Wednesday July 30, 2003
Nice (and Smiley!) Twins Thoughts
My mom (and Thumper, and lots of others) always told me, ďIf you canít say something nice, donít say anything at all.Ē
On Monday, I ranted a lot about the Twins play this year. So, even though they lost yet again last night, I find it necessary to go through the Twins roster and say something nice about every player. So, for today, I wonít say anything negative about the Twins. About how they are playing really sloppily, or about how they just canít hit in key situations. I wonít write about how they canít seem to consistently pitch with a lead, or in a close game. I wonít talk at all about how poor they are about the fundamentals, including bunt situations (although it was nice to see that Brian Roberts thought that because his bunt attempt landed behind the plate it was automatically foul. I love seeing major leaguers not knowing the rules of the most basic of rules of the game!). I wonít write any of that negative stuff, only positives about my favorite team, the Twins, and their players.
So, here we go, something positive about the Twins players, starting with the hitters:
Michael Cuddyer - OF, 1B, 3B (maybe 2B) - He hasnít said anything bad about the way that he has been used with the Twins big club. So, thatís good!
Lew Ford - OF - Showed a great ability to work a pitcher into giving him a good pitch to hit. A good, top of the order hitter. Also, showed toughness by not whining about being injured, even though he had a crack in his arm, something the team training staff apparently didnít realize until 10 days later!
Chris Gomez - SS, 2B, 3B - A great pickup, especially considering his minor league contract, so heís cheap! Heís got good background as an everyday player, so heís been able to fill in when Guzman got benched and now, when Koskie is on the disabled list. He has also come up with some big, clutch, late-inning hits.
Cristian Guzman - SS - This isnít going to be easy. OK, he leads the team with 9 triples and with 12 stolen bases!
Denny Hocking - 3B, SS, 2B, 1B, OF - Hocking still fits his role perfectly. Can play so many positions, and play very solid defense. Good bunter!
Torii Hunter - CF - Continues to be the best non-Andruw-Jones CF in all of baseball! He leads the Twins in games played (101), Home Runs (18) and RBI (66).
Jacque Jones - LF - Leads team with 53 runs scored, 106 hits, and a .313 batting average. Plays a good left field. Numbers could be better if not for missing over 2 weeks with a groin injury. Also, excellent hosting of This Week in Baseball last weekend!
Corey Koskie - 3B - The injury bug hit him and his back again just when he was really starting to prove his value. Had a great June! He still leads the Twins in walks (47), on-base percentage (.390), and slugging percentage (.495). He has continued to get even better defensively.
Matthew LeCroy - DH, C - Has proven himself to be a very solid backup catcher. Still canít throw anyone out, but a number of pitchers have mentioned how well he calls a game. He has hit well all season, despite some inconsistent playing time.
Doug Mientkiewicz - 1B - Gardy kept talking about giving him days off to rest. Well, that just doesnít happen, and defensively, heís the best 1B in the business. Offensively, heís having a comeback season. With an average near .300, a great batterís eye and plate discipline, he is now the Twins #3 hitter. He leads the team with 29 doubles.
Dustan Mohr - OF - Arguably the major leagueís player of the month in May! (although he didnít win the award) Hustles a lot! Good 4th or 5th outfielder for any team.
Justin Morneau - DH - Top hitting prospect in all of baseball. Huge power, and a good overall hitter. Will be an All-Star for years to come in the American League. Just wasnít given consistent playing time yet.
AJ Pierzynski - C - Still hitting .280-.300. Has hit a few more homers already this season.
Alex Prieto - IF - Heís been up for over a week and has 1 at bat, and he struck out. Will probably be the Twins utility infielder next season, when Hocking is gone.
Luis Rivas - 2B - Despite the criticism, Rivas has been just fine this year. Last night, he made two great defensive plays and hit a LONG two-run homer, and later had a 2-out single to drive in another run. When he hits homers, they travel!
Todd Sears - 1B, DH - Back with the Twins now as a left-handed bat off the bench, Sears had a couple of big home runs earlier in the season. A walk-off homer versus the Royals, and a 3-run home run off Pedro Martinez.
Shannon Stewart - RF, DH, LF - Yes, he cost too much for the Twins to acquire (Bobby Kielty), but since coming to the Twins, he has hit very well. He has been a good lead off hitter, taking many pitches, taking walks and driving the ball well!
Michael Restovich - RF - Just called up and played his first game this season with the Twins last night. Went 2-4, with a double. He had 16 homers in AAA. He may strike out a lot, but if he fulfills his power potential, he could really contribute well to the Twins!
OK, there are the hitters. Well, the other Twins batter that I didnít mention is Tom Prince. But the Twins released him, and he signed a minor league contract with the Kansas City Royals.
Here are the pitchers (at least one nice thing):
James Baldwin - RP - Heís a nice guy, I guess. And, in 7 2/3 innings, his ERA is just 2.35!
Grant Balfour - RP - In 8 1/3 innings, his ERA was 3.24. But, he had 11 strikeouts. Heís starting in AAA, and if things donít get better soon, he could join the Twins rotation!
Mike Fetters - RP - Has pitched 6 innings for the Twins this year, and hasnít given up a run yet. The only negative is simply that heís been hurt most of the year.
Tony Fiore - RP - He is a good, loyal guy. Even though the Twins dropped him from the 40-man roster and he could have been a free agent, he stayed with the organization that gave him a chance last year.
Eddie Guardado - RP - He represented the Twins at the All-Star game. He has saved 24 of 27 save opportunities. His ERA is just 3.43. UmmmÖ heís left handed.
LaTroy Hawkins - RP - Hawkins has been the Twins best, most consistent pitcher all year. His record is at 8-3, and his ERA is just 2.63. Has developed a big-time 12-to-6 curveball and a change up to go with the 96 mph fastball! Those 8 wins are tied for best on the team. His 10.2 K per 9 innings is tops on the team.
Kyle Lohse - SP - As the Twins Geek told us yesterday, his ERA was 2.91 on June 15th. His strikeout rate is alright.
Joe Mays - SP/RP - This is so tough! PositiveÖ PositiveÖ HmmmÖ He had a very well pitched game at Kansas City over a month ago in a big Twins win. His 8 wins are tied for best on the team.
Michael Nakamura - RP - His stuff is far better than his major league stats showed. I think heíll be a Twins reliever who can contribute to them for some time! His funky delivery will be very deceptive!
Brad Radke - SP - Heís been healthy this year. Leads Twins with 131 2/3 innings pitched. Low walk ratio. Actually, has been pitching much better his last 3 or 4 starts.
Rick Reed - SP - he would have to average just over 8 innings in his remaining starts to have his contract picked up for next season. So, the Twins wonít have to pay him $8 million for next year! (thatís more of a positive for Twins fans, than for Rick Reed) He has had a few good starts. His 4.81 ERA is best among the original five starting pitchers.
Juan Rincon - RP - Rincon had a small stretch where he couldnít throw strikes and gave up hits. But, for the most of part, he has been a very solid relief pitcher this season. Surprising because he struggled as a starter in AAA this season. Donít be surprised to see him get a shot in the starting rotation at some point in the future.
Kenny Rogers - SP - We knew that he wouldnít be a dominant starting pitcher, just a 3rd or 4th pitcher. From looking at just the original starting rotation, Rogers has been the most consistent. His 8 wins are tied for best on the team.
JC Romero - RP - Well, his record is 2-0.
Johan Santana - RP/SP - Did a great job out of the bullpen. Great in his first stint as a starter (2-0, 1.00 ERA in 3 starts). Has had a couple of sub-par starts (for him) of late, but certainly is the Twins best pitcher. His strikeout rate of 9.78 K per nine innings leads the rotation.
See nowÖ I can be positive!! Itís not as easy as youíd think when discussing the 2003 Twins. Some players are real easy to come up with a few positives. Other players, itís quite difficult!! What do you think? E-mail me your thoughts!
TRANSACTION UPDATE -
As Iíve mentioned before, I love reading the Transactions page on espn.com. I check it out multiple times throughout the day, even more around the trade deadlines. Hereís what I saw last night.
The White Sox made another deal to improve there teamÖ
Acquired pitchers Scott Schoeneweis and Doug Nickle from the Anaheim Angels for pitchers Gary Glover, Scott Dunn and Tim Bittner
Seth Analysis - The White Sox get another left-handed reliever. Heíll be able to set up with Kelly Wunsch and Damaso Marte, giving them three very good left-handed options in the Ďpen. Gary Glover isnít worth worrying about and wouldnít help the Sox this year anyway. Schoeneweis isnít a great pitcher, but he can contribute.
The Royals also made a move, which, at first, may seem minute, butÖ
Designated infielder Gookie Dawkins for assignment.
Seth Analysis - Notice that they sent Dawkins down to the minors, without calling anyone up. Does this mean that they are about to make a move? Peter Gammons is saying that the Royals are about to trade for Cincinattiís Jose Guillen. Could this be the move to set it up? That would be a great bat to add to the Royals lineup. Guillen has finally put all of his tools together and is having an incredible season for the Reds.
The Mariners made a move.
Acquired infielder Rey Sanchez from the New York Mets for outfielder Kenny Kelly.
Seth Analysis - The Mariners get a good backup middle infielder. He wonít play ahead of Carlos Guillen (although Guillen has missed a lot of time this month with a groin injury) or Bret Boone, but can spell them from time to time with good defense. The Mariners really need a third baseman, so another option would be to move Guillen to 3B, and play Sanchez at SS. Secondly, Kenny Kelly, the former University of Miami quarterback may get a chance for some big league playing time. He did have one at bat for the Devil Rays in 2000! Heís an athletic CF who may get a chance to see what he can do later this season.
The Reds are busy. As you can see above, they will probably trade RF Jose Guillen. Aaron Boone wants out, especially after the club fired his dad! (Maybe he can go to Seattle and play on the same infield as brother Bret!) They could make 4 or 5 deals in the next 2 days. Hereís one from yesterday:
Traded pitcher Phil Dumatrait, a player to be named and cash for pitcher Scott Williamson.
Seth Analysis - The Red Sox added a closer to a bullpen that has changed drastically since the beginning of the season. Now, the Sox have some options. They could have a bullpen with Williamson or Byung-Hyun Kim closing, and Todd Jones and Scott Sauerbeck in relief. They could chose to again move Kim into the starting rotation. This is a great trade for the Sox. Theo Epstein is making some great deals!
But, for every deal the Red Sox make, the Yankees have to counter, and Brian Cashman made another good one last night! This one was with the Arizona Diamondbacks, and has been expected:
Diamondbacks acquired outfielder Raul Mondesi and cash from the New York Yankees for outfielder David Dellucci, pitcher Bret Prinz and catcher Jon-Mark Sprowl.
Seth Analysis - The Yankees have been trying to deal Mondesi for awhile now. They were willing to do about anything to get rid of him. So, to be able to get a good 4th outfielder in Dellucci, a hard-throwing reliever in Prinz and a third player is great! From the D-Backs perspective, they get a solid rightfielder who can compliment their lineup well!
The Yankees made a second move this one with the Houston Astros:
Acquired pitcher Dan Miceli from the New York Yankees for a player to be named or cash considerations.
The Yankees traded for Miceli from the Indians (with Karim Garcia) less than a month ago. He actually pitched well for them out of the bullpen, but for some reason the Yankees (and their weak bullpen) dropped him. Fortunately, they will get something in return for him! I think this is a great move for the Astros!
And what did the Twins do? Do you want to say it with me? They ďstood patĒ.
Check back tomorrow and Iíll analyze more trades. Odds are, there will be some really good ones worth discussing!
If you have any thoughts on these transactions or anything written today or anything in general, please send me an e-mail and Iíll get back to you!
Have a great Wednesday!
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