Tag: Michael Cuddyer

Minnesota Twins: Joe Mauer Needs to Find a Different Position

The Minnesota Twins are doing a poor job of protecting the investment they made in catcher Joe Mauer

The eight-year, $184 million extension Mauer signed with the Twins last season places him fourth among the highest-paid position players in Major League Baseball.  

Mauer, who will turn 28 on April 19th, has a trophy case full of accolades that positions him on the precipice as one of the all-time great catchers when accounting for both his offensive and defensive abilities: three batting titles, three Gold Gloves, four Silver Slugger awards and an American League MVP leave no doubt that Mauer is not only one of baseball’s best catchers, but one of its best players.

The problem is the toll the catching position takes on the body, and the effect it has on the longevity of a player’s career.

Having already missed one of the team’s first seven games puts Mauer on pace to play only about 138 games—missing 15 percent of the schedule.

Here are five reasons the Twins need to find another position for Joe Mauer.

Begin Slideshow

Jim Thome: What Role Will the Minnesota Twins Slugger Have in His 21st Season?

Jim Thome came to an agreement to return to the Minnesota Twins for another season, Friday. The slugger agreed to a one-year, $3 million contract which is double what he made in his first season with Minnesota.

Thome played a vital role last year with the Twins and was thrust into a starting role because of a season-ending injury to Justin Morneau. Originally, Thome was brought to the Twin Cities to be a left-handed pinch hitter off the bench, and to have spot duty as the team’s designated hitter.

Instead, Thome ended up being a a key contributor to the Twins throughout the season and made the most out of the increased playing time. Thome hit a staggering 25 home runs in just 276 plate appearances, drove in 59 runs and hit a respectable .283, the highest batting average he’s finished with since 2006.

The 40-year-old was simply terrific last season, but with Morneau set to return from a concussion where does Thome fit with this year’s club? That’s an interesting question, to say the least.

When Morneau went down it forced a domino effect on the starting lineup. Starting right fielder Michael Cuddyer took Morneau’s spot at first while DH Jason Kubel moved out to RF, leaving Thome the DH spot. The problem with getting Thome significant at-bats is Kubel.

Kubel is also a left-hander, who has power and is best suited for the DH role. Last season, Kubel finished with 21 home runs, a .249 batting average and 92 RBI. The Twins are high on Kubel even though he hit seven fewer home runs and his average dropped .51 points from two seasons ago.

It’s never a bad problem to have two left-handed power hitters that you can always rely on in the DH spot, but it does cause Ron Gardenhire to make a tough choice every night. With the Twins’ roster as is, Thome’s role isn’t set in stone; all the Twins knew is that they had to have the guy back, so they brought him back. Even if that meant overpaying for his services a little bit.

There are also some other things that need to be taken into consideration when looking at Thome’s role. For one, last season he stayed relatively healthy minus some back troubles towards the end of the season, will he be able to do it again? Secondly, there’s just no way he replicates last year’s production. Finally, he’s just 11 home runs shy of 600.

So while Thome has an aging body working against him and Kubel—a younger, similar player fighting for at bats—he’s going to get enough opportunities to reach the milestone 600 home runs.  

Thome wasn’t just brought back to contribute on the field, either. The veteran is a fan favorite and a clubhouse leader who the younger players look up to. How great would it be to go to the ballpark every day and get tips from one of the greatest sluggers of all time?

When last season ended and Thome announced his intentions of playing another season it was widely believed he would return to the Twins. After some flirtation with the Texas Rangers, he ultimately turned down a more lucrative offer to remain in Minnesota.

It’s a good fit for both sides as Thome looks to join the 600 club. This will likely be the slugger’s last season and when he leaves the game, he will certainly be missed. For Twins fans, they’ll have the luxury of knowing that they’ll get to see more massive homers and possibly a piece of history, too.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Forget the Signings: Minnesota Twins Still Team to Beat In AL Central In 2011

In 2001, the Minnesota Twins (along with the Montreal Expos) were threatened to be contracted from Major League Baseball.

Take a look at where this team has come in the time since.

Rather than folding like a cheap suit, the Twins have risen back to becoming a potent catalyst in the sport in the last decade.

The 2010 season was a special year for the Twins, as highly anticipated Target Field opened for business.

The Twins took the division and ran away with it in September, winning 94 games and finishing six ahead of the hated White Sox.

Fans reached a seemingly all-time high in happiness, and merchandise and ticket sales were through the roof.

There are several factors on why they have been the team to beat in recent history, and why they will continue this trend in the 2011 season. 

This might be shocking to some, but I don’t honestly see the Twins losing a step to the rest of the division by giving up some of their better-known players such as Jesse Crain, Matt Guerrier and J.J. Hardy (and possibly Carl Pavano, Orlando Hudson and Jim Thome, as well). 

The offseason proceeding the 2011 season has been one of the most busy in recent history. Teams are shipping their superstars for up-and-coming prospects, and vice versa.

There has been no lack of signings in the AL Central, as even the Twins have acquired highly-touted Japanese shortstop Nishioka Tsuyoshi.

The Chicago White Sox perhaps made the largest move, acquiring slugger Adam Dunn from the Washington Nationals. They have also reached a deal with former Twin reliever Jesse Crain.

The Detroit Tigers signed catcher Victor Martinez, and in doing so acquired one of the most well-rounded at the position.

The Cleveland Indians have signed just about everybody that they needed to during this free agency period.

The Kansas City Royals have gotten rid of long-time outfielder David DeJesus and 2009 AL Cy Young Award winner Zack Greinke just signed with the Brewers last night. On the flip side, they have agreed to two solid deals with former 26-year Atlanta Braves in Melky Cabrera and Jeff Francoeur.

So why do I still believe in the Twins having a shot?


First Off, They Have the Best Farm System In All of Baseball

If you name a current Minnesota Twin, their is a decent chance that he came up with the team. Justin Morneau, Joe Mauer, Michael Cuddyer, Jason Kubel, Denard Span, Danny Valencia, and Scott Baker are just a handful of many who have called the Twins organization home since their beginnings.

In all honesty, I could go all day naming players on other squads who called the Minnesota farm system home first. Johan Santana, Matt Garza, Jason Bartlett, David Ortiz, Torii Hunter and A.J. Pierzynski are just a few current pros who highlight the many who were brought up by Ron Gardenhire’s club.

What does this have to do this year’s team though?

Easy; it just means that the Twins have a greater chance to develop players like Ben Revere and Brian Duensing into the major leaguers that they have aspired to be since they were toddlers.

This is of course based on the fact that new talent develops, and in Minnesota there isn’t much doubt that it will indeed happen.

Still want to argue with that “best farm system in all of baseball” comment? I didn’t think so.


Secondly, They Time and Time Again Destroy the Division Competition

The Minnesota Twins have dominated the American League Central Division in the last decade.

In that time they have had just one losing campaign, in 2007. In that same span the Royals have had nine, the Indians and Tigers with six apiece, and the White Sox two.

As previously stated, they have won six division titles: 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2009 and 2010 (don’t forget that in 2008 the White Sox needed 163 games to eliminate Minnesota).

The White Sox and Indians each have a pair of titles in that same period, and the Tigers and Royals have been empty-handed (although the Tigers did have a World Series appearance in 2006).

The Twins have been more successful than most of the league in the last 10 years. They have won 888 games in this period, totalling more victories than the rest of their divisional foes: the White Sox had 850; the Indians put up 795; the Tigers totalled 731; and the lowly Royals have won just 662.

Why isn’t there a reason to believe they can win it in 2011?

The White Sox always seem to be better on paper than the Twins, but Minnesota always knows how to beat the White Sox, especially later in the season.


Finally, the Twins Play Their Best Baseball from July On

Year in and year out the Twins play their way seemingly out of the division race by May, only to rise up and defeat the competition in the final 90 games or so.

Whether they were pitching back-to-back-to-back complete game shutouts (as they did a few years back against the Royals), or sweeping the White Sox in September, I as a Twins fan expect a burst like that every year.

With the team developing players like no one else, beating the competition better than almost everyone, and playing flawless ball from July on, it seems no one in the division will stop the Minnesota Twins.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Minnesota Twins: The 10 Best Outfield Combinations

As the Twins head into the winter there are some questions that need to be answered.

Among them, who will be the starting outfield for the second season in Target Field?

Will Michael Cuddyer return to right field, pushing Jason Kubel to a backup role?

Perhaps Joe Mauer will move to left field in order to save the wear tear of catching an entire season, and Delmon Young would move to right.

Is Denard Span better suited as a platoon player? As the everyday center fielder this past season he had the lowest batting average and slugging percentage in his short three year career. 

I compared the outfield for every Twins team since they moved to Bloomington in 1961.

Here are the top 10 outfields in Minnesota history.

The ranking is based on fielding percent, total errors, and assists.

Home runs and RBI were included because, especially for corner outfielders, these are typically considered power positions.

The total wins for each team was included to break any ties.

Begin Slideshow

2010 MLB Playoffs: Minnesota Twins’ Five Postseason Keys To Advance

The Minnesota Twins have clinched the AL Central and heading into the final week of the regular season they are likely to rest key players such as Jim Thome, Joe Mauer, and Michael Cuddyer.

A first round matchup with the New York Yankees is looking more and more likely with each Yankee loss and Tampa Bay win. 

Which team gives Minnesota the best chance to advance is a discussion for another time. The main focus here is going to be what the Twins need to do in the postseason to ensure they advance to the ALCS for the first time since 2002. 

Here we go…

Begin Slideshow

Full Steam Ahead: Why the Minnesota Twins Shouldn’t Coast To the Finish

Coming into this week’s series against the Chicago White Sox, it was a do-or-die situation for the Sox. They needed to take at least two from the Twins to stay afloat in the American League Central pennant race.

The Twins went ahead and stepped on the head of the White Sox. Race over.

Even though the Twins haven’t technically won the AL Central, it’s now just a matter of time before the Twins officially clinch the Central with a “magic number” of eight combined Twins wins and White Sox loses.

However, now is not the time to shift into neutral and coast to the finish. There is still a lot at stake.

It’s no secret that the Twins have struggled mightily against the New York Yankees in both the regular season and the playoffs in the past decade. This year hasn’t been any different. The Twins need to do everything possible to avoid playing the Yankees.

Avoiding the Yankees will not be easy if not impossible. With that being said, the Twins need to bring the Yankees, or any other team to them.

The Twins need home field advantage.

As of Friday morning, the Twins are tied for the best record in the American league with the Tampa Bay Rays. Having the best record in the league equates to home field advantage throughout the playoffs. Coming in second means possibly having home field advantage only in the first round.

If the season were to end right now, the Twins would have the Yankees in the opening round at Target Field and the Rays and Rangers would match up with the Rays gaining home field in that series. If the Twins and Rays were to both advance, the Rays would have home field advantage in the American League Championship Series.

What does that all mean?

Even if the Twins do have the central under their control, they still have to play for playoff positioning. 

Although resting the ever-day players is a must, there has to be a happy medium between resting the starters and still being competitive. Luckily, the Twins are done playing competitive and will finish the season playing the Oakland A’s (3 games), Cleveland Indians (3 games), Detroit Tigers (3 games), Kansas City Royals (3 games), and the Toronto Blue Jays (4 games). Ten of the 16 games are at Target Field, as well.

In other words, the Twins are in prime position to still win games with their “B” squad in the game against these much lesser opponents. You couldn’t draw it up any better for the Twins to end the season.

Jason Kubel will have a chance to get his wrist to 100%, Mauer can get a few more days off, and the rotation can get an extra day or two to rest. All of which and more is very much needed to have a good playoff run.

All in all, the Twins need to keep on fighting in effort to lock up great positing for the playoffs. Let the Yankees, Rays, or Rangers come to Minnesota and deal with the hottest team in baseball at their brand-new stadium.

Joe Mauer hitting an opposite field double; Jim Thome crushing hanging sliders out of the yard; Francisco Liriano baffling hitters with his slider.

All of that and hopefully more fireworks has to happen at Target Field as much as possible during the playoffs.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Minnesota Twins Hold Their Own Fate, Chase After Yankees for Best Record in AL

At the All-Star break there were questions surrounding the Minnesota Twins line-up.  They didn’t have an every day third basemen who could contribute offensively.  Justin Morneau had just suffered a concussion one week prior and it was unknown when he might return, if at all.

Since then though, the questions have subsided.  Danny Valencia has cemented himself at third base.  Michael Cuddyer has been playing first base for the injured Morneau.  Jason Repko has been an excellent defensive outfielder in place of Cuddyer—when Jason Kubel isn’t getting the start in right field, anyway.

Jim Thome has his sweet uppercut swing hitting the ball a long, long ways.

Joe Mauer is putting together another relatively quiet AL MVP campaign.

Delmon Young is finally looking like a player taken first overall in the MLB Draft is supposed to look like.

And now the Twins find themselves in a position to overtake the New York Yankees strangle hold on the best record in the American League.  The Yankees currently have a two-game lead over the Twins with 19 to play.  The Yankees are currently on a three-game losing streak and have lost six of their past seven.  The Twins on the other hand are on a two-game win streak and have won eight of their last nine.

To say the Twins have a shot at having the best record in the American League is accurate, but in order to actually do so there are some players who need to step up.  Denard Span, the Twins speedy lead-off man, is only hitting .267 this year and has been unable to draw out long at bats. 

Kubel‘s power numbers have been respectable, but his batting average has been slowly dropping over the past two weeks and currently sits at .256 as well as leading the team in strikeouts with 105.

If the Twins want a chance at holding home field advantage until the World Series, those two players are going to need to be more disciplined at the plate.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Minnesota Twins Are the AL Central Trade Deadline Winners!

The non-waiver trading deadline has passed.

The Texas Rangers made arguably the biggest move in the AL with the acquisition of ace Cliff Lee.

They also added some depth with shortstop Cristian Guzman, infielder Jorge Cantu, and catcher Bengie Molina.

In typical New York fashion, the Yankees have put themselves in a position to repeat as World Series champions with the additions of first baseman Lance Berkman, outfielder Austin Kearns, and pitcher Kerry Wood.

Berkman was rumored to be a target for both the Tigers and White Sox, and some reports are he vetoed a deal that would have sent him to Chicago.

So here’s a look at how the three teams contending for the AL Central fared in attempts to make improvements before the trade deadline at 3:00 pm CDT on Saturday.

Chicago White Sox

Key additions: Edwin Jackson—Right-hand pitcher, 6-10, 5.16 ERA.

Key subtractions: Pitcher Jake Peavy—out for the season with right shoulder surgery.

Going 25-5 before the All-Star break, the White Sox went from nine and a half games back and in third place to leading the division by half a game.

With the loss of Jake Peavy for the season, Jackson will help to add some depth to their rotation. With a slightly higher ERA and lower strikeout to walk ratio will have to pitch better in Chicago than he did in Arizona. 

This was the only deal General Manager Ken Williams was able to pull off before the deadline. Will it be enough to keep the Sox out front?

Having gone 9-7 since the All-Star break, their lead remains a half game, but Minnesota has taken over second place from the struggling Tigers. 

The White Sox will still need to add some depth in order to win the division. The task just became a lot more difficult. Any player will have to clear waivers before the deal is completed.

Detroit Tigers

Key Addition: Third baseman Jhonny Peralta—.251 batting average, nine HR, 46 RBI, .315 OBP.

Key Subtractions: Brandon Inge—Out four to six weeks with a broken hand.

The Tigers picked up Peralta from Cleveland for a 19-year-old class-A pitcher Giovanni Soto.

The Tigers were in desperate need of a replacement for Inge and Peralta will fit the bill.

He brings a little more power than what Inge was demonstrating this year, with a slight drop in average and on-base percentage.

The Tigers have been struggling since the break going 4-13, falling to 52-51 and six games behind the White Sox.

Without adding some pitching depth to the lineup is President and General Manager Dave Dombrowski throwing in the towel?

Minnesota Twins

Key Addition: Closer Matt Capps—27 saves, 2.68 ERA

Key Subtractions: Justin Morneau—Currently on the 15-day DL for a concussion.

The Twins needed to add another quality starter to the rotation, and should have been looking for some insurance to back-up Morneau at first.

Michael Cuddyer has been doing a good job filling in, but the addition of either Berkman or Adam Dunn would have gone a long way to plug any potential long-term absence of Morneau.

The only deal GM Bill Smith was able to pull off was the addition of Washington closer Matt Capps. In return, the Twins gave up Double-A left-handed pitcher Joe Testa, and Triple-A catcher Wilson Ramos.

The addition of Capps bolsters the Twins bullpen, allowing interim closer Jon Rauch to move back into the set-up role. This helps fill the gap made with the promotion of Brian Duensing to the starting rotation.

Having gone 12-4 since the All-Star break, the Twins have moved past the Tigers for second place, only a half game behind the White Sox.

Based more on the lack of moves made by the White Sox or Tigers than the move made by the Twins, they can claim victory in deadline deals for the AL Central division. 

At this point the division appears to be the a two-team race between the White Sox and Twins.

The winner will earn the probable right to face either the Rangers or Yankees in the divisional round—and an early exit in the playoffs.     

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Minnesota Twins: What Would You Do?

With inconsistency taking a death-grip over Minnesota’s starting rotation this year, the Twins are rumored to have been interested in just about every pitcher on the market. Unquestionably, Dan Haren and Roy Oswalt are the two most coveted trade targets this season, and the Twins would no doubt love to bring in some pitching help.

Rumors are one thing; feasibility is a whole different animal.

Adding a player like Oswalt or Haren would almost certainly tack a few extra wins onto Minnesota’s record, which would significantly increase the Twins’ playoff chances. But could Minnesota commit to a large contract without crippling the team for the next five years?


Pardon the ambiguity, but there is a way to take on an expensive contract without going bankrupt. But first, here are a few points that need to be understood:


  • Roy Oswalt is not a realistic option for Minnesota. Not only does the 32-year-old Mississippi native seem to be positioning himself for a trade to St. Louis, but his salary is significantly higher and more unreasonable than Haren’s. The Twins wouldn’t be able to afford one year of Oswalt, even if Houston contributed a few million.
  • If Minnesota were to acquire Haren, they could trade him again if they found themselves unable to keep up with the right-hander’s increasing salary. The prospects they receive in return may not equal the ones they give to Arizona, but the added wins would mostly offset the small hit in both the farm system and payroll.
The Twins’ payroll is already well beyond what many thought possible. I don’t have any idea how well Target Field is performing from a revenue-generating standpoint, but even if you assume that Minnesota will increase their payroll from this season you still need to account for some often-overlooked expenses, most notably Joe Mauer’s $10.5 million raise next year.
Mauer, Morneau, Cuddyer, Kubel, Nathan, and Punto are due to receive a combined $70 million in 2011. Young and Liriano will both demand large arbitration increases, and both Baker and Blackburn are slated to receive multiple millions. Add it all up and you find yourself fiscally stretched.
I won’t pretend to know if the Twins are prepared or willing to throw an extra $8-10 million into the player payroll department next season. As a fan of the team, I can’t expect a significant increase. From a fan’s perspective, the Pohlads would ideally take on a large contract, push for the playoffs, and solve financial problems later. As much as I’d like to think the Pohlad family values a World Series run as much as I do, the Minnesota Twins are a money-making entity. The bottom line is considered in all decisions.
If you were tasked with making expensive decisions, would you pay $10 million for a 10 percent increase in playoff probability and a chance to display loyalty to your fan base?


Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Minnesota Twins: Pick Your Pitch(ers) and Other Midseason Issues

With the All-Star break not getting here fast enough, the Twins have fallen from decent to mediocrity. Their once potent lineup has now proven to have many more holes then it let on and has given the Twins a lot to gather in their three days off.

An optimist would say the Twins play better in the second half. However, one shouldn’t bank on such thoughts because the pure fact that Minnesota’s starting rotation has fallen to an atrocious level.

A Rotation in Decline

Right-handed starter Scott Baker has been nothing short of pedestrian this season going 7-8 in the first half with a 4.78 ERA with a 5:1 strikeout to walks ratio (95/19). His lone high note has been his ability to go deep into games, but not necessarily keep his team in it.

In June, Baker only managed one victory in five starts. Despite going at least seven innings in two of those starts, his 2-1 victory over Colorado remains his only high point on the past month and a half.

Nick Blackburn has been an interesting afterthought to his astounding May winning five games in as many starts. His ERA was also a respectable 4.28 after May. The Twins were 8-1 with him on the mound and his record to that point was 6-1. However, as the calender turned, so did Nick’s numbers.

Since June 1st, Nick has only won once and has been nothing short of atrocious. His 6.40 ERA is the worst of all the starters. He’s also only struck out 34 to 27 walks for the year. For also being an inning-eater, his lack of ability to get deep into games the past month or so has been a bit disturbing. He now sits at a disappointing 7-7 with little to show for his month of June and July.

As we look down the rotation, Kevin Slowey has been a quiet and inconsistent, but still has shown at times that he can fight for a spot in the rotation. Despite his short comings, he did start the season at 7-3 while his current 8-5 record hides his flaws. His ERA has ballooned since his June 8th start with 3.45 to a now a mediocre 4.74.

His ability to keep the Twins in games for at least six innings and up until his most recent start (July 7) he’s never allowed more then 9 hits. By this, he still has a spot on the rotation until he’s either traded for a bigger arm or he begins to show a reason to keep tabs on him.

Francisco Liriano is probably the biggest case of unfortunates. His 3.9/1 strikeout to walk ratio is decent (especially when its 117/30). At the current rate, Liriano would be on track for a 200 strikeout season, something he could tab to his career of a comeback since his Tommy John surgery back in 2006.

Records don’t mean squat when measuring most pitchers. Just as Slowey’s 8-5 doesn’t measure him well, Liriano’s 6-7 record doesn’t represent him to good as well. His 3.86 ERA (largely due to his past performance against the Detroit Tigers, before of which his ERA was 3.32) shows that his efficiency is ace worthy if he can remain consistent and receive run support.

Although he’s 0-4 in his last 5 starts, he’s shown a resurgence this season that can possibly turn around a rough first half. Beyond Carl Pavano, Liriano is probably the most trusted pitcher to send to the hill.

Rick Anderson said it best,“He struggles when he’s not under control. You can see it early in the game; he’s rushing and falling all over the place. His biggest thing is giving up those runs early in the game, and then he’ll settle down for three, four, five innings. He can do it because of (his) stuff. Again, if you get away from the first couple of innings, when he’s given up most of his runs, he’s pitched pretty good. If he puts up zeros early, and he’s in control from the start, he’s got a chance for a good one. But if he’s falling all over and not throwing, he’s got to make a quick adjustment or he’ll be three or four runs behind.”

Pavano is the lone exception to the decline in the rotation. After a disappointing May, his June was uncharacteristic of the Twins rotation winning four of five starts including two complete game victories over two National League East aces in Roy Halladay and former Twin Johan Santana (back-to-back starts). With a 9-6 record and no loss since June 3rd, he’s been the lone anchor to the rotation and certainly isn’t part of the problem at the moment.

Possible Answers

An ace is a primary need as the Twins are now fielding the options of a possible trades before the tradeline, now that Cliff Lee has been landed by the Texas Rangers. Several options exist in second-tier pitchers available on the trading market. Houston’s Roy Oswalt, Arizona’s Dan Haren, Chicago Cubs Ted Lilly, Oakland’s Ben Sheets, as well as Cleveland’s Jake Westbrook and Fausto Carmona.

Lilly seems destined for the New York Mets and Oswalt’s price might be too high for what he’d be worth. Sheets lacks the dominance the Twins would like and might even be a step down from the rotation they already wield. Westbrook, Carmona and Haren seem like decent options with the likely move being made towards Dan Haren. His numbers suggest the best upgrade this side of Cliff Lee and would offer a good one-two punch with Pavano and Liriano. However, it remains to be seen what Haren’s cost would be.

Another possible option is bring up from within. Kyle Gibson has been ripping through AA New Britain with a 5-3 record in 10 starts, winning his last three and only allowing two runs in that three game stretch. With a 3.56 ERA and 3:1 strikeout/walk ratio (51/17), his numbers suggest a boost to AAA some time in the near future.

He also tore through A league with the Fort Myers Miracle with a 4-1 record and winning the Florida State League Pitcher of the Week the first week of May. With that tallied, Gibson leads the Twins minor-league system with 9 wins so far this season. If the Washington Nationals can pull up the likes Stephen Strasburg, why not Kyle Gibson?


The bullpen has proven to be stable point for the most part for the Twins so far this season. However, certain aspects have proven quite ineffective. The likes of Jose Mijares, Ron Mahay, and Jon Rauch (in his current role) are the more mentionable pieces.

Mijares has yet to prove to have the command he was known for last season and his off the field attitude screams “trade.” His control of pitches has resulted in late game collapses of games that are well in check. A trip to the minors might be a big reality check to his lagging game of late.

Matt Guerrier, although attributable to late inning collapses in proving to look more like a slump then anything else. In past years this has happened and Matt has pulled through as the great set-up pitcher he’s been known for.

Ron Mahay has been used to scarcely and has proven to be a waste of roster space. His poor performances when he has been called in have been embarrassing. Mahay should be cut or at least sent down. There’s a reason the Twins signed him to a minor league deal and no one else did.

Twins closer, Jon Rauch, has done a little better then most thought, but has proven to be not effective enough to shut the door for a team that is known for close contests. Jon is 19 of 23 in save opportunities which is by no means bad, however, his best role is suited as a set-up guy, especially when the middle-relief is hurting.

Possible options are currently sitting in AAA in closer Anthony Slama and reliever Kyle Waldrop (disregarding his recent outing) have been nothing short of amazing. Slama is 16 for 16 in save opportunities and will be a part of the AAA All-Star game. Waldrop has been shut down for the most part and flashed a 1.11 ERA as Slama has shown a strong 1.28 ERA. Both seem ready as Gardy has even endorsed Slama has having been quite formidable this year.

Starting Lineup

With Mauer now underachieving, Morneau with a concussion and half the lineup searching for their swing, it’s no surprise how the Twins have struggled to remain in games.

The Twins NEED a third basemen. Nick Punto does not count. Danny Valencia needs growth still and the Twins would be wise to invest in the likes of a Joe Crede who currently resides in free agency waiting to be picked up. True, he has had injury issues, although, he also could prove to be not that big a risk at half a season price.

His bat could put a legitimate threat in the lineup and for the most part, keep everyone comfortable. Cuddyer doesn’t belong at third. There’s a reason it didn’t work the first time. With a partial deafness in his left ear (the one facing the rest of the infield) he faces a big disadvantage playing the ‘hot corner.’

Danny either needs to start full-time or the Twins need to find a way to get Mr. Crede to sign on the dotted line.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

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