60 thoughts on “May 6, 2012: Clopen, Again”

  1. From Buster Olney:

    ELIAS: The Twins have nine hits in their last four games, the fewest for any team in a four-game stretch in modern major-league history.

    I might be misinterpreting the data but I don't think this is a good thing.

          1. I'm saying blind squirrels would find more nuts than this team has been getting hits lately.

    1. Twins have 9 walks in that stretch of games giving them a slash line of .078/.151/.086/.237

  2. Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Cowboys. Or Redskins. Or Vikings.

    “Hard Hits, Hard Numbers” includes interviews with Virginia Tech researchers who placed instrumented helmets on seven and eight-year-old football players and collected data on more than 750 hits to the head over the course of a season.

    The details are jarring: the researchers found that some head impacts in youth football are equal in force to some of the bigger hits seen at the college level. And 3.5 million kids ages 6-13 play tackle football, compared to just 2,000 NFL players. “Nobody expected to see hits of this magnitude,” said lead researcher Stefan Duma.

    1. Kurt Warner in an interview with Mike n Mike right after Seau shot himself said that he would be happy if his kids stopped playing football because he was worried about them. He is getting railed so bad right now. Toomer and Hoge have both criticized him for throwing the NFL under the bus, being a hypocrite, and calling him uneducated and irresponsible.

      From Hoge:

      Head trauma is not the issue here — it’s how head trauma is treated

      Hoge goes on to state that childhood obesity is more dangerous than football. He's probably right. But to say head trauma is just fine if you treat it correctly doesn't make him sound very educated. Football is a religion for some people in this country and it irritates the hell out of me. Children can be competitive and healthy and socially mature and productive members of society without playing a game where the goal is to hit someone else as hard as fucking possible.

      1. It's never a good sign than you have much of an argument when you compare it to something completely unrelated. Is childhood obesity bad? Yes. Okay, what does this have to do with head trauma? Nothing.

        1. Childhood smoking is more dangerous than football!
          Football playing kids smoke less than their non-football playing peers!
          Therefore, Football should be mandatory!
          (Probably an exception in there for the gays and gals, but it seems like even they should too.)

      2. and so much of this just goes off the rails. Watch the video if you haven't already. One of the major points made is that these little kids lack the muscle development to properly support their ginormous (relative to body size) heads wearing big-ass helmets. So they have head-on collisions ALL. THE. TIME.

        Youth tackle football for pre-teens is, IMO, just plain stupid. Let them play flag football. Or soccer. Or just about anything else but tackle football. Even hockey is much safer because they don't allow checking (much) at that age.

        1. Yeah, there's no real point in tackling for pre-teens. Let them get stronger and more skilled first, then add the intensity of tackling (if you insist on doing that at all.)

          1. And the goal ISN'T to hit someone else as hard as possible, but that's how some are taught. You very rarely see "good" tackles anymore; certainly not at the pro level.

  3. Dozier is going to be the starting SS Monday (Carroll to 2B, Casilla to the bench?), Valencia supposedly on the trading block. This feels like the post strike 1990's Twins.

    1. They need to figure out a way to get Valencia going. He's one of the few potential assets on the team and trading him now would probably be selling at absolute rock bottom. Dozier vs. Casilla, whatever, I suppose they need to make a change but I doubt it's really going to do anything.

      1. Trading Valencia right now seems like a short-sighted move based on how much they like him rather than trying to get any value out of him. I don't think he's an all star, and he's not played well so far this year, but he's one of the few solid players they have who will be a part of the team for the next several years. He's making the minimum. Ugh.

        1. It's like when they traded Del, getting the least value possible.
          I assume they'll look for a proven reliever who can get the ball over the plate and has had success against the Twins in the past (and may be smart but isn't too smart).

      2. I approve of Dozier over Casilla simply because I think Casilla has pretty much established that he's not good enough to be a regular. Dozier might not be, either, but at least there's a chance he might be.

        1. Dozier also has a career OPS in the minors that is 50 points higher than Casilla's in the minors. All of the advantage is in power, something that neither Twins middle infielder has right now.

      3. I'd love to see them figure out a way to get Valencia going, but he's 27, has had over a thousand at-bats in the majors, and really hasn't done a whole lot since his half-season in 2010. He can do better than he's done so far this season, but at some point we have to recognize the possibility that he just may not be all that good.

        1. I agree with this. He's a below-average defensive third baseman, he has no demonstrated versatility (not even Cuddiier-esque), and he cannot hit right-handed pitching. He's pretty limited, he's not exactly a young player any more and I don't think there's much trade value in that.

          I'd probably just keep him around since the only other 3B options the organization has right now are utility guys and minor league lifers, and then probably non-tender him whenever he's about to be arb-eligible (I think that's after next season). But if he gets traded for nothing, I don't think he's really worth gnashing teeth over.

          1. Shorter version of my other comment: Sure, Valencia has limitations, but the Twins aren't even trying to play to his strengths. How many guys on the team are half-way decent hitters against left-handed pitching? I suppose my real frustration is not with how they're handling Valencia specifically, but the team at large. There are no complementary players on the bench for the limited players on the team, and on top of that, playing everyone 11 out of every 12 games seems to run the team into the ground. Go figure.

            1. Indeed, several reasonable people talked on multiple occasions last year about how Valencia wasn't nearly one of the worst things about the team while he was getting ripped in the press every day. That's probably still mostly true. I'm trying to process thinking about Valencia independent right now from how much of a mess the whole team is. If the team were deep enough to allow Valencia to platoon more, that would be great for him and the team, but how much value is there, really, in a below-average glove, short-side platoon third baseman? If they let him hide against RHPs more, he'd probably look a little better as a trade chip, for instance, but I'm skeptical about how much better.

              Your comparison to Cuddyer is reasonable on the one hand, but Valencia clearly suffers by that comparison in every way - he's never hit as well overall, he's never been as theoretically versatile, and he's always had a more severe split.

              Though, like I said, short story is I'd keep him at least while he's cheap.

              1. I guess it just comes down to I agree with you that I'd keep him while he's on the cheap and see what happens. Right now, the Twins need to be doing everything they can to squeeze some value out of what little they have on the roster.

                If the team were deep enough to allow Valencia to platoon more, that would be great for him and the team, but how much value is there, really, in a below-average glove, short-side platoon third baseman?

                Maybe not a lot, but if you can chase his value up by some, maybe you can make a Buchanan-for-Bartlett deal. Plus, there's basically no opportunity cost to keeping him. It's already practically a lost season and there are no obvious internal candidates to take his job. All of that goes into my frustration with the mere idea that he would currently be on the trading block. The timing just seems all wrong.

                1. That kind of plays into my fear that the Twins will start making moves just to make moves. Even with a bad team (in fact, maybe especially with a bad team), the moves you make need to be made with a plan and a purpose in mind. When you start making moves at random under the theory that "Well, things can't get any worse", there's a good chance that things will get worse.

                  1. Yeah, now is not the time to panic. The season may already be essentially a lost cause, but they don't really have anything to gain by being hasty now.

        2. .260/.330/.428 -- Cuddyer, '01-'05, 1109 PA
          .265/.307/.400 -- Valencia, career, 1017 PA

          .298/.353/.469 -- Valencia, career, minors
          .290/.380/.485 -- Cuddyer, career, minors

          Sure, Cuddyer was a little better, but it's a reasonable enough comparison, and going into his own age 27 season, Cuddyer wasn't doing much to distinguish himself. If Valencia's current season numbers matched his career numbers, he's a fine option for third base and by the end of the season could look like an attractive player to have. Of course there's a chance that he's no good, but there's plenty of information that suggests he's better than no good.

          What bothers me about the situation is that Valencia has been struggling, yet the Twins have so little depth--to the point of literally having a one man bench--that Valencia practically never sits. How does that make any sense? Even healthy, durable players ought to be getting a breather here and there, and Valencia has had huge splits so far in his career:

          .240/.279/.365 -- Valencia vs. RHP
          .325/.374/.485 -- Valencia vs. LHP

          It'd be perfectly legitimate to rest Valencia against some of the better RHP that the Twins face--like, say, Jered Weaver and Felix Hernandez--and it gives you a decent option to PH late in a game where you need a run or two. Surely it's not so outrageous a proposition that if Valencia was used mostly as a platoon player, his numbers would get better and someone out there might think he had a lot of value if he was given the chance to play full-time again.

          Maybe the Twins won't just dump him, but my main reaction is that this would be the absolute dumbest time to dump him. If they really didn't think he could be a company guy, or whatever, they should have traded him a while ago.

          1. I fully agree they shouldn't dump him. I don't see any better alternatives, and it's still possible he'll develop. It just seems to me to be at least as possible that he won't.

        1. I think it's pretty obvious that Valencia is rubbing a few in the organization the wrong way. Going to see another Slowey-for-no-one swap, I'm guessing.

          1. I don't know about obvious. He's a fixture in the lineup and they just jettisoned a veteran player that could take playing time away from him. Sure, Carroll could start seeing time at third, but he's not hitting and I would imagine that third is his worst position. Plus, Carroll is also right-handed and has no power, which is the one offensive asset Valencia has that the Twins need more of. If Valencia was truly rubbing people wrong, then why hasn't Plouffe been given some time at third? Gardy always seems to want to try to find a place for Plouffe to play and you could make a reasonable argument that Plouffe hasn't hit because he hasn't received regular playing time. I've heard several quotes saying Valencia looked improved in the field from last year and was trying to go more to the opposite field as the coaches have asked him to do.

            1. There have been some veiled quotes earlier this year that pointed to Valencia. Not taking things seriously, or something of that kind. It doesn't take much to get thrown into the doghouse.

  4. stockpiling talent

    Minnesota Twins ‏ @Twins
    Clete Thomas cleared waivers and has been assigned outright to Triple-A Rochester. He will join the Red Wings tomorrow. #Twins

  5. I just saw a commercial for whipped cream flavored Smiroff. Something about that seems very very wrong.

  6. Darnell McDonald is pitching for Boston. IFer Chris Davis pitched a scoreless 16th for the O's, even had a strikeout!

    1. So the Red Sox have 13 pitchers on the roster and they wind up having to put a position player on the mound in a tie game. I know that 15+ innings games are going to happen sometimes, but maybe the Red Sox could have scored more than zero runs from the 9th through the 17th if they had a couple of pinch hitters on the bench. I'm just thinkin' out loud here, maybe it's a little revolutionary, I don't know.

      (Odd thing about this game: two position players pitched, but both teams had to give up the DH for those position players to pitch. Has that ever happened before?)

        1. Not that unexpected, I guess, but it makes it crazier that it would happen twice in the same game.

  7. I have so many thoughts about Rondo that I have such a difficult time articulating. He is one of my favorite players to watch in the league but the guy makes so many bone headed plays. I feel like I go back and forth on him 15 times a game. He must be infuriating to watch as a Celtics fan.

  8. did anyone see that fan walk right onto the court during the Denver/Laker game? weird

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