January 8, 2024

The Dodgers have spent $1B on 3 players. The Twins have signed Josh Staumont

If you needed another example of the haves and have nots of baseball, look no further than the Twins, who so far this offseason have announced a few minor league deals, picked up a player who had been designated for assignment by the Miami Marlins and signed Josh Staumont to a one-year agreement. Who is he? He’s a former reliever with the Kansas City Royals who will make about $1 million with the Twins.

If that’s the best the Twins can do (and I sure hope that’s not the case), we might as well take a closer look at Staumont, who had pitched for the Royals since 2019.

Through 2021, he pitched pretty well, posting earned run averages that were below 4.00 or 3.00 during the early part of his career. Things were not as good in 2022 and ’23 as that ERA ballooned to 6.45 and 5.40. He now comes to the Twins following thoracic outlet syndrome surgery, according to MLB Trade Rumors.

Although those numbers are not overly impressive, he has pitched well against the AL Central, including the Twins. He has an ERA of 0.90 against Minnesota over 20-plus innings pitched, plus has similarly decent numbers versus the Chicago White Sox, Cleveland Guardians and Detroit Tigers.

Baseball-Reference.com shows the following:

-White Sox: 23 innings pitched with an ERA of 2.35.

-Guardians: 16.1 innings pitched with a 2.76 ERA.

-Tigers: 20 innings pitched with a slightly elevated ERA of 4.50, although he also struck out 25 batters over those 20 innings.

As MLB Trade Rumors notes: “If Staumont is able to recover and get back to his early-career form, he could be a very nice low-cost add for the Twins bullpen.”

I looked through Staumont’s past appearances for the Royals and nothing really jumped out at me, although he notched four outs, including three via the strikeout, in an 8-4 win over the New York Yankees on Aug. 10, 2021.

Extra innings …

-Billy Gardner, who managed the Twins from about mid-1981 to mid-1985, died earlier this month. He was 96, the Star Tribune reported.

Gardner was at the helm when the Twins lost 102 games in 1982, yet two seasons later they nearly won the AL West crown if not for a lousy and cruel final week of baseball in which they lost six straight, including one of the all-timers: The Twins turned a 10-0 lead into an 11-10 loss to the Cleveland Indians on Sept. 28, 1984.

Gardner was fired on June 21, 1985. He was nicknamed “slick” and used to live out of a Super 8 motel room when he was managing the Twins. A columnist for the Star Tribune shared these parting words about him.

“Slick wasn’t slick at all. He was the Super 8, dripping tobacco juice, polyester and one-liners, which were sometimes crude, sometimes cruel, sometimes nonsensical, usually funny and always impulsive.”

After he was fired, Gardner returned to Waterford, Conn., the same place he died.

Check out the Star Tribune story about Gardner’s passing because it includes a great photo of reliever Ron Davis, manager Gardner and catcher Tim Laudner as they meet on the mound during that awful Sept. 28 loss.

Sources: MLB Trade Rumors, Star Tribune, Baseball-Reference.com, Newspapers.com.

COMMENTS

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.