April 25, 2011: Fumbling Toward Respectability

The Twins come into the off day with three straight wins and we're starting to see a light at the end of the injury tunnel. I have to admit I was getting scared there.

136 thoughts on “April 25, 2011: Fumbling Toward Respectability”

    1. the A's bullpen is stoopid with Minnesota connections -- Fuentes, Balfour, Breslow, and, rehabbing in Sactown, Spamtown's Own Michael Wuertz.

    2. I guess I don't find it particularly depressing. It's a bit tough to look at the moves in isolation, and a lot of people, rightfully so, will point out the Ramos-Capps deal when looking at any of the relievers we lost to other teams who were willing to pay more money for them. I don't really want to fully re-hash the Capps deal, but I will say that ZiPS projects Ramos to hit .269/.298/.401 over the rest of the season, which is only 40th-best amongst catchers. Obviously I'd rather have Ramos than Butera, but I think Ramos is going to disappoint a lot of people as time goes on. (Similarly, when it's all said and done, I think we'll see other teams have their own doubts about Jose Morales' defense.)

      The reasons not to sign Guerrier, Crain, and Fuentes had everything to do with their contracts, so we'll see how those signings look when the dust settles. I liked Rauch, but I forget what he was asking for from the Twins.

      Past that, some of those points read in favor of the Twins, and I'm not really losing sleep over any of the others. (For example, I would have been okay with Punto on a one-year, $750K contract, but I don't really feel we're missing much without him--and I'm definitely not missing the head-first slides into first base. And who knows what negotiating strategy he and his agent used in the off-season. He could have been pushing for more with the Twins, the Twins called his bluff, and he wound up settling on what he could get with the Cardinals. Just from a pride standpoint, it can be hard to take a pay cut to stay with the same team.)

      And I'm really surprised that Gleeman is at all confused about the Bullock-for-Diamond swap. The Twins traded a relief pitcher with control issues for a starting pitcher who doesn't miss a ton of bats. That's a Twins deal if I ever heard one. When's the last time the Twins dealt a minor league reliever and wound up regretting it? Maybe I'm forgetting someone, but I can't think of one.

      1. When's the last time the Twins dealt a minor league reliever and wound up regretting it?

        A challenge to the Nation for this monday!!!

      2. I felt the same way; either the Twins were saving money, or they lost someone who is in another organization's minor league system instead of our own. Big deal. It's not like a Sabean trade or something.

        And as far as Ramos, most people aren't upset that we lost him (at least at the time) as much as we lost his potential trade value. Whatever.

        1. I think at least part of the dissatisfaction of the Capps/Ramos trade was that Capps was DFAed by the Pirates and could have been signed at the start of the season.

          1. Capps signed with the Nats on Jan. 6, nearly two months before Nathan got hurt. I don't recall anyone ever suggesting the Twins sign Matt Capps when he was available. Plus, the Twins are paying this year what he would have gotten in arbitration (or close to it) and it has nothing to do with the Nats' signing of Capps.

        2. I think you're right about people worrying about losing Ramos' trade value. I tend to think that his trade value just wasn't all that high. Capps probably isn't the guy I would have gone after, but the Twins' motivations--making a win-now move to hopefully advance in the playoffs--were understandable.

          1. If his trade value really wasn't that high, though, nobody was forcing the Twins to trade him at all.

            There's not a lot on Gleeman's list that bothers me (I wouldn't have paid for any of those relievers except maybe Fuentes, I had no problem with Bullock for Diamond) but I doubt I'll ever be satisfied with trading Ramos for Capps.

            1. I'll agree that the Ramos/Capps trade will continue to bother me to some level, but in the long run, it's not an important item on the FIREBILLSMITH agenda.

            2. Sure, it's not a trade I would have made, but my perspective on the matter is that it wasn't a huge loss.

          2. We had to trade Wilson Ramos for Matt Capps when we only had to trade Loek Van Mil for Brian Fuentes and Kevin Mulvey for Jon Rauch. One of these trades is not like the other.

  1. Yesterday on the way home from Mom & Dad's, I pulled over in one of those little river access areas to move Omar to the back seat. He was obviously exhausted from all the attention he got, but riding shotgun didn't give him a lot of room to stretch out. As I'm hoisting him into the back seat so he can nap properly, I see a $50 Visa giftcard in the mud. I grabbed it thinking that it may have some credit still on it, but at the very least I'd pick up some litter. Turns out it still has $20 on it.

  2. I was listening to the ESPN radio sunday night game, heard a Cardinals defensive play, "Poon-toe flips to Poo-holes."

    1. erm, about that, we are experiencing technical difficulties. i'll explain more when i have the info. please standby.

      1. Um, yeah. Well, we need to get things moving. Maybe a googlewave on Saturday morning can get this ball rolling?

        1. perhaps so. in the meantime, i sent an email out. maybe we can hash things out a little until then.

  3. Because I posted it shortly before the game log went up yesterday, and because it was a holiday, my contribution to the new lineup may have gotten buried a bit. So I'm pimping it here. Vegetables are good for you. And they went great yesterday with the leg-o-lamb we had at friends'.

      1. I've done it a couple of times, stratman. It is most definitely worth it. Boneless is the way to go, IMO. I found this blog post to be an informative place to get some ideas about preparation and technique, but my preference would be to put it on the Weber over a drip pan (indirect heat).

    1. bS, I saw it but because it was a holiday, didn't have a chance to peruse it in depth. I am looking forward to exploring. Speaking of food, for the first time, my house was the location of the family Easter. I always enjoy the "meal recitations" here at the WGOM and this seems as good a LTE as any to start one.

      Ms. Corn and I did a ham (my first "solo" ham), candied sweet potatoes and home-style mac'n'cheese. Other family members contributed: Waldorf salad, grilled asparagus with olive oil, chilis, and fresh grated Pecorino Romano; green beans sautéed in olive oil & balsamic vinegar with fresh basil and sea salt; home-made dinner rolls; and cheese cake with home-made blueberry sauce and whipped cream.

      I also provided a few of these, these, and a bottle of this.

      The first two selections were quite good; the last was "meh".

      1. Nice menu, Corn. I love Waldorf salad; and grilled asparagus makes me want to cry for all the years my parents boiled the cr@p out of their home-grown asparagus and then creamed it.

        Our friends did a sweet potato dish that was a revelation. Just peeled sweet potatoes cut into about 1-inch thick rounds, then braised in orange-mango juice. Simple and delicious. Along with the lamb, sweet potatoes and green beans, we had a Big Salad, mashed taters, three kinds of haroset and matzot. Ice cream with fresh blackberries and strawberries for dessert.

  4. D'Antoni for Celtics GM!

    We almost got Rondo once in the KG trade, but settled for Bassy. Let's make this happen!

  5. Cuddyer today, "Batting average is waaay overrated. It's probably the most overrated statistic today." Then he cites RBI as more telling. D'oh.

    1. Actually, as far as the players themselves are concerned, this is very true, at least when arbitration or contract negotiations come up.

  6. Today we found out that we will be having a girl. Now, aside from being terrified that I have no idea how to raise a girl. My guess is that I can do mostly the same thing as if it were a boy while simultaneously beginning a 15 year bodybuilding workout for when she starts dating.

    In honor of this day, I picked up a bottle of Bulleit rye whiskey.

    1. Congratulations, cheaptoy. Work on your flexibility, because you will be wrapped around her little finger in no time.

      And then comes puberty. It gets better eventually, right, Rhu_Ru?? Right? Please tell me it does!!!

        1. Girls are harder than boys but they are harder on their mothers. Also I've said it before but you will have more issues with your daughter dealing with mean girls (especially in the 12-14 ages) than you will with geeky teenage boys. Girls these days eat boys up and spit them out.

      1. The one thing I am relieved about is that it will be basically impossible for her to play football.

          1. Well, I did say "basically" impossible. And we can't afford her to play hockey, so soccer it is... I hope. (or, you know, whatever she wants to do that she is interested in doing.)

    2. Girls are good!

      I've found that as a father, let mom do (most of) the heavy lifting, and just do your best to be a good role model to your future daughter of what a boy should be, and she'll be just fine.

      1. I think I can manage that, although the prospect of a teenage girl's taste in music will be a bit outside my comfort zone.

        1. I'm happy in the fact that Runner daughter likes soundtrack music and TMBG, for instance; I can happily ignore most of the rest of what she likes. I guess the same goes with movies and TV -- there is enough overlap in our tastes that we can enjoy watching and discussing some things together. You really don't want to totally direct their tastes, just nudge them enough to be comfortably out of mainstream 😉

          1. My son has a Led Zeppelin teeshirt that he wears with regularity, and I always find the minivan radio tuned to the local classic rock channel after he's been driving. So I got that going for me.

          2. I don't actually plan to direct her tastes, I'm just not excited about switching out the metal for the teen heart throbs in the car. Of course, I fully anticipate being an embarrassing father, and I think I've set myself up well for that with the curling and brewing and musical tastes.

            1. My six year old daughter already is in love with Beiber. Other than that, girls aren't as tough to handle as I thought they might be.

              1. For some reason, I expected them to be easy to care for, and for an even stranger reason, so far that's been true.

                I'm well aware of how my perspective will change when they develop and I notice dudes noticing them, though.

                  1. As far as I can tell, the horror stories you hear about young kids are ridiculous exaggerations. Maybe my girls are just different, and maybe that has something to do with me and maybe it doesn't. I'll always be here to tell you not to worry, though. You'll worry about them constantly, but they'll be fine.

              2. Other than that, girls aren't as tough to handle as I thought they might be.


                *curls up into fetal position at the very thought of the hormonal trampoline that is the 14-year old Girl at home*

                1. hormonal trampoline

                  Oh, I'm saving that phrase in my memory banks for use in another 10-12 years.

            2. Oh, you definitely have to live up to that. Sweat socks with sandals; all that stuff is a requirement. And then every now and then, something kick-@ss to make her friends envious.

              1. I'm thinking my facial hair can also be used to good effect as well. I'm guessing I can't really plan the kick-@ss stuff, though. Seems like that will have to be authentic to be really effective.

    3. i'd be lying if i said i wasn't slightly relieved to hear our little deduction will be of the XY variety. still, i'm sure you'll manage.

      also, if you're into the whole arranged marriage thing, we can start discussing dowries. let's start at about 4 kegs as a bargaining point.

      1. That's not too steep, I can do four kegs, although it'll be up to you to construct a system for dispensing it.

  7. Also, Spooky, I know I promised to send that package today, but I went to print the shipping label and my stupid printer refused to do anything because it was out of red ink. I do promise to send it tomorrow, though.

      1. The harsh part is that dropping the package off was going to be my excuse to run into town and, oh hey, why don't I pick up that rye whiskey I wanted to try. Once the labels didn't print, I had to make a special trip just for the whiskey.

  8. There is a void of Gaga discussion recently, so....


    1. I'm assuming that you want to pick a fight. I'll indulge your desires. I can't stand that Gaga makes pop dance music that is obviously derivative of Madonna and dresses like Yoko Ono threw up on Matt Barney while raking in the hard earned cash of teenagers parents across the board while calling it A-R-T. I call bullshit.

        1. I hardly believe that she's on her last legs. She's a charlatan who has succeeded in 'shocking' audiences out of their money, and will continue to 'shock' until there ain't anymore dough left.

          1. I don't think there's all that much dough left for her, unless she has a solid plan for the future (and I suppose she might). Her sales are, by her standards, in the crapper right now. I watch for sales trends at work, and I've seen what's happening to her before. It's not good news for her.

              1. iTunes sales is all the people assuming it's a Depeche Mode cover.
                I've found this song and "Born this Way" to be tedious in ways her prior singles were not.
                But then, I said that about Britney's "Toxic" and she never went away.

            1. She was still a top sales individual in 2010 with an EP released in late 2009, and Born This Way is going to be absolutely huge.

      1. Shock for shock's sake. It doesn't impress me. She's certainly good at packaging herself/her "brand," and I think it's cool that she's doing stuff for Lupus charities, but ehhhh. If I want pop dance music give me Beyonce every day of the week.

      2. Nah, no fighting. Light hearted discussion about one of the most polarizing individuals of my life. I've stated a feint interest in her music, but gobs of respect for her talent, for which she doesn't get near enough credit due to her image of ridiculousness.

  9. Craig Calcaterra asks, "Who is the most hated player in your team's history?" For the Twins, I'm not sure. Ron Davis comes to mind. A.J.? Although he wasn't truly hated until he signed with the Sox. For the Wolves, there's a lot of choices. Latrell Spreewell, J.R. Rider, Christian Laettner. For the Vikings, it might be Herschel Walker, but that was probably because of the trade. Not sure about North Stars or Wild.

    1. Tom Herr and Chuck Knoblauch come to mind for the Twins as well, although for Knoblauch it wasn't until after he was traded.

    2. "Who is the most hated player in your team's history?"

      all the 3rd baseman between the Koskie and Valencia years

    3. Tom Herr would be on my short list, along with John Smiley (although in retrospect, I'm glad the Twins didn't pay for his 1993 and 1994 seasons).

      Can we vote for coaches, front office guys or owners?

      Cal Griffith in his later years was pretty despised.

      "Hated" is pretty strong, however.

      1. In the context of Calcaterra's post, I take "most hated" to mean "most strongly disliked." For the Twins, I wouldn't be surprised if it was a reliever. The last 10 years or so, they don't really keep around players that they aren't willing to laud in the press, and the fans generally tend to agree with what they hear on every single broadcast.

        I know a lot of folks who really disliked LaTroy Hawkins, though I thought he was generally great as a reliever for the Twins.

        From my experiences here in Seattle, the fastest way to earn a fan base's ire is to sign a big-money long-term deal and then have a slow start and/or totally flame out. It tends to be harder to dump the big money players, so fans usually have to suffer through them longer, but the Twins' low payroll have generally spared us from a massive, multi-year disappointment. If you're a younger player who isn't very good but plays a lot, the fans seem to blame the manager more than the player.

        My Twins history must be a bit rusty--why was Tom Herr disliked?

        1. Herr was traded for Tom Brunansky in April 1988 and proceeded to pout the entire season about it, so the Twins traded him in the offseason along with Tom Nieto and another minor leaguer for Shane Rawley. He spent awhile on the DL and I think there were quite a few questioning the extent of his injury.

          Another hated player: Juan Castro.

          1. xackly. Tom Brunansky was beloved and over-valued; Tommy Herr came across as a jerkface. The contrast was unbearable.

              1. Heard the news that he was being traded to the defending World Champion. Hands down for me, the most hated Twin in my book.

        1. and then high-tailed it out of town for no more money than he was making with the Twins. So, he was hated more for the exit than the performance.

          1. I never blamed him for leaving. Smiley didn't have the history with the Twins to have any incentive to stick around. Jack Morris did, and I "hate" him more than I ever would John Smiley.

            1. well, there you go. I never hated HHMNBN so much as felt sorry for the guy.

              Morris struck me as a carpetbagger anyway (despite his provenance), so I enjoyed his moment in the sun and moved on. He significantly outperformed my expectations for his 1992 season anyway. And funny how people forget how he got pummeled in the playoffs and world series that year.

              1. Yeah, my problem is using the word "hate" I guess. I've never said that I hate "HIM", just his performance (esp. when I was in attendance). It all comes down to attitude more than performance.

                Now if the question was Which Twins players piss you off the most in team history? I could name eye-eye and several others...

    4. I am amused that this thread falls right below MoT's video, which shows the word "JUDAS" in big block letters.

    5. I think Laettner was probably the most hated player of any of the local sports teams while he was still playing, if I remember correctly. Although _elm_n has a special spot in my heart the past couple years.

    6. [eyes melting out of face.jpg] He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named!

      This is a good question re: the Twins. Is there a Yankees/Pavano equivalent on the Twins? Not Joe Mays. I can't think of any one player in my baseball card collection that I hate. Tommy Herr is probably close. David West? I guess LNP is a candidate, but that was just as much (or more) Gardy's fault.

      1. For the Twins, there are no big free-agent acquisitions, at least long-term deals, but the closest thing to that would be a trade that brought in a player that was supposed to help the team get to the postseason and he did the opposite. Todd Jones maybe? Rick Reed did bad after being traded for Matt Lawton in 2001, but then he pitched very well in 2002 (although I blame him for losing the ALCS for his sucky Game 2).

          1. Reed frustrated me as much as anyone.

            I never liked Sprewell, but he was part of the most exciting Wolves team to date, so I have a (small) special place for him.

            I have strong anti-Blackburn feelings and formerly had strong anti-Cuddyer feelings that were probably both largely unnecessary, but I couldn't (and can't, in Blackburn's case) fight them.

            Yeah, I think I have to say Reed. He was occasionally serviceable, but knowing we dealt Lawton for him guaranteed I'd never treat him fairly.

            Also, for your consideration: Fred Smoot.

            1. Oooo, Fred Smoot. An inspired choice. A very hateable guy on a very hateable team. It was tough to standout on that team, but he managed.

              Then again, from my own personal bank, Benny Sapp comes to mind.

              1. And on the Vikings defensive backs bandwagon, Dwight Smith. And I would like to throw Coach Childress in the ring as most despised, period.

                1. I think I actually liked Tice less than I liked Childress, but part of that is because he went to one of my regular bars in Mankato and he was always a shank.

  10. New Mexico State Police officials were conferring with the local District Attorney's Office to determine if criminal charges are warranted.

    Umm, hello? Woman dead, and your animals are responsible. Why is there a question about criminal charges here? If you can't train your dogs properly, you really, really, really have no business having four of them and not having them properly restrained on your property.

    1. I enjoyed a day in court last year when a woman was being charged because her bulldogs had attacked a child. She tried to argue that it wasn't a very big deal and that the city shouldn't be wasting the time with her case. The judge (now retired) spent about 10 minutes lecturing her about why HE drafted the ordinance during his time working for the city. Needless to say, she didn't get a light sentence.

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