March 2008


Picks To Click 2008. The Polls Are Open

Wednesday, March 26th, 2008

O.K. let’s try this again….

The first Picks to Click vote wound up being a curse, as  Jason Kubel and Matt Garza were voted as the Twins player and pitcher to light it up this season.

Kubel was unable to get the pilot light going, batting .273 with 13 homers and 65 RBI. Garza didn’t even make the team out of spring training, complained about how he was being treated in the minors and, once called up, finished 5-7 with a 3.69 ERA.

That’s not exactly clicking.

What’s great about a new season is that you get another chance to get it right. 

I’m asking you to pick one position player and one pitcher you think will have a big year. We all may have different opinions of what, `big,’ is, but let’s be sure that if you select Justin Morneau, he’s got to push 40 homers and 135 RBI because he’s done the 30-100 thing a couple times. For someone like Delmon Young, 25 bombs and 115 RBI is a, `click,’ year.

Twins starters have to win at least 13 games, preferably 15. The expectations are lower for these youngsters.

The polls are open until Sunday evening and the results posted by mid-week. Have fun….

Twins Extend Nathan Through 2011 [updated at 1:40 p.m.]

Monday, March 24th, 2008

The Twins and Joe Nathan have agreed to a contract extension through 2011 that includes an option for 2012.

The deal was finalized today after Nathan’s agent, Dave Pepe, cleared up some remaining details. The terms of the contract are not known yet but check back here for updates.

[UPDATE AT 1:40 p.m.] According to a source with knowledge of negotiations, Nathan will make $47 million over four years. That’s $11.25 million a year from 2008-2011 with a $2 million buyout if the 2012 option isn’t picked up. (Don’t know if the 2012 option also is for $11.25 million or not).

Nathan also gets a limited no-trade clause – he can pick three teams he can’t be traded to. It’s the same clause that was in his previous deal.

The deal allows the Twins to keep one of the best closers in the game and potentially stabilizes their bullpens for a few more years.

The Twins have scheduled a 3:30 p.m. press conference down here in Fort Myers. Come one, come all….

Gomez wins center field job; Tolbert makes roster [UPDATED WITH LINEUPS]

Monday, March 24th, 2008

The Twins optioned four players to Class AAA Rochester this morning – Philip Humber, Denard Span, Brian Buscher and Jason Pridie.

Righthander Casey Daigle was reassigned to the minor league camp.

That means that Carlos Gomez, who’s batting .286 with a homer, 6 RBI and 10 stolen bases this spring, will be the Twins’ starting center fielder on Opening Day.

Pridie batted .295 this spring with 4 RBI and was 5 for 7 in attempted steals. He felt he did everything he could to make the club but knew going in it was going to be tough to make the club with so many outfielders in camp.

Span took the news hard. He really felt he had a good chance to make the team and believed he gave Gomez a stiff challenge for the job. He choked up a few times while he spoke with reporters.

The final cuts are never easy. For some reason, there was no music playing in the clubhouse this morning, which made things worse. Players (and the media) look around the room to see who’s packing up and then figure out when the right time is to approach the guy who’s just been cut.

Buscher being cut indicates that Matt Tolbert will make the team as an extra utility player. Who saw that one coming at the beginning of camp?

There are 29 players left in camp. Catchers Drew Butera and Eli Whiteside won’t make the team. Outfielder-first baseman Jon Knott won’t make the team. So here’s your 13 position players:

Catchers (2): Joe Mauer, Mike Redmond

Infielders (6): Justin Morneau , Brendan Harris, Adam Everett, Mike Lamb, Nick Punto, Matt Tolbert.

Outfielders (5): Delmon Young, Carlos Gomez, Michael Cuddyer, Jason Kubel, Craig Monroe.

The are 13 pitchers left in camp. Indications are that Fransisco Liriano will open the season in the minors, meaning Brian Bass will make the club.

So these are your 2008 Minnesota Twins.

Here are the lineups:

Cardinals: Shumaker, Duncan, Barton, Ankiel, Ludwick, Kennedy, Jimenez, LaRue, Izturis. Pitching: Brad Thompson.

Twins: Go-Go, Red Dog, Cuddy, Canadian Clubber, D.Y., Monroe (DH), Lamb, Harris, Tolbert. Pitching: Bassman, followed by The Big Sweat.

Minor leaguers added today: LHP Ryan Mullins, RHP  Kyle Waldrop, INF Steve Tolleson, INF Yancarlos Ortiz

Perkins Cut

Sunday, March 23rd, 2008

The Twins on Sunday optioned lefthander Glen Perkins to Class AAA Rochester.

Perkins , in 12 innings this spring, posted a 7.50 ERA. That included another shaky outing on Sunday when he got the ball up and gave up three runs to St. Louis.

Perkins had a chance to stick as a starter or a reliever but many in the organization feel he needs consistent work after pitching fewer than 30 innings last season because of a strained muscle near his shoulder.

The Twins are expected to make a bunch of cuts tomorrow. Should be an interesting day. Brian Bass looks to have made the team and Matt Tolbert appears close. This is a big day for Liriano. He has to be very impressive or the Twins will take the safe route and leave him in Florida.

The Twins also agreed to a trade with the Nationals so they can keep outfielder Garrett Guzman, who was selected by Washington in the Rule 5 draft in December. The Twins probably will get a low-level minor leaguer in the deal.

I don’t know if the Twins have a shot of getting their two other Rule 5 losses, R.A. Dickey and Tim Lahey, back. Dickey looked prime to win a roster spot with Seattle. Lahey was pitching well until lately.

Still waiting for Joe Nathan’s deal to be official. Will let you know when that happens.

Lineups

Orioles: Redman, Hernandex, Markakis, Scott, Moore, Jones, Heintz, Quiroz, Fahey. Pitching: Cabrera.

Twins:Span, Pridie (LF), Mauer, Cuddy, Monroe (DH), Lamb, Buscher, Punto, Everett. Pitching: Liriano, then Humber, Nathan and Rincon.

Twins-Cards today: Tolbert emerges as option

Saturday, March 22nd, 2008

Because no one (i.e. Brian Buscher) has stepped up in camp, Matt Tolbert has emerged as an option to make the roster.

Tolbert, Twins coaches say, is much more under control this spring than all of last year. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said he can use Tolbert off the bench as a late-inning defensive player or pinch runner. And Gardenhire plans to use Tolbert in the outfield before spring ends to make sure he can fill in out there.

Here are the lineups. It’s overcast here.

Twins: Gomez, Tolbert, Young, Morneau, Kubel, Harris, Buscher, Butera, Bonser. No DH today….

Cards: Rasmus, Ludwick, Pujols, Duncan, Glaus, Molina, Kennedy, Lohse, Izturis.