Archive for February, 2011

Better Than Advertised

February 28, 2011

Amid all of these trade rumors about Francisco Liriano, I’ve seen comments similar to this pop up every now and then, especially since his playoff “struggles” versus the New York Yankees in October.

Francisco Liriano struggled in big games last year.

I want to say how I truly feel about this comment, but I’ll tone it down a bit here: The thought that Liriano pitched poorly in “important” games cannot be further from the truth.

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No Concern Over Morneau Missing First 2 Weeks Of Season

February 21, 2011

Earlier Monday, it was announced that Justin Morneau may not be ready to play by Opening Day for the Twins. Judging by the reactions I saw on Twitter, it was clear that many people were disappointed and worried that he wouldn’t be ready to play in Toronto.

As for myself, I thought, “So what?” Morneau has had very little baseball activity since his injury, while other players have been playing through the winter. It should be obvious right now that Morneau would be behind everyone else.

“But that’s what spring training is for, isn’t it?” Well, yeah. You also should remember that Opening Day is still over a month away. Things could change a lot by then. Even if he misses the first 2 weeks or so, the Twins will just shift Michael Cuddyer to first and start the season with Ben Revere as a 5th outfielder and Jim Thome’s personal pinch runner.

Finally, for all of you that feel that Morneau should just man up like a football player… remember that the NFL has come under fire for ignoring concussions. Oh, and ask this guy why he didn’t just man up himself.

Predicting The Bullpen: Results

February 18, 2011

Back on Monday, I asked all of you to submit your thoughts on who would join Matt Capps and Jose Mijares in the bullpen for 2011. We had 47 people vote (including myself) and a total of 238 votes (apparently one person chose to pick only 3 pitchers). To be honest, I don’t even remember the five I chose.  Here are the guys that you picked for the bullpen.

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Predicting The Bullpen

February 14, 2011

With the departure of relievers Matt Guerrier, Jesse Crain, Brian Fuentes, Jon Rauch, and others, it was quickly clear that the Twins would have to get creative in rebuilding their ‘pen for the 2011 season. As of right now, Jose Mijares and Matt Capps are probably the only two guarantees to occupy the bullpen, which presumably leaves 5 other spots to fill.

While Pat Neshek and Joe Nathan are two other guys that have a good chance of making the team, I’ve omitted them because if either fails to impress in spring training, we could possibly see Neshek designated for assignment or Nathan placed on the 15-day DL.

Just for fun, I want your help in predicting who will join the team in Toronto before pitchers and catchers report. Later, during the first week of April, I’ll return to the poll below to see the accuracy of the collective vote. Choose wisely, you have 15 pitchers competing for 5 spots.

Is Liriano Really Available?

February 10, 2011

In today’s Star Tribune, Joe Christensen wrote about how the Twins may very well consider trading away Francisco Liriano. This has angered quite a few of my fellow bloggers and I wouldn’t be surprised to see other Liriano posts sprout up over the next day.

Looking at it from the Twins point of view, this rumor is believable. The team seemingly disregards sabermetrics in favor of more contemporary statistics and scouting, and this is likely what they see in Liriano: Good strikeout pitcher, but appears to lack confidence at times and cannot pitch deep into games like a pitcher of his ability should, and he’s still an injury risk. Another thing is that despite his dominance in 2010, he still managed an ERA only slightly lower (3.62) than his 2008 ERA (3.91), the first year after his Tommy John surgery. Similar ERAs, but he was a different (and worse) pitcher back then.

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Saturating The World With Myself

February 9, 2011

Because you can never have too much of me, I have started writing at a new Minnesota sports website called 612 Sports. Right now, I plan on writing mostly about the Twins about 2-3 times a week. Additionally, some of my posts may appear both here and at 612 Sports, but I’ll try to keep them separate as much as possible. Of course, thinking of twice as many things to write about in a week may become so difficult that I’ll just forget about it, such as I did this with this.

If you’re interested in reading my first two posts at 612 Sports, I covered the possibility of the Twins acquiring Michael Young from the Rangers and if the Twins still need another bat on the bench after signing Jim Thome.

Racism In Baseball

February 5, 2011

As we all know, the Twins won the bid for Japanese infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka. Like many Japanese imports before him, Nishioka’s contract includes the rights for an interpreter. While many players also come to America from Latin America, it’s clear that these athletes are not given the same rights.

White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen had a public rant back in August 2010 about the differences in treatment between Japanese and Latino baseball players. From my recollection, Guillen’s complaints – like many of his complaints – were met with criticism. Clearly, this is not “new” news. However, the reason I bring this back up is that with Nishoka now on the roster, the Twins can now be included as a target in Guillen’s grievance.

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A Theory To The Twins’ Struggles Versus The Yankees

February 1, 2011

This postseason, we witnessed yet another three-and-out by the Twins when they were swept by the New York Yankees. This early exit prompted many fans to claim that Twins players are “scared of the Yankees,” despite the additions of J.J. Hardy, Jim Thome, Orlando Hudson, and Carl Pavano.

I am adamantly opposed to this argument due to a lack of evidence. Seriously, none of us can say that the players are “scared” when we don’t have access to the dugout or clubhouse, even if they carry a 11-24 regular season record (.314 winning percentage) against the Yankees over the past 5 years. Instead, I agree with a theory that someone else mentioned back in October (I can’t remember who, but it’s definitely not my idea) that since the Twins stock the pitching staff with soft-throwing strike throwers, they have a disadvantage when they face the homer-happy Yankees.

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