Saturday, October 28, 2006
Hello everyone! I'm back home. After being gone from early Monday morning, I got back home later Friday afternoon, and it is nice! No vacation, just a work trip. I went down to Savannah, Georgia, and the Hilton Head Island region of South Carolina. Saw some incredible homes! Met a lot of very good people. The most exciting part of that portion of the trip was that the hotel we stayed at two nights had a 42 inch plasma TV hanging on the wall in each room!! How cool is that!? Got back to Minneapolis very late on Wednesday night and had meetings down there Thursday and Friday morning. But, as fun as traveling can be, as my good friend Dorothy once said, there's no place like home!
Anyway, I decided not to send in any postings for the week. I kind of hit a bit of a lull in the last couple of weeks, so I did think that just taking the time off would be good. But, it is now Saturday morning and plenty has happened and I just felt like getting caught up a little bit! so, today, I will just post a few thoughts and see where it goes. It may help me get back into the flow! Thank you for all of you who continued to stop by the site and send e-mails wishing me well. I really do appreciate it!
Anyway, last night, the St. Louis Cardinals ended the bonus baseball season with their 4-2 win over the Detroit Tigers. They took the series four games to one. Many are surprised. In part, I am too. So many make a big deal of Detroit's time off between the ALCS and the World Series, and maybe there is something to that. Many thought that the Cardinals would be tired because their NLCS series went seven games. Well, think about it, throughout the regular season, teams play every day. So, playing a seven game series, then getting a day off before the World Series is not a big deal.
The results of the World Series just prove even more that the playoffs are nothing more than a crapshoot, a glorified tournament. That's exactly what it is, and I don't say that to sound bitter. I'm over the Twins loss. Look at this World Series. Albert Pujols did very little and yet the Cardinals won. Jeff Weaver, who has been horrible since he played for the Tigers about four years ago, goes eight innings and gave up just one earned run. Yadier Molina was arguably the worst hitter in baseball in 2006. he hit .216/.274/.321. Ick! But in the World Series, he hit .421. He was also the guy who hit the home run that put the Cardinals in the World Series. Does that make him "clutch", or did he just play well for five or six games? I lean to the latter.
Curtis Granderson hit .095. Magglio Ordonez hit .105. Craig Monroe hit .150. Ivan Rodriguez hit .158. And, the MVP of the ALCS, Placido Polanco went 0-17 in the World Series. Does this mean those players are bad? Does it mean they are chokers? What would the headlines in New York be if Alex Rodriguez put up these numbers?
The Cardinals should be commended and congratulated. They are the 2006 World Series Champions. So many people said that they couldn't do it because of how their season played out. With their 83 regular season wins, they now have the record for the fewest regular season wins by a WS Champ. Twins fans, that is even lower than the 1987 Twins who won just 85 games. Few will remember these things though in the long run. The Cardinals will be called baseball's best team for 2006 in the record books for all-time, but that doesn't mean that they were the best team in baseball in 2006. They just happened to play well enough to win an end-of-season tournament.
And one person who is really smiling is ... Scott Boras! Think Jeff Weaver put himself in a position to make some money!? The funny thing is that some GM will look at how he pitched in the playoffs and forget how he has thrown the last four years.
Former Twins pitcher, Joe Niekro, passed away on Friday. He had suffered a brain aneurysm on Thursday. In his career, he won 221 games and twice was a 20-game winner. He is the brother of Phil Niekro, who won 318 games in his career. he is also the father of San Francisco Giants first baseman Lance Niekro. Twins fans remember that he played for the team in 1987 and 1988. Despite an excellent career, he may be best known for flinging that file out of his pocket.
Francisco Liriano left the Twins training facility and will get yet another 'second' opinion on his left arm. This may be bad news, or a setback to some. However, I think it is a good thing. What needs to happen is a little exploratory surgery. If it means he isn't ready to start the 2007 season on time, that is fine. They need to take care of him. They have tried the 'rest and rehab' route, and what has it done? It's caused frustration for him, for the team and for fans. They need to go in surgically and find out what is wrong and fix it. Hopefully that wouldn't mean Tommy John surgery, but if it does, get it done so that he doesn't need to miss more than the 2007 season.
Pat Neshek had a terrific 2006 season. It started with complete domination of the International League, and it continued in his half-season wit hthe Twins. Now, he is doing something terrific. Remember his rookie hazing outfit? Well, it has been put on ebay and any winnings will be donated to a charity. Check it out. As of 10:00 on Saturday morning, it was going for $152.50.
Baseball America has a a list of six-year minor league free agents. It is an interesting list. Odds are that none of the players will be major impact players for a major league team. If these guys get signed, they could fit a role with a big league team or fill a minor league position of need. In looking at that list, there are several former Twins on the list including Dustan Mohr, Michael Restovich and Matthew LeCroy. I looked through the list of names and jotted down a few that I think that the Twins should offer minor league deals to. I think that the Twins need a right-handed hitting, backup 1B/DH type. I think that guy should have a little pop in their bat and realize that they may play rarely with the Twins, if not spend some time in Rochester. Matthew LeCroy is actually a good example for this category. I wrote the names of Josh Phelps, Ken Harvey, Graham Koonce and Tagg Bozied. Also, I believe that the Twins need a #3 type catcher because I don't think Shawn Wooten will be back with the organization next year. Chris Heintz is a hitter, but not really a catcher. Therefore, I think that signing former prospect Guillermo Quiroz would make a lot of sense. Finally, it never hurts to add pitching depth. Tim Redding has not been good since he was an Astros prospect a few years ago. However, he grew up new Rochester, NY, so he could almost play at home if he signed with the Twins and pitched for the Red Wings. The other name I wrote down was that of Valerio De Los Santos. I realize that he hasn't done much of late, however, I remember seeing him as a lefty reliever who threw 94 or better. Are there any others on the list that you think the Twins should consider signing"
Finally, Doug Deeds, who did a Q&A for this site recently, was added to the Mesa Arizona Fall League roster. If you're looking for a 2007 version of Dan Uggla...
And, speaking of the AFL, several Twins prospects are doing quite well there. I think that Matt Tolbert is making a name for himself in baseball circles. I would think that specifically, he is making a name for himself to the Twins organization. Before Saturday's games, he has 17 hits in 11 games. He is hitting .386/.451/.568 with five doubles and a homer. He has walked six times and struck out just four times, something that I like to look at from non-power hitters. He is also 3-3 in stolen base attempts. Matt Moses is hitting .292/.327/.417 with three doubles and a homer. He has walked three times and struck out nine times. David Winfree has played in eight games. So far, he is hitting .192/.258/.385 with two doubles and a homer. His six RBI in limited time does continue his trend of being a very productive hitter. Kevin Slowey has pitched in nine relief innings (5 games). He is 0-0 with a save. His ERA is 2.00 and he has a WHIP of 1.11. He has walked one and struck out four. Kevin Cameron has thrown six relief innings in his five games. He has gone 1-1 with a 4.50 ERA. He has given up five runs, but three are earned. In the game he lost, he gave up the two unearned runs. He has issued five walks, but he has struck out ten hitters. Jay Sawatski has thrown 6.1 relief innings in six games. He has no record and an ERA of 8.53. He has give up six runs on ten hits and two walks. He has struck out five. Finally, Errol Simonitsch has thrown 7.1 innings in his three starts. He is 0-1 with a 7.36 ERA. He has give up six runs on ten hits and four walks while striking out six. Because of competition level in the AFL, I really don't think that a player's prospect status can (or at least should) drop. However, it can be a huge boost for a mid-level guy like Matt Tolbert who comes in and performs so well.
OK, one final thought... According to MLB Trade Rumors, Japanese star pitcher Daisake Matsuzaka is going to cost some major league organization a LOT of money. The over-under on how much a team will have to bid just to be able to negotiate with Matsuzaka is at $33 million. On top of that, Scott Boras is said to be looking for a five year, $75 million contract.
And on that note, that's enough for a Saturday, right? Again, I appreciate all of you who continue to check out this attempt at a site every day. It means a lot. So please, feel free to e-mail me anyway, or leave some comments on anything you have read. Have a great weekend!
Back to Archives Home