Episode 94: The Future of the Twins?!

You can download the new Talk to Contact (@TalkToContact) episode via iTunes or by clicking here, and if you want to add the show to your non-iTunes podcast player, this is the RSS Feed.

gardycard

After a week off, we’re back and making podcast magic!  This week we discuss the roster moves that happened surrounding the trade deadline, and talk about how the Twins are going to put a roster together when Joe Mauer returns.  We muse ont he future of Ron Gardenhire and who is going to manage the Twins in the future.  We talk about some of the young taelnt coming through the organization and how everything could fit together.  Plus we do the regular – beer, baseball, and the news.

90 minutes to make your ears bleed.

 

I hope you enjoy this special episode.You can follow Cody on Twitter (@NoDakTwinsFan) or read his writing at NoDakTwinsFan, you can find Paul on Twitter (@BaseballPirate) you can find Eric on Twitter (@ERolfPleiss) and read his writing at Knuckleballs, and you can find Mr. Jay Corn on Twitter (@Jay__Corn)!

If you enjoy our podcast, please take a couple extra minutes and rate and review our show on iTunes.  iTunes ratings and reviews are the main way we judge our self-worth.

Episode 92: Reviewing the First Half

You can download the new Talk to Contact (@TalkToContact) episode via iTunes or by clicking here, and if you want to add the show to your non-iTunes podcast player, this is the RSS Feed.

"Peace to my All Star homies in West Fargo." - Cody Christie, probably

“Peace to my All Star homies in West Fargo.” – Cody Christie, probably

This week we talk all about the first half, the Twins best players and worst players before the All Star break, and what we think might happen in the second half. Jay Corn rags on Joe Mauer, Cody Christie praises Brian Dozier, and Eric Pleiss raves about his boyfriend Phil Hughes.

Join us for the Twins talk, stay for the beers and baseball chatter.

 

I hope you enjoy this special episode.You can follow Cody on Twitter (@NoDakTwinsFan) or read his writing at NoDakTwinsFan, you can find Paul on Twitter (@BaseballPirate) you can find Eric on Twitter (@ERolfPleiss) and read his writing at Knuckleballs, and you can find Mr. Jay Corn on Twitter (@Jay__Corn)!
If you enjoy our podcast, please take a couple extra minutes and rate and review our show on iTunes.  iTunes ratings and reviews is how to government funds unemployment.

Episode 91: The All-Star Game and ERolf’s Solo Podcast

You can download the new Talk to Contact (@TalkToContact) episode via iTunes or by clicking here, and if you want to add the show to your non-iTunes podcast player, this is the RSS Feed.
doz bomb
For the first time ever we only had one Talk to Contact co-host available for a podcast.  Stepping out into unfamiliar territory, Eric managed to build a 40 minute podcast that wasn’t terrible.  He talked about Twins news from the past week, including Brian Dozier hilariously being added to the Home Run Derby, and talked a lot about what is going on with the pitching staff down in AAA Rochester.
He did the regular beer, news and internet segments, but as a thank you for listening to him babble for 40 minutes, he recorded a special audio production of Patrick Dubuque’s Waiting ’til Next Year for Godot.

I hope you enjoy this special episode.You can follow Cody on Twitter (@NoDakTwinsFan) or read his writing at NoDakTwinsFan, you can find Paul on Twitter (@BaseballPirate) you can find Eric on Twitter (@ERolfPleiss) and read his writing at Knuckleballs, and you can find Mr. Jay Corn on Twitter (@Jay__Corn)!
If you enjoy our podcast, please take a couple extra minutes and rate and review our show on iTunes.  iTunes ratings and reviews is how to government funds unemployment.

Episode 86: Josh Willingham is Not Dead Yet

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).

We all drank excellent beers, answered a question from the internet, gave a shout out to our listener of the week, and talked all things baseball news going Around the League.
96 minutes of baseball joy.
Thanks for playing along!

Enjoy the show.

You can follow Cody on Twitter (@NoDakTwinsFan) or read his writing at NoDakTwinsFan, you can find Paul on Twitter (@BaseballPirate) and you can find Mr. Jay Corn on Twitter (@Jay__Corn)!
If you enjoy our podcast, please take a couple extra minutes and rate and review our show on iTunes.   iTunes ratings and reviews are the sole reason that Josh Willingham is hitting home runs.

What to do with Kurt Suzuki?

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.”

Minnesota Twins catcher Kurt  Suzuki (8) hits a two-run single against the Chicago White Sox in the third inning of an opening day baseball game at U.S Cellular Field in Chicago on March 31, 2014. (Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports)

Minnesota Twins catcher Kurt Suzuki (8) hits a two-run single against the Chicago White Sox in the third inning of an opening day baseball game at U.S Cellular Field in Chicago on March 31, 2014. (Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports)

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?

Episode 64: Twins Trade Ryan Doumit

Episode 64 of the Twins baseball podcast, Talk To Contact (@TalkToContact), is now available for download via iTunes or by clicking here.

The Twins are wearing this patch on their hat and jersey every single day next season.

The Twins are wearing this patch on their hat and jersey every single day next season.

Paul is away celebrating his birthday but this week on the podcast, Cody and Eric spend 60+ minutes talking about the Ryan Doumit trade, if Josmil Pinto needs a real backup, what to do with all of the Twins’ mediocre pitching, and the awful All-Star Game Logos that the Twins are putting all over everything.

Down on the Pond we take a look at the 2014 Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook and the profile of Bryan Haar. They also talk beer, and baseball news.

A fun podcast from two 29-year-old morons.

Enjoy the show.

 

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 have magical iTunes powers, which are probably useless.

Episode 63: Winter Meetings Edition

Episode 63 of the Twins baseball podcast, Talk To Contact (@TalkToContact), is now available for download via iTunes or by clicking here.

winter-meetings-2013

This week we delve into the winter meetings, or rather, we get together and speculate wildly about things that may or may not happen. Will Bronson Arroyo or Mike Pelfrey end up in a Twins uniform in 2014? What about Stephen Drew? We also attempt to discuss the moves other teams are making around the league. Later on we attempt to give Joe Mauer a nickname, but despite many great submissions we never settle on something we can all agree on. Finally we take an in depth look at Twins prospect Lewis Thorpe.

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 have magical iTunes powers, which are probably useless.

Episode 57: The Hot Stove, and Other Wives Tales

Episode 57 of the Twins baseball podcast, Talk To Contact (@TalkToContact), is now available for download via iTunes or by clicking here.

hotstove

This week Eric and Paul are joined by Jay Corn (@jay__corn, that’s right, two underscores!) to talk Twins baseball. This will be our fist dive into the post-season hot stove, and this week we talked about available starting pitching and which pitchers we thought, if any, made sense in Minnesota. Pedro Hernandez was removed from the 40-man roster and signed a AAA deal, Terry Ryan is putting the band back together, so to speak, and the AFL continues down in the “Valley of the Sun.” All that and more on this week’s Talk to Contact podcast.

Thanks for listening!

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 have magical iTunes powers, which helps Paul Molitor use the infield shift in 2014.

-ERolf

“Hello, Good-Bye” Poll

You say yes, I say no
You say stop and I say go go go, oh no
You say goodbye and I say hello
Hello hello
I don’t know why you say goodbye, I say hello

This is the time of year when, like it or not, there’s a lot of discussion going on about who will or will not be wearing a Twins uniform a week or two… or a month or two… from now.

The reality is, when your favorite Major League Baseball team is not a contender in July, there will almost certainly be changes made. Maybe you’ll see a managerial change. You will see player changes.

Fans will be saying “hello” to some new faces… and they’ll be saying “good-bye” to some favorite familiar faces. That’s baseball, especially when your team is in the middle of its third consecutive losing season.

Let’s try to make a few predictions concerning who we’ll be saying “good-bye” to.

Ron Gardenhire

Ron Gardenhire

The easiest off-season prediction to make relative to the Twins was that manager Ron Gardenhire’s job status would be a hot topic by the end of July. Gardenhire’s Twins have lost almost 100 games in each of the past two seasons and it would seem almost inevitable that the total will be at least 90 losses in 2013.

That was predictable. Since the losing season was predictable, so was Gardenhire’s hot seat.

Of course, the reason the losing season was predictable is that the roster that General Manager Terry Ryan and the rest of the front office assembled for Gardenhire before the season started was underwhelming.

I’ve never been overly impressed with Gardenhire’s game management philosophies, but I also believe that the job of a manager is a lot more about managing the clubhouse than managing individual games.

A manager is only as good as the players he’s given to work with and I think pretty much everyone, including his boss, now knows Gardenhire was dealt a pretty lousy hand this season.

If the manager has lost the clubhouse… if the players have tuned him out and no longer respect his voice… then he should be replaced. I’ve not heard nor read any indication that such is the case, however.

Given that, I not only expect Gardenhire to remain the Twins manager through the end of this season, but also to be brought back for 2014 and beyond.

There are plenty of other possible changes to the Twins worthy of discussion that are far more likely to take place, however.

This time of year, trades are at the top of the list of discussion topics.

Terry Ryan

Terry Ryan

A year ago, I published my list of top five most likely Twins to be dealt before the end of August. At that time, the list was, in order from first to fifth, Franicisco Liriano, Denard Span, Danny Valencia, Alexi Casilla and Josh Willingham.

In a poll we attached to that article, our readers agreed with my top three choices, but felt Matt Capps was more likely to be traded during the season than Casilla and Willingham. In fact, almost nobody agreed with me on Willingham being a trade target.

In the end, the Twins had almost nobody that anyone really wanted to trade for a year ago. Liriano and Valencia were traded during the season, Span was dealt in the off-season and Casilla parted after the season, as well.

The Twins are sellers this year, once again, but is Ryan likely to see any greater interest among his fellow GMs than he did a year ago?

I’m not sure Ryan will trade more than just a couple of players, again, but the level of interest… and thus the ultimate return for those players… should be greater this season.

Here’s my list of the five Twins players most likely to be wearing another team’s uniform by the end of August this year:

  1. Justin Morneau: He’s in the last year of his contract with Minnesota and there reportedly are teams calling about him. He’s not going to bring the return he would have if he were his old home run hitting self, but if the Twins will pay a chunk of his remaining salary (and there’s absolutely no reason they shouldn’t), there are contenders that may be willing to give up a prospect with some talent. If they end up just giving Morneau away as a salary dump, Twins fans should justifiably be enraged.
  2. Jared Burton: He’s had a few struggles and hasn’t been as reliable as he was a year ago, but there are a lot of teams that could use relief pitching and Burton is likely drawing interest.
  3. Ryan Doumit: The Twins like his versatility. Other teams will like that, too.
  4. Glen Perkins: If it were me, I wouldn’t trade Perkins unless someone agreed to way overpay for a “proven closer.” Unfortunately for the Twins, most teams (other than the Twins themselves, historically) are not inclined to overpay for a proven closer. If you want an indication of whether Terry Ryan believes the Twins can contend next year or whether it will be at least 2015, watch what he does with Perkins. If he’s traded, it may indicate Ryan expects the All-Star Game to be the biggest Target Field highlight of 2014.
  5. Trevor Plouffe: Is Terry Ryan ready to annoint Miguel Sano as the Twins’ starting third baseman beginning in 2014? If so, Trevor Plouffe could be dealt.

Others: Could Kevin Correia or Mike Pelfrey be traded? Maybe, but I think not.

Pelfrey is pitching better and if that continues, he may have some value, but he’s making little enough that if he isn’t dealt in July, he could be “blocked” by teams claiming him to prevent a waiver trade in August. I also could see the Twins extend Pelfrey for another season before this summer is over.

I think Ryan feels vindicated by Correia’s season and intends to keep him for the second year of his contract.

What do you think?

Who do you think will no longer be wearing a Twins uniform by the end of August? Let us know in the poll below. We’ll add Ron Gardenhire to the list to choose from in the poll so if you really believe he’s likely to be axed this summer, you can reflect that in your choices.

Who do you feel is MOST likely to NOT be wearing a Twins uniform by the end of August? (Choose up to 5)

  • Justin Morneau (69%, 25 Votes)
  • Jamey Carroll (53%, 19 Votes)
  • Jared Burton (47%, 17 Votes)
  • Brian Duensing (31%, 11 Votes)
  • Ryan Doumit (28%, 10 Votes)
  • Glen Perkins (22%, 8 Votes)
  • Mike Pelfrey (19%, 7 Votes)
  • Trevor Plouffe (17%, 6 Votes)
  • Casey Fien (14%, 5 Votes)
  • Kevin Correia (14%, 5 Votes)
  • Scott Diamond (8%, 3 Votes)
  • Ron Gardenhire (3%, 1 Votes)
  • Joe Mauer (3%, 1 Votes)
  • Josh Willingham (3%, 1 Votes)
  • Aaron Hicks (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Chris Parmelee (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Brian Dozier (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 36

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Talk to Contact Episode 44: Minor Leauge Caps

Episode 44 of the Twins baseball podcast,  Talk To Contact (@TalkToContact), is now available for download via iTunes or by clicking here.

This week Cody and Eric get down on a bunch of Twins news from the past week+, including a mediocre Kyle Gibson, roster transactions, a surging Aaron Hicks and a slumping EVERYONE else.

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Down on the Pond is about the Twins’ recent #1 draft pick Kohl Stewart.  After that Cody and Eric talk beer, baseball, and the news.

76 minutes of unmitigated baseball talk.

 

You can follow Cody on Twitter (@NoDakTwinsFan) or read his writing at NoDakTwinsFan.  You can follow Paul on Twitter (@BaseballPirate) or read his writing at  Puckett’s Pond.  And of course, you can find me on Twitter (@ERolfPleiss) and read my writing at Knuckleballs!

– ERolfPleiss