Seventeen things the Twins can do to right the ship

Everyone is trying to play general manager/owner this time of the year, so here is my list:

  • Fix the on field personnel and the chemistry of the club. This team has lost its spark; it is time for infusion of energy:

    • Release Ron Gardenhire from the MLB manager position, offer him another position in the organization and hire former Twin (and 1986 World Champion) Wally Backman as the new Twins manager

    • Release Ron Anderson from the MLB pitching coach position, offer him another position in the organization and promote Bobby Cuellar as the new Twins pitching coach

    • Replace Scott Ullger with Jake Mauer as the Twins' third base coach

    • Replace Steve Liddle with a Latino bench coach of Wally Backman's choice

    • Establish the post of the Twins' team captain and make Joe Mauer the first ever Twins' captain

  • Fix the rotation. It is no secret that the Twins' Achilles heel this season has been the pitching, both starting and relief.

    • Trade Glenn Perkins to the Mariners for Jared Washburn and a minor leaguer like Michael Pineda or Brett Lorin

    • Try to work a deal with the Giants for Barry Zito. I argued that point here recently

    • Trade Nick Blackburn for pitching prospects

    • These moves will give the Twins a rotation of Slowey (Swarzak until he returns), Baker, Zito, Washburn and Liriano

  • Fix the bench and the outfield mess.

    • Clean up house in the majors: DFA Redmond, recall Morales, option Buscher and call up Huber

    • Try to see what kind of prospects you can get for Punto and call up Grudz when ready and have Tolleson fill in until ready

    • Establish a starting OF of Span LF, Gomez CF, Young RF; use Cuddyer as a super sub

    • This will give the Twins a bench of: Cuddyer, Grudz/Tolleson, Morales, Huber; not bad.

  • Improve the bullpen.

    • Keppel and Duensing do not belong in a major league bullpen, and much more in a contender's bullpen. Release Keppel and promote Morillo and option Duensing to Rochester. This will leave one empty spot.

    • Go after a 8th inning reliever like Scott Downs or Chris Wuertz. There is a huge OF depth in the minors that is unlikely to make it in the majors with the Twins, with the oldest of the Twins' starting outfielders being 25 years old. Rene Tosoni (a Canadian) would be a perfect bargaining chip for a Downs trade. Martin, Winfree, Pridie, Roberts also could factor in the equation

    • Mijares should be a LOOGY. Period. Denny Reyes, Jr. only better in getting lefties out and hitting the post-game buffet.

    • This would give the Twins a bullpen of Nathan (CL), Guerrier (8th), Wuertz/Downs (8th), Mijares (LOOGY), Crain and Morillo (low leverage), Dickey (long). Not that bad

  • Clean up house in the front office:

    • Allow/force/whatever Jim Rantz to retire (he is the only person in a MLB-organization's Hall of Fame who currently holds the same job he was elected for).

    • Bill Smith has his hands tied. All the old guard (Terry Ryan, Tom Kelly etc.) is there. Let them retire and let Bill Smith succeed or fail on his own

    • If this team does not make the post season this year, replace Bill Smith with Randy Bush, former World Champion with the Twins and current assistant GM with the Cubs


No title...


Is Minnesota becoming a baseball state?

Here are the results of an ESPN online poll today, asking "what is on your mind right now as far as sports are concerned: baseball, football, or something else". The state by state map speaks more than a thousand words:


The best arm in the Twins' minor league system

Utterly horrible game yesterday at Oakland in several levels. There have been tomes of virtual ink describing this game already today, so I do not plan to focus on it. Instead I will focus on something more positive, identifying the best arm in the Twins minor league system, who is a well-kept secret, btw (unless you read this blog last year as well.)

Who is he? I'll get to this in a second, but I will get to his numbers this season first:

He started 9 games, won 6 and did not lose any. In the 50 innings he pitched, he allowed one earned run in 28 hits while he walked 6 and struck out 50. This translates to 0.18 ERA, 0.680 WHIP, 9.0 K/9 and 8.33 K/BB. Outstanding numbers, especially given the fact that his league averages are 3.84 ERA, 1.404 WHIP, 7.84 K/9 and 1.79 K/BB. He is the 19 year old Pedro Guerra in his second stint with the Twins' DSL team, following a team-best season of 2.45 ERA, 1.032 WHIP, 8.0 K/9, 6.25 K/BB (his age 18 season in 2008). If someone like Shooter Hunt or Kyle Carr (or insert the name of any 2008 Twins' draft pick) had similar numbers the last 2 seasons, the Twins fans and all the major project publications would have been all over him and had listed him as a top prospect. Furthermore, the GCL is an easier league to pitch than the DSL. The 2009 pitching averages for the GCL are 3.51 ERA, 1.285 WHIP, 7.84 K/9, 2.27 K/BB; compare those to the ones previously listed for the DSL.

Pedro will probably be in the states next season as a 20 year old, but he does deserve a spot at least at the GCL roster this season. He was signed as a 16 year old out of Venezuela (he is from Cagua, home of former major league SS Alex Gonzalez of Marlins' fame) and played his first professional season in 2007 with the Venezuela Summer League Twins/Cubs split squad (the Twins stopped playing at the VSL after 2007) where as a seventeen year old he put up excellent numbers (3.64 ERA, 1.011 WHIP, 6.4 K/9, 2.63 K/BB).

What does the future hold for Pedro Guerra? It is extremely early to tell, but he has been the top minor league pitching performer in the Twins' organization and he has to be recognized for it. I hope that he finds his way up north sooner than later...