Friday, February 7, 2014

February Mailbag!!!!!

I'm not really one to brag, but this mailbag is starting to take on a life of its own. I have not one, not two, not three, but FOUR questions from people who are not me.  Sure, three of those questions are from the same person, but who are you to pick nits?  In fact, what would you do?  Wha-wha-wha-what would you do?  I know what I'm going to do.  Answer these questions:

I really enjoy reading your blog - keep up the good work!  Anyway, I saw something that the Twins intend to ship (Andrew) Albers to a Korean team for cash considerations.  Why would the Twins ship their Minor League pitcher of the year, and one of their most promising young prospects off for nothing?  Seems kind of crazy for me.

Emailer, Webspace

First, thank you very much for the positive feedback.  I really do appreciate it.  I take very little about this blog seriously, but the nice things that people say are truly valued.  I also appreciate the constructive criticism.  The invitations to shove "x" into or up "y" are not quite as cool, but I have a strict policy in my life to consider everything.  So...Albers...right!

On the surface, it makes almost zero sense.  Albers might have been the best human interest story of the 2013 season.  His first two starts didn't come with the fanfare of Kyle Gibson's debut, but Albers delivered A+ results.  However, after those first two starts, Albers managed just a 5.70 ERA in 8 starts.  He barely averaged 5 innings, gave up 58 hits and only managed 21 strikeouts.  Albers isn't a strikeout pitcher, but a strikeout every other inning is paltry, if we're being kind.

Then, you have to consider the fact that the Twins likely have just one spot open in the rotation, with Ricky Nolasco, Phil Hughes, Kevin Correia and Mike Pelfrey already penciled in.  That left Albers, Vance Worley, Scott Diamond, Kyle Gibson and Sam Deduno to battle for the fifth spot.  Albers would likely have been near the bottom of that list, so the Twins did him a solid and let him pursue a season in Korea where he'll get to pitch and maybe build himself some value for an MLB return.  I imagine that when he is ready to come back to the Majors, the Twins and Albers will be mutually interested. 

Although I cannot read your mailbag before it is posted, I have a follow-up to a question I am guessing you will answer about Andrew Albers.  If you could ship one Twins player to Korea, who would it be and why?  Thanks, big fan - 

Is this Airplane?  Well, the ideal candidate signed with the Phillies, so he's out.  If I'm going to start selling humans, I'd prefer to make a big score and get out of the game ASAP.  Thus, I'm selfishly selling Joe Mauer to Korea for 25 million bucks.  I'd have all the money I need to live or at least all the money I'd need to get myself a sweet one-hour documentary about wasting a fortune in a short period of time.  I'd be hated in Minnesota and likely in the U.S., but I could just build a gold wall to keep angry people away.  I'd also build a catapult, but that's just for fun. 

Here's a three-pack from @TalktoContact, the always entertaining Twins podcast.  Follow them on Twitter and listen to their podcast.  If you do, I will be your friend.

Which current Twin forecasted to make the 25-man roster is the edgiest?  Does anyone have attitude?  Grit?

Edge.  Attitude.  Grit.  I can't find these words in Excel.  I literally have no idea how to sort these columns.  I'm going to try to answer this anyway.  I'm not sure that anyone has "grit" or "edge" but I do think that some of these players have "Minnesota Grit," a term I just invented that some will certainly find offensive.  Brian Dozier and Trevor Plouffe had long hair, so that counts.  Sam Deduno eats necklaces, so he's got MG (Minnesota Grit, acronyms sell, baby!). 

Typically, these terms are used to try to attach value to an otherwise valueless player because he plays really hard.  Or, it's used to describe the guy on the team who is most likely to mix his chaw with sunflower seeds and dirt from the infield.  I don't think the Twins have one of those guys, so I'll go with Sam Deduno and his own version of pica. 

How is it possible that Gardy and Rick Anderson both still have their jobs?

Why is Anderson Andy?  I wish he was Ricky.  Gardy and Ricky has a nice ring.  Gardy and Andy is a mouthful.  Seriously, say it out loud right now.  Now try yelling it.  Is your boss coming over? 

Anyway, I think they have their jobs because it is very hard to pinpoint why the Twins currently suck.  Well, that's not fully true.  They suck because they don't have a lot of talent.  In my opinion, you fire a coach or coaches when a team performs poorly relative to their talent level.  If the talent level is low and the team performs at a low level, then the World makes sense.  If the talent level is high and the team performs at a low level, then heads should roll.  The Twins have a few talented players, but they don't have a talented team.

Firing Gardy would be a symbolic move or a move that panders to those who think that "something has to change."  Terry Ryan would be blaming the poor performance of his untalented roster on the manager, which might or might not be justifiable.  If the Twins want to make a symbolic or pandering move, that is their prerogative.  I just don't think that type of move would fix the issues with the team.   Of course, the team is getting better, which brings us to...

What would have to happen for Gardy to get fired during the 2014 campaign?  What about AFTER the season?

For Gardy to get fired during the season, he'd have to lose the clubhouse.  There would have to be negative and troubling reports in the papers and on prominent blogs (read: not this one).  He would have to get publicly questioned by a good player and since the Twins don't have a lot of good players, this would be quite difficult.  Gardy is a players' manager, so I don't see this scenario playing out. 

For Gardy to get fired after the season, the Twins would have to lose another 96 games (or more).  That symbolic, pandering move I mentioned earlier?  That would look pretty good to the Front Office after another terrible season.  If it meant that Terry Ryan and other prominent members of the Front Office could keep their jobs, then I think they would fire Gardy for self-preservation.  I know I would.  In fact, if my company told me, "you need to fire Ron Gardenhire, or we'll find a new teacher to take your place," I'd do it immediately.  It would be unprecedented.  For the record, I think the Twins will win 70-75 games in 2014 and Gardy will keep his job.  This is all on the record.

Is Josmil Pinto Chris Parmelee?  Thanks, I love reading.

Brad S., St. Paul, MN

That question is confusing.  I think it needs a comma...or a dash...or a hyphen...or something else...

This obviously refers to each player having crazy hot Septembers and bringing hot, crazy expectations with them to Spring Training the next year.  It seems that some are fearful that Pinto will flop in his season-starting debut, much like Parmelee did.  I get it.  However, we're talking apples and oranges here.  These are two completely different players.  It isn't even about their talent or performance or pedigree or what have you.  It's as simple as the fact that they are two completely different human beings with different DNA and genes and pheromones and everything. 

There are a billion examples of a player having a good September call-up and then being a good player going forward.  There are a billion examples of a player having a terrible September call-up and then being a good player going forward.  You can mix and match good with terrible in those phrases all you like.  In fact, I'm creating a turn-based iPhone app for that very purpose.  Boring Words with Friends. 

The fact remains that each player is an individual.  So, no, Pinto is not Parmelee.  He's Pinto.  And you know what, that's pretty neat. 

Are you excited for pitchers and catchers?  I know I am.

Brad S., St. Paul, MN

Not to disagree with myself a loyal reader, but no, not really.  I know this is the symbolic start of the baseball season, but it's not a real start of the baseball season.  I love playing catch, I kind of love watching pros play catch, but I'm not a fan of reading about players playing catch.  Once the actual Spring Training games get going, I'll be excited for about an hour.  Then some scrub like Gloob Newstrom will step up to the plate wearing number 87 and I'll remember why I never make it through a full Spring Training game. 

I'm excited for Opening Day in April though.  Sorry to be such a bummer.  It's part of my new plan to end every post on a bummer. 

NOT!  Here's a rare photo of Ron Gardenhire in concert:

Oh, evenflow.  Have a great weekend, everyone!

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