December 9, 2019

Welcome back… Michael Pineda?

The Twins, according to various reports, apparently have agreed to bring back starting pitcher, Michael Pineda, on a two-year, $20 million deal. He pitched well for the club in 2019 — especially down the stretch — but he also was suspended for using a diuretic (water pill) banned by major league baseball.

Pineda said he mistakenly used it to lose weight, not mask the use of performance enhancing drugs, which he was not accused of using. Instead of an 80-game suspension, he earned a 60-day trip away from the game. That means he won’t suit up right away for the Twins once the 2020 season begins.

I find all of this extremely underwhelming, perhaps largely because of timing. The Twins were reportedly interested in free agent pitcher on the rise, Zack Wheeler, of the New York Mets. But instead of the Twins, Wheels signed a five-year deal worth $118 million with the Philadelphia Phillies.

Shortly after the Wheeler news broke, news emerged about the Twins and Pineda, which made it feel like the worst kind of consolation prize.

Of course, before the suspension, Pineda had become the Twins’ most reliable starter. He was 5-4 on June 29, then went 6-1 until his suspension in early September. He allowed only one earned run over six innings in a tough-luck loss to the Mets, and even in no-decision starts he pitched well.

On Sept. 6, in what would be Pineda’s final start of the season, he struck out 10 Cleveland Indians over six innings only to see the bullpen cough up the loss in extra-innings.

So, Pineda will rejoin Jose Berrios and Jake Odorizzi in the rotation, along with the up-and-coming Randy Dobnak, Lewis Thorpe and Devin Smeltzer. Will this staff beat the New York Yankees in the postseason? Nope.

Aim higher, Minnesota.

Extra innings…

-The Twins have said goodbye to first baseman C.J. Cron and reliever, Trevor Hildenberger, after the club decided to non-tender contracts to both players. With Cron gone, that likely means the big bopper but defensively challenged, Miguel Sano, will move to first base. It also means the Twins might be in the market for a third baseman. I would love to see all-time Twins killer, Josh Donaldson, finally hit for the Twins, not against them.

-The Twins also have signed veteran catcher, Alex Avila, to a one-year deal.

Sources: MLB.com, Baseball-Reference.com, MLB Trade Rumors.

December 2, 2019

We hardly knew ye, Kyle Gibson

Kyle Gibson, the longest tenured member of the Twins, is no longer that after reportedly agreeing to a free agent deal with the Texas Rangers for $30 million over three years. Not bad for a guy with a career earned run average of 4.52. Should the Twins have tried to work out their own multiyear... Continue Reading »

November 25, 2019

The day the Twins’ Mike Cubbage bailed out over an old flame

It’s back to the well with another look at “The Baseball Codes,” a book about the unwritten rules of the game, including the business of beanballs. Hitting a batter, it turns out, is not always about retaliating after the batter takes the pitcher deep, or tosses the bat too far, or stares too intently at... Continue Reading »

November 18, 2019

The day Bert Blyleven beaned a batter over a labor dispute

As the baseball offseason rolls on, the need for content for this blog rolls on, too, and that means reading various books about the game to find an interesting Twins-related nugget. In 2010, Jason Turbow and Michael Duca published “The Baseball Codes,” a book about the unwritten rules of the game regarding a number of... Continue Reading »

November 10, 2019

Twins’ Baldelli will win AL Manager of the Year award, but he shouldn’t

Despite the record number of home runs, the number of runs scored, the number of team wins (second most in franchise history) and any number of things that Twins manager, Rocco Baldelli, did right this season, he does not deserve to be AL Manager of the Year. Oh, he’s going to win the award, of... Continue Reading »

November 4, 2019

The day the Twins gave up 9 stolen bases and still won

In 1976, Gene Mauch took over as Twins manager, Rod Carew hit better than .330 and the club would go on to have one of its best seasons since 1970. They were especially good down the stretch — 21-8 in September and October — but in mid-May they were still trying to overcome a slow... Continue Reading »

October 28, 2019

P.G. Wodehouse: novelist, lyricist, Mets fan

English author, Pelham Grenville Wodehouse, a widely read comic novelist of the 20th century who wrote nearly 100 books, but who also contributed lyrics to musicals and dabbled in Hollywood, became a baseball fan after he settled in the U.S. Wodehouse was essentially unwelcome in his native England after he unwittingly participated in what amounted... Continue Reading »

October 21, 2019

Let’s spend a few moments with Leroy Robert Paige, baseball’s greatest pitcher

Satchel Paige, the best pitcher of all time,* is wonderfully remembered in “Bill Veeck: Baseball’s Greatest Maverick,” a biography of the legendary team owner and promoter by Paul Dickson. (I’m sure there’s a great biography of Paige as well, but, for the moment, I’ve read the Veeck book, which was published in 2012). According to... Continue Reading »

October 14, 2019

The Twins are cursed. But why?

I’m not sure there’s anything that can explain the Twins’ futility against the New York Yankees. Except perhaps a curse. There has to be a curse, right? How else do you go 2-16 against the Yanks in the postseason since 2004? And the record-setting 2019 team, which won 101 games and hit 307 home runs,... Continue Reading »

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Hi, I’m Rolf Boone, Twins fan.

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.