Archive for November, 2010

Turning Japanese

November 27, 2010

Earlier this offseason, the Twins were rumored to have been involved in the bid for Japanese RHP Hisashi Iwakuma. Ultimately, they lost the bid to the Oakland Athletics, which led to some fans calling the Twins cheap despite the fact that the A’s paid roughly $19 million just to negotiate with Iwakuma. Well, these fans shouldn’t complain any longer as it was announced today that the Twins won the bid for Japanese 2B/SS Tsuyoshi Nishioka.

Without making any significant moves this offseason, the Twins would have entered 2011 with a middle infield of Alexi Casilla and J.J. Hardy. Not surprisingly, they felt that they could find at least one better player than either of these two, and currently that guy is Nishioka. This past season in the Nippon Professional Baseball league, Nishioka batted .346/.423/.482 with 22 stolen bases in 33 attempts. Unfortunately for the Twins, his 2010 season was by far a career best.

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Pirates Release Runner-Up From “The Million Dollar Arm”

November 25, 2010

Yeah, I know it’s the Pittsburgh Pirates and I’m ultimately talking about a guy that didn’t even make it higher than the Pirates’ Rookie-A team. However, I think this is far more newsworthy than usual.

On Wednesday, the Pirates announced that they released righthanded pitcher Dinesh Patel, who was the runner-up to the lefthanded Rinku Singh (also in the Pirates organization) on the Indian reality show, The Million Dollar Arm.

For those that didn’t know, The Million Dollar Arm was a contest in 2008 in India to find out who could throw the fastest fastball. The main premise for the contest was to promote baseball in India, a country where cricket – the predecessor to baseball – is the dominant sport. The person that could throw a baseball over 90 MPH was to be deemed the winner. Considering that the bowler (think of a pitcher in baseball) throws over the head without a bend in the elbow, adapting the throwing motion to a more traditional baseball throw wasn’t difficult. However, no one actually achieved the feat, so Singh and Patel (both threw in the mid-80s) were called the winner and runner-up out of over 37,000 contestants.

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Still Think The Twins Are Cheap?

November 21, 2010

A couple weeks ago, we learned that the Oakland Athletics had won the bidding process for the rights to talk exclusively with Japanese righthanded pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma. It was revealed later that the Twins had also submitted a bid, but obviously offered less money than the $17 million the A’s offered to the Rakuten Golden Eagles, Iwakuma’s current team. This led some Twins fans to accuse the Twins of being cheap, just because they were outbid by another team that is somewhat mistakenly perceived as also having a tight wallet.

Well, on Sunday we learned from Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle that the Athletics halted talks of signing Iwakuma to a contract. “Oh, it’s just the A’s being cheap as usual,” you might say. But consider that the Athletics were considering signing Iwakuma to a contract that paid him $3-5 million per year. Iwakuma wanted “Barry Zito money,” or $18 million per year. If this had happened to the Twins, would you still accuse them of being cheap?

$18 million per year means that the Twins could have re-signed Carl Pavano (or your favorite free agent) and maybe even sign another impact player instead of inking Iwakuma. Lucky for the A’s, their $17 million will be returned since they didn’t sign Iwakuma, but that would have been a whole lot of money if they had chosen to go through with the deal. It was disappointing that the Twins didn’t win the posting process, but if this was how highly Hisashi Iwakuma thought of himself, then the Twins never had a realistic chance of signing him anyway.

Edit: It appears now that Iwakuma’s agent, Don Namura, was not asking for “Barry Zito money,” but rather was looking at roughly $8-12 million per year for Iwakuma, citing comparable contracts such as Daisuke Matsuzaka and Hiroki Kuroda. I don’t know if Iwakuma would necessary be worth that much, but it would seem that the Twins would have just re-signed Carl Pavano rather than pay an unproven (in MLB) pitcher that much money.

A Baffling 40-Man Roster Decision

November 20, 2010

I don’t get it. I really don’t. He had a 2.67 ERA as a reliever in Triple-A last year. He’s lauded for his sinker and getting ground balls. He didn’t walk many, and he struck out a solid amount of hitters for being the type of pitcher that relies on hitters putting the ball in play.

The Twins announced that they added RHP David Bromberg, 1B Chris Parmelee, and OF Joe Benson and Rene Tosoni to the 40-man roster. In my offseason blueprint, I wanted these four added to the 40-man roster, but I also had two other additions. One was 2B Steve Singleton. The other is the guy I just described above, RHP Kyle Waldrop.

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Wanna See Something Impressive?

November 17, 2010

Michael Vick managed to outscore one team all by himself in my fantasy football league this past week.

In other news, Eric Johnson of Undomed is cringing right now.

When Suffering Becomes Tolerable

November 13, 2010

I bet if you asked many Minnesotans about their favorite basketball team, you’d probably get these answers:

– “I don’t like basketball.”

– “Team X” (most likely the L.A. Lakers or Miami Heat, but certainly not the Timberwolves)

– “It used to be the Timberwolves until they traded Kevin Garnett, started sucking, etc.”

I belong to possibly the smallest group that you could find when asking that question. Yes, I’m still loyal to the Wolves, despite trading Kevin Garnett for what felt like half of a terrible Celtics team, despite Kevin McHale’s mismanagement, despite the cycling of head coaches.

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Improving Target Field

November 11, 2010

If you’ve checked anything Twins-related yesterday, you’d know that the Twins announced some changes to Target Field for the 2011 season. The main things I’ve seen are:

1. Adding WiFi

This doesn’t affect me much, as my phone works just fine in Target Field and I don’t need to use a laptop, but I guess this was something that people wanted.

2. A little more variety of food

Apparently this means more Kramarczuk’s, Murray’s, and Loon Cafe stuff, so I’ll have even more to add to my list of food to try, which is actually far more than you may think for someone that worked the entire summer there.

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All Over The Place

November 9, 2010

Yesterday afternoon, it was announced by Joe Christensen that the Twins had submitted a bid to negotiate with Japanese righthanded pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma, but their offer was trumped by the Oakland Athletics. Today, the Twins chose to quickly pick up a consolation prize when they signed RHP Eric Hacker to a major league contract.

Who? Yeah, I don’t blame you. Hacker pitched in Triple-A for San Francisco last year, compiling a 16-8 record with a 4.51 ERA, 129 strikeouts, and 62 walks in 165.2 innings pitched. He apparently throws a low-90s fastball and a slider or curve (varying reports on what it actually is). He would be solid at Triple-A, but only in the roster depth-type of “solid.”

Since Hacker’s contract gives him a spot on the 40-man roster, I really hope that someone like Anthony Swarzak or Glen Perkins gets removed, because Hacker really shouldn’t be any better than those two. Still, it’s frustrating to see the Twins appear to take a step in the right direction with bidding on Iwakuma, then hand a contract to someone that is bringing back memories to Sidney Ponson and Ramon Ortiz. Unless there’s something we don’t know about, Hacker shouldn’t compete for a spot on the pitching staff next season.

My Offseason Blueprint

November 7, 2010

Free agency and the trade market are both fun and tough for me to watch. On one hand, it’s exciting to see players switch uniforms, as guys that we sometimes rarely see will now be playing against the Twins more often during the season (or perhaps they’re playing with the Twins). On the other hand, it’s tough because there are so many available players that I would like to see play for the Twins, but there’s not an available roster or lineup spot for them, and/or I only want them to prevent a rival team from acquiring them (see: Adam Dunn last year).

Now that free agency is upon us, we get to see who will be leaving our team and who will join for the 2011 campaign. The following is my idea for what the Twins should do this offseason.

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Notepad Scribbles, 11/6/10

November 5, 2010

As it turns out, I lost in a landslide. It appears as though I put up a valiant effort for all of 13 minutes before I succumbed to the machine that is Christie Wilcox.* However, I still received $100 just for being a finalist, so I’m not as upset as I could have been. It was a bit humorous, though, seeing all these people claim that Christie was cheating. Apparently it was not fair that she was linked to a popular science website, which helped gather her large total of votes. I’ll remember that next time so I can avoid contacting Aaron Gleeman, the biggest Twins blogger I know.

* Fortunately, I did not succumb to The Machine that is Pat Burrell. Wait, that might be worse…

I can still have a little fun with this thing, so in the next 30 seconds or so I’m going to type up some half-assed jokes about my last place finish.

1. This was like watching the Twins play the Yankees – oh, too soon?

2. I should have just had the Twitter Fail Whale instead of a percentage under my name.

3. I really owe my girlfriend after she voted for me 113 times.

4. Now I know that blogging about the Twins is going to take me nowhere.

5. That $100 was in Monopoly money… and it’s not even a $100 bill, I was given 100 $1 bills, so instead of one worthless piece of paper, I received 100 worthless pieces of paper.

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