Monday, June 14, 2010

The Hiatus Is Over!

My last legitimate blog post came nearly a month ago, following the 3 game series against the Yankees. Oh how far ago that seems.

The fact of the matter is that I recently moved into a new house with some friends (9 days ago to be exact), and I have been in the process of getting settled in. Throw in the fact that we do not yet have Internet access or cable and that may help to explain the reason why this post is coming 28 days after that May 17th post.

Since I have last posted, a lot has happened with the Minnesota Twins. As I look back on the last month, I realize that it was basically the worst month to not be blogging due to the innumerable topics that I could have written about. There were numerous times throughout the past 9 days that I thought, “hey, I should blog about that,” and then I realized that I did not have an Internet connection at my newly rented house. The only reason I am able to be writing this post right now is because I recently discovered that one of my neighbors apparently doesn’t believe in locking his wireless network, which doesn’t bother me one bit.

Since that series at Yankee Stadium the Twins have gone 12-13, somehow managing to game a half game in the AL Central standings. Joe Mauer’s batting average has fallen even further from its’ May peak of .364, while Jason Kubel’s average has risen from a “Mendoza-esque” .213 to nearly .250 while also regaining some power. Delmon Young has silenced most critics of the Matt Garza/Jason Bartlett trade, and Orlando Hudson and JJ Hardy have seemed to be taking their advice on how to stay healthy from Eric Chavez.

Let’s also not forget that the Rochester Red Wings made a visit to Target Field to take on the Atlanta Braves Sunday afternoon. The lineup that Ron Gardenhire trotted out against Bobby Cox’s squad was one that even the Orioles or Pirates may have been ashamed to run out there. I realize that Hudson and Hardy are both on the DL, and that Mauer and even Denard Span occasionally need days off, but don’t you think with a day off on Monday (not even a travel day I would like to add) and the NL East-leading braves in town for a Sunday afternoon rubber match, Gardy maybe could have done something a little different?

Needless to say, the end of May and beginning of June has seen some interesting things from the Minnesota Twins. Being the, as Paul Allen would say, “great baseball mind” that I am, I would like to give my thoughts on certain things.

Justin Morneau officially passed Mark Teixeira in the All-Star Game balloting, and now leads the Yankees first baseman by nearly 200,000 votes. This is absolutely the way it should be as Morneau is having an “MVP caliber” season, batting .350/.460/.636 with 13 HR and 43 RBI. Teixeira is hitting a measly .229/.346/.392 with 9 HR and 37 RBI, numbers that aren’t even in the same stratosphere as Morneau’s. If Teixeira somehow ends up regaining the lead and ends up starting for the AL, I may actually vomit.

Joe Mauer leads the American League in All-Star votes with 2,617,822 while putting up a fairly mediocre season. Don’t get me wrong, Lou Marson or Gerald Laird would love to be putting up numbers like Mauer has this season, but when you look at what Mauer did last season after missing all of April, this season doesn’t even compare thus far. Obviously Mauer has lost some of his power due to the fact that Target Field seems to resemble the Polo Grounds at times when balls are hit into the power alleys (where Mauer hits a majority of his homeruns), but he still should have more than 2 homeruns and at least have a few at home.

Francisco Liriano gave the baseball world even more confirmation that he is ready to assume the role of an ace on the Twins pitching staff with his latest outing against the Braves. Liriano and fellow Tommy John “recoveree” Tim Hudson dueled on Friday night, with Liriano getting the best of Hudson, picking up the 2-1 victory while pitching 8 innings, striking out 11 and walking none. Aaron Gleeman wrote an excellent article over at his blog, comparing 2010 Liriano to his former 2006 self.

Over the weekend, rumors emerged around the Twins and Red Sox having discussions involving the Twins acquiring Mike Lowell. I would fully support this move for many reasons. For one, Lowell is a significant upgrade offensively over Nick Punto, who is currently hitting .221/.295/.290, at what is typically a power position in third base. Additionally, although Punto is an above average defender, Lowell is no slouch at the hot corner, and wouldn’t prove to be much of a defensive drop-off. I also believe that given his age (36) and the fact that Adrian Beltre has the third base position locked down for the Red Sox, Lowell would more than likely be able to acquired for mid-level talent, rather than one of our top prospects. All of these factors make this an attractive deal, and considering that the Twins feel they have the pieces in place to make a World Series run, I don’t see why Bill Smith and Company wouldn’t make think long and hard about this.

This is an exciting time of year for not only baseball, but sports in general. The baseball season is entering the “dog days of summer,” the NBA finals are winding down, the NBA draft is a week from Thursday, and the NFL season is right around the corner with OTAs and minicamps already taking place. With me having taken nearly a month off from blogging, I don’t see myself having a shortage of topics to write about in the weeks to come.

Please feel free to comment or e-mail with any feedback or suggestions. In terms of topics and anything related to the blog, I appreciate hearing feedback and accept it openly. If you enjoy reading, tell your friends!

1 comment:

  1. I hope the Twins are seriously considering Lowell too, although I think we should temper the "significant offensive upgrade" label with the fact that Mike's line is only .215/.311/.354. A better OPS than Punto to be sure, but there's a reason he's available.

    And as for how much of a defensive drop-off he'd be, I guess that depends on how much stock you put in UZR - Punto's a 4.5, and Lowell's a 1.5. Not a huge difference, but not insignificant either.

    If Boston will eat most of his contract, and not demand a prominent prospect, I'd like the Twins to take a shot on him. But failing in either of those conditions, I won't be too upset if they don't pull the trigger.