Twins Links: Colabello, Hunter, Catching

A 12-11 record usually isn’t anything to write home about, yet the Twins will happily take even a slight winning record following their dismal 195-291 record over the last three seasons.  Here’s some news from the Gopher State…

  • Chris Colabello has been one of baseball’s top hitters over the season’s opening month, and the unlikely star’s long road to the Majors is chronicled by Peter Gammons in his latest piece for his Gammons Daily site.
  • Many of the Twins’ problems over the last three seasons could’ve been avoided had the team simply kept Torii Hunter in the fold, Patrick Reusse of the Minneapolis Star Tribune opines.  Before Hunter left to sign a free agent contract with the Angels following the 2007 season, Reusse argues that the Twins should’ve used some of their incoming funds from the approved Target Field to lock Hunter up to a long-term extension in 2006.
  • There’s enough catching depth in the Twins’ farm system that the pipeline is “a little stacked up,” Minnesota VP of player personnel Mike Radcliff tells Phil Miller in a piece for Baseball America.  “We’re juggling a little bit, or having a couple guys try other positions to get at-bats. I don’t think we expected quite so many to (show improvement), and some guys have really surprised us.”  Miller’s article highlights Alex Swim, a 22nd-round pick from the 2013 draft who has played well enough to earn a trip to low-A ball but can’t make the team since the Twins already have three catchers on the low-Class A roster.  Josmil Pinto, of course, is Minnesota’s young catching hope of the future if he can settle his defense, while the 2014 Baseball America Prospect Handbook ranked backstop Stuart Turner as the 30th-best prospect in the Twins’ system.


Leave a Reply

20 Comments on "Twins Links: Colabello, Hunter, Catching"


letsgogiants
1 year 4 months ago

Torii Hunter wouldn’t have fixed the pitching problems on the Twins.

Jacob Viets
1 year 4 months ago

Actually, he makes a valid point. Because Hunter wasn’t re-signed, the Twins had to trade away Matt Garza in an effort to replace his power. While it isn’t 100% sure that he would have blossomed into the #2-3 he has become with them, he would have been a good piece to have for their starting rotation. Plus, they could’ve gotten a different package for Johan Santana, one not headlined by Carlos Gomez, since Torii would still have been playing center field for them. One player doesn’t make a franchise, but scrambling to replace said player can destroy one.

Rally Weimaraner
1 year 4 months ago

By the same what if logic, holding onto Carlos Gomez might have made a bigger difference than retaining Hunter.Gomez had a great 2013 and is off to a great start in 2014. Hunter, in his career, never had a season on par with Gomez’s 2013.

Jacob Viets
1 year 4 months ago

Oh, no doubt about it, hindsight is 20/20 vision. All I was trying to say was that retaining Hunter would have produced more value than Hunter himself, because the chain reaction to replace him was full of such horrendous trades.

Rally Weimaraner
1 year 4 months ago

Agreed, if Mike Trout cant carry the angels pitching no way Torri can make up for an even worse Minnesota pitching staff

$3513744
1 year 4 months ago

they should’ve gotten something for him in return instead of letting him walk.

Rally Weimaraner
1 year 4 months ago

Torri Hunter would not have fixed the Twins pitching disaster or propped up an offense that posted a TEAM fWAR of 4.2 (2011) and 9.4 (2013). The Twins problems are larger than Torri or even Mike Trout/Miguel Cabrera could fix!

jhawk90
1 year 4 months ago

More brilliant hindsight from Reusse. Hunter was due to get paid, and got paid. That would have been his second extension with the Twins, which until Mauer they’ve never done with their stars. They couldn’t afford all of M&M plus Hunter.

This ranks right up there with the Ortiz stuff. No one said anything when he left, no one wanted him back.

CrisE
1 year 4 months ago

Amen. For the 2008 season a 33 year old Hunter got a five year $90m contract from ANA, which was miles above any other offers on the table. He was good, but no way anyone else was going to approach those numbers.

They rolled the dice at that point and kept Kubel, promoted Span and picked up power hitting OF Delmon Young for Gaza and grabbed Carlos Gomez in the Santana trade. These moves didn’t completely work, but they didn’t completely fail either. No one was in the system that could really replace Hunter, but they didn’t have the new stadium money rolling in yet so freeing dollars was important: between 07 and 08 Mauer Morneau and Cuddyer got a collective $10m bump in pay.

Also: good call on Ortiz. He was fragile, played bad defense and wanted a raise. Meanwhile Morneau was slugging his way through the minors (and Doug Meitnkxzxvch was hitting for average and “playing great defense” at 1b.) In Ortiz’ first year in BOS, 2003, Morneau slugged .526 between AA/AAA and was in the bigs for good by the next year.

0vercast
1 year 4 months ago

Ortiz was jettisoned to make way for slugging SS Jose Morban and DH-of-the-future Matthew LeCroy.

CrisE
1 year 4 months ago

Morban was never in the MIN system.

0vercast
1 year 4 months ago

“On Dec. 16, [2002] the Twins released designated hitter David Ortiz, clearing roster space in order to select infielder Jose Morban from Texas for $50,000 in the Rule 5 draft.

Eleven seasons later, Ortiz has hit 373 home runs, driven in 1,191 runs and slugged .572 for the Boston Red Sox.”

– Strib article from last year.

Curt Green
1 year 4 months ago

Roid stats. Ortiz just took them to late to benefit the Twins.

jhawk90
1 year 4 months ago

Oh man…Big Country. Wasn’t he the one they sent out to pinch run for Doug Meintsandwich late in spring training one year that spawned the great quote from Dougie Baseball – something like “Watching him jog out to first base was the longest two minutes of my life. Think he still had ketchup on his fingers, too”

0vercast
1 year 4 months ago

Awesome quote. I remember that!

CrisE
1 year 4 months ago

LeCroy could bring out the best in others. Remember the time he was so bad behind the plate he made Frank Robinson cry?

UK Tiger
UK Tiger
1 year 4 months ago

I think we can all agree this is an incredibly outlandish and assumptive piece on Hunter, for me its no more than somewhat poor guesswork.

Even an MVP calibre season from Torii cant make your pitchers stop serving up juicy meatballs.

0vercast
1 year 4 months ago

The article is a bit outlandish, but Reusse makes some excellent points, as usual.

The Twins problems over the last few years have been more than just pitching-related. Numerous player have inferred that there has been a lack of effort and motivation in the clubhouse and on the field. For example, Cuddyer calling a group of young starters “The Fun Bunch” that laughed about poor play and chatted about after-parties and personal plans during blow-out losses amid long losing streaks.

Any person who watches the team regularly can think of more than a few times this has been evident. Some players are hard to read, but others, you can tell they just don’t care. For the last few years, especially 2012, it was quite clear that some of these players were treating Target Field as an “ATM with lockers” (Souhan), merely punching a clock, counting down the days until the season ends, and not caring one bit if the team wins or loses.

In short, the Twins have adopted a culture of losing over the last three years, and fiery leaders likes Torii can go a long way towards preventing such contentment. That’s where Reusse is coming from.

jhawk90
1 year 4 months ago

Friday night Torii had just driven in the 7th (7th!!!) run of the 3rd inning, and the camera kept cutting over to him and Mauer yukking it up and having a great ol’ time over there at first base. Joe looked like he didn’t have a care in the world. Couldn’t make it up.

0vercast
1 year 4 months ago

Example #4751 of what I’m talking about. You just don’t see this kind of stuff with contenders.