Friday, July 31, 2009

Final Countdown

Last hours of the non-waiver trade deadline on the horizon.  If you get the opportunity, please download our e-book (TwinsCentric Trade Deadline Primer 2009) to use as a reference to follow along with all of the massive chaos spewed at you from every which direction.  $9.95.  Besides, it's Friday.  What else are you gonna do?
I'll be here regurgitating and disseminating some of the latest blips and bleeps on the radar throughout the day so check back frequently.  For those of you that have purchased the book, feel free to leave comments here or emails ( letting us know what you did or didn't like about it. 
  • Fox Sports says the Twins and A's have made progress towards Oakland sending 34-year-old shortstop Orlando Cabrera to Minnesota. Cabrera gets a far from resounding endorsement, but "progress" could either mean that the A's are willing to back down from from the Danny Valencia request or the Twins are willing to increase their offer as Charley Walters told that it was way too little. Meanwhile La Velle tweets that he believes it is looking less likely that the Twins will make any move at the deadline.
  • A's GM Billy Beane quoted in the San Jose Mercury: "You always remain optimistic.  You're trying to bring on as many young players that are going to be around for a while as you can. I wouldn't say anything is necessarily imminent. But along those lines, we still remain active in conversations."
  • Charley Walters writes that the Twins are inquiring about David Eckstein from the Padres and Adam Kennedy from the A's - the former Angels up-the-middle combination that helped bounce the 2002 playoffs. Eckstein, like Cabrera, is 34-years-old and has seen his better days behind him.  Like Everett and Punto, he's got that scrappiness that appeals to the manager.  A line drive hitter that doesn't walk (6.6 pct) or strikeout (7.7 pct) which are traits that have been coveted within the organization.  His defensive is suspect as his arm strength and first-step have failed him in recent years - making double plays almost non-existent.  Kennedy is having an aberration of a season, hitting well above his career numbers after being acquired by Oakland from Tampa in a minor league deal.  Like Eckstein, Kennedy is a line drive hitter but strikes out more frequently.  His .434 slugging percentage this season, compared to a career average of .392, is inflated by a career-best 9.0 HR/FB percentage.  Both are inexpensive and can been jettisoned after the season with minimal scar tissue however neither really provide a true upgrade.   
  • Interesting tweets from La Velle to follow up his original statement suggesting that he believed that the Twins were not going to make a move.  Said the Star Tribune beat writer, "All I know is that BS [GM Bill Smith] sounded FAR from optimistic when I spoke with him around 10 pm.  One phone call changes everything, but....For Twins' fans' sake, I hope I'm wrong.  Right now.  I don't see it..."
  • From Tom Powers at the Pioneer Press:  "Cliff Lee didn't cost the Phillies too much, relatively speaking, and would have looked great in a Twins uniform." Spahuh?  Lee cost the Phillies their number two through four prospects (Carlos Carrasco, Lou Marson, Jason Donald) and the number ten (Jason Knapp).  This would be the equivalent of the Twins giving up Ben Revere, Wilson Ramos, Jose Mijares and Angel Morales.  What this shows is the depth of a system like Philadelphia versus the shallow pool of the Twins.  The Phillies can move those four prospects and still retain top prospects in Dominic Brown, Michael Taylor and Kyle Drabek.  If the Twins sent a similar package, the system would be effectively purged.  Powers then continues to encourage the Twins to pursue a like deal for Seattle's Jarrod Washburn, who is on the final year of his contact.  Giving up that kind of prospect talent for less than half a season of Washburn would be selling the proverbial farm - a fact that Kelsie Smith across the newsroom from you had wrote about saying the Twins were not going to do.  Mr. Powers, please stick to commenting on happenings at the X, we'll keep an eye on things this side of the river.   
  • La Velle says the phone lines were humming at the Twins front office well past midnight trying to get something done.  Probably a west coast team judging from the hours...
  • Orlando Cabrera definitely understands how the trade deadline game is played.  "The thing is, if you wait until the last moment and see if other teams get desperate, you might get more added onto a deal," said Cabrera, who has an 11-game hitting streak.  Cabrera's hot month of July (41-for-110) seems bolstered by a high amount of groundballs finding holes (54 percent GB rate). 
  • Tom Haudricourt says that Brewers GM Doug Melvin's conversations with Seattle's GM, Jack Zduriencik, led him to believe that Jarrod Washburn is staying put. “It looks like he’s going to keep Washburn,” said Melvin. “He’s going to try to win as many games as he can. Arizona appears to be that way, too, (with pitchers Doug Davis and Jon Garland).”
  • Marco Scutaro might not be an option anymore.  Richard Griffin at the Toronto Star writes that "Since the Halladay domino still stands, then so will those of Scott Rolen, Marco Scutaro and Barajas."  Scutaro, unlike Cabrera, Eckstein and Kennedy, demonstrates the ability to get on base via a walk (13.3 percent in 2009) and rarely chases a bad pitch (12.1 out-of-zone swing percent) while being a consistent line drive hitter and playing three infield positions well.  If a selection among these four for number two in the batting order was to be made, I'm going on record as saying Scutaro.
  • Going back to La Velle's comments regarding the Twins front office on the horn under past midnight, Bill Center at the San Deigo Union-Tribune says that the Padres GM Kevin Towers was still in his office working the phones well past 10 pm Pacific Time.  It could be safe to assume that Smith was trying to bang out an Eckstein deal but hopefully the topic wandered over to closer Heath Bell.
  • USA Today's Bob Nightengale is confirming what Doug Melvin already suspected that the Mariners will not part with Jarrod Washburn unless they get an overwhelming offer.  Based on his contract, age and the fact that a vastly improved outfield defense is behind his improved numbers, I'd say that should take him off the boards for the Twins. 
  • Nightengale notes that the A's and Twins were in a late night conversation regarding Cabrera and that Oakland's asking price was crazy-loco.   
  •'s Jon Heyman reports that the Tigers nabbed Jarrod Washburn from Mariners for Luke French and Mauricio Robles.  Good move for the contender that truthfully had zero to offer.  However, the terrible outfield defense for the Tigers will bring Washburn's second-half numbers skyrocketing.  Better move by Seattle who recieves a substantial younger, cheaper version of Washburn in the 23-year-old French who has been an extreme flyball pitcher in his brief stint with Detroit and will benefit greatly from the revamped Mariner outfield. 
  • With Washburn off the market, the Twins should consider acquiring left-handed starter Doug Davis.  So far, Arizona has had little action but if those who were infatutated with Washburn wants a like-product, they should be looking towards the desert.  Davis, one year Washburn's junior, is owed $2 million less than the Wisconsin native and has provided similar output the past three seasons.  The last three years Washburn has thrown 480 innings, had an ERA of 3.9, a 23-35 record while posting a 5.2 K/9 and a 2.8 BB/9.  Davis meanwhile, has tossed 463 innings with a 4.14 ERA, a 24-30 record along with a 6.9 K/9 and a 4.3 BB/9. 
  • Sussie Slusser at the San Francisco Chronicle is saying that Orlando Cabrera could be with the Twins in the "next hour or so".  UPDATE: Valencia NOT a part of the deal.
  • Interesting, Slusser also says Justin Duchscherer's rehab start in AAA Sacremento was scrapped with no reason give.  Could the 31-year-old lefty from Aberdeen, SD be in play as well for another arm for the Twins?
  • UPDATE Nightengale confirms: Cabrera for Tyler Ladendorf.  Upgrade?  M'eh...Potential undefinable clubhouse injection that gets the team rolling?  Possibly. 
  • A shortstop with Beloit, Ladendorf, in his second year in the organization, had a good start in Elizabethton, hitting .410/.500/.721 with four home runs and a nice 11/7 BB/K ratio.  The promotion to Beloit saw his line drop to .233/.292/.267 in 60 at-bats with a 4/13 BB/K ratio.  The Twins were trying to tweak his batting stance and scouts believe that when he grows into his frame he will be forced out of the shortstop position.
  • Joe Christensen says we're going to see Cabrera in a Twins uniform tonight Saturday wearing number 18 and playing against his former team. 
  • Cleveland continues to dismantle their franchise.  Victor Martinez is heading to Boston says Nightengale.  Even with the firesale, the Indians have a good crop of young players in the minors (LaPorta, Santana, etc) making their "rebuilding" time just a few seasons (as opposed to decades like Pittsburgh). 
  • UPDATE Slusser says that Cabrera won't be able to get a plane out of the Bay Area until tomorrow morning since the team had a late arrival back following a series in Boston. 
  • Jeff Fletcher at AOLFanHouse says that the A's wanted to take Ladendorf with the following pick before the Twins snapped him up.
  • Cabrera's contract calls for him to recieve a one-time "assignment bonus" of $250K if traded.  Slusser believes that that is the amount the Twins will be getting from Oakland to complete the transaction.
  • Nightengale says the Twins and A's are talking about Michael Wuertz while ESPN's Buster Olney says the Twins are looking at Heath Bell.
  • UPDATE:  Padres want too much for Bell.  Twins are probably out writes Nightengale.  Talks fired up with Diamondbacks regarding Jon Rauch
  • Slusser says she spoke with Michael Wuertz at 3 PM and he was still a member of the Oakland Athletics. 
  • Christensen says that's it.  We've got Cabrera who addresses...clubhouse need?  There's still the waiver trade deadline of August 31st for the Twins to potentially grab another arm.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Sporadically Updated Trade Information

First: buy the book, support local bloggers and enjoy enriching baseball entertainment all afternoon long. 

Second: Haphazardly updated trade deadline notes with Twins spin -- 
  • Geoff Baker in his Seattle Times blog noted that there is the outside possibility of the M's moving right-handed reliever Mark Lowe.  Lowe is the prototypical power arm out of the 'pen, registering at 96.3-mph on average when coming with the heater which he compliments with a slider (a deviation from 2008 when he was a fastball-changeup pitcher).    
  • The Mariners were also recently linked to rumors involving Brewers shortstop JJ Hardy or the AAA prospect Alcides Escobar.   There had been an offseason movement encouraging the Twins to acquire Hardy to fill the need at short, thankfully, the Twins did not go down that road.  But now with the Brewers now 7.5 games out of the Central and injuries to Manny Parra, Dave Bush and now Jeff Suppan might mitigate the need for more pitching.  Hardy provides respectable defense, but has seen his line drive rate drop each year since 2005 (falling from 21.1 percent in 2005 to 13.5 percent in 2009) as well as a steep increase ni his strikeout rate (from 12.3 percent in 2007 to 19.4 this year) resulting in a career-low .679 OPS (We have one of those).  He's on a one-year, $4.65 million and would be in line for a raise in 2010 but considering his career OPS is .758 and that he's only 26 years old, he's probably due to rebound.  The catch is that the Brewers are probably looking for some MLB-ready pitching, which the Twins are scouring for themselves.  Paradox.   
  • Since acquiring second baseman Felipe Lopez from the Diamondbacks for a pair of C-list prospects on July 19th, Lopez has gone 11-for-32 (.344) for the Brewers.  In that same time span, Alexi Casilla has gone 4-for-27 (.148).  Before you sharpen your pitchforks, consider that Lopez has managed a .364 on-base percentage while Casilla has produced a on-base percentage three points lower (.361) by walking eight times to Lopez's one.  I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin.   
  • From a colleague in an email after the David Ortiz news broke: "No wonder Ortiz sucked while he was with the Twins. We didn't have the good drugs here. Manny hooked him up with the good stuff when he got to Boston. All the Twins can get is what Juan Rincon was on and that apparently will only make you as good as Juan Rincon."  
  • Classic Ozzie Guillen quote yesterday:  ''I want to see the piranhas in a different lake next year. 'Let's see those mother [bleepers] hit when it's 20 degrees outside. They'll have a little different record at home.'' 
  • Since Oakland does not appear to be selling on Michael Wuertz (gloveslap, La Velle), the Twins should consider traveling further south down the California coastline and find out what it would take to pry Padres closer, Heath Bell, away.  Since assuming the closer role in San Deigo after Hoffman left, Bell has embraced the high leverage situations thoroughly.  In 40.1 innings this season, Bell has struck out 48, walked just 15 and has a tidy 2.01 ERA while converting 25 for 26 save opportunities.  Bell made other adjustments including the new position title, such as moving away from a fastball-slider combo towards a fastball-curve mix, that has led to a high strikeout rate (from 8.19 in 2008 to 10.71 in '09) and a minuscule RHB average of .091 (6-for-66).  He is in his first arbitration year and would be under club control for another two seasons making the price tag on the reliever presumably steep.  Add in competition from the Marlins, Rays and Yankees, and the Twins chances slim.  For premium relief work the Twins would have to part with a premium prospect. 
  • According to Dejan Kovacevic, the Cubs are working on acquiring John Grabow as well as starter Tom Gorzelanny.  Earlier today, La Velle has gone on record stating that he did not think Grabow "addressed any of the Twins' pressing needs".  As far as middle relief goes, Grabow is as good as any out there having experience in late inning situations and matching up well against both left-handed and right-handed batters.  The left-handed Gorzelanny has had a rollercoaster career.  From 2006-2007, he went 16-15 with a 3.86 ERA and struck out an average of 6.0 K/9 in 43 starts.  The wheels fell off last year as his control vanished along with his ability to retire righties (.593 slugging against).  In his brief time up in Pittsburgh he's worked out of the bullpen but had improved in AAA striking out 85 in 87 innings with a 2.48 ERA.  The Pirates would want at least two left-handed pitchers in return -- the Twins have Brian Duensing and Ryan Mullins that fit that profile. 
  • Geoff Baker reports that the Twins had scouts out to watch Jarrod Washburn as well as look at Sean White.  Writes Baker "Minnesota does have young infielder Alexi Casilla, who is a decent glove but as you can see, not much of a bat. There's also Delmon Young, whose game has gone south and is not even a viable DH candidate."  The Mariners originally asked the Yankees for Joba Chamberlain or Phil Hughes in exchange for Washburn and they were shotdown with extreme prejudice.  Seattle currently has a list of non-A-list prospect in the Yankees system that they can select from. 
  • I interrupt the trade talks/updates for a dash of Ortiz-related hypocrisy:
    • February 2009:  "'I think you clean up the game by the testing.  I know that if I test positive by using any kind of substance, I know that I'm going to disrespect my family, the game, the fans and everybody, and I don't want to be facing that situation.  So what would I do? I won't use it, and I'm pretty sure that everybody is on the same page.'  He drew a distinction between the use of steroids through 2003, when it was not penalized, and the period since then when testing with penalties has been in effect."  

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Relief Candidates

First of all, buy the book, the majority of our thoughts are accumulated into that periodical that will undoubtedly bring you great pleasure as the COUNTDOWN TO THE TRADE DEADLINE clock winds down to zero. 
Third, let's breakdown some of these potential trade "targets": 
Mike Wuertz | RHRP | Oakland A's 
Drafted by the Cubs in the 11th round in 1997, Wuertz ascended the Chicago ladder like most premium relievers: as a starter in the minors.  Armed with a youthful trio of Kerry Wood, Mark Prior and Carlos Zambrano in the rotation in 2003, the Cubs moved Wuertz to the Iowa bullpen.  Wuertz flourished in his new role and soon found himself in Wrigleyville assuming filler work in the early part of 2004 but earned a taste of high leverage situations in September for a playoff contending team.
Wuertz would work 262 inning in a Cubs uniform, striking out 270 and walking 128 (2.10 K/BB ratio).  In February 2009, the Cubs flipped Wuertz to Oakland for two pedestrian AA prospects after agreeing to a one-year, $1.1 million contract with Chicago on January 20th.  What the Cubs saw was a strikeout rate that declined from 9.83 K/9 in 2007 to 6.04 K/9 in 2008 as opponents' line drive rate swelled from 15.2 percent to 25 percent. 
The 30-year-old Austin, MN native had also changed his repertoire as well in his final years with the Cubs.  Equipped with a good slider, Wuertz began favoring the pitch more and then wound up throwing in over 60 percent of the time in 2008.  This year, he's thrown it 62.8 percent of the time and has seen his out-of-zone swing percentage jump to 38 percent (well above the league average of 25) and his strikeout rate rebound to 11.79 K/9 and a career-best 4.77 K/BB.  Wuertz's low walk rate appears to be a product of him being able to get empty swings as his contact rate went fro 72 percent in 2008 to a lowly 56 in 2009.
To race to acquire Wuertz is crowded, as there are more drooly suitors here than in the Bachelorette, which probably makes Billy Beane aroused.   FoxSports reported that because Wuertz is under club control for 2011 and has been one of the best set-up men in 2009, the A's will be looking for a kingly sum for the righty.  The upside is that he would remain with the Twins for the 2011 season and would make an excellent insurance policy if Neshek is unable to fully rebound from Tommy John surgery.  The downside is that hitters are bound to adjust - he's not consistently hitting the strike zone so eventually opposing batters will make him throw a strike - so the K/9 and strikeouts-to-walk ratio, while attractive now, are probably in line to correct. 
Sean White | RHRP | Seattle Mariners

White's career took a roundabout path to get to the Majors.  After being drafted by the Orioles in 1999, the Expos in 2002 White finally signed with the Braves after being selected in the 8th round in 2003.  The righty meandered through the Braves organization, alternative between a starter and reliever, never emerging as a legitimate pitching prospect and began to grow old on the vine.  In 2006, the Pirates selected him in the Rule 5 and he was purchased from Pittsburgh by Seattle the same day to bring him back to his native state. 

The Mariners were infatuated with his big frame (6'3"), velocity (93) and newly found changeup but after a sampling of 15 unimpressive games in 2007, White was option back to AAA following spring training in 2008.  Looking for inexpensive bullpen help under new management, the Mariners took the 28-year-old White to Seattle in 2009.  He posted a 1.75 ERA in his first two months of the season, a number not entirely reflective of his iffy 11/12 K/BB ratio and beginning in June, his luck began to catch up with him as he posted a 4.64 ERA and a 10/8 K/BB over the course of 21.1 innings. 
Because this will be just his second year of MLB service, the Twins would have White under control for another year under indentured servitude before arbitration starts.  The question is, would the Twins really want him?   La Velle reported that the Twins have interest in him, noting that his biggest trait is his groundball tendency. As it stands, they have the exact same guy in Bobby Keppel.  If the Twins were serious they would be inquiring about bullpen-mate in closer David Aardsma rather than White. 

John Grabow | LHRP | Pittsburgh Pirates
A 3rd round draft choice by the Pirates in 1997, the 30-year-old left-hander has notched a pretty consistent career in the Pittsburgh bullpen.  In his first five seasons at the major league level, Grabow never really produced any eye-popping numbers, sitting at an ERA+ of 94 while working in 271 games and averaging a very good K/9 of 8.4 with a moderate 3.4 BB/9. 
In those seasons, Grabow worked 0.88 innings per appearances partially because he was reserved for innings to retire same-sided batters. It's hard for left-handers to breakaway from the preconceived notions that they should be relegated to retiring the same-sided batters but Grabow's platoon splits shows that he handles lefties and righties equally well (career OPS .723 vs LHB, .748 vs RHB). Following the 2007 season, the kiddie gloves were removed and Grabow was given the opportunity to face both handed hitters after he became the Pirates dedicated "8th Inning Guy" in 2008. 
There are two things that you will notice about Grabow's pitch repertoire is that he began throwing his changeup more often starting in 2007.  This increase is correlated with the rising number of right-handed bats faced.  Even with his higher leverage situations and unfavorable platoon match-ups, Grabow made his ERA dip (ERA+ 132) while his peripherals went a little south.  His strikeout rate dropped to 7.5 K/9 while his walks rose to 4.8 BB/9 as did his fastball's velocity. 
Grabow is owed $2.2 million on his one-year deal which was signed to avoid his final year of arbitration.  Unless the Twins decide to extend him, Grabow will wind up a free agent at the conclusion of the 2009 season.  Preliminary Elias Rankings suggest Grabow could be labeled a Type A free agent giving the Twins an additional draft pick if signed by another team, given the fact the Pirates are in constant rebuilding mode, they would probably request compensation for losing that pick as well.
Jason Frasor | RHRP | Toronto Blue Jays
Drafted originally by the Detroit Tigers, Frasor was involved in two trades before he ever got above AA ball.  After striking out 50 in 36.2 innings and a 2.95 ERA while with the Dodgers' AA affiliate in Jacksonville, the Blue Jays traded Jayson Werth for the right-handed reliever.  Toronto summoned the 26-year-old to close out 17 games that season and then used him liberally in the bullpen for the next few seasons. From 2004 to 2008, Frasor went 12-20 with a 4.03 ERA in 297.1 innings, notching 268 strikeouts and walking 136.
You could consider Frasor the type of pitcher that evolves.  After right-handed batters slugged .410 off of him in 2006, Frasor developed a slider and saw his RHB slugging against drop to .300 the follow season.  When lefties tagged him for a .422 slugging percentage in 2008, he worked on a split-finger which has decreased that to .348 in 2009.  This combination of hard fastballs, sliders and splitters has been death-from-above to right-handed batters thus far in 2009.  In 70 match-ups, Frasor has held RHB to a .194 batting average and has allowed just one extra base hit. 
Frasor has transformed into an extreme flyball-oriented pitcher, getting elevated on 48 percent of balls put in play, yet the right-hander has remained unscathed as just one of those aerial assults have wandered over the fence.  As we've seen with Scott Baker, flyball tendencies can sneak over the fence in bunches so there is a strong chance that his HR/FB rate inflates in the second-half. 
Due $1.45 million and is in his final arbitration year, Frasor has the probability of being labeled a Type B free agent depending on the remainder of the season. 


Monday, July 27, 2009

Identifying Francisco Liriano's Problem

Brace yourself for an overwhelmingly large understatement:  Something is wrong with Francisco Liriano.
At 4-10 with a pear-shaped 5.56 ERA, Liriano has had a less than successful season to date.  Following an outing in which he had just allowed three home runs - all by right-handed batters - manager Ron Gardenhire offered this as insight to reporters when asked what Liriano can do to clear the perceived mental hurdle:  
"I think he gets out of whack and just overthrows the ball.  You can call that mental; you can call that whatever you want. It's a matter of remaining in control of yourself on the mound. It's speeding up the game instead of slowing it down. Trying to make the perfect pitch. Instead of hitting the glove he tries to make it super nasty."
Nowhere in that explanation was any acknowledgement to the fact that he is being destroyed by right-handed batters.  After limiting right-handed batters to a fairly average .266/.335/.410 batting line in 250 plate appearances in 2008, Liriano has taken a noticeable turn for the worse in '09.   This year, right-handed opponents have been slaughtering the ball, slugging over 100 points higher (.516) and have tagged him for 17 of his 18 home runs.  Sheer obliteration. 
Normally when this sort of favoritism to one particular subset alarm bells go "a-ringy-dingy-dingy" but back in May, Liriano referenced another problem that laid the foundation for the continued cited excuse.  "I think I overthrow when I've got men on base," Liriano said. "That's been a big problem for me all year long. So I got to just calm down. I'm rushing too much."  (There's that catchphrase again, "overthrowing".  Anyone else feel like they are getting a glimpse of how Rick Anderson talks to his pitchers?).  A month later in June Joe Christensen highlighted just how big of a problem it would eventually become: 
Nobody on base: .250/.318/.406
Men on base: .260/.338/.374

Nobody on base: .243/.314/.399
Men on base: .325/.413/.595

If this were truly a runners-on-base problem, Liriano would show signs of struggles against left-handed batters too right?  Behind-the-scenes data reveal that the hitters that are doing the most damage with runners on base are once again - you guessed it - right-handed.   While lefties were slugging a handful of points higher when Liriano was throwing from the stretch, righties raised their slugging percentage almost TWO HUNDRED POINTS when a teammate was on the basepaths.   Annihilated.  Spanked. 
Is Ron Gardenhire expecting us to believe that Liriano is doing something "mentally" different to just one set of hitters?  That he is only overthrowing when someone is in the right-handed batters box?  As the old saying goes "Don't piss on me and tell me that it's raining".  There is only a certain amount of credence I usually lend to something being a "mental" problem in baseball because there always comes a point where psychological gives way to physiological.  After all, it's not as if he's throwing telepathically up there; there are actual real live muscles involved.  At the end of the day, Liriano does something physically different with right-handed batters than their counterparts.  
Two things that we accept as true are that A) Liriano is having troubles pitching to right-handers and B) the tribulations are exacerbated while he is pitching from the stretch.  To summarize, Liriano throws the same basic set of pitches and does so effectively to one type of batter but completely disintegrates when the opposite digs in and more so when a runner is on base. 
Breaking down the Pittsburgh outing through pitchf/x at, you will notice a slight difference in the way Liriano approaches the two groups.  In this particular start, Liriano allowed two home runs to Pittsburgh's right-handed hitting Andy LaRoche and Andrew McClutchen.  The top graph represents his release point while facing right-handed batters and the second graph is the release point against left-handed batters.   One thing you should note between the two release points is the difference between where Liriano lets go of the ball to a right-hander versus left-hander.  While both are thrown at six feet in height, he vast majority of pitches thrown to right-handers are released between one and one-and-a-half horizontal feet away from the center line.  For the lefties, Liriano throws the ball around one-and-a-half to two feet away from the center line. 

This allows for an approximate a quarter-foot in horizontal release on average.  Even this seemingly butterfly wing flap has sizable ramifications and greatly changes the movement on the horizontal axis.  Focus on his fastball as that has been the pitch that has given his the most problems (-2.04 wFB/C): 

The first graph, Liriano delivering to right-handed batters, shows that the horizontal movement in his fastball (green line) travels about 1.25 feet on average as it spins out of hand sixty feet-six inches away.  Meanwhile when Liriano throws the same fastball to left-handed batters it moves an additional 0.75 horizontal feet.  Make no mistakes - for something traveling more than 90-mph this is significant. Therefore, Liriano's quarter-foot release difference is costing him about a half-foot in fastball movement and equates to a flatter fastball for right-handers to feast upon.    
In the event that you might think a different release point might be standard for pitchers, here is Glen Perkins's July 17th start against the Rangers.  Note the fluid, mirrored release for both sides of the plate:
In his July 9th start against the Yankees, a game in which the right-handed batting Mark Teixiera went yard, Liriano demonstrated the same habits: 

Same release, same results.  Which brings us to Anaheim in his most recent start on July 24th.  In this five and a third inning debacle, Liriano surrendered home runs to the right-handed hitting Robb Quinlan, Mike Napoli and Jeff Mathis.  "It's very difficult. I'm trying, you know, to put it behind me, but sometimes that doesn't happen," said Liriano following the start, "I'm just thinking too much about what happened in my last start. I don't know, I just think I have to be mentally stronger, not get too frustrated, try to come back and make some better pitches." Below you will see the same pattern of release, albeit with a small sample of left-handed pitches (Bobby Abreu was the only left-handed batting Angel that night):
Clearly he's doing something physically different with his release point that is adversely effecting his fastball movement to right-handed hitters.  Judging from the previous quotes, it would appear that the Twins believe that a rain dance, voodoo or a session on the couch are in order to fix what ails Liriano.  The real solution requires extensive bullpen sessions with someone standing in the right-handed batters box so Liriano regains comfort and commits his motion to muscle memory for either handed hitters. 

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Twins Targeting Cabrera?

At, Jon Paul Morosi reported that the Twins have been fairly active in a pursuit for an infielder now that third baseman Joe Crede is also likely headed to the DL.  According to Morosi, the Twins "have already discussed shortstop Orlando Cabrera with the A's" among other possibilities including Pittsburgh's doubleplay combination, Jack Wilson and Freddy Sanchez, Toronto's Marco Scutero and even darkhorse candidate in the Royals' super utility man, Mark Teahan
Morosi continues by suggesting that of the four listed, shortstop Orlando Cabrera makes the most logical trade target for Minnesota given his position and his success as a number two hitter.  As Seth Stohs identified in his analysis of the Oakland Athletics for the TwinsCentric Trade Deadline Primer, Cabrera has a strong likelihood of relocating outside the Bay Area given his attractive one-year contract and A's GM Billy Beane's propensity for using veterans to wrangle in prospects.  Two weeks ago, we were apprehensive about the Twins potential of acquiring Cabrera, given his lowly .293 on-base percentage, but since the beginning of July, the right-handed batting Cabrera has hit .387/.410/.547 with two home runs in 17 games.  This sudden burst of production has drawn the attention of teams in need of a shortstop including the Mariners, Reds and Mets in addition to the Twins.  Always the master at leveraging his players in trades, Beane will undoubtedly look to use this inflated production to extract a fairly substantial prospect or two for Cabrera. 
Who would be foolish enough to bite?  Even with the increased productivity, make no mistakes about it, Cabrera's beginning to show his age.  Over the course of the past four seasons, Cabrera has seen his power and his speed numbers drop significantly, resulting in a strong indication that the two-time Gold Glove winner is weakening and slowing down:  

O. Cabrera 

Isolated Power














Part of losing his strength/speed is that Cabrera is no longer pulling the ball with as much authority as he once did. Since turning 30 in 2006, Cabrera's ability to turn on a pitch has reduced. Naturally, scouting reports have picked up on his sluggish swing and have started to throw more fastballs to counter.


Pull Pct

AVG on Pulled Pitches

Fastball Pct

















As a predominately groundball hitter, Cabrera's average has been bolstered by muscling a few more groundballs through the infield, however in the past three seasons his batting average on grounders has declined from .306 in 2007 to .248 in 2008 to .235 this year. 
At 34 years old, Cabrera is no longer the spry shortstop that he was in Montreal.  While his Ultimate Zone Rating had been favorable the previous two seasons (13.1 and 8.9 in 2008 and 2007 respectively), this year his defense has worsened (-9.3).  According the Fielding Bible Plus/Minus system, Cabrera is having a horrendous time getting to balls to his right, misplaying 12 balls that an average shortstop would have been expected to make ranging towards third.  A shortstop whose shortcoming is ranging to his right may have been masked by Joe Crede's excellent ability to make plays to his left (+10 plays) but with Crede's impending DL stint looming, the Twins will be forced to use Brendan Harris, Brian Buscher or Danny Valencia, all of whom fall far short of Crede's defensive prowess.  By the Fielding Bible's accounting system, Cabreras's defense has cost the A's 16 runs.  The contact-heavy, groundball-inducing pitchers, like Nick Blackburn and Glen Perkins, would suffer from the loss of coverage on the left side of the infield. 
Considering all of this, would bringing in Cabrera benefit the Twins?  With the probability that his uptick in offensive output will come to an end (based upon his groundball tendencies and dilapidated power stroke) coupled with his problematic defense, the Twins should focus their energy and resources elsewhere. 

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Blackburn Pitching in the Dead of Night


When your pitching style is better described as a dance routine, you have little room for missteps.  With ten days of rest between starts, Nick Blackburn was hardly the pirouetting marksman that we have been accustomed to seeing on the mound.  His normal groundball tendencies gave way to an all-out aerial attack including Daric Barton and Matt Holliday launching home runs number 11 and 12 against him this year.  When the smoke cleared and his night was all but over Blackburn's demeanor, like his pitches, was as flat as a week-old bottle of 7-Up as the A’s ransacked him for seven earned runs on thirteen hits in five innings of work. 

“(Pitching coach Rick Anderson) was telling me what it was between innings.” Blackburn told reporters in the clubhouse, “and I still couldn’t go out there and make the adjustments.”

This outing pales in comparison to what he was like just fifteen days ago against the Tigers.  Completing nine innings while scattering seven hits and striking out six, Blackburn compiled what we have come to expect as the norm -- pitches moving in every which direction and more speed changes than rush hour, as visually represented here

This assortment prevented hitters from sitting in one area, looking for one type of movement.  Just when you think he was going to run a pitch in on you, Blackburn's cutting one away and gets it off the end of the bat for an easy groundball out.  
Blackburn's night in Oakland, and his first post-All Star Break start, failed to capture that kind of magic.  His pitches lacked the run they did at the beginning of the month. 
 As you can see, the Athletics weren't forced to patrol the plate and strike zone for rogue cutters and runaway four-seamers like the Tigers were up against.  When you are throwing 86-90-mph with minimal movement, opposing batters can hone in on a location instead of covering an area from batter's box-to-batter's box. 
As pitcher that relies on touch and feel, Blackburn's ten days of rest probably was the culprit behind his inability to move his pitches like he normally does.  He had the opportunity to keeps this start from going from a headache instead of a full-blown migraine had the defense converted one or two more groundballs.  Consider this Oakland outing an anomaly but bear in mind as a contact-heavy pitcher, Blackburn's stats will fluctuate with his defense behind him. 


Monday, July 20, 2009

OtB Twins Notes: 07.20

As reported by Seth Stohs at on Sunday, the Twins have signed 39-year-old Mark Grudzielanek to a minor league contract and have assigned him to the GCL to re-acclimate the second baseman who had not played organized baseball in 2009.  After his three-years with the Royals between 2006-2008 where he hit .300/.339/.412, Grudzie was listed as a Type A free agent that, combined with his accelerated age, scared off potential suitors this past offseason.  A line drive hitter (23.6 percent since 2002), Grudzielanek makes a lot of contact, rarely walks, while providing quality at-bats against left-handed pitching (.302 BA in 667 PA since 2004) and has hit well out of the number two spot (.291 BA).  Defensively, his range has shrunk in those Kansas City years but his arm and soft hands ensures that he makes all of the outs he can get to.  He's old, recovering from a Ross Gload-induced ankle injury and has been away from the field for almost a year so there is a possibility that Grudz never fully rebounds to his league-average contributions.  Nevertheless, his acquisition signifies the front office's lack of confidence in their current second base options but for minimal risk, the Twins received a player of mid-level reward. 
More Twins Blogosphere Run-Down on Grudzielanek's signing:
Two of our main trade targets discussed in the TwinsCentric Trade Deadline Primer were traded on Sunday.  Tom Haudricourt reports that the Brewers have acquired Diamondbacks second baseman Felipe Lopez for two minor league prospects.  Lopez is due $3.5 million on his one-year contract and would have been an attractive solution for second base if the asking price been reasonable.  The Brewers, who had a need since losing Rickie Weeks for the season, surrendered LF Cole Gillespie (24 YR, AAA) and RHRP Roque Mercedes (22 YR, HA), neither of which are attractive merchandise.  Gillespie has demonstrated a very professional approach at the plate coaxing walks but has marginal power and iffy defense to compliment a weak arm.  Mercedes has the potential of being a solid reliever with 90-94 MPH fastball and plus-curve.  It's hard not to think that the Twins could not have matched this package. 
Meanwhile, the Baltimore Orioles managed to acquire RHRP Cla Meredith away from the Padres for the 31-year-old Oscar Salazar.  Meredith, a 26-year-old side-arming groundball machine, was under club control for the next three seasons while entering arbitration in 2010.  In his four seasons since 2006, Meredith has worked 237.1 innings with a 165-to-60 K-to-BB ratio and a 0.6 HR/9.  Salazar, on the other hand, has found limited time at the big league level because he does field any position exceptionally well but has hit .321/.394/.534 in his 127 PAs in Baltimore.  From the Padres perspective, this just makes no-freakin-sense.  In a player that they should have leveraged the hell out of in Meredith, they accepted less than beans but were desperate for utility help after Edgar Gonzalez was hit in the head with a pitch and hospitalized. 
Sid Hartman wrote that the Twins could have landed Pirates second baseman Freddy Sanchez if they were willing to relinquish Francisco Liriano. In spite of his 4-9 record and 5.47 ERA, Liriano is far too valuable to swap for one year of Sanchez.  His strikeout rate is strong (8.2 K/9) while his last seven starts leading up to the All Star break show that he is improving as he posted a 3.95 ERA with a very good 43/18 K/BB ratio in those 43 innings. "Every team tries to make deals, but they are tough to make," GM Bill Smith said. "The teams that are selling players are looking for a high return. We try and balance out the benefit of the short term vs. the long term."
Poor Brian O'Nora.  After an incident in 2008 in which the umpire was the recipient of Miguel Olivo's shattered bat to the head, O'Nora took one unfortunate hop on Saturday night right in the babymaker from  Justin Morneau's check-swing.  O'Nora staggered around for a bit before dropping to one knee and twice ran off the field during the game (to presumably throw up or piss blood).    
Kelsie Smith says that the Twins will start to curtail Delmon Young's playing time.  "Everybody's had their opportunity now to get themselves settled in," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Now we're going to put the speed out there, which I like, and see what happens. And Delmon will be a part of it here and there." It might be a harsh reality for someone who hit .329/.333/.474 in 78 PAs dating between June 3rd and July 7th, but Young should be limited to the DH role against left-handed pitchers to reprieve Jason Kubel who is hitting a weak .194 (14-for-72) versus LHP. 
Any speculation that the White Sox might be in consideration for Roy Halladay seems fueled by an empty piece in the Chicago Sun-Times suggesting that the Sox are "mulling the price".  Chicago Tribune columnist Rick Morrissey fanned the flames by demanding the Sox land Halladay (a stark contrast to the Twin Cities mouthpieces).  Manager Ozzie Guillen dismisses this by saying ''To make that work would be a lot of money and a lot of players involved. It's nice to say we need this guy or that guy, but it's not easy [to make trades]. I don't think we'll give up half the organization for one guy.''  As we noted in the TwinsCentric Trade Deadline Primer (available for download at $9.95), the Sox are a hard team to read.  GM Kenny Williams pulls the trigger quite often on deals but mostly during the offseason.  His last big-splash deadline foray was landing Freddy Garcia from the Mariners in 2004.  Then again, William has re-acquired tradeable parts from the Braves in the Javier Vazquez trade and had tried to pry Jake Peavy away from the Padres earlier this year so the notion that he will stand pat is any one's guess.
Clinging to a two game lead over the Twins, the Tigers received some bad news this week: hard-throwing Joel Zumaya will need to go on the DL with a shoulder injury.  With Zumaya going on the 15-day DL for the Tigers, it exacerbates an already weak area for Detroit.  “He’s been throwing 100 m.p.h.,” manager Jim Leyland said. “It’s hard to assume something isn’t right when a guy is throwing (that fast).”  This is curious in that usually shoulder injuries come with a drop in velocity.  While the starting rotation has been excellent upfront, the bullpen has found it difficult to complete the transaction, blowing 56 percent of save situations.  Zumaya will be replaced by the young fireballer Ryan Perry, who's erratic control has produced similar results to Zumaya (6.9 BB/9 vs 6.4 BB/9).  The Tigers, who have very little left as trade chips, have also inquired about Adam Dunn and Roy Halladay
Towards the end of Friday night's broadcast against the Rangers, Bert Blyleven made a curious comment stating that he believed that the Ballpark at Arlington was very much a "fair" field, favoring neither the pitchers nor the hitters, citing the dimensions to back his claim.  Blyleven, of course, is wrong.  Including the well-documented channel that propels flyballs to the seats, STATS records shows that 'heat equals hitting' and found that when the temperature was above 90, there were an average of 9.1 runs scored and 1.83 HRs per game.  When the temp drops below 60, the offense scores 8 runs with 1.40 HRs per game.  As stated numerous times, Arlington typically reaches triple-digits in the summertime.  According to's list of Park Factors, the Ballpark has been hitter-favorable every year (with the exception of 2007 when the PF was 0.979) and has averaged 6th of the 30 teams dating back to 2002.
Continuing on with Dick 'N Bert announcing tandem, in one of the numerous downtime, down-home blatherings, Dick Bremer revealed that he was curious to know where suburban Blaine, Minnesota (along with rural Nowthen and Sleepy Eye) got their town names.  Okay, I'll bite:
  • Blaine, MN: Named after James G. Blaine, a senator and three-time presidential candidate in Maine, submitted by Moses Ripley in 1877 when the township separated from Anoka. 
  • Nowthen, MN:  In 1876 the Burns Township needed an official post office name and the post master, Jim Hare, wrote to Washington requesting a name.  Because of Burnstown Township in Southern Minnesota the PO General asked Hare to come up with alternatives.  He dictated a letter with many candidates and finished it with "Nowthen".  Unbeknownst to the powers that be in Washington, Hare often started and finished his sentences with "Nowthen" and had no intention of naming the community as such (kind of like saying "Knowhatimsayin").  The name was chosen and stuck.
  • Sleepy Eye, MN: Named after Chief Sleepy Eye who recommended the area of the Minnesota River now Mankato as a sustainable place for settlers away from floods. Sleepy Eye and his people settle just west of current-day New Ulm on a lake, later named "Sleepy Eye". 
Download your copy of the TwinsCentric 2009 Trade Deadline Primer Today!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Do the Twins need Lugo?

In ten days from now (or sooner) we'll find out what uniform shortstop Julio Lugo pulls on next.  Undoubtedly, with gaping holes in the Twins' middle infield, Lugo's name will arise as a potential suitor for the Twins offensive void up-the-middle. We addressed Lugo as a trade candidate in our Twinscentric Trade Deadline Primer mostly because of his availability but the consensus was his $9 million due this year (and in 2010) would keep the Twins from being viable trade partners.  That hurdle was cleared when the Red Sox dropped Lugo which made him fall into the Twins' price range.  The question is, do we even want Lugo pulling on our jersey?   
After signing a 4-year/$36M contract in 2006, the Red Sox very much expected the same results that Lugo produced in his six years split between Houston, Tampa Bay and Los Angeles in which he hit .277/.340/.402  (OPS+ 92) while providing solid defense.  What they got was a 31-year-old shortstop with rapidly degenerating skills who was unable to stay on the field.  Lugo had hit a collective .251/.319/.346 (OPS+ 71) supplying sub-par fielding in his three segmented seasons in Boston.  With the development of Jed Lowrie and Nick Green, Lugo became expensive roster dead-weight.

 Plus/Minus | UZR/150

Julio Lugo

Brendan Harris

Nick Punto


+1 |4.3

 -19 | -13.1

 +5 | 42.2


-2 | -2.6

 -9 | -10.3

 +4 | 17.9


 -15 | -43.2

-4 | -2.0

-9 | -1.8

As noted, Lugo is a swiftly aging product.  In over 1,200 innings in 2007 at short, Lugo managed to be +1 run defensively.  In 2008 he dropped to -2 and this year he has been at -15 in two injury-riddled seasons.  Lugo's number are hardly indicative of an agile shortstop.  Twins fans might have become accustom to Brendan Harris's diving stops on balls many shortstops could probably backhand without much effort, but using the same metrics Harris had been -19 in Tampa in 2007, -9 in 2008 with the Twins and has been -4 this year.  Nick Punto, like Lugo, is another shortstop that has entered his thirties and has watch his plus/minus go from +5 to +4 to -9 in these past seasons.  The argument could be made that Harris, who is in the later half of his "prime years", is learning the position enough to compensate for his poor foot speed while Punto and Lugo's range is shrinking with age. 
What's more is that Lugo is bad at turning a doubleplay, much more so than the two current options:

 DP Convert (2007-2009)


Julio Lugo

102-of-205 (49.7%)

Brendan Harris

110-of-196 (56.1%)

Nick Punto

83-of-120 (69.1%)

As you can see, Punto has far less opportunities but has been able to convert a significantly higher percentage than either Harris or Lugo.  Overall, the Twins stand to benefit more if Punto is manning short of the three.   
Offensively, this trio is a grab bag of hot garbage so far in 2009.  Punto has managed to find a new rock bottom below his unsightly 2007 season with a .543 OPS.  Harris, meanwhile, has struck out in 20 of his last 83 plate appearances (24 pct) before the All Star break, apparently icing down Joe Mauer's bat in the on-deck circle with all his fans in the process.  Superficially, Lugo's numbers are the best of the three, but there is plenty to suggest that this isn't going to last.  Yes, his 23.3 percent line drive rate looks appealing but RJ Anderson at attributes that to an increase in the amount of "fliners" - the weak flyball/liner combination.  His .280 average is inflated by two crazy series against the Angels and Phillies in which Lugo went 11-for-21 (.523 average) with three doubles.  If you remove those games, Lugo has gone 20-for-88 (.227 average) with just one extra base hit. 

Punto, on the other hand, has every indication that his numbers will be going up.  Sure, it's hard to look at his offensive contributions so far without your gag reflexes kicking in, but try to fight the urge to spew chucks.  Punto been doing THE EXACT SAME THINGS as he was in 2008 when he hit a respectable .284/.344/.382 in 338 plate appearances.  He's almost matching his line drive output (20.1 vs 20.5) which usually indicates an average closer to .260.  Punto's biggest detriment is that too many of his groundballs are being converted into outs.  In 2008 he hit groundballs 44.7 percent of the time and held an average of .293 on those.  This season, he's hit them 43.7 percent of the time but is staring at an average of .127 well below the league average of .235. 
With the notion that Punto's second-half numbers have a strong probability of rising couple with the fact that he will provide similar if not better defense, there seems no need to pick up Julio Lugo.  The front office should pass.   

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

First-Half Review: Three Signings

The Twins made three free agent signings this offseason addressing needs at third, the bullpen and short.  How have they fared so far?
Signing Joe Crede.


In my preseason baseball predictions at, I had forewarned of a not so distant future in which Crede’s back would turned to cooked spaghetti and we would be watching a Brian Buscher/Brendan Harris combination as the Twins gutted out Crede’s $5 million contract.  Minus the respite, Crede has been able to provide above-average defense and power at third (relative to what we are used to seeing anyways).  According to John Dewan’s Fielding Bible, Crede is tied with the Angels’ Chone Figgins as the second-best defender at third with saving 16 runs.  This has been an invaluable addition to the left-side of the infield. 


His offense is sugarcoated with 14 home runs and the one walk-off grand slam against the Tigers on May 13th has solidified Crede as a clutch-type despite supplying a marginal 0.80 WPA, 13th overall among third basemen, but he still trails 17 other third basemen in OPS and 18 others according to wOBA.  One of his biggest offensive impediments is that he continues to elevate the ball.  Putting 55.2 percent of his batted balls into play as a fly ball has hindered his overall average (which is now at .234) but his has generated a few more line drives then he had in previous years. In January I noted that his transition to the Metrodome versus USCellular would cost him some of his home run totals due to the suppressive nature of the facility.  I calculated that Crede's AB-to-HR ratio would jump to near 26 AB/HR after putting together a season in which he hit a home run every 14 at-bats.  Fortunately, he did not regress that far, hitting a home run every 18 at-bats instead of the near-doubled prediction. 
Since he's already hit 272 plate appearances, Crede has triggered some of his incentive clauses in his contract and will be looking to get his full $7 million once he hits 525 plate appearances.  If he continues the pace that he is on, Crede will play 55 of the next 73 games and fall short of of the 525 PAs by 21.  For that sort of economic incentive, expect him to play through a few more aches then he would have in the first-half. 

Signing Luis Ayala.
I don't know if 'disaster' would be the appropriate label, but like the situation with the dikes in New Orleans, it could have been prevent had someone in the front office listened to the due diligence warnings.  The Twins' company line behind Ayala was that he was a groundball pitcher with a dominate sinking fastball.  Turns out, neither were true.  His groundball tendencies weren't converted into American currency once he left Montreal in 2004 and visual evidence at revealed that his "sinker" really wasn't sinking all that much. 
For the most part Ayala was consistent with his 2008 season.  There were a few less line drives and a few more fly balls but at the crux of the matter he was a high-contact, low strikeout pitcher.  His ERA was whittled down to 4.18 from over 5.00 in 2008 thanks in part to a much improved 71 percent strand rate which was at 60.2 the year before.  Ultimately, the Twins grew disenfranchised by his hanging, spinning slider, one that was tattooed around the ballpark (4.45 wSL/C), and then release after Ayala demanded to be trade right-effin-now.
The Twins paid him a pro-rated of his $1.3 million contract to disappear.  The opening New Orleans reference is fitting considering that is where he wound up pitching for the AAA Marlin team after a desperate Florida organization signed him to help an injury-riddled bullpen.  The unfortunate part is that the Twins could not work out a deal with the Pittsburgh Pirates who had been inquiring about his availability.

Signing Nick Punto.
Most Twins fans probably view signing Punto to $8 million, two-year deal as the contractual equivalent of burning a pile of the same amount of money, yet let's not be too hasty in condemnation of this deal.   
Defensively, Punto's been atrocious.  This is the troublesome part considering his extension was based around his glove-work.  At minus-7 runs, his shortstop abilities rank 30th among his MLB counterparts.  After posting 40.3 and 42.2 UZR/150 in 2006 and 2007, his rating slipped to 17.9 in 2008 as he approached his age-30 season.  A lot of players see decline in their 30's put at age-31, Punto slipped to -1.8 UZR/150 this year, an indication that he is not defensively suitable for a demanding position like short.  His subsequent relocation to second base has been a big improvement, posting a UZR/150 of 13.
His offense has been the source of most of the criticism.   His lowly .543 OPS coupled with his diminutive .268 wOBA has the community screaming for a trade.  From the right-handed batter's box, Punto has struggled, batting .205 in 2009 after hitting .302 in 2008.  One of the biggest difference between this season and last is Punto's ability to pull the ball:

Punto's Pull Rate 



RHB - Pull Pct



LHB - Pull Pct



If you look at his batted ball statistics and peripherals, you'll see some encouraging signs.  His line drive rate is near 20 percent while walk rate has jumped from 8 percent to 15 percent.  These would both be indications of a higher BA and OBP.  Punto's bad luck is epic; as the rest of the league is hitting .235 GB/.223 FB/.741 LD, Punto is batting .172 GB/.132 FB/.702 LD on his balls in play.  If his line drive and walk rates stay the same in the second-half, Punto has a chance of bring his batting average back up.  
TwinsCentric Trade Deadline Prime 2009's free preview available at 

Monday, July 13, 2009

Introducing the TwinsCentric Trade Deadline Primer 2009


After weeks of culling over the rosters and sifting through minor league systems for teams throughout baseball, John Bonnes (, Seth Stohs (, Nick Nelson ( and I are proud to officially announce the release of the only document that provides in-depth analysis and unmatched commentary on the forthcoming trade deadline from the prospective of the Minnesota Twins.  We have centralized all information necessary to prepare yourself as a Twins fan for the chaotic nature of the deadline. 


Inside this 65-page, 30,000-plus word reference book, you will find a detailed look at the Twins four main areas (Infield, Outfield, Starting Pitching and the Bullpen) from the majors on down.  We have identified the needs and where the Twins have excess.  Each section provides keen insight and observations.  We have inventoried all potential Buyers and Sellers and have divvyed up there possible trading chips – outlining how each player might impact the Twins in both the second-half of 2009 and beyond.  Furthermore, we have provided an up-to-date report on the Twins’ farm system and an extensive outlook for the organization’s payroll for the next two years. 


This is a collaborative effort of some of the finest, most proficient writers in the Twins community.

I cannot say enough good things about the consummate professionals in John Bonnes, Nick Nelson and Seth Stohs


John is one of the original Twins bloggers (in fact, some of his earliest posts are still archived on the cave walls) and has been one of the biggest catalysts for the ever-changing blogging community.  His efforts at GameDay have grown from an outside selling on the street-corner across the way from the Metrodome to being published along with the Twins official scorecards that are still written by bloggers today.  Without his industry pioneering and, let’s face it, cajones for taking on the Minnesota Twins, some of the opportunities for us writers would not exist. 


Nick has been supplying analysis and commentary for the Twins since 2005.  His wit and words on the team are unrivaled. As the only J-school trained writer among us, his site is a pleasure to read every morning. 


Seth has provided unparalleled coverage of the Twins’ system since 2003, producing interviews of Twins prospects from the GCL to Rochester, giving fans an early introduction to the players that may one day be in Minnesota.  This is an unbelievable service.  While the local media does a decent job covering the current on-field product, there is a void that exists when it comes to the prospects.  Seth has dedicated millions of words to ensuring that Twins fans are receiving all the information that isn’t carried by the two local papers.


For those that continue to stop by day-after-day, week-after-week for entertainment and insight, we encourage you to purchase the Trade Deadline Primer so that we can offer special content, not available anywhere else. 

If you still have hesitations regarding the e-book, feel free to email me ( or all of us ( and we will send you a five-page PDF free sample to review in addition to offering your money back if you feel unsatisfied after your purchase.  It is a nominal fee at $9.95 – the price of buying us a pitcher of beer as a way of saying thanks. 


Again, thanks for the support and readership over the past few years.