.
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The Twins are a game over .500 for the first time in almost 12 months. They’re scoring runs in bunches and Kyle Gibson is 3-0 with a super tiny ERA. Things are going pretty well for the Twins right now.
The Royals were swept a week ago in Minneapolis, let’s hope the Twins take their winning streak against the Royals one game longer, tonight.
KL here. I managed to stay awake for the whole game, but I’m not sure the Twins get the credit for that. It was quiet in the chat room this evening, kind of like the Twins, so I hope you all had a good evening elsewhere.
Happy birthday to our very own Jay Corn! As a birthday present to Jay, Paul skipped the show! Without him Eric is free to heap all of the praise in the world on Brian Dozier, and he does. You can download the new Talk to Contact (@TalkToContact) episode via iTunes or by clicking here.
Jay Corn revisits his prediction that Josmil Pinto will hit 25 home runs (which is not looking so bad right now), and we wonder what might happen to Pinto’s playing time when Josh Willingham and/or Oswaldo Arciareturn from the DL and Chris Herrmann goes back to AAA. The jabbering continues with Logan Darnell, one of three AAA Left Handers in the Rochester starting rotation. Lots of beer talk this week, and Eric is a little over excited about his “bready beer” and then the gang goes Around the League.
Almost a week ago, with the Twins in the middle of being swept by the Oakland Athletics, I wrote (over at BaseballTwins.com) that the Twins had no chance of being above .500 for the entire season, and then went so far as to loudly proclaim the same stance on the most recent Talk to Contact podcast. After a weekend of hot baseball, from the offense and pitching staff, the Twins are now back to .500, at 6-6, and with an off day today to prep for a three game series at home with the Blue Jays, I find myself on the verge of eating crow.
How did this happen?
The Twins pitching turned in their three best performances of the year, the Twins’ bats woke up in a big way, and some timely defensive miscues allowed the Twins to steal a victory on Sunday.
On Friday night, Kyle Gibson put in another strong start, going 6.1 innings and giving up just one run. Like his first start of the year, Gibson once again walked four batters, and recorded just three strike outs, so it wasn’t a perfect start, but he got the outs he needed and avoided any real damage (and the run he gave up in the first inning was directly related to Pedro Florimon booting a tailor-made double-play ball).
Not to be outdone, on Saturday afternoon, Ricky Nolasco pitched eight strong innings of one run ball, controlling the ball well, recording four strike outs and surrendering only a single walk.
While Nolasco and Gibson put up strong performances, the Twins hitters did their jobs too, scoring 17 runs in those first two games, with a balanced lineup that saw key hits from Dozier, Suzuki, Pinto, Mauer, Kubel, Colabello and Plouffe. Everyone was hitting except Florimon and Mastroianni, who managed to be 0-8 (but did chip in two walks) while the rest of the team recorded a .346 on base percentage.
On Sunday, Kevin Correia worked seven scoreless innings, but let the first three batters of the inning reach base, and Brian Duensing came in with two one and one in already. He couldn’t stop the bleeding and the Twins were down 3-2 going into the home half of the eighth. IN the bottom of the inning the Twins loaded the bases and Chris Herrmann grounded to the pitcher Wade Davis who tried to start a home-to-first double play, but instead threw the ball away allowing two runs to score.
While the Twins might creep over .500 before this home stand ends, I still think that the Twins next four series after that, against the Royals, Rays, Tigers and Dodgers will put the Twins firmly below .500 without much chance of a return.
For now though, the Twins are interesting, and I look forward to eating crow.
For the first time in a long time we have a full week of Twins baseball to talk about on the podcast. We talk about Ron Gardenhire‘s 1000th managerial win, a couple of disabled list moves that brought both Chris Herrmann and Darin Mastroianni back to the Twins, and pontificate on what early season attendance numbers mean for the club going forward. You can download the new Talk to Contact (@TalkToContact) episode via iTunes or by clicking here.
We’re running a promotional giveaway. Make sure to listen to the end for the details and your chance to win a 1991 World Series box set (#TwinsNickname).
We are joined by Jeremy Nygaard (@jeremynygaard) of Twins Daily’s Hang out and Talk Twins video/podcast (@TwinsHangouts) to discuss the roster moves, the Twins payroll in 2014 and what it means for the future of the franchise and if bringing in Stephen Drew is still a valid discussion point.
You’ll also hear the weekly standby’s hitter/pitcher of the week, and around the league. We had to put the Down on the Pond segment on hold this week, but next week we’ll be taking a closer look at Twins AAA pitcher, Logan Darnell.