Time to Call Somebody

Call someone in to fix this mess. Call a few people and let them know that they need to start looking for new employers at the end of the season. Call in some grief counselors for the fans of this “team”. The Twins are beyond just being in trouble, this is another season that is over.

There are just too many problems to go into in one post. Coaching, Pitching, Hitting, Fielding, Injuries, you name an aspect of the professional game and the Twins need some major help. The only positive that I can see right now is the farm system. The only problem with having a plus farm system is that the only optimism lies with young players that are unproven in the Majors. Time to break some of the issues down.

Coaching:
Gardenhire has had a long ride in Minneapolis and I think that it is time that we kicked him off of the merry-go-round. The only success that he has had during his time here was early on when the team was still under Tom Kelly’s influence. His coaching record in the playoffs is a horrible 6-21. That is a .375 winning percentage. Oh and the last post season series that he won was the first year as a head coach in 2002. He has lost 12 straight games in the playoffs. He took a team that won back-to-back division championships, and an extra game loss from 3 in a row, to finishing last 2 years in a row and being saved from another by a very pathetic White Sox team this year. Something is wrong when his career W-L is over .500 but he is barely .400 over the last 3 seasons. That is not a good trend and I don’t see it magically improving anytime soon.

Anderson is the pitching coach for the Twins right now and I am firmly behind the idea that he needs to be replaced. The pitching ranks in last or next to last most major pitching categories and those that they aren’t, they are in the bottom 5. That isn’t a miss type, that is a bold fact. The pitching isn’t bad, it is downright HORRIBLE. What has always been one of the Twins’ strengths has now become its biggest liability. Our pitching over the last 3 seasons is consistently in the bottom 3 in most categories. A team cannot continue to be competitive when trying to play from behind in a majority of the games played. Another problem that seems to be plaguing our young arms is an influx of serious injuries. I am not sure though how much of this is Anderson’s fault and how much is just a trend in the sport. It doesn’t help that when we do go after veteran pitchers, they all seem to be coming off of reconstructive arm surgery and have huge question marks on how they will play.

Pitching:
This has a ton to do with Anderson and his performence. He has been the only pitching coach for Gardenhire since he has been hired. The last 2 opening day starters are a combined 3-10, with an ERA around 6.60 and neither made it the entire season on the roster. Any pitchers that are thought to be improving and looking like they could become a viable starter long term, have completely fallen apart. The only positive about the pitching is the bullpen. But that plus only lasts until about the All Star break, when the lack of quality from the starters heaves too much work and pressure to the bullpen and they become overworked. The bullpen would be considered lights out if the starters could average 1 more inning per start. That would make a huge difference in the workload of the pitchers. Also when you still have almost 60 games left in the season and you have already used 19 pitchers, including 9 different starters, your expectations cannot be that good.

Hitting:
I will say that overall the hitting for the Twins hasn’t been that abhorrent when compared to the entire MLB, but when compared to just the AL, bottom third can’t be viewed as acceptable. The biggest issue that I am seeing right now is that there is too much pressure on the hitters. The team is losing more often than not. Every hitter seems to know that they are on short leashes in terms of performance. Gone are the days when a decent hitter with good fielding could survive. Now everyone is supposed to be able to at least .250 with 20 hrs and 100 RBI or at least .300 with 10 hrs and 100 R. In reality, the Twins have always been a team that is average across the board but really good at situational hitting. That entails things like, hit-and-runs, delayed steals, taking the extra base on throws, stealing bases, bunting, sacrifices, hitting behind runners, and others that I just can’t think of right now. I am seeing a huge lack of this type of play in the Twins lineup right now and I am not saying that it is all the coaches’ fault or the players’ either. Brunansky is doing okay, but everything mentioned needs to be stressed more, no more going up and poking for the fences.

Fielding:
The play on the defensive side of the ball is pretty good so far. The only issues that I perceive here are when the errors, both mental and physical, are happening and recovering from them. The guys are making great plays, day in and day out, but every so often they try to do too much because of the situation that the team is in. Sometimes that leads to short arming a ball because they are trying to get the ball out faster so that they can throw it sooner. It is throwing to 3rd to try to throw someone out that is advancing but also letting the hitter go from 1st to 2nd. It is tracking a fly ball that you are trying to make a spectacular catch on, coming up just short and the runner getting a triple instead of playing the carom off of the wall and holding the batter to a single or double.

Injuries:
They happen every year and on every team. Some are nagging injuries that just need a little time to heal. Others are nasty injuries that cause a player to miss considerable amounts of time. Some types of injuries can be prevented with proper stretching before and after games and practices, and the right care in between. Most are just freak accidents though. I don’t know the numbers, but the Twins seem to have had more concussions in the last couple of seasons and not just the minor, 7 day DL kind either. It started in 2010 with Morneau and missing half of a MVP type season, and still not feeling right the next year either. In 2011, Denard Span missed a considerable amount of time, over half of the season, with a concussion also. This year Plouffe lucked out and only missed the 7 days but hurt himself during warmups upon his return. Shortly after his concussion though, Wilken Ramirez went down with a concussion and hasn’t been able to return. His happened in late May. That is crazy to have 3 different players all miss at least a half of a season to a concussion. One happened sliding into 2nd, one running into a catcher at home, and the other by the hand of his own teammate in the field. Im not saying that anything in particular can be done to prevent these but it is frustrating.

Willingham’s knee injury is a bigger concern to me though. The team let him play through it for some time. They then gave him a cortisone shot for the discomfort. Finally after extended poor performances, they finally sent him to the DL before they realized that he had torn his meniscus in the knee. We he is initially feeling discomfort, his stats are way down, and he just doesn’t look like the same player, the staff has to realize that it isn’t just a small tweak. We also have other injuries, throughout the entire organization, but there isn’t much to do about those except lament your team’s bad luck.

Luck:
The game of baseball is a weird game that we all love because of it. A hitter that just seems to be “on fire” will get a hit on a pitch that breaks his bat or is a check swing, but when a player is struggling, he is hitting line drives right at fielders. Some will lay this to the luck of the draw, and as a fan of the Twins, I say “Lady Luck” is screwing with us. Its a good play on defense here, a missed timed jump or dive there, a seeing eye single, a “Texas Leaguer”, bad bounce, wind gust, bug in the eye, stumble, anything that just always seems to go against the Twins right now. Every game that I watch, I see bad swings that get a hit, an outfielder stealing a HR, a blown or missed call from an umpire. Minnesota just is managing to find itself on the wrong side of the coin on most of these chances and I am hoping that sooner rather than later, the coin finally starts falling our way.

The Twins are 45-60 after their 10th loss to the Royals today and to add to the insult, Terry Ryan sent Scott Diamond and Aaron Hicks down to AAA Rochester. These 2 guys are supposed to be our rising stars. Before Diamond’s surgery to remove bone spurs or chips in his elbow, he was being mentioned as the Opening Day starter and possible long term, top of the rotation starter for the Twins. Hicks won the chance to become the next CF stud for the Twins, following the recent history of Span and Revere last year, Torii Hunter, and Kirby Puckett. While both have been struggling, with this season out of hand, I don’t see the reasoning behind demoting these guys. Oswaldo Arcia, Chris Parmelee, and Eduardo Escobar have also been sent down before I felt they needed to be. Doumit is really streaky and only hitting .244 and less than 10 hits and he is considered the DH on this team. Willingham was barely staying above .200 before he hit the DL. Carroll, our super utility guy, is hitting .218 and Thomas is at .226 (lower than Arcia, and about equal to Parmelee and Escobar). If I am Terry Ryan, here are some moves that I would be looking at immediately: cut/demote Doumit, cut/demote Pelfrey, would have tried to trade Correia, (even though I like him) deal Morneau, depending on his health when he returns deal Willingham. My lineup most days (barring injuries and with no trades) would be as follows: Mauer C, Morneau 1B, Dozier 2B, Florimon SS, Plouffe 3B, Arcia LF, Hicks CF, Herrmann RF, Parmelee DH. My bench would be Doumit, Escobar, Bernier, and Collabello.

Overall we have a team of vets that aren’t performing and a front office that seems to be juggling young developing players back and forth to AAA. A finish under .500 and no improvement to the pitching by season’s end, Gardy and Anderson need to be “non renewed”. Every other coach got it last year, it is time to hold the manager accountable for the team’s performance. No more FA signing of vets that have statements like, if he can remain healthy, returns to form, recaptures his swing/delivery. Nurturing of young players better, no more half season and then demote, or month and demote, either commit to developing in MN or leave them in AAA except for injuries. If someone isn’t going to be resigned, deal them early. Returns on trades are better during the season then they ever will be during the offseason. Span should have been dealt last year before the deadline when teams were willing to overpay for him. Revere would have had a whole season to show top of the order ability and been overpaid for this season. Hicks could have been the 4th outfielder this year, with less pressure and more of a chance to develop. Carroll, when he lost his starting position (that he never should have had), should have been let go. 2 players that are catchers and right fielders shouldn’t be on the same roster, will not get enough at bats. If you are going to have a primary DH, make sure he hits somewhere in the neighborhood of .270 with 25 HRs, 80 RBIs, not .240/15/60. Otherwise make it a rotation of players, that way they don’t get out of the groove of hitting when they need a “day off”. Last thing for this post if a power hitting 1B with a violent swing like Prince Fielder can play every game but 13 in the last 8 years, than players don’t “need a day off”, they may want one, but it is in no way a need. They are pros, they can fix their swings in between games. Slumps are broken in the batter’s box, not in the dugout.

Hope the last 2 months show some improvement and development. Let the young guys play if we are going to lose more than we win anyways. Nurture the young talent and remove anyone over 30 that can’t play to league averages.

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Get Me Off This Roller Coaster

I am starting to feel sick again. The Twins constantly make me feel like I am riding on one hell of a roller coaster.

We are now officially 1/3 of the way through the season and the beginning of June adds another year to my brother’s age, it is also about the time that teams start making moves based on lack of performance. The Twins have started making some moves, but like always, their’s seem to be made more out of lack of depth than true lack of stats. Ultimately though Minnesota is 5 games ahead of where they were this time last year, sitting at 25-29 compared to 19-33.

The first move based solely on performance was the demotion of Vance Worley. Yes the same pitcher that was tabbed as the Opening Day starter when Diamond was not ready to return. After 10 starts he was sitting over 7 in ERA with a 1-5 record. I agree with it but am wondering what is keeping them from making the same move with Pelfrey? With 1 more start, Mike has a 3-6 record and almost a 7 ERA. If it wasn’t obvious, the biggest problem last year is still the same this year. STARTING PITCHING is atrocious but I will admit when I was wrong. I thought going into the season that Correia would be one of the weaker additions and he has been the strongest. Kevin is leading the starters in W, IP, and ERA. But the epitome of our staff is explained by who is leading the team in Ks, and that would be Glen Perkins, the closer.

Another move that was just made was designating Tyler Robertson (1 IP, 9 ERa, 2 Ks) for assignment and recalling Clete Thomas. The same Thomas that was claimed last year from Detroit and played for less than a month and then sent to Rochester. I don’t get why Robertson was designated for a career sub .250 hitter in a crowded OF while making the bullpen even thinner when it is already over worked? The bullpen is 5th in IP while still being 4th in ERA so far, and that will not hold up with our starting pitching. We already have Hicks, Willingham, Parmelee, Doumit, and Herrmann that can all play OF. Unless Wilkin Ramirez is getting moved to the 15 day DL or longer for his concussion, it makes no sense. Also, the same time that they made that move, Chris Colabello was sent back to Rochester also. Why take the chance of losing Roberstson, and sending Colabello down for Thomas? Yes he has been hitting well in AAA Rochester but so was Colabello.

My moves that I would start looking to make:
Mike Pelfrey for Kyle Gibson
Clete Thomas for Oswaldo Arcia

Gibson needs to get a chance before he uses up too many of his innings considering he is on an inning count for the season. He has also shown that he has been able to handle AAA hitting (not dominate it). Thomas I don’t feel is the answer for a supposedly thin OF right now and Arcia is already on the 40 man roster. Ideally he would have been promoted instead of Thomas and Roberston would still be here (not saying the he will be claimed, but there is a chance he isn’t part of this organization soon).

Trades are looking less and less likely to happen this year, at least with any of the MLB players. Before the season started, some analysts were talking that the Twins might look to deal Willingham and Morneau because both are in contract seasons and might garner some attention from contenders needing that “one more bat” to get them into the playoffs. Willingham has just looked really hesitant at plate all season to me. Yes he is leading the team in BBs but also in Ks (33/57) and his average is barely above .200. Morneau is faring a little better hitting close to .300 but with very little pop, and that isn’t going to attract many suitors. Firstbasemen are expected to have the HRs to go with a slightly sub .300 AVG and 2 homers isn’t enough. I hope that Justin can return from his flu and start getting some pop back. Josh needs to start attacking pitchers instead of getting behind in counts.

The rest of the roster seems okay for right now. Mastroianni is still trying to recover from his ankle injury. Plouffe is working back from a strained calf that happened during cardio recovery from his concussion. Ramirez is still working back from his concussion. Diamond is back starting as is Deduno, and with Correia there, and Walters working back into the rotation, the starters have been looking better. Pelfrey is still worrying me by averaging less than 5 IP/start. He is putting even more stress on our bullpen and needs to improve or get moved. I would only give him 1 more start before I would feel compelled to make a change. Perkins is doing well as the closer with only a few hickups. Jared Burton has been solid as the 8th inning setup man. Roenicke and Pressley have been doing well as middle relief and Swarzak has been chewing up huge innings as the long releiver better than Duensing has. Fien seems hit or miss right now with some great outings and then getting rocked.

Overall the Twins seem to be best described as bi-polar right now. Over the last 3 weeks they have a 10 game losing streak followed by going 7-2 over the last 9. The pitching during the losing streak was atrocious but the hitting has taken a ton of pressure off of the pitching in the last 9. The hitters are getting early leads for the team and starters just seem more confident and comfortable when pitching ahead on the score board (kind of a no duh observation). Something still needs to change in our starters though as they keep coming out asleep to start the game. Last stat of the post, our starters’ first inning ERA is 8.33 with 50 ER in 54 IP. That cannot keep happening as it causes our hitters to press and under perform.

With the draft coming up I hope the team can address some issues, keep a balanced draft selection, make some intelligent moves, and keep improving the organization.

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Why Are We So Self Destructive?

Why? Just a curiosity. What makes a person decide who to be with? Is it looks? Is it personality? Is it some other factor that no one can put a finger on?

This isn’t a cry for help but some people could interpret it as. Let me reiterate, THIS IS NOT A CRY FOR HELP, I AM FANTASTIC AND DON’T WANT OR NEED ANY HELP. My big debate on this evening is what makes a person decide to pursue another individual. What are the determining factors? What is the brake even point when someone knows that the person that they like is just wrong? I really am curious and if anyone wants to chime in on this I would be greatly appreciated.

I know that there are the usual responses like girls like assholes, guys want a freak in bed, nice guys finish last, good girls want bad boys, and so on. My question is why do you want this? Is it that you want a project? A job with work to do in the relationship? Do you actually want someone that will piss your parents off? Is it all about sex? Why are you attracted to the person that you are attracted to? Or is it just wanting that dangerous person?

This isn’t a woe is me type of post. I don’t want any of those people that are attracted to the people that they know they shouldn’t be. If I have to describe what I want than you have reading comprehension issues. There a ton of huge issues in this country and if I had to guess in the world. If people choosing the wrong mate is just a huge problem in the US than I am sorry cause I haven’t been to the rest of the world. If you are from a country that this isn’t the case, please leave me a message of where you live and I will move there as soon as I possibly can.

Now to the true issues of the problem. First is the overriding factor of wanting the bad boy or girl. What leads us to desire this person? Is it wanting that person that you are supposed to not want? The girl or guy that is not the ideal mate? The person that is a project or requires work to “fix” to become the ideal mate? Do you desire the dangerous person? Is it as simple as desiring the one person that you know will make your life a challenge?

I have watched through the years as friends have made mistakes after mistakes. Guys dating girls that they know are wrong for them. Girls that know that the guys that they are dating are habitual cheaters. People that want one thing to support a “loved one” when in reality they hate what that person wants. All of this perplexes me. Maybe I just don’t know how to play the “game”. And that brings me to the biggest issue of relationships.

The “game” is complete and utter BULLSHIT!!!!! There is no other way to describe the interaction and relationship be men and women. Even the people that claim to not play the game are playing it in their own way. But when it comes down to the nitty gritty of any game or competition, the entire point of any “game” is to gain the upper hand. It is to be the person that is in control. To dictate the results and outcomes of the interactions. My question is why compete against the person that you care the most for?

Why compete against the person that you love? Why spend every living day of you life fighting tooth and nail for the upper hand against someone that should be a team mate? Why do we compete against those that we love and care for?

I say that we should team up with those people that we love. We should communicate and talk to our teammates in the greater game called life. The goal isn’t to win against your significant others but to kick the ass of the people that are trying to keep you down. Why do we keep competing against our selves? Why does it seem like the entire human race is self destructive?

I want someone that will support me but not blindly. Someone that will understand what I stand for and if they don’t will question it to understand it so that they can support it better.I want someone that can use logic to the point that they don’t seem like a complete drone. I want a girl that will defend herself but know when they are wrong and admit it. I NEED someone that can think for herself, have her own friends, go out with those friends, but wan to come home to me at the end of the night. Is that so much to ask for?

What I see in the world to day are tons of people that are insecure. I am not saying that I have no insecurities but I just don’t let them handicap me. I don’t get jealous and no one else really should. Jealousy is manipulation. When someone feels insecure, it is most likely due to someone else playing upon their inadequacies. If I don’t feel like I look good enough, the girl that I am dating is going to flirt with someone that they perceive to look better than I do. Most of this has to do with control.

Why “control” someone that you supposedly love? Do you want to control them? Do you want to manipulate them? What is the end game? There is no reason to win a “game” or any type of game or conceivable competition unless it is for control. Any “relationship” is to better each individual person. The goal isn’t to get the upper hand or control on the other If that is the way that you view your “other half” than you are going about the whole process wrong. If you have children, than you are perpetuating the situation and making it that much worse. Competitions are simply for the sole benefit of the person that “wins”. The loser loses power, control, and influence. Do any of you want to be in a relationship that you have no chance to make decisions, no chance to make their wishes known, or just simply sit by and let the world pass you by while you sit back and just absorb it?

I am done for the night. All that I ask of anyone that reads this entry is that they start thinking for themselves. Do not let anyone push you around. Don’t let anyone decide what is best for you. If someone warns you about some one that you think is nice, at least listen, but don’t take them at face value. Do not chase after the flashy, window dressings, but look at the background that makes the entire display click and look better. Most of the time the person that you don’t notice immediately is the person that could compliment you and not just make you “look” better. Your goal in life and as a human is to provide the best life and chance for your child. That isn’t going to happen with some neanderthal that is going to look out for “numero uno” but that will look to improve them self, you, and your child. 

Live for your self, better the world for your child, and work with your “other half” to make it happen. If you can’t do that than you are not with the person that you are meant for. Good night and the best of luck finding the person that wants to make the world a better place with you and through any person that you influence.






















And if anyone is still reading, fuck the world and live happy. 

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Better Than Before

Well the baseball season is a month old and it is time to take a moment and start evaluating. As the title says the Twins are in a better position than they were this time last year. Last year on May 2nd, they were 6-18 and the desperation in the fans was already apparent. This May, Minnesota is 12-12 and the fans see like they are still willing to put up a fight for their team. Statistically though the Twins are still in some pretty rough shape.

First I am going to point out some issues at the plate. The Twins are doing well getting runners on base (OBP is 15th) but runs are in the lowest 20% as well as AVG and SLG. Thankfully the guys aren’t striking out nearly as much as they were earlier in the season. They are seeing more pitches and starting to rack up walks. They are also doing very well at staying out of double plays. It is just that I think they are pressing a little too much when those runners are at 2nd or 3rd. One more thing that I would like to see more of is stolen bases. We only have 16 attempts in the 24 games so far. The Twins have always been known as great base runners and use it to put extra pressure on the opposing teams. I just haven’t seen it so far.

Pitching is another issue entirely. As I said at the beginning of the year, the bullpen is doing well and should continue to do so unless the starters cause them to get overworked throughout the season. If Im Terry Ryan and I start to see the bullpen falter, I send a hitter back to AAA and recall another pitcher to help. Our starters so far have been the biggest problem of the season (stop me if I sound like a broken record). With that said, the overall ERA for April 2012 and 2013 is down 1.5 runs/game. Worley and Pelfrey are both over 7 in ERA and not even averaging 5 IP per start. That hurts when your starter is leaving the game in the middle of the 5th inning having given up 4 or 5 runs. It is difficult for the offense to keep up with that. Compounding the problem is that we really only have 4 starters right now and Diamond is still trying to work his way back from his offseason surgery. Pedro Hernandez has done pretty well for a pitcher who wasn’t really expected to contribute much as a starter. For long term success this season, the starters need to pick it up because there is little proof to make us think that Correia is going to continue with an ERA under 3 all season.

We just finished a 3 game series against Detroit and are 3-3 against them so far this season. We go to Cleveland to play 3 there and then 4 more in Boston after. We need 2 from the Indians because the Red Sox are playing lights out right now and will be difficult. Overall, in division, the Twins are 5-6 and we can’t expect to compete in the Central with a losing record against divisional foes. Also if the starting pitching doesn’t right its self by the end of the year, someone needs to be held accountable for it. That is our biggest weakness and has been for years now. Gardenhire and more importantly Anderson need to reevaluated if that is the best that the fans can expect out of their starters. It is going to be impossible to improve our record if the guys are always playing catch up because the starters can’t keep them in games. 

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Better Than Before

Well the baseball season is a month old and it is time to take a moment and start evaluating. As the title says the Twins are in a better position than they were this time last year. Last year on May 2nd, they were 6-18 and the desperation in the fans was already apparent. This May, Minnesota is 12-12 and the fans see like they are still willing to put up a fight for their team. Statistically though the Twins are still in some pretty rough shape.

First I am going to point out some issues at the plate. The Twins are doing well getting runners on base (OBP is 15th) but runs are in the lowest 20% as well as AVG and SLG. Thankfully the guys aren’t striking out nearly as much as they were earlier in the season. They are seeing more pitches and starting to rack up walks. They are also doing very well at staying out of double plays. It is just that I think they are pressing a little too much when those runners are at 2nd or 3rd. One more thing that I would like to see more of is stolen bases. We only have 16 attempts in the 24 games so far. The Twins have always been known as great base runners and use it to put extra pressure on the opposing teams. I just haven’t seen it so far.

Pitching is another issue entirely. As I said at the beginning of the year, the bullpen is doing well and should continue to do so unless the starters cause them to get overworked throughout the season. If Im Terry Ryan and I start to see the bullpen falter, I send a hitter back to AAA and recall another pitcher to help. Our starters so far have been the biggest problem of the season (stop me if I sound like a broken record). With that said, the overall ERA for April 2012 and 2013 is down 1.5 runs/game. Worley and Pelfrey are both over 7 in ERA and not even averaging 5 IP per start. That hurts when your starter is leaving the game in the middle of the 5th inning having given up 4 or 5 runs. It is difficult for the offense to keep up with that. Compounding the problem is that we really only have 4 starters right now and Diamond is still trying to work his way back from his offseason surgery. Pedro Hernandez has done pretty well for a pitcher who wasn’t really expected to contribute much as a starter. For long term success this season, the starters need to pick it up because there is little proof to make us think that Correia is going to continue with an ERA under 3 all season.

We just finished a 3 game series against Detroit and are 3-3 against them so far this season. We go to Cleveland to play 3 there and then 4 more in Boston after. We need 2 from the Indians because the Red Sox are playing lights out right now and will be difficult. Overall, in division, the Twins are 5-6 and we can’t expect to compete in the Central with a losing record against divisional foes. Also if the starting pitching doesn’t right its self by the end of the year, someone needs to be held accountable for it. That is our biggest weakness and has been for years now. Gardenhire and more importantly Anderson need to reevaluated if that is the best that the fans can expect out of their starters. It is going to be impossible to improve our record if the guys are always playing catch up because the starters can’t keep them in games. 

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Twins 2013 Preview

Image

As Opening Day 2013 is wrapping up, I am going to give my impressions on the Twins. First off they did lose to the Tigers to start the season on the wrong foot but it wasn’t all bad. I am going to look through the lineup and the pitching to give my impressions.

Opening Day Lineup
Hicks CF
Mauer C
Willingham LF                                                                       AP Photo/Jim Mone
Morneau 1B
Doumit DH
Plouffe 3B
Parmelee RF
Dozier 2B
Florimon SS

First, I would love to thank and compliment management on not playing the business side of MLB and start Aaron Hicks in AAA until June to save money. He earned his right to be the starter in Center today and I hope that he can keep the position all season. That isn’t a knock against Darin Mastroianni but he was hurt for most of Spring. I agree that Hicks should be at the top and will remain there barring injury or a huge disappointment.

Batting 2nd, Joe Mauer. ???? Still don’t really know what they are thinking here. Im guessing that they really don’t have any other options for the #2 spot. Talk was swirling around Dozier being slide in here but many don’t feel that he is ready for it. No mentions of Florimon, Eduardo Escobar, or Carroll. Plouffe still swings and misses too much. Everyone esle is too slow, not selective enough, or considered a power hitter so they don’t fit either. I will admit that when talks were for Dozier, I immediately thought slide Joe up a spot and adjust. So I agree here but look forward to Dozier maturing as a hitter enough that he can take this spot.

With Mauer at 2, his 3 spot is by default given to Willingham and then Morneau, Doumit, and Plouffe all move up a spot accordingly. Now at 7th and in Right is Chris Parmelee. He had a huge Fall in 2011 but last year just couldn’t seem to get traction while in Minnesota. Right Field is one position that we could see some moving this year. With Hicks winning Center and Willingham in Left, most of the platoon time for Mastroianni and Wilkin Ramirez will be at Parmelee’s expense unless he can recover some of the magic of that September call up. Mast and Wilk will see time in CF and LF also but as replacements for days off or injuries.

And as always, the center infield spots are still a mess. Dozier is at 2B now (SS most of last year). Florimon is at Short where he played quite a lot last year when he got called up. Carroll, who Minnesota went out and claimed was going to become an anchor in the middle, has been relegated to bench/utility role until either Dozier or Florimon make a couple of errors or their average dips below .200 for a while. Also on the team to break camp is Eduardo Escobar. He had a pretty good Spring and decided to make him their emergency Catcher/Super Utility spot. Escobar can and will probably play all infield spots except 1B.

Doumit and Mauer as the main catchers weren’t a surprise but the demotion of Drew Butera was one. Many thought that the Twins were going to break camp with 3 technical catchers on the roster with Doumit being mostly a DH and Butera being the real #2 behind the plate. Instead Terry Ryan optioned Drew and went with 2 catchers and a utility player as the emergency. I don’t agree here and really would have rather seen Ramirez start in AAA or maybe even cut Carroll. Carroll has no power, diminishing speed and range, and I don’t see him ever earning a starting spot but maybe given 1 if someone else fails.

Another surprise at the end of Spring was the move with Alex Burnett. Last year he had a 3.5 ERA and chewed a bunch of innings. The brass decided to put him on Waivers where he was picked up by the Blue Jays. I wish him the best but don’t think a bad Spring warranted his ousting. The pitching looks as follows:

Starters
Worley
Correia
Pelfrey
Hendricks
De Vries

Bullpen
Perkins (closer)
Duensing
Robertson
Pressley
Fien
Burton
Roenicke

About the only thing that people knew going into Spring was that Glen Perkins would be back as the team’s closer. The Twins went out and acquired the top 3 in the rotation in Worley, Correia, and Pelfrey, but the only one that I have been impressed with and agree with so far is today’s starter Vance Worley. He was part of the trade that sent Ben Revere to Philly and returned Worley and May to Minnesota. Pelfrey is recovering from injuries and was a bargain, and will be an easy cut, like Marquis was last year, if he doesn’t pan out. Correia has never impressed in the Pros and I still don’t understand the rationale of a 2 year contract for him. I just don’t think he will deliver better numbers in a harder league (he was in the National League last year with Pittsburgh). Scott Diamond, who many thought would be the Opening Day starter, is still recovering from getting some bone chips removed from his elbow in December and is slated to be back in another 2 weeks. From all of what I have seen and heard, my guess is that Liam Hendricks will be the one possibly moved to the bullpen or sent down when he comes back. Again nothing against Hendricks but I feel Cole DeVries had the better Spring and has the spot unless he is worse by a margin in the first 2 starts.

The bullpen I feel is going to get taxed again this year due to the subpar starters again. I don’t see Correia or Pelfrey being inning eaters. Worley shouldn’t be too bad, but the other starters are young and will still go through some growing pains. Duensing will be a long reliever again this year and might see a couple of spot starts through the year. Burton is quickly assuming the “Set Up” role as the 8th inning guy to get the lead to Perk to close out.  Robertson will be the situational Lefty. Fein and Roenicke will be on shorter hooks than Pressley because Pressley is a Rule 5 pick up, so that means that he has to stay on the active roster in Minnesota or he is returned to Boston or Minnesota would have to make a trade to send a player back to Boston and send him down.

Now for the impressions on the team. To take a quote from one of the better baseball movies in history, “Major League”, “They are still shitty.” I am always optimistic about my sports teams and will route them on, even if they are the worst team in the league. Many are picking the Twins as the worst in the AL again and could contend for the worst in all of MLB again. I won’t go that far but Im not going to say that they are going to win the Central. I do firmly believe that they will do better than the last 2 years. I believe that they will finish above the cellar in the Central and come in below 90 losses this year. The young pitchers are a year older and more experienced. I think they improve and by the end of the year, the rotation will look more like some mix of Diamond, Worley, Hendricks, DeVries, Deduno, and Gibson. I don’t think Pelfrey will make it through the year and Correia will be released.

In the field, Ramirez and Escobar will be the movers, in that they will be the guys sent up and down repeatedly due to injuries to other players. If Carroll makes it through the year, he isn’t going to be brought back next year unless someone makes a huge regression in their developement (eyes on Plouffe’s defense and Dozier’s offense, and a whole season of Florimon). Hicks will stay in CF, Willingham will be a mainstay in LF unless he gets dealt around the All Star Break. Parmelee will be the main RF unless his hitting doesn’t return to acceptable levels. Mastroianni will be the first in line for time when there is an injury or just a day off needed. He very easily could be starting by the end of the year due to moves. He will also be the guy for any pinch running situation. Doumit is all but locked in at DH. The only time he will be in the field is when they force Mauer or Morneau to take a day off.

Some other players that will see time in Minnesota this year. Samuel Deduno will see time as a starter because there will be injuries and I believe that aside from his injury late in spring that he would already be in Minnesota. He had a great showing in the World Baseball Classic with the Dominicans. Swarzak and Wood are both on the DL to start the season but will spend most of the season with the Twins. Butera will be there when needed. If rumors come true and the Twins decide to deal Morneau because he is in a contract season and any other stupid excuse, Jeff Clement might very well be his replacement. Or they could move Parmelee back to 1B and bring up Oswaldo Arcia. Benson and Brandon Boggs could earn time in the Bigs depending on the way chips fall. Kyle Gibson and Rich Harden could both also find a way to Minnesota this season. Gibson is recovering from Tommy John Surgery and Harden is trying to come back from multiple injuries.

Overall, the Twins still have a ton of work and developing to return to the top half of the league. They still need some starting pitching. Middle Infield needs to solidify. At last of all, the talent that is sitting in the Minors just need some more seasoning. The Twins have some big prospects that are a few years out still. Players like Sano and Buxton could be superstars of the future but both are still 2 years from even getting a late season call up. May, Meyer, and Berrios could all be front of the rotation type of starters but are at May and Meyer still have at least 1 more season on the farm and Berrios probably has 2. The future is bright but fans keep saying that. It is time for the brass to start making some smart moves, players to start showing potential, and if not certain people should be shown the door.

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Imagine an Imagination

Whatever you can imagine you can make happen. There are a lot of quotes in this world about imagination and the benefits that it provides. But in reality it is a term that most apply to children. In adults they tell you to visualize what you want. The words are pretty interchangeable but I want imagination to make a come back.

Lets look at what imagination can get us. No product in this world was made without some imagination. No invention came without imagining it first. No art, music, or movies. No video games. Nothing. To create something, you have to imagine it before you can make it. Actors have to use their imagination on a daily basis to see themselves in character. Name me a product or a job and I can find some way that a person’s imagination played a role.

My imagination, I feel, has been severely limited recently. My goal, my plan is to start using mine more often. I am imagining myself in the job and career that I want. I am happy with my health and my relationship. I am seeing a nice house, nice family, and smiles everywhere. I am going to make my images in my head a reality and will not quite until it is.

One last thing that I will leave everyone with for today is the following quote:
“Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” by Seneca. This is a great philosophy to make use of in you life and how I plan on living going forward. My advancement and future is going to happen because I am fully prepared with the opportunity presents itself. 

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