December 6, 2021

For the Twins, a shrewd deal to retain Buxton and a head-scratcher for pitcher Bundy

The Twins front office showed off some excellent negotiating skills to retain and extend outfielder Byron Buxton, keeping the brilliant but often injured Buxton in Minnesota on a seven-year, $100 million deal.

Frankly, it’s a steal of a deal for the Twins who agreed to a number of incentives on paper that could pay Buxton quite a bit more if he meets certain thresholds, such as 500 or more plate appearances in a season or finishes in the top 10 of the American League MVP vote.

But let’s be honest Twins fans: Buxton isn’t likely to meet any of them. He has made 500 or more plate appearances only once in his career and the two times he did receive MVP votes, he finished 16th and 18th. All of which means, short of hitting the incentives, is a $9 million salary in 2022 and $15 million per season after that, which is probably the going rate, and no more, for a player of Buck’s abilities.

And for Buxton, it strikes me as a bit of capitulation to the Twins.

After all, Buxton previously rejected an $80 million offer from the Twins, then settled for an amount that wasn’t that much higher. So what happened? My guess is that Buxton and his representative quickly determined that the trade market for Buxton wasn’t so hot. The challenge for him, of course, has always been his health. Although he has shown flashes of brilliance on the base paths, in the field and with the bat, Buxton’s durability problems have limited him to an average of 70 games per season over his seven seasons with the Twins. In fact, when he was first offered the $80 million contract, he was on the injured list at the time. I, for one, thought he was crazy to reject it.

Still, it’s clear that Buck has meant a lot to the Twins. The team is 118-69 with him in the lineup over the last three seasons, and his wins above replacement rating of 4.5 in 2021 was the highest single-season mark in MLB history for 61 games, according to AP, which cited Baseball-Reference.com.

After the Twins and Buxton struck their interesting deal, the Twins went bottom feeding again and came up with a one-year, $5 million deal for right-handed pitcher Dylan Bundy, who spent this past season with the Los Angeles Angels and pitched to a 6.06 ERA.

Despite Bundy’s promising strikeout rate, a check of social media showed that Twins Territory was far from thrilled with the announcement and neither was I. The problem is that this kind of deal, which baseball insiders often tout as low risk, is also often low reward. Don’t believe me? Then you don’t remember Rich Hill, Matt Shoemaker, Homer Bailey and J.A. Happ. I believe they were all touted as low-risk signings, too.

Extra innings…

-Well, it finally happened. Longtime Twins Tony Oliva and Jim Kaat, both 83, were elected Sunday to the National Baseball Hall of Fame’s Class of 2022, according to MLB.com. Also getting the nod were Gil Hodges, Minnie Minoso, Bud Fowler and Buck O’Neil.

“This is truly a gift,” Kaat told MLB.com. “I truly never thought this day would come. But the added happiness I have is I get to share it with my teammate Tony Oliva, who I have known for so long since he came up as a kid and developed into a Gold Glove outfielder. For us Minnesota Twins, it’s going to be a great summer.”

Said Oliva:

“To be able to get that call. … You know, I’m 83 years old,” said Oliva to MLB.com, “to be alive and to be able to say hello to the people and thank you to the people means a lot to me.”

Congratulations to two deserving Hall of Famers.

November 24, 2021

Even worse than I imagined it to be

Calvin Griffith’s tenure as owner of the Minnesota Twins came to an end in 1984, the year he sold the team. But for all intents and purposes it really ended on Sept. 28, 1978, a date which will live in infamy for Twins fans. That’s when the old cherub shot off his mouth in the... Continue Reading »

November 17, 2021

Did the Twins just hire Rocco’s replacement?

Rocco Baldelli is the current manager of the Minnesota Twins. But for how much longer? I must admit that was the first thing that popped into my mind — and I can’t be the only one thinking this — after the Twins announced they had hired former San Diego Padres manager, Jayce Tingler, to join... Continue Reading »

November 12, 2021

The enduring mystery of Luis Tiant’s 1 season in Minnesota

Luis Tiant, the beloved Boston Red Sox pitcher, forever immortalized for a pitching motion that had him looking at second base before he whirled home, spent a season with the Twins in 1970. The #MNTwins released Luis Tiant 50 years ago today. Over seven seasons from 1972 to '78, Tiant averaged 243 innings pitched, 17... Continue Reading »

November 3, 2021

When Round 1 went to the old-school Twins

Nineteen years ago the Oakland A’s were the talk of baseball, a franchise that had seemingly found a magic elixir that allowed them to win and win often with the tiniest of payrolls. A year later author Michael Lewis explained it all in a best-seller called “Moneyball.” Baseball would never be the same. Surprisingly, Lewis... Continue Reading »

October 23, 2021

‘They knew we could be very tough,’ said Tom Kelly 34 years ago this month

A check of Twins Territory on social media shows that, although the Twins are once again not playing meaningful baseball in October, that hasn’t stopped fans from reminiscing about the past, including the team’s run to the World Series in October 1987. I got caught up in it as well, finally watching clips of the... Continue Reading »

October 4, 2021

The real 2021 Twins finally showed up on the last day of the season

The team I think we all knew the Twins could be, a team that would make an immediate impact with its hitting, pitching and bullpen, finally showed up on Oct. 3, 2021, the final game of the season. It was hard not to feel that way watching them play on Sunday. Luis Arraez, the best... Continue Reading »

October 2, 2021

Twins pitching allows 21 runs in 2 games

The Twins’ disappointing 2021 season is winding down to a disappointing close after team pitching served up 10 runs on Thursday and 11 more on Friday. The Twins lost 10-7 to the Detroit Tigers on Thursday, a game that was tit-for-tat for most of it until Motown pulled away late. As for Friday’s loss to... Continue Reading »

September 29, 2021

Twins edge Tigers for 70th win of the season

Well, I’m struggling to find the enthusiasm to write about the Twins as the disappointing 2021 season winds to a close, but here goes nothing… Two sacrifice flies and a home run — Miguel Sano’s 30th — were the difference as the Twins topped the Detroit Tigers 3-2 on Tuesday before a home crowd of... 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.