April 22, 2008

Off-Day Ramblings

Just a few tidbits:

Perhaps there's a reason as to why the Twins promoted Francisco Liriano earlier than they were advised to by Red Wings manager Stan Cliburn.

According to the article, the Twins could not trust him to work out. He reported to camp 20 pounds heavier than they expected, and he was often winded before they began doing drills. The Twins will need to get this situation under control soon. They intend to keep him up for the time being, but it should not be because they can't trust him, it should be because he's earned it. As much of a fan of Liriano's I am, I have to admit that I was a bit discouraged after reading that article.

Former Twins shortstop, Juan Castro was DFA by the Reds.

Last Friday, the Rays locked up third base prospect Evan Longoria to a 6-year deal worth $17 million. There's also 3 more option years that could bring the total deal to 9-years and around $44 million. There's been a mixed review of support for a deal like this, but I figured I should give my opinion as well.

I love the deal! I stress the word "prospect" however at 6-years and $17 million (around $2.83 million) he is still being payed probably below what he'd get as a free agent although he had only played 6 games (although I'm aware he's nowhere near free agency). True, they could be basically paying him for little to nothing for a few years, however I think it's a solid move for a few reasons:
  • It gives him confidence that he's THE guy for what will seem like forever at third base. He doesn't have to worry about over doing it trying to prove himself.
  • He'd likely be getting somewhere around this much in 6 years regardless, with arbitration coming in a couple years (legitimate chance of being a "Super-2").
  • They have the option of taking away 3 years of his free agency.
  • If he becomes anywhere he's projected to be, the Rays will look like genius' for making this deal.
I see nothing wrong with it. It's a bold move and I think that many teams will follow (Red Sox and Jacoby Ellsbury comes to mind). The Rays have more than enough money to do a deal like this and their owner seems willing to lock up their key players long term to field a competitive team in the not-too-distant future. Longoria is going to be a cornerstone in that franchise, and although the jury is still out there as he's a prospect, if they don't make this deal and have to go to arbitration with him in 2 years and someday pay him near $10-12 million in his final years of arbitration, then the Rays come out as major winners in this deal.

Longoria probably could have waited a year or two before doing this, and likely would have gotten at least $10 million more (look at the Rockies with Tulowitzki). I think both sides took risks with this move, and I love it!

Speaking of contract extensions, Jason Kubel is now looking to be locked up long term. He's currently under the Twins control until after the 2010 season, but he's looking for a deal that will give him more than one season in the Twins new ballpark. The Twins, on the other hand, want him to earn the deal... and staying healthy is not enough.

As much as I'd like to see the Twins sign him to an extension, I have to agree with their reluctance to wait. Last year was his first full season back in the majors (he split '06 in Rochester), and he put up mediocre numbers while playing about 2/3 of the games in left field. Now this season, he's focusing primarily on hitting instead of staying healthy which had been his primary focus the previous two seasons. Now, his knee is as good as it ever is going to be, and it's time to see what he's made of.

It's unfortunate that he had to endure the knee injury in '05. His minor league numbers made him look as if he'd be a star in the making. Hopefully this season he can really shine and progress enough to encourage the team of giving him a long-term deal. He's off to an OK start, hitting .266/294/.438 and is second on the team with 3 home runs and 12 RBI's. But his plate discipline is discouraging with a 16/3 K/BB ratio. What has been very encouraging for Kubel this season however is that he's absolutely tattooed the ball this season. Many have been caught, but he's definitely given a few a good ride.

And finally, make sure to check out the Twins newest Ad for 2008. They definitely didn't disappoint.

Down on the Farm

Hitter of the Day
Rene Tosoni - Miracle - Right Fielder

Note: It's hard to pick just one of the Miracle hitters tonight, because again there were others also deserving. Tosoni went 4-5 with 3 runs scored and 2 RBI. After playing just 2 games in Beloit last season, the Organization made the decision of moving him up to Ft. Myers. And with that challenge, he's continued to deliver. Tosoni is now hitting .373 through 51 at bats. It's going to be interesting to see what the Twins do with him later this season, if a few spots open up in New Britain, I can see Tosoni getting an early ticket North. Johnny Woodard was the other guy I considered.

Pitcher of the Day
Mike Tarsi - Snappers - Starting Pitcher
Tarsi pitched an 8-inning complete game, giving up just 2 unearned runs but was still hit with a loss as the Snappers fell 2-1. Tarsi allowed just 6 hits while striking out 3 hitters. He also gave up just 1 walk to bring his K/BB ratio to 12/5. Before the game, Tarsi was 0-3 with a 16.68 ERA, now he sits at 0-4 with a 9.78 ERA.

Touch em All!
  • Rochester Red Wings: None
  • New Britain Rock Cats: Erik Lis (2), Luke Hughes (3)
  • Ft. Myers Miracle: Johnny Woodard (4)
  • Beloit Snappers: Deibinson Romero (1)

Minor League Box Scores