- Now that Danny Valencia claimed uniform number 22 for 2012 (Carlos Gomez' old number, btw, and the thought of getting a "Valencia" name plate and having it replace "Gomez" on my #22 blue jersey passed my mind for about one single second, I do not lie) looking at unused uniform numbers, the one that really tickles my interest is the number 4, last worn by Augie Ojeda in 2004 and previously by Paul Molitor as a player and a coach. Does the fact that is not used, mean something? Who knows? For sure the Twins will not retire it for just 3 seasons of Molitor's play. Do they keep it for Paul to come up and help occasionally or more than occasionally? We'll see.
- The 2012 Twins' pen has the potential of being like the 2004 pen, which had a newly acquired 'inexperienced' 29 year-old failed starter and decent for a year set up man as the closer (Nathan), a 25 year old RH set up man left over from the previous season(Rincon), a 28 year old decent LHP left over from the previous season (Romero), a young 22 year old fireballer (Crain), a 25 year old waiver wire pick (Gurrier), an oft injured 26 year old (Balfour) and 2 early 30s journeymen (Roa and Fultz). And it was not bad, but something has to click in 2012.
- Speaking of the 2012 'pen. La Velle said (in so many words) that the Twins cannot afford Dan Wheeler. This is kind of an interesting tidbit, because I am sure that they can afford him. Maybe they simply do not want to afford him.
- And potential 2012 'pen candidates (both RH fireballers), Lester Oliveros (20.1 IP, 1.33 ERA, 9 BB, 18 L, 1.33 WHIP in Venezuela) and Luis Perdomo (21.1 IP, 2.11 ERA, 3 BB, 16 K, 0.80 WHIP in the Dominican) are lighting up Winter Ball. Anthony Slama finished his stint in the Pacific Mexican League with 1.76 ERA in 15.1 IP, 5 BB, 19 K and 0.85 WHIP, but he does not seem to be invited in Spring Training for some reason. Stay tuned.
- Speaking of Winter Leagues, Alexi Casilla is having a stellar winter (and that has not happened often). He is been hitting .336/.419/.412 with 6 SB in 119 AB in the Dominican; I hope that this is a sign of things to come, because he can really use a break-through season in 2012. And speaking of crazy hitting in winter and need for break through seasons (or a great spring in his case), Luke Hughes, who is out of options, has been hitting .500/.630/1.111 with 3 HRs in 18 AB in Australia.
- Lots of talk about the 2012 Hall of Fame vote and who is in and who is out and why. There are five (count them, little known secret) former Twins on the ballot: Jack Morris, Terry Mulholland, Phil Nevin, Brad Radke and Ruben Sierra. I don't think that anyone has a chance. I see Barry Larkin making it and possibly Tim Raines and Jeff Bagwell. That's about it. How would I vote? I don't, so I don't have to cross that bridge yet (and probably ever.)
- The other day I looked up Terry Doyle's full name, in order to create the ground work for a future world play (malapropism or metonymy for you, English majors) on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, in case Terry Doyle makes the club and amazes us with his performance, and I was surprised to find that his full name was John Terry (not even Terrence) Doyle. Just does not have the same ring to it. But at least he has the same name (not middle) as a former Washington Senator, Dirty Jack Doyle or trivial fame. The MVP award of the Irish Baseball League is named after him (full name: The 'Dirty' Jack Doyle Silver Slugger Award. Dirty Jack's middle name is Joseph, btw) Have not seen pictures of the trophy, but I will close this post with a picture of Old Dirty Jack:
And a (bonus) parting thought, also, concerning Terry Doyle:
Nick Blackburn in AFL in 2007: 6 GS, 22 IP, 1.64 ERA, 2 BB, 20 K, 0.68 WHIP, .178 OBA
Terry Doyle in AFL in 2011: 8 GS, 26 IP, 1.98 ERA, 5 BB, 22 K, 0.62 WHIP, .135 OBA
I think that the comparison is too interesting not to mention here...
Blackburn in the following season, 2008, had his career bests in WHIP, K/9 and K/BB and this makes me think that Terry Doyle could be better than Marquis de Junque (here goes a malapropism, btw) in 2012.