February 19, 2009

Thursday's Round-Up

First thing is first, I want to again thank everyone for their great feedback towards my 2009 Top 50 Twins Prospect list. It was a much larger success than I had ever thought it could be and even gave me ridiculous amounts of page views per day that this site has not been accustomed to seeing in the past. Hopefully it's a sign of things to come, and I promise that I will try to do everything on my part to make this site a must-read for Twins fans everywhere.

Also, thank you very much to Aaron Gleeman. Today on his site he mentioned that he had added me to his Blogroll and even said some very nice things about the site. Gleeman, Seth Stohs of Seth Speaks and John Bonnes of Twins Geek are considered by many as the guys that made Twins blogging a success, and really put it on the map so to speak. It's great to hear anything good about this site from any of them. I have a ton of respect for all of them for what they have done.

And speaking of Seth Stohs, if you haven't checked out his latest podcast yet, then I recommend doing so. He has a segment with Pioneer Press Reporter Phil Miller who is currently down at Spring Training and gives us a great insider's feel at both Spring Training and writing. Miller is one of my favorite Sports columnists and it's just too bad that he doesn't get the attention that he deserves. He's done a great job in the short time he's been with the Pioneer Press.

Also on the podcast, Nick Nelson and John Bonnes duke it out over both the Joe Crede issue and the outfield conundrum. They battle both sides of the issues and they both had strong feelings towards their sides. So definitely check that out.

Sounds like the Twins won't be the ones to give into Joe Crede and agent Scott Boras' contract demands as they claim that they won't budge from their current 'offer' (whatever that may be). I'm glad to hear this. Although I wouldn't mind seeing Crede come to the Twins, at $7-8 million in guarantees before another $4-5 million in incentives, I can't say I'd like that at all. It sounds like the Twins are looking at something around a one-year $7-8 million deal (including incentives). Which to me, seems about right.

I see both sides of the Crede dilemma. I too think that Brendan Harris and Brian Buscher could put up good numbers next season as a platoon. At the same time, I'm not set on the middle of our infield yet and Harris' versatility could force him to play either shortstop or second base. Could you really say you'd be OK with Buscher at third for more than a week or so? Adding the depth wouldn't hurt. Crede hit 17 home runs last season and has been hampered with a bad back for a couple years now. If he can hit 17 home runs when he's hurt, I am one of the people who are slightly optimistic as to what he can do if he is potentially healed. I also still like his defense much more than either Harris' or Buscher's. Hindsight is always 20/20. The Twins are "under budget" right now and still have money available and look willing to spend. If the deal makes sense, I wouldn't be opposed.

Today, Nick Nelson gives us his "Last-Ditch Effort" for an Orlando Hudson signing. Although I don't think such a signing is at all a likely scenario (not that he's saying it is either), but I agree with him in that Alexi Casilla sure has been overlooked this off-season and labeled as a "lock" and people need to remember that he hit 72 points lower in the second half of last season and his OPS dipped 189 points. Sure some of it was effected by a thumb injury that was originally thought to take the rest of his season. His track record is not strong enough to suggest that his early-2008 numbers will replicate in 2009 and we need to keep an eye on him this Spring.

Yesterday, upon the completion of the Luis Ayala signing, the Twins had to say goodbye to reliever Bobby Korecky to make room on the 40-man roster. Although many weren't too high on Korecky's ceiling as a Major League Reliever, I personally see him as a better fit than Jason Jones whom I'm actually surprised didn't get the boot. Especially considering that Korecky has been with the club for 5 years and has been held between Double-A and Triple-A despite having the numbers to move up another level. He finally made it to the Majors last April.

On May 19th, he had the game of a lifetime. Not only did he come in and relieve Juan Rincon in a tough spot, he also had to be used as a hitter against the Texas Rangers. He ended up hitting a single and later set down the heart of the Rangers order to pick up the win. Hopefully he can find success with the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Fransisco Liriano told reporters on Tuesday that he is leaning towards skipping the World Baseball Classic to prepare for the regular season. I can speak on behalf of most Twins fans when I say, "phew!" Under certain circumstances, I'd be all for Liriano participating. But he has just one season under his belt after undergoing Tommy John Surgery and shouldn't risk the added strain of the WBC. He's only 25-years-old and has too much of a bright future to risk anything at this time.

And it sounds like Corey Koskie is also trying to participate in the WBC. Now that is something I'd like to see. Koskie has something to prove to teams and is hoping to latch on with a team.

Twins reliever Boof Bonser is currently having problems with tendinitis in his shoulder. The Twins think it will eventually go away. Bonser had this to say after a 30 pitch bullpen session yesterday:
“Not any better. Not any worse."
This could be good news to fellow relievers Philip Humber and Jason Jones who are both battling for roster spots. It sure would be a shame to lose 1/4th of the Santana trade this early. So hopefully Humber steps up (regardless of what happens with Bonser) and pitches well this Spring.

Right now, we're just a couple days away from the first full-squad practice, less than one week before the first Spring Training game, just over two weeks away from regular season tickets going on sale, and six-and-a-half weeks before the Twins home/season opener. Baseball season is upon us everyone! Time to celebrate!

Maybe not to this extent.