December 13, 2015

Michael Cuddyer says farewell to playing baseball on The Players’ Tribune

After suddenly announcing his retirement, Michael Cuddyer, a former member of the Twins for 11 seasons, explained his decision Saturday on The Players’ Tribune.

It’s a nice piece called “Play Hard and Dream Big” that touches on the game, his approach to it and the path to becoming a professional and professionalism — something the Twins instilled in him, he says.

On one reason for retiring:

Over the last four years, I was on the disabled list six times. I missed 150-200 games over that time span — a broken shoulder, a strained oblique, a torn-up knee, a bulging disc in my neck. I pushed through it, but the physical and emotional taxation took its toll. Part of being a professional is to know yourself and to know your limits.

On signing with the Twins out of high school:

Being from Virginia, I didn’t really know much about the Twins. I knew of Kirby Puckett and … that was just about it. I knew that at the time I was drafted in 1997, the team was not very good, to put it kindly.

On becoming a professional:

I should have remembered the pitfall of judging something before you give it a chance. From the day I got to Minnesota, I learned another important lesson about professionalism. What I didn’t know was that the Twins organization was on the rise — and the reason was because they did things the right way. From the bottom to the top.

On playing in the Twins organization:

Our lockers had to be in order, our cleats had to be clean, and our infield needed to be errorless. Professionalism off the field translated to it on the field. I remember one time (Larry Corrigan, minor league field coordinator) made me get a new glove because there was a crease in the palm that shouldn’t have been there. Everything had to be perfect. One day one of the players didn’t have his locker arranged in the right order. We came in after practice and every single locker was unpacked in a pile in the middle of the room. It took us forever to sort everything out. But it never happened again.

On playing for the Twins:

That mentality was contagious and trickled up throughout the organization. It’s one of the reasons we won six division championships in nine years. We didn’t beat ourselves. If you were watching a Twins game from the early 2000s until the end of the decade, you saw how hard we went all the time. There were lessons that as I got older and began to carry a little veteran clout, I tried to instill in younger players.

On another reason for retiring:

It’s time for my kids to develop their own dreams with their dad by their side.

On those who helped:

To the Twins, Rockies and Mets, thank you for always treating me with class and respect. Thank you to my managers and coaches both in the minor leagues and major leagues. Thank you to my teammates. Every one of you holds a special place in my heart. Thank you to all of the front office workers, PR departments, clubhouse attendants, head clubhouse guys and trainers for the wonderful relationships we formed. Thank you to all of the stadium workers and security that took care of my family while I was playing. Thank you to the fans, for loving me, celebrating me and especially for holding me accountable for times I didn’t live up to your standards.

Some reaction to Cuddyer’s announcement:

Mike Cuddyer was one of the first athletes who made me feel l could get respect as woman in the locker room. Will never forget his kindness.

ā€” Molly Knight (@molly_knight) December 12, 2015

@mcuddy23 congrats Cuddy on your career. Thank you for everything while we were teammates. Good friend and great teammate. Enjoy your fam

ā€” Brian Duensing (@BrianDuensing52) December 12, 2015

December 12, 2015

Winter Meetings come and go for Twins with no deals; team loses relief pitcher Zack Jones to Rule 5 draft; Cuddyer retires

The Winter Meetings in Nashville have come and gone for the Twins with no deals, including the decision to pass on this year’s Rule 5 draft. The team, though, left relief pitcher Zack Jones unprotected and he was taken by the Milwaukee Brewers. Jones, according to MLB.com, was ranked as the Twins’ No. 23 prospect.... Continue Reading »

December 9, 2015

Report: Twins trying to trade pitcher Ricky Nolasco

Starting pitcher Ricky Nolasco, who has been a disappointment for the Twins, apparently is the subject of trade talks, according to the Pioneer Press. Trade destinations include the San Diego Padres for pitcher James Shields, or the Milwaukee Brewers for pitcher Matt Garza. That would make for an interesting swap because the Twins drafted Garza... Continue Reading »

December 7, 2015

Pitcher Mike Pelfrey, formerly with the Twins, signs $16M deal with Detroit Tigers

No tears were shed Sunday after pitcher Mike Pelfrey, formerly with the Twins, signed as a free agent with the Detroit Tigers, agreeing to $16 million over two seasons. I’m not going to go so far as to say good riddance, but he won’t be missed. Pelfrey struggled with the Twins the past three seasons,... Continue Reading »

December 5, 2015

Inquiring minds want to know: Which position will Miguel Sano play?

Soon after the Twins signed and introduced Korean slugger Byung Ho Park, the questions started. Chief among them: If Park plays DH, where do you put Miguel Sano? Sano, the 22-year-old slugger-in-the-making, who hit 18 home runs over 80 games for the Twins last season, stands six-foot-four and weighs around 260 pounds. That’s probably perfect... Continue Reading »

December 2, 2015

Twins strike deal with Korean slugger Byung Ho Park

Well, that was fast. Two days after Korean slugger Byung Ho Park arrived in Minnesota, the Twins and Park have a deal, with Park agreeing to a four-year, $12 million contract, with a club option for 2020, according to MLB.com. All Park has to do now is live up to his end of the bargain... Continue Reading »

December 1, 2015

From South Korea to Minnesota: Will Byung Ho Park sign with the Twins?

Byung Ho Park, the Korean slugger who hit 53 home runs last season for the Nexen Heroes of the Korea Baseball Organization, has landed in Minnesota, according to a published report, and now the Twins and Park will try and strike a deal before a Dec. 8 deadline. The Twins won the right to negotiate... Continue Reading »

November 25, 2015

Twins Hall of Famer Rod Carew awaits heart transplant

Rod Carew, who accumulated 3,053 hits for the Twins and Angels en route to a 1991 induction into the Hall of Fame, nearly left us in September. Rod Carew That’s when Carew, now 70, suffered a massive heart attack while playing golf by himself in California, according to Sports Illustrated and writer Steve Rushin, who recently... Continue Reading »

November 21, 2015

Is a once-heralded Twins prospect on his way to Asia?

Kennys Vargas, who stands six-foot-five and weighs around 280 pounds, has attracted interest from a ball club in Asia, the Pioneer Press reported earlier this week. Vargas made a splash with the Twins in 2014, showing he could hit with power during the second half of the season. But he struggled at the plate the following season... Continue Reading »

Hi, Iā€™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.