Monday, January 25, 2010
Monday Morning Update
It was kind of a Vikings Centric weekend, wasnít it? And for good reason, the Vikings havenít been to a Super Bowl since I was 2. Vikings versus Saints is what we have been waiting for since about Week 7. And, although Iím not a Vikings fanatic, I am a huge Vikings fan and I donít think I missed a game all season. I know football. I get Xs and Os. So, Iím just going to go through some of my thoughts on the game:
∑ The Vikings pretty much dominated the game in all facets. Offensively, the Vikings nearly doubled the Saints in yardage. That is a credit to the Vikings offense because they ran and passed up and down the field. Itís also a credit to the Vikings defense which held the vaunted Saints offense in check most of the game.
∑ However, fumbles and the two interceptions are the difference in the game. The fact that two of the fumbles happened inside the ten yard line were devastating.
∑ Turnovers are what lost that game for the Vikings. It never should have got to overtime. Yes, there were a couple of questionable calls in the overtime. The pass interference sure looked obvious in live action, but upon further, slow motion review, became questionable. And whether or not it was catchable is up for debate. On the Pierre Thomas 4th down leap, my initial take was that he was well beyond the spot needed for the first down, and far enough that even when the ball was jarred slightly, he was still past the spot. In my mind, it was like many spots, itís a best guest by the referee and there are no camera angles with 100% accuracy. Itís not like a catch or a fumble.
∑ Adrian Peterson is incredibly talented, but the fumbles are ridiculous. I fully tout the Chester-Taylor-needs-to-play-more, but I also think that APís big play ability means that you just have to live with the fumbles.
∑ Brett Favre had an impressive game. With the exception of the two interceptions, he was terrific. He was beaten up, rushed, hit so often, it was really remarkable what he was able to do.
∑ Unfortunately, the Vikings defensive line was unable to do anything similar. Drew Brees had plenty of time. Which again speaks to how impressive the Vikings defense was. The linebackers and defensive backs got the job done.
∑ Finally, Brad Childress deserves some of the credit for the excellent Vikings season. Talk of him being fired (from the fans only, Iím sure) is absolutely ridiculous. As with baseball managers, head coaches get way too much credit for wins and way too much blame for losses. Is he perfect? Is any coach?
∑ Now we wait two weeks and we get a Colts/Saints Super Bowl, which should be a great game. I would love for the Vikings to be in it, but at least there is a matchup that will make me actually want to watch the game as well as the commercials.
∑ General Larry Platt, who gained lots of attention for being the 62 year old who went on American Idol and sang ďPants on the Ground,Ē was brought to New Orleans (allegedly on Bryant McKinneyís dime) to perform for the Vikings on Sunday morning. Here is the video that Bernard Berrian took, and here are some new lyrics (courtesy of me):
ďPants on the Ground,
Saints pulled them down,
Looking like some fools,
Put the ball on the ground.Ē
Alright, letís talk Twins a little bit:
BIG NAMES or BIG IMPACT PLAYERS
On Friday, a couple of big names were found in some headlines. First came news that the Baltimore Orioles had signed Miguel Tejada to be their 3B for 2010. He signed a one year contract worth $6 million, plus an incentive package. Secondly, the Twins and White Sox appear to be the two teams vying for the 2010 services of my homie, Jim Thome. My thoughts?
∑ I generally have a belief that signing free agents that are older than me is crazy. Both are older than me.
∑ I fully believe that a team should pay a player for what they believe he will do, not for what he has done in his career. Thome has hit well over 550 home runs. He has hit over 30 home runs twelve times in his career. But what will he do in 2010, and what is that worth?
∑ Tejada will be switching positions. I think he will be just fine at 3B and he has played there in the winters in the Dominican and in the WBC. He actually hit .313 last year with an NL-leading 46 doubles. Is he the #2 hitter that the Twins need? No. He, like JJ Hardy, is probably a #7 hitter.
∑ Jim Thome is a DH. Maybe he could play a game or two a month at 1B. But he is not as good as Jason Kubel. So the question would become, do you want Thome at DH and Kubel in LF, or do you want Kubel at DH and Delmon Young in LF? I guess, for me, Iíll take my chances with the 23 year old with every day playing time.
∑ That said, if Jim Thome is OK with being the DH twice a week and pinch hitting duties, and the contract would be $2 million or less, he would be a very good acquisition. Why? Right now, the Twins bench looks like Tolbert, Casilla, Pridie and Butera. A Thome-like bat would be good.
∑ I still prefer Rocco Baldelli, and would be fine with even Eric Byrnes.
∑ There are no Ďimpactí free agents out there anymore. The closest to impact players are Felipe Lopez and Orlando Hudson. They probably arenít impact players, but they could have a strong impact on the Twins since they can play 2B and bat second.
SPECIAL TWINS FEST PODCAST
Iím pretty excited about Tuesday nightís SethSpeaks.net Weekly Minnesota Twins Podcast. With Twins Fest coming up this coming weekend, I thought it would be fun to invite several Twins and Twins prospects who will be in attendance at Twins Fest to call in to the show. Well, in doing so, the response was very good. So, the show will now be two hours instead of just one. It will start at 8:00 central time and go until 10:00. Guests will include John Sickels (from MinorLeagueBall.com), Twins Prospects (Joe Benson, Kyle Gibson and Carlos Gutierrez), and Twins players (Pat Neshek, Jeff Manship and Denard Span). Thatís right, seven guests will be on in the two hours with the possibility of a couple more as well. I should mention that Manship and Span will be on the Twins Winter Caravan on Tuesday. They will be in Sioux Falls, SD, for a program that night. They will call in to the show if the program and autograph signings are complete. I havenít done a two hour show before, but I think that there will be plenty of guests, and if there is time, we will talk Twins topics too.
By the way, I will also be a guest on Travis Talks Minnesota Sports podcast tonight (Monday) which starts at 9. His first guest will be Gonzo from The Daily Norseman, a Vikings blog. I will come on in the second half of the show to talk Twins. In future weeks, heíll start talking more about the minor leagues and also has guests lined up from other AL Central bloggers.
2010 Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook Update
I mentioned this on Friday, but I do want to invite those of you who are interested in the 2010 Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook and would like updates to e-mail me. The book should go to the publisher today. I should receive the review copy within two weeks and assuming all looks alright, it should be available very soon after that. I hope to have a cover picture posted here soon. Like I wrote on Friday, I am pretty excited about how it has turned out. For more information, please scroll down for a longer update, and again, feel free to e-mail me to be included in e-mail updates. †
Here are a few more links for you today:
∑ While there, you should also check out Rogerís Weekly Twins Minor League Update.
∑ Josh Johnson posted his selection for Twins Prospect #27.
If you have any questions or comments, click here. †
SethSpeaks.net Live Twins Chat Today at Noon!
I havenít had a live chat for quite awhile, so today at noon I will take your questions on the Twins, Vikings, anything. Click here to get a reminder for the chat, participate in the chat or read the transcript later.
Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook Ė 2010 Updates
Last year, the Prospect Handbook was available on Thanksgiving. Right now, we are hoping that the 2010 handbook will be available within the next three weeks. I was really happy with the 2009 version, but as I was telling a friend about some of the differences in the 2010 version, I was getting pretty excited and proud of what it is. First, from a pure writing standpoint, the editing and suggestions of Jonathan Mayo and Kevin Czerwinski has been so helpful. There is more information in each playerís heading, so the information in the profiles contains more statistical splits and in-depth numbers, but I also got scouting reports from a variety of sources in, around and outside the Twins organization. There are about 150 Twins minor league player profiles. There are also several stories/articles. Iím excited about them because there are quotes from a lot of Twins minor leaguers. For instance, Tom Stuifbergen talks about pitching against the Dominican Republic in the WBC. Trevor Plouffe discusses winning the gold medal at the World Cup tournament in Europe. Danny Valencia talks about being on the cusp of being a big leaguer. Derek McCallum discusses being drafted by his home town team, twice. And several other Twins minor leaguers were quoted too. It will again include my updated Top 30 Twins prospects for 2010, but also review the previous five years. It includes top ten Twins prospect lists from several minor league experts as well as several of your favorite Twins bloggers. If you are at all interested in purchasing a book, or more information about the book, please send me an e-mail and let me know that you are OK with me sending you updates on the book, eventually letting you know (first) how and where to order as soon as we are ready to announces that.
The New TwinsCentric Project
The TwinsCentric brand started up in early July with the Trade Deadline Primer. It continued with the Offseason GM Handbook which was made available within hours of the completion of the Twins season. If you want much more information on the newest TwinsCentric Project, one which is already available for pre-order. First, check out Nickís Twins Blog for an excellent description of what the project is and what you can expect from it. Then click here and be sure to pre-order your copy today!