November 2008


Twins enter Thanksgiving in a holding pattern

Wednesday, November 26th, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving, folks. All quiet on the Twins’ front.

Apologies. I know many of you are dying for some nuggets to chew on with your turkey and stuffing, but I’m anticipating a quiet holiday.

A Padres official told me they’ve had very little dialogue with the Twins, which should quash any thought of the Twins obtaining Kevin Kouzmanoff, Khalil Greene, Chase Headley, etc.

Casey Blake? Slight progress with the Twins since last week, but pretty much status quo.

So the waiting continues.

An agent reminded me today that we might see more movement after Monday, the deadline for teams to offer salary arbitration to Type A and Type B free agents.

The Twins must decide whether to offer arbitration to LHP Dennys Reyes, a Type B free agent. If they offer him arbitration and he leaves, they’ll receive a supplemental-round pick. If they don’t offer him arbitration, they forfeit compensation.

The Twins are among the teams reluctant to sign a Type A free agent because doing so would cost them their first-round pick in next year’s draft. So if a Type A free agent is not offered arbitration, he could become more attractive.

Either way, some of those unknowns will be answered Monday, so things could get interesting next week. Stay tuned.

Twins uniforms: Give us your likes and dislikes

Tuesday, November 25th, 2008

You can tell the hot stove is cool, when the beat writers are soliciting opinions about uniforms, but humor me here.

Talking to Justin Morneau and Glen Perkins, it sounds like the players are going to love the Twins’ new throwback uniforms and could lobby to wear them more than every Saturday at home.

Also, by 2010 more changes could be coming to the team’s uniform plan, though team president Dave St. Peter said he doesn’t foresee a major overhaul.

I’d like your thoughts on the five Twins’ uniforms for 2009. What do you like? What would you change, if anything (including hats, logos, pinstripes, script)? Are you furious the Twins aren’t bringing back the sansabelt pants?

A) Traditional pinstripe home uniform (Worn since 1987)

B) Traditional pinstripe road uniform (Worn since 1987)

C) Sleeveless tops (Worn for home games since 2006. Bat-Girl called these the pixie vests. The favored jersey of Carlos Silva, Livan Hernandez and Francisco Liriano.)

D) Twins navy blue alternate tops (Worn at home and road. Favored last season by Perkins and Kevin Slowey.)

E) The 1982 retro look, with red hats, button-down tops and real belts.

Update (10:05 a.m.): Baseball America’s Top 10 Twins prospect list has been released. A subscription is required to read the story, but here’s the list:

1. OF Aaron Hicks
2. OF Ben Revere
3. C Wilson Ramos
4. LHP Jose Mijares
5. 3B Danny Valencia
6. RHP Anthony Swarzak
7. RHP Shooter Hunt
8. RHP Kevin Mulvey
9. RHP Carlos Gutierrez
10. OF Angel Morales.

Monday morning update

Monday, November 24th, 2008

Happy Monday morning. In case you missed it, I wrote a Sunday column designed to get people up-to-speed on offseason developments around the division. Here are some leftover notes from the weekend:

(*) Baseball America is scheduled to reveal the Twins’ Top 10 prospects on Tuesday, and I’m always anxious to see that. Last year, the well-respected magazine had some of us scratching our heads when it named Nick Blackburn as the Twins’ No. 1 prospect, but that sure looks smart a year later.

(*) For what it’s worth, insiders tell me the Twins had strong interest in reliever Jeremy Affeldt before he signed his two-year, $8 million contract last week with the Giants. Affeldt lives in Spokane, Wash., and has worked out with Twins catcher Mike Redmond.

Affeldt was a Type B free agent, so the Giants won’t lose any draft picks, but the Reds will get an supplemental round pick for losing him.

I’ve been told it’s highly doubtful the Twins will sign a Type A free agent, which would cost them their first-round draft pick next June, though they have checked into some of the Type A relievers and are in a “Never say never” mode.

(*) The Twins did have a scout see 19-year-old Cuban 3B Dayan Viciedo at a recent workout before he signed his $11 million deal with the White Sox. It sounds like he’s a big-time talent, though only the most optimistic reports have him making a big contribution in 2009.

Twins add eight prospects to 40-man roster

Wednesday, November 19th, 2008

The Twins announced today that they have added eight prospects onto their 40-man major league roster:

LHP Brian Duensing, RHP Anthony Swarzak, C Drew Butera, C Wilson Ramos, INF Luke Hughes, INF Trevor Plouffe, INF Deibinson Romero, and INF Steve Tolleson.

The moves leave the Twins with 39 players on the 40-man roster. Eligible players left unprotected can be selected in the Dec. 11 Rule 5 draft.

I’ll have more on this in our first editions.

Metrodome morphs into AL’s toughest hitters park

Friday, November 14th, 2008

Remember when the Metrodome was known as a hitter’s paradise? Not anymore. American League hitters probably can’t wait to say good riddance to the place after the 2009 season, even if there are cold days ahead at Target Field.

According to Baseball-Reference.com, the Dome was tied with Kansas City’s Kauffman Stadium this year as the least-friendly hitter’s park in the AL.

The site uses a Total Baseball formula called park adjustments to determine which ballparks favor hitters and which favor pitchers. A number above 100 is better for hitters and below 100 is better for pitchers.

I’ll be away from this blog for a few days, as La Velle keeps tabs on the Twins, but in the meantime, think about some of these numbers as you continue pondering various offseason moves.

(*) Are Garrett Atkins’ numbers helped by Coors Field in the Humidor Era? Yes.

(*) Would Kevin Kouzmanoff’s numbers improve if he left Petco Park? Oh, yes.

(*) What about Adrian Beltre, coming from Seattle? J.J. Hardy from Milwaukee? Yunel Escobar from Atlanta?

First, here’s a look at each team’s batting park factors (BPF) and pitching park factors (PPF) from this season. You can find them at the top of each team’s page on Baseball-Reference.com.

American League

Team – BPF PPF
Twins – 94 94
Royals – 94 95
Mariners – 95 97
Athletics – 97 97
Blue Jays – 99 98
Angels – 100 99
Indians – 100 100
Tigers – 102 103
Orioles – 102 103
Rays – 103 102
White Sox – 103 103
Yankees – 103 103
Rangers – 103 104
Red Sox – 105 103

National League

Team BPF PPF
Padres – 88 89
Pirates – 94 95
Dodgers – 95 94
Marlins – 97 97
Brewers – 98 97
Cardinals – 98 98
Mets – 100 99
Braves – 101 101
Nationals – 101 102
Phillies – 102 101
Cubs – 102 101
Astros – 103 103
Giants – 103 104
Reds – 104 105
Rockies – 105 106
D-backs – 108 108

The NL MVP award will be announced Monday, followed by the AL MVP on Tuesday, and I’d expect Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau both to finish among the top seven AL vote getters.

When you look back on their seasons, compared to, say Dustin Pedroia’s for Boston, you realize how much tougher it was putting up those numbers in the Metrodome.

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