Thursday, November 29, 2007

Young to Twins

I like the trade, I really do.

1. They traded a good, young arm for a good, young bat. Nothing ever wrong with that.
2. Bartlett was never going to be the long term answer at SS.
3. Rincon sucks.


The best reason?

Since they traded for an outfielder that means there less of a chance of them signing, you guessed it, Craig Monroe. Hooray.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Buzz

Local sportswriters are all aflutter with the prospect of Johan Santana getting traded to the Yankees, but everyone seems to be forgetting the non-tender deadline is SATURDAY!! That's right, by Sunday morning, THIS Sunday morning, we will know whether or not the Twins are going to over-pay a mediocre outfielder. They already decided against over-paying one outfielder (no offense, Torii), so hopefully they have wised up a little.

Let the countdown begin!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Hunter Signs with Angels

The Angels are going to give Torii Hunter 90 million dollars for five years.

You have fun with that.

What is with the Angels always over-paying mediocre outfielders? I'm looking at you, Gary Matthews Jr.

And congrats, Torii, way to parlay the Rangers offer into a better one. Have fun in California, win a ring or two.

We'll miss you.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Take my center-fielder, please.

I guess Hunter had dinner over at Rangers' owner Bill Hicks' house yesterday - it looks as though Texas is going to win the Hunter sweepstakes. Yep, they will be the ones that get to give a 32 year old whose lost a step $75 million for five years.

That's right, five years, which means that Hunter, whose knees are already going south on him, will be getting $15 million when he is 37-38 years old. If he is able to walk, much less run, at that point in his career, then I will eat my hat.

Don't get me wrong, I love Hunter, he is the face of the franchise, and watching him patrol center field like a jungle cat for the last 7+ years has been of the true joys of following this team. But his best years are now behind him. And it is in the best interest of the club to let him go somewhere else if he wants a five year deal.

It is, of course, in his best interest, as well.

Rule confusion

Actually, the Twins' front office is even more idiotic than we first thought, as they don't even understand MLB's contract rules.

The biggest reduction they can offer is 20%. Which means, AT MINIMUM, Craig Monroe will earn $3.84 million next season.

Plus incentives.

What a waste.

And, it scares the crap out of me that the Twins GM pulled the trigger on the deal before he understood the rules. What's next? Sending a double A lefty to Arizona for Mark Grace only to realize afterward that Gracey's retired? Terry Ryan's success was always about attention to detail and solid research. So far, the new Twins' front office regime isn't showing either.

Could we be in for another rebuilding decade? Holy heck I hope not.


By the way, why the hell are the URL's over at so freaking long? Very annoying for the average cut and paster.

Also, the article contains some good news about Blackburn down in the AFL. Check it out.

The Twins have so much GOOD and YOUNG pitching in their system. Sooner or later they are going to need to part with a couple arms if they want to bolster their lineup.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Magic Numbers


According to Twins' execs, those are the keys to success. If you pack a lineup full of .250/25/80 guys, then you are guaranteed to score 1000 runs/season. As evidenced by this recent news:

Yep, you got it, the Twins are after Tony Clark. Isn't he like 78 years old?

And, also according to the article, his leadership was 'integral' to the D-backs reaching the post season last year.

That word doesn't mean what you think it means.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Class Act

Rounding third and heading for home...

Reds' legendary broadcaster, Joe Nuxhall, passed away last night.

RIP and Godspeed.

On a day after Bonds' cheating scandal ripped into the soul of every fan of the game, it is nice to take a moment and remember why we loved it to begin with. I grew up in Cincinnati, grew up listening to Joe call games, he was the Baseball Voice of My Childhood. I am forever in his debt.


You know, shoot, I really don't know how to feel about Bonds' indictment. All I do know is that it is a sad day for baseball, that Major League Baseball is just as much to blame as Bonds is, and that his record should be wiped off the books.

No matter what, a sad day for baseball. For sure. Steroids are destroying the game that I love, and that just sucks.

And, worse, every sport is FILTHY these days. You can't trust a lick of it.

So I am thinking of become a bandy fan. Team USA versus Team Canada this weekend, 5:30 over at the Rose Oval here in Roseville. Check it.

(I am off to slip some sweet anabolics into Craig Monroe's juice box).

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Okay this is just insane

From the 'a fan's view' blog over at strib:

"Monroe, 30, had good power numbers (89 homers from 2003-06) before tumbling off the cliff (.219/.268/.370/12 HRs) last season, and doing the same kind of vanishing act that was performed by the Tigers on Dmitri Young during 2006. Granted, the cirumstances are different, but these are cases of taking a player with some experience and ability and having Manager Jim Leyland send them into exile.

Young resurfaced and had an excellent 2007 in Washington.

We should hope for the same from Monroe in Minnesota in ‘08."

Full story here:

Okay, where to start:

1. The first comment on the story from reader cmathewson:

"Right on. Some compare this to Batista. I don’t for three reasons. First, Monroe was a good hitter not that long ago. Second, he’s still relatively young. And third, he won’t be expected to play a critical defensive position."

Right on? Seriously? Dude? Second - your three reasons: Monroe was NOT a good hitter not that long ago. In fact, he was never a good hitter. No matter what STATS you use, this is the truth. But maybe you are immortal, and therefore have an odd relationship with time, and define 'not long ago' as 20 years ago when Craig Monroe was in Little League and WAS a good hitter in comparison to the other 10 year olds. Reason #2 Relatively young? He is 31. Sorry, fail, athletes tend to go south after 30. Dudes like Julio Franco are very rare. Reason #3 I will grant you that 3b is far more cruicial and demanding than left field.

2. The body of the entry: 89 homers in four seasons does not equal 'good' power numbers. What planet are you on? And, to reiterate, the dude's lifetime BA is .256!!! He is not a good hitter and will not be a good fit on this team! We. Need. Players. That. Can. Get. On. Base. Not .250/20/85 guys. Holy macaroni I am going hoarse over here.

That is all I can muster right now.

Two more sites

I think I am going to need to start two more websites:

"• The Twins are still looking to upgrade at third base, where Nick Punto played most of the season but batted only .210. Free agent Mike Lamb could interest the Twins if they can't swing a deal for help. Lamb, 32, hit .289 with 11 homers and 40 RBI with Houston last season. He doesn't hit for much power and didn't play against many lefties.

• The Twins will remain in contact with the Boston Red Sox over outfielder Coco Crisp in case Torii Hunter leaves via free agency."


As Homer would say: Holy macaroni.

40 percent

Well, there was an article over at earlier this morning, but by the time I got to work it was gone (happens).

It only had two nice bits of information:

1. Due to MLB rules, they have to at least offer Monroe 60% of what he was making last year, or about $2.77. Sounds like they are going to low-ball him with a one-year, incentive heavy deal. Yeah, cause those always work. (By the way, isn't two and three-quarters million dollars enough incentive to try your best anyway?) Oh, and Craig's only needs to be two words: stop sucking.
2. Another instance of a reporter mentioning that Monroe is looking to 'bounce back' from his horrid 2007 season. Say whaaaa? Did I miss something? Bounce back to what? The .255 avg and 126 SOs he had in his 'career year'.

Listen, folks, Craig Monroe was never a good baseball player. He is a terrible hitter. Last season was not a slump, he has always been this way. There is no bouncing back, because their is nothing to bounce back to. Picture an under-inflated basketball, if you will.

The non-tender deadline is less than two weeks away. Keep your fingers crossed.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Track record

Tony Batista, career OBP: .299 (Choo Foreman bad)
Rondell White, career OBP: .336 (better, but still below the league median).

What is with the Twins' passion for signing aging players that have never been able to get on base?

You have one of the best pure hitters in the game (Joe Mauer) in your lineup, what you need is guys that can get on base so he can drive them in. Mauer needs to be your RBI guy because all the guy does is hit the baseball really, really well. You need high OBP guys in the lineup if you want to score runs.

It seems the GM's theory is that Joe Mauer is going to get on base, so we need veteran power guys in the lineup to drive him in.

A good theory, but veteran power guys are going to hit .236 with 22 home runs. You're putting the cart before horse. Or something.

My point is: stop ignoring this stat, Twins Execs. Joe Mauer is going to get a lot of base hits, you need to make sure there are dudes on base when he does. He batted .347 in 2006 yet only drove in 84 runs. That is a problem.

Putting a .250/25/80 guy in the five hole doesn't solve anything.

More on Mr. Craig

Found this write-up over on

Lots of really great stuff on our new best friend, but this one jumps out right away:

"The Twins have made it clear this offseason that their priority is to bolster an offense which was lackluster in 2007. On Tuesday, they showed just how urgent they feel that need may be."

Yep, even staff writer Kelly Theiser gets it: teams need to be really freaking desperate if they trade for Craig Monroe.

Also, you will notice that the Cubs were planning on non-tendering him anyway, so the Twins would have ample chance to negotiate a new contract with him (not like teams would have been banging on his door) but instead they decided to go ahead and give away a prospect to the Cubs in exchange for a player they were planning on non-tendering anyway. Awesome. It is like Bill Smith is a greedy two year old. 'But I want Craig Monroe on my team NOOOOOWWWW!!'


Finally, this quote from Monroe is awesome:

"...I wanted to be in a situation where I could play and get back to doing some of the things that I'm capable of doing."

Things that Craig Monroe is capable of doing, by Matt Becker:

1. Striking out a lot
2. Not getting on base
3. Being really terrible at baseball


Good news in the paper this morning:

It seems he is going to have to accept a pay cut or the Twins will non-tender him. Thank goodness. Now we just need to pray that he doesn't accept the deal and goes on his merry way.

Little known fact: Torii Hunter's cousin is career minor leaguer Choo Freeman. Never heard of Choo Freeman? No one has - but in 285 major league at-bats with the Rockies in 04, 05, and 06, Choo's OBP was only 4 points lower than...Craig Monroe's.

Also, last year Craig Monroe struck out in 27% of his at bats. In 2006 it was 23%. In 2005 it was (still not respectable) 17%. As you can see, not only is Craig Monroe not a very good baseball player, but he is getting steadily worse.

In the above article, Monroe mentions that he just didn't get enough at- bats last season 'to get (his) game going'. What the heck? Dude, you had 392 at bats last season. How many does it take you 'to get (your) game going?' 400? 500? If the Twins do sign you (and they better not), at which point can they expect you to start producing? If it takes at least 393 at bats 'to get (your) game going', then can they expect you to stop being really terrible at hitting in, say, late August?

My opinion? It takes at least 568 at-bats 'to get (your) game going'. That is one more AB than your career high in 2005, and since you have always been really awful at baseball, I am can only assume that you have never had enough at bats 'to get your game going'.

Finally, this quote from Mr. Monroe himself: '"I went through a tough period," he said. "All players go through it. I need to go out and prove to myself and everyone in baseball what Craig Monroe can do."' You went through a tough period?

I think you are IN a tough period. A tough period that started when you were born and continues through today. You have never been a good hitter - that is what I am saying here, got it?

Also, no, not all players go through a lifelong period of stinking at playing baseball. There are many, many, many baseball players that are really, really, really good at baseball. You are not one of them.

And finally, yes, you DO need to prove to me and EVERYONE IN BASEBALL that you are not one of the worst players in the game.

And stop taking about yourself in the third person.

Oh crap

Surely you have all heard by now that the Twins traded "a player to be named later" to the Cubs for Craig Monroe today. Now, I am going to go ahead and assume that "the player to be named later" is a 19 year old 15th round pick that is buried in the rookie leagues somewhere. If that assumption is true (and it better be) than the Twins really did not give up anything here. Any players anyway.

What did they give up? Salary room. Monroe's salary last season was $4.8 million (that's right, $4.8 million for Craig freaking Monroe, if that isn't an example of everything (sans steroids) that is wrong with baseball, then I don't know what is) - $4.8 million last season and is eligible for a raise through abritration, so he will probably end up making around $5.2 million this season. According the Strib, the Twins have about $25 million in salary 'wiggle room', for 2008. That means that the Twins just wasted 20% (or more) of their wiggle room on Craig freakin' Monroe. If they resign Hunter, they will then have $5 million leftover. That might just be enough to overspend on Corey Patterson or Mike Lamb.

Now this would not be the end of the world, if Craig Monroe was a very good baseball player, but he is not a very good baseball player, he is a very medicore baseball player. The only reason we have ever heard of him is because we are Twins fans, and he consistently rips into Twins pitching at the Dome (but who doesn't?), no one else in the league has ever heard of him.

According to Retrosheet, hitters with comparable stats include Austin Kearns, Jay Gibbons, David Delluci, and some dude named Nick Esasky. Monroe's lifetime on-base-percentage is .303. That is so awful it transcends words. (The league median usually hovers around .350). Five million dollars for a guy that cannot even get on base.

His lifetime batting average is (you might want to sit down for this one) .256.

His "career year" was, of course, 2006, when the Tigers went to the World Series. He played in 142 games, batted .255, had a .301 OBP, and struck out 126 times. Terrible. This guy is a right handed hitting Jacque Jones. A right-handed hitting Jacque Jones that the Twins are going to give $5 million next season.

Oh, and he is 31 years old - thereby I guaran-freaking-tee you that he has lost AT LEAST a step or two on defense. Now, to be fair details on the financial aspects of the trade have yet to come out, so we can only hope that the Cubs, or even the Tigers, will be on the hook for at least some of the five million dollars he will be getting next year to not get on base, strike out 125+ times, take weird routes to fly balls, and generally be not very good at baseball.

Congratulations, Mr. Twins General Manager, you are a first class idiot.