Changes or additions to the site

  • Added photo’s to 2016 Spring Training pictures link. 2/11/2016
  • Added a cool 30 minute video called “1965 World Series Highlights” to the Twins Audio and Video clips page. 2/8/2016
  • Added a 2016 Spring Training pictures link. 2/8/2016
  • Added a new page called Books about the Minnesota Twins. 1/9/2016
  • Updated Twins Rule 5 History page. 12/11/2015
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Checking out to see who is at the ballpark

Last week I stopped off at the CenturyLink Sports Complex for a couple of hours to see what was going on if anything and to see what players may have already shown up to get a jump on spring training. I have not been out earlier this year because the weather here in SW Florida has been a bit strange this year. A couple of weeks ago we had a tornado about a mile from the condo in Cape Coral and a few days later they had another tornado touch down in Ft. Myers not too far from Page Field. Cape Coral which is just across the river from Ft. Myers has had almost 13″ of rain in January and they average under 2″ of rain, so it has been a wet January. February has started out cool and windy (for this area anyway) with temperatures in the low to mid 60’s and our average is 75 for this time of the year.

Adam Walker signs for a fan.

Adam Walker signs for a fan.

When I got to the ballpark there were a couple of people buying spring training game tickets as I headed towards the back fields where I would expect to find the action if there was going to be any. You couldn’t help but hear the music blaring from the minor league clubhouse and there was probably about a dozen players out on the fields, some running, some doing some infield and others were shagging some fly balls. I didn’t see any throwing but I heard that Glen Perkins had done some throwing before I arrived. As always it is hard for me to identify a lot of these guys because many are minor league players and others may be players from other organizations that live in the area and stop by  to work out. I did see Miguel Sano, Oswaldo Arcia, Adam Walker doing some outfield work but I saw no hitting. I met Buck Britton who is a 29-year-old free agent minor leaguer the Twins signed and plays the infield and some outfield and he has spent most of his career in the Orioles organization but played in AAA for the Dodgers in 2015. Britton has no big league experience.

There was a handful of fans getting autographs and pictures and the players were more than willing to spend time with everyone. Miguel Sano was more than just patient when a couple approached him for pictures and the gentleman stood next to Sano and his wife was supposed to take their picture but she had no idea how to use the cell phone camera. She tried and tried and about five minutes later her significant other had enough and he had her pose with Sano while he took her picture. The entire time Miguel just smiled and tried to be helpful, he was more patient than I would have been. Other than that there was not much else to write home about. I will be back again later this week and see what’s up now that TwinsFest is done and training camp is just a couple of weeks away.

I took a few pictures that you can check out on the right hand side of this page under the title of 2016 spring training pictures. As I said earlier, I did not identify all the players so if you can help out feel free to do so.

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Going to work or play every day

I seldom missed a day of school back in Taylors Falls and I continued that practice at work during my working career. The Navy of course reinforced the idea that going to work every day was the only way. I am old school and retired now but back in the day when I worked I took a lot of pride in the fact that I showed up for work day in and day out rain or shine.  I figured I was being paid to work so I showed up day after day. It used to drive me crazy when I knew that certain co-workers stayed home because they were hung-over or just plain didn’t feel like working. There were probably times when it would have been safer to stay home due to the snow or ice but not me, I was off to work.

Working every day carries over to my enjoyment of baseball, I like players that come to play ball each day and don’t take time off because they are tired or have a hang-nail. These players are being paid big bucks to play, not to sit on the bench and rest, they can rest on their own time like the rest of us.

"<strongSo where am I going with this? Today we are going to take a look at the Minnesota Twins players that came to play. Today’s players are playing fewer games then their compatriots did 50 or so years ago for a variety of reasons. The change however; is not as great as I expected to find. When was the last time that a Twins player played in every game that season? That would be Justin Morneau in 2008 when he appeared in all 163 regular season games. Since 1961 and 55 baseball seasons only six Twins players have played in every game and Harmon Killebrew is the only one to do it more than once.

 

Rk Player Year G Age PA AB H HR RBI SB BA OPS Pos
1 Justin Morneau 2008 163 27 712 623 187 23 129 0 .300 .873 *3/D
2 Gary Gaetti 1984 162 25 644 588 154 5 65 11 .262 .665 *5/76
3 Roy Smalley 1979 162 26 729 621 168 24 95 2 .271 .794 *6/3
4 Harmon Killebrew 1969 162 33 709 555 153 49 140 8 .276 1.011 *5*3
6 Cesar Tovar 1967 164 26 726 649 173 6 47 19 .267 .691 5847/69H
7 Harmon Killebrew 1966 162 30 677 569 160 39 110 0 .281 .929 *537/H
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 2/5/2016.

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Working or playing every day can be tough and everyone gets sick or hurt now and then Continue reading

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Twins to bring back the “red jersey” for another try

They say that “time heals all” but we will have to wait and see if that applies to Minnesota Twins baseball jerseys too. The Twins introduced their “new” red home alternate jersey that they play to wear on Friday nights during the 2016 MLB season.

2016 infographic redesign

Back in 1997 the Twins tried a red jersey for Sunday home games and that didn’t work out so good as the players deemed the uniforms as being unlucky. Over the years the Twins have worn red jerseys five times and they have won one of those games. In 2009 I did a piece about those 1997 red jersey’s that were called the DQ jersey by some due to their resemblance to a Dairy Queen ad that ran in the Metrodome and you can see that story here.

We will have to see how the new red jersey appeals to the players and the fans. Reading some of the comments about the red jersey on Facebook you can’t help but get the impression that a lot of fans feel that it is just another money grab by Jim Pohlad’s soldiers and that the Twins would be better off investing their money in additional pitching versus new uniforms. Personally I am not a big fan of the color red because when i see a lot of red in the seats I think of the Cardinals, Red Sox or the Angels. I just don’t think of red as a Twins color.

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Met Stadium meets the wrecking ball

Met Stadium 22January 28, 1985 – The beginning of the end for Met Stadium as the wrecking ball strikes a solid blow. You can view a short clip on my Twins audio and video clip page.

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Minnesota Twins disabled list history

DLHow often have you heard MLB GM’s and managers say that if their team stays healthy and avoids the DL that they can be good, maybe really good and make a run at the playoffs? You would be rich if you got a nickel for every time that has been said. But how true is it? Truth be told it is not the number of injuries or days spent on the DL that will hurt you, it is WHO gets hurt. Lose a key player or two and your goose is cooked and it is wait until next year most of the time. Injuries to average players can be covered by an adequate bench or minor league players ready to move up to the next level, injured stars usually can not be replaced.

Off and on for the last couple of weeks I have worked on putting together some historical information on Twins injuries going back as far as I could and that turned out to be 1982. I have put this data on a new page on this site called Twins DL or just click on Twins DL in the site menu above.  If you get a few minutes check it out.

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Swing and a miss from 2000-2015

Strikeouts are up all across baseball the last few years so I thought it would be fun to see who the Minnesota Twins “King of the Whiff” is from 2000-2015. No real shockers on this list but I was a bit surprised to see Joe Mauer so high on the list even though he once had a reputation as a tough guy to strike out.

If you go all  the way back to the Twins start in 1961 you will see that Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew holds the Twins all-time strike out title with 1,314 whiffs and that equates to striking out once in every 6.10 plate appearances. However, the recently retired Hunter struck out once every 5.60 plate appearances if you look at his entire Twins career. At the rate Joe Mauer is striking out, he could replace Hunter as the 2000 to current Twins King of the Whiff this season.

 "<strong

Rk Player SO G PA R H HR RBI BA OPS
1 Torii Hunter 897 1231 5020 687 1241 205 755 .269 .792
2 Justin Morneau 839 1278 5350 669 1318 221 860 .278 .832
3 Michael Cuddyer 805 1139 4555 606 1106 141 580 .272 .794
4 Joe Mauer 772 1456 6244 817 1697 119 755 .313 .845
5 Jacque Jones 674 881 3439 438 881 123 432 .278 .781
6 Jason Kubel 591 798 3022 346 729 105 442 .269 .783
7 Corey Koskie 565 688 2834 394 671 89 377 .278 .838
8 Trevor Plouffe 522 639 2565 297 568 84 310 .245 .728
9 Brian Dozier 455 544 2374 318 503 75 247 .240 .726
10 Nick Punto 440 747 2707 311 587 12 194 .248 .648
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 1/19/2016.

During this same time period Adam Dunn went down swinging a total of 2,379 times or once every 3.50 PA’s. That’s 2,379 KO’s and 1,631 hits on the resume.

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Books about the Minnesota Twins

LibraryI have read numerous books about the Minnesota Twins organization and their players over the years not to mention having many of these books in my personal library. That got me to wondering how many books are out there about the boys of summer from Minnesota. So after a little research here is what I have come up with, I am sure I have missed some.  There are over 90 books on this list, not bad for a team that has been around for only 56 years. For more info and to see the list of books go to http://twinstrivia.com/twins-books/ . You can also find the new page called ‘Books about the Minnesota Twins” in the menu on the home page.

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CenturyLink Sports Complex upgrades continue

CenturyLink Sports Complex sign 2I was a little surprised this morning when I was reading the Ft. Myers News-Press Sports section and saw the following headline: Upgrades Underway. Ace News-Press reporter David Dorsey wrote that there was still funding left over from the big 2014-2015 Century-Link Sports Complex remodel and the Twins decided to make use of some of that money for some additional updates.

The biggest change for the fans is the new shaded canopy that covers an area of the field facing concourse on the third-base side. In addition, a permanent serving area is being added to the sky deck as is some additional weather protection for the baseline concession areas. The cost for these changes is $346,531 and it is part of the original $48.5 million in funding so the Minnesota Twins won’t have to spend a dime.

The players get new infield grass but the money for this project comes out of the routine maintenance budget. You can see the entire story in the News-Press (with pictures) here.

Don’t forget that Twins spring training tickets go on sale tomorrow morning.

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Did you remember back to when Twins pitchers batted?

The Designated Hitter rule came into play in the American League for the first time in 1973 and pitchers in the AL had to put their bats into storage where they still sit today. Since 1973 very few AL pitchers have had to dust off  and apply pine tar to their bats before walking to home plate to try to get some wood on the ball.

Do you know what pitcher got the last hit for the Minnesota Twins before the DH cane into play? How about that last Twins pitcher to bat before the DH?

I guess it was fitting that a Minnesota native Dave Goltz would be the last Twins pitcher to bat at Met Stadium before pitchers were told not to bother to bring their bats to spring training the following season. But back to the last Twins pitcher to get a hit before the DH, it happened in the same game that Goltz had the last pitcher’s at bat in front of only 3,193 fans at Met Stadium. This pitcher finished his 1972 season with a .160 average which was a career best and six RBI. Two of those six RBI came in that last at bat when he hit a double and had two RBI off Chicago White Sox pitcher Dan Neumeier to make the score Twins 10 and the mighty whitey’s 0 in the top of the fifth inning. So who was this guy? You might be surprised. But if you can’t figure it out at least take a guess and then you can look it up in the box score.

Bobby Korecky

Bobby Korecky

After the 1972 season Twins pitchers never got a hit again outside of any post season action until 1997 when Interleague play was introduced. With Interleague play pitchers once again batted in NL parks but the DH was still in play in AL parks. There was one game since the DH started that a Twins pitcher came to bat in a home game and actually had a hit and that was Bobby Korecky back on May 19, 2008 in a four hour 12 inning marathon against the Texas Rangers.

Here is a list of Twins pitchers that have gotten hits since the DH came on the scene in 1973

Rk Player Date Tm Opp Rslt PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI
1 Kyle Gibson 2015-06-16 MIN STL L 2-3 2 2 0 1 0 0 0 0
2 Mike Pelfrey 2015-05-20 MIN PIT W 4-3 2 2 0 2 0 0 0 0
3 Kevin Correia 2014-07-12 MIN COL W 9-3 3 3 0 1 1 0 0 1
4 Kyle Gibson 2014-06-02 MIN MIL L 2-6 2 2 0 1 0 0 0 0
5 Scott Diamond 2013-06-26 MIN MIA L 3-5 3 3 0 1 0 0 0 0
6 Scott Diamond 2012-05-18 MIN MIL W 11-3 3 3 1 1 0 0 0 0
7 Scott Baker 2011-06-24 MIN MIL L 3-4 3 3 0 1 0 0 0 0
8 Francisco Liriano 2011-05-22 MIN ARI L 2-3 2 2 0 1 0 0 0 1
9 Scott Baker 2011-05-21 MIN ARI L 6-9 2 2 0 1 1 0 0 0
10 Carl Pavano 2010-06-26 MIN NYM W 6-0 4 3 0 2 0 0 0 0
11 Carl Pavano 2010-06-20 MIN PHI W 4-1 4 3 0 1 0 0 0 0
12 Scott Baker 2008-06-26 MIN SDP W 4-3 3 1 1 1 0 0 0 0
13 Kevin Slowey 2008-06-13 MIN MIL W 10-2 4 4 1 2 1 0 0 2
14 Bobby Korecky 2008-05-19 MIN TEX W 7-6 1 1 0 1 0 0 0 0
15 Livan Hernandez 2008-05-17 MIN COL L 2-3 3 2 0 1 0 0 0 1
16 Nick Blackburn 2008-05-16 MIN COL W 4-2 3 3 0 1 0 0 0 0
17 Johan Santana 2007-06-24 MIN FLA W 7-4 3 3 1 1 0 1 0 1
18 Johan Santana 2007-06-19 MIN NYM W 9-0 5 4 1 1 1 0 0 0
19 Carlos Silva 2006-06-21 MIN HOU L 3-5 3 3 0 1 0 0 0 0
20 Francisco Liriano 2006-05-19 MIN MIL W 7-1 2 2 0 1 0 0 0 1
21 Joe Mays 2005-06-10 MIN LAD L 5-6 3 3 0 1 0 0 0 0
22 Johan Santana 2005-06-08 MIN ARI W 10-0 4 4 1 1 0 0 0 0
23 Johan Santana 2004-06-20 MIN MIL W 4-2 4 4 0 2 0 0 0 1
24 Johan Santana 2004-06-15 MIN MON W 8-2 4 4 0 1 0 0 0 1
25 Kyle Lohse 2003-06-21 MIN MIL L 1-8 2 1 0 1 0 0 0 0
26 Brad Radke 2003-06-20 MIN MIL L 2-3 2 2 0 1 0 0 0 0
27 Johan Santana 2003-06-07 MIN SDP W 6-2 3 3 0 1 0 0 0 0
28 Joe Mays 2003-06-03 MIN SFG W 6-4 3 1 0 1 0 0 0 0
29 Johan Santana 2002-06-23 MIN PHI W 5-1 2 2 0 1 0 0 0 0
30 Kyle Lohse 2002-06-16 MIN MIL W 7-6 2 2 0 1 0 0 0 0
31 Eric Milton 2002-06-15 MIN MIL W 5-2 4 4 0 2 0 0 0 1
32 Rick Reed 2002-06-14 MIN MIL L 5-7 3 3 0 1 0 0 0 0
33 Brad Radke 2001-07-13 MIN MIL L 3-6 2 2 0 1 0 0 0 0
34 Kyle Lohse 2001-07-12 MIN MIL W 13-5 4 4 0 2 1 0 0 1
35 Brad Radke 2001-06-17 MIN CHC L 4-5 2 2 0 1 0 0 0 0
36 Juan Rincon 2001-06-16 MIN CHC L 4-11 1 1 0 1 0 0 0 0
37 J.C. Romero 2001-06-15 MIN CHC L 3-5 2 2 1 1 1 0 0 0
38 Joe Mays 2000-07-07 MIN PIT L 6-8 2 1 1 1 1 0 0 0
39 Sean Bergman 2000-06-03 MIN CIN L 3-9 2 2 0 1 1 0 0 0
40 Joe Mays 2000-06-02 MIN CIN L 3-4 2 2 0 1 0 0 0 0
41 Dan Perkins 1999-06-11 MIN MIL W 9-7 2 2 0 1 0 0 0 0
42 Eric Milton 1998-07-02 MIN CIN L 7-8 3 3 0 1 0 0 0 0
43 Eric Milton 1998-06-22 MIN HOU W 5-3 3 3 0 1 0 0 0 1
44 Eric Milton 1998-06-06 MIN PIT L 3-4 3 3 0 2 0 0 0 0
45 Mike Morgan 1998-06-05 MIN PIT L 1-6 2 2 1 1 0 0 0 0
46 Bob Tewksbury 1997-09-02 MIN CHC L 3-9 1 1 0 1 0 0 0 1
47 Rich Robertson 1997-06-14 MIN HOU W 6-1 2 2 0 1 0 0 0 0
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 1/2/2016.

Note that in 2009 Twins pitchers had no hits. Twins pitchers also had no hits between 1973 and 1996 although four pitchers had plate appearances, but sadly they all culminated with a strike out.

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Some historical Twins pitch to contact pitchers

The pitchers on this list had to have pitched at least 25 innings during their stay in Minnesota and it is sorted in “on base %”  (OBP) order.

Johnson, Adam ML debut 07162001

Rk Player OBP IP From To G GS W L SV H BB SO ERA BA
1 Adam Johnson .450 26.1 2001 2003 9 4 1 3 0 40 14 17 10.25 .360
2 Brett Merriman .445 44.0 1993 1994 34 0 1 2 0 54 37 24 8.39 .314
3 Bryan Oelkers .437 34.1 1983 1983 10 8 0 5 0 56 17 13 8.65 .376
4 Sean Bergman .436 68.0 2000 2000 15 14 4 5 0 111 33 35 9.66 .374
5 Jason Marquis .434 34.0 2012 2012 7 7 2 4 0 52 14 12 8.47 .371
6 Vance Worley .427 48.2 2013 2013 10 10 1 5 0 82 15 25 7.21 .381
7 Greg Harris .415 32.2 1995 1995 7 6 0 5 0 50 16 21 8.82 .355
8 Steve Carlton .411 52.2 1987 1988 13 8 1 6 0 74 28 25 8.54 .332
9 Sidney Ponson .409 37.2 2007 2007 7 7 2 5 0 54 17 23 6.93 .335
10 Scott Klingenbeck .408 77.0 1995 1996 28 7 1 3 0 111 34 42 8.30 .339
11 Bob Gebhard .408 39.0 1971 1972 30 0 1 3 1 53 24 26 6.00 .317
12 Erik Bennett .402 27.1 1996 1996 24 0 2 0 1 33 16 13 7.90 .306
13 John Pacella .402 51.2 1982 1982 21 1 1 2 2 61 37 20 7.32 .299
14 Dan Perkins .401 86.2 1999 1999 29 12 1 7 0 117 43 44 6.54 .326
15 Jack Savage .397 26.0 1990 1990 17 0 0 2 1 37 11 12 8.31 .339
16 Pedro Hernandez .392 56.2 2013 2013 14 12 3 3 0 80 23 29 6.83 .338
17 Mike Lincoln .391 97.0 1999 2000 26 19 3 13 0 138 39 42 7.70 .335
18 Erik Schullstrom .387 60.0 1994 1995 46 0 0 0 1 79 27 34 6.00 .317
19 Dan Schatzeder .386 54.0 1987 1988 40 1 3 2 0 72 23 37 5.50 .321
20 Danny Fife .385 56.1 1973 1974 14 7 3 2 0 64 33 21 5.43 .286
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 12/30/2015.

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Looking back at the pace of play in 2015

Clock tickingOn February 20, 2015, MLB announced a series of initiatives aimed at quickening the pace of play in Major League games, the key changes were:

  • Umpires will enforce Rule 6.02(d), which requires hitters to keep one foot in the box during an at-bat, subject to certain exceptions.
  • Timers will be used to ensure that the game resumes promptly at the end of inning breaks.
  • Managers will no longer come out of the dugout to initiate a replay challenge. A manager will also keep his challenge after each call that is overturned. Last year, a challenge was retained only after the first overturned call.

So how did those changes pan out for you? Did you notice if the pace of play sped up? Did the pace of play speed up at all? I can’t say that I noticed if a game was any quicker or not, I did notice the new rule about stepping out of the batters box because the announcers kept harping on it. I also became aware of the clock between innings when I missed a home run because the game resumed before the television was back to the game from its barrage of commercials.

So I decided to dig in to the matter and see what Baseball-Reference could tell me. That is such a great site for research with a lot of great stuff out there but sometimes I just have trouble figuring out how to get what I want. I am an American League fan so I will spend more time looking at AL data then I will at the NL data. Having said that we will take a look at the National League first.

NL in 2015

RANK TEAM AVG GAME TIME GAMES OVER 3 H
1 Marlins 2h 51m 51
2 Nationals 2h 54m 64
3 Braves 2h 55m 65
4* Mets 2h 56m 59
5 Phillies 2h 58m 63
6* Cardinals 3h 00m 74
7 Padres 3h 01m 81
7 Brewers 3h 01m 82
9 Reds 3h 02m 69
9 Giants 3h 02m 78
9* Cubs 3h 02m 88
12* Dodgers 3h 04m 78
13* Pirates 3h 06m 79
13 Rockies 3h 06m 98
15 Diamondsbacks 3h 10m 91

Only five of the twelve NL teams had an average game time of under three hours. If you wanted to take in a quick game you needed to make sure that the Marlins were involved and if you wanted to get more baseball for your buck than you need to make sure that you were watching the Diamondbacks. The difference between the quick pace of Marlins play versus the snail’s pace of the sidewinders from the desert was 19 minutes a game on average.

Comparing AL 2014 to 2015

RANK TEAM 2014 AVG GAME TIME 2014 GAMES > 3H 2015 AVG GAME TIME 2015 GAMES > 3H % IMPROVE IN GAME TIME
1 Blue Jays* 3h 01m 77 2h 53m 65 4.4%
2 Orioles 3h 08m 96 2h 55m 61 6.9%
3 Twins 3h 07m 94 2h 57m 65 5.3%
4 Indians 3h 12m 109 2h 59m 71 6.8%
4 Rays 3h 19m 119 2h 59m 78 10.05%
6 White Sox 3h 08m 95 3h 0m 68 4.3%
6 Angels 3h 15m 69 3h 0m 69 7.7%
6 Royals* 3h 02m 87 3h 0m 70 1.1%
9 A’s 3h 05m 88 3h 01m 71 2.2%
9 Mariners 2h 59m 68 3h 01m 73 -1.1%
11 Astros* 3h 10m 106 3h 03m 84 3.7%
12 Rangers* 3h 07m 97 3h 04m 89 1.6%
13 Red Sox 3h 17m 116 3h 06m 88 5.6%
14 Yankees* 3h 13m 110 3h 08m 92 2.3%
15 Tigers 3h 14m 113 3h 09m 94 2.6%

The Royals won the most games and the A’s lost the most games. The * indicates a playoff team.

Just like in the NL the AL had five teams in 2015 that averaged under 3 hours a game. The fastest pace games on average were played by the Bluejays and they were about two minutes longer than games by the speedy NL Marlins. The slow-paced Tigers had the longest on average games in the AL but they were a minute quicker than the NL Dbacks. The one team that stands out is the Seattle Mariners who are the only AL team to have played longer games on average in 2015 than they did in 2014. The Rays deserve mention for having been the slowest paced team in the AL in 2014 with games averaging 3h 19m with 119 games over 3 hours and in 2015 they took MLB game pace guidelines to heart and cut 20 minutes off an average game and reduced their games of over 3 hours from 119 to just 71.

When you compare averages for 2014 to 2015 for the entire AL the numbers show that in 2014 a game lasted about 3h 9m and teams played an average of 99 games over 3 hours. In 2015 the average game time dropped to 3h 1m and the number of games over 3 hours dropped to 72. The number of games over 3 hours dropped by a little over 27% but the pace of the game only dropped by just over 4%.

What about of you compare the pace of play in the NL to the AL you ask? The two leagues play a different style of baseball but when all the haze faded away both leagues averaged a 3h 1m pace of play.

I think it is ironic that the only sport that doesn’t use a clock is so worried about how long their games take to play.

Just for fun – The Twins Joe Mauer makes $23 million a year. Let’s say he plays 162 games at 3 hours a game, we come up with 486 hours during the season. But let’s say that with workouts and other things he works a total of 8 hours a day for 162 games, that comes out to 1296 hours. Divide $23 million by 1,296 hours and you get an hourly wage of $17,747 an hour. Oh my goodness! I know that is being over simplistic but still…… I like Joe Mauer but this was just too good to pass up.

I am working on a longer term project that will take a historical look at the Minnesota Twins and their game times over the years so stay tuned for that.

 

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Merry Christmas

We at Twins Trivia want to wish each and every one of you a very Merry Christmas !!!

Merry Christmas 2015-animation980by300We hope that you get to enjoy this wonderful holiday with your family and friends and please don’t forget all those that are serving our country and can’t get home this holiday season.

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This Day in Twins History – Baseball Forever Changed – December 23, 1975

Messersmith, AndyMcNally, Dave 2In a decision announced on December 23, 1975, arbitrator Peter Seitz ruled that pitchers Dave McNally and Andy Messersmith were free agents because the reserve clause could not bind them to a team forever. David McNally actually retired after the 1975 season and never played baseball again while Messersmith became a free agent and signed a three-year deal with the Atlanta Braves for a grand total of $1 million that included a $400,000 signing bonus.

Several court appeals were rejected, forcing the owners into collective bargaining on the issue. Take a moment to read “The Demise of the Reserve Clause” by Stew Thornley.

Baseball-reference.com write-up on the reserve clause

How Curt Flood Changed Baseball and Killed His Career in the Process

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On this Day in Twins History – Metrodome groundbreaking – December 20, 1979

June 12, 1980: The domed Hubert H. Humphrey Stadium in downtown Minneapolis is beginning to take shape as construction continues on schedule. The 65,000-seat facility, scheduled to open in April of 1982 is about $11.7 million below budget. (Pioneer Press file photo)

June 12, 1980: The domed Hubert H. Humphrey Stadium in downtown Minneapolis is beginning to take shape as construction continues on schedule. The 65,000-seat facility, scheduled to open in April of 1982 is about $11.7 million below budget. (Pioneer Press file photo)

December 20, 1979 – With the official groundbreaking taking place, construction began on the Metrodome and it was built by the state of Minnesota at a cost of approximately $68 million. The Metrodome becomes baseballs’ third domed facility when it opened in 1982.

The Minnesota Twins moved out of the Metrodome after the 2009 season and moved across town to their new digs at Target Field. The last season that the NFL Minnesota Vikings played there was in 2013.

Metrodome late March 2014

Metrodome late March 2014

The Dome was then gutted and almost completely torn down starting in January 2014 and the new Minnesota Vikings $1+ billion US Bank Stadium is being built and will be ready for the Vikings 2016 season.

This is what the site of the Metrodome looks like now as the new US Bank rises from the ashes of the old dome. The old dome cost $68 million and the shiny new US Bank Stadium comes in at a price tag of well over a billion dollars and will be the home of the Minnesota Vikings.

This is what the site of the Metrodome looks like now as the new US Bank rises from the ashes of the old dome. The old dome cost $68 million and the shiny new US Bank Stadium comes in at a price tag of well over a billion dollars and will be the home of the Minnesota Vikings.

The US Bank construction cam can be seen here. Metrodome on Wiki.

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Opt-out clause is a black eye for baseball

soap-boxopt-out clause – a clause that permits signatories to a contract to opt out of particular provisions, or to terminate the contract early.

I make no bones about it, I abhor the opt-out clauses that are being given to major league players today. MLB players today make millions of dollars a year and still they ask for and get opt-out clauses in their contracts. What is up with that?

To my way of thinking it is simple out and out GREED on the part of players and their agents. An opt-out clause in a baseball contract makes it totally one sided in favor of the player. The plan probably was originated by an agent that realized that there was more money to be made by negotiating more contracts. The players today have no loyalty to their teams or their fans what so ever and their single focus is putting more money in their pockets. They claim that they are doing all they can for the team but that is all BS, or they wouldn’t bail out of a contract if it was advantageous to them.

The players and agents aren’t the only ones to blame here, today’s baseball team owners must be the stupidest in sports. Why would you pay out hundred’s of millions on a long term contract and take all the risk that entails and still give the player an opt-out?  If the players plays like crap then he stays in the contract and you have to pay him, but if he feels he is in position to make an even better deal for himself he bails and says thank you very much sucker.

Why would you do something like that? Because players and their agents demand long term contracts to and must be smarter than most baseball owners. How can players that sign long term deals with an opt-out clause stand up before a microphone as they try on their new uniform for the first time and say with a straight face how excited they are to join this new team that they have admired from afar and now get a chance to help take them to the promised land? Why don’t they just look into the camera and say, “I signed to play with this team because they agreed to pay me the most money this year but if team X offers me more in 2019, I am outta here”. Wouldn’t play well with the fans you say? Get real!

Back in the old days before free agency players were tied to their teams for life but then free agency and arbitration came along and now the players and their agents are in the drivers seat. The pendelum has swung too far the other way. Players used to take pay cuts when they had a bad season and got raises for good seasons. When was the last time you heard of a player getting a pay cut because he had a bad year?

How is an opt-out different from investing money in the stock market and being given your investment back if the stock you bought goes down in price, who does that? No one, we would all love to have that option but no one is dumb enough to give that to us. Baseball is a unique business I know, but I don’t understand for the life of me why owners put up with this. If the owners band together and put a stop to this silly practice I’m sure they would get sued for collusion so the only way to put a stop to it is to negotiate it out of existence. Surely we will see more of these opt-out deals in the near future but hopefully the owners will come to their senses and negotiate this out of existence in future league/player contracts at their first opportunity.

Owners need players and players need owners for the great game of baseball to flourish but it has to be a level playing surface for both sides, Opt-outs are totally unfair, it is embarrassing that baseball allows this to keep happening.

UPDATE – A different opinion of the opt-out clause can be seen here.

Posted in Soap Box | Tagged | 2 Comments

1965 American League Champions crossword puzzle – Part 36

crossword image

The snow is falling and it is a bit chilly outside as you rush around preparing for the up-coming holiday season. Presents to buy, decorating to do and all that baking is still to be done or maybe you are just at the office looking to kill some time before your next meeting so maybe you should sit down for a bit and forget all the pressures of your life and think back 50 years to the summer of 1965 and the great pennant run of Minnesota Twins.

I have been doing a series on the 1965 American League champions all season long in this the 50th anniversary of that great season. This is the 36th and final installment of that series and it is in the form of a crossword puzzle. It will hopefully bring back some wonderful memories of the year when the Minnesota Twins won 102 games and advanced to the 1965 World Series only to lose in seven games to the Los Angeles Dodgers. The puzzle contains the names of all the players and coaches (some more than once) that were on the 1965 roster and many other interesting facts about the 1965 Twins team.

Once you have brought the puzzle up and are ready to print the puzzle, do a right-click with your mouse and you might want to do a print preview first to get the puzzle the right size to fit on a single page. The clues for the puzzle will print on page 2.

1965 American League Champions crossword

Answers? You want answers? Probably just to double-check your work because if you are checking out this site you are probably a big Twins fan and will not need any research to complete the puzzle. If you do need help answering some, the answer might be found else where on this site. If you must see the answers, you can find them on the link below but only do so as a last resort. Thanks, I hope you enjoy it.

1965 American League Champions crossword answers

Posted in Puzzles, Remembering the 1965 season | Leave a comment

These guys seldom hear “He gone” or “Grab some bench”

The other day I was having lunch and reading my newest Memories and Dreams magazine put out by the Hall of Fame. There are always good stories in this magazine and in this edition there was a short one page article by Marty Appel called A Second Look at Hall of Famer Nellie Fox.

Fox, NellieI am old enough to have seen Nellie play second base for the Chicago White Sox in early 60’s although by then he was on the down-hill side of his amazing career that started back in 1951. Not only was the man a twelve time all-star but he was the American League MVP in 1959.

Fox was one tough dude to strike out, in over 10,000 plate appearances he struck out just 216 times, that is incredible. He once had a record 98 straight games without being retired on strikes.

That got me to thinking about the Twins and how often they strike out. Now days players strike out more frequently then they once did and baseball and teams just kind of wink and say “yes, he strikes out but look at all those home runs”. If Nellie went 98 games with striking out what is the Twins longest streak of games without striking out.

Rk Name Strk Start End Games AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB BA OBP OPS
1 Earl Battey 1965-08-02 1965-09-05 35 110 7 28 9 1 0 18 12 .255 .323 .677
2 Brian Harper 1989-04-11 1989-05-31 28 74 9 17 4 0 3 15 4 .230 .294 .700
3 Glenn Adams 1980-05-24 1980-07-04 27 71 8 23 5 0 0 13 5 .324 .354 .749
4 Sandy Valdespino 1965-07-07 1965-08-15 27 46 7 16 1 0 0 6 4 .348 .400 .770
5 Hal Naragon 1961-08-26 1962-06-05 27 55 1 15 1 0 0 3 5 .273 .328 .619
6 Rich Chiles 1977-07-08 1977-08-21 25 55 6 11 0 0 1 6 7 .200 .302 .556
7 Mickey Hatcher 1983-08-23 1983-09-19 24 90 11 32 4 0 3 15 2 .356 .366 .866
8 Vic Power 1962-04-15 1962-05-20 24 89 10 27 2 0 3 14 4 .303 .333 .760
9 Chip Hale 1996-04-02 1996-05-21 23 26 4 10 3 0 1 6 3 .385 .448 1.064
10 Frank Kostro 1967-06-22 1967-09-17 23 21 3 8 0 0 0 1 2 .381 .435 .816
11 Jerry Terrell 1976-07-25 1976-09-05 21 50 7 14 0 1 0 4 3 .280 .327 .647
12 Leo Cardenas 1971-04-27 1971-05-20 21 76 12 25 5 1 3 13 7 .329 .381 .920
13 Brian Harper 1988-07-03 1988-08-12 20 66 5 25 6 0 2 8 2 .379 .391 .952
14 Dave Meier 1984-08-23 1985-06-10 20 45 5 8 1 0 0 4 2 .178 .213 .413
15 Jose Morales 1979-09-25 1980-05-20 20 39 5 11 1 0 1 5 3 .282 .326 .710
16 Rod Carew 1974-09-29 1975-05-10 20 66 11 26 5 1 0 5 9 .394 .461 .961
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 12/11/2015.
Credit to Steve's Baseball Photography Pages

Credit to Steve’s Baseball Photography Pages

Are you kidding me, Earl Battey with a 35 game streak of no strike outs during the 1965 pennant race? Wowsers, that is amazing. I sure don’t remember Battey having such a good eye at the plate but when you look at his numbers you will find out he never struck out more than 75 times in a season. Brain Harper is on the list twice, with a 28 game streak and a 20 game streak. I used to love watching Harper bat, he always seemed to make contact and what I remember most about him was how he followed each and every pitch all the way to the catchers glove.

You will notice that the most recent Twins streak of at least 20 games with out striking out goes back to 1996 when Chip Hale had a 23 gamer, today Chip Hale manages the Arizona Diamondbacks.

 

Aoki as a KC Royal in 2014

Aoki as a KC Royal in 2014

Who had the longest streak of this kind in 2015 you ask? That would be Nori Aoki from the San Francisco Giants with a 22 game streak from June 6 to August 5 and that was after he had a 20 game streak from May 5 to May 31. He must have had something in his eye because he struck out once a game on June 1, 2 and 3. That means from May 9 to August 5, Aoki had 187 plate appearances and struck out 3 times. Nice! Aoki just signed to play with Seattle a week or so ago.

How about the Minnesota Twins in 2015? The most games streak with out a strikeout was 10 by catcher Kurt Suzuki.

To me one of the oddest things about the above list is that catchers make up the top three streaks and Jose Morales is a bit further down the list and he played a handful of games behind the plate too. Now in 2015 Suzuki has the longest streak. Why is that?

Is it because catchers just naturally have a better eye for the strike zone? I doubt it. Do catchers learn as the game goes along how the umpire is calling balls and strikes and they can put that information to use? Are catchers skillful enough to do that? Or is it that maybe umpires have a certain degree of empathy for catchers and build friendships with them over time that causes them subconsciously not to call strikes on them as often? You gotta wonder… or is it just a quirk that three Twins catchers are on top of this list?

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Twins games to be streamed in Minnesota

FOXSportsNetsI guess I missed this short story in the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal back in November but it is kind of a big deal depending on how Fox Sports North rolls it out. As they say, the devil is in the details. Why is this not being promoted more? I wonder too how and if this will impact Minnesota Twins ticket sales.

 Fans will finally be able to stream Minnesota Twins games in Minnesota

Manfred Announces 3-Year Deal With FOX To Have MLB Games Streamed In-Market

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Quality starts were not my forte

In my short Minnesota Twins career which was spread over two seasons I started a total of seven games but had zero quality starts. No other pitcher in Twins history can say that. Who am I?

Posted in Who am I? | 1 Comment

Twins agree to terms with Korean slugger Byung Ho Park

The 30 day window the Minnesota Twins purchased for $12.85 million for an opportunity to sign Nexen Heroes South Korean star first baseman Byung Ho Park wasn’t set to expire until December 8 but the Twins wasted no time and had their man signed, delivered, and presented to Twins fans on Tuesday December 1. According to numerous reports the Twins gave Park a four-year $12 million deal that includes a $6.5 million club option ($500K buyout) for the 2020 campaign. Minnesota will pay Park $2.75 million annually for the deal’s first two seasons and then $3 million in 2018 and again 2019.

Park, Byung HoPark, 29, hit .343/.436/.714 with 53 home runs and 146 RBIs for the Nexen Heroes in 2015. There isn’t a lot of history to go on for how a good hitter in his athletic prime will translate from the KBO to the MLB, but Pittsburgh’s Jung Ho Kang is an encouraging comparison if you’re a Twins fan.

The question becomes who will play where as the Twins appeared over-stocked with corner infielders. Incumbents are Joe Mauer at first and Trevor Plouffe at third but Park is also a first baseman and supposedly has played some outfield and Miguel Sano was the DH last season but the Twins want him on the field in 2016 and plan to move him to the outfield. Kennys Vargas and Oswaldo Arcia are also looking for a roster spot and both probably fit best as a DH. 1B/outfielder Max Kepler had a breakout season and was rewarded with a September call-up and he too has his eye on Twins roster spot. Of course we can’t forget about Danny Santana who had a great rookie year in 2014 but crashed and burned this past season.

It wasn’t that long ago that the Twins had a glut of outfielders and Twins management said it would all sort itself out. After the season ended the Twins said that the excess of outfielders became an issue and they had to clean things up. Now the Twins say the excess of corner fielders is not an issue again, I find that hard to believe and think that the trade winds are brewing for a couple of Twins or wannabe Twins.

Lots of potential here but also lots of unknown’s, it could be the most interesting rest of the winter and spring for Twins position players in years. I can’t wait for spring training to start.

Park Infographic

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These guys were Twins players too

CoffeeAccording to Wikipedia, a “cup of coffee” is a North American sports idiom for a short time spent by a minor league player at the major league level. The idea behind the term is that the player was only in the big leagues long enough to have a cup of coffee before being returned to the minors, or simply to describe a brief stint served with a professional team. The term originated in baseball and is extensively used in ice hockey,

The 52 players listed below appeared in five or fewer games wearing a Twins uniform. Some of them ended up playing for other major league teams and had long big league careers and others did not. Those that did not play in major league games other than the games mentioned here still achieved their dream of playing in a major league game, a wish that most of us reading this can only dream about. Some of these players had very short big league careers but they climbed the ladder and reached the top, their stay may not have been long but they touched the star they fought so long and hard to achieve.

The reasons that their stays in ‘the show” were not as long as they had hoped were many, some careers ended due to injury, others due to rumors and or politics, personal reasons, maybe they couldn’t stay sober or drug free, some heard the call from their country and other just were not good enough to play in the major leagues. But the bottom line is that they were one of the 758 players that appeared in a Minnesota Twins game so they should not be forgotten.

Although the list below has all the positions covered, most of the players on this list are pitchers. Some of the players on this list like Max Kepler and Alex Meyer will probably drop off this list in the near future but for now they find their names on this list of Twins players that many Minnesota Twins fans have never heard of.

Bruckbauer, Fred 2Probably the most famous or infamous player on this list is the now deceased pitcher Fred Bruckbauer. Born in New Ulm, Minnesota Bruckbauer pitched for the University of Minnesota and appeared in one game for the Minnesota Twins on April 25, 1961. The Twins were trailing the Kansas City A’s 7-2 at Municipal Stadium when Fred took the mound in the bottom of the fourth inning. A double by Dick Howser, a single by Jay Hankins, a walk to Jerry Lumpe and a double by Lou Klimchock and Twins manager Cookie Lavagetto had seen enough and brought in Chuck Stobbs, and Bruckbauer’s big league pitching career ended then and there. Fred Bruckbauer’s pitching line for the game and his career was three hits, one walk and four earned runs in zero innings pitched giving him an ERA of infinity. Bruckbauer never again pitched in a major league game, but remember, he pitched in a big league game.

 Players who appeared in five or fewer Twins games in their career

Rk Player G From To Age PA AB H BA Pos
1 Corky Miller 5 2005 2005 29-29 12 12 0 .000 /*2HD
2 Mike Fetters 5 2003 2003 38-38 0 0 0 /*1
3 Gary Rath 5 1999 1999 26-26 0 0 0 /*1
4 Shane Bowers 5 1997 1997 25-25 0 0 0 /*1
5 Greg Brummett 5 1993 1993 26-26 0 0 0 /*1
6 Mike Maksudian 5 1993 1993 27-27 17 12 2 .167 /*3H5
7 Rich Yett 5 1985 1990 22-27 0 0 0 /*1
8 Mike Mason 5 1988 1988 29-29 0 0 0 /*1
9 Tack Wilson 5 1983 1983 27-27 4 4 1 .250 /*HD8
10 Jim Shellenback 5 1977 1977 33-33 0 0 0 /*1
11 Jim Manning 5 1962 1962 18-18 1 1 0 .000 /*1
12 Howie Clark 4 2008 2008 34-34 8 8 2 .250 /*345
13 Darnell McDonald 4 2007 2007 28-28 11 10 1 .100 /*9HD
14 Jason Miller 4 2007 2007 24-24 0 0 0 /*1
15 J.D. Durbin 4 2004 2004 22-22 0 0 0 /*1
16 Warren Morris 4 2002 2002 28-28 7 7 0 .000 /*4H
17 Jose Rodriguez 4 2002 2002 27-27 0 0 0 /*1
18 Danny Mota 4 2000 2000 24-24 0 0 0 /*1
19 Tom Quinlan 4 1996 1996 28-28 6 6 0 .000 /*5H
20 Riccardo Ingram 4 1995 1995 28-28 10 8 1 .125 /*D*H
21 Keith Comstock 4 1984 1984 28-28 0 0 0 /*1
22 Jay Pettibone 4 1983 1983 26-26 0 0 0 /*1
23 John Hobbs 4 1981 1981 25-25 0 0 0 /*1
24 Bill Whitby 4 1964 1964 20-20 1 1 0 .000 /*1
25 Jake Jacobs 4 1961 1961 24-24 8 8 2 .250 /*8H
26 Max Kepler 3 2015 2015 22-22 7 7 1 .143 /*H*9
27 Kris Johnson 3 2014 2014 29-29 1 1 0 .000 /*1
28 Juan Morillo 3 2009 2009 25-25 0 0 0 /*1
29 Joe Beimel 3 2004 2004 27-27 0 0 0 /*1
30 Luis Quinones 3 1992 1992 30-30 6 5 1 .200 /*H6D5
31 Greg Olson 3 1989 1989 28-28 2 2 1 .500 /*2
32 Tippy Martinez 3 1988 1988 38-38 0 0 0 /*1
33 Jeff Bittiger 3 1987 1987 25-25 0 0 0 /*1
34 Kevin Stanfield 3 1979 1979 23-23 0 0 0 /*1
35 Bucky Guth 3 1972 1972 24-24 3 3 0 .000 /*H6
36 Bucky Brandon 3 1969 1969 28-28 2 1 0 .000 /*1
37 Don Williams 3 1963 1963 27-27 0 0 0 /*1
38 Alex Meyer 2 2015 2015 25-25 0 0 0 /*1
39 Eric Hacker 2 2011 2011 28-28 0 0 0 /*1
40 Armando Gabino 2 2009 2009 25-25 0 0 0 /*1
41 Kevin Mulvey 2 2009 2009 24-24 0 0 0 /*1
42 Ryan Jorgensen 2 2008 2008 29-29 1 1 0 .000 /*2
43 Dave Gassner 2 2005 2005 26-26 0 0 0 /*1
44 Mauro Gozzo 2 1992 1992 26-26 0 0 0 /*1
45 Dan Graham 2 1979 1979 24-24 4 4 0 .000 /*H*D
46 Buzz Stephen 2 1968 1968 23-23 4 3 0 .000 /*1
47 Chuck Nieson 2 1964 1964 21-21 0 0 0 /*1
48 Rob Delaney 1 2010 2010 25-25 0 0 0 /*1
49 Matt Fox 1 2010 2010 27-27 0 0 0 /*1
50 Justin Huber 1 2009 2009 26-26 2 2 1 .500 /*3
51 Mike Smith 1 2006 2006 28-28 0 0 0 /*1
52 Fred Bruckbauer 1 1961 1961 23-23 0 0 0 /*1
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 12/1/2015.

Did you know that 355 (or 46.8%) of the 758 players that wore a Twins uniform played in 49 or fewer games as a Minnesota Twin? Don’t get too attached to that player because he will probably not be around for long.

Do any of these guys bring back a special memory for you? Do you remember seeing them play? Feel free to leave a comment.

Posted in Did You Know? | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Twins 2015 Turkey of Year winner is:

Turkey CartoonHappy Thanksgiving! It is once again that time of the year to select our annual Twins Turkey of the Year winner. This year we get to select our seventh annual Twins Turkey of the Year award winner, who will be lucky number seven? As always we have plenty of blue-chip candidates to scrutinize, analyze, and reflect on. First off we need to narrow the list down to a manageable size.

Trevor Plouffe

Trevor Plouffe

Didn’t make the final fiveTrevor Plouffe – Trevor makes the list not because of bad hitting or fielding but he makes this list because he managed to make three outs on the base paths in just one game. In the June 19 game in which the Twins beat the Chicago Cubs 7-2 at Target Field, Plouffe seemingly forgot how to run the bases. Mike Berardino did a nice piece on it that you can read here. Plouffe went 2 for 4 with 4 RBI in a game the Twins won so everyone got some chuckles out of Plouffe’s misadventures but it was still a game that Plouffe will never forget. Box score.

Phil Hughes 2015Didn’t make the final fivePhil Hughes – In his first season with Minnesota in 2014 had a 3.52 ERA and a 16-10 record with a record-breaking BB9 of 0.7 for a team that won 70 games. In 2015 Hughes spend a month on the DL due to lower back issues and missed 32 games. Because of his injury he pitched just 155 innings versus 209+ in 2014 and had a 4.40 ERA with an 11-9 record when the Twins won 83 games. The only thing that Hughes was a league leader in was home runs allowed with 29. The Twins were so pleased with Hughes work that after the 2014 season ended that Hughes, 28, was rewarded with a three-year extension worth $42 million that brings his total contract value to $66 million over six years, including 2014 when he made $8 million. Hughes, who was slated to make $8 million in both 2015 and ’16, will now make $9.2 million each of those years before making $13.2 million per season from 2017-19. I sure hope that Hughes doesn’t turn out to be another money pit.

Glen Perkins 2015Didn’t make the final fiveGlen Perkins – You have to wonder why a closer who has made the AL All-Star team for the last three seasons was nominated for the 2015 Twins Turkey of the Year award and an opportunity to become the first two-time winner of this honor. That won’t happen this year because there were so many more qualified candidates so why is he even here? During the first three months of the season Perkins had 28 saves but from July 9 until the season ended opposing batters hit .348 off Perkins and he had a total of 4 saves, a 6.97 ERA and gave up 7 home runs in 20.2 innings and in the process lost his closer role to Kevin Jepsen. In 2014 Perkins had a similar meltdown from about mid August through the end of the season although he was shut down for the season on September 17.  From August 19 until the season ended Perkins had a 9.64 ERA and allowed batters to hit .342 off him (not to mention giving up five home runs)  while he registered 3 saves and lost 3 games. Has Perkins who will be 33 when the 2016 season opens lost it? Perkins is kind of a Jeckle and Hyde personality. He has a reputation for being a big community guy in the limelight and in public but one on one with fans when there are no cameras around Perkins can be a snob and pretty mean to fans trying to get his autograph. But what gets me is that Perkins doesn’t bring up the fact that he is injured until he has a number of bad outings in a row and then he blames his injuries for his bad pitching. Perkins is all about Perkins and not exactly a team player or leader in my book.

Arcia

Arcia

Vargas

Vargas

Danny Santana

Danny Santana

Didn’t make the final five – troika of Danny Santana, Kennys Vargas and Oswaldo Arcia – The Twins expected all three of these guys to win starting jobs in 2015 and they all failed miserably and yet the Twins improved by 13 wins from the previous season. If just one of these guys had the kind of season that was expected of them the Twins would have been playing playoff baseball in October. I know, I know, “if the bear hadn’t stopped to take a dump in the woods he would still be alive today.” All three of these guys will turn 25 in 2016 so it is too early to give up on them but at the same time their futures with the Twins have dimmed considerably. The Twins have already stated that Eduardo Escobar is the lead dog at shortstop going into 2016. The Twins are exploring selling Kennys Vargas to a team in Korea and Oswaldo Arcia is supposedly trade bait. It would be a shame if all three fail to become major league players with Minnesota. Each of them have shown they can be quality players in their rookie seasons but the sophomore year has proven to be much tougher. I hope the Twins hang on to these guys for at least one more season so they have another opportunity to prove they can help the Twins. And now we move on to the finalists!

Tim Stauffer

Tim Stauffer

Fourth runner-up – Tim Stauffer – The Twins signed Stauffer as a free agent on December 23, 2014 for $2.2 million and it made for a great Christmas gift for Stauffer but for the Twins it turned out to be lump of coal. The Twins said that they would give the 33 year-old Stauffer who had started just four games since 2011 an opportunity to make the starting rotation in the spring but he failed there so the Twins moved him to the bullpen. In April, Stauffer appeared in 8 games pitching 9.2 innings, allowing 16 hits, 6 walks, 10 runs, allowed opposing batters to hit .372 and put up a 8.38 ERA. To be fair I should mention he did strike out 2 of the 50 batters he faced. Stauffer went on the DL on May 1 for a “right intercostal strain” and was reactivated on May 22. Who recovers from an intercostal strain in just three weeks? Anyway, the Twins used Stauffer two times in May and three times in June before the Twins released him on June 17 and sent his butt packing. Stauffer eventually signed as a FA with the Mets. That was a quick $2.2 million down the crapper. I give the Twins credit for trying to upgrade the bullpen with this signing but this will certainly not go on anyone’s resume as one of their better finds.

Torii Hunter 2015Third runner-up – Torii Hunter – The Twin paid $10.5 million to free agent Torii Hunter to get his services for the past season. That is a lot of money to pay an outfielder who was starting his nineteenth big league season and would turn 40 at mid-season. Torii was the Twins number one selection and 20th overall in the 1993 draft. Technically, Torii was a compensation pick from the Cincinnati Reds after they signed Twins free agent pitcher John Smiley. The Twins also had a supplemental pick in round 1 number 33 overall for losing Smiley and they selected RHP Marc Barcelo but he never reached the big leagues. The Twins own pick was number 21 and they used that to select catcher Jason Varitek but he decided not to sign with Minnesota. That same year they received another first round supplemental pick in round 1 which was number 38 overall for the loss of Greg Gagne to and they used that pick on outfielder Kelcey Mucker who never reached the big leagues either. After being drafted in 1993 Hunter made his major league debut with the Twins on August 22, 1997 as a pinch runner in his only big league appearance that season. So why is Torii on the list after all this? He is here because he made a fool of himself and the Minnesota Twins during his news conference to announce his return to the Minnesota Twins after a seven year hiatus. Hunter responded to a question from Twins beat reporter Mike Berardino by calling the reporter a “prick.” Not once, twice, thrice but four times. You can see it here on the Deadspin video. Hunter is no rookie in front of a microphone and could have handled the situation much better versus creating a scene at an event to reintroduce him to Twins fans. Very unprofessional in my opinion for a person that was brought back not only to play right field but was brought back to help teach the Twins younger players how to act and play the game the right way in the major leagues. Shame on you Torii!

Joe Mauer 2015Second runner-upJoe Mauer – Mauer’s 12th season in a Twins uniform had its up’s and down’s, he played in a career high 158 games and had a career high 666 plate appearances but on the other side of the coin he had career lows in batting average by hitting .265 and OBP with a .338. In the last four seasons he has struck out 88, 89, 96 and 112 times as to compared to his previous high strike out mark of 64. The former MVP and six-time all-star hung up his catchers gear after the 2013 season primarily due to concussion issues and took over first base duties on a full-time basis. Joe and his wife Maddie also started a family in 2013 when Maddie gave birth to twin girls on July 24. Since 2013 Mauer’s batting skills have gone down hill quicker than Ingemar Stenmark. The question is why, is it just age, is it his personal life where all of a sudden his marriage and children become more important on his list of priorities (as they should) or was it giving up catching and moving to first base. No one knows the answer to that except Mauer himself but I think that Mauer saw himself as a Hall of Fame catcher and once he realized his catching career was over the game just wasn’t the same challenge it once was and subconsciously Mauer has lost interest in doing what it takes to be the best, and family time has moved up on his list of priorities. The problem is that Mauer’s $23 million salary chewed up about 23% of the teams opening day payroll, he is so even-tempered he never seems to show any emotion, he shows no outward signs of being a team leader and he is a local legend born in St. Paul. Right or wrong, the general public associates big money with leadership and Mauer has shown nothing in that regard. Twins fans want to see the team win and when you have a guy that hits 10 home runs, knocks in just 66 RBI hitting in the three hole and makes $23 million, you have a problem. Manager Paul Molitor had Mauer in the number 3 spot in the batting order 133 times this past season. Mauer has appeared in 1,453 games and he has started a game in the number 3 spot a total of 1,143 times and he has hit in the number 2 spot 228 times. Back in 2004 and 2005 he hit in the 6, 7 and 8 hole a total of 22 times. Yet, Molitor continues to say this off-season that there is no real reason not to have Mauer bat third. I can’t believe that Mauer would object to being put in a lower spot in the order to help the team win. If he does, then we have a real problem because the Twins are on the hook to pay Mauer who has a full no trade clause $23 million for the next three seasons. If Joe Mauer is in the three spot in the batting order in 2016 (unless he is on a tear) it will be on Paul Molitor and he will be high on next years Twins Turkey of the Year ballot and he should be updating his resume.

Ervin Santana 2015This years Twins Turkey of the Year runner-up isErvin Santana – Last December Ervin Santana agreed to a four-year deal with the Twins worth around $54 million. That would be the largest free agent contract in Twins history, narrowly topping last year’s four-year, $49 million deal with RHP Ricky Nolasco. So how did the right-handed throwing Santana repay the Twins? MLB announced on April 3, 2015 just days before the 2015 season started that Santana has been suspended for 80 games without pay leaving the Twins without their number two starter. Santana was suspended after testing positive for Stanozolol, a performance-enhancing substance. In a statement released through the players’ union, Santana said he did not know how the PED got into his system. Stanozolol is by far one of the most popular anabolic steroids of all time. This is an anabolic steroid that has gained worldwide media attention numerous times. It was the Stanozolol hormone that made headlines during the 1988 Olympics when Ben Johnson was stripped of his medal, and has been linked to the MLB more times than can be counted. It is important to take stanozolol regularly to get the most benefit. If that is the case then how could Santana not know that he ingested it? If you know you are in line to sign a big contract why would you take a chance and take anabolic steroids? Questions only Santana can answer. The good news? It saved the Twins $6.75 million but the bad news is that it probably cost the Twins a playoff spot. The Twins have Santana for the next three years plus another possible option year, Santana better start paying back some of the faith the Twins placed in him.

Ricky Nolasco 2015The Twins 2015 Turkey of the Year winner in a landslide is pitcher Ricky Nolasco. The Minnesota Twins announced on December 3, 2013 that they have signed free agent right-handed pitcher Ricky Nolasco to a four-year contract worth $49 million with a club option that could vest in 2018. Twins fans were ecstatic, this was the biggest free agent deal the Twins had ever done and it was for a starting pitcher. What could go wrong? Nolasco will earn a guaranteed $12 million salary in each year of the contract (2014-2017). Nolasco was 6-12 with a 5.38 ERA in 27 starts in 2014. Nolasco missed 32 games with right elbow soreness that season by spending July 7 through September 15 on the disabled list. This past season Nolasco had a deceiving 5-2 record with a 6.75 ERA. In 37.1 innings Nolasco gave up 50 hits and walked 14 more while striking out 35. It seems Nolasco can’t stay healthy, in his first trip to the DL this year from April 11 through May 2 for right elbow inflammation, he missed 21 games. His next trip to the DL lasted from June 4 to September 25 for a right ankle impingement issue which caused him to miss 103 games. When he returned from his second trip to the DL, Nolasco appeared in 2 games, relieving in one and starting the other. In those two games he pitched a total of 4.2 innings, allowed 8 earned runs, walked four, and allowed 6 hits, two of them were home runs. On the plus side, he struck out 7 batters. WOW! I wonder what he can do for an encore! I sure hope we Twins fans get more than what Nolasco has shown us so far for that $49 million that Jim Pohlad spent to get him to come to Minnesota. So far all Nolasco has given us are excuses.

 

 

Previous Twins Turkey of Year Winners

2014 – Outfielder Aaron Hicks
2013 – Twins President Dave St. Peter
2012 – Twins owner Jim Pohlad
2011 – Catcher Joe Mauer
2010 – Infielder Brendan Harris
2009 – Pitcher Glen Perkins
 

HAPPY THANKSGIVING

 

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No-hitters and near no-hitters in Twins history

No-hitterSince the Twins started play in April of 1961 there have been 148 complete game no-hitters thrown in the majors, Minnesota Twins pitchers have thrown five of them.

Rk Player Date Opp Rslt App,Dec IP R BB SO Pit BF
1 Francisco Liriano 2011-05-03 CHW W 1-0 SHO9, W 9.0 0 6 2 123 30
2 Eric Milton 1999-09-11 ANA W 7-0 SHO9, W 9.0 0 2 13 122 28
3 Scott Erickson 1994-04-27 MIL W 6-0 SHO9, W 9.0 0 4 5 128 31
4 Dean Chance 1967-08-25 (2) CLE W 2-1 CG 9, W 9.0 1 5 8 31
6 Jack Kralick 1962-08-26 KCA W 1-0 SHO9, W 9.0 0 1 3 28

During that same time frame (1961-present) MLB pitchers have thrown 534 complete game one-hitters and came with-in spitting distance of getting their name on the no-hitter list. Eleven different Twins pitchers accomplished that feat and Bert Blyleven did it three times in a Twins uniform.

Bert Blyleven

Bert Blyleven

Rk Player Date Opp Rslt App,Dec IP H R BB SO Pit BF
1 Scott Baker 2007-08-31 (2) KCR W 5-0 SHO9, W 9.0 1 0 1 9 111 29
2 Scott Erickson 1992-07-24 (1) BOS W 5-0 SHO9, W 9.0 1 0 2 3 106 30
3 Ken Schrom 1985-06-26 KCR W 2-1 CG 9, W 9.0 1 1 5 4 32
4 Geoff Zahn 1980-06-06 TOR W 5-0 SHO9, W 9.0 1 0 3 6 32
5 Dave Goltz 1977-08-23 BOS W 7-0 SHO9, W 9.0 1 0 3 10 32
6 Bert Blyleven 1974-07-04 TEX W 3-1 CG 9, W 9.0 1 1 4 6 32
7 Bert Blyleven 1973-09-26 OAK W 4-1 CG 9, W 9.0 1 1 1 8 29
8 Jim Kaat 1973-07-01 CAL W 2-1 CG 9, W 9.0 1 1 0 7 29
9 Bert Blyleven 1973-05-24 KCR W 2-0 SHO9, W 9.0 1 0 2 7 30
10 Dean Chance 1967-05-11 KCA W 8-0 SHO9, W 9.0 1 0 6 8 34
11 Dave Boswell 1966-07-30 BAL W 7-0 SHO9, W 9.0 1 0 1 11 30
12 Mudcat Grant 1965-09-25 (1) WSA W 5-0 SHO9, W 9.0 1 0 2 7 30
13 Gerry Arrigo 1964-06-26 (1) CHW W 2-0 SHO9, W 9.0 1 0 1 8 31

In 55 seasons of play the Twins have had one or fewer hits in a game 36 times and on five of those occasions they were not able to muster even a single hit. This past season the Twins had only a single hit in a game three times which tied them with 1980 when they also were one-hit three times.

Rk Date Opp Rslt PA R H BB SO LOB GmLen
1 2015-08-14 CLE L 1-6 28 1 1 1 7 0 146
2 2015-07-31 SEA L 1-6 30 1 1 1 11 2 143
3 2015-06-09 KCR L 0-2 31 0 1 4 5 4 170
4 2013-05-24 DET L 0-6 31 0 1 3 12 4 155
5 2012-05-05 SEA L 0-7 30 0 1 2 10 3 153
6 2012-05-02 LAA L 0-9 29 0 0 1 9 2 148
7 2011-09-05 (2) CHW L 0-4 28 0 1 0 9 1 146
8 2011-04-02 TOR L 1-6 30 1 1 4 7 2 150
9 2010-08-23 TEX L 0-4 32 0 1 6 9 5 160
10 2008-05-06 CHW L 1-7 32 1 1 3 5 4 147
11 2005-08-23 CHW W 1-0 27 1 1 2 3 2 128
12 2000-08-01 BAL L 0-10 32 0 1 2 15 5 173
13 1998-07-16 SEA L 0-3 31 0 1 3 11 4 151
14 1998-05-17 NYY L 0-4 27 0 0 0 11 0 160
15 1988-05-21 TEX L 0-3 30 0 1 2 2 3 139
16 1987-06-26 TEX L 0-1 31 0 1 6 7 4 146
17 1985-08-19 MIL L 1-4 29 1 1 0 8 1 138
18 1985-07-14 DET L 0-8 31 0 1 3 7 4 148
19 1982-09-28 (1) TOR L 0-3 28 0 1 1 2 1 93
20 1982-09-04 BAL L 0-3 30 0 1 2 7 3 123
21 1980-10-05 KCR L 0-4 32 0 1 3 2 5 125
22 1980-08-21 (2) DET L 2-4 31 2 1 3 6 2 127
23 1980-04-23 CAL L 0-17 33 0 1 4 1 6 161
24 1976-08-10 BAL L 0-2 29 0 1 1 5 2 127
25 1976-06-14 BOS L 0-5 30 0 1 4 2 3 140
26 1974-09-28 CAL L 0-4 35 0 0 8 15 8 142
27 1970-09-21 OAK L 0-6 28 0 0 1 9 1 141
28 1970-08-13 WSA L 0-1 28 0 1 1 7 1 122
29 1969-08-10 BAL L 0-2 31 0 1 3 8 4 118
30 1969-05-15 BAL L 0-5 29 0 1 2 6 2 141
31 1968-05-08 OAK L 0-4 27 0 0 0 11 0 148
32 1967-04-30 (2) WSA L 0-3 29 0 1 2 0 2 120
33 1964-09-06 BOS W 2-1 27 2 1 1 4 1 125
34 1964-09-02 BAL L 0-2 29 0 1 1 10 2 134
35 1962-09-10 LAA L 0-5 31 0 1 2 9 4 128
36 1961-09-24 WSA L 1-4 30 1 1 2 6 2 140
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 11/20/2015.

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A great summary of near no-hitters by Stew Thornley called Lost in the Ninth.

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Remembering 1965 – Part 35 – Versalles landslide winner in AL MVP voting

versalles, Zoilo 6The Minnesota Twins 25 year-old two-time All-Star shortstop became the first Twins player in their short five-year history to win the American League MVP award when he garnered 275 points, just five short of a perfect score. Second place finisher Tony Oliva received the only other first place vote. The Twins had four players in the top ten with pitcher Mudcat Grant finishing sixth and catcher Earl Battey finishing tenth.

Latino’s make up a large percentage of MLB team rosters today but back in the 60’s that was not the case. When Zoilo Versalles won the 1965 AM MVP award he became the first Latino to ever win a MVP award in the major leagues. Roberto Clemente, Juan Marichal, Orlando Cepeda, and Rod Carew are all Hall of Fame players and considered to be great Latino players but many other Latino players like Zoilo Versalles and Tony Oliva should not be forgotten for all the great contributions they made in establishing Latino’s as major league ball players. I am not saying that Versalles is a Hall of Fame player by any means but the man was a very good player and his play, particularly in 1965 should not be forgotten.

Sporting News Nov 27, 1965 P6

Sporting News Dec 6, 1965 P15

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Looking at consecutive games strike out streaks

Byron Buxton 2015The 2015 Twins struck out 1,254 times, their third highest total in team history but well short of their 1,430 strike outs in 2013 which was an all time franchise high. I wanted to find out what Twins batter holds the record for striking out in the most consecutive games when looking over the entire 55 years that the Twins have called Minnesota home. So I checked with B-R play index and was surprised to find out that it was Byron Buxton and second on the list was Miguel Sano. Buxton struck out in 21 consecutive games between June 16 and September 2. Number 2 on the list is Sano with an 18 consecutive game strike out streak. So here is the top ten list of Twins batters with strike outs in the most consecutive games ranging from 21 to 15. Oddly enough four Twins players made the list this year. Joining Buxton and Sano we have Brian Dozier with a 16 game and Eddie Rosario with a 15 game streak. The name on this list that jumps out at me is Joe Mauer, the young Mauer hardly ever struck out and the older Mauer, well, that’s another story.

Rk Name Strk Start End Games AB SO BA
1 Byron Buxton 2015-06-16 2015-09-02 21 80 32 .200
2 Miguel Sano 2015-08-13 2015-09-02 18 67 32 .299
3 Chris Colabello 2014-04-25 2014-05-15 17 64 27 .125
4 George Mitterwald 1971-08-23 1971-09-26 17 60 26 .300
5 Brian Dozier 2015-07-19 2015-08-06 16 65 25 .185
6 Joe Mauer 2013-04-30 2013-05-19 16 65 23 .415
7 Tim Laudner 1984-04-27 1984-06-17 16 58 22 .190
8 Eddie Rosario 2015-08-16 2015-09-02 15 58 24 .259
9 Chris Colabello 2013-08-15 2013-09-09 15 51 23 .157
10 Dustan Mohr 2003-06-01 2003-06-22 15 47 21 .170
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 11/12/2015.

 

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“Earning” the big bucks?

American dollar bills raining down According to the MLB Salary Rankings the following players earned pocketed the biggest salaries in 2015. Some earned their money and others did not but it is fun to be an arm-chair quarterback and review the results. You can argue that nobody deserves the kind of money that baseball players receive today but you would be shoveling sand against the tide. Owners are willing to pay these players the big bucks because in some cases they want to win at any cost and in other cases because (in my opinion) they are just plain stupid.

Here in Minnesota we have Minnesota born Joe Mauer earning $23 million a year and he still has three years on his contract. Fans have been all over Mauer for his performance or lack there of for a number of years now but the complaining has gotten louder and more vocal since Mauer threw away his catching gear and bought himself a first baseman’s mitt. It hasn’t helped that the team lost 90+ games each season from 2011 through 2014 before turning things around in 2015.

  1. The highest paid player was Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw who pocketed a cool $32,571,428 in 2015. The Dodgers won their division with 92 wins but lost in the NLDS and they were done. Kershaw was the highest paid player in baseball in 2015 but an argument can be made that he was only the second best pitcher in the Dodgers starting rotation.  Kershaw has five more years remaining on his contract and each season will cost at least $34.5 million. Was Kershaw worth $32 million this year? I don’t think so, he had a good year but was not worth $32+ million.
  2. The second highest paid player in baseball this year was Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander at $28,000,000. Verlander will be 33 when he starts the 2016 season and he is guaranteed $28 million a year for four more seasons and then there is a $22 million vesting option for the following season (2020) if he finished in the top five in Cy Young voting in 2019. Did Verlander earn his keep in 2015? No way, he only started 20 games and won five of them, so the cost per win was $5.6 million. Ouch!
  3. The third spot on the big money list is a tie between pitchers Cliff Lee and Zack Greinke along with first baseman Ryan Howard at $25,000,000. Nobody won fewer games (63) than the hapless Phillies, the manager resigned, the GM was fired and Cliff Lee due to injuries contributed zero innings pitched to the Phillies cause. The Phillies have a team option on the 37 year-old Lee in 2016 for $27.5 million but more than likely will buy him out for $12.5 million. The soon to be 36 year-old Ryan Howard’s case for $25 million was darn just as bad. Howard hit .229 with a .227 OBP in 129 games. Howard has the Phillies on the hook for another $25 million in 2016 and a team option at $23 million in 2017 with a $10 million buyout. Howard should be arrested for “grand theft”. Lee was hurt but that is no excuse, he contributed zippo and hasn’t had double-digit wins since 2013. Dodger pitcher Zack Greinke had a very good season and if you argue that a good pitcher is worth $25 million a season then “the Donald” (Yes that is really his first name) is your guy based on his 19-3 record and 1.66 ERA.
  4. The next man up is King Felix, the ace of the Mariners staff. Felix Hernandez was 18-9 with a 3.53 ERA, it was his highest ERA since 2007 and he fell short of 200 strikeouts for the first time since 2008. However, he did all this for a team that won just 76 games. Hernandez who will only be 30 when the 2016 season begins earned his $24,857,000 salary in 2015 and will make between $25 million each season for the next four years. Oddly enough the team has a $1 million option on him in 2020 based on some injury stipulations.
  5. From  King Felix we go to Prince Albert Pujols the soon to be 36 year-old first baseman in the land of the Angels. Pujols who earned $24 million bounced back in 2015 with 40 round trippers and 95 RBI in 157 games but he hit only .244 and his OBP has been dropping like a rock since 2010. But Pujols has to love fantasy land because he will collect $25 million next season and then is guaranteed a million dollar raise each season through 2020. In 2021 when Pujols is 41 the Angels have a $30 million option and best of all, Pujols has a 10 year $10 million personal services deal with the team once he quits playing. We should change Pujols nickname from Prince Albert to Jesse James. Earth to Angels……..anybody there? This contract makes Joe Mauer’s deal look like child’s play. Next man up is another prince, Prince Fielder 1B and DH from the Texas Rangers. After missing most of 2014 due to injury the Prince bounced back this past season and was selected as the AL Come-Back player of the year. Keep in mind that Fielder has been in the big leagues for 10 full seasons and in nine of those seasons he played in 157 or more games and four times he played in 162 games. The man comes to play. The six-time All-Star hit .305 and had 23 home runs and 98 RBI also made $24 million this season and will continue to be paid at that rate for five more season’s. Only $18 million of the money is paid by the Rangers as the Tigers will chip in $6 million each year. Did Prince earn his money? You make the call, but I should tell you that 13 other major league players hit more than 23 home runs and knocked in more than 98 runs and did not make this kind of money. Let’s move on to the third of the $24 million dollar amigo’s, Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano. Cano has been in the big leagues for 11 season’s, nine of them with the Yankees. Cano is a very good player but at 33 years of age is on the decline. However, his salary is not as he is owed $192 million by the Mariners over the next 8 season’s and in his last season under this deal he will be 40 years old. Good luck with that deal!
  6. Next man up is Yankee 1B Mark Teixeira who earned $23,1215,000 this past season and is in the books to earn the same amount in his final year of his contract in 2016. Tex will be 36 early next season and last played a full season in 2011. Teixeira did hit .255 with 31 home runs this past year in that bandbox that they call Yankee Stadium. Can Tex look in the mirror and ask himself “Did I earned my pay?” I don’t think so, even in today’s world of inflated salaries you have to show up for work more than 69% of the time to make that kind of money.
  7. We move on to the fifth pitcher making this list, 35 year-old lefty CC Sabathia from the New York Yankees who made $23 million this past season. CC is guaranteed $25 million for 2016 and $25 million more in 2017 if he avoids a couple of injury stipulations. The man has made at least 28 starts a year in 14 of his 15 big league seasons, you have to give the big guy credit for that. Does he still pitch like a $23 million pitcher? No way!

This past post season only three of the teams mentioned above (Dodgers, Yankees and Rangers) made the playoffs and none of them advanced past the ALDS round. Just goes to show that money can’t buy you happiness. Let’s take a look at recent World Series winners and see how much money their highest paid player made.

2015 Royals – Alex Gordon at $12.5 million

2014 Giants – Matt Cain at $20 million (pitched total of 90 inning & did not appear in post season play)

2013 Red Sox – John Lackey at $15.25 million

2012 Giants – Barry Zito at $19 million (15-8 with a 4.15 ERA)

2011 Cardinal – Matt Holliday at $16.318 million

2010 Giants – Barry Zito at $18.5 million (9-14 with 4.15 ERA)

The fans keep pressuring team owners to sign their stars and acquire additional free agents to long-term deals. Just for discussion let’s assume a long-term deal is five years or longer. What percentage of long-term deals pays off for the team over the length of the contract? I don’t know of any study that has analyzed that but I believe that the percentage has to be low. Assuming that is the case, why sign players to these long terms?

I believe the main reason is that team owners feel they need to offer long-term deals to be competitive with the other teams competing for the same player. To me that seems just plain dumb. Offer the player a more lucrative deal for a shorter time frame and you will still get players to sign and you will save money and probably a roster spot. Another dumb move by team owners is the fact that they give players the option to bail out on a long-term deal after a certain number of years. Again, D-U-M-B! Why doesn’t the team get an option to terminate the deal after a few years if they wish to do so?

I am not trying to side with the owners here, I am looking to see how teams can avoid getting bogged down with a player or two on the roster making too high a percentage of the overall team payroll and thus making that team un-competitive because they can’t afford to pay the rest of their players.

On the other side of the coin star players draw fans and fans spend money, buy tickets, watch more games on TV and the teams revenue increases. But the excitement of signing a new player to a big deal is short-lived and then fans often turn on the player and the team for not performing based on the huge deal he signed. It appears to me that signing players to shorter deals lessens the owner risk and give the team the opportunity to sign another player and start the excitement all over again.

Joe Mauer 2015The Twins have a unique situation with the St. Paul born Joe Mauer. Mauer signed an eight year deal back in 2010 for $184 million with a full no trade clause. Now, Mauer who was a catcher at the time has moved to first base and his hitting no longer measures up. What do you do with a home born player making that much money, who will be 33 in April, hit 10 home runs and knocked in only 66 runs with a .265 batting average in 666 plate appearances primarily in the number three spot in your batting order? The Twins are not a team that can put a guy making $23 million on the bench and he has a full no trade deal. If you could trade him who would take him? The Twins would have to pay someone big bucks to take him but yet if you leave him in the line-up he is taking up a spot that is not producing as it should for a young team that is getting ready to make the playoffs. What kind of message does that send to the team and the fans? A heck of a dilemma, but have faith, all is not lost, baseball owners and GM’s have proven over the years that there is always somebody out there that is willing to take your deadwood off your hands because there is always a chance that he will have one more great season in him and that they can catch lightning in a bottle one more time.

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10th Annual Fall Stars Game to be televised and played on Saturday

AFL logoThe Arizona Fall League’s 10th annual Fall Stars Game presented by Bowman Baseball Cards will be played at 6:08 p.m. AZ (7:08 p.m. CT) this Saturday, November 7 at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick. MLB Network and MLB.com plan to televise the game.

Burdi, Nick 2Walker, Adam Brett 2015 AFLTwo players from the Twins system, outfielder Adam Brett Walker and pitcher Nick Burdi have been selected to represent the Minnesota Twins in 2015. Last year outfielder Eddie Rosario was the Twins representative.

 

2015 AFL Fall Stars Game Rosters

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This Day in Twins History – November 6

Jim Perry

Jim Perry

11/6/1970 – Minnesota Twins pitcher Jim Perry wins the American League Cy Young award in a close race. Perry receives 55 points to edge out Dave McNally (47), Sam McDowell (45), and Mike Cuellar (44). Perry is the first Twins Cy Young award winner.

Bill Campbell11/6/1976 – After having a career year with the Twins, reliever Bill Campbell becomes one of the first players to cash in on the new free-agent system. The reliever signs with the Red Sox for big money, a four-year, one-million dollar contract with an option for a fifth season.

11/6/2001 – MLB owners vote 28-2 to contract two teams before the 2002 season.  They tell the players’ association that the Minnesota Twins and the Montreal Expos are the targeted teams.  It was determined later that Carl Pohlad, the Twins owner voted for contraction.

11/6/2009 – The Twins trade outfielder Carlos Gomez to the Milwaukee Brewers for shortstop J.J. Hardy.

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Birth of the Twins: Here’s the Real Story

The 2015 baseball season is over and the Kansas City Royals won the World Series over the New York Mets last night. The Minnesota Twins finished their 2015 season and 55th season in Minnesota with a 83-79 record and 12.5 games behind the AL Central Division champion Royals and missed getting in the playoffs for the fifth consecutive year.

Griffith, Calvin 5Just for fun let’s revisit October of 1960 and get the low down from Minneapolis Tribune writer and sports editor Charles O. Johnson (who was there and in the thick of things) on the demands that Senators owner Calvin Griffith put in place before the Washington Senators could move to Minnesota and become the Minnesota Twins.  According to his article in the October 30, 1965 Sporting News, here is what happened.

Sporting News Oct 30, 1965 P5

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Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween to all you ghosts and goblins out there. We hope you have a great day and don’t over indulge in all that candy. By the way, we switch back to standard time tonight so don’t forget to turn your clocks back an hour tonight.

Pumpkin Twins 1

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