Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Chris Coste (and Twins) Notes
Hey ya'll, my life just got a bit more hectic so I'm not exactly sure how the site will go the next two weeks. I hope to post daily. I know next week, I will be traveling for work. Today I will spend a lot of time on the road, and then will be away from home through Easter. So, again, please bear with me until things slow down a little bit. For today, I have the time and energy to just post a few notes.
First things first, today is the first day that you can find the Chris Coste book, The 33 Year Old Rookie in book stores. Mine hopefully will be arriving in the next couple of days and I am definitely looking forward to reading it. If you happen to be in the Fargo area, you can head over to Newman Outdoor Stadium (home of the Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks, the team Coste starred for from 1996-1999) starting at 10:00 a.m. to pick up your copy for $20.00 (plus tax), which is 20% off the suggested retail price. However, quantities are limited and they will be sold on a first come, first serve basis.
According to ChrisCoste.com, he will be at a book signing in Clearwater, Florida, at Barnes & Noble at 5:00.
Todd Zolecki of the Philadelphia Inquirer hosted a Q&A with Chris last week.
I don't know how to embed a
YouTube file, so I'm going to try it here and hope it works. If it does,
this is a really cool clip that appears to be of
a TV show called The Call
in which Coste and two others talk about their first call up to the big
leagues, the story and the emotion. It is excellent!
Here is an article in the Fargo Forum about the worst year of Chris's life, and how he came back from it.
The Forum's Mike McFeely writes his opinion on the book.
Here is an interesting review of the book in which it says, "Coste released one of the better written books from an athlete of late. His memory of his career is thorough, and he does a good job of letting the reader know how he felt during his voyage through the Minor Leagues."
I have talked about Chris Coste on this site for a long time. In fact, the first time he was mentioned here was in June of 2003 when I wrote an article called The Best I Ever Played With. I made up a team of the best I have played with back in the days I played from high school to amateur ball and into college. But Coste was clearly The Best.
Just after New Years of 2006, Coste participated in his first Q&A here.
Next was a quick spring training Q&A in February of 2006, right before he headed to the Phillies big league camp and made his name known to the masses.
One day before the 2006 season was set to begin, it appeared that Chris had made the Phillies opening day roster. He had done all he could. I wrote up an article called Congratulations Chris Coste! And the night before the season was to open, the team acquired David Dellucci in the deal with the Rangers which meant Coste would begin the season in AAA.
He was told that he had made an impression and if they needed someone to come up, they would go to him first. That doesn't make it any easier, I'm sure. But the Phillies were true to their word and when Alex Gonzalez decided to retire on May 20th, the Phillies called up Coste. (That was a big week for a lot of us!)
The last February, Chris was kind enough to do another Q&A before spring training, a camp where he again did not make the Opening Day roster, went down and ended up a key contributor to the NL East champions. In fact, he was the catcher when Brett Myers struck out a hitter to clinch the division title for the Phillies.
A Couple Quick Twins Thoughts:
As of now, I am not sure if Francisco Liriano is ready to start the season with the Twins. He struggled again yesterday with his control starting in the third inning. That could be a little fatigue. It could be part of a dead arm period. Scouts always say that they like to watch a guy's first start back because he is strong. But then the next two starts there is some soreness and even a dead arm feeling. Then in the 4th start, he may be back closer to normal again. Hopefully that is a trend for Liriano. But if not, we should not be surprised completely. Yes, he is 18 months after Tommy John surgery, but it was still Tommy John surgery and caution is the key. I saw that Rochester opens its season at Richmond, which shouldn't be too cold. Maybe he should make a start or two there to see how he's doing. The arm is all that matters and I am still impressed by his pitch counts. His strike percentage was much better in start 3 than start 2. There are positives, but there are differences, and that is to be expected. Patience and caution are the two key words for the Twins staff and decision makers. Patience is the key for Twins fans.
Philip Humber is getting exactly what he needs today, a start. He has been incredible this spring, but he is yet to make a start and throw against the other team's starters. He will face the Orioles this afternoon. With Liriano and Baker questionable for opening day, Humber is certainly in contention with Glen Perkins and Nick Blackburn for one or two rotation spots. I'd like to see him do well. He is now in his second full season back from Tommy John surgery as well, so hope is high in my mind for him!
The Twins outrighted Carmen Cali and since no one claimed him, he stays with the Rochester Red Wings. Perkins is a possibility for a lefty bullpen job depending on if is in the rotation. It is also interesting that Ricky Barrett is still around. With Cali now off of the 40 man roster, could Barrett be the surprise at the end of camp? (Note - probably not, but he hasn't been talked about much)
Kevin Mulvey was also sent down but apparently he made quite the impression on the Twins coaching staff. We could see him yet this year. The Twins got four players for Johan Santana. Carlos Gomez and Philip Humber are certainly still in serious contention for opening day roster spots. Mulvey was impressive and will begin at AAA Rochester. And, Guerra certainly impressed the big league coaches as well. His ceiling is very high. I think we may again find out that the Twins scouting department knows what it is doing!
We all know that Garrett Jones is out of options. He can fill a left-handed power bat off the bench role (as well as some 1B or hopefully little LF or RF), and I think he will take the final roster spot from Brian Buscher and Matt Tolbert. I have no problem with that. Apparently Brian Bass is also out of options. He must have used up his three options while in the Royals organization. After a solid season in 2007 between the Rochester bullpen and rotation, and an impressive showing in Venezuela this winter, I think he could be the team's 12th pitcher and be able to provide long relief. In both cases, it is likely the player would be claimed and lost. The players they are battling with for roster spots have options and can be called up at any time if these guys struggle.
I get asked a lot about my thoughts on Randy Ruiz. Do I think he'll make the roster? Should he? Yes, he is having a very solid spring with the bat, hitting for average and power. But there is no way he makes the roster to open the season. First, there really isn't a roster spot open for him. Not 1B. Not DH. And with Garrett Jones 1.) out of options and 2.) left-handed, he really doesn't fit that bench spot either, especially if the Twins take 12 pitchers north with them. He's 30 years old. He has a PEH past (which isn't a big deal for now). He has been released by several organization just in the last two years. Now, before you think I am just being all negative, I want to point you back up to the top portion of today's posting for a reason not to just forget his name. The Twins staff has noticed what Ruiz has done this spring and how hard he has worked. The Twins as an organization has shown in the past that if a guy is deserving, and an opportunity arises, they won't hesitate to call up a guy. Ruiz just needs to go back down to Rochester and put up solid numbers all year and see what happens.
By the way, Jim Mandelaro is officially in Ft. Myers now and providing great information on his Extra Bases blog.
So, Monday morning, I'm driving to work. I had just swept an inch of snow off of my car. Not a great way to start a Monday when opening day is so close. Then I get into the office and my cell phone starts vibrating. Who is it? It's my cousin's husband, and he says, "Hey Seth, guess where I am?!" I said, "Where? Ft. Myers?" He said, "That's right, just walking around the back fields, watching minor league practices. There is Parmelee, and Tosoni, and there is Benson running over and under hurdles with a trainer. Parmelee just said 'What's Up?' to me as he walked between fields." Yes, it is official. I am jealous. I would love to be in Ft. Myers and I would really enjoy sitting around watching the minor league camp for a week. Yes Jason Bain, I am jealous!
And on that note, again, please bear with me through the next couple of weeks. I don't know how in-depth I will get, but I will try to write regularly about anything going on with the Twins and their roster. As always, please leave comments, ideas, suggestions or links below, or you can e-mail me any time!