Thursday July 22, 2004
TWINS TOPPLE TAMPA
TWINS MINOR LEAGUE REPORTS
BLOG SPOTTING - Wait Til Next Year's Prospect Update (where do the Twins rank?)
A BOON(E) FOR THE TWINS
Another relatively short entry today. There is just one topic I really want to bring up. I received my daily ATM Report from Lee Sinnis yesterday afternoon and when I got to #11, I have to admit my brain started racing. Here is what it said:
According to ESPN's Peter Gammons, if the Mariners can't find a taker for 2B Bret Boone, they might just release him.
OK, am I the only one who finds this a little bit interesting?
First, if anyone knows what's going on as the trade deadline approaches, it is Peter Gammons.
Second, the Mariners have already traded Freddy Garcia and Rich Aurilia (after releasing him) and flat-out released John Olerud. Clearly they are going a different direction and are in rebuilding mode. There are rumors of Eddie Guardado going to the Cubs. Twins fans keep hearing Dan Wilson's name as a possible catching option for the Twins. Pretty much everyone but Ichiro could probably be had at this point. I know that the Mariners are making efforts to trade Bret Boone.
Third, Bret Boone is having a bad season. He is currently hitting .242/.301/.406 with 16 doubles and 13 home runs. That's not good at all. But as we know, Boone has been one of the better offensive second basemen in the game the last four years or more. He also is a Gold-Glove caliber defender.
Fourth, I have talked a lot lately about how I want to see the Twins go with an infield of Terry Tiffee at 3B, Jason Bartlett at SS, Michael Cuddyer at 2B and Justin Morneau at 1B. That team will cost about $1.3 million and be as productive as the current four infielders, who would make over $18 million next season. The cost savings could be used to pay Boone's contract for 2005. I would move Cuddyer in to 3B (with Tiffee coming off the bench or in AAA).
Fifth, Bret Boone would be around for the rest of this season, but also has $8 million left on his contract for next year (he also has an option of $9 million for 2006 which vests with 450 plate appearances in 2004... note, he's already at about 365, so it is likely). I think that is a fair amount if he puts up numbers like he did in 2001 or 2003. In the last three years, he has averaged 32 homers and 122 RBI. He has shown signs of life of late as well. In his last five games, he is 9-24 with four doubles and two homers.
Sixth, the Twins need a bat, right? Clearly there would be risk in this trade from the Twins perspective. Boone has missed time this season with back spasms and a hip injury. In both cases, he just missed a couple of games. Neither of these injuries have recurred since May. Will Boone stay down this year, or will playing for a competitive team get his energy up and push him toward a solid last two months?
Seventh, if the Mariners are indeed willing to just release him and eat the remainder of his contract, Boone could come cheaply. What if the Twins offered them Luis Rivas, Michael Restovich and Adam Johnson? (or less) The Twins could ask that the M's pay Boone's 2004 salary. The Twins could pay the remainder of the Rivas 2004 salary. (this is what happened in the Shannon Stewart trade. The Blue Jays paid the rest of Stewart's contract and the Twins paid Kielty.) The Mariners would still get out from paying Boone in 2005, so big picture, they save money.
Look at this possible 2005 Twins lineup if they were to make this deal:
LF Shannon Stewart
RF Lew Ford
C Joe Mauer
2B Bret Boone
1B Justin Morneau
CF Torii Hunter CF
3B Michael Cuddyer/Terry Tiffee
DH Matthew LeCroy
SS Jason Bartlett/Nick Punto
That's a lineup that would be fun to watch! That is a lineup that can put up some runs 1-9. That is a lineup where they could get double-digit home run power from no less than 8 of them. They could get 20 or more from up to five of them. They could even get 30 homers from two or three of them.
Stewart, Hunter and Boone would make about $22 million while the other six starters would make a total under $2 million. In other words, Terry Ryan could spend about $30 million on his pitching staff before approaching Carl Pohlad's self-inflicted salary cap. When you consider that Joe Nathan is already locked up for about $1.5 million next year, Juan Rincon and Grant Balfour aren't arbitration-eligible and Jesse Crain, JD Durbin and Scott Baker could all be producing at minimum cost. The team could/should afford to make Johan Santana and his agent very happy. The Twins could spend some money to keep Brad Radke (although, I wouldn't pay him more than $5 million per for three years). In other words, the Twins could still be players in the free agent market, making the possibilities more plentiful.
Finally, I won't hate the Booney Bat Flip as much if he is a member of the Twins!
Any thoughts? Is Bret Boone someone the Twins should go after? E-mail me.
If you have any other thoughts, questions, or comments, or ideas for future postings or research, please e-mail me.
TWINS TOPPLE TAMPA
Twins 12, Devil Rays 2
The Twins have not had a game like this for awhile. They needed it. They needed a fun game where everyone was able to contribute. It was more than just Lew Ford and Justin Morneau as it has been of late, although those two players did well too. All nine Twins starters got at least one hit. The team had 17 hits or which 8 went for extra bases.
Things started out very ominously though. With Brad Radke on the mound, his first pitch landed in the left field bleachers, just inches beyond the reach of Lew Ford. In the 2nd inning, Robert Fick blooped a single to center to score Tino Martinez and give the Rays a 2-0 lead. In the bottom of the 3rd, the Twins got help from an unlikely source. Henry Blanco, who has not had a hit in like 3 months (note: slight hyperbole), drilled a solo homer to deep left-centerfield to cut the Rays lead in half. But it was the 4th inning when the Twins really got to John Halama and took control of the game. Lew Ford led things off with another hustle-double. Justin Morneau then slapped a two-strike single to left field to score Ford. After Michael Cuddyer was intentionally walked, Henry Blanco stepped to the plate again. He hit a hard grounder up the middle for a two-run single. It is a game of inches. If Blanco hits that pitch just a split-second later or earlier, it could have been a double-play. The Twins then got another surprise boost when Luis Rivas drilled a three-run shot to left-center. After a Ford single and a Morneau double to right, Torii Hunter singled in Ford to give the Twins a 9-2 lead. Ford hit his 12 homer of the season in the 6th inning. It was a line drive that just kept going. In the 7th Shannon Stewart singled in Michael Cuddyer, who had earlier singled. Then Nick Punto hit a fielder's choice that scored Rivas. That ended the scoring for the Twins.
It was plenty of run support for Brad Radke. Radke went 7 innings and gave up just the two runs on six hits (no walks). He struck out four. Joe Roa and Aaron Fultz each pitched a scoreless inning of relief to close the game.
There were a lot of hitting stars for the Twins. Justin Morneau was 3-5 with a RBI. Actually, the two times he got out were probably the two hardest balls he hit all game. Henry Blanco was 3-4 with a HR and 3 RBI. Luis Rivas was 2-4 with the three run homer. Lew Ford was 2-4 with his 23rd double and 12 home run. Shannon Stewart was 2-4 with two doubles. Michael Cuddyer was 2-4 with a walk.
Overall, just a great game for the Twins. Hopefully it is a little bit of a pick-me-up. We will find out this afternoon when Johan Santana and the Twins take on Dewon Brazelton and the Devil Rays. Here are their stats this season:
Thursday - 12:10 - Johan Santana (8-6, 3.55, 1.04, .233) vs Dewon Brazelton (2-3, 3.27, 1.43, .238)
Any thoughts on the Twins? Do you still think they should make a trade? Is Kris Benson the guy?? E-mail me.
TWINS MINOR LEAGUE REPORT
Redwings 1, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre 6 - Well, the big news was the AAA debut of Scott Baker, but it didn't go as well as hoped. He did throw 0's on the scoreboard the first two innings. However, in five innings, he gave up six earned runs on nine hits (no walks and no strikeouts). He gave up two homers, one of them to Shawn Wooten. Joe Beimel came in to pitch the final three innings. He didn't give up a run. Josh Rabe was about the only bright spot for the Redwings offense. Hitting in the 3rd hole (Jason Kubel did not play), Rabe was 2-3 with a double, a walk and an RBI.
NEW BRITAIN ROCKCATS
2B Luis Maza - .318/.356/.453, 20 - 2B, 6 - 3B, 9 HR, 45 RBI, 5 SB
OF Kevin West - .294/.347/.550, 30 - 2B, 20 HR, 78 RBI
1B Garrett Jones - .284/.317/.536, 21 - 2B, 16 HR, 51 RBI, 8 SB
Rockcats 11 Harrisburg 9 - After scoring 12 runs on Tuesday, the Rockcats got 11 last night. They needed them as the starting pitcher, Jon Pridie, had a rough outing. In 3 2/3 innings, he gave up 8 earned rns on 8 hits and 2 walks. Victor Moreno came in and improved to 5-2 by pitching 2 1/3 innings of one-hit, one-run ball. Travis Bowyer was incredible again. He picked up his 2nd save with three one-hit, scoreless innings. Offense wasn't a problem as New Britain got contributions from all over. SS Tommy Watkins went 3-4. Kevin West was 2-3 with a double, a home and 3 RBI. Garrett Jones was 2-4 with a double and a HR and 4 RBI. His homer was a first inning Grand Slam. Luis Maza was 2-4 with a double, walk and RBI. James Tomlin was also 2-4 with a walk. Matt Scanlon was just 1-4 but hit his 5th homer.
FT. MYERS MIRACLE
Game 1 - Miracle 3, St. Lucie (7) - Because of a Tuesday rainout, the Miracle were scheduled for two games. In the first, the Miracle got a miracle and won a game in which they had just three hits. Jose Morales had a double. Danny Matienzo and Doug Deeds each had RBI singles. Jeff Randazzo improved to 5-9 with 5 2/3 innings. He gave up two unearned runs on five hits and five walks. He struck out three. Pat Neshek got his first save with 1 1/3 innings of perfect ball, with 3 strikeouts.
Game 2 - Miracle 3, St. Lucie 4 (8) - In the second game, the Miracle actually doubled their hit total to six, but it wasn't enough to get the day's sweep. Ron Perodin went 2-3 and was hit by a pitch. Jesus Merchan was 2-3. On the mound, it was a bullpen by committee start. Levale Speigner started and didn't allow a run in 2 2/3 innings. He gave up four hits, walked two and struck out five. Ricky Barrett gave up two earned runs despite not giving up a hit in 2 1/3 innings. He did walk three and struck out three. Jannio Gutierrez gave up two runs (1 ER) in 2 2/3 innings. He gave up five hits (no walks) and struck out four.
SWING OF THE QUAD CITIES
Swing 10, Peoria 6 - Quad Cities had to use a number of relievers to get through their game last night too. TJ Prunty started and went three innings. He gave up three runs on six hits and two walks. He also hit two batters. Tristan Crawford got the win with 2 2/3 innings of one run ball. Jay Sawatski (Twins 8th round pick this year) was called up from Elizabethton (as was first round pick Glen Perkins) and pitched two innings. He gave up two unearned runs on two walks. He struck out three. Another newby, Matthew Hines gave up three hits and walked none in 1/3 of an inning. I don't know how it is possible, but he did not give up a run. Eric Brandon earned his 5th save with a perfect ninth inning.
E-Twins 5, Johnson City 12 - The E-Twins got some runs, but the pitching staff just didn't have it. David Shinskie gave up six runs on six hits and three walks in 2 1/3 innings. John Williams came in and in 2 innings, he gave up five runs (2 earned) on four hits and a walk. Javier Martinez came in gave up just one run in 3 2/3 innings. He struck out five. Jeff Mousser pitched a scoreless 9th.
Bryan over at Wait Til Next Year has developed a mid-season prospect list. Everyone makes their own preseason lists of prospects, but Bryan has updated his. I love minor league information and love these lists. Be sure to check out his Top 100 list starting here. He also gives a brief description of each player.
Here is where he ranks Twins prospects:
#35 Jason Kubel
Think Jeremy Reed 2003, without the plate discipline. Instead, Kubel has fantastic contact skills that led to a .377 average in the Eastern League before being promoted to AAA. Being an outfielder in the Twins’ organization is a death penalty, but Kubel’s 41 extra-base hits gives Terry Ryan one great piece of trade bait. This is another player on the list I forecast will drop by year’s end, but for now, I gotta give the kid his due
#40 - Jesse Crain
Relief prospects are generally overrated, but Crain deserves the hype he’s gotten. After rising through three levels last season, Crain has had a home in Rochester this year, appearing in 33 games as the Red Wings’ closer. But, Crain should be preparing for a move, as the Twins could no doubt use some help in the bullpen towards the end of the year. Crain might not be the immediate closer, but setting up Joe Nathan will be a wonderful way to start what will likely be a great career.
#77 - Scott Baker
The reason I love Baseball America? It’s the source where I find guys like Scott Baker, who recently struck out 12 batters in a game, and has given up a ridiculously low 44 hits in 70.1 innings in AA. His peripherals are the type that get turned into a reliever, especially the low average against that Kevin Goldstein recently cited. But, even if Baker ends up being Jesse Crain’s set-up man, the Twins succeeded.
#89 - JD Durbin
Again, injuries have stalled Durbin’s development, but he remains on the Twins’ blueprint more than any other Twins hurler, including Jesse Crain. Durbin has very solid numbers across the board in the Eastern League, and looks ready to become a Rochester Red Wing. The Twins need starting pitching like the Texas Rangers do, so there is nothing to indicate that Durbin won’t get his chance in the Twin Cities. And sometimes, opportunity is half the battle.
Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, Lew Ford and Michael Cuddyer have graduated from being eligible from this list. I think Bryan did a pretty good job. There are a bunch that I would have had higher or lower, but that's all debatable. I would have Robinson Cano rated much higher than 56. I would now have Scott Baker higher than 77. But, these kinds of lists are fun.
And on that note, I am going to call it a day! Have yourself a good one! As always, if you have any questions or comments on anything, please e-mail me.
Back to Archives Home