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. Last season at both Class A Advanced Fort Meyers and Double-A Chattanooga he recorded 68 strikeouts in 51 2/3 innings with an ERA of 4.53.

MLB.com also notes that the Brewers must keep Jones on their 25-man roster all season or offer him back to the Twins for $25,000.

Although the Twins did not make a pick in the Rule 5 draft, it has proven to be an incredible source of talent for the team, especially after the Houston Astros left pitcher Johan Santana unprotected in the 1999 draft. Santana was picked by the Florida Marlins and then traded to the Twins, according to Baseball-Reference.com.

Santana would go on to win two Cy Young awards with the Twins in 2004 and 2006. He’s also a four-time All-Star. Pitching for the New York Mets, he no-hit the St. Louis Cardinals in June 2012.

The no-hitter is impressive, but Santana also struck out 17 Texas Rangers in eight innings for the Twins on Aug. 19, 2007. He walked none, gave up two hits and threw 112 pitches to cruise to a 1-0 victory. Joe Nathan recorded the save.

Santana, plagued by injuries since leaving the Twins, will be remembered for two pitches: his fastball and change-up. In fact, I’ve never seen a more deceptive change in speeds from a pitcher. He would set up the slow ball so well with his fastball that it really did look as if the ball had stopped mid-flight, as if Santana was throwing a yo-yo and not a baseball.

Johan_Santana_20060602
Johan Santana: bringing the heat.

Meanwhile, Michael Cuddyer, who spent 11 of his 15 seasons in the majors with the Twins, has apparently called it a career and retired.

Cuddyer, who usually played right field, had some good years for the Twins. He had 109 RBIs in 2006 and hit 32 home runs in 2009, but his best season was in 2013 with the Colorado Rockies. He won the National League batting title that year after he hit .331.

Photo credit: By User Lordcolus (Original version) User UCinternational (Crop) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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 »

November 18, 2015

Sound familiar? Twins Manager Paul Molitor finishes third in AL Manager of the Year vote

A day after Twins designated hitter Miguel Sano finished third in AL Rookie of the Year voting, Twins Manager Paul Molitor was handed the same result. The winner of the AL Manager of the Year award went to Jeff Banister of the Texas Rangers, according to the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. A.J. Hinch of... Continue Reading »

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.