Tag:Minnesota Twins
Posted on: August 28, 2009 3:54 pm
 

Twins acquire Jon Rauch

Buoyed by winning five of their past seven games and crawling back into the AL Central race, the Twins acquired pitcher Jon Rauch from Arizona on Friday for a player to be named later.

Rauch, 2-2 with a 4.14 ERA and two saves this season, gives manager Ron Gardenhire another option as he maneuvers a threadbare -- and young -- pitching staff. The Twins already this season have used 22 different pitchers, closing in on the club-record 23 they needed in 1989. The Twins have not used 22 pitchers in any season since 1995.

The Twins already this month added starter Carl Pavano in a waiver deal with Cleveland. Their preference would be to add another starter given that starters Kevin Slowey, Glenn Perkins and Francisco Liriano all are on the disabled list. Failing that -- and the Twins reportedly have considered Boston's Brad Penny and the Cubs' Rich Harden from the waiver wires -- Minnesota felt its best option was to beef up its bullpen as much as possible.

 

Posted on: August 25, 2009 10:00 pm
 

Twins dealt Santana because of $, not arm trouble

MINNEAPOLIS -- While the Mets prepare to face life without ace Johan Santana for the foreseeable future little more than a year after acquiring him from Minnesota, the Twins have a clear conscience.

When Minnesota declined to deliver a jumbo-sized contract to Santana and traded him to the Mets before the 2008 season, how much did the hint of arm problems for the left-hander factor into their decision?

"Zero," Mike Radcliff, Minnesota's vice-president of player personnel, said Tuesday. "Our ownership and our management didn't think that long of a contract was good business. It was just the length. That's always risk for a pitcher, whether it's a one-year deal or a 20-year deal. But we had no knowledge of any injury.

"It was the outlay that was required. And that goes along with that kind of a deal. Pitchers get hurt.  That kind of length of contract is very risky, especially for a pitcher. It's just common sense. Logic tells you that."

Upon obtaining Santana, the Mets immediately struck a six-year, $137.5 million contract with him. As he heads for season-ending surgery to remove bone chips from his elbow, Santana is still owed a minimum of $98.5 million over the next four years.

"There is a differentiation between a pitcher and a position guy," Radcliff said. "[Santana] throws 200 innings a year, but he's not the biggest guy, and he's not the strongest guy. He does throw more changeups and off-speed stuff, so you can lessen the risk with him.

"But with a No. 1 guy like him, the risk is exponential."

And quite simply, that's where baseball's more economically challenged teams must make the hard decisions, must separate reason from emotion when dealing with a franchise player who is about to become a free agent.

One contract like Santana's can cripple a team with limited resources for years if the player is injured for any length of time. Meantime, while a major inconvenience for a richer team, it doesn't necessarily reduce them to non-competitor status.

"That's the small-market, big-market discussion in a nutshell," Radcliff said. "The larger-market teams have money to overcome mistakes that others of us don't. They can say, 'We'll take the risk, no problem.' For teams like us and the Royals, it can be a problem."

This will be Santana's second surgery since becoming a Met -- he underwent knee surgery to repair a torn meniscus when the season ended last October.

His only significant injury while with the Twins came in 2001, when he was sidelined from July 12-Sept. 21 with a partial tear of the flexor muscle in his elbow.

In Minnesota, Twins players, staff and officials were saddened to hear about Santana's impending surgery.

"I hope he's healthy as soon as possible and ready to go," Radcliff said.

Likes: Great picture here from the weekend reunion of the 1979 world champion ("We Are Fam-a-lee") Pirates in Pittsburgh. Great to hear that Chuck Tanner, the manager of that team, is doing well after suffering a heart attack and undergoing surgery this spring. Tanner is 80 now, and he was one of the centerpieces of what several players said was an emotional and touching reunion. "I can't believe after reminiscing that we didn't beat the Orioles in four games," cracked pitcher Bert Blyleven. "Everybody was 5-for-5, I won five games in that series, Jim Rooker won four. ... Just seeing everybody was great. We're still family." ... The Rockies beating San Francisco on Ryan Spillborgh's 14th-inning grand slam on Monday night? They're developing into the best story in baseball. ... Who else was waiting for the Tigers to blow that 10-0 lead in Anaheim on Monday night? Closer Fernando Rodney entered in the eighth inning for the first time all year and, based on the way he handled the ninth, that might not be the last time manager Jim Leyland summons him in the eighth. ... Nick Hornby with a new book due this fall, Juliet, Naked. ... Adele's frozen custard stand in Excelsior, Minn. The Fresh Peach was outstanding today. And the Coconut Cream was exquisite on Sunday. ... The ribs and chopped pork at Famous Dave's barbecue shack.

Dislikes: The way I figure it, if you're looking for a sure thing in this ragged economy, you could do a whole lot worse than owning one of the food joints behind security at the airport. You're unable to bring liquid through security, so you've got to buy water -- or something -- on the other side. And now that they don't feed you on flights, you've got to grab some food (unless you pack it at home, which would be a nightmare trying to get through security. So, basically, for any food or drink, you're held hostage by whatever prices (or they charge or crap they serve. And at the airport near me, the Starbucks now says they will not take regular Starbucks gift cards. Apparently because they're independent and can make their own rules. So that'll be $12 for a cup of coffee, bottle of juice and a yogurt parfait to take on the plane for an early morning flight. And as if that's not enough of a rip-off, the spot where you can really use a gift card won't accept them. Traveling is so much fun.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"One love
"One blood
"One life
"You got to do what you should
"One life
"With each other
"Sisters
"Brothers
"One life
"But we're not the same
"We get to
"Carry each other"

-- U2, One

Posted on: July 31, 2009 3:40 pm
 

Twins with Angels, Dodgers in Heath Bell talks

Add the Minnesota Twins to the list of teams frantically phoning San Diego and trying to complete a deal for Padres closer Heath Bell in these final 30 minutes before the trade deadline, sources tell CBSSports.com.

The Twins, who already have acquired shortstop Orlando Cabrera, are working hard to add bullpen help to a beleaguered bullpen as they fight to stay in the AL Central race with Detroit and the Chicago White Sox.

The Padres' asking price for Bell, however, might be prohibitively high for the Twins' taste. And there is plenty of competition, too, as both the Dodgers and the Angels are making strong bids for Bell.

Posted on: July 31, 2009 1:04 pm
Edited on: July 31, 2009 2:04 pm
 

Twins acquire Orlando Cabrera

The Minnesota Twins have acquired shortstop Orlando Cabrera from Oakland in exchange for minor-league shortstop Tyler Ladendorf, CBSSports.com has learned.

Cabrera, 34, has come on strong lately at the plate after a very slow start. He was hitting .280 with a .318 on-base percentage in 101 games for the Athletics, and he arrives in Minnesota with an 11-game hitting streak intact. He's hitting .375 (18 for 48) over that stretch and, since July 1, he's batting .373 (41 for 110) with eight doubles, two homers and 16 RBI.

The acquisition for the Twins comes less than an hour after AL Central-leading Detroit acquired left-handed pitcher Jarrod Washburn from Seattle. The Twins, weak in the middle infield with Brendan Harris (.264) at shortstop, Alexi Casilla (.171) at second base and Nick Punto (.208) spelling them, also were talking with Toronto about Marco Scutaro.

In acquiring Cabrera, the Twins gave up their second-round pick from last summer's draft, Ladendorf. Initially, the Athletics were focused on outfielder Aaron Hicks, rated the Twins' top prospect in 2009 by Baseball America, and third baseman Danny Valencia, whom the Twins think is their third baseman of the future.

Cabrera is due roughly $1.25 million in salary this season, plus a $250,000 bonus for being traded. He is expected to arrive in Minnesota in time to play in Saturday night's game against the Los Angeles Angels.

The Twins, who also receive an unidentified amount of cash from Oakland in the deal, remain in the market for a relief pitcher.

Posted on: July 31, 2009 1:30 am
Edited on: July 31, 2009 1:30 am
 

Twins remain at impasse with A's over Cabrera

The Minnesota Twins remained frustrated in their attempt to pry shortstop Orlando Cabrera from Oakland on Thursday night, according to sources familiar with the discussions.

In exchange for Cabrera, the Athletics were said to be asking for a high-level prospect plus that the Twins pay all of the roughly $1.25 million remaining of Cabrera's salary. The Twins, pushing to add help in their quest to catch Detroit and the Chicago White Sox in the AL Central, are balking.

Among those whom the Athletics have inquired about in a Cabrera deal are outfielder Aaron Hicks, rated the Twins' top prospect in 2009 by Baseball America, and third baseman Danny Valencia, whom the Twins think is their third baseman of the future.

The Twins also remain very interested in Toronto's Marco Scutaro but the Blue Jays so far have indicated that they will not deal some of their other players if they do not trade Roy Halladay.

Posted on: July 30, 2009 5:30 pm
 

Others wait as Halladay talks play out

They're stacked up like jets on a runway, but rival clubs waiting in line for Toronto to move third baseman Scott Rolen, infielder Marco Scutaro and relievers Scott Downs, Justin Frasor and/or Brandon League don't appear close to receiving clearance.

The problem is that Toronto, deep in trade talks for Roy Halladay, has not yet moved its ace. And one source with a club in talks with the Blue Jays says that's holding everything else up.

Cincinnati has been trying to work toward a Rolen deal for much of the week. Minnesota is interested in Scutaro (and Oakland's Orlando Cabrera, but reports of the Twins' interest in Freddy Sanchez before Pittsburgh dealt him to San Francisco were greatly overexaggerated). Several clubs have inquired about Downs, Frasor and League.

And meantime, the two Los Angeles clubs, Boston and Texas continue to look for an opening in the Halladay negotiations.

Posted on: July 27, 2009 9:35 pm
 

Slowey injury leaves Twins looking for pitching

Their season dangling in the balance with Monday's devastating news that starter Kevin Slowey will miss the rest of the season because of wrist surgery, the Minnesota Twins have expanded their trade talks to focus on starting pitchers.

Already searching for a middle infielder -- negotiations with Oakland regarding shortstop Orlando Cabrera have intensified in the past 24 hours, sources say -- and a set-up man, the Twins now are shifting gears again as they struggle to keep pace with Detroit and the Chicago White Sox in the American League Central.

Slowey's 10 wins lead the rotation even though he hasn't pitched in three weeks. Among those the Twins are expected to inquire about -- or have inquired about -- are Seattle's Jarrod Washburn and Arizona's Jon Garland and Doug Davis.

Meantime, the Twins, after nixing a couple of mid-level prospects the A's have asked for in exchange for Cabrera, have provided the Athletics with a list of young players they would trade for the shortstop. Though Cabrera got off to a very slow start offensively for Oakland, he has batted .339 since June 4.

The Twins also continue to monitor Toronto infielder Marco Scutaro as they wait for the Blue Jays to begin dealing and as they wait for the Athletics to get back with them on Cabrera.

Rookie pitcher Anthony Swarzak has been a huge help lately as Nick Blackburn, Scott Baker, Francisco Liriano and Glen Perkins have struggled to reach the seventh inning in recent starts. But with the subtraction of Slowey, the Twins clearly are in a bind.

The Twins had fallen to four games behind division-leading Detroit entering Monday night's games and clearly are frustrated.

Following a tough weekend against the Angels in Anaheim, the three Twins' franchise players -- Justin Morneau, Joe Mauer and Joe Nathan -- told LaVelle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune that it's time to make a move.

"Yeah, there's frustration," Mauer told the newspaper. "But I've learned over the last few years not to try to get my hopes up that we'll have something, then get disappointed."

"It's frustrating, very frustrating," Morneau said. "You hear about the future, the future. I don't know who gets to decide when that is or when they think that is. You have a core of a lineup that can compete with anyone in the league. One of the best closers in the game. Young starting pitching that might be missing one veteran guy to show them the way.

"It makes a difference to have someone like that."

 

Posted on: February 24, 2009 10:13 am
 

The Twins, Game 163 and 2009

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- But for one pitch last September, it could have been the Minnesota Twins moving into the playoffs instead of the Chicago White Sox.

Yes, that one pitch techinically came in the dramatic one-game playoff last Sept. 30, when Jim Thome drove a Nick Blackburn pitch over the center-field wall in U.S. Cellular Field to clinch the AL Central title with a 1-0 victory.

But it could have been any number of one other pitches during the month of September as the Twins made their unlikely charge.

"I had a tough stretch during that long road trip," says closer Joe Nathan, referring to the late September swing through Baltimore, Cleveland and Tampa Bay, a trip during which the Twins went 4-6. "We kicked the ball around a little emore than usual. I threw one away."

Nathan cited those as moments that gnaw at him, moments that continue to motivate him.

Generally speaking in professional sports, teams drawing motivation from the previous season and carrying it forward is overblown. Players change teams, they move on. Other things in life come up.

In the Twins' case, however, they may take a bit of motivation from the sudden-death ending to their 2008 season.

"For me, that's over with," manager Ron Gardenhire says. "It's a whole new year in front of us. You can't relieve the past.

"You can use it as a learning experience. It was one pitch. One big hit could have made the difference for us."

Especially for younger players such as outfielders Carlos Gomez and Denard Span, and Blackburn, who is expected to be a mainstay in this year's rotation, the highs and lows of last September can't hurt in 2009.

"It was a good experience for them," Gardenhire says. "That was a big stage. Everyone was watching us. We were it. We were watched. It was fun."

Likes: Minnesota skipper Ron Gardenhire when asked whether last year's one-game playoff with the White Sox will intensify the Sox-Twins rivalry. "Only with us and A.J.," the manager quipped, referring to former Twin and current Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski. "Him showing the ball to our dugout (after holding onto it when Ken Griffey Jr. threw out Michael Cuddyer at the plate to end the fifth inning). Guys were saying, 'Boy, he really pisses us off.' That's what he does best. We know it. He knows it. That's why we love him."

Dislikes: The Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News filing for bankruptcy the other day. Several other newspapers having filed for bankruptcy. The bad news in the auto industry. The banking situation. Foreclosures. Thank goodness for spring training. Can we start getting some good news sometime soon?

Sunblock day? Eventually. It's really cool in the mornings this week -- like, wear-a-jacket cool -- but toward late morning the warm sun takes over.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day

"City girls seem to find out early
How to open doors with just a smile"

-- The Eagles, Lyin' Eyes

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com