Monday, January 6, 2014

Minnesota Twins POWER RANKINGS: January 6, 2014

Ah the first POWER RANKINGS of 2014.  A chance to reset and start anew.  Enough chat, let's dance.  

10.  Avoiding Stephen Drew

Earlier this week, MLB Trade Rumors listed a few teams that could use Stephen Drew.  Here's the link.  The Twins were listed but the writer didn't think the Twins would be willing to give up the #43 pick and supplant Pedro Florimon.  If I were the Twins, I'd avoid Drew like he was an open jar of mayonnaise left in the sun.  The last three seasons he's hit .245/.322/.403, or a 97 OPS+.  That's an upgrade over Florimon, no doubt and Drew handles the position pretty well himself.  However, I can't get past that draft pick.  The Twins are still rebuilding and still need to amass assets.  I'd rather spend the money elsewhere and keep that pick.

Plus, they already have Eduardo Escobar on roster, so why do they need Drew anyway?  Remember:

Hey, former Twins pitcher Jesse Crain got a job.  He signed with the Astros last week, which is a bit like an accomplished chef agreeing to run the grill at Hardee's.  He'll get paid $3.25 million to make his Grillburgers though.  Crain was outstanding last year, finishing his 36.2 inning season with an ERA+ of 586.  lol  I'd guess that the Astros will use Crain as the closer and then use him as trade bait.  If he has 20-25 saves in late July, the Astros could really cash in.  I love that strategy and if the Twins didn't employ an awesome closer already, I'd be cool with the Twins following this very same plan.    

Benson signed a Minor League deal with the Miami Marlins last week, which is a bit like an accomplished chef agreeing to run the grill at Hardee's.  Except, Benson is probably just happy to not have to actually work at Hardee's.  The Twins jettisoned Benson in May of 2013.  The Rangers snatched him up, sent him to AA and then DFA'd him in September.  There is a legitimate avenue for Benson to play for the Marlins in 2014.  They suck, for one.  Their other fourth outfielder options aren't strong either.  Benson will be just 26 and still has an entire belt filled with tools.  I'd love to see him succeed.  The Marlins will probably sell him for a soda machine if they get the chance. 

7.  GIFs

Without the Monday Morning Madness, I have no avenue to drool all over how much I love McCovey Chronicles' Grant Brisbee.  He's a genius.  I wish I could draw his nose.  Anyway, he released his 2013 GIFs of the year.  It's a six-part series and the GIFs are outstanding.  They're made even better because Brisbee expands on the images with his deft humor.  Check these out because they are great. 

Pro tip:  Let all the GIFs load before you try to watch them.  Then, you can hover over one at a time and your computer won't melt. 

6.  Justin Turner hates the Eddie 400

So I hate him.  Wait, hate is such a strong word.  Let's just say I think he's a meanie-head.  The Twins seem to be linked to Turner and that makes a lot of sense.  Turner would be a nice fit as a utility player.  He played all four infield positions for the Mets last season.  He posted a 100 OPS+, he rates "fine" as a defender and he has a bushy, red beard.  Screw him.  The Twins have Eduardo Escobar and he's 4 years younger and making almost no money.  Escobar may never post a 100 OPS+ in his career, but man can he smile. 

Of course, if signing Turner keeps the Twins away from Drew, then I might warm to the idea and create The Turner 400. 

Santana is still unemployed and that is bonkers.  The Twins were recently tied to Santana but have reportedly not made him an offer.  I have one piece of advice for the Twins:


This is Johan Santana.  He won two Cy Youngs with the Twins and should have won a third.  Seriously, Bartolo Colon probably ate his.  THAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN JOHAN'S.  I will never get over that.  The Twins don't really need Santana, but if he's available on a Minor League deal with only the promise of helping him rehab to get ready for a mid-season return, he's worth it.  He's one of the five best players in Twins' history and he has a delightful personality.  I want Johan. 

That sounded gross.

Parker Hageman of Twins Daily posted the top ten video moments of 2013.  It was a really fun look back at a really not fun season.  There were some fun moments though.  Most of the video is in GIF form, so it's pretty easy to digest.  Number 1 is quite amusing and reminded me that I really want some Pizza Rolls right now.

3.  Matt Garza's tires
This tweet sent me into a frenzy.  I think Garza would take the Twins' off-season from an A- to an A+ and I don't really give that grade out.  I responded with some tweets of my own but since no one follows me on Twitter, a bunch of spambots are the only beings who know how I truly feel. 

Basically, I feel that his 2011 season was dynamic.  He posted an excellent strikeout rate, an elite walk rate and a solid ground ball rate.  Those three combined make for an extremely effective pitcher.  He was basically just as good in 2012, but was undone a bit by a home run to fly ball rate above 16%.  That's high.  In 2013, his groundball rate dipped nearly 8 points.  I'm not sure why, but it seems that it was tied to the fact that batters crushed his fastball in 2013 after not hitting that pitch very well in 2011 and 2012.

Cause for concern?  I don't think so.  According to FanGraphs' PitchF/x, Garza's fastball velocity and movement were right in line with the prior two seasons.  The better contact against his fastball could be a one-year issue or tied to his injury recovery or just a fluke.  No matter what, Garza would be the Twins best starter and would likely be their best starter for a couple years.  The 2014 rotation would be good and the 2015 rotation would be set too. 

The Twins gave Ricky Nolasco 4 years and $49 million.  I'd give Garza 4 years and $64 million.  The team has the money and they won't have guys like Garza available to sign next Winter.  I see three potential 2015 free agent starters who are better than Garza:  Max Scherzer, Clayton Kershaw and Homer Bailey.  Kershaw and Scherzer are very likely to be extended before next October.  That leaves Bailey all alone with tons of suitors.  Bailey is outstanding, but Garza's here now. 

2.  Joe Mauer's stance on milk

Good gravy, Randball's Stu at Twinkie Town wrote a piece that is just outstanding.  It's satire and parody and it's brilliant.  I'm not going to spoil any of it, so you just need to click here and read it.  Spoil.  Get it?

Like milk.

As promised, Tanaka remains number 1 on the POWER RANKINGS and will remain number 1 until he signs with the Twins.  Then, I retire the number 1 spot forever, Tanaka wins multiple Cy Youngs and he and I embrace at the mound when the Twins win the 2017 World Series.  It's going to be beautiful. 

And, I didn't even put him in a dress this week!

Have a great week, everyone!

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