And finally, since there is so little
baseball to discuss (unless you want to rehash all the Manny to the
Dodgers/Mariners rumors, or Richie Sexson trade rumors, or
where Barry Zito or Bonds is going to go), here is a quick reminder
that, although I'm not always right, sometimes I am! This was
an e-mail I received early in the 2006 season:
I read your comments about Tony Batista, and know others share
your views. I don't and here's why I'm right, and the doubters
First, let's address the Michael Cuddyer lovefest. The only
viable option besides Batista at third is Cuddyer, and I just
don't understand why the Twins organization gives this guy so
many chances. I've been to the Twins home opener now for 11
straight years, and for the last 4, Cuddyer has been a starter.
In 2003 in right field (the year before it was Brian Buchanon
starting there, ugh); 2004, at second base; 2005, at third base;
and 2006, back in right field. His stint at third last year was
brutal. Something like 19 errors in only 90-ish games. So just
from that standpoint, Batista will be better. He lacks great
range, but his career error numbers at third are far better than
anything we could expect from Cuddybear (17, 16, 19, and 20 in
four seasons where he played 150+ games).
Second, and more importantly, is the pop in Batista's bat. The
Twins haven't had a guy hit 30+ homers since (gulp) 1987!
That's right - it's been almost 20 friggin' years. What's more
startling is that the MLB team with the second longest dry spell
hasn't had someone hit 30+ since 1999. Our streak is 12 years
longer than the next longest dry spell - unbelievable! Knowing
this makes the Batista deal all the better. He's hit 30+ homers
4 times in his MLB career. Granted, he'll I predict he'll hit
.240 and strikeout 130 times, but the run driving potential is
worth it. Especially when you consider that Cuddyer is a career
.260 hitter with no flashes of pop in his bat. Certainly not
the likes we've seen even from even someone like Matt LeCroy,
who hit 17 bombs last year in about 300 ab's.
In a nutshell, the Batista deal was a steal. And a significant
upgrade at third base from anything we otherwise would've had.
And finally, on Michael Cuddyer, it's like he's sleeping with
the boss or something. There's simply no other rational basis
for giving the guy that many chances. None. Especially when
we've had guys like Ortiz and LeCroy who have at least shown
flashes of real pop in their bats, but who we've been unwilling
to give an equivalent number of chances to prove themselves.
Seth -- keep up the good work on your column. And don't feel
badly. You can't be right all the time! -Jon
Ah, the beauty of maintaining the
Archives page. I'm not right too often, so this was fun! With
that... who will be the Twins 2007 Breakout Performer?