“The Domer”

Do you wish you could have a bag made out of the old Metrodome roof? Well, you can now!

Picture of the day: Johan in happier days

Johan Santana will almost certainly be placed on the DL and is expected to miss the entirety of the 2013 season after a re-tear in the anterior capsule of his left shoulder was detected in an MRI. Surgery is a true possibility, and the last time he had such surgery (in 2010), he was not able to return to MLB pitching until 2012. Now 34, it is quite possible he has thrown his final pitch in the big leagues.

So now, let us remember back during Johan Santana’s glory days with the Minnesota Twins by looking at this picture:

Photo by Keith Allison, used under a Creative Commons license.

Winter Meetings Actions and Reactions: Part 5 (Ben Revere-is-traded edition)

Action:

Reaction: The Twins had two good center-fielders. Now they have none. However, they also had very little pitching. For the two CFs they have traded, they have acquired three pitchers: Vance Worley, Alex Meyer and Trevor May. Worley, who did admittedly miss the end of last season with some injury problems, instantly becomes the top starter for the Twins. He’s gone 18-13 with a 3.50 ERA during parts of three MLB seasons, has good upside and won’t be hitting free agency until after the 2017 season.

Meyer (who they got for Span) and May are more of gambles- every pitching prospect is, to the extent that somebody once said that “there is no such thing as a pitching prospect”. However, May is by all accounts a good power-pitching guy who can strike people out and could become a front-line starter if he gets his mechanics under control, and Meyer also is a well-regarded prospect.

While it is likely sad for Twins fans to see Revere go, it probably won’t hurt the team in the long-term. Aaron Hicks, one of the top prospects for the Twins, hit .286 for AA New Britain last season and is a CF. He probably will be up with Minnesota by the end of the 2013 season, and could be the CF for years to come. And although Revere was great fun to watch in the field and on the basepaths, he was more of a slap-hitter at the plate and his arm was… lacking.

So while it is probably sad for Twins fans to see him go, the return in this case- as well as the Twins’ minor league depth in the outfield- make this trade look like a winner for Minnesota, and a good step on the path back to competing in the AL Central.

Still, one last time:

No, Joe Mauer is not getting traded.

So, apparently Joe Mauer has been placed on waivers. Now, technically, seemingly every player is placed on waivers at one point or another almost every year, just as a formality to get an idea of what is out there. 99.8% of the time, it seems, nothing happens. But he’s Joe Mauer, the Dodgers and Red Sox recently had one of those 0.2% exceptions, and having speculation that one of the league’s best catchers is on waivers is a good way to get page views. Why, I’m guilty of that last one myself with this.

So, is Joe Mauer getting traded?

No. I can say with 99.8% certainty- albeit with the caveat that I do not have any sources in any Major League front offices- that he is now. Three reasons:

1) He’s Joe Mauer. He might not be as popular in the Twin Cities as he once was, and he probably is never going to be able to hit for power like he used to, but he remains the Twins’ most popular player and biggest drawing card. With the Twins now getting the 2014 All-Star Game, and with little else to cheer about, it would be a PR disaster to get rid of Joe Mauer for anything less than for multiple All-Stars.

2) Even if they did want to trade him, it’s unlikely anybody would have something to offer and be able to take on all of his salary. Okay, the Dodgers seemingly have broken into the Yankees’ room and stolen their “unlimited money” cheat codes, but money alone wouldn’t do it. It’s highly unlikely anybody would be able to offer both the money and the players needed for such a deal.

3) Players are placed on waivers all the time and nothing ever happens. And there is no reason to believe this is any different.

The End of the Liriano Era

It is done. Francisco Liriano is no longer a Minnesota Twin, traded to the White Sox for lefty starting prospect Pedro Hernandez and utility-man Eduardo Escobar. In some ways, the fact he got traded for such an uneven haul is fitting, because Liriano always something of an uneven pitcher. When he was on, he was one of the best pitchers in the game, when he wasn’t… he was one of the worst.

Acquired in a highway robbery trade with the Giants (who got A.J. Pierzynski in return… for one season) that also brought the Twins Joe Nathan and Boof Bonser, Liriano had a brief appearance in 2005. But it was his first full rookie year, in 2006, that was magnificent. He made an All-Star team, came in third for Rookie of the Year. He also had the first of many injuries. It would be the bane of his career.

He would never be the same again for any long stretch of time. He had his moments, including a no-hitter. However, in general, he was a case of what might have been. The same could be said for the Twins- who knows how different the past few years could have gone if they had a top-of-the-line power pitcher like Liriano had been in his early career. It’s possible, in fact, that they might not have even had gotten to this point to begin with, and would instead be worrying about whether they could keep Liriano when he hit free agency, not simply whether the haul they got for him was good or not (time will tell, but there are no obviously top-level prospects getting received).

So, thus ends the Liriano era. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times… and it would have been a lot better if not for injuries.

The Mauer deal is still worth it

Joe Mauer is still the face of the Minnesota Twins, and one of the faces of baseball in general, but he’s been under siege ever since he signed his 10-year extension and the Twins moved to Target Field. He’s not playing up to his contract, he no longer hits for power, he’s no longer a perennial MVP candidate, merely an All-Star (and even that might be stretching it- Matt Wieters and Cleveland’s Carlos Santana have better Wins Above Replacement on the Baseball Gauge).

He’s probably not worth the $23 million a year he’s getting, I understand that. I also think that the deal had to be done. Not for on-the-field reasons, but for off-the-field reasons. Psychological reasons. Go below the jump to see why.

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