Tuesday, August 26, 2008
More on Eddie and
Monday Game Notes
(The Word Press page for this article can be found here)
Well, it was a very interesting day for the Twins and their fans. I heard of the Twins acquisition of Eddie Guardado approximately thirty minutes before I first saw it in print or heard it on the radio. I saw that I did post it here before any of the others, but only by about ten minutes. So that was kind of fun. But here are just some further thoughts on the trade, first from the perspective of each player:
Eddie Guardado has pitched 49.1 innings in 55 games so far this season with the Rangers. He went 3-3 with a 3.65 ERA. He also had four saves. Most of the season, he was a set up man for Rangers closer CJ Wilson, but when Wilson had surgery and was lost for the season recently, Guardado took over closer duties. As we have seen, the 37 year old southpaw doesn't throw very hard anymore. He may top out at 85 mph. Then again, he never was a flame thrower, hitting maybe 91 on the radar gun at times. He has always been able to get by on guts and determination more than stuff. He did have Tommy John surgery last year, but he clearly has come back from that. Guardado spent part of 1993 through 2003 with the Twins. He took over as the closer in the second half of the 2001 season. In 2001 and 2002, he combined for 86 saves. So what will his role with the Twins be? Well, obviously I don't know, but I have a feeling. Clearly he isn't taking over the closer's role! That's Joe Nathan's. But the fact that Guardado has been a late inning guy much of his relieving career, I think he can be the Twins 8th inning guy. He can get lefties out (they are hitting just .172/.236/.297 this year), but he can also get right-handed batters out (they are hitting .228/.282/.376 this year). But I really see him just adding another option for Ron Gardenhire to use. Think of it like this maybe... he can use Guardado and Guerrier in the 8th inning, Crain and Reyes in the 7th inning and Breslow and Bonser in the 6th inning. Having options is really most important. The thing I really like about Guardado is the mental side of his game. He's been around a long time. He's pitched in a lot of big games. He won't be scared or intimidated by any situation. And something I think is vital for any reliever, if he does have a bad game, you know he won't carry it into the next game.
To make room for Guardado, the Twins Designated Mike Lamb for Assignment. That means that they will likely eat the rest of his 2008 contract and likely all of his $3.0 million for 2009. It would be hypocritical of me to bash the Lamb signing now. Why? Because when the Twins announced the signing, I really liked it. Although he had never been an every day player, he had played 125, 126 and 124 games the previous three years. He had double-digit homers, plenty of doubles and had taken some walks. The Twins had a need at 3B (we didn't know that Buscher would be solid, as he has been). The deal was for two years and about $6.2 million. That would give the Twins time to determine who their 3B of the future would be, probably Danny Valencia. I still believe that the deal made sense. Unfortunately, Lamb just did not responded with production. An OPS of about .600 just doesn't cut it, especially when his defense was sub-par too. I can't imagine a team claiming him and taking on the contract, so the Twins will eat the contract. I definitely think that someone will sign Lamb as a pinch hitter down the stretch. He is a veteran, professional, left-handed hitter with playoff experience. He is also, from all accounts, a great clubhouse guy and good teammate. Once he becomes a free agent, I can see a team in the playoff hunt taking a flyer on Lamb. I can also see Lamb just sitting out the rest of this season and considering his future.
Finally, in order to acquire Guardado, the Twins did have to give something up. According to LaVelle, the Rangers were asking for the likes of Jeff Manship, Anthony Swarzak and Brian Duensing at the trade deadline. Bill Smith was wise to just say no. Two months of Eddie G is not worth that much. However, Guardado could be a very important cog for the Twins in 2008, so the Twins did have to give up something. That 'something' ended up being Mark Hamburger. As you can imagine, the ridiculous jokes of "Twins Acquire Guardado for a Hamburger" started right away. Sure, Hamburger was a reliever in the Appalachian League, and he is just 1-2 with a 4.17 ERA and a 1.33 WHIP. But remember that the lower levels of the minor leagues are more about development than statistics. Some important numbers to note are 13, 40, 36.2 and 96. In 36.2 innings this year, he has walked just 13 and struck out 40. Also important is the fact that when he pitched for the E-Twins on Sunday night, he was regularly touching 96 mph on the radar gun. Hamburger is a local kid, born in St. Paul and went to high school at Mounds View. He then went to Mesabi Range Community College for a year. Then last June, he went to a tryout camp and the Twins signed him that day. So again, he probably has thrown limited innings since he played high school ball in Minnesota and at a small community college in Northern Minnesota. That is why, in my mind, 96 mph might just be the starting point as he gets stronger and pitches more. His 13 saves leads the Appalachian League this year. Because of the lack of pitching prospects in the Rangers system, I think Hamburger has a chance to advance through the system fairly quickly. Hamburger, along with the trade, gets a promotion to the Midwest League. He will report today to the Clinton team.
For an absolutely tremendous look at Mark Hamburger, today's Newberg Report contains a lot of great information. You will definitely want to read it!
Secondly, let's take a look at the trade from the perspective of the two teams:
Minnesota Twins - For the Twins, Guardado was a guy that just makes sense. They need another veteran bullpen arm to help bridge the gap to Joe Nathan. They also, as a small market team, have to go into every deal thinking not only about today and this year, but of the future. They were able to acquire Guardado for a relief pitcher who was still five levels from the Major Leagues. The Twins have put themselves in a position to compete for a playoff spot in 2008. It would be a shame not to go for it.
Texas Rangers - The Rangers aren't going to make the playoffs this year. Guardado was only signed for this year. It would be silly of them to not get what they can for Guardado at this time of the season. Rangers President Nolan Ryan has said that the organization needs more pitching prospects. For a guy they would have controlled for only another six weeks, they got a 21 year old pitcher who hasn't thrown a whole lot or received a lot of professional coaching in his life and already throws 96 mph with decent control. LaVelle pointed out that someone with the Twins told him that he believes Hamburger has a good chance to pitch in the Major Leagues. Yes, there are no certainties with prospects, but I think Hamburger is worth giving a shot. The Rangers need as many arms as they can get.
I actually think this is a good trade for both teams. It is a situation where everyone wins. Of course, we don't know how Eddie Guardado will perform for the Twins over the remainder of the season. We don't know if he will be the key piece to getting the Twins to the playoffs. But as of today, this is a trade that makes a lot of sense for the Twins. Their biggest need was another bullpen arm, and Eddie gives them that. For the Rangers, they should be trading off some veterans. Clearly they have a little ways to go before they can compete with the Angels. They should learn from the A's on how to build by trading. But getting Mark Hamburger is a good thing for that organization.
One other note that I have to make... the Twins were able to pick up a bullpen arm for a playoff push for a guy that they signed last June out of a tryout camp. Think about that for a moment. I think that speaks volumes for the Twins scouts. Obviously as someone who follows the Twins and their minor league system so closely, this is an interesting trade for me. This is about the level of prospect I would have given up for Guardado to say that it was a good deal for both teams.
And now... we shall see how it turns out. For the Twins it is about 2008. For the Rangers, it is about 2011, 2012, and however long Hamburger remains in their system. But for today, I think we can all be happy.
What are your thoughts on the deal?
TWINS 2, MARINERS 4 (11 Innings)
According to Yahoo! Sports Jeff Passan, the Twins pitchers are a bunch of Control Freaks! Agreed.
Francisco Liriano did his job. He pitched the first six innings and gave up just one run. He gave up five hits, walked one and struck out three. 68 of his 95 pitches were strikes.
Matt Guerrier was called upon to pitch the 7th inning. He did his job. He pitched a perfect inning.
Eddie Guardado came in for the 8th inning, and he did his job. He threw 11 pitches and nine of them were strikes. He got three lazy pop ups in the inning.
Joe Nathan came in with a 2-1 lead for the bottom of the 9th inning, and he did NOT do his job. He left a fat pitch over the middle of the plate for Adrian Beltre to lead off with a double. Jose Lopez had a long at bat that resulted in an error on Nick Punto meaning runners on first and third. Jeff Clement grounded into a double play, but the tying run scored. Let me say this... if everyone else does their job and gets Joe Nathan the ball with a lead, I'm not too worried, regardless of the results of this game.
Jesse Crain came in for the 10th frame. He did his job. He struck out the first two batters and got Ichiro to ground out to shortstop to end the inning. Well, at least he did his job for one inning. As has been the case most of this year, Crain has been good in one inning stints, but whenever Gardy asks him to go beyond one inning, he gets hit. After walking Raul Ibanez, Adrian Beltre hit a long home run to end the game in the 11th inning.
Delmon Young had a very good game. He went 2-3 with a walk and an eighth inning single that drove in Joe Mauer to give the Twins a 2-1 lead.
This one hurts. Obviously teams like Seattle will beat teams like the Twins. They're spoilers. That's what they do. But this one hurts because the goat of the game is Joe Nathan, which never happens. And in the end, I know that Nathan gets the job done most of the time, so given more chances the rest of the season, he will be fine. Just one game, right?
This is short... I must sleep so I can stay up again on Tuesday night.
Any other thoughts on the Twins?
Twins Minor League Updates
Monday SethSpeaks Player of the Day – Rene Tosoni, GCL Twins
Monday SethSpeaks Pitcher of the Day – Anthony Swarzak, New Britain Rockcats
Monday – Rochester7, Syracuse 1 – If someone can explain what happened to Anthony Swarzak when he was promoted from New Britain (where he was 3-8 with a 5.67 ERA in 20 starts), please let me know. In this game, he went eight innings and gave up just one run. He allowed seven hits, walked two and struck out six to improve to 5-0 and drop his ERA to 1.89. Tim Lahey pitched a scoreless ninth. Pretty much everyone contributed to the offense. Jason Pridie was 3-5 with his 19th double. Alejandro Machado was 3-5. Bobby Kielty was 2-3 with two walks. Howie Clark went 2-5 with his 16th double. Jeff Christy was 2-4 with his sixth double. Luke Hughes went 2-5.
NEW BRITAIN NEWS
Monday – New Britain 5, Portland 5 – Danny Valencia has certainly found his power stroke in the last couple of weeks. Last night, he hit his eighth home run at a great time. Down 5-4 in the 8th inning, Valencia hit a two run homer that proved to be the difference in this game. It was his only hit and provided two of his three RBI. Matt Tolbert went 2-5. The Rockcats bats scored four runs (3 earned) off of Clay Buchholz who went the first seven innings. Ryan Mullins started and went the first five innings. He gave up four runs (3 earned) on eight hits. He walked none and struck out four. Zach Ward pitched the next two innings, gave up only an unearned run, and recorded his fifth win. Rob Delaney was perfect threw two innings for his fourth save.
FT MYERS MEMOS
Monday – Miracle 3, Clearwater 2 – For the first time in a while, Deolis Guerra picked up a win. He improved to 11-8 with six solid innings. He gave up one run on three hits. He walked three and struck out six. David Shinskie threw a scoreless inning. Carlos Gutierrez gave up an unearned run in the eighth. Then Anthony Slama picked up his 25th save of the year with a two strikeout ninth. Garrett Olson led the offense by going 3-4 with his sixth double. Eli Tintor went 2-3 with a walk. Johnny Woodard was 2-4 with his 11th double.
Monday – Beloit 4, Kane County 3 (11 Innings) – Jeanfred Brito singled in Yangervis Solarte with the game-winning run in the bottom of the 11th, making Mike Tarsi a five game winner. Brito had gone 0-2, but he walked three times. Chris Cates went 3-5. Steve Hirschfeld's impressive run continued. He started and in six innings gave up no runs on two hits. He walked two and struck out four. Blake Martin then gave up three runs on a hit and two walks in 1.1 innings. Santos Arias gave up a hit and a walk in 0.2 innings to get out of the 8th inning. Charles Nolte then threw two shutout innings. Michael Tarsi gave up only a walk in his inning.
Monday – E-Twins 7, Princeton 3 – This was a good all-around game for the E-Twins as the playoffs approach. Dan Osterbrook started but went just two innings. He gave up two hits, walked none and struck out four. Lee Martin came in and gave up two runs in four innings to improve to 4-2. He gave up four hits and a walk. Danny Rondon gave up a run on two hits in two inning. He struck out four. Steve Blevins struck out two in a scoreless ninth. Nick Romero went 2-4 with his 10th double. Michael Harrington hit his ninth homer. Nathan Hanson hit his second home run. Jon Waltenbury hit his 22nd double.
GCL TWINS TALK
Monday – GCL Twins 7, GCL Reds 5 (7 innings due to rain) – Rene Tosoni was back in a lineup for the first time since May, and it was as if he never left. He went 3-3 with a homer and three RBI. Aaron Hicks went 2-3 with a walk, his ninth double and 12th stolen base. Josmil Pinto and Jakub Hatjmar each went 2-4. Angelo Sanchez improved to 4-3 with five innings of work. He gave up five runs (4 earned) on ten hits and two walks. He struck out three. Bruce Pugh came in and threw two shutout innings despite giving up two hits and two walks.
Again, thanks for stopping by and always feel free to e-mail me or comment below.