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12/2/11

Transactions involving former Twins - November edition

I was asked to do this by @CapitalBabs of Knuckleballs fame, since I have been tweeted them as the came, so here it is. I will make a monthly list of all transactions involving former major and minor league Twins' players. I normally will not talk about coaching and front office positions, but I think that Chili Davis is a remarkable one, so it is included here. Every month, I will be adding the new transactions and will clean the slate once the 2012 season starts in April. If you want to follow those as they come, feel free to follow me on twitter (@thrylos98) or look at the left hand side box with my tweets.

Here are the November transactions involving Twins' players (caveat, might be incomplete because some of those are announced a tad late) :

Arizona Diamondbacks:

C Henry Blanco (major league; free agent, November 2011)

Atlanta Braves:

LHP Dusty Hughes (minor league; free agent, November 2011)

Los Angeles Dodgers:

IF Adam Kennedy (major league; free agent, November 2011)

Oakland Athletics:

-Coach Chili Davis (named MLB hitting coach, November 2011)-
OF Jason Pridie (minor league; free agent, November 2011)

Seattle Mariners:

RHP Matt Fox (minor league; free agent, November 2011)
SS Luis Rodriguez (minor league; free agent, November 2011)


Texas Rangers:

RHP Joe Nathan (major league; free agent, November 2011)

12/1/11

Twins' Winter Meetings Primer

Happy new month! Every year as December rolls in, for about a week, baseball executives, free agents, player agents, a bunch of vendors of baseball equipment and goodies, people who are looking for a job in a baseball organization, and a whole lot of of folks with press passes begin their flight to a particular warm place, like migratory birds, to discuss particular business matters, sign free agents, trade players and conduct the major league and minor league parts of the Rule 5 draft. In addition to "baseball business", these annual meetings include a huge expo of baseball vendors and a very large job fair (officially called: "The Baseball Trade Show" & the "Professional Baseball Employment Opportunities Job Fair", thus the plural in the "Winter Meetings,) but I will not focus on these two at this point. This year's meeting place is the Hilton Anatole Hotel in Dallas, TX, between December 5th and 8th. A few important dates before and during these meetings:

  • Today, December 1st is the last day to place a player on waivers before the Rule 5 Draft

  • December 5th, the first day of the meetings, is the last day to outright a player (who went through the aforementioned waivers) before the Rule 5 draft (thus making him subject to the draft)

  • December 7th is the last day for free agents who were offered arbitration to accept (in the Twins' case this is Cuddyer and Kubel)

  • December 8th, the last day of the meetings, is when the Rule 5 draft takes place. I presented the rules of both major and minor league phases of the draft here and looked at the Twins' liabilities.

  • December 12th, midnight, is the last day to tender a contract. This is really important and will have consequences in the Winter Meetings, because this year it comes after the meetings. This is the day where teams can non-tender someone, so this off-season they can shop someone in the meetings without other teams knowing that he will be non-tendered. A player in this situation with the Twins is Jose Mijares.


Here, I will attempt to guess what the Twins will do (i.e. what could happen)instead of what the prime outcome should be ( i.e. what should happen.)
To try to do this, we need to establish a baseline, so, here is a look at the Twins depth chart before the Winter meetings, accounting for all players in the 40 man roster (38 spots occupied currently):

C Mauer/Doumit/(Butera)
1B Morneau/Doumit/Mauer/Hughes (Parmelee)
2B Casilla*/Carroll/Hughes(Nishioka)
3B Valencia/Carroll/Hughes
SS Carroll/Casilla*/ (Nishioka)
LF Revere/Plouffe/Span/(Benson)/(Tosoni)
CF Span/Revere/(Benson)
RF Plouffe/Doumit/Span/Mauer/(Tosoni)/(Arcia)
DH Doumit/Morneau/Plouffe/Hughes/Mauer/(Tosoni)/(Parmelee)

Bench Hughes
Bench ?
Bench ?
Bench ?

SP Baker
SP Liriano*
SP Pavano
SP Slowey*
SP Blackburn/Swarzak/Duensing/(Hendricks)/(Diamond)

CL ?
LHRP Perkins*
LHRP Duensing
LHRP Mijares*/(Maloney)/(Robertson)
RHRP Oliveros/(Vasquez)/(Gray)/(Hoey)/(Waldrop)/(Burnett)/(Guerra)/(Gutierrez)
RHRP (Burnett)/Oliveros/(Vasquez)/(Gray)/(Hoey)/(Waldrop)/(Guerra)/(Gutierrez)
SWING RP Swarzak/Blackburn/Duensing/(Hendricks)/(Diamond)

Baseball fans, unlike other sports' are not really used to seeing or using depth charts much, but I think that the make sense, because the starting lineups are rarely the same in a season. To translate a depth chart into a starting lineup, just read the first name of each position. Straight forward. The players with in parenthesis either have options left or can be waived. The players with an asterisk are arbitration eligible.

So far this off-season (in addition to the front office changes), the Twins signed free agents Jamie Carroll and Ryan Doumit and announced that Trevor Plouffe will be considered and Outfielder for the organization going on; they also signed several relievers in minor league contracts, and a couple of them were added to the 40-man roster. Let's examine what the next steps are for the Twins and what could happen within next week:

  • First of all they need to decide whether the 40-man roster is set or not before today's deadline. I do not foresee any changes, but potentially, Jeff Gray, Esmerling Vasquez and Matt Maloney, for example could be waived. I do not expect that to happen

  • Second order of business would be to decide whether they will tender contracts to their arbitration-eligible players: Alexi Casilla ($1.25M award estimated), Fransisco Liriano ($5.5M estimated), Jose Mijares ($800K estimated), Glen Perkins ($1.5M estimated) and Kevin Slowey ($3.5M estimated.) It is of note that the Twins either traded or waived the other 4 arbitration-eligible players: Phil Doumatrait (who later re-signed in a minor league contract), Jason Repko, Matt Tolbert and Delmon Young. Glen Perkins is a lock to be offered arbitration. It is very likely that Liriano and Casilla would be offered arbitration and less likely that Slowey and Mijares would be. Expect the Twins to make a decision and listen to offers for any of these 4 players other than Perkins. Depending on whether they get any satisfactory offers, expect some of the 4 to be traded. If not, I fully expect most of them to return, since the salaries of Liriano and Slowey would be below going rate for starting pitching, Casilla would be making just north of a million (or less that half for what they paid Carroll) and he has shown moments of brilliance and Mijares (who is the most likely candidate to be non-tendered) will cost just North of minimum salary

  • Then the Twins will visit with agents that represent their 3 free agents (Cuddyer, Kubel and Capps.) These visits might be just typical at this point, because the free agent market, other than late inning relievers, has not been settled without the singings of Pujols, Fielder, Reyes, Rollings, Ortiz. The Twins might make an offer to Capps, but based a. on the contract that Jonathan Broxton received (1 yr, $4M + incentives) to be a set-up man for the Royals (and I suspect that would be the starting point for the discussions from Capps' side) and b. the fact that the Twins' will get a free sandwich draft piok if Capps signs elsewhere, I do not see a lot happening there. There has been a lot of talk about the Twins fighting hard about both Cuddyer and Capps, and to a lesser degree Kubel, by Twins' officials. I think that they have to do this, because it ensures good relationships with the players' agents (i.e. show that they are still in the run, making the probability of another team to sign them faster greater), it makes their free agents more desirable (thus increases the probability that they would not accept arbitration and the Twins will receive a pick or two.) Thus, I do not foresee much on the 3 free agents or others (other than minor signings) before the big free agents sign.

  • Trying to at least start or assume discussions about trades for a closer and further middle infield help (pieces that Terry Ryan indicated that they will come outside the organization.) A thing of note: the Twins have only 2 open spots on their 40-man roster (and I think that one of them will get filled in the rule 5 draft, more on that later) and thus the players who can trade are probably on that roster (with prospects added to balance the trade either way.) In addition to the 4 arbitration eligible players discussed earlier, the 2 players out of options, Plouffe and Hughes, and any of the starting pitchers under contract not named Baker (that is Pavano and Blackburn,) as well as Danny Valencia and Denard Span, could be on the block, for the right return. If no starting pitchers are moved (look at the bottleneck above in the depth chart, and they really do not have to be moved) I do not expect the Twins to go after another starting pitcher. There have been several reports linking the Twins with free agent outfielders, but again, unless it is a second-tier FA, I think that Winter Meetings is too early for that to happen, unless someone like Pujols or Fielder establishes the market.

  • Last point of order will be the Rule 5 draft. It is very likely that the Twins will select a player. Players under target this year would be either relief pitchers with a decent control who lack a secondary pitch (and hope to gain in ST) or middle infielders with good gloves to fight for a bench spot. I expect at least one pick from these 2 categories in the Rule 5 draft.


So here it is. My crystal ball is turned off, and that is what I expect to happen (or not happen) early next week (and, to re-clarify, not what I want to happen). What do you think?

11/30/11

The best to ever play for the Twins by letter

Turning my attention off the shimmering off-season hot stove, a couple of days ago, I created a subjective list of the best baseball people to ever wear a particular Twins’ uniform number.

In the same spirit, I am presenting a list of the best Twins’ players whose last names begin with a particular letter.Unlike the previous list, this list includes players only. So the ABCs are slightly different than the 123s.

The premise is similar: who is the best (i.e. best overall performance as a player, not only as a Twin) to ever play for the Twins and his last name starts with a particular letter. The complete list of all the Twins' players can be found here. It also includes all Washington Senators players as well as players who were in the Twins’ 40-man roster even if they did not play a single inning in the majors (but these players are not included in the list below - but, if you wait, a whole player ranking - and that will be objective - in the Franchise Series is coming up either this weekend or next week).

Here is the list (I use the parenthesis to indicate close seconds and specifics about the particular letter like how many players’ last names started with that letter. No Twin -or Senator for that matter- had a last name that started with the letter X) Asterisks denote MLB Hall of Fame members, the positions and years with the Twins' Franchise are indicated. I am sure that there are some surprises, and I do encourage discussion:

A - Bob Allison (OF) 1958-1970
B - *Bert Blyleven (P) 1970-1976, 1985-1988
C - *Rod Carew (IF) 1967-1978 (close over P *Steve Carlton)
D - Chili Davis (OF/DH) 1991-1992
E - Scott Erickson (P) 1990-1995
F - Brian Fuentes (P) 2010
G - Gary Gaetti (3B) 1981-1990
H - Kent Hrbek (1B) 1981-1994
I - Riccardo Ingram (OF/DH) 1995 (only 2 players; the other C Hank Izquierdo)
J - Jacque Jones (OF) 1999-2005, 2010
K - *Harmon Killebrew (IF) 1954-1974
L - Francisco Liriano (P) 2004- (close over OF Matt Lawton)
M - *Paul Molitor (DH) 1996-1998
N - Joe Nathan (P) 2004-2011
O - Tony Oliva (OF) 1962-1976 (close over 1B/DH Dave Ortiz)
P - *Kirby Puckett (OF) 1984-1995
Q - Frank Quilici (IF) 1965-1970 (only 3 players; others: 3B Tom Quinlan & 3B Luis Quinones)
R - Brad Radke (P) 1995-2006
S - Johan Santana (P) 2000-2008
T - Jim Thome (DH) 2010-2011
U - Ted Uhlaender (OF) 1965-1969 (only 2 players; the other 1B Scott Ullger, yes that Scott Ulger)
V - Frank Viola (P) 1982-1989 (close over Zoilo Versalles)
W - *Dave Winfield (OF) 1993-1994
X - no players
Y - Delmon Young (OF) 2007-2011 (only 2 players; the other P Rich Yett)
Z - Geoff Zahn (P) 1977-1980 (only 3 players; others: P Bill Zepp, C Jerry Zimmerman)

Pretty good 24 man roster; what do you think?

11/28/11

The best to ever wear a particular Twins' uniform number (by number)

The hot stove has been shimmering these days in preparation for next week's Winter Meetings (even though I do not have it beyond the Twins to announce that they have signed someone like Johnathan Broxton to an one year contract soon,) so here is a list I did just for fun.

The premise is simple: who is the best (i.e. best overall performance as a player, manager, coach, esecutive etc, not only with the Twins and not only when wore that particular uniform number) to ever wear a particular Twins' uniform number. If a particular person wore multiple numbers he qualifies for all numbers.

The complete list of all the Twins' players and coaches and their uniform number can be found here. (So please go over there and tell me whether I should have included someone else in my list.)

Some numbers are easy, because there is only one person who wore them. An "*" denotes place in MLB HOF, an "^" the only Twin to wear than particular number.

Here is the list (n parenthesis the years the person listed wore that number) :

^0 Junior Ortiz, 1990-91
1 Luis Castillo, 2006-07
2 Zoilo Versalles, 1961-67
3 *Harmon Killebrew, 1961-74
4 *Paul Molitor, 1996-98 2000-01, 2003 (Coach)
5 Michael Cuddyer, 2001-11
6 Tony Oliva, 1964-75, 1976 (Player-Coach) 1977-78, 1985-91 (Coach)
7 Joe Mauer, 2004-11
8 Gary Gaetti, 1982-90
9 Gene Larkin, 1987-93
10 Tom Kelly, 1987-2001 (Manager)
11 Chuck Knoblauch, 1991-97
12 Cesar Tovar, 1965-72
13 Todd Walker, 1996
14 Kent Hrbek, 1982-94
15 Al Worthington, 1964-68
16 Frank Viola, 1982-89
17 Camilo Pascual, 1961-66
18 Don Baylor, 1987
19 Scott Erickson, 1991-95
20 Billy Beane, 1986-87
21 Eric Milton, 2000-03
22 Brad Radke, 1996-2006
23 Jim Lemon, 1961-63
24 Shane Mack, 1990-94
25 Jim Thome, 2010-11
26 Kent Hrbek, 1981
27 David Ortiz, 1997-2002
28 *Bert Blyleven, 1970-76, 1985-88
29 *Rod Carew, 1967-78
30 Steve Howe, 1985
31 Jim Perry, 1963-72
32 *Dave Winfield, 1993-94
33 Justin Morneau, 2006-11
34 *Kirby Puckett, 1984-95
35 Graig Nettles, 1967
36 Jim Kaat, 1961-73
37 Tony Oliva, 1962-63
38 *Steve Carlton, 1987-88
39 Gary Gaetti, 1981
40 Steve Bedrosian, 1991
41 Tom Kelly, 1983-86 (Coach) Tom Kelly, 1986 (Manager)
42 Camilo Pascual, 1978-80 (Coach) - does not count honorary wearing
43 Rick Stelmaszek, 1981-2011 (Coach)
44 Chili Davis, 1991-92
45 Terry Mulholland, 2004-05
46 Scott Erickson, 1990
47 *Early Wynn, 1967-69 (Coach)
48 Torii Hunter, 1997-2007
49 Kyle Lohse, 2001-06
50 Jesse Orosco, 2003
51 Dave Engle, 1981
52 Jim Lemon, 1965-67 (Coach)
53 Joe Mays, 1999-2000
54 Sam Mele, 1961 (Coach)
55 Clyde McCullough, 1961 (Coach)
56 Jose Parra, 1995-96
57 Johan Santana, 2000-07
58 Hector Carrasco, 1998-2001
59 Brad Radke, 1995
60 Jon Rauch, 2009-10
61 Livan Hernandez, 2008
62 Al Newman, 2002-05 (Coach)
63 Joe Benson, 2011
64 Eric Rasmussen, 2009 (Coach)
^65 Nelson Prada, 2011 (Coach)
^66 Steve Liddle, 1999 (Coach)
^67 Rick Knapp, 1999, 2006 (Coach)
68 Phil Roof, 2000 (Coach)
^69 Stan Cliburn, 2007 (Coach)
^70 Stu Cliburn, 2005 (Coach)
^71 Joe Roa, 2004
^72 Pat Neshek, 2006
75 Aron Amundson, 2002-06 (Bullpen catcher)
^77 Tony Batista, 2006
^78 Bobby Cuellar, 2003-04 (Coach)
^81 Riccardo Ingram, 2008 (Coach)


What do you think?