- From the sky is falling department: There is a lot of anger/anguish/disbelief/desperation about indications that the Twins' payroll will be around $100 million this season. Usually this is presented as a 'major cut' from the 2011 payroll, which started the season at $113M or so. My non-California math, says that, given the probability that insurance companies paid a decent chunk of Morneau's and Mauer's combined $38 million for 2011 and the fact that the Twins will probably spend another $5M or so more than 2011 to sign the more and higher draft picks than last season, it adds up pretty equally. And if anyone told a Twins' fan 4 years ago that fans will be complaining with an $100 million payroll, the nice men in the white coats would be on the way.
- From the Winter Leagues Department: Baseball America scouts indicate that Lester Oliveros has been hitting 96 mph with his fastball in the Venezuela Winter League. And Fransisco Liriano has officially started play with the Escogido (means "chosen" in Spanish, btw; could it be a sign?) Lions. Yesterday, Liriano started his second game in the DWL and did a little better in the walk department (no walks) but a bit worse in the hit department (5H, 3ER -and 4K) in 2.2 IP
- Interesting to see the different reactions of the organizations, the reporters and the Twin Cities fans to the equally horrible seasons of the Twins and Vikings. The Twins lose 99, it is "bad luck", "injuries" etc, so they keep the whole coaching staff intact, and have a very small roster turnover (just the free agents practically). Ok there was a token GM change, having Ryan, who btw was part of the 99 loss team, switching positions with Bill Smith from Special Advisor to GM. The Vikings lose 13 games, and, everyone asks for half of the coaches heads on a plate and the roster will probably be turned over big time. And it is funny that the fans are oblivious of the irony. Wonder why there are different expectations there. Who knows?
- Tweet of the week by a Twins' player: This one by Drew Butera, brought to you by the Wild Kingdom of Omaha. If the link does not work, it reads: "@drewbutera: Do you ever see a lion stretch before he attacks a water buffalo. To the jungle. Lets go!!!!" I am not really sure of the literal, metaphorical or metaphysical meaning of this, if it were the 60s or early 70s, I would have attributed it to something else. Drew is probably going for a Safari or joining RA Dickey and Kevin Slowey up Mount Kilimanjaro; or something.
- A worthwhile series of articles to check, are Puckett's Pond's Non-roster invitees series, each highlighting one of the 25 Twins' non-roster Spring Training invitees.
- For some strange reason the Twins released Cesar Ciurcina, Todd VanSteensel and Pedro Guerra. I am very disappointed with this decision, because I think that Pedro Guerra has a bright future ahead of him. Frankly, if the team is running out of MiLB spots, they can wave goodbye to some of the 30somethings they signed instead of 20 and 21 year-olds with ability and future. Unless there is something else going on, like needing to cut international players to save on something or another (kidding.) And apparently at least Todd Van Steensel found out his release by Baseball America. If indeed the Twins did not have the class to contact him or his agent before they release the news to the press, it does not speak well for Mr Ryan and his staff...
- Congratulations to Barry Larkin who was the only person in the BBWAA ballot to receive more than 75% of the vote and elected to the Hall of Fame. Barry will (of course) wear a Reds' hat. Surprisingly, former Twins' pitcher for a fortnight, and current Twins' radio announcer for much longer, Jack Morris (who would had worn a Tigers' hat if were elected) received 66.7% of the vote and could get in next year (his last year of eligibility.) I still cannot believe that he received more votes than Bagwell or Rains, but c'est la vie... Two homer writers voted for Brad Radke (who did not make the cut to be included next year) and the other 3 former Twins on the ballot did not receive any votes.
Today's parting shot is of Francisco Liriano pitching at his first game at the Dominical Winter League: