Episode 74: Joe Nathan’s Cy Young Candidacy

You can download the new Talk to Contact (@TalkToContact) episode via iTunes or by clicking here.

TigerBeat

 

The Detroit Tigers look to be the best team in the division, and it’s not close. They’re offense will beat you into submission and their pitching will have you doing all you can to scratch and claw a measly run or two across the plate. They are the team the Twins wish they were.This week on the podcast we are joined by Bryan Craves (@DisplacedTgrFan) to recap what’s been happening in Motown since the Tigers were bounced out of the playoffs last season.

 

You can follow Cody on Twitter (@NoDakTwinsFan) or read his writing at NoDakTwinsFan, and you can find Paul on Twitter (@BaseballPirate) and read his writing at PuckettsPond.com!

If you enjoy our podcast, please take a couple extra minutes and rate and review us on iTunes. Ratings and reviews help us land more impressive guests for the show.

Minnesota Twins Podcast – Talk to Contact – Episode 31

Episode 31 of the Twins baseball podcast,  Talk To Contact (@TalkToContact), is now available for download via iTunes or by clicking here.

openingday2013

 

In Episode 31, PaulEric, and Cody get together to discuss Twins news leading up to Opening Day, the Twins 25-man roster, and they make their MLB predictions for each division, for the World Series, and for MVP, Cy Young, and Rookie of the Year.  Cody does a great job in his first full show on Talk to Contact, and while his segways are initially weak, he gets stronger as the episode goes along.  Along the way we’re joined by Bryan Craves, the Displaced Tigers Fan, to talk about Opening Day, Justin Verlander, and what might happen in the Twins’ first series of the year.  Brace yourself for more than 130 minutes of awesome.

 

 

If you enjoy our podcast, please take a couple extra minutes and rate and review us on iTunes (ratings and reviews have magical iTunes powers, which help Wilkin Ramirez get playing time).

You can follow Paul on Twitter (@BaseballPirate) or read his writing at  Puckett’s Pond.
You can follow Cody on Twitter (@NoDakTwinsFan) or read his writing at NoDakTwinsFan.

– ERolfPleiss

 

Minnesota Twins Podcast – Talk to Contact – Episode 22

Episode 22 of the Twins baseball podcast,  Talk To Contact (@TalkToContact), is now available for download via iTunes or by clicking here.

Paul "Autograph Hound" Pleiss

Paul “Autograph Hound” Pleiss

Paul spent the weekend up in Minnesota attending TwinsFest, drinking beer and talking baseball. As a result, he sounds both hungover and lifeless on the podcast, but there’s still lots of great content. Apologies to the listener for the audio quality at points during the recording as Paul was using his AWESOME (sarcasm) travel laptop for recording, thus you can literally hear the computer fan whirring in the background trying to keep the computer from exploding. We are joined towards the end of the episode by Jose Bosch (@HJBosch21) from Motor City Bengals (Detroit Tigers blog) to take a look at the Detroit Tigers off-season. We also discuss Twins Hall of Famer Tony Oliva, prospect Matt Summers and a comprehensive review of TwinsFest and the cat video guy.

 

If you enjoy our podcast, please take a couple extra minutes and rate and review us on iTunes (ratings and reviews have magical iTunes powers, which help us become more like a slimmer Ron Mahay.)

You can follow Paul on Twitter (@BaseballPirate) or read his writing at  Puckett’s Pond.

– ERolfPleiss

Looking at the American League Central Division

There are six teams in the American League with losing records, and three of those teams are in the American League Central.  In fact, the three teams with the worst records in the AL are all in the Central, the Indians 54-65, the Royals 52-66, and the Twins bringing up the rear at 50-68.  While none of the other AL division races are particularly close (Yankees lead the Rays and Orioles by 6 and 7 games respectively, and the Rangers lead the Athletics and Angels by 5 and 7 games respectively), the top two teams in the Central are separated by just a game and a half.  The White Sox are 65-53 while the Tigers 64-55 (and tied with the Orioles for the 2nd Wild Card spot).

Overall the standings in the AL Central look like this:

Chicago White Sox 65-53, 5-5 in their last 10, +72 run differential, 92% chance to make the postseason

The White Sox lead the Central on the strength of their pitchers.  They lead the Central in runs against per game at 4.12 (more than a full run per game ahead of the Twins 5.19) and are the only team in the division with an ERA under 4, despite playing half of their games in the homer-friendly environment at US Cellular Field.

Detroit Tigers 64-55, 1.5 GB, 5-5 in their last 10, +27 run differential, 64.5% chance to make the postseason

Despite having Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer (who are 1-2 in the AL in Strikeouts (180 and 178), the rest of the Tigers pitching staff, combined with a terrible defensive lineup are making it too easy for their opponents to put runs on the board.  Detroit is winning despite their pitching and defense thanks in large part to their offensive performances.  The Tigers lead the AL Central in batting average (.270), On Base Percentage (.338) and Slugging (.428).

Cleveland Indians, 54-65, 11.5 GB, 4-6 in their last 10, -113 run differential, 0.1% chance to make the postseason

The Tribe again started off the 2012 season playing good baseball (44-41 in the first half) as they had a year ago, but just like in 2011, the wheels have fallen off for the Indians are the All-Star Break (10-24).  Cleveland has given up as many runs per game as the Twins (5.19), and they’ve been pretty bad offensively as well, leading to a division and American League worst -113 run differential (in all of baseball, only the Rockies, -114, and the Astros, -154 are worse).

Kansas City Royals, 52-66, 13 GB, 7-3 in their last 10, -51 run differential, 0.1% chance to make the postseason

2012 was supposed to be the year the Royals starting putting everything together, right?  Most of the talent from their loaded farm system was going to making the transition to Major League Baseball and the team was a popular preseason pick to surprise.  Maybe the baby-Royals are still adjusting, they’re one of the worst fielding teams in the American League in terms of Fielding% and have committed to most errors in the Central.  The Royals have struggled to produce front of the rotation starters and once again Royals fans must endure another year of failure and hope for the best in 2013.

Minnesota Twins, 50-68, 15 GB, 3-7 in their last 10, -86 run differential, 0.1% chance to make the postseason

And then there are the Twins.  You know all about their struggles in 2012.  Poor starting pitching, streaky offense, mediocre defense, and the Twins’ 7-8-9 hitters are batting a combined .235.  September is coming, and with the turn of the calendar will come plenty of Minor League prospects hoping to impress down the stretch and captivate Twins fans while the season continues to spiral down the tubes.

The White Sox and the Tigers can realistically both make the playoffs and should still be playing meaningful baseball into the last week of the season.  For the rest of the division, it is time to start looking to the future.

-ERolfPleiss

Pull the Plug? Not… Quite… Yet

A 10-24 record. Ouch.

That’s the worst record in baseball. All of the hopes that Twinsville had for this team to at least be competitive coming in to the season have pretty much been flushed down the drain. I don’t think you’ll find any writer or fan holding on to the, “we’ll be fine if we can just turn this thing around,” lifeline at this point. Everyone seems to want GM Terry Ryan to just blow this thing up and start rebuilding for 2014 and beyond, right?

Well… maybe not quite everyone. At least not quite yet.

I’m as frustrated as anyone, especially with some of the flat out ugly baseball being played by the Twins. I’ve seen and heard enough of the Target Field Circus, thank you very much. For that reason alone, I’m on board with many of the roster moves that the Twins have made recently.

But before we completely write off this season, I think we need to ask ourselves two questions.

First… has anything gone right?

The reason you ask that question is to attempt to identify what’s gone wrong. If you can’t identify anything that’s gone right, then fine… blow up the roster and start over. But I don’t think that’s really the case.

Going in to the season, there were a handful of things that I felt needed to fall in to place for the Twins to be anything remotely resembling a contending baseball team:

  1. Mauer, Morneau and Span needed to be healthy and productive;
  2. They needed Josh Willingham and Ryan Doumit to adequately replace the bats lost in Michael Cuddyer and Jason Kubel;
  3. They needed improved defense, especially up the middle of the infield and in at least one corner outfield spot;
  4. They needed to hope they could find enough arms to piece together a bullpen that would be able to hold leads and keep games from getting out of hand late; and
  5. They needed improved starting pitching.

Obviously, the jury is still out on Justin Morneau, but I have to admit that if you had told me going in to the season that Mauer and Span would be putting up the numbers they’re putting up while playing almost every game, I’d have been happy to take those results. I’m also quite satisfied with Willingham and Doumit, at this point. The middle infield play has been far better than it was a year ago and while the outfield hasn’t been spectacular, I don’t hold my breath every time a ball is hit to one of the corner OF spots, so that’s a step up. The bullpen has actually been a pleasant surprise. (Be honest… how many people would have been willing to bet Matt Capps would not have blown a save yet at this point in the season?)

Frankly, while you can certainly improve other things here or there, it has been the rotation that has been almost exclusively responsible for where this team is sitting in the standings right now.

The second question we need to ask ourselves pertains to our expectations. How far behind the Division leaders did you think the Twins might possibly be by this point in the season?

When I looked at the goofy schedule that MLB put together for the Twins’ first six weeks, there was little doubt in my mind that they’d be at least 6-7 games out of first place at this point. True, I would have predicted that the Detoit Tigers would be at least six games over .500, while I don’t think anyone would have looked at the scheduled opponents for the Twins’ first 34 games and predicted a .500 record. Instead, the Tigers are right at .500 with a 17-17 record, while the Division-leading Cleveland Indians are just one game better at 18-16.

The Twins have faced AL East teams 17 times already. The Tribe: 7 games against the East. Detroit just nine games. At the same time, Cleveland has already accumulated an 8-7 record against other AL Central teams and Detroit is 7-4 within the Division. The White Sox, sitting in 3rd place in the Division at the moment, have already faced Divisional foes 18 times, putting up a 9-9 record. None of those intradivisional records include any games with the Twins, yet, as Minnesota’s played just two games within the Division, splitting a pair against the Royals.

So, what’s my point?

That’s a fair question.

My point is not to say that this is a Twins team destined to bring home a Championship. It’s not even to say that this team looks like it has the potential to be a very good team. But then, I didn’t believe this team would fall in to either of those categories when they broke camp in Fort Myers.

What I believed then was that, if things fell in to place and management was willing/able to make key adjustments when necessary, this team could be competitive within their Division (at least competitive enough to make them remain fun to watch)… provided that the Tigers didn’t run away and hide from everyone (which I really didn’t expect them to do).

So I guess my point is that I still believe that’s possible.

The Tigers have certainly done their part by underperforming against expectations and nobody else in the AL Central is very good.

If the Twins can get more performances out of their rotation like they’ve gotten out of Scott Diamond and PJ Walters, and fewer like they’ve gotten out of Francisco Liriano, the next couple of months could be very interesting to watch.

The Twins spend the next eight weeks playing games within their division and interleague games. Of their six interleague series opponents, only the Reds (17-16) have won more games than they’ve lost. Meanwhile, Cleveland will spend the last week of June and most of July facing AL East teams and interleague games include series against the NL Central leading Cardinals, as well as two other teams with winning records (two series with the Reds and one vs. the Marlins). The Tigers spend the end of May and first few days of June matched up with the Red Sox and Yankees and after interleague play (which also includes a series against the Cardinals) finish the month of June by spending a week visiting the Rangers and Rays. Their July is sprinkled liberally with other AL East teams, as well as the Angels. Meanwhile, the only series the Twins have with an AL East team between now and August is a mid-July series in Target Field against the Orioles.

If the Twins only win 10 of their next 34 games, then I’m on board with everyone else… put up the Yard Sale sign and sell off any asset you can get a fair return for.

But the more I look at the schedule… and what other teams in the AL Central Division have done… the less I feel like there’s any real rush to make drastic and irreversible decisions. The starting pitching needs to be better than it has been… pure and simple. But if that can be accomplished, I see no reason this Twins team shouldn’t still be able to live up to our limited expectations of them before the season started.

We could still have a little fun this summer.

– JC

AL Central Preview: Detroit Tigers

We’ve all been writing and talking and debating and complaining about virtually every aspect of the Twins off-season for months, so as the Spring Training gates prepare to swing open, there is very little more to be written concerning our guys’ prospects for 2012. I still suspect Terry Ryan may add another pitching arm from among what has to be a very nervous group of remaining free agents, but otherwise, the roster pretty much is what it is.

That being the case, what else is there to say, really? The fortunes of the 2012 will simply be determined by the health and productivity of Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, Denard Span, Scott Baker, et al., right?

Well, sort of… but then again, not entirely.

While it is pretty much a given that the Twins need their stars to have healthy, productive seasons to have any chance at being competitive, that’s only one set of variables. Their AL Central Division rivals have just about as many question marks as the Twins do. How the seasons shake out for Detroit, Cleveland, Chicago and Kansas City will play just as much of a role in determining the Twins’ fate as anything the Twins do on the field, themselves.

So, while we’ve been focusing all of our attention on what Terry Ryan has done (and hasn’t done) to reshape the Twins in to something with the potential to be more competitive in 2012, let’s turn our eyes toward what the competition has been doing, starting with the Detroit Tigers.

Why start with Detroit? Well, it appears that if there’s one thing virtually everyone with an opinion agrees on, it’s that the Tigers are the prohibitive favorite to repeat as winners of the AL Central title this season. It’s pretty easy to see why that’s the case. On paper, they are simply much better than anyone else in the Division.

Last Year:

Record: 95-67

Standings: 1st place AL Central by 15 games over Indians

Playoffs: Beat Yankees 3-2 in ALDS, Lost to Rangers 4-2 in ALCS

Players of Note Lost: P Joel Zumaya (FA), INF Wilson Betemit (FA),

Players of Note Added: 1B Prince Fielder, P Octavio Dotel, C Gerald Laird

M*A*S*H unit: 1B/DH/C Victor Martinez (ACL – potentially season ending), P Al Alburquerque (elbow fracture – out through AS break)

Outlook: If you believe what you read, there’s really no point in playing out the season. We should just give the Division Championship to the Tigers and let them rest up for six months to prepare for the playoffs.

There is no doubt that the addition of Prince Fielder is huge. Say what you will about his body-type and how unlikely it may be that he’ll be worth $24 million a year by the time his nine-year contract winds up, but for 2012, his presence in the middle of the Tiger batting order is a difference maker. At the same time, Victor Martinez won’t be in that batting order and that absence shouldn’t be minimized, either.

If Jim Leyland goes forward with stated plans to move Miguel Cabrera back over to 3B, he’ll be giving Division rivals a gift. The Tigers already weren’t a particularly good defensive team and with Cabrera and Fielder at the infield corners, they’d be worse.

The confounding thing is that there really isn’t a good reason to force that change this season. When Martinez returns, sure… then he’ll have three 1B/DH types and he’ll need to get creative. But this season, why not just let Fielder and Cabrera split time between 1B and DH? It’s so obvious that you have to figure Leyland will figure it out before Opening Day. So as much as I would love to watch teams lay down bunt after bunt on the Tigers, I’m not really expecting to see Cabrera at 3B once the games start counting.

The one benefit for the rest of the Division that comes from the Tigers signing Fielder is that it appears they won’t be using that money to strengthen their rotation.

Justin Verlander is a stud, no doubt about it. But I just find it hard to imagine that even he can put up another year comparable to the last couple. Three seasons in a row of that kind of productivity is almost unheard of. A lot of people like the young arms the Tigers use to fill out the rest of the rotation and Doug Fister was a huge addition last season, but I’ve been less impressed with Rick Porcello and Max Scherzer. Maybe this rotation will turn out to be as great as any in the league, but I’ll believe it when I see it… especially if Leyland does stick to the plan of playing Cabrera at 3B.

In the bullpen, others are more impressed with Octavio Dotel than I am, so I can’t say I feel they’ve improved their bullpen significantly. He may adequately replace Alburquerque, I guess.

The bottom line is that this team is built to win right now. They’re rolling the dice while they’ve got stars like Cabrera, Verlander and Avila in their primes, along with a future Hall of Fame manager at the controls. If their pitching can be good enough to overcome the defense playing behind them, the addition of Fielder should assure that they score enough runs to win the AL Central going away… again… and once again be a serious threat in the playoffs. That would mean that the Twins and the others in the Division are all playing for second place.

We’ll be continuing to take similar glances at the rest of the AL Central Division, but don’t expect a new team preview every day. You’ll get them as I do them, which is to say, when I’m damn good and ready to do the next one!

Next up: Cleveland Indians

–          JC

Gloom, Despair and Agony

The Hee Haw Gang (Photo: AP)

Gloom, despair, and agony on me
Deep, dark depression, excessive misery
If it weren’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all
Gloom, despair, and agony on me

Most of you are too young to remember this little ditty from Roy Clark and Buck Owens from the old “Hee Haw” TV show, but it sure describes much of the reaction around Twinsville to the news that the Tigers had signed Prince Fielder on Tuesday.

I guess it’s understandable, to a degree. It was just a week ago that news of Victor Martinez’s ACL injury gave us all a glimmer of hope that the team that pretty much lapped the rest of the AL Central Division in 2011 might fall back to the pack a bit. Now, just like that, they push themselves out further in to the frontrunner role. If the Twins were 32 games worse than Detroit last year, without Fielder, just how much deeper is that hole likely to be this season?

I’m just not sure it’s worth quite the level of gloom, despair and agony I’ve been reading and hearing. What I am sure of is that this signing doesn’t warrant additional criticism of the Twins more conservative approach to building their 2012 roster. In fact, if anything, it might just be evidence that the Twins’ philosophy will turn out to be the right one, as much as many of us (myself, chief among that group) don’t want to admit it.

My initial reaction to the news of Fielder’s signing with Detroit was something along the lines of, “they must be out of their minds over there!” However, I held off on posting that reaction because, frankly, my initial reactions to things frequently turn out to be wrong and I thought if I waited a bit, maybe I would come to see what the Tigers saw and understand how smart this was. That hasn’t happened. In fact, from what I’ve read of most national baseball writers’ reactions, it appears my initial reaction is pretty much in sync with the “experts.” Of course, that doesn’t necessarily make us right.

But just for kicks and giggles (and perhaps to lessen the degree of gloom, despair and agony around here), let’s try to list exactly what this means for the Tigers and for the Twins in the short term and long term.

  • Immediately, it means the Tigers have replaced Victor Martinez in their batting order with a potentially powerful bat. How many more wins that equates to over and above what they would have had with Martinez is at least questionable. They were clearly the best offensive team in the Division already.
  • They have to find places for everyone to play, since the AL does not allow several DHs at a time. This means Detroit could field a defensive lineup in which Delmon Young is perhaps only the fifth worst defensive player on the field. If he’s still in left field when Victor Martinez returns, he may be among the Tigers BEST defenders. Think about that for a moment.
  • When Justin Verlander is pitching, defense doesn’t really matter. But the Tigers are likely going to have to win a lot of 9-7 games when the other 4/5 of the rotation takes the mound.
  • 82-year-old Tigers owner Mike Illitch is clearly willing to mortgage his team’s future… a future he may or may not be around to enjoy anyway… to buy a championship now. That probably means he’s going to be willing to spend even more money in July, if that’s what it takes to win the Division.
  • So, short term, signing Fielder makes the Tigers pretty much the same favorite to win the Division that they were without him and, long term, it could mean the team is stuck with a rapidly aging former star with detiorating skills that they’re paying $23 million a year to, whether he plays or not.

For the Twins, it probably means:

  • They were right not to spend wildly to try to close a 32 game gap with the a team owned by a desperate old man willing to spend like a drunken sailor on shore leave.
  • Before the Tigers signed Fielder, it was going to take all the stars aligning right for the Twins to compete… meaning everyone healthy and productive and a much improved defense. If that happens, there’s still a similar chance that the Twins will be within range of the Tigers, even with Fielder in their lineup. I just don’t see the Tigers winning many more games… they’ll just win by an extra run or two.
  • The Twins will have flexibility in July. If they’re in the race, they have money to spend on exactly the positions they need at the time. If they’re out of the race, they can sell off parts that they won’t be counting on in 2013 and beyond anyway.
  • Long term, the Twins have to like this deal. Any signing that virtually assures that your competition will eventually be flushing $20+ million a year down a rabbit hole is a good signing. That’s money that could have been spent for younger talent that you’d have to be facing for years to come.

Seriously, those of you who think the Twins are nuts to commit $23 million a year to Joe Mauer, leaving a measly $80 million or so to fill out the rest of the roster, just imagine if the Twins made that deal on top of paying two other players north of $20 million a year. The Tigers have done just that. They’ve got over $60 million in salary going to three players for at least the next three seasons.

Maybe Detroit’s broadcast media rights will be skyrocketing like the Rangers, Angels, and seamingly everyone else’s (except the Twins, naturally) looks to be or maybe their owner really just doesn’t give a damn about money at this point in his life.

All I know for sure is that as much as I may disagree with the Twins front office on various philosophical issues (and I continue to do so), I’m absolutely certain at this point that they are not collectively the dumbest front office in baseball. We have a new leader in the clubhouse in that contest.

– JC

Wounded Tiger

So Detroit is going to spend $13 million this season for Victor Martinez NOT to play for them.

Welcome to our world, Tigers.

Victor Martinez (Photo: Tim Heitman-US PRESSWIRE)

Martinez reportedly tore his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) doing a pretty routine side-to-side workout. It just goes to show how quickly and bizarrely those things can happen.

There’s no rhyme or reason to it. These guys just scaled up Mt. Kilimanjaro, presumably without incident, and Martinez blows out his knee exercising. (I suppose, to be safe, I should have waited until they successfully scaled down the mountain, but certainly if they got up, they certainly have a plan for getting down, right?)

The Tabbies won 95 games in 2011, claiming the AL Central Division by 15 games over the Indians (and 32 games over the Twins) and pretty much everyone who gets paid money to opine about such things has been willing to just hand Detroit a free ticket to the playoffs in 2012. It’s hard to blame them, I suppose, given that none of the Tigers’ division rivals appear intent on spending the money to challenge them for the division title. In fact, some potential challengers are even (ahem) slashing payroll.

While I’m not so crass as to celebrate Martinez’s injury, it’s pretty difficult as a Twins fan to muster up much sympathy for the Tigers organization. Our guys certainly racked up more than their fair share of Disabled List time in 2011, especially among the big contract guys.

But here’s the thing… doesn’t it seem like the Tigers have pretty much sat out this off-season? I know they won the AL Central going away, but if the Rangers came within one pitch of winning the World Series and still feel the need to improve their roster, wouldn’t you think Detroit might think adding more than Octavio Dotel might be necessary? Have they added more than that? (OK I looked it up… they also added Gerald Laird and Ramon Santiago.)

The Tigers’ payroll in 2011 opened the season a little under $106 million and reports have it sitting at close to $109 million for 2012 after they came to terms with their arbitration-eligbile players. (That includes agreeing to pay Delmon Young $6.75 million, by the way. I have to admit I’m glad it’s not the Twins that are ponying up that kind of money for DY. As I Tweeted Tuesday night, I don’t know for sure that Ben Revere is going to be a better starting left fielder than Young, but I’m pretty sure the Twins are glad they have Revere rather than Young at this point.) In any event, you have to figure the Tigers aren’t looking to significantly jack up their payroll number at this point.

I know I’ve read that they were kicking the tires on Mark Buehrle before he signed in Miami and, more recently, may be talking with the Cubs about trading for Matt Garza. An upgrade would make sense because their rotation, after Justin Verlander, really is nothing to brag about (and seriously, how likely can it really be that Verlander would have another season like his 2011?). So it’s possible that they’ve been quietly sniffing around one of the remaining free agent starting pitchers.

But with Martinez likely out for the season, you have to imagine their attention might be shifted toward finding someone to take over Martinez’s DH responsibilities. There certainly is no shortage of DH options still on the market, so in the end, their offense may not the biggest victim of the injury. The biggest victim may be their starting pitching if they have to use remaining payroll budget for a bat instead of rotation help.

So speaking very selfishly, Martinez’s injury may help the Twins in three ways:

  1. Most obviously, he won’t be in Detroit’s line up.
  2. On the off chance the Tigers were in the market for the same starting pitcher(s) the Twins might be talking to, their need to replace Martinez may take them out of contention for pitching.
  3. Finally, that same shift in priorities likely may leave the Tigers’ rotation unfortified.

Most of all, it simply makes Detroit more beatable. And that’s never a bad thing.

And, yes, I really am this desperate for anything resembling good news for the Twins at this point.

– JC

Delmon Young Traded to Tigers

DY is done as a Twin.

Cole Nelson

In a rare intra-divisional trade, the Twins sent Delmon Young to the Tigers in return for high-A minor league pitcher Cole Nelson and a “player to be named later”. Nelson, a native of Edina MN, I believe, has mediocre (at best) stats for the Tigers’ Lakeland affiliate this season. He was a 10th round pick of the Tigers in the 2010 draft out of Auburn.

I’m hoping the PTBNL is the key in this deal. Often, that indicates the player has been identified but was signed less than a year ago. (Players can’t be traded by their original team until 1 year has expired.)

On the surface, it certainly doesn’t look like a strong trade for the Twins, but until the PTBNL is identified, it’s premature to cast a final judgment.

– JC

 

The Final Countdown: 60 Games

The last ten games have not been kind to our Twins and after Monday night’s fiasco, I’m not sure this countdown exercise is even worth doing any more, but we’ll give it one more shot.

With eight of the last 10 games coming against the two teams at the top of the AL Central Standings, they had an opportunity to make some real headway, but the lack of anything resembling MLB-caliber hitting in those series pretty much ended any chance of closing ground.

I still maintain that these series weren’t as critical as others made them out to be, but there’s no doubt it was an opportunity lost. And what’s particularly disheartening is just how flat-out BAD the Twins have looked in virtually every aspect of the game of baseball.

We started this countdown when the Twins had 100 games remaining to their season and trailed the Tigers by 10 games. The theory was that they need to gain one game every ten games through the rest of the season in order to win the division.

Once again, since I’m maintaining my stance that Cleveland will not remain in contention throughout the season, let’s check in on the REAL AL Central Standings with the Twins having 60 games remaining.

TWINS GAMES REMAINING: 60

TEAM RECORD GB
Tigers 54-48 -
BitchSox 50-51 3.5
TWINS 47-55 7

Not surprisingly, the Twins lost ground over the past 10 games to both the Kitties and the BitchSox. They’ve now fallen behind the pace they needed to set when we started this… gaining an average of one game every ten games played. They’ll need to make up some ground over the next ten games to get back on pace.

– JC