It’s here. It’s finally here.
It’s like Christmas but it’s warmer.” – Pete Rose
Today is one of the greatest day of the year. Today is Opening Day. Baseball is back. Well, MLB decided to go wacky on us this year and break Opening Day up into two days, with every team playing either yesterday or today, which is pretty ridiculous.
But for Twins fans the wait is finally over. Today we get to, once again, cheer on our Twins as they once again make a run at defending the Central Division title. This year does not come without it’s own question marks.
1. Will the losses of Matt Guerrier, Jesse Crain, Jon Rauch, and Brian Fuentes from the bullpen be to much to bear?
1a. Will the new bullpen be effective?
2. Will Justin Morneau stay concussion free? Read more…
Unlimited joy. Unlimited relief.
Those were the 2 raw emotions felt by Twins fans everywhere one year ago today. We could not be happier that Joe Mauer finally, FINALLY resigned with the Twins. We finally were assured that Joe Mauer, one of the greatest players to put on the Twins uniform and potentially the greatest catcher to ever play baseball, would not be leaving Minnesota any time soon.
Not as many people are as happy about his deal anymore. They think it was to much. If all things were equal, it was an overpayment, but it was a price that needed to be paid. The Yankees and Red Sox, two of the teams with the highest payrolls, are still in a bad place catching wise. They would have loved to get a piece of Mauer this offseason.
The Twins kept Mauer. It needed to be done. Let’s rekindle some of the joy we had last year.
Happy Joe Mauer Day.
After months of waiting and recent rumors that he may be signing with the Texas Rangers, Jim Thome has re-signed with the Twins.
The Twins announced today that they are bringing Jim Thome back on a one year $3 milllion deal. Thome will also earn incentives based on playing time.
I see this as a terrific move for the Twins. It appeared earlier in the offseason that Thome was becoming more money hungry and wanted to “make up for what he didn’t earn last season.” However, the Twins again got him for a price below what he’s worth, and likely less than the Rangers would have paid.
Thome is great security in the case that Justin Morneau is not 100%. Bill Smith says the team is “optimistic he will be ready for Spring Training.” As I’d like to hear it be certain that Morneau will for certain be ready to go, that statement scares me. As good as Morneau is, Jim Thome lessens the blow to the lineup with Morneau out.
The only negative side to this signing is the fact that the Twins would be much better off with a right handed hitter that could potentially play some first base or outfield, but the fact is that they got Thome on a terrific bargain. The “ideal” player just isn’t available, and especially not at Thome’s price. Some have argued that Vladimir Guerrero would have been the ideal guy, but he would cost upwards of $6 million and I think Target Field would play against his strengths, making him much less valuable.
This deal likely ends the possibility of “Manny being Manny in Minnesota”.
Congratulations to Bert Blyleven on a much deserved and long overdue Hall of Fame induction! With 79.7% (463 of 581) of the vote Blyleven cleared the needed 75% of votes needed. Along with Blyleven comes Second Baseman Roberto Alomar.
As frustrating as it is, once again there were 5 ballots left blank. I do not know how you can be given the honor of voting for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and not vote. It is disgusting.
As the title suggests, this is a 2 part post. The 1st part is a New Years Resolution that is very important to me and I hope to any faithful reader of Hitting The Eephus. I realize that I’ve become basically irrelevant in the Twins blogosphere. My New Years Revolution is to write a minimum of one blog post every week. I think that is an attainable goal and it will bring Hitting The Eephus back to where it should be. As my good friend John T. Meyer recently wrote that we need to write down our goals for the public to see so we are held more accountable. I think this especially entails to improving this blog.
The second part of this post is much more typical of what will be normal for this blog. As many reports have suggested, the Twins are indeed a favorite to re-sign Carl Pavano. It just seems like it makes sense for Pavano to want to return to Minnesota. The only other team that has any rumors suggesting that they want him is the Washington Nationals. If I were Pavano I’d want to steer clear of Washington. I don’t have anything against the franchise personally, it actually does look like a promising young franchise with the likes of Stephen Strasburg, Bryce Harper, and many more players either just reaching the big leagues or still to come in the coming years. And of course their free agent signing of Jason Werth must not be forgotten. I just don’t think they have a real shot of being good for a few years, and Pavano will be gone by the time that happens. This is why it makes sense for Pavano to want to return to the Twins who are contenders.
It only makes sense for the Twins to bring back Pavano on the right deal. There is no way he should be given the three year deal he seeks. I would be most comfortable with a one year deal, but I don’t see how he signs a deal for any less than 2 years. I still think that he does indeed re-sign with the Twins, but there do need to be alternate plans in the case that signs with the Nationals or any other team that could very well suddenly decide they are in need of Pavano’s services.
One player that I see as a relatively low risk-high reward replacement to Pavano is Justin Duchscherer. Duchscherer is an injury prone pitcher. There is no getting around that. That being said he can still bring good value. Since he has been hurt his price tag won’t be very high. Last year he was given a $1.75 million contract. He only pitched 5 games before having season-ending left hip surgery. After that I can’t see his price tag going up. The one thing he wants is to be signed as a starter and not to be put into the bullpen. I think that if the Twins can see him as Pavano’s replacement they can offer him that.
Usually World Series predictions predict the winner of the World Series and that’s it. Well, I’m prepared to go farther. And I don’t just mean predicting who will win and how many games it will take. I mean predicting the outcome of every game.
Game 1: Rangers over Giants
Game 2: Giants over Rangers
Game 3: Giants over Rangers
Game 4: Rangers over Giants
Game 5: Rangers over Giants
Game 6: Giants over Rangers
Game 7: Rangers over Giants
That’s right. The Rangers will win the series with Cliff Lee winning games 1, 4, and 7.
Sometimes things happen that are completely unreal. These are things that you can only dream of happening. Take for instance the dream that almost every young kid has; the dream that someday they could pitch in the big leagues, the dream that they could be the best pitcher in baseball, the dream that they could throw a no-hitter in the playoffs.
Well, sometimes these dreams do come true.
In dream-like fashion Roy Halladay started the Philadelphia Phillies playoff run with a bang last Wednesday. In fact, he made history by throwing only the second no-hitter in the history of the MLB playoffs. The first no-hitter in the history of the playoffs was a Perfect Game by Don Larsen in the fifth game of the 1956 World Series.
Even more impressive is the fact that this was his first appearance in the playoffs of his career. Since he was with the Toronto Blue Jays for the entirety of his career before being traded to the Phillies this past off-season he never had a chance to go to the playoffs.
In fact, ever since that trade Halladay has been living a dream. Let’s face it. You’re the best pitcher in baseball. You play on one of the worst teams in one of the toughest divisions in baseball. So what do you do? You ask to be traded to the best team in the other league, the weaker league, the Philadelphia Phillies. You get traded. You put together a Cy Young year including MLB’s 20th perfect game in history. You do this on the way to winning the division with the best record in all of baseball. Then you go out and throw a no-hitter in the first game of the playoffs, something that’s only been done once. And that makes it a no-hitter in the regular season and the playoffs, something that’s never been done before. Ever.
Mr. Halladay, on behalf of baseball fans everywhere, I’d like to ask you to never wake up. Read more…