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Down On The FarmThe Kernels have 13 spectacular fireworks shows scheduled for 2015 and this season they have added some extra flare. The Kern...The Red Wings have guaranteed fans that the temperature will be at least 50 degrees on Opening Day, April 11.Applications are being accepted through The Kernels Foundation for the fifth annual Nick Adenhart Memorial Scholarship.FORT MYERS, Fla. (February 16, 2015) - This President's Day the Fort Myers Miracle nominate you as a candidate for baseball! ...The good times keep rolling as the Cedar Rapids Kernels announce their popular Daily Specials for 2015. Several fan-favorites...2015 Promotional Schedule Includes Fireworks, Giveaways and Family Fun at the Same Affordable Price as Last SeasonThe Red Wings are seeing highly motivated, friendly and customer-oriented individuals for the 2015 baseball season.The Cedar Rapids Kernels have three ways for your non-profit group or organization to raise money this season - before, durin...Imagine being able to tell your friends that you once lived with a major league baseball player. You may just get to do that ...The Cedar Rapids Ball Club, Inc. (Kernels) announced today that at the January 27th annual meeting Greg Seyfer was elected Pr...The Herbert Hoover Presidential Library in West Branch, IA is pleased to announce that through March 23, it will exhibit the ...FORT MYERS, Fla. (January 12, 2015) - The Fort Myers Miracle are pleased to announce the hiring of Kevin Bush as the team's n...Coverage from the annual event in Minneapolis.Darin Everson will manage and have former MLB Player on staffFORT MYERS, Fla. (January 7, 2015) - 'Oh, say can you sing?' The Fort Myers Miracle are looking for the best musical talent i...FORT MYERS, Fla. (December 31, 2014) - Job seekers who enjoy the sights, smells and sounds of the ballpark are invited to att...The Minnesota Twins have signed former Red Wings first baseman Brock Peterson to a minor league contract. The Twins also inke...FORT MYERS, Fla. (December 19, 2014) - The Fort Myers Miracle, in conjunction with the Minnesota Twins, are pleased to announ...Popular Event Celebrating Baseball At Gershon Fox Ballroom from 12-2PMThe Cedar Rapids Kernels, in conjunction with the Minnesota Twins, announce their field staff for the 2015 season. Jake Mauer...
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- Minny reunion: Torii, Garnett are talk of town (MIN Homepage News)
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- Santana looking to settle in as Twins' shortstop (MIN Homepage News)
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- Oliva reflects on Minoso's life and career (MIN Homepage News)
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The Twins announced their newest free agent signee on Wednesday and had an introductory press conference the same day but Torii Hunter needs no introduction here in Twins Territory. Hunter was the Twins first round pick in 1993 and he made his big league debut in a pinch-running role with the club at the age of 22 at Camden Yards. He became the Twins starting center fielder in 1999 and kept that job until he left as a free agent after the 2007 season to sign with the Angels. Torii played for the Angels from 2008-2012 before moving on to the Tigers where he spent the last two seasons.
Rumors have been circulating for some time now that the Twins and Hunter had a mutual interest in joining forces again and yesterday it became a reality when the Twins signed the 39 year-old Hunter to a one-year $10.5 million deal that supposedly includes a full no trade clause.
I had written a piece about the Twins/Hunter romance back on November 23 and it was a real head scratcher to me then and it still is today. I know the Twins outfield situation is a mess but I am not sure that throwing $10.5 million to Hunter is the answer. Hunter no longer can play center field and the Twins have stated that Hunter will play right field and Oswaldo Arcia will move to left field. Apparently center field will again be patrolled by Aaron Hicks if he shows anything at all with the bat. The fallback plan would be Danny Santana who apparently will be given a shot to win the shortstop job if Hicks holds on to center field but the Twins aren’t talking about shortstop too much right now. Terry Ryan did say that the focus will now turn to pitching so that means that the club will go with an in-house center fielder. Who ever plays center for a year or two is just a place-holder for Byron Buxton who hopefully can have a healthy and productive season in 2015 and maybe, just maybe get a September call-up for a taste of big league coffee.
If Twins fans are looking forward to seeing the Torii Hunter of old, they will be sorely disappointed. I have always liked Torii Hunter, who doesn’t? The man has a million dollar smile and a personality to match but he will be 40 in July and baseball skills start to erode pretty quickly when you get around the 40 mark. The man is a winner although the World Series has eluded him in his 18 years in the big leagues. The odds of him getting there with Minnesota, at least as a player are slim to none. Hunter said that he wanted to finish his career at home and he calls the Minnesota Twins home so maybe after he hangs up his spikes as a player the organization will have another role for him. Hunter knows how to play the game and hopefully he can teach some of the Twins players what it takes to get that done.
From the Twins perspective this deal fills a couple of needs. First of all it fills a corner outfield role that was in essence vacant. Although the Twins organization will not admit it the Twins team has a no leader and many times has looked like they are just going through the motions. The only players that the Twins have that show any passion at all are Brian Dozier, Casey Fien, and Glen Perkins. Hunter can help with that problem for sure. From the non-baseball side this helps the Twins organization sell some tickets. Hunter has always been a popular player and his coming back to Minnesota may help persuade a few season ticket-holders to re-up for one more season. The Twins are in desperate straits and anything they can do to stop the hemorrhaging of season ticket holders is worth a try. I think the team has a bright future but they need to find a way to hold on to their fan base because once that train leaves the station it takes lots of time and money to get it back
There are some good reasons to put Torii back in a Twins uniform, I just don’t think that signing him will do much for the Twins record in 2015. However, if you look at this signing as an investment for the future, bringing Torii home to Minnesota might make some sense. I hope so because I hate to see anyone waste $10.5 million and I want the Minnesota Twins to learn how to win and play good baseball again before I get too much older.
Welcome back Torii Hunter!
Only three teams in major league baseball lost more games than our Minnesota Twins did in 2014 when they lost 92 times, their four straight 90 plus losing season. You would think that a team that Forbes listed this past March as the 19th most valuable franchise in major league baseball at $605 million with an estimated revenue of $221 million could put a better product on the field wouldn’t you? The Twins 2014 Opening Day payroll was around $85 million give or take, ranking them 24th out of the 30 teams. The Twins front office bragged that they wouldn’t be raising ticket prices in 2014. Raising ticket prices? My God, when the team is this bad for that long the ticket prices should be automatically dropping until the teams shows some competitive life.
With a team like the Minnesota Twins, in its current state of affairs, it is not all that difficult to get candidates for the 2014 Twins Turkey of the Year award “so let’s get after it” and see who we have waiting in the wings.
Finalist but did not make the final cut - Vance Worley was acquired in a trade with the Phillies in December 2012. In the first two months of 2013 the “Vanimal” started 10 games for Minnesota and posted a 1-5 record with a 7.21 ERA and allowed 82 hits in 48.2 innings and eventually pitched his way to AAA Rochester where after a few games he went on the DL. During spring training in 2014 Worley announced that he had pitched hurt in 2013 because of a bone spur in his pitching elbow. The Twins had seen enough of the Vanimal and sold him to the Pittsburg Pirates in March of this year. Another bad pitcher who had more excuses then you could shake a stick at and had a problem telling the truth. Worley was 8-4 for the Pirates with a 2.85 ERA in 2014, what’s up with that?
Finalist but did not make the final cut - The Twins troika of Ron Gardenhire/Rob Antony/Terry Ryan had a rough go of things in 2014. In what turned out to be his last season at the helm as the Twins skipper Ron Gardenhire did the best he could with the players that Terry Ryan and Rob Antony provided but when your pitching staff ranks last in the league in ERA, hits allowed, runs, earned runs, and strikeouts, your chances for a good season are slim at best. Terry Ryan had personal health issues that kept him away from the club for all of spring training and most of the regular season. Rob Antony was the acting GM for a good portion of the season and did what he could to fill Ryan’s shoes. The Twins made several personnel moves that when looked back on could probably have been handled differently and maybe prevented some of the chaos that the team experienced in the outfield. Then again when the manager keeps sending infielders to play the outfield, what can you expect?
Finalist but did not make the final cut - Twins Center fielders – Manager Ron Gardenhire started the season with Aaron Hicks playing center field and had high hopes for the young switch-hitter particularly when Hicks started out 4 for 7 in his first two games. But then he quit hitting, got hurt, over slept and found himself packing his bags for New Britain in late June. In the first two and a half months of the season Hicks appeared on the DL twice and missed 19 games. He didn’t return until the minor league season was over in September. The Twins ended up trying Sam Fuld, Jordan Schafer, Chris Parmelee, Eduardo Escobar, Darin Mastroianni, and Danny Santana in center field and the best of the bunch was Santana but he is a natural shortstop. The rookie Santana never really got a chance to play short and to show how he can handle that position because Gardy kept sending him out to center field. At this point in the off-season center field remains a huge question mark.
Finalist but did not make the final cut - Joe Mauer – Last November (2013) the Twins brain trust in conjunction with Joe Mauer decided that Mauer was done as a catcher due to concussion issues and would become the teams first baseman. In the teams first 70 games (March 31 through June 18) Mauer played in 64 of them getting 289 plate appearances while hitting primarily third in the batting order, he managed to hit just two home runs with 16 RBI while hitting for a .254 batting average. On July 1st while playing against the Royals at Target Field, Mauer pulled his right oblique and missed 34 games between July 2 and August 11th. By the time the season was over Mauer had played in 120 games, hit four home runs, knocked in 55 and struck out a career high 96 times while posting an un-Maueresque OBP of .360 and a .732 OPS. His play in the field although not stellar was acceptable for a player learning a new position on the fly. Unless Mauer starts hitting like the Mauer of old, manager Paul Molitor has no business hitting him third. Why not hit Mauer at lead-off? Since 2004 when he first joined the Twins, Mauer has the highest OBP at .401 and is followed by Jim Thome at .387, Denard Span at .357, Luis Castillo at .357 and Danny Santana at .353 when you compare players that have played 100 games or more. Fans just have a hard time accepting the fact that Joe makes $23 million a year, seems to show no urgency, and the man never seems to get mad about anything. Come on Joe, throw something or at least get thrown out of a game arguing a strike call so we know you are still alive out there.
Finalist but did not make the final cut – Ricky Nolasco was signed by Minnesota in December 2013 and is the highest paid free agent signing in team history. In early July after posting a season todate 5.90 ERA in 104 innings in 18 starts Nolasco revealed he had bad pitching through elbow pain since spring training. You would think that for $49 million that Nolasco could at least be truthful about his condition and have enough confidence in his abilities to step up and speak up instead of hurting his team by continuing to pitch when he is injured. The announcement came as a complete shock to the Twins who then placed Nolasco on the DL where he missed 32 games between July 8th and August 15th. Then in late September he further alienated himself to the Twins community when he responded to a tweet from a Dodgers fan who said they wished he was still in LA and he responded by saying “So do I!!!” OMG! What a clown on so many levels. The man has fences to mend everywhere. “Minnesota nice” only lasts one season Ricky, pick it up their buddy and show us you are not the dud you showed in 2014.
Second runner-up is Chuck Knoblauch was the Twins first round (25th over all) draft choice in June of 1989 and by 1991 he was the Twins starting second baseman on a World Championship team and the American League rookie of the year. The mercurial Knobby demanded to be traded in 1997 and the Twins granted him his wish after the season ended and sent him to the Yankees where he played from 1998-2001. During his stay in New York Knoblauch started having issues with throwing to ball to first base and he left as a free agent after the 2001 season. Knoblauch spent his final season in the big leagues in Kansas City in 2002 and when the season ended so did the 34 year-old Knoblauch’s big league career. After his career ended Knoblauch had issues with alcohol and was arrested in 2010 for hitting his wife and he ended up with a years probation. In January 2014 the Twins announced that Chuck Knoblauch had been elected as the 27th member of the Minnesota Twins Hall of Fame and would be inducted in August. But Chuck had another alcohol related issue in July of this year and again was arrested and charged with assaulting his ex-wife. This was too much for the Twins organization and they cancelled his August Twins Hall of Fame induction and cut off communications with Knoblauch. By the way, former Twins manager Tom Kelly was on hand at the award ceremony as a guest of Knoblauch and he asked the guests to refrain from throwing Domedogs and other miscellaneous items at Chuck as he stepped up to the podium to accept his second runner-up trophy.
The runner-up is non other than the infamous Twins brand survey – As the 2014 season was coming to an end and another 90+ season was just around the bend, the Minnesota Twins Marketing department decided to send a brand survey to their season ticket holders. I did not actually see the entire survey and can’t find a copy of it but one of the questions the Twins asked in the survey attracted national attention, albeit not necessarily positive. So here is the question and you need to keep in mind that the Twins are well on their way to losing 90 or more games for the fourth year in a row when the survey is sent out.
The survey caught the attention of ESPN’s Keith Olbermann and here is a short YouTube video clip on his thoughts about the Minnesota Twins. The Twins come up at about the 2:30 mark on the video if you want to skip over the first part. Olbermann clip on Twins brand survey. Twins president Dave St. Peter took offense to Olbermann’s comments and you can see what he had to say here and here. Nancy O’Brien the Twins vice-president of Marketing almost became our first female Twins Turkey of the Year winner but the crack marketing staff came up just short in the final balloting. To be honest a couple of votes had some hanging chad and the Twins were offered a recount but since they would have to pay for it they chose to pass and are planning to spend their money on a starting pitcher and they are looking at possible reunions with Kevin Slowey and Scott Baker. The Twins organization and Mr. St. Peter need to remember that “The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.”
This years winner is – Aaron Hicks was the Twins first round (14th over all) selection in the June 2008 draft. Hicks was on fire during spring training in 2013 hitting .370 with four home runs and 18 RBI and the 23 year-old switch-hitting rookie won the center field job that had been vacated when Denard Span and Ben Revere were traded for pitching depth after the 2012 season. Hicks could not hold on to the job in 2013 but he again started the 2014 season as the Twins center fielder. Hicks hit poorly in his second chance with the club and then got hurt on May 1st and was put on the concussion DL the next day. After being activated from the concussion DL Hicks continued to struggle with the bat, particularly from the left-side where he is has a career average of .185 and on May 26 without consulting with Twins management Hicks announced that he was through with switch-hitting and would bat only from the right side going forward. The Twins were caught by surprise but they were desperate for a center fielder so Twins said OK, go for it and they didn’t even bother to send him to the minors to soften the transition. Just several days later Hicks came up with lower back stiffness and missed a couple more games. Then on June 9th Hicks hurt his shoulder diving for a ball and went on the DL the next day. The Twins then sent Hicks down to New Britain to rehab and on June 22 Hicks plays in a rehab game and hits left-handed. After the game Hicks announces that he has had a change of heart and is again a switch-hitter. The Twins recalled Hicks on September 2 and Hicks appeared in 21 September games hitting .250 (15 for 60) with three doubles and nine RBI. But even during the last month of the season Hicks could not stay out of Gardy’s doghouse when he again had lower back stiffness on September 20th and not only did he not show up early for treatment on Sunday, he didn’t show up until 11:00 AM for a 1:00 game saying that he had over slept. As the season was winding down the Twins brain trust talked to Hicks about playing winter-ball but he resisted stating that he was getting married in the off-season. Hicks finally consented to play winter ball in Venezuela but the team cut him after just 16 games when Hicks hit .220 in 50 at bats with one home run and four RBI but on the plus side he did draw 13 walks. Coming off back-to-back horrendous seasons Aaron Hicks has to be on the cusp of joining the scrap heap of former Twins first round picks that have failed to live up to expectations. The man is an athlete but so far he has not put it together and his attitude and perceived lack of effort is hurting his chances. Hicks seems to think he is entitled to play in the big leagues and does not seem to be willing to put in the work to get there and become the player he should be. Hicks might not have earned his pay in 2014 but he does earn the title as Twins Turkey of the Year for 2014. Step up here Mr. Hicks and claim your award.
Previous Twins Turkey of Year Winners2013 – Twins President Dave St. Peter 2012 – Twins owner Jim Pohlad 2011 – Catcher Joe Mauer 2010 – Infielder Brendan Harris 2009 – Pitcher Glen Perkins
Bonus Thanksgiving content – Can a player be traded for a turkey? An interesting question because apparently it happened back in 1931 and the Washington Senators who would become the Minnesota Twins in 1961 were involved. Better yet, the Twins new AA team the Chattanooga Lookouts were the team that actually made the trade. This is a cool read and you should check it out at Baseball Prospectus.
This offseason, MiLB.com is honoring players — regardless of age or prospect status — who had the best season in their organization. Today, they covered the Minnesota Twins.
The Twins ranked sixth in baseball — and fourth in the American League — with a combined .536 winning percentage across its Minor League affiliates. You can read the article by going here. If you follow young players in the Twins system you might want to check this out.
I do not profess to be some baseball expert by any means but I have followed major league baseball since the mid 50’s and I started becoming a serious follower of major league baseball when the Milwaukee Braves beat the New York Yankees in the 1957 World Series in 7 games. To me, baseball is interesting because of its history, its characters and last and certainly not least the fact that on any given day at any given game that you might be lucky enough to attend, that you will see something that you have never seen before. I have been to a lot of games at numerous baseball parks but I still have never seen a no-hitter or a batter hit for the cycle at a game I attended but I have seen many other interesting and historic baseball feats over the years.
Baseball is a unique game for a whole bevy of reasons such as the fact that there is no clock in baseball, each playing field has its own peculiarities, there are 162 games to be played and that does not count playoffs or spring training, some extremely interesting characters both from the player’s side and the ownership/front-office side, cheating by players has been tolerated even encouraged unless it becomes too blatant, owners have no payroll limitations, free agency has given players the right to work/play where ever they wish for the most part and various other reasons that I haven’t listed here.
MLB players, its owners and baseball fans everywhere actually benefit from free agency. When the last out of the World Series is made and the off-season begins you would think that baseball would go on hiatus as far as the fans are concerned but that is not the case in modern-day baseball. When the playing season ends the free agency season begins and hot stove league baseball remains a hot topic of discussion for true baseball fans even if football, hockey, and basketball seasons are underway and the ballparks are covered with ice and snow. Fantasy baseball is almost a year round event now as its players follow the free agency moves and make their draft plans accordingly. Heck, there are already drafts going on for the 2015 season.
But I am getting side-tracked here, my intent was to do a short piece on “why are these things happening”? Real head scratcher as far as I am concerned. As I said earlier, I am no expert but some of the moves or more accurately stated “proposed moves and /or rumors” by our local Twins team or other MLB teams make me really wonder what the heck these people in baseball are thinking? First off, the average person has no concept of the dollars in play and that it is easy to spend someone else’s money, I realize that. No one really know for instance what the Twins revenue really is and the few people who do surely aren’t going to divulge those secrets. How often do you hear someone say or write “it’s only $5 million, we should do it”. Or what idiotic owner first brought options into baseball contracts where as they can sign a player for $10 million dollars or they can choose to pay him $1 million to walk away, what is up with that? What bozo pays someone a million dollars not to work for them? MLB does.
So here are a couple of real head scratcher’s for me –
Why would former Twins outfielder Michael Cuddyer who will turn 36 before the 2015 season begins turn down a $15.3 million qualifying offer from the Colorado Rockies to sign a two-year deal with the New York Mets for $21 million. Cuddyer missed all but 49 games for the Rockies this season due to injury. Maybe I don’t understand this qualifying offer business as well as I thought I did. As I understand it this process has been in place for three years and 34 qualifying offers have been made and zero have been accepted. Hard for me to fathom turning down $12-$15 million for one year’s work.
Numerous stories are being written about the Twins pursuing outfielder Torii Hunter who played for Minnesota from 1997-2007 before leaving via free agency. Hunter will be 40 years old this coming July and he just put $14 million in the bank thanks to the Detroit Tigers in 2014. No argument here the Twins outfield is a mess with no center fielder, no left fielder, and Oswaldo Arcia in right is not exactly a gold glover. Still, having said that I don’t understand why the Twins would pay Hunter around $10 million to play for them in 2015. We are talking 15 home runs and 80 RBI and a .280 average but is that worth $10 million or so even now for a team that has little to no chance of achieving the .500 mark? I know that fans still love Torii and he was a good player here for many years but let it go for God’s sake. The man can’t play like he did back in his 20’s. Why do the Twins and their fans always want their former stars to come back home? Haven’t you folks heard the old saying “you can never go home again?”
Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press tweets that there is interest between Wily Mo Pena and the Minnesota Twins. The soon to be 33-year-old Of/DH goes about 260 and has played in Japan for the last three season. Pena last appeared in the majors in 2011 with the Seattle Mariners and has never played in more than 110 games in the majors at any point in his career. I could care less that he hit 32 home runs in Japan in 2014, the last thing the Twins need to spend money on is a DH. Rumor or fact, this is just plain STUPID! If the Twins look they will find other positions that need more help then at DH.
Let’s move on from the Twins for a bit and see what else is going on in the AL Central. Last year the Chicago White Sox signed first baseman Jose Abreu from Cuba to a $68 million six-year deal and in 2014 the 27-year-old Abreu rewarded them with the American League Rookie of the Year award. Now the Sox go out and sign free agent 1B Adam LaRoche to a two-year deal for $25 million. I hate to repeat myself but what the heck are they thinking? They have numerous holes to fill and they chose to sign another first baseman. I sure hope the Sox know something we don’t because as first glance this is another dumb Sox move.
Joe Maddon opted out of his manager gig in Tampa a couple of weeks ago because things were heading south in Tampa and the Chicago Cubs seem to have a future. That created an opening for a new Rays manager and the three finalist are Kevin Cash, Don Wakamatsu, and Raul Ibanez. RAUL IBANEZ? Where did he come from? Why is he qualified to manage a big league team? The last time I saw him he was playing for the Kansas City Royals in 2014 and now he is a finalist for the Tampa Rays manager job, how do things like this happen? Like I said, a real head scratcher for me.
You can’t make this stuff up but yet it happens in baseball day in and day out.
Minnesota Twins pitchers allowed 147 home runs in 2014. The fewest home runs allowed by a Twins pitching staff in a full season of 162 games occurred in 1976 when that pitching staff gave up just 89 round trippers to the opponents and the Twins went on to finish with an 85-77 record. On the opposite end of the spectrum the 1996 Twins pitching staff allowed a franchise record 233 home runs and finished the season with a 78-84 record. It only took one season for Ricky Nolasco to make the list but he can pitch his way off this list, the others can’t.
Twins career HR/9 with minimum of 120 innings pitched
The list below show The Twins pitching staff leader board of home runs allowed. Bert Blyleven loves to talk about how many home runs he has allowed but he is only third best or worst, depending on how you want to look at it.
A pitcher gets credit for a quality start (QS) any time he allows three earned runs or less in a start that lasts at least six innings. John Lowe who was writing for the Philadelphia Inquirer at the time developed and coined the term Quality Start back in 1985.
Most arguments against the QS begin with the statement that a QS equals a 4.50 ERA and an ERA of 4.50 is not seen as top-notch by anybody. If you look up QS on Wiki you can find some strange situations for and against the term QS, for example, in 2000 Mark Mulder goes 6 and 2/3 innings giving up 15 hits, nine runs but only two were earned and so he gets a QS, in 1982 Mike Scott goes the required 6 innings giving up 7 hits, 5 walks, zero strikeouts, allows 7 runs albeit only 3 earned and he get a QS, on the other side of the coin, back in 1974 Gaylord Perry goes 15 innings and allows 4 earned runs and get no QS, same with Randy Johnson who pitches a complete game while striking out 19 but gives up 4 earnies and gets no QS.
Since 1961, the most MLB QS in a single season record is held by White Sox knuckleballer Wilbur Wood who had 37 QS in 41 starts in 1971. Next on the list is Dodger great Sandy Koufax with 36 QS in 1966 (his final season) in 41 starts. The career leaders in QS from 1961-current are Don Sutton with 483, Nolan Ryan with 481, and Greg Maddux with 480.
The Twins top five career QS leaders are Jim Kaat with 253, Bert Blyleven with 218, Brad Radke with 208, Jim Perry with 156 and Frank Viola with 144. The Twins most QS in a season record belongs to Bert Blyleven who had 31 QS in 1972 in 38 starts. That 1972 Twins team had the most QS in a single season with 114 in 154 games, that means that 74% of their games were QS and yet the team finished with a 77-77 record. The others starters that season were Dick Woodson with 26 QS, Jim Perry with 22, Jim Kaat and Ray Corbin with 14 and Dave Goltz with 7. Compare that with the 66 QS in 2014 where the team leader was Phil Hughes with 20, Kyle Gibson had 15, Kevin Correia, had 13, Ricky Nolasco had 10, Yohan Pino had 3, Trevor May and Sam Deduno had 2 each and Tommy Milone put one in the books.
But how close is the relationship of a QS to what really counts, a team victory. If you look at the list that I have provided below that shows the Minnesota Twins QS and the team record you can get a feel for how the two compare. Sure, there are outlier seasons like 1972 when the team had 114 QS and finished the season with a 77-77 record or when the opposite happened in 2006 when the Twins went to the play-offs with a 96-66 record but only had 73 QS. By the way, I don’t remember seeing any Rick Anderson for governor buttons back then.
The Twins historical QS numbers are kind of strange, almost a bell-shaped curve. The Twins have had 90 or more QS in a season 11 times and went to the playoffs zero times. No Twins team with 72 or less QS has sniffed the playoffs either. The Twins have advanced to the playoffs 11 times and their QS were always in the 73-89 range and if you exclude the 2006 season with just 73 QS, the other ten fall between 78-89. Having said all that, in the past 54 seasons the Twins have had 4,266 QS, the team record during that period is 4,274-4,335. 4,266 QS and 4,274 wins over 54 seasons, is that strange or what?
The chart below shows you in a pictorial fashion the relationship of QS and Twins victories. Click on the chart to make it larger.
Twins Quality Start History
Twins QS data by decade
|DECADE||QS||AVG. QS PER SEASON|
I asked Jim Kaat if he would comment on Quality Starts and here is what Jim had to say-
I’m happy to comment on “Quality Starts”. It’s one of my favorite subjects because it is misunderstood. My pitching stats person, Merrianna McCully, has compiled a 25 year profile on QS’s in her book ‘Three Up Three Down’. She kept all sorts of pitching stats for me from 1988-2006…
The MINIMUM DAILY REQUIREMENT,[ like a vitamin pill] is 6 ip. 3 er or less..the actual earned run averages in a Quality start is a little under 2 in the NL and about 2.05 in the American league..DH factor…The IP’s in a QS game will close to 8 innings pitched. The records show that if a team got just a minimum daily requirement for a QS they would win about 2/3 of their games unless they had an extremely ineffective bullpen.
11/12/1969 – Twins infielder Harmon Killebrew, who led the American League with 49 home runs, 140 RBI, and a .430 on-base percentage, is voted the American league MVP and becomes the second Twins player so honored. You can read what the Daily Illini wrote the next day about Killebrew being named the American League MVP by clicking here.
11/12/1986 – The New York Mets traded shortstop Ron Gardenhire to Minnesota for a player to be named later, RHP Donnie Iasparro. Iasparro would never pitch above class A ball and was out of baseball after the 1987 season. Who knew at that time that in 2002 Gardenhire would become the Twins 12th manager and manage the team to a 1,068-1,039 record between 2002-2014.
This past Monday the Minnesota Twins announced that they had concluded their search for a manager and that coach Paul Molitor would slide into the Twins driver’s seat. The Twins then held their introductory press conference on Tuesday. Molitor is a Hall of Famer and played from 1978-1998 with the Milwaukee Brewers, Toronto Blue Jays and the Minnesota Twins (1996-1998).
Molitor becomes the 13th Minnesota Twins manager but only the third since 1986. The St. Paul native has no managing experience on any level but has served as a coach with the Twins in 2000 and 2001 before moving on to coach with the Seattle Mariners in 2004. Molitor was also on the Twins coaching staff in 2014. Prior to 2014, he served as the Twins minor league baserunning/infield coordinator for 10 seasons (2003, 2005-13). The 58 year-old Molitor has agreed to a 3 year contract that runs through the 2017 season.
The Twins interviewed numerous internal and external candidates before narrowing the field to three finalists, Torey Lovullo, Doug Mientkiewicz, and Molitor. My preference from this list was Lovullo and my second choice was Mientkiewicz and Molitor was last on my list. Joe Maddon who opted out from his Tampa Bay gig would have been great but he ended up going to the Chicago Cubs.
I was sure, more than sure, I was positive the Twins would not hire Molitor since they could have easily have given him the job when Ron Gardenhire was let go and saved everyone a lot of time, angst and money. The fact that Molitor had substantial baggage (drinking, drugs, womanizing) from his time as a player I though would work against him but apparently that was discussed but didn’t seem to matter. The word is that Twins President Dave St. Peter and owner Jim Pohlad are big Molitor boosters so that probably helped persuade GM Terry Ryan to recommend Molitor for the job. I don’t like the choice but it is what it is and I hope I am wrong and that Molitor can turn this Twins team around and get them back on the winning track. Having said that, I won’t be purchasing any Twins season tickets until I see this team improve dramatically and start putting up some games in the “W” column. I am in the “you have to show me first” camp right now. Molitor claims to have the passion needed to do this job, let’s see what a losing team in 2015 will do to that passion.
Now the Twins have announced that former hitting coach Tom Brunansky is coming back to fill the same role for Molitor in 2015. Again, I disagree with the choice. I though that Tom Brunansky should have been fired after his first season as the Twins hitting instructor in 2013 when the team scored just 614 runs and struck out a franchise record 14,30 times and hit for a putrid .242 average. Now after the Twins again finished with 90 plus losses and the Twins scored 715 runs the Twins make Brunansky sound like the best hitting coach ever. 715 runs scored is mediocre at best, the team still struck out 1,329 times so his teams now hold the two highest strikeout records in franchise history going back to 1901. The team batting average jumped to .254, whoopy dooo.
It will be interesting to see who the Twins pitching coach will be and who will fill the remaining coaching vacancies. Who will be the guy on the staff that Molitor goes to talk with and confide in when the going gets tough? We shall see.
Minnesota Twins Press Release on November 5, 2005
The Minnesota Twins would like to take this opportunity to confirm that the team did recently receive an unsolicited phone call from Reggie Jackson regarding his interest in acquiring a Major League Baseball team. During the phone conversation Mr. Jackson recounted his four previous efforts to finalize such a transaction and went on to inquire about availability of the Twins franchise. Mr. Jackson was told the Twins are not for sale at this time and that the Twins organization was currently 100% focused on working to ensure approval of the Twins-Hennepin County ballpark plan.
While not surprising considering the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the franchise’s future, the Twins view the publicity surrounding Mr. Jackson’s inquiry as unfortunate. To that end, the Pohlad family and Twins organization want to stress that this story was in no way initiated by the baseball team.
Nine former players and one executive are up for consideration by this year’s Baseball Hall of Fame Golden Era Committee. These candidates either played or contributed to the National Pastime between 1947 and 1972.
The 10-person ballot for consideration by this year’s Golden Era Committee consists of Dick Allen, Ken Boyer, Gil Hodges, Bob Howsam, Jim Kaat, Minnie Minoso, Tony Oliva, Billy Pierce, Luis Tiant and Maury Wills. Pitcher Jim Kaat and outfielder/DH Tony Oliva had long careers with the Minnesota Twins and Luis Tiant also has ties to Minnesota when he was a Twins pitcher in 1970 but only appeared in 18 games due to injury.
Kaat (10 votes in 2011), Hodges (9 votes), Minoso (9 votes), Oliva (8 votes), Boyer (less than 3 votes) and Tiant (less than three votes) return to the ballot after appearing in the fall in 2011 in the first vote of the Golden Era Committee. Allen, Howsam, Pierce and Wills will be considered by the Golden Era Committee for the first time. Ron Santo was elected to the Hall of Fame by the Golden Era Committee in 2011, the last time a Golden Era ballot was considered.
The 16-person Golden Era Committee consists of SABR members Pat Gillick, Roland Hemond, Steve Hirdt, and Tracy Ringolsby, along with Hall of Famers Jim Bunning, Rod Carew, Fergie Jenkins, Al Kaline, Joe Morgan, Ozzie Smith and Don Sutton; baseball executives Jim Frey, David Glass, and Bob Watson; and veteran media members Dick Kaegel and Phil Pepe.
Any candidate receiving votes on 75 percent of all ballots cast will be inducted into the Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2015 on July 26. Voting will take place on December 8th at the MLB Winter Meetings in San Diego.
You can make an argument for each of these guys being elected to the Hall of Fame but as a long time Twins fan I obviously would love to see Tony Oliva and Jim Kaat elected. It is a crying shame some of these guys that deserve Hall of Fame election have had to wait so long and it some cases like Ken Boyer and Gil Hodges, it is too late for them to enjoy the fruits of their labors as they have passed away. That is just plain wrong!
The 2014 MLB season is over and the San Francisco Giants have won their third World Series in the last five years, congratulations to the Giants. I wanted the Kansas City Royals to win and they made it close, but no cigar for the Royals. The fact that the Royals did not win could be my fault because my World Series favorites always lose, I think the last team I cheered for in the World Series that won it all were the 1991 Minnesota Twins.
When the playoffs started lots of fans were jumping on the KC bandwagon because they had not been to a World Series in 29 years and everyone except maybe Yankee and Red Sox fans likes an underdog. So now that the Royals have been to a World Series again, what teams out there have not played in a World Series in a long time? The other day someone from the Twins called me to try to get me to sign up for Twins season tickets again and during the conversation the topic of “last to first” came up in the discussion. It was then that it dawned on my how long it has been since our Twins last played in a World Series, it was 1991, 23 seasons ago, wow, that is a long time. Everyone talks about those poor Cubbies whose last appearance in a World Series was in 1945, that was before I was born and many generations of Cub fans have been born and died and have never seen their team play in the Fall Classic. Is that crazy or what? Two teams, the Washington Nationals/Montreal Expos who began play in 1969 and the Seattle Mariners who began play in 1977 have never ever appeared in a World Series.
Last appearance in a World Series
|TEAM||LAST APPEARANCE IN WORLD SERIES||COMMENTS|
|Nationals/Expos||Never||started play in 1969|
|Mariners||Never||Started play in 1977|
|Brewers/Pilots||1982||Started play in 1969|
|Blue Jays||1993||Started play in 1977|
|Padres||1998||Started play in 1969|
|Mets||2000||Started play in 1962|
|Diamondbacks||2001||Started play in 1998|
|Angels||2002||Started play in 1961|
|Marlins||2003||Started play in 1993|
|Astros||2005||Started play in 1962|
|Rockies||2007||Started play in 1993|
|Rays||2008||Started play in 1998|
|Rangers/Senators||2011||Started play in 1961|
Last time hoisted a World Championship flag
World Series appearances since 1961
|TEAM||WORLD SERIES APPEARANCES||COMMENTS|
|Mets||4||Started play in 1962|
|Royals||3||Started play in 1969|
|Marlins||2||Started play in 1993|
|Padres||2||Started play in 1969|
|Rangers/Senators||2||Started play in 1961|
|Blue Jays||2||Started play in 1977|
|Diamondbacks||1||Started play in 1998|
|Rockies||1||Started play 1993|
|Astros||1||Started play in 1962|
|Angels||1||Started play in 1961|
|Brewers/Pilots||1||Started play in 1969|
|Rays||1||Started play in 1998|
|National/Expos||0||Started play in 1969|
|Mariners||0||Started play in 1977|
I guess it is tough being a baseball fan in the windy city…..
The World Series could end as early as today and there will be no more baseball to watch, or so it seems. If you get the MLB Network or want to check in at MLB.com you can watch some games from the Arizona Fall League and see what some of the up and coming young stars are doing. The Minnesota Twins contingent of players is with the Salt River Rafters and they will be on a number of times as you can see on the schedule below.
The Fall Stars game will be taking place on Saturday, November 1 and you don’t want to miss that one where supposedly the best of the best are playing. Byron Buxton and Jake Reed were named to the team but now Buxton is hurt once again so it remains to be seen if he will play or not. I have to add though that it must be a cruel Halloween joke that Eddie Rosario who is second in the league in hitting with a .407 average the last time I looked, is not on the team. Maybe he will be added before this week-end.
Oct. 30 – Surprise at Salt River
Watch live on MLB.com at 9:35 p.m. ET/6:35 MST
Oct. 31 – Scottsdale at Salt River
Watch live on MLB Network and MLB.com at 3:35 p.m. ET/12:35 MST
Nov. 4 – Mesa at Salt River
Watch live on MLB Network and MLB.com at 8:35 p.m. ET/6:35 MT
Nov. 6 – Mesa at Salt River
Watch live on MLB Network and MLB.com at 8:35 p.m. ET/6:35 MT
Nov. 8 – Mesa at Surprise (Military Appreciation Game)
Watch live on MLB Network at 8:05 p.m. ET/6:05 MT
Nov. 15 – AFL Championship Game at Scottsdale Stadium
Watch live on MLB Network and MLB.com at 3:08 p.m. ET/1:08 MT
In addition, the Fall Stars Game featuring Arizona Fall League All-Stars from the East and West divisions will play at Salt River Fields at 8 PM ET on Saturday November 1, which will be shown on the MLB Network.
It is getting to be time for everyone to start publishing their 2015 prospect ratings and I noticed that TopProspectAlert.com had published their list a few days ago, you can see it here.
Marty Keough was a journeyman that played in the major leagues off and on as an outfielder/first baseman from 1956-1966 for the Red Sox, Indians, Senators, Reds, Braves and the Cubs. During his 11 seasons in the big leagues he only had 2,008 plate appearances and he had a .242 carer batting average. Keough finished his playing career in 1968 when he spent a season with the Nankai Hawks in the Japanese Baseball League.
A big “bonus baby” when he signed with the Boston Red Sox prior to the 1952 season Keough arguably had his best year in his one and only season with the 1961 expansion Washington Senators when in 135 games Keough hit nine home runs and stole 12 bases while hitting for a .249 average. Marty Keough is the brother of Joe Keough and the father of Matt Keough. SABR Bio.
So why this blog about Marty Keough? No, he never wore a Minnesota Twins uniform but he did do something against the Twins that will live on in Met Stadium history, what did he do?
Terry Ryan continues in his quest to find just the right man to become the Minnesota Twins thirteenth manager. Ryan has not had to perform this task since late in 2001 and this will only be his second hire of a Twins manager so he doesn’t have a lot of experience with the process but that is a good thing I think.
According to recent reports the list of potential candidates has been reduced to the final three, Paul Molitor, Doug Mientkiewicz, and Torey Lovullo. But who knows, the Twins keep their cards close to their vest so there is no way to know how accurate these reports are. If these indeed are the finalists I am fine with it.
Who would I hire if I was in Terry Ryan’s shoes? For me it would be between Mientkiewicz and Lovullo. I would eliminate Molitor because of the baggage he brings and the fact that he has been part of the Twins organization off and on for a number of years. My perception is that I don’t see Molitor as really wanting the job, I see him as thinking he is entitled to the job because he is a Hall of Fame player and that in his mind he is the most qualified. I don’t see him as having earned a big league managers job and I don’t see any passion from him for getting the job. I don’t see him as the “guy” that will lead the Twins back to respectability, I see him as the old guy that will bring more of the same.
I like Doug Mientkiewicz very much and think that down the line he will be a wonderful manager either here in Minnesota or somewhere else but right now I have to pass. I love his passion for the game and the fact that he is managing in the minor leagues, earning his stripes so to speak. But in the end it is his inexperience and the fact that he is part of the Twins organization right now that works against him.
I think it is great that the Twins have always rewarded loyalty but every now and then you have to bring in new blood to make your herd that much stronger and to look at things from a different perspective. Think about it, in each of our lives we have taken a new job at some point in time where we first felt that maybe we were not qualified, then over time we became more comfortable in the job as we learned the tricks of the trade. As we were learning we were open to suggestions on how to do the job but as time went along and as we gained confidence in our roles we tended to start to ignore or blow off suggestions because we have been doing this job for some time and no one knows how to do this job better than I, just ask me. Things get done the same way because that way has worked for me in the past and besides, it has always been done that way.
Change is difficult but life and baseball are all about change, once you quit changing you die and the Twins organization is on life support. It is easy to be comfortable because you have no assurance that the new will be better than the old, why go out on that scary limb when you can stay in your safe place? But staying in your safe place does not make you a leader or a winner, it keep you average at best. When change is instituted it will either make the situation better or worse, it will work or it won’t. There is a 50% chance that it will make things better. The Twins have lost 90 or more games for four consecutive seasons, how much worse can it get?
Bringing in Torey Lovullo as the Twins new manager along with a brand new coaching staff will bring new thinking into the organization and give the team a chance to break free of the bonds that have held them going down the same path for years. Why wouldn’t you bring in someone new, why should Twins fans have to continue to endure the same old boring brand of bad baseball the Twins have shown us since 2011? Give us a break, show us you are at least willing to try a new approach.
I know that hiring from the outside will have consequences, Molitor will probably leave the Twins organization and that Tom Kelly‘s may also cut back on his active role with the team as the new regime takes over. But is that all bad? Sometimes the best addition is through subtraction.
Terry Ryan and the Twins are at the fork in the road, will they take the same old path home they always do or will they try that other path that they have not traveled for a long time? The last time the team tried a new path they ended up in Ray Miller land and that was not fun. The newer path probably has some bumps and unexpected surprizes but who knows what they may find, maybe it is a shortcut to the promised land of playoffs and a World Series. I for one can’t wait to see what the Twins choice will be.
- Added a new page called “Linksville”, a collection of links to Twins history. 2/27/2015
- Added 2015 Twins Media Guide to the Twins Media Guide page. 2/24/2015
- Added eight video clips I found that you will enjoy to our Twins Audio & Video clips page. 2/21/2015
- “1965 Twins win the pennant”, 40 minute video clip added to the Twins Audio & Video clips page. You don’t want to miss this one. 2/6/2015
- Twins Ticket Price History page updated to reflect 2015 ticket prices. 2/5/2015
On one hand the Minnesota Twins front office keep saying that they have no idea on how long the process will take to hire a new Twins manager but they have to make sure that they pick the right person for the job. Apparently GM Terry Ryan isn’t keeping the organization appraised of progress because in today’s edition of the Star Tribune Phil Miller has a quote from Ryan where he states ” I wouldn’t pretend to tell you that we’re done” with the search for the new manager, said Terry Ryan. “We still have a ways to go yet before we get there. But I would say we’re right on schedule.” According to various reports the Twins have interviewed internal candidates Paul Molitor, Doug Mientkiewicz, Gene Glynn, and Terry Steinbach. They have also reportedly talked with Torey Lovullo, Sandy Alomar Jr., Joe McEwing, Chip Hale (who just took the Arizona managers job), and maybe looking to talk with DeMarlo Hale.
The Twins payroll for 2015 has been getting some play in various Twins blogs and news reports. According to Twins prez Dave St. Peter “We haven’t finalized a 2015 budget, but I can assure you, we don’t see it going down significantly.” Going down? Why should it go down? The Twins have stated numerous times that they try to keep player payroll at about 50% of revenue. With the Twins having terrible seasons on the field from 2011-2014, fan attendance at Target Field has fallen each season so everyone assumes that revenue is down. Why is everyone making that assumption and playing right into the Twins hands? According to Forbes Magazine who publishes annual MLB team valuations the Twins revenue in 2010 was $162 million, in 2011 and 2012 it was $213 million, in 2013 it was $214 million, in 2014 it was $221 million. Why doesn’t anyone call the Twins on this? What am I missing here?
Twins pitching prospect Jake Reed who was drafted out of Oregon in round five this past summer is making the pick look really good. Reed pitched for Elizabethton and Cedar Rapids this summer and the 6-foot-2, 190-pound Reed was 3-0 with a 0.29 ERA in a combined 20 games, had eight saves and 39 strikeouts and only three walks in 31 innings. Now in his first week of Arizona Fall League play he has earned AFL Pitcher of the Week honors.
Curious how your favorite Twins and Twins minor leaguers are doing as they play in off-season leagues? You can see their stats here.
Last but certainly not least we have the following announcement. What is the world coming to? YIKES! Starting with the 2015 season, the American Association (the league that St. Paul Saints play in) has announced the adoption of extra-inning tiebreaker rules to be used in all regular-season games, based upon existing International Baseball Federation and Can-Am League rules.
Twins prospect Eddie Rosario is hitting .409 in the Arizona Fall League and I haven’t seen a word about him. I know the AFL season has just started and the Salt River Rafters have only played six games (going 5-1) and Rosario has played in five of those games. Small sample size I know, but the man is on fire in Arizona.
The 23 year-old from Puerto Rico with the sweet left-handed swing has been playing left field Rafters and follows Byron Buxton (who hits lead-off) in the Rafters batting order. Yesterday’s game was the first time since play began that Rosario has not gotten two hits in a game. Rosario has nine hits in 22 at bats with two runs scored and five RBI to go along with his four stolen bases in as many attempts. Todate Rosario has only one extra base hit, a double but he has a slick .391 on-base percentage.
Rosario put himself in the Twins doghouse when he had to sit out the first two months of 2014 on a 50-game suspension for a second violation of Major League Baseball’s drug-of-abuse policy. Had this suspension not occurred, it is very likely that Rosario would have made an appearance in a Twins uniform at Target field this past season.
As it turned out, after his suspension Rosario started the season in Ft. Myers where he hit .300 albeit in just 30 at bats before being bumped up to New Britain. Rosario struggled at New Britain both on and off the field. Rock Cats manager Jeff Smith benched Rosario in late July for four games for what Brad Steil the Twins director of minor league operations called “just a team situation.” Rosario, who continues to play second base while spending time in the outfield hit only .237 in 316 at bats, scored 40 times and hit eight home runs and knocked in 36 while stealing eight bases in 12 tries. Rosario has never hit below .284 in any season prior to 2014 has a lifetime batting average of .294. It was a bad year for Rosario all around but he seems to have caught a second wind in Arizona this fall.
The Twins didn’t call Rosario up to the big leagues for a cup of September coffee and maybe Rosario got the message loud and clear. I sure hope so because this man can hit the ball and he has some pop in his bat as he showed in 2011 when he hit 21 round trippers for Elizabethton and 12 in Beloit in 2012 in just 392 at bats.
Rosario was the Twins fourth round (135th pick over all) in 2010 and signed for about $200,000. Baseball America had him rated as the Twins sixth best prospect after the 2013 season. BA also had Rosario rated as the Twins best hitter for average in 2011 and 2012. There is a spot for Rosario with the Twins next season but he needs to wake up and smell the roses or his dream of wearing a Twins uniform in Minnesota will fade quickly. I sure hope that the Minnesota Twins organization does not give up on Eddie Rosario because down the road this man can help the Twins, he just needs some help staying on the right road.
On this day back in 1924 the Washington Senators who were playing in their first ever World Series won game 7 in extra innings 4-3 over the New York Giants and became baseball’s world champions. It wasn’t easy and they needed a pebble to help them win the game in the 12th inning. Read a very good review of game seven at dcbaseballhistory.com . You might also check out a nice review (with great pictures) of the entire 1924 World Series here.
Did you stop by and check out our Today in Twins History page? October 3 has been an interesting day in Minnesota Twins lore for sure. Read about Vic Power, the 1970 ALCS, the strange finish to the 1976 AL batting race, the Twins signing a letter of intent to move to North Carolina, how the Twins ended the 1999 season with a tie game and more. Even though the Twins season is done, you can still read about their exploits, good and bad from the past.
I was driving up to Duluth to enjoy a short two-day getaway when I heard the first reports over the radio that Ron Gardenhire was going to be dismissed as the Twins manager after 13 seasons at the helm of the Minnesota Twins. Gardenhire has a 1,068-1,039 won/lost record as the Twins skipper and he led the team to 6 division titles in his first nine years before the team fell on hard times between 2011-2014 when they lost 90 or more games each season. Although Gardenhire led his team to the playoffs six times, his teams have had little success in post-season play as they only advanced past the first round once and the team had a 6-21 playoff record. Gardenhire’s 1,068 wins place him second on the Twins all-time manager win list trailing only the legendary Twins skipper Tom Kellywho has 1.140 victories to his credit. When Gardenhire won his 1,000 game earlier this season he became only the 10th manager in MLB history to win that many games with just one team.
The announcement of the Twins management change was made by GM Terry Ryan and Ron Gardenhire was in attendance which in itself was kind of unusual but yet I would not have expected anything different from Gardenhire who I think is a class act all the way. It was who wasn’t there that really stood out to me, where was team president Dave St. Peter and owner Jim Pohlad? Yes, I saw a replay of the press conference and I heard Terry Ryan say that both had conflicts and would be available for questions later. What a bunch of BS that is. The team manager is the face of your baseball team and yet the owner and team president don’t attend the press conference? How ridiculous is that? If they had conflicts on Monday then schedule the press conference for another day, firing the manager a day or two later will not change the Twins record. It is all about perception and to me it appears that Jim Pohlad and Dave St. Peter don’t want to be associated with Gardenhire being relieved of his duties. It is as if they told Terry Ryan that you can stay on as the Twins GM but first you have to send Ron Gardenhire packing. Pohlad himself said in so many words that the GM was responsible for making the final call on the manager’s job. Get real Mr. Pohlad, how dumb do you think we are? I know some teams don’t have their team presidents and owners attend these kind of press conferences but the Twins usually do and when there is good news to be shared, you can count on seeing the smiling faces of Jim Pohlad and Dave St. Peter behind that table.
On one hand I hate to see Ron Gardenhire go as the Twins manager because I believe that for the most part he did a good job as the team skipper based on the players he had and I liked his attitude and how he interacted with the fans. He seemed like one of us even though he was a major league manager and only 30 people in this world can say that. On the other hand the Minnesota Twins organization has to make some kind of a statement to the dwindling Twins fan base that something is being done to try to get the good ship U.S.S. Twins back out to deeper water and back on course after they had scrapped the bottom for the last four years. Fans are jumping overboard in record numbers and the Twins crew is trying to throw a life preserve over the side to get some fans back on board but it may be too little to late. Gardenhire has been offered some type of job within the organization that as yet is not defined and Gardenhire is pondering his options but it is obvious the man wants to get in the managers seat again and I think that some organization will probably give him that opportunity in the not too distant future. I hope so, I want to see Gardenhire charging out of that dugout again with his face red with disgust and his cap hand in hand telling the umpires that “they missed that one”.
The entire Twins coaching staff were on the last year of their contracts so they are all out of work unless the new Twins manager chooses to bring them back. But who will be the new Twins manager? Around the middle of August Terry Ryan stated to Sid Hartman at the Star Tribune that Gardenhire still had a year left on his contract and he expected him to be back in 2015. The again what was he going to say, I am going to fire Gardy after the season ends? Ryan has stated that the Twins will look inside the organization and outside the organization to find the right man for the job. The leading candidate according to the press and the general public in some of those “who should the new Twins manager be” polls appears to be Paul Molitor. Even Sid Hartman is campaigning hard for Molly.
I just don’t see Molitor as the right fit for the Twins managers job. I know he is a hall of fame player, played for the Twins, and coached for the Twins but these are not necessarily working in his favor right now. Great ball players have historically not made good managers. Molitor’s personality more closely resembles Tom Kelly in his prime than it does Ron Gardenhire. Molitor seems more like the old school gruff and tough manager and with all the young players that the Twins will have on the roster I am not sure this is a good fit. Molitor has been a Twins coach all season and how many times have you seen him interviewed or quoted in the past year about Twins play? Not many, Molitor seems to prefer a low profile and if the Twins are looking for a manager that will help to market the team, Molitor is not the guy. Another thing working against Molitor is that he is a Twins insider and fans are looking for changes in the organization and next man up internally is not what the fans want. The fans don’t want to see the same old thinking and if the team hires another Twins insider it is unlikely that much will change.
So who is going to be the new Twins manager? I don’t know the answer to that, no one does right now. But I would be willing to bet it is not Molitor or anyone else in the current Twins organization. If an internal candidate was going to manage the Twins in 2015 I think that Terry Ryan would have pulled the trigger at the end of August and brought him in as an interim manager so that he could test drive the Twins for the rest of the year and management could evaluate the new skipper at the same time. That didn’t happen so I see it as a sign that the new Twins manager is working in another organization at the present time. Ryan has been in baseball a long time and he knows a lot of people, this will come in handy now.
I will miss Ron Gardenhire and I wish him the very best but I am glad that this change was made and I am looking forward to seeing who will be managing the Minnesota Twins in 2015 and beyond.
Where else except in the final edition of the 2014 Minnesota Twins Game Notes can you find the following paragraph.
TWINS BEST DRESSED AWARDS: The annual best dressed award given out by the Baseball Communications department goes to Eduardo Nunez in 2014. Nunez was known for his custom suits mixed with slim fitting dress shirts in a nice mix of colors and patterns. He also sported a variety a skinny ties and a wide range of footwear, he never cut corners and proved it with his matching belts and trendy socks. He says he owes most of the credit to his good friend Robinson Cano. Honorable mention in 2014: Anthony Swarzak, Jordan Schafer and Glen Perkins. Most improved was radio broadcaster Cory Provus. Cory is known for his tight lululemon shirts (often a size too small) while he showcases one of his several colors of AG Jeans The Portege cut. He took a step forward in 2014 with purchasing a few Brooks Brothers non-iron dress shirts, but where Cory really separates himself is when he dons his Hugo Boss suit during press conferences.
The This and That section in the Game Notes had some valuable info as well:
• The Twins have lost three of their last four games on the final game of the season.
• On the season, Twins hitters have averaged 3.99 pitches per plate appearance, second highest in baseball (Boston, 4.05).
• The Twins are hitting .309 (69-for-223) with runners in scoring position this month, the third best average in baseball.
• The Twins have gone 70-0 when ouscoring their opponent in 2014.
• The Twins have gone 7-0 when shutting out their opponent in 2014.
• The Twins went 0-11 when being held to zero runs.
• The Twins went 36-35 when wearing blue uniforms and 11-22 when wearing the traveling grays.
It just goes to show that even if you lose 90+ games four years in a row you can still have a sense of humor. Well done boys!
The Twins defeated the Tigers, 12-3 yesterday, preventing the Detroit from clinching the American League Central Division title. It was the last-place Twins’ 10th win in 18 games against the division-leading Tigers this season. Believe it or not, the Twins, despite a 26-41 record since the All-Star break, lead the American League with 4.67 runs per game over that same stretch. Similarly, the Rockies led the National League in scoring average before the break this year (4.76), despite reaching the intermission at 40-56. Since the first All-Star Game in 1933, only one other major-league team has led its league in runs per game either before or after the break, while having at least 15 more losses than wins over that span; the Rockies did it in the first half of the 2004 season.
September 27th was a very interesting day in Twins history, don’t forget to stop by our Today in Twins History page to check it out. Have a great day!
Phil Hughes allowed one run over eight innings and earned the victory in Minnesota’s 2-1 win over Arizona on Wednesday. Hughes is 16-10 in his first season with the Twins after going just 4-14 with the Yankees last season. He is the fourth pitcher in major-league history to follow a season with four-or-fewer wins with 16-plus wins the following season, having at least 25 starts in each campaign. The others to do that were Frank Mountain in 1883 (26-33 after going 4-21 in 1882), Jerry Koosman in 1979 (20-13 after going 3-15 in 1978) and Matt Keough in 1980 (16-13 after going 2-17 in 1979). Koosman did it under similar circumstances to Hughes: his three win season in 1978 came in New York (with the Mets) and then after being traded to the Twins in the offseason, he went on to win 20 games in his first season in Minnesota in 1979.
If Wednesday was Hughes’ final appearance of the season, he will have finished the year with 16 wins and only 16 walks allowed. Only three pitchers in the modern era registered as many or more wins as walks while winning at least 15 games: Christy Mathewson did it twice (25 wins, 21 walks in 1913 and 24 wins, 23 walks in 1914) and Slim Sallee (21 wins, 20 walks in 1919).
Because of the rain delay in yesterday’s game, Hughes came up a third of an inning short of notching 210 innings that would have triggered a $500K bonus. I can’t believe there is any way that the Twins would be so stupid as to not give Hughes this bonus anyway when they have him signed to a multi-year deal. Back in the day, Twins owner Calvin Griffith who was considered as cheap an owner as there was in baseball was not averse to giving a player a bonus after a particularly outstanding season. The sad sack Twins should not let a good publicity opportunity slip through the cracks. Free agents that the Twins might be interested in signing in the future are watching so don’t screw this up Minnesota Twins front office!
UPDATE – It turns out that the Twins did not screw things up here and came to a fair understanding with Phil Hughes. The team offered Phil Hughes the opportunity to pitch in relief this coming week-end in Detroit so that he could meet the 210 inning limit to collect a $500K bonus and Hughes decided to pass on the offer. I also read in the Star Tribune that according to the baseball collective bargaining agreement that the Twins can not call it “close enough” and pay Hughes the bonus. Good to see there are no hard feeling on either side.
Kennys Vargas the 24 year-old 1B/DH has been named the Twins Minor League Player of the Year (Sherry Robertson Award) and Jose Berrios a 20 year-old right-handed pitcher has been named as the Twins Minor League Pitcher of the Year (Jim Rantz Award).
Vargas was called up by the Twins on July 31 from New Britain and made his major league debut at U.S. Cellular Field on his 24th birthday on August 1 going 1 for 5 with a run scored and two RBI. Vargas has been with the Twins ever since and appears to be a fixture in the Twins line-up for years to come. Between New Britain and his stint in Minnesota Vargas as hit 26 home runs this season. The switch-hitting Vargas is probably going to get some games in at first base but his primary role with the Twins will be at DH.
Berrios is on the fast track to Minnesota, the 20 year-old started the season going 9-3 with a 1.96 ERA for the Ft. Myers Miracle before being bumped up to Double A New Britain where he was 3-4 with a 3.54 ERA. The Triple A Rochester club had an outside shot at making the playoffs late in the season and the Twins sent Berrios to Rochester where he started one game but came up the loser when he lasted just 3 innings and gave up 6 earned run. Berrios had a great season and the only fly in the ointment here is that he was pulled from a game late in the season with a sore arm. Berrios pitched after that episode but it is certainly something to keep an eye on. Berrios has all kinds of potential and I would hate to see some kind of an arm injury slow down his development and delay his arrival in a Twins uniform. I think that Berrios has as much or more potential than any pitcher the Twins have in their minor league system and I can’t wait to see him pitch at Target Field in as a Minnesota Twin.
I sure hope that winning the Jim Rantz award does not jinx Berrios. If Berrios checks out the previous Jim Rantz award winners, he might not show up in Minnesota in January to accept his award. Maybe the Twins should consider renaming the award instead of have it named for Jim Rantz a long time Twins executive but who was a career minor league pitcher from 1960-1964 and never got a taste of pitching in the major leagues.
Previous Jim Rantz award winners2013 – Andrew Albers 2012 – B.J. Hermsen 2011 – Liam Hendriks 2010 – Kyle Gibson 2009 – David Bromberg 2008 – Anthony Slama 2007 – Kevin Slowey 2006 – Matt Garza 2005 – Francisco Liriano 2004 – Scott Baker 2003 – Jesse Crain 2002 – J.D. Durbin
Congratulations to both Kennys Vargas and Jose Berrios on their great season!
September 20, 1965 – Just 537 fans paid to watch the Kansas City A’s Jim “Catfish” Hunter beat Jim “Mudcat” Grant 8-2 at Met Stadium in a makeup game in a cool 52 degree drizzle. Fortunately the game was over in two hours and 10 minutes. Don Mincher hits two home runs and gets two of the Twins four hits. It is the smallest paid crowd to watch the Twins play at home. B-R shows attendance of 547 but Twins media guide states 537. You would think that a team that was on its way to the 1965 World Series would draw a bit better than that. Box Score.