Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Time to Say Goodbye to Josh Willingham

The local Twins beat writers just can’t catch a break. Peter Gammons, the man behind the news of Justin Morneau being put on waivers, reported on his Twitter account this morning that 2012 AL Silver Slugger winner Josh Willingham has also been placed on waivers by the Minnesota Twins.

“With Josh Willingham on waivers, AL teams see an interesting stretch run bat” -@pgammo

It’s time to say goodbye, folks.

Willingham would be a great DH for any American League team looking for a push during this pennant chase, much better than Justin Morneau, in my opinion.

Of course, Willingham can also play the outfield, but is just a step above the statue of Delmon Young in left field. Throw in the bum knee that Willingham has had this season, it makes him a little tougher to deal.

There is one major difference between Morneau and Willingham in the trading game. Morneau is a free agent at the end of this current season, Willingham is a free agent at the end of the 2014 season. That essentially one-year, $7 million contract could be an attraction for some teams.

The fact of the matter is the Twins outfield is getting very tight, very quickly or at least Twins fans hope that it is.

By the end of next season, fans should be seeing a starting outfield of Oswaldo Arcia, Byron Buxton and Aaron Hicks. Sure, Willingham could be the Twins’ DH, but if you can get a good deal for Willingham you must pull the trigger.

The DH spot can filled by a lot of others already. If Morneau is resigned, Trevor Plouffe if he is still around with the imminent arrival of Miguel Sano, Chris Colabello, or really a million other possibilities.

I’m not saying trade Willingham just to trade him. If you are only getting an offer of a bucket of balls and a family pass to the Water Park of America, pass on it, but if you get an offer of a couple prospects and those prospects hopefully being a pitcher or two, you must pull the trigger.

It’s all just a waiting game now and, or as Freddie Mercury would say, we're just waiting for the hammer to fall.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Iowa Hawkeyes Meet Sick, Sick Buzzer-Beater Irony

No one loves sick, sick irony more than me and for that reason and that reason alone, I am currently in love with the Iowa Hawkeyes basketball team.

The ‘Eyes are currently on a European tour and along the way they are scrimmaging some European squads in Britain and France. One of those teams happened to be  Hyères-Toulon Var Basket.

So what’s so bad with Hyères-Toulon Var Basket? Specifically, Pierre Pierce. Yup.

Pierre Pierce played for the Hawkeyes from 2001-2005 and for Iowa standards was a pretty darn good ballplayer. The problem is Pierce had a lot of legal trouble including sexual assaults and burglary which lead to jail time.

Pierce was kicked off of the Iowa team and the Hawkeyes were content never seeing his face again, but they ran into him over in France.

To top it all off for the Hawkeyes; they lost on a buzzer-beater. Who nailed that shot? Yup, Pierre Pierce.

The school wasn’t aware of Pierre Pierce being on the other team until arriving at the arena. Iowa did not schedule any of their European exhibitions, leaving that up to an outside firm. The school was just looking for competitive games and apparently they got just that.

Sometimes, you just have to sit back and bask in the great irony that this world provides us. 

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Sunday, August 18, 2013

Two Goals for the Twins Final 40

A lot of things are dropping right now. Eminem just droppeda new track, FOX Sports 1 just dropped on our TVs, the Phillies dropped Charlie Manuel, the Los Angeles Dodgers are dropping it like it’s hot and the Twins are still dropping ball games. There has to be some dents on the floor with all of this dropping.

As a Twinkie Town member, I just hope that those dents in the floor do not lead to a whole in the floor and drops the Twins into the basement, again. I just cannot handle it. I’m sick of this team losing; I assume I am not alone.

I have two goals for the Twins for the rest of the 2013 campaign/struggle fest.

Numeral Uno: In the sacred name of Juan Berenguer’s suitcase, do not lose 90 games again this season.

It’s not much to ask really. As of Sunday morning, the Twins are currently sitting at a record of 54-67 with 40 games to go. To avoid 90 losses by just one game all that the Twins need to do over the last 40 is go 18-22. Don’t even have to play .500 ball to keep me satisfied for the rest of the season.

Looking at the schedule, it looks like the Twins will be favored in only about six games: three games in Houston and three games at the Chicago White Sox.

Speaking of White Sox…

The Deuce: Do not finish last. Beat the White Sox. Please.

This should be very easy. As of Sunday morning, the Twins hold a six and a half game lead over the Sox for the fourth place spot in the AL Central. Just don’t screw it up.

The White Sox schedule is pretty rigid, too. The Sox only breath is against the ‘Stros as well.

So these two things are all I ask. I’m not asking for a run of epic proportions to put a scare into the heart of the Wild Card leader Rays and A’s, but just a little bit of improvement from the past two years of horrid, horrid baseball.

Let’s start the countdown, the magic number, the checklist of the Twins meeting these two goals. The current number is 18 and I’m ready to see that number drop. 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Reviewing Twins Position Players on the Mound

Experts claims that getting out of your comfort zone is a good thing. I really wouldn’t know, I don’t take many chances. I mean there’s a girl on Twitter and I could just say ‘Hey, you’re cute.’, but do I? No, of course not. It’s out of my comfort zone. So, I keep sitting at home every night without anyone to cuddle.

Twins resident old man, utility infielder proved on Monday night that he is comfortable outside of his comfort zone.  The 39-year-old came into the blowout loss and was the best pitcher the Twins sent out to the mound all night, throwing a perfect nine pitch inning.

Carroll is not the first Twins position to take the hill and probably won’t be the last. In fact the Twins have had seven position players total pitch for the squad, including once each of the last three seasons.
2012 marked the pitching debut of Drew Butera who pitched a 17 pitch inning against the Milwaukee Brewers in a 16-4 loss on May 20. Butera notched a strikeout in the appearance while giving up no hits and one walk.

The ultimate utility man, Michael Cuddyer, pitched an inning for the Twins on July 25, 2011 in a 20-6 loss against the Texas Rangers. Cuddyer threw 16 pitches while giving up two hits in a walk, but nobody touched the plate.

The last position player to take the mound for the Twins before Cuddyer was outfielder John Moses in 1990. Moses actually had three pitching appearances for the Twins between 1989. In Moses’ only appearance in 1989 he allowed no runs in a 11-2 loss against the Boston Red Sox. 1990 was not so kind, Moses’ first appearance was again against the Red Sox and this time he let a run score in a 13-1 loss. Later that summer, Moses gave up two runs to the Angels in a 13-2 loss. Moses finished his career with a 9.00 ERA.

1989 was the year of the position player pitching, being the only year the Twins had two position players take the mound. Danny Gladden also took the mound that year in the second game of a doubleheader at Cleveland, the Dan Man gave up a run in the 12-1 loss. Gladden also pitched the year before in a 16-7 loss against the Angels, Gladden threw a perfect nine pitch inning in his major league pitching debut.

Back to 1968 for the Twins before Danny Gladden and that honor goes to César Tovar. This was a game that César Tovar started at pitcher and proceeded to play every position on the field. Tovar walked one and struck out one. His strikeout victim? Reggie Jackson.

The first ever Twins position player to take the mound was in the franchise’s first year of existence as the Minnesota Twins. On September 10, 1961, Julio Becquer took the mound and gave up four hits and three runs in one and a third innings. Those runs really didn’t matter at the Twins had already given up 10 runs en route to a 13-1 loss to the Kansas City Athletics.

It’s really been a mixed bag of position players getting out of their comfort zones and onto the mounds. In the 10 occurrences, the Twins only managed to win once, but if you are having your <insert the other eight positions here> pitching you are probably not in a good spot to win any way.

I commend these men for stepping out of their comfort zone and opening themselves up to failure. Maybe one of them can talk to that cute girl on Twitter for me.