July 29, 2016

Twins trade Nunez, finally beat Orioles and other things I missed while on vacation

After a short vacation, I came home to learn that All-Star Eduardo Nunez is gone, the Twins finally beat the Baltimore Orioles and the team was swept by the Atlanta Braves.

The biggest news was the decision to trade shortstop Nunez, who hit .321 during the first half of the season, for Adalberto Mejia, a pitching prospect in the San Francisco Giants’ organization.

Here’s what MLB.com had to say about Mejia:

In exchange for Nunez, the Twins get Mejia, who is regarded as being close to Major League ready. Mejia, ranked as San Francisco’s No. 7 prospect by MLBPipeline.com, has posted a combined 2.81 ERA with 101 strikeouts and 27 walks in 105 2/3 innings between Double-A and Triple-A this season. He was 4-1 with a 4.20 ERA and 43 strikeouts in 40 2/3 innings with Triple-A Sacramento.

It’s also the first significant deal for Twins interim general manager Rob Antony after he was named to the position last week following former longtime GM Terry Ryan’s dismissal. At first glance, the deal makes sense: the Twins are desperate for quality pitching to bolster a staff that ranks dead last in the American League, so why not trade for a guy who likely makes the rotation next year?

However, the transaction comes with some baggage: Mejia was suspended 50 games last season for testing positive for stimulants, according to MLB.com. That’s risky business for the Twins, especially if he should test positive again, which would result in an even longer suspension. The Twins have some experience in this area: they got burned by starter Ervin Santana last year after he missed the first half of the season due to a failed drug test. Infielder Jorge Polanco will be recalled from Triple-A Rochester to fill the spot left vacant by Nunez.

I’m willing to part with Nunez and his bat, I guess, but I hope it’s clear to Antony and Twins’ ownership that certain players are off-limits when it comes to trade talks. Of those, I would include Miguel Sano, Eddie Rosario, Max Kepler, Byron Buxton and pitching prospect Jose Berrios.

Some reaction to the trade:

Extra innings…

-The Twins finally beat the Baltimore Orioles on Thursday to snap a five-game losing streak against the O’s this season. Kepler hit his 11th home run, while Joe Mauer, Eduardo Escobar, Brian Dozier and Robbie Grossman all delivered extra-base hits in the 6-2 win.

-This season marks the 25th anniversary of the 1991 World Series between the Twins and Atlanta Braves. The Twins would go on to win what many have called the greatest World Series of all time, with five of its games being decided by a single run, four games decided in the final at-bat and three games going into extra innings.

But what a difference 25 years makes because both teams are now the worst in baseball. They met earlier in the week for a two-game series and the Twins lost both games, including a 2-0 defeat in Game 1. But that game produced an appropriate quote from starter Ervin Santana, who pitched a complete game, despite the losing effort. He said that if the Twins should tie the game in the ninth, he wanted to go out and pitch the 10th a la Jack Morris, who pitched a 10-inning shutout in Game 7 of the 1991 World Series.

Ricky Nolasco gets the ball on Friday.

 

 

 

 

 

 

COMMENTS

Hi, I’m Rolf Boone and I love the Twins.

I became a fan of the Minnesota Twins after a friendly wager in the early 1980s. I survived Ron Davis, the meltdown in Cleveland, Phil Bradley at the Kingdome and then marveled at a rising generation of stars and two World Series wins in 1987 and 1991. Brad Radke made the 1990s bearable, while Kirby Puckett’s eye injury, exit from the game and eventual death made it almost too much to bear. The new century ushered in more talent — Joe Mauer, Johan Santana, Joe Nathan, Torii Hunter, Justin Morneau — and consecutive seasons of playoff baseball, followed by consecutive seasons of losing baseball. A winning season returned in 2015. So here we are. Go Twins.