UPDATE - Congratulations to Kevin Slowey and Team USA who beat Cuba in Havana last night 8-5 behind five home runs to win the Olympic Qualifier Tournament. Slowey started for Team USA and went the first five innings. He gave up just one run (on an RBI triple in the 5th) on five hits and a walk. Both teams qualify for the 2008 Olympics. Again, hopefully Slowey will not be able to play in the Olympics because, hopefully, he will be pitching for the Twins in 2008!
Wednesday, September 6, 2006
Twins Minor League Report
Johan is Good
Today I would like to bring out two discussion questions for the readers before getting to my thoughts on Johan Santana's much needed, stellar performance last night.
First, I was listening off and on to mlb.com radio's programming yesterday afternoon. Daryl Hamilton and Brian McRae were talking about the Yankees and Marlins (and their $15 million payroll) and payrolls, etc. They made the comment that if there is ever going to be a salary cap, there would also need to be a minimum salary limit for each team. In other words, if there were to be a salary cap in baseball at, say, $120 million, there would also need to be a $50 million minimum salary. That thought really bothers me on a few levels, so here is an e-mail message that I sent them I am pretty sure it wasn't read as I wrote it late in the show, but I thought it was worth posting here and see if it creates any discussion:
Although I generally agree that if there is a salary cap, there should be a minimum too.
However, I do think that the Marlins’ situation should allow for an exception. Yes, the Marlins’ payroll is now at $15 million, but next year, Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis will get large pay increases. Assuming everyone else on the roster only goes up nominally, suddenly next year they are up to $25 million. The next year, they both would likely get another significant pay hike and some of their other young players will go to arbitration for the first time and get raises. So, suddenly in 2008, they have a $45 million payroll with essentially the same roster. Should the Marlins be forced to sign some guy for $6 million who will take away time and development from one of their young players just to meet that amount? I don’t think so.
As a Twins fan, it can be frustrating to see talented players just let go because of finances. However, for every David Ortiz that they have lost, they have also let guys like Eddie Guardado, LaTroy Hawkins, Doug Mientkiewicz, Cristian Guzman, Corey Koskie, Luis Rivas, AJ Pierzynski and more. And although a few of them have been solid with their new teams, the Twins have used the draft, their scouting and their player development to not have a good year here and there, but instead to maintain a competitive team over a long period of time. Each of the above players has been replaced by a now-cheaper, and arguably more talented player that they have developed.
Although we can all bash the Marlins (And Twins and other teams) for being cheap, maybe it is also time to start giving them credit for being good organizations.
Secondly, I was driving home from work last night and thinking about the fact that I have not been to a Twins bobblehead promotion yet this year. I don't know if I will get to another game this year. I would love to, but I don't know if it will happen. So, here is Discussion Question #2 for you today: If you were the Twins Director of Marketing, what would you do? First, what current promotions would you keeps, but second, come up with an idea or two that you would have to help market the Twins. What giveaways or events would you do to get more fans in the stands?
As always, please feel free to e-mail me, or you could also leave Comments down below.
The Twins got exactly what they needed in last night's 8-0 win over the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Yes, they got the Win, which is the only thing that really matters, but they got more. To find out what those things are, and for more thoughts on the Twins, check out my thoughts on the game:
The first thing that they got was a great start. Yes, Johan Santana got the win by going 8 shutout innings. That's one part of it. But, with the young pitchers comprising much of the rotation, the bullpen has also been used a lot in the last week or two. For Santana to provide eight innings may have been more important than anything else he did.
Santana improved to 17-5 with a 2.84 ERA. He gave up just two hits, walked one and struck out twelve. Although we already thought he was the leading Cy Young candidate, last night may have been a big night in helping that happen. Roy Halladay, the other candidate most spoken of, pitched last night for the Blue Jays. Although he pitched very well, he did not get credited with the almighty Win stat. In seven innings, he gave up a run on five hits and three walks while striking out nine. He remains at 16 wins and his ERA is now down to 3.22.
The other thing that the Twins got that they needed was some runs! They really have been struggling with the bat collectively of late. So eight runs is a very welcomed relief. Justin Morneau was 2-5 with his first triple of the season. Jason Bartlett was 2-3 with his 18th double. Michael Cuddyer was 2-4 with two more doubles to give him 36 on the season.
Of course, one of the more controversial plays of the game came when Michael Cuddyer hit a long drive to centerfield. A fan in the outfield was hit by the ball (he was trying to catch it, I think!) and the ball bounced back into the field of play. Was the fan reaching into the field of play? If so, the umps were right in awarding Cuddyer a double. If the fan stayed in the stands, they were wrong and it would have been a home run. Seeing it live, I couldn't tell what happened. I had to see the replay several times to determine that, I think, it should have been a home run. Ron Gardenhire went out to the ump who made the call. He must have asked him what he saw. I am guessing that Tim Tschida told him that he saw the fan reach into the field of play. Gardy probably asked him to ask the other umpires what they saw. Tschida did that. When none of the other umpires, who all were closer to the play than Gardy, were willing to reverse the call, Gardy said whatever he needed to say to get ejected. Now, many times, I fully understand and appreciate Gardy's willingness to stand up for his players. However, really, what was the necessity in this ejection. Seriously, it was a close call that needed slow motion replay to determine. The Twins had a big lead late in the game. Cuddyer himself didn't seem overly upset about it. He wasn't in danger of being ejected himself. It just completely seemed like an unnecessary ejection.
The Twins can again say a big thank you to the Boston Red Sox. Last night, the Red Sox beat the White Sox 1-0 behind seven shutout innings by Kason Gabbard, who was making his third big league start and had an ERA over 6.00. The Twins now have a 1.5 game lead over the White Sox.
The Seattle Mariners were able to hold off the Detroit Tigers last night as well. That means that the Twins are 4.5 games behind the Tigers. Imagine, if you will, that the Twins can complete their sweep of the Devil Rays tomorrow. Imagine also that the Mariners can surprise the Tigers again tomorrow night. The Twins would head home 3.5 games behind the Tigers. Then, if the Twins can sweep the four game series, they would be in first place in the division. I know. I'm dreaming. However, it is important, I think, to realize just how impressive this Twins team has been!
When the Twins acquired Phil Nevin, I thought it was a great pick up. He would play DH most every day. I then said that I would be alright with the deal as long as they didn't give up one of their top 10-12 prospects. Although we knew a few days ago, it became official just yesterday that the Twins were sending Adam Harben to the Cubs. Now, I think that Harben is a tall, lanky pitcher who is a very solid pitching prospect, something that the Cubs certainly need. In other words, for Adam Harben, this is probably an excellent trade in terms of getting a big league shot more quickly. However, I probably would have ranked him somewhere in that 10-15 Twins prospect range. So, I would have been OK with the trade even from the Twins perspective. However, Nevin has now not played in two of the last three Twins games. Last night, he was on the bench while Jason Tyner was the team's DH. If that continues, then I think that giving up Harben was FAR too much!
Tonight, the Twins will send Carlos Silva to the mound against rookie Jason Hammel who will be making his fifth major league start. That means a HUGE advantage for the Devil Rays! Anyone else think that the Twins should call up Kevin Slowey as soon as he gets back from Cuba to start in Silva's place?
Derek Jeter and Joe Mauer were both 1-4 last night, so Mauer's .345 is still edging out Jeter's .343.
Ron Coomer is a great guy, but I didn't think that anyone could make me miss listening to Bert Blyleven!
Any other thoughts on the Twins, Devil Rays, White Sox, Tigers or anything baseball? E-mail me, or leave some Comments below.
TWINS MINOR LEAGUE NOTES
Tuesday SethSpeaks Player of the Day - Trevor Plouffe, Ft. Myers Miracle
Tuesday SethSpeaks Pitcher of the Day - Danny Powers, Ft. Myers Miracle
Tuesday - Red Wings - No Game. The International League playoffs begin tonight. In the opening game against Scranton/Wilkes Barre, the Red Wings will start Mike Smith against Gavin Floyd. Shawn Wooten is injured and won't be playing in this series, so Kyle Geiger was called up from New Britain to catch.
NEW BRITAIN NEWS
Tuesday - Rockcats - The Rockcats season is complete.
FT MYERS MEMOS
Tuesday - Miracle 6, Dunedin 5 – With two outs in the bottom of the 8th, Brandon Roberts doubled in JR Taylor to give the Twins a one run lead, a lead they would hold on to to take take Game 1 of this series. Roberts was 2-4 with the double and a hit by pitch. Trevor Plouffe led the offense going 3-4 with a double and two RBI. He even had a sacrifice bunt. Steven Tolleson went 3-4 with a double. Korey Feiner was 2-3 with a walk. Kyle Waldrop got the nod in game one. He went five innings and gave up five runs (three earned) on eight hits and a walk. Chris Schutt came in and gave up no runs despite a hit and three walks in 1.2 innings. Danny Powers got the win by throwing 2.1 perfect innings.
Tuesday - Snappers – The Snappers begin their playoff series tonight. Their opponent in the Best of 3 series is Peoria.
Thanks again for stopping by this site. If you have any questions, comments or ideas for future postings, please e-mail me.
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