Author Archive

Minnesota Twins Trying to Overcome History to Reach Postseason

There have been many words used to describe the Minnesota Twins‘ 2011 campaign—frustrating, humiliating, injury-ridden, disappointing, lost.

However, one word that has come into view following their assent from the American League Central’s cellar: historic?

That’s right. The Twins have a chance to erase the largest deficit in Major League Baseball history, should they come all the way back to win the division.

As of June 2, the Twins sat 16 1/2 games behind the division-leading Cleveland Indians. By June 25, following a three-game losing streak, the Twins have closed that gap to eight games behind Cleveland and seven games behind the Detroit Tigers (who I identify as the real team to beat in this division).

Should the Twins erase the deficit it would be the largest comeback in MLB history.

The current record is held by the 1914 Boston Braves, who sat at 26-40 in early July that season, 15 games back in the standings.

The “Miracle Braves,” as they became known, finished the season by going 70-19, eventually winning the pennant by 10 1/2 games over the New York Giants. The Braves would go on to sweep the favored the Philadelphia Athletics in the World Series that season.

The Twins are facing an uphill battle, but have shown great resolve in recent seasons. In 2009, the Twins erased a seven-game lead of the Tigers in the final weeks, eventually securing the division title in one of the most memorable games in Twins history—Game 163.

The Twins will now turn to Fransisco Liriano to get the comeback back on track in the second game of a three-game set in Milwaukee.

Read more MLB news on

Minnesota Twins: 5 Reasons They Can Still Win the American League Central

The first 30 games of the 2011 Twins campaign have been anything but smooth for the two-time defending American League Central Champion Minnesota Twins.

They currently sport a 12-18 record, good for a .400 win percentage—the second worst in MLB.

There is hope however for the Twins, who currently sit 8 1/2 games out from the division leading Cleveland Indians. 

Here are five reasons why.

Begin Slideshow

Minnesota Twins: 5 Observations from the Opening Weekend

The Minnesota Twins are now four games into the season and currently sit at 1-3.

It has been an unexpectedly slow start for a team that went 20-12 during spring training and starts the season looking to win a third-straight division title.

Ahead are five observations the Twins will need to address going forward should they want a chance to make another playoff appearance in 2011.

Begin Slideshow

Jason Kubel Already in Midseason Form for Minnesota Twins

With Micheal Cuddyer, Joe Mauer, and Justin Morneau yet to see any spring training games, Jason Kubel has been getting his cuts in the three-hole so far this spring.

Kubel is making those spring at-bats count, hitting .545 with a home run and four RBI’s and a 1.636 OPS after a week of games.

“Right now, I’m just happy with the way things are going so far this spring, just with the way I’ve started off, the way I’m swinging, the way I feel,” Kubel said.

Kubel may be in a make-or-break year with the Twins. The Twins have Aaron Hicks, Ben Revere and Joe Benson marinating in the minors who all are outfielders, and Kubel came back to earth last season after having a career season in 2009. 

If Kubel can return to his 2009 form where he hit .300 with 28 home runs and 103 RBI’s, he can be an X-factor in the Twins’ potential run to a third straight AL Central Title.

Kubel’s 2010 season was disappointing by his standards, with his numbers across the board all comparing poorly to his 2009 season. His batting average dropped 51 points to .249 and his RBI and home run numbers were both down.

Add his decreasing in season numbers, and his almost historically terrible (2 for 29 for a .069 batting average with 13 strikeouts) performances in the post season, led to many people beginning to wonder what Kubel’s future with the Twins might be.

Jason Kubel’s 2011 option was picked up by the Twins this season, but if they don’t come to agreement on a contract extension, the 28-year-old Kubel will be an unrestricted free agent after this season.

Kubel has made it known that he wants to continue to play the outfield, and believes he is too young to be a full time DH. This seems unlikely if he wants to remain a Twin beyond 2011 with the talented defensive outfielders in waiting.

“It does make it a little hard,” Kubel said. “We’ve got a couple replacements for Cuddy, myself and Delmon. There are plenty of options.”

Read more MLB news on

Minnesota Twins Once Again Make a Splash with Bobble-Head Collectible

The team that started the whole bobble-head collectible scene for Major League Baseball is at it again, this time with a figurine immortalizing a highly controversial play from the 1991 World Series between the Atlanta Braves and the Minnesota Twins.

This coming season will be the 20th anniversary of what ESPN ranked as the best World Series ever played.

The bobble head commemorates one of the most memorable plays of a World Series filled with them. 

Ron Gant had just singled in the top of the third inning with two outs. The score was 2-1 Twins, with Kevin Tapani toeing the mound for the Twins. Gant went to round first when Tapani took the throw from right fielder Dan Gladden and threw behind Gant to the first baseman Kent Hrbek.

Hrbek received the ball from Tapani at the same time Gant reached the base. Hrbek, who outweighed Gant by nearly 80 pounds at the time, applied the tag—with a little added force, to say the least. Hrbek proceeded to lift Gant’s leg off the base.

To the 55,000 fans in attendance at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome on Oct. 20, 1991, umpire Drew Coble’s out call lifted them into a roar.

“He definitely tried to push me off the base,” Gant said.

The Twins ended the inning on that play and went on to win the game with 3-2 final score and took a 2-0 series advantage. In a series where the road team lost every game, plays like this were the difference for the Twins.

There is no date as to what game the bobble head will be given out as of yet, but the Twins will announce that information sometime in March.

Read more MLB news on

MLB Trade Rumors: Minnesota Twins Looking to Possibly Move Francisco Liriano

Francisco Liriano may be on the trading block just days after coming to agreement on a one-year, $4.3 million deal for the 2011 season.

The report from Joe Christensen of the Star Tribune may come as a surprise to many, but it may show some forward thinking on behalf of the organization.

After re-signing Carl Pavano to a two-year deal this offseason, the Twins now have six starters for five spots—Francisco Liriano, Carl Pavano, Scott Baker, Kevin Slowey, Nick Blackburn and Brian Duensing.  This group may have some company with top minor league prospect Kyle Gibson all but ready to burst through this coming year.

Liriano, who has a history of elbow problems following his 2006 Tommy John surgery, is still under control of the Twins (with arbitration) through the 2012 season.  With Liriano asking for a three year, $39 million deal, and the Twins payroll already bloated to $120 million, the time may be now to move him as his stock may never be higher.

Liriano is coming off a season where he went 14-10 with a 3.62 ERA over 191.2 innings.

Liriano would be a likely trade target for the New York Yankees after they whiffed on free agency this year after being unable to sign pitcher Cliff Lee.

The Twins would be looking for young arms to restock the farm club, and the Yankees would be able to abide.

The Yankees may be able to offer up a package around top pitching prospects Manny Banuelos and/or Dellin Betances, both of whom were rated by ESPN’s Keith Law as Top 100 Prospects.

Should the Twins move Liriano, General Manager Bill Smith will need to make sure to get more for the 27 year old left-hander than they did when they moved Johan Santana following the 2007 season.

Smith’s trade of Santana essentially turned into Carlos Gomez, who turned into one season of JJ Hardy, and now Jim Hoey, a hard throwing relief pitcher who has done little at the major league level so far.

Read more MLB news on

Minnesota Twins’ Joe Nathan, Justin Morneau Looking To Be Ready for Spring

The Minnesota Twins won the American League Central last season despite injuries to some of their biggest stars.

Joe Nathan, an All-Star closer, was lost after a significant tear in the ulnar collateral ligament forced him into Tommy John surgery last March.

From 2004-2009, Nathan was one of the most dominating closers in all of baseball. Nathan’s 246 saves over six seasons are the most in the majors during that span.

The 36-year-old Nathan is in the final season of a four year, $47 million dollar contract that pays him $11.25 million this season with a club option for $12.5 million for 2012.

Nathan is expecting to start back up from where he left off in 2009, as the Twins‘ closer.

“My mind-set right now is that I’m closing and getting ready for the season. That’s my plan. We’ll see how it goes. There’s always going to be a question mark,” said Nathan.

Another big question mark is the health of 2006 AL MVP Justin Morneau.

Morneau missed the second half of the 2010 season after suffering a concussion July 7 in Toronto while sliding into second base.

General manager of the Twins Bill Smith spoke on the health of Joe Nathan to a local ESPN radio affiliate in Minneapolis: “It’s still a work in progress. He is not 100 percent, but I’ve talked to his doctors, I’ve talked to him. He’s getting better all the time, he’s doing very good workouts.”

Morneau still hasn’t been cleared to fly on an airplane and was given instructions to stay in Arizona and to skip the annual “Twinsfest” this past weekend in Minnesota.

Michael Cuddyer has filled in for Morneau the last two playoff runs for the Twins, and with Jim Thome re-signing two weeks ago, Jason Kubel could shift to RF should Morneau not be ready to go.

The Twins will be hoping that Morneau will be manning first base for them come April. Last season, before the concussion, he was hitting .345 with 18 HR and 56 RBI in only 81 games played.

Read more MLB news on

Minnesota Twins’ Top 10 Minor League Prospects (1-5)

The Twins have a minor league system loaded with good young players. In part one of this series I highlighted players ranked six through ten in the Twins’ farm system.

6. Alex Wimmers: RHP

7. Adrian Salcedo: RHP

8, Liam Hendriks: RHP

9. Carlos Gutierrez: RHP

10. Max Kepler: OF

Who makes the cut as the top five players in the Twins’ farm system?

Begin Slideshow

MLB Rumors: Previewing Albert Pujols’ 5 Potential Free Agent Destinations

The clock is ticking on the St. Louis Cardinals to come to terms on a contract extension with the best player the Cardinals have had since Stan “The Man” Musial retired in 1963.

Albert Pujols has set a firm deadline to agree to an extension by the start of spring training.

Should Pujols not receive an extension by that time, he will become a free agent after the 2011 season.

With big spenders New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox locked into long contracts with current first basemen of Mark Teixeira and Adrian Gonzalez respectively, one has to wonder where the three-time National League MVP might end up.

Pujols could demand a deal close to the deal Alex Rodriguez signed for 10 years and $275 million.

So what teams could sign the free agent next off season?

Begin Slideshow

Minnesota Twins: Top 5 Storylines To Watch In 2011

The Minnesota Twins are coming off a banner season.

They won their sixth American League Central title since 2002, opened Target Field, which ESPN named the “best fan experience in all of sports,” and set an attendance record of over three million fans.

So what will define 2011 for Minnesota Twins fans?

Begin Slideshow

Copyright © 1996-2010 Kuzul. All rights reserved.
iDream theme by Templates Next | Powered by WordPress