July 2007


Twins-Royals: No Trades. You’ll Play With This Bunch and You’ll Like It

Tuesday, July 31st, 2007

The clubhouse continues to stew about the front office not making a deal before the non-waiver trading deadline. Gardy is trying to guard against a letdown, giving us his, `If you’re going to cry about it, take your ball and go home,’ speech before the game. There will be more on this in the paper tomorrow – and Joe C.’s story will be very juicy!!

Alexi Casilla is here. He’s not leading off today because Tyner is on fire (.533 over his last five games) but Alexi will get his chances to lead off.

Lineups

Royals: 1. DeJesus, CF. 2. Grudzielanek, 2B. 3. Teahen, RF. 4. Brown, DH. 5. Gload, LF. 6. Gordon, 3B. 7.Smith, 1B. 8. Pena, Jr., SS. 9. LaRue, C. Pitching: De La Rosa.

Twins: 1. Tyner, RF. 2. Bartlett, SS. 3. Mauer, DH. 4. Morneau, 1B. 5. Hunter, CF. 6. Redmond, C. 7. Cirillo, 3B. 8. Ford, LF. Casilla, 2B. Pitching: Silva.

Trade Deadline Nears

Tuesday, July 31st, 2007

Joe C. and I are at the Dome, prepared to report about trades or no trades.

We’ve worked the phones this morning and midday and really haven’t heard too much breaking news.

Joe C. has checked with someone he knows well with the Diamondbacks and was told there’s nothing going on with the Twins at the moment but they might make a last call right before the deadline – which happens a lot – to see if a match has presented itself.

I checked with someone I know with the Rockies and learned that the Twins recently talked to them about Garrett Atkins, with Juan Rincon as bait (Rincon, I’m guessing, would have been part of a package). Colorado is happy with Atkins and are in no rush to move him to make way for prospects.

Meanwhile, Kevin Towers has been a dealing fool. He landed Rob Mackowiak from the White Sox and has just dealt for Morgan Ensberg. I know that may upset some Twins fans, but reports on Ensberg have not been good.

We still have some calls out, but it’s getting close to the deadline. We’ll keep you posted…. 

[UPDATE]: 18 minutes to go ’till the deadline, and Gardy is up in Terry Ryan’s office with bench coach Steve Liddle. We found out earlier in the day that the highly-respected Vern Followell (great name for a scout) is in town, so he’s probably providing some input on potential deals.

[UPDATE]:Joe C. is blogging as I speak. You’re getting bonus coverage today. And Joe will provide his take on what does or doesn’t happen before the deadline. 

My Thoughts On The Trade

Monday, July 30th, 2007

The Mets have, what one scout called, `The Big Four.’

The Four: Pitchers Mike Pelphry and Phil Humber and outfielders Fernando Martinez and Carlos Gomez. I guess Lastings Milledge is considered a major leaguer now…or untouchable because the Mets don’t know how healthy Carlos Beltran is.

So when the Twins didn’t land one of these top prospects I initially went, `Say what?’

It made some sense the more I thought about it.

Castillo is going to be a two-month rent-a-player, and you just can’t get a lot in return for a rental. Terry Ryan wouldn’t disclose if other teams were in on Castillo. I never heard if there was a bidding war or not.

However, I’m still wondering why they traded for a catcher. Chris Butera may be a good catch and throw guy, but the Twins won’t need a catcher for several years because Joe Mauer is around (no, he won’t be moved to another position). And they have guys in the system.

Jose Morales is developing behind the plate but is having a good offensive season at Class AAA Rochester.

Korey Feiner is supposed to be a decent catcher at Class AA New Britain.

And they drafted Jeff Christy in 2006.

I don’t get that aspect of it.

The Twins’ minor league catchers have had injuries, position shifts and, based on a reader e-mail, one retirement. But they still have enough to get through the minor league season. They drafted and signed three catchers this year.

Dustin Martin is supposed to be a well-built athlete who is still learing to hit for power. O.K. that’s cool. The Twins do have a track record of trading for A-ball players (Bartlett, Casilla, Liriano) who reach the majors. We’ll see.

As for more trades, I’m not sure. There seems to be a market for Juan Rincon if the Twins want to trade him. There doesn’t seem to be a big market for Carlos Silva. We’ll see.

[UPDATE]: Just got back up from the clubhouse. Some Twins personnell believe that Ryan is going to try to land a hitter before 3 p.m. Tuesday. I want to emphasize TRY. Players are upset to lose Castillo but measured their words carefully on the record.

 

Trapped in Detroit!

Sunday, July 29th, 2007

Caught A 7:04 p.m. flight from Cleveland to Detroit, after a certain airline I’m not supposed to mention cancelled my original direct flight.

So I did the up-and-down to the Motor City. Guess what. My connecting flight to The Cities has been delayed FIVE times. Original departure time: 8:50 p.m.

New departure time: 11:00 p.m.

Anyway, how about Garza today? Started off with a strong fastball and then mixed in his other pitches. Reared back for some 96 funk when he needed to. He’s developing before our eyes.

I have doubts that this team can make the playoffs. They’ve just been too inconsistent for me. So I’m transitioning over to the mode where I’m looking at who can help this team in the future.

I have no idea what Terry Ryan has in mind before the trade deadline. He’s been pretty tight-lipped and defensive lately. But the 2008 Twins have a chance to be pretty good. The rotation will be more stable next year – the won’t have to go the reclamation route with veterans next year. Francisco Liriano should be able to contribute in some form next year, but will he have to change his delivery to cut out that whipping motion with his arm?

Think about spring training. Baker, Bonser, Garza, Slowey, Perkins, Duensing, Blackburn and Santana. (BTW, this is one reason why I would be willing to peel off one of these young arms in a deal to get a third baseman).

Anyway, don’t spend too much time lamenting about what could have been. It’s time to look at what could happen.

Twins-Indians: Pre-Game

Sunday, July 29th, 2007

Jason Tyner has been inundated with text messages since hitting, `The Homer,’ last night. The best one came from the girlfriend of one of this teammates: “Welcome to manhood.” Ouch.

The, `Get C.C.,’ lineup is in place today. Let’s see if the Twins bunt on the big man and get him rolling around the infield. Sabathia doesn’t like the extra work, and will sometimes plunk a couple hitters in retaliation. He’s also hit Morneau a couple times.

Twins: 1. Bartlett, SS. 2. Punto, 2B. 3. Mauer, C. 4. Morneau, 1B. 5. Hunter, CF. 6. White, DH. 7. Cirillo, 3B. 8. Ford, LF. 9. Tyner, RF. Pitching: Garza.

Indians: 1. Sizemore, CF. 2. Lofton, LF. 3. Martinez, C. 4. Hafner, DH. 5. Garko, 1B. 6. Peralta, SS. 7. Nixon, RF. 8. Blake, 3B. Barfield, 2B. Pitching: Sabathia.