Sunday, July 31, 2011

Neither a Buyer Nor Seller Be

The non-waiver trade deadline has passed, and the Twins have nothing to show for it. Nothing. However, that's not to say that Bill Smith and his boys weren't busy. It just means that they were probably stubborn.

The loudest buzz of the weekend surrounded Denard Span going to the Nationals for right-handed reliever Drew Storen. From what I gathered through sorting through hundreds of tweets on the topic, Washington pushed hard for Span, but his value caused Smith to ask more than what they were willing to give up. It hard to tell exactly how close this deal actually was; all the news came from the Nationals' side, and the Twins, as usual, were very secretive.

Storen's a good pitcher, and he would have been a very nice addition to the Twins' struggling bullpen, but Span is just too valuable to let go unless the return package blows everyone away. Span is a great on-base guy (an important asset for a leadoff hitter), hits for average, has some power, and his defense gets better every year. Plus, he's under contract at a reasonable price until 2014 (with a team option in 2015). He's a good clubhouse guy with a great attitude; he tends to let adversity fire him up rather than bring him down. There were also indications that his teammates would have been upset if he was traded.

This whole thing must have weighed on his mind as he read his name all over Twitter. He sent out a few tweets indicating that he hoped to remain a Twin and how much he appreciated the fan support. On Sunday evening, he expressed his relief and gratitude again. I certainly hope he can move on from all this chaos cleanly with no regrets or hard feelings.

Jason Kubel, Michael Cuddyer, and Kevin Slowey's names were also thrown around as trade candidates, but I never got the feeling that anything was serious or eminent with them. It seems that the Twins still consider themselves contenders, and Kubel and Cuddyer will be important pieces in achieving that goal.

Turns out, it's probably also wise that they hung on to Kevin Slowey. The rotation is scuffling, and the Twins may need him to take over for someone. Also, there is still a chance that he could be traded through waivers in August.

Not giving away helpful pieces is well and good and all, but the Twins didn't gain any helpful pieces either. Which is disappointing. There are wide holes in the bullpen and middle-infield that could use some quality help. The starting pitching is also leaving a lot to be desired lately. I wonder if all this focus on Span cost the Twins some opportunities to target other players.

Fortunately, it's still possible to acquire some guys; they just have to clear waivers first (and there are ways to get around that, too). Remember, Carl Pavano was added in August of 2009, and that worked out pretty well.


DL Update:

Denard Span has been activated from the DL after being out since June 9 with a concussion. He will meet up with the team in Anaheim and is scheduled to start Tuesday (Monday is an off day for the team). Infielder Luke Hughes was sent down to AAA Rochester (again!) to make room.

Justin Morneau might start a rehab assignment this week.


Don't forget to enter for the 1991 World Series Collector's DVD Set drawing. The deadline is Sunday night, so this is your last chance. I'll execute the drawing, with one of my kids, sometime after dinner on Monday (it is supposed to be taco night, so, you know, priorities).

One entry per person, so enter now if you haven't already. Just let me know any way you know how.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

DL Report: Alexi Casilla

I was kind of hoping that I could be done doing this. No such luck. Only seven guys on the active roster have not been involved in a DL or minor-league transaction. Seven. I'm still hoping that it won't go down to zero.

The Twins have placed Alexi Casilla on the 15-day DL with a Grade-1 (mild) hamstring strain. He pulled it running the bases during Wednesday's game.

Luckily the strain is mild, but hammy injuries are tricky. If they're not allowed to heal fully, they can become nagging problems. He needs his legs strong, and the Twins can't really afford to let him rest it long enough without getting someone in to replace him.

Luke Hughes has been called up from Rochester to replace Casilla.

Other transactions:

The Twins decided that they no longer need to carry 13 pitchers, so they reassigned RP Chuck James to AAA and recalled IF Matt Tolbert.


Don't forget to enter into the drawing to win the very nice 1991 World Series Collector's DVD Set. Check them out in the sidebar on the right. Just let me know you want to enter the drawing, and you're in.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

1991 World Series Collector's DVD Contest!

The 1991 World Series was a great time in Twins history, and to commemorate the 20th anniversary of this awesome feat, I have been given the opportunity to allow one of my readers to win a very nice collector's DVD set produced by A&E Home Entertainment. I have the details of the DVD set after the contest rules.

Contest Rules:
Well, I decided to keep it simple. If I had a poetry or caption contest, I know I would have a very hard time choosing (all my readers are awesome; I wouldn't be able to choose one over the other). I also didn't want to manage some kind of guessing contest, because I know I'd screw it up somehow (besides, most of my readers are smarter than me, so I'd have a hard time coming up with suitable questions).

So, I'm just going to do a simple drawing. Enter in one of three ways -- comment on this or a future post, send me an email to, or send me a tweet to @kbrobaseball -- with the words "DVD Entry" before 11:59 pm 31-JUL-2011. I will put all the entries in my trusty game hat, and have one of my kids draw a name out. I assure you it will be on the up and up (you'll have to trust me on this; I don't know an independent auditor, and even if I did, he or she would be my friend, so...). One entry per person.

I will provide the winner with contact information for the person at Foundry Communications / A&E Home Entertainment; it is the winner's responsibility to contact A&E. A&E Home Entertainment and Foundry Communications are solely responsible for delivering the prize. K-bro's baseball blog holds no responsibility for delivery of the prize.

You may see other blogs offering the same DVD set. I encourage you to visit those blogs and enter those contests as well. I know my friends at Knuckleballs Blog are doing a fun prediction contest (although you may need to hurry on that one -- it has to do with Joe Nathan breaking the team saves record).

Good luck.

If you're interested in purchasing the DVD set, see the sidebar on the right; links are there.

DVD Release Information from A&E Home Entertainment:

“The whole series was like a storybook”

-- Twins Manager Tom Kelly, after Game 7



Street Date: August 2, 2011

DVD SRP: WS Collector’s Edition: $69.95/
Magic in Minnesota: $19.95



In 1991, the Minnesota Twins beat the Atlanta Braves in seven grueling – and unforgettable -- games to capture their second World Series championship since moving to The North Star State in 1961.  Now, catch every historic moment of this championship series with THE MINNESOTA TWINS 1991 WORLD SERIES COLLECTOR’S EDITION, a handsomely packaged 7-disc set.  Packed with bonus footage and all seven games in their entirety, this is sure to be a must get for not only Twins fans, but baseball fans everywhere as the Twins get set to commemorate the 20th anniversary of this milestone series.

Was it really the greatest Fall Classic ever?  Five games were decided by one run.  Four of the games were won on the very last plate appearance. Three games went extra innings. Two managers played a seven-game chess match.  One run was scored in the Game 7, 10-inning masterpiece.  Add in Kirby Puckett’s Game 6 for the ages, a power-hitting third base tandem, Kent Hrbek providing a lift at first, a rookie rising above the tension, veteran power, clutch pitching led by the wizened Jack Morris, plus a relentless and dynamic Atlanta Braves team --and yes, it was the Greatest World Series ever played.

This beautifully-packaged seven-DVD collection contains every pitch, hit, sterling defensive play, and ear-popping Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome memory along with each glorious Minnesota Twins 1991 World Series championship moment. The collection displays the heroics of Dan Gladden, Gene Larkin, Chuck Knoblauch, Chili Davis and Brian Harper, plus the steadying leadership of Manager Tom Kelly. A special DVD audio feature allows fans to watch the World Series television broadcast and listen to the Twins Radio Network announcers! Yes, it was the greatest World Series and the proof is in the seven games digitally preserved in this DVD trophy.

Magic in Minnesota: Remembering the 1991 World Series Championship

In more than 100 years of World Series play there have been many that could be considered memorable and a handful that might be classified as unforgettable.  But only one can be called the best ever – and for many the 1991 World Series between the Atlanta Braves and Minnesota Twins was just that.

MAGIC IN MINNESOTA: Remembering the 1991 World Series Championship revels in the mesmerizing masterpiece of Jack Morris’ 1-0, 10-inning Game 7 and Kirby Puckett’s unbelievable heroics in Game 6.  This commemorative DVD, timed to the Twins’ 20th Anniversary celebration, salutes the contributions of superstars, support players, and the deafening, intimidating Minnesota Twins fans who electrified the Metrodome like never before and includes extensive game highlights and interviews with two-time World Champions manager Tom Kelly, Kent Hrbek, Gene Larkin, Dan Gladden, and  John Gordon.  As an exclusive bonus, the DVD also includes footage such as the final outs from four Twins 1991 ALCS victories plus the celebration footage after winning the 1991 American League Pennant; a vintage 1991 Minnesota Twins commercial; the footage of the ‘91 Twins meeting the President at the White House and Kirby Puckett’s Hall of Fame induction speech

MAGIC IN MINNESOTA is more than just another film about just another championship team.  It’s about the Twins – your Twins – and perhaps the greatest World Series of all time.



Type:  DVD/7 Discs
Catalog #:  AAAE245590
Running Time: 15 hrs., 45 mins.
Genre:  Sports/Baseball
Rated:  N/A
Audio: Stereo


Type:  DVD/Single
Catalog #:  AAAE248210
Running Time: 75 mins. + extras
Genre:  Sports/Baseball
Rated:  N/A
Audio: Stereo

#   #   #

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Holding a 16

The non-waiver trade deadline is Sunday, and teams have to figure out what, if anything, they want to do with it. Winning teams will add a key piece or two to help them finish the season strong, and the losing teams provide those pieces with hopes of acquiring youngsters that can help in future years.

And then there are the Twins. It's really hard to tell what the smart path is for the team that has shown flashes of both brilliance and brutality. It's like they're playing Blackjack, and they hold a 16.

If you've ever played Blackjack (and I haven't very much, so bear with me), you'll know that having a 16 is the worst hand to have. You know it's not likely that you'll win if you stay pat, but if you take a hit, you may bust. Or, you could just surrender*, give your chips to someone else, and try again next year.

This is a crucial week for Bill Smith to make up his mind; the team really needed to stay hot to convince him to try for winning -- in other words, be buyers. But they haven't looked like winners this week, so they may want to shed some players who can help another team and work on building for next year -- be sellers. However, they have a history of staying pat.

It might be difficult, but the smart move would be to admit that the Twins won't win the division this year, and they should look to improve in 2012. And it'll probably hurt.

There are a number of guys who are due to be free agents after the season, so it may be wise to trade one of them in order to get something for them before they potentially lose them. Michael Cuddyer, Jason Kubel, Joe Nathan, and Jim Thome will be free agents this off-season. Cuddyer probably has the most value right now, but the Twins have said a number of times that they're not interested in trading him. Kubel, Nathan, and Thome have had injury issues, although Kubel and Nathan are probably ok for the rest of the season.

Matt Capps, Denard Span, and Francisco Liriano have also drawn some interest from other teams. However, Span is still on the DL, and has yet to play in a full nine-inning game in his rehab. They can't trade a guy on the DL (well, actually, I think they can, but it requires special permission, and it's really a hassle and why would they want to anyway?). Capps and Liriano have kind of diluted their trade value lately.

And, of course, Kevin Slowey is still available for a trade.

So the next few days will be very interesting to see what happens. Interesting, and potentially painful. Stupid 16.

*If you're an expert Blackjack player, you'll know that I can't really surrender this hand because I've already taken one hit. Just ignore that and go with the flow here ok? I don't really feel like taking a new picture with a queen and a six.


Be sure to drop by here again in the next couple of days, for an exciting chance to win a DVD set of the 1991 Minnesota Twins World Series Championship:


I just have to figure out what kind of contest to host. I'll come up with something. Probably something that doesn't require much work on my part.

More details soon.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

DL Report (Belated): Scott Baker

I knew it. I knew the minute I announced that I was on vacation, someone would need to go on the DL. I'm back now, but it's kind of too late, because he's already been activated. However, every guy who hits the DL deserves a paper doll, regardless of my timing.

On July 17, the Twins placed Scott Baker on the DL, retroactive to July 7, with a right flexor strain. This was pretty much a paperwork move so that he could rest it one more start and the team could call up another pitcher for a spot start.

The flexor is the tendon that allows the elbow and wrist to bend.

Scott Diamond, who started in Monday evening's game, was called up to take his spot. The Twins also sent down Matt Tolbert to make room for Chuck James for additional pitching help.

Baker was activated Saturday, and pitched five good innings. Because pitching has been such a problem lately, the Twins felt like they needed to keep James around, so they were forced to send Luke Hughes down to make room.


Other transactions:

Jason Kubel was activated Friday from his ankle injury. Scott Diamond was sent down to make room.

Kevin Slowey was activated from the DL from his oblique injury and was reassigned to AAA Rochester.


I'll have a report sometime later on all the baseball I saw while I was on vacation. Right now, I have piles of laundry to do.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

On Vacation

Hey, everyone. I'm currently chilling (literally -- it's cooled off quite a bit) in Colorado this week. Consequently, I won't be blogging until I get back.

Thank goodness for my delightful iPhone and the MLB At-Bat package, so I'll definitely be keeping up with the Minnesota nine. I'm also planning on attending a couple Rockies games and an Omaha Storm Chasers (KC AAA affiliate) game on the way back.

If you want to be endlessly annoyed join along in the fun, be sure to follow me on Twitter @kbrobaseball.

Stalkers and creepers beware -- we have a house sitter, so don't even think about it.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Things Moving

It's the All-Star Break. The Twins aren't exactly in the position we all were hoping for when spring training broke. Good thing they're traditionally better in the second half of the season. I'm hopeful that if the Twins continue playing good baseball, we fans will be enjoying meaningful games come September. However, I'm also not delusional.

This doesn't bother me too much; the Twins have overcome this number before.
This, however...this might be asking a lot. This would require a serious alignment of the planets and still need extra luck.
Playing well and winning is one thing. It's not impossible to move up six and half games on one team in just a few weeks. Depending on three teams to stumble is pretty tough.

It should be exciting.


I enjoyed watching Joe Mauer play first base on Thursday night. It kind of looked like he enjoyed it too. It was nice to see him smiling after he made some good plays. I guess I've never noticed him having fun playing; it's pretty hard to tell if he is with his face behind a mask all the time.

It's important to remember, however, that he's not moving to first base. He's a catcher. He will spend most of his playing days catching. For several years. But it's nice that he has the option to play there once in a while to help save his legs and still keep his bat in the lineup.

Of course, the experiment proved what I've suspected all along: he's one of those guys who just does everything extremely well without even really trying hard or knowing what he's doing -- even things he's never done before. I hate those kind of people. I'm sure if someone challenged him to cook fine French cuisine or hang glide, he'd do it perfectly. Like the Most Interesting Man in the World guy, only with less interestingness.


With the All-Star break comes some roster moves for the Twins. Delmon Young has been activated from the DL. He played a few games in Rochester and both DHed and played in the outfield and he's ready to go. Rene Tosoni has been reassigned to Rochester to make room.

Trevor Plouffe has been tearing the cover off the ball in Rochester. So Gardy told him to get some time playing at first base, which he did. And now he's coming back. He'll be a nice addition to the platoon of Hughes, Cuddyer, and Mauer who are currently staffing the position. He can also play some in the outfield. Catcher Rene Rivera has been reassigned to Rochester to make room. We all knew the Twins couldn't keep three catchers around for very long.

The Minnesota Twins: now with 100% less Rene-ness.


DL Watch:

Like I said, Delmon Young has been activated.

Denard Span could be ready to play very soon. He still needs to pass the ImPACT test before he is cleared. When he does, he'll likely spend some time in Rochester in a rehab assignment.

Jason Kubel had a little set back on his sprained foot, but an MRI showed no additional damage. He'll likely resume his rehab play soon.

Kevin Slowey has been pitching in rehab games for Rochester and is likely to come off the DL soon. However, he's likely to remain in Rochester as a starting pitcher.

Justin Morneau's neck surgery went well, and he's already feeling stronger. He fully expects to return sometime in August as originally expected.

We're watching Scott Baker, who missed Sunday's start due to some tenderness in his elbow, and Jim Thome, who sat Sunday with a strained big toe. Hopefully the All-Star break will give them time to heal, and they'll be fine on the other side.

Monday, July 4, 2011

A Few Holiday Weekend Quick Notes

I hope you had a wonderful long Independence Day weekend. I sure did; it couldn't have been more perfect. I went to Friday's game, which was a lot of fun (even the rain delay was interesting). Then I spent the rest of the weekend at the lake where the weather was perfect. Boating, eating, resting, and a little drinking. Very nice. The only wrinkle was when Matt Capps vomited all over the Twins' 3-run lead on Saturday.

A few notes:

  • Friday was my first time in the Metropolitan Club at Target Field. I highly recommend the horseradish encrusted walleye. And the Yukon gold mashed potatoes. And the spinach ravioli with asparagus and portobello cream sauce. And...well, everything.
  • The rain that came over Target Field on Friday night was pretty cool. The first storm was quite windy, and the poor grounds crew guys were hustling their tails off to get, and keep, the tarp down. They threw everything heavy they owned on it to keep it from blowing away: bags of fertilizer, the things they use to drag the infield dirt, hoses, carts, whatever. When the second storm blew in, it was actually awesome. There was a distinct edge to the storm, and when the edge came across the bank of lights, the optical illusion made it look like a wave crashing over the park. The crowd ooooh'd and aaaaaah'd over it. This picture doesn't do justice to it:
  • The grounds crew is amazing. It was actually pretty interesting watching them work. You know how Target Field brags about capturing and recycling rain water? It's true -- at least the capturing part. There is a drain near third base, and the manipulate the tarp so that all the water goes there. Then they squeegie all the water into the drain. It looked like there may have been other drains along the warning track as well. Fifteen minutes after the rain stopped, it looked from the stands like the field was never wet.
  • Jim Thome. Home run. 'Nuf said.
  • Even though the rain delay made it a late night, the fireworks after the game were pretty cool.
  • How tired are we of Matt Capps? I've never been a huge fan of his, mainly because Joe Nathan is my guy and I'm emotional about the whole closer situation. Earlier in the season, Joe Nathan took himself out of the closer role after only two blown saves. Capps has now blown six saves, and he got bent because Gardy pulled him after giving up two hits on Sunday, a day after blowing a three-run lead. Not cool. The trouble with Capps is that he doesn't have an overpowering fastball and he doesn't really strike out a lot of people. He's a contact pitcher, and contact pitchers can get hit around sometimes. Not really the best closer material, if you ask me. I'm not saying he's a bad pitcher, just not a good closer.
  • So, was it a sign of progress when Gardy pulled Capps and put in Glen Perkins on Sunday? Is he going to start using the best pitcher for the situation in the ninth instead of managing to the "Save for the Closer" philosophy? I have my doubts. He's always seemed to me to be a big the-closer-and-only-the-closer-pitches-the-ninth type guy. Is it time he re-visit his idea of closer by Capps/Nathan committee plan he had after spring training? I think so, but again, I can't speak objectively about any of it.
  • Here's how I forgot about the whole closer mess -- on the pontoon: 
  • I'm so happy that Michael Cuddyer was named to the All-Star Game. I hope he has fun with it. I think it's funny that he doesn't know which glove to bring, so he'll just bring them all.
  • Jim Thome. Home run. Again.
  • Gardy looked like a genius on Monday by putting Danny Valencia at DH and Danny responds by hitting a three-run home run.
  • Complete shut outs are hawt. That makes Brian Duensing all the hawt. Even though he had to do a little "character building" in the first couple innings.
Well, back to work.... What a great weekend.