Wednesday, January 18, 2005
What to do? What to do? (The Kyle Lohse Story)
American Idol Thoughts
All Twins Prospect Team
Good morning All! We've got Roger's Twins Prospect team, some thoughts on Kyle Lohse and the first installment of this year's American Idol show. So, let's get to it!
Roger and I were discussing ways in which we could summarize and conclude his position-by-position analysis of the Twins minor league system. We decided to have Roger come up with his All-Twins Prospect team in which he will select one player from each position.
The Minnesota Twins 2006 All Prospect Team
The Twins system is loaded with talent, especially pitchers. Following are my selections for the 2006 All Prospect Team. A player will be chosen for each position, DH, 5 starting pitchers, a closer, left and right handed set-up men and left and right handed long relief. A brief discussion will follow each playerís selection with a mention of the runner-up. Information included for each player will include (my ranking of their 2005 performance/age as of July 1, 2006/how acquired). I will also include their numbers for the past two seasons unless they have only been in the system for one year. Finally, I will include a good estimate of the earliest that we can expect to see them in a Twins uniform.
Obviously some of these kids who are still in A ball or on a rookie team will have a greater chance of not making it to the Twins, therefore, to gain recognition on this team will require that a player from the rookie leagues must be a very special prospect. For purposes of these selections, Jason Bartlett, Jason Kubel and Scott Baker are not eligible as Kubel was on the Twins roster the entire year and Bartlett and Baker had substantial time with the Twins during 2005. Liriano, who was a September call up, remains eligible as a prospect for purposes of selecting this team.
Catcher - Kyle Phillips (#26/22/D10, 2002)
2005 - New Britain (67ab/..209Ave/.263OBP/.313SLG/6BB/17SO/2HR/8RBI)
2005 - Ft. Myers (278ab/.230Ave/.309OBP/.302SLG/31BB/47SO/12HR/60RBI)
2004 - Quad Cities (347ab/.228Ave/.304OBP/..369SLG/38BB/69SO/11HR/44 RBI)
Phillips was promoted to New Britain last season as an injury replacement. Considering that Kyle was only 21, his performance at Ft. Myers and New Britain was very good. He also is reportedly an excellent defensive catcher with comments indicating that pitchers such as Perkins were more effective at New Britain following his arrival. Phillips has been invited to join the Twins in spring training and will likely be ready to contribute to the major league club by late 2007 or 2008. The runner-up is Javi Sanchez (#41/24/D14, 2004), who performed well for Beloit in his first full season with the Twins.
First Base - Garrett Jones (#5/25/mlfa, 2002)
2005 - Arizona Fall League (97ab/.279Ave/.354OBP/.680SLG/7BB/27SO/9HR/30RBI)
2005 - Rochester (488ab/.244Ave/.297OBP/.445SLG/36BB/109SO/24HR/72RBI)
2004 - New Britain (450ab/.311Ave/..351OBP/.593SLG/28BB/98SO/30HR/92RBI)
2004 - Ft. Myers (66ab/.242Ave/.286OBP/.364SLG/4BB/19SO/6HR/6RBI)
Jones was acquired from the Atlanta Braves organization as a minor league free agent prior to the 2002 season. His breakout year was 2004 when he hit 36 home runs between Ft. Myers and New Britain. Jonesí biggest weakness is his high number of strikeouts, 109 in 488 at bats in 2005. He is the best power hitter that the Twins have who is close to the major leagues, unfortunately, he plays the same position as Justin Morneau. Jones was added to the 40-man roster following the 2004 season and could appear with the Twins at any time in 2006. The runner-up is Johnny Woodard (#46/21/D3, 2003), who missed much of 2005 at Beloit due to injury.
Second Base - Alexi Casilla (21/Romero trade, 2006)
2005 - Cedar Rapids-A (308ab/.325Ave/.392OBP/.409SLG/29BB/31SO/47-59SB)
2005 - Arkansas-AA (19ab/.211Ave/.286OBP/.211SLG/2BB/3SO/1-2SB)
2005 - Salt Lake-AAA (39ab/.256Ave/.310OBP/.256SLG/3BB/6SO/1-2SB)
Casilla was recently acquired from the Angels organization for J.C. Romero. After brief appearances in AA and AAA, he spent most of last season with Cedar Rapids of the Midwest League. Casilla, an extremely fast switch hitter who is an ideal lead off hitter, stole more than twice as many bases in 2005 as any player in the Twins organization. Casilla appears to be the perfect player to replace newly acquired Luis Castillo in 2008 after his contract expires. The runner-up is Juan Portes (#8/20/D15, 2004), who is one of the Twins most exciting young hitting prospects who was a member of the Elizabethton championship team.
Shortstop - Trevor Plouffe (#18/20/D1, 2004)
2005 - Beloit (466ab/.223Ave/.300OBP/.345SLG/50BB/78SO/13HR/60RBI)
2004 - Elizabethton (237ab/.283Ave/.336OBP/.380ALG/19BB/34SO/4HR/28RBI)
Plouffe was the Twins first of three first round picks in 2004. He performed well at Beloit this season, especially after consideration that at 19 he was one of the youngest players in the league. A demonstration of how well he did is that his performance was better than both high school shortstops selected before him in the 2004 draft, including the #1 overall pick. Plouffe has surprising power for a young middle infielder. Although his 35 errors were the most in the system, it can be expected that his errors will decrease as he matures and gains experience. Assuming normal development, Plouffe will likely make the final step to the Twins in late, 2008 or 2009. The runner-up is Paul Kelly (#40/19/D2a, 2005), who is an excellent prospect who performed very well in a limited exposure during the playoffs with Beloit following his Gulf Coast League season.
Third Base - Matt Moses (#1/21/D1, 2003)
2005 - Arizona Fall League (69ab/.275Ave/.286OBP/.406SLG/1BB/16SO/2HR/6RBI)
2005 - New Britain (186ab/.210Ave/.275OBP/.366SLG/14BB/51SO/6HR/30RBI)
2005 - Ft. Myers (265ab/..306Ave/.376OBP/.453SLG/28BB/59SO/7HR/42RBI)
2004 - Quad Cities (112ab/.223Ave/.298OBP/.366SLG/12BB/25SO/3HR/14RBI)
Moses was the Twins first round pick as a high school shortstop in 2003. Considered one of the top power hitters in that draft, he missed much of 2003 and 2004 due to various injuries. He was rated by my formula as having the top performance of any player in the system in 2005, in part due to his reaching AA at the age of 20. Moses will likely begin 2006 at New Britain with a realistic chance of being the Twins third baseman by as early as mid-to-late, 2007. The runner-up is David Winfree (#7/20/D13, 2003), who easily could have been the top prospect after leading the Twins system with 101 rbi while at Beloit in 2005.
Left Field - Alex Romero (#3/22/ndfa, 2000)
2005 - New Britain (509ab/.301Ave/.354OBP/.458SLG/36BB/69SO/15HR/77RBI)
2004 - Ft. Myers (380ab/.292Ave/.380OBP/.405SLG/54BB/47SO/6HR/42RBI)
Romero took a major step forward with an excellent season in the Venezuelan Winter League during 2004/2005. After a slow start at New Britain in 2005, Romero had a wonderful season including setting the all-time franchise record for consecutive games getting on base safely (38) and missed the consecutive game hitting streak by two games with his 23 game streak. Romero has reportedly added some strength and weight which has helped him gain power, however, at a small loss of speed. Romero, who was added to the 40-man roster last December, is one of the Twins top outfield prospects with a real chance of playing in a Minnesota uniform by late 2006. The runner-up is Deacon Burns (#14/23/D26, 2004), who is an exciting player who set the Beloit franchise record with 13 triples this past summer.
Center Field - Denard Span (#2/22/D1, 2002)
2005 - Arizona Fall League (102ab/.294Ave/.339OBP/.353SLG/7BB/9SO/7-12SB)
2005 - New Britain (267ab/.285Ave/.355OBP/..345SLG/22BB/41SO/10-18SB)
2005 - Ft. Myers (186ab/.339Ave/.410OBP/.403SLG/22BB/25SO/13-17SB)
2004 - Quad Cities (240ab/.267Ave/.358OBP/.308SLG/34BB/49SO/15-23SB)
Span was the top pick in 2002 and has been considered the heir apparent to Torii Hunterís center field position for some time. Often referred to as the fastest player in the system, he is still very young and hasnít played that much baseball due to not signing until the 2002 season was nearly over and struggling with injuries during much of 2003 and 2004. Known as a slap hitter who should develop into an excellent lead off hitter, Span was assigned to the AFL this year where he was the Rafterís lead off hitter leading the team with players such as the Yankeeís Eric Duncan and Mets Lastings Milledge in at bats while only 21 years of age. Considering how little professional baseball Span has played, it is easy to understand how he needs some work on his defense and base stealing prior to breaking into the major leagues which should happen some time during 2007. The runner-up in center field is Trent Oeltjen (#20/23/ndfa, 2001) who led all full-season players at Ft. Myers in hitting (.287Ave) prior to joining the Australian National Team in this fallís World Cup.
Right Field - Doug Deeds (#4/25/D9, 2002)
2005 - New Britain (493ab/.304Ave/.382OBP/.479SLG/56BB/119SO/16HR/82RBI)
2004 - Ft. Myers (436ab/.294Ave/.357OBP/.447SLG/43BB/86SO/5HR/57RBI)
Doug Deeds has consistently moved up a level each year and put up numbers at or close to the best on the team, such as this year when he led New Britain with a .304 average and a .382 OBP. Deeds is a former college star from Ohio State who is getting a bit old for a prospect, however, must receive consideration based on his level of talent and production. It is likely Deeds will begin this season at Rochester and could earn a promotion to the Twins later in the season, if needed. Runner-up is a tie between Beloitís leading hitter for average and on base percentage, Jeremy Pickrel (#16/23/D10, 2004), and one of the top young power hitters in the organization who was injured early in his rookie year with the Gulf Coast Twins, Danny Santiesteban (#23/21/D39, 2004), who in 75 at bats led the organization in slugging percentage (.640) with 1 home run in every 12.5 at bats and 1 rbi for every 3.125 at bats.
Designated Hitter - Danny Matienzo (#6/25/D23, 2003)
2005 - New Britain (531ab/.282Ave/.338OBP/.488SLG/40BB/112SO/23HR/87RBI)
2004 - Ft. Myers (455ab/.305Ave/.365OBP/.402SLG/43BB/88SO/5HR/65RBI)
Danny Matienzo was drafted as a catcher out of the University of Miami. He now is a combination catcher, first baseman and designated hitter who has developed excellent power. His 23 home runs in 2005 were amongst the leaders of the system and his 87 RBI were the second most in the system. It is likely that Matienzo has the potential to become a player similar to Matt LeCroy, however, without as severe negatives as far as speed and defense. Matienzo will likely begin the season at Rochester and could be available to help the Twins as early as 2007. In an effort to include the top hitter from Elizabethton, we will again mention a tie for runner-up including Chris Brown (#33/21/ndfa, 2004) who was a non drafted fee agent out of college who performed very well for Beloit after being added to the team from extended spring training following an injury to Johnny Woodard. The other runner-up is Elizabethtonís leading hitter, Erik Lis (#15/22/D9, 2005), who finished with a .315 Average and .577 SLG.
Starting Pitcher #1 - Francisco Liriano (#1/23/Pierzynski Trade)
2005 - Minnesota (6g/4gs/23.2ip/1W-2L/5.70era/.268OppAve/7BB/33K)
2005 - Rochester (14g/14gs/91ip/9W-2L/1.78era/.177OppAve/24BB/112K)
2005 - New Britain (13g/13gs/3W-5L/3.64era/.242OppAve/26BB/92K)
2004 - New Britain (7g/7gs/3W-2L/3.18era/17BB/49K)
2004 - Ft. Myers (21g/21gs/6W-7L/3.55era/43BB/125K)
Francisco Liriano was the top pitching prospect in all of baseball in 2005. Much has been written about him so there is little left to say. He will likely be part of the Twins rotation either out of spring training or by mid-summer at the latest. The runner-up is Boof Bonser (#16/24/Pierzynski Trade) who led the International League in strikeouts with 168.
Starting Pitcher #2 - Glen Perkins (#13/23/D1b, 2004)
2005 - Arizona Fall League (7g/7gs/32ip/1W-0L/2.53era/.292OppAve/6BB/39K)
2005 - New Britain (14g/14gs/79ip/4W-4L/4.90era/.263OppAve/35BB/67K)
2005 - Ft. Myers (10g/9gs/55ip/3W-2L/2.13era/.205OppAve/13BB/66K)
2004 - Quad Cities (9g/9gs/48.1ip/2W-1L/1.30era/12BB/49K)
Perkins is on the fast track towards the Twins starting rotation. Known for having excellent control, he struggled with his control while adjusting to AA ball this past summer. He appeared to correct this problem in the AFL and although it isnít necessary to add him to the 40-man roster until 2006, he has been invited to spring training as the Twins continue working with him so that he will be available for the starting rotation by 2007. The runner-up for this starting spot is another lefty who has had similar numbers as Perkins, Errol Simonitsch (#14/23/D6, 2003), pitching with him at their last three stops.
Starting Pitcher #3 - Jay Rainville (#11/20/D1s, 2004)
2005 - Ft. Myers (9g/9gs/54ip/4W-3L/2.67era/.256OppAve/6BB/35K)
2005 - Beloit (16g/16gs/88.1ip/8W-2L/3.77era/.243OppAve/27BB/77K)
2004 - Gulf Coast League (8g/3W-2L/1.83era/3BB/38K)
Jay Rainville improved throughout 2005. He began at Beloit and earned a midseason promotion to Ft. Myers where he was one of the top starters complete with Silva like control with 1BB/9ip. And he accomplished all of this at the age of 19. Look for Rainville to begin the season at Ft. Myers with a summer call up to New Britain. He could reach the Twins by September, 2008 while still 22 years old. The runner-up for this spot is Adam Harben (#7/22/D15, 2002) who was recently added to the Twins 40-man roster.
Starting Pitcher #4 - Anthony Swarzak (#9/20/D2, 2004)
2005 - Ft. Myers (10g/10gs/59ip/3W-4L/3.66era/.300OppAve/11BB/55K)
2005 - Beloit (18g/18gs/91.1ip/9W-5L/4.04era/.238OppAve/32BB/101K)
2004 - Gulf Coast League (11g/5W-3L/2.62era/BB/42K)
Swarzak began the season as Beloitís top pitcher and was promoted to Ft. Myers at midseason with Rainville when three Ft. Myers pitchers were sent up to New Britain. Swarzak also accomplished a lot at the age of 19 and will strike out more hitters than Rainville with Rainville putting a few less on base. Swarzak is on the same track as Rainville and could make the Twins by September, 2008 while also 22 years old. The runner-up for this spot is Nick Blackburn (#6/24/D29, 2001) who had an excellent season earning a mid season selection to the Florida State League all-star team followed by an excellent performance at New Britain and a few games at Rochester.
Starting Pitcher #5 - Kevin Slowey (#2/22/D2b, 2005)
2005 - Beloit (13g/9gs/64.1ip/3W-2L/2.24era/.183OppAve/8BB/69K)
2005 - Elizabethton (4g/0gs/7.2ip/0W-0L/1.17era/.080OppAve/0BB/15K)
Slowey is the next in a line of top college pitchers drafted by the Twins in the second round. Slowey came within an out of hurling a no-hitter for Beloit while putting up numbers amongst the best in the league (1.119BB/9ip/1.073K/ip/.777WHIP) earning Kevin the second spot amongst all Twins system pitchers in 2005 based on my formula. Slowey will likely begin the season at Ft. Myers and move up from there with a real chance of pitching for the Twins within two years of being drafted (summer/fall, 2007) as did Crain and Baker. The runner-up for this spot is fellow 2005 pick, Ryan Mullins (#10/22/D3, 2005), who like Liriano is a high strikeout lefty with huge upside.
Left Handed Long Relief - Jose Mijares (#35/21/ndfa, 2002)
2005 - Ft. Myers (5g/1gs/12ip/0W-0L/1.50era/.116OppAve/5BB/17K)
2005 - Beloit (20g/6gs/54.1ip/6W-3L/4.31era/.219OppAve/40BB/78K)
2004 - Gulf Coast League (19g/29.2ip/4W-0L/2.43era/15BB/25K)
Mijares had an excellent season, especially during his late stint with Ft. Myers. Several scouting organizations remarked about his potential and great arm following the season, causing the Twins to place him on the 40-man roster. At this time it is unknown whether Mijares will be used in relief or as a starter in 2006, therefore, this top prospect is included in a long relief spot. The runner-up for this spot is Kyle Aselton (#25/23/D11, 2004) who had an excellent season for Beloit, especially as a starter during the last two months of the season.
Right Handed Long Relief - Eduardo Morlan (#24/20/D3, 2004)
2005 - Beloit (10g/10gs/51.1ip/4W-4L/4.38era/.207OppAve/31BB/55K)
2005 - Elizabethton (4g/4gs/22ip/2W-0L/0.82era/.085OppAve/6BB/30K)
2004 - Gulf Coast League (11g/25.1ip/1W-2L/2.84era/10BB/28K)
Eduardo Morlan was a high draft pick in the 2004 draft. He is known to have one of the better arms in the organization and is considered a top prospect. At his young age it is still unknown whether he will remain a starter or be used in some type of relief, therefore, I have included him in this long relief spot. The runner-up for this spot is Willie Eyre (#18/27/D23, 1999), who will compete for a spot on the Twins staff in spring training after being added to the 40-man roster following an excellent season of relief at Rochester.
Left Handed Set-up - Alexander Smit (#21/20/ndfa, 2002)
2005 - Beloit (14g/10gs/49.2ip/5.98era/.283OppAve/28BB/54K)
2005 - Elizabethton (21g/0gs/45.2ip/1.97era/.157OppAve/12BB/86K)
2004 - Elizabethton (6g/28.1ip/2.54era/10BB/43K)
Alexander Smit, who signed with the Twins as a 16 year old, has missed part of the last two seasons while participating in International competition with the Dutch National Team. Smit began 2005 as a starter at Beloit, then was returned to Elizabethton where he was used as a reliever. A virtual strikeout machine, Smit had 1.883K/ip at Elizabethton. It is unknown what the future holds for Smit who will be only 20 years old next season, however, he has been included in the set-up role in which he performed so well this season at Elizabethton. It is likely Smit will continue his move up the ladder and could be another 22 year old pitching for the Twins by September, 2008. The runner-up for this spot is Jason Miller (#26/23/D4, 2000), who performed very well at New Britain and Rochester in 2005 and could make it to the Twins by September, 2006.
Right Handed Set-up - Kevin Cameron (#32/26/D13, 2001)
2005 - New Britain (43g/79.1ip/2.72era/.244OppAve/27BB/60K)
2004 - New Britain (26g/46.1ip/1.94era/21BB/47K)
2004 - Ft. Myers (22g/33ip/3.13era/8BB/20K)
Kevin Cameron reportedly had one of the best arms on the New Britain staff and has performed very well at each stop as he has moved up the ladder of the Twins minor league system. It is likely Kevin will be at Rochester in 2006 and could make his debut with the Twins at some time in 2007. The runner-up for the right handed set-up spot is 18 year old Australian Matt Williams (#40/19/ndfa, 2004), who had an excellent season for the Gulf Coast Twins including 1.125K/ip and a 1.93era.
Closer - Pat Neshek (#5/25/D6, 2002)
2005 - New Britain (55g/82.1ip/2.19era/.225OppAve/21BB/95K)
Minnesota native Pat Neshek was converted to a closer in 2004 and put up excellent numbers this past season at New Britain, including 24 saves in 29 opportunities. Neshek, who has an unusual delivery, struck out 1.154 batters per inning pitched at New Britain. Pat was added to the 40-man roster this fall and will likely begin 2006 at Rochester with a late season call up a possibility. The runner-up for the closer spot is J.P. Martinez (#17/24/D9, 2004) who performed very well at Beloit, including a 1.83 era with 20 saves in 28 opportunities.
Your Minnesota Twins 2006 All-Prospect Team
C Kyle Phillips
1B Garrett Jones
2B Alexi Casilla
SS Trevor Plouffe
3B Matt Moses
LF Alex Romero
CF Denard Span
RF Doug Deeds
DH Danny Matienzo
SP Francisco Liriano
SP Glen Perkins
SP Jay Rainville
SP Anthony Swarzak
SP Kevin Slowey
LH Relief Jose Mijares
RH Relief Eduardo Morlan
LH Setup Alexander Smit
RH Setup Kevin Cameron
Closer Pat Neshek
You know, I have really enjoyed each of Roger's Minor League positional reviews, and I'm really glad that he was able to sum it up so well today with a prospect team. If you only knew how much time Roger puts into following the Twins minor leaguers, you would appreciate it even more. I really respect all of his thoughts on the Twins system because I know that he follows the Twins system almost as much, ok, maybe even more than I do. So again, thank you Roger!
Now to my thoughts on his All Prospect team:
To be honest, it is difficult to really disagree with many of his picks. As you can see, catcher is a weak position in the system. I would guess that Roger and I both believe that 17 year old Allan de San Miguel may have the biggest upside. Also, Elizabethton had three catchers who could be considered, in Eli Tintor, Caleb Moore and Sean Richardson. At first base, I would agree with his choices. I, of course, still am high on Brock Peterson. It will be interesting to see what he is able to do at New Britain next year. At 2B, I'm very high on Juan Portes, but after reading Roger's take on Casilla last week, comparing his numbers in the Midwest League to the Beloit hitters, it is hard to disagree that he has a bright future. At Shortstop, I know that I think Drew Thompson and Paul Kelly both have a chance. Terry Ryan said in his Q&A online that his scouts frequently discuss Kelly's potential. But, I was also intrigued by the possibilities of E-Town's Yancarlos Ortiz. Rounding out the infield, how do you choose between Matt Moses and the system's player of the year, David Winfree? Well, clearly Moses is thought of more highly nationally, or by those who make prospect lists. But I think Twins fans can be almost equally excited about the future of Winfree, although Winfree will likely become a designated hitter.
In the outfield, I completely agree with Roger's starters. I'm quite high on Span and Romero, as many are, but Doug Deeds has been nothing but solid and consistent the last couple of years. I'm glad that Roger gave him his due. Richard Sojo, who played for the GCL, is another name I would mention, and maybe even E-Towns Mark Robinson.
Starting pitching... how do you even decide? I actually completely agree with Roger's top five starters. Liriano, Rainville, Swarzak and Slowey were all pitchers who ranked in my Top 10 Twins prospects (Perkins ranked #14 after a tough second half. His performance in the Arizona Fall League moves him back up the list). The other two were Scott Baker who should not be on a prospect list any longer as he has too many innings pitched, and Adam Harben, who I am maybe too high on. Let's see. We could put a second starting rotation of Harben, Nick Blackburn, Justin Jones, Boof Bonser and Matt Garza and rank highly. A third team of Kyle Waldrop, Eduardo Morlan, Ryan Mullins, Errol Simonitsch and Jose Mijares presents some high ceiling prospects. And there are more, like Adam Hawes and Alex Burnett, who could be very good. I could talk about the Twins pitching prospects all day long! Oh, and that bullpen that Roger selected is very strong too!
Do you have any thoughts on Roger's All Twins Prospects Team? If so, please e-mail me, or definitely feel free to leave some Comments at the bottom of the page.
What to do? What to do?? (The Kyle Lohse Story)
Well, teams were supposed to meet with their arbitration-eligible players yesterday and discuss their hopes for their 2006 contract. The team tells the player (ok, his agent) what they believe he should be paid. The agent, of course, says that number is too low and says what he believes his player is worth. The third option, an option which seemed to be prevalent yesterday, was for the two teams to exchange numbers and then meet somewhere in the middle or come up with a multi-year contract.
Now, the Twins players who are eligible for salary arbitration are Kyle Lohse, Michael Cuddyer and Nick Punto. I have heard nothing about these negotiations. I figured that at least Cuddyer and Punto would settle on a contract pretty quickly, and they still might. I hope that things work quickly with Kyle Lohse as well. Not because I think he is someone that the Twins should prioritize, but they seemingly have decided to keep him around. Therefore, let's just get him signed and move on. However, Scott Boras is his agent, so I don't envision a quick signing. Boras will try to get as much as he can for his player. (Side note - I have no problem with Scott Boras. He is just doing his job. Yes, his players get max money much of the time, but the owners are willing to give it to him, meaning he is getting full market value for his players... but I digress...)
I am really wondering what the plan is for Kyle Lohse. All last year, and most of the offseason, my hope was that he would not be back in 2006. My hope was that the money saved by removing Lohse's contract could be used to acquire a bat or two. I just believed that with Scott Baker and Francisco Liriano pretty much ready (and at the league minimum cost-wise), that would just make sense. However, I am now thinking of this differently, somewhat. Yes, I think that the team could be better with the two youngsters in the rotation, but I can see it from Terry Ryan's perspective as well.
He just does not trust rookies at all. Scott Baker is technically not a rookie, but still has less than 52 innings under his belt. He will not trust Baker and Liriano to be vital cogs in the Twins rotation. Let's go with that theory because Terry Ryan has probably been right more than me! So, Lohse comes back as the fourth starter allowing Baker to be the #5.
Here is the 2006 Twins starting rotation:
That is a rotation that we can be very comfortable with, I believe. But what happens after 2006 if Brad Radke really does retire? Even if we assume that the team resigns Carlos Silva and Francisco Liriano is ready, here is the 2007 Twins rotation:
So, I am beginning to wonder if the team is contemplating signing Kyle Lohse to a two or three year deal now so that the team will not be "stuck" with another rookie pitcher in that rotation in 2007. Yes, the Twins could have guys like Boof Bonser, Willie Eyre, Glen Perkins, Nick Blackburn, Errol Simonitsch, Adam Harben, Justin Jones or other pitching prospects who could compete for the 5th starter spot. But will Terry Ryan want that, especially considering he would have two pitchers with less than two years of big league experience.
Kyle Lohse has been an enigma his who five year big league career. He still shows signs of potential greatness. He has great 'stuff.' He will be just 27 years old the entire 2006 season. He has never had an injury that has kept him from making a start. He has thrown over 178 innings all four of his full seasons. He has made at least 30 starts all four of those years. He is coming off a year where his ERA dropped to 4.18, a number well below the league average and the best of his career. He is a solid fielder for a pitcher.
Yes, Lohse continues to frustrate for extended periods of time during the season, but Jon Garland did the same thing in his career and then busted out last year. That is not the only example. Again, this is his 27 year old season and a pitcher's best seasons are generally between 27 and 29. Maybe a three year deal would make some sense. To me, there are two reasons to do it:
Lohse would need to agree to settle for a little less money in 2006, allowing the Twins more payroll flexibility in July.
He would make big money in both 2007 and 2008. However, if he does take that next step as a quality starting pitcher, he will be worth the money. Also, Brad Radke's $9 million per year would be off the books.
So, maybe I would encourage the Twins to give Lohse a three year deal worth. In arbitration, I think that Lohse would win between $3.5 and $4 million in 2006. So, how about a contract in which Lohse made $3.4 million in 2006, $5.5 million in 2007 and $7.5 million in 2008? Initially, I would say that a three year, $16.4 million would be too much for Lohse. However, Garland just signed a 3 year, $27 million deal with the White Sox and as I mentioned, we know that Scott Boras took notice of that! If you don't like the idea of a three year deal, how about a two year, $10.5 million deal in which he would make $4.25 million in 2006 and $6.25 million in 2007?
As for Michael Cuddyer? I really don't know what he'll make. My guess is that his agent will look for upwards of $1.4 million. The Twins would probably offer about $800,000. They'll probably settle on a one year deal with him for about $1 million. This of course makes 2006 a huge year for Cuddy. Because he will again be arbitration-eligible next year and make probably twice as much, he needs a bust out year. And, how is that possible unless he becomes an every day player somewhere!
And Nick Punto? Why did they offer him arbitration again? But again, because the Twins gave him so many at bats last year, he will likely make somewhere between $750,000 and $900,000. Uggh!
(After writing this before American Idol last night, I went to the Pioneer Press and saw the actual numbers that were exchanged. The Twins offered Lohse $3.4 million while Boras asked for $3.9 million. Cuddyer asked for $1.5 million while the Twins countered with $1.1 million. Punto asked for $850,000 and the Twins offered $625,000. I am actually surprised that the Twins and Lohse are as close as they are. It leads me to believe that it may not go to arbitration, and also that a multi-year deal is possible. Cuddyer and Punto are both very close. I bet that Cuddyer signs for about $1.25 million and Punto will get about $750,000.)
What do you think about this? E-mail me.
AMERICAN IDOL THOUGHTS
It's that time of year again! Last night was the first episode of American Idol! I know! I know! Many of you won't read a single word I write when it comes to this section, and that is completely fine. However, I also know that I receive many hits from people who only read my site when American Idol is on. Now, the next couple of weeks, I will only be posting some random thoughts. However, once the actual competition begins, I will again do my analysis of each performer and make my picks. So, be sure to check back each Wednesday and Thursday for my American Idol thoughts and predictions. Now, on to a couple of thoughts on last night's first episode, the Chicago auditions.
The Brittenum Twins were absolutely incredible. Their voices meshed so well together. I was just as impressed by the fact that their duet was an original meaning that they are musically inclined and not just song memorizers. I would say that Derrell is a little bit stronger a singer and may last a little longer, but Terrell is very good too!
The Barrettsmith Sisters were also very good. Elder sister, Brooke, is much better than Leah in my opinion, but I don't anticipate either getting real far.
The Simmons Twins, two 16 year olds were absolutely incredible in their duet of Superstar. Both were spectacular in the solo areas as well as when they harmonize. Joshua is great. However, Jared is just as good vocally, but he has far more charisma which could carry him further.
Dave Hoover who could do videos for House of Pain's Jump Around, somehow was allowed to go to Hollywood. After listening to his 'song', I was thinking that the judges would tell him to "pack it up, pack it in", but instead Paula and Randy passed him through, much to the dismay of Simon Cowell. I was shocked!
Simon was on fine form a couple of times. When Mandisa (sang Fallen) was passed to Hollywood, Simon said, "Do we have a bigger stage this year?" Paula hit him! She said that she reminds her of Frenchie! Simon quickly came back with, "She reminds me a France!" That's rude, but it reminded me that former AI runner-up Dianna Degarmo will be joining Frenchie Davis as a performer on Broadway. Degarmo will play a role in Hairspray while Davis is in Rent.
I would guess that both Zachary Smits and David Radford, both 17 and both crooner-type singers, will do well in this. Paula blushed while listening to Radford and later told him that she 'liked his package.'
Crystal... Wow! What do you even say? She may have been the least smart person ever, but she wasn't actually a terrible singer. But yeah, not smart. I don't think anyone would have been able to put up with her in Hollywood!
And, one final Simon mean quote... to Charles Barry he said, he "needs to shave off his beard and take up a career as a female impersonator." Ouch! And yeah, if I was Charles, I think I would have been embarrassed too!
Best part of the show was the Eva Mendes Revlon commercial!
Episode #2 is on tonight. I will have to tape it, I guess, because I don't want to miss it!
What do you think? Any thoughts on American Idol? E-mail me.
On that note, I am going to call it a day. I am very excited about tonight. I think it is going to be a lot of fun. I hope that plenty of people attend because it would be nice if the Twins would want to make an appearance here every year! If you have any comments, opinions, or ideas for future articles, please e-mail me.
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