Monday, February 24, 2014

Minnesota Twins Power Rankings: February 24, 2014

Now that Spring Training is underway, we can finally start ranking the most important stories from the past week.  It will be quite easy for you to know which stories are more important than others.  You see, 1 is better than 2, 2 is better than 3 and so forth.  Now that we all understand how numbers work, we can get to business. 

10.  Mike Berardino and Rhett Bollinger

There are going to be tons and tons of reports during Spring Training, but for my money (of which I have to spend $0), I prefer the coverage from these two reporters.  Berardino posts here and you can follow him on Twitter here.  Bollinger posts here and you can follow him on Twitter here.  You can get great news and reports from these two, then look for my analysis on their reports 7-50 days later.  It's a great cycle. 

Hendriks was released by the Baltimore Orioles earlier this week.  :( 

Hendriks was claimed by the Toronto Blue Jays earlier this week.  :) 

The Orioles signed Ubaldo Jimenez and determined that he was better than Hendriks.  I mean, I guess that's fair.  With Toronto, Hendriks could have an easier route to Major League starts, as Toronto's rotation was awful last season they have done almost nothing to improve it.  If nothing else, Toronto's AAA affiliate is the Buffalo Bisons, which is probably the most creative team name in existence. 

When Hughes signed with the Twins, he decided that he wanted a new uniform number.  He had worn both 65 and 34 with the Yankees.  Obviously, 34 is not available in Minnesota.  65 is currently occupied by Trevor May, who has no chance of making the team this Spring and likely no intention to keep such an odd number.  Regardless, Hughes wanted a new number, so he picked 45.  Of course, that number was taken by Scott Ullger, who had worn it for like 20 years.  No big deal.  I guess a player trumps a coach.  Hughes is supposedly going to do something nice for Ullger and I have some suggestions:
  • A homemade thank you card on ACTUAL cardstock.  Don't skimp.
  • A pony.
  • Seasons 3-8 of The Simpsons on DVD (the glory years).
  • A firm handshake with appropriate eye contact.
  • A bunch of prost ice cream.
Ricky Nolasco's personal catcher?  This report is mostly about how prepared Ricky Nolasco is when he comes into Spring Training.  He's ahead of other pitchers, he throws more, he smells better, etc.  However, Dan Rohlfing is the official Twins player of this blog due to the fact that he (likely mistakenly) followed me on Twitter a few weeks back. 

The Twins love the concept of personal catchers, using Drew Butera with Francisco Liriano, Drew Butera with Carl Pavano and, surprisingly, Drew Butera with Les Straker.  Don't look that last one up, just trust me.  Hopefully, Rohlfing will have the inside track to catch Nolasco in Spring Training.  Hopefully, Nolasco will be outstanding.  Hopefully, this will lead to Rohlfing starting the season with Minnesota.  Every team needs a second catcher and the Twins like to have three.  Why can't Rohlfing be one of the three?

Gonsalves is a child that is currently employed by the Twins as a pitcher.  At just 19, the former fourth-round pick is loaded with promise.  Twins Daily had an interview with Gonsalves last week and he certainly didn't respond like a child.  Yes, he did use the dreaded "pitch to contact" idiom but if you can get past those three words, the rest of the interview is really insightful.  Check it out!

EVERYONE LOVES MINNESOTA!!!!  Recently, both Josh Willingham and Kevin Correia have expressed interest in remaining with the Twins beyond their current contracts, with Wililngham going so far as to say he wants to retire with the team.  Hey, I'd love to retire with the Twins too, but no one seems to want to ask me about it.  Correia said that he loves the city and the stadium, which will almost certainly lead the local news for the next fifty nights.  Willingham surprisingly admitted to liking the weather, although he is currently in Florida while the rest of us are trapped in our cars on 494. 

I think it is great that these dudes like playing here.  I hope their word gets out to other players and they come here as a result.  As to whether I want either guy to actually stay here, let's just say that I wish them both well in their future endeavors. 

4.  Head Injuries

Yay, Chris Herrmann.  Herrmann supports eliminating catcher collisions, according to this Bollinger report.  Good for him, why would anyone want to get run over when trying to catch a baseball.  This isn't mumblety-peg.  What is mumblety-peg?

Hmm, Ron Gardenhire.  According to that same Bollinger report, Gardenhire is not sold on the catcher-crushing rule changes:

"There's going to be times when a guy comes in there with no place to go and slides and he gets hurt and then you're going to have issues, because he can't protect himself as a runner trying to score and a catcher whacks him," Gardenhire said. "I'm more worried about my runners going in there than my catchers. They're going to have change what they do to score, which is scary because that's how you get hurt."

Wait, what?  The runner is initiating any contact, not the catcher.  Is the catcher going to have a boxing glove pop out of his stomach like in cartoons?  So basically, we should allow runners to plow catchers because we don't want them to have to slide differently?  Makes perfect sense.  I'll gladly trade a few knee/ankle injuries for better preserved brains. 

Boo, Kent Hrbek.  I love Kent Hrbek.  He's one of my favorite players ever.  That said, this quote from this Berardino story annoys me: 

“It’s just a different thing for what the guys have to go through to get back and play (following concussions),” Hrbek said. “They’re covering their (butt). Whatever. Joe is not going to have any problem over there.”

Concussions are brain injuries.  Until we all take them as seriously as they are, we won't be able to do anything about them.  We don't have the technology to eliminate concussions right now, but you can take proper precautions when a person has one to ensure that they recover properly.  The next time the topic of brain injuries comes up with Kent Hrbek around, can we just give him a drumstick to munch on?  Everyone, including Hrbek, will be much happier. 

By the way, "they" aren't covering their "butts" they're protecting player brains.  Pants cover butts and we have that technology.

Deduno seems to be ahead of schedule in his rehab from shoulder surgery.  Early in the Winter, it seemed unclear if he would be ready for Spring Training, but now I am reading that he has thrown multiple bullpens and faced some live hitters.  I've made my skepticism regarding Deduno's long-term success very clear.  However, he was pretty good last season.  If you had to pick someone for the 5th rotation spot based on 2013 results, Deduno would win that spot hands down.  Plus, he's a firecracker who eats necklaces.

Frick.  Bailey was set to be a free agent after the 2014 season, but then he selfishly signed a six-year, $105 million extension with the Reds, ending my hopes that the Twins would sign him next year.  I idiotically hoped that the Wayne Krivsky-Reds connection would lead Bailey to Minnesota.  Like they were best friends or something.  Bailey is an outstanding pitcher and he's getting better.  I'm happy for Reds fans but I also secretly hate Reds fans.  Man, why couldn't Krivsky have had the foresight to buddy up to Bailey?  I mean, here's a re-enactment of how much fun they would have had on a roller coaster together.

Hmm, I'd see that movie.

1.  Terry Ryan

During my free agency previews back in November, I introduced a new Terry Ryan.  A Terry Ryan who signs high-dollar free agents, wears a leather jacket and throws around fingerguns like mad.  Believe me, I was going to run that new TR into the ground.  Then, Ryan was diagnosed with skin cancer and it just didn't feel right any longer. 

Reports came out recently that Ryan had successful surgery to remove a cancerous lump from his neck and that he received a favorable report from his one-week follow-up visit.  Nothing is more BA than beating the crap out of cancer, so maybe TR will take on that persona that I invented for him a few months ago.  I am 100%  certain that Terry Ryan does not read this blog, but I still wish him the best of luck as he continues his recovery.    

Stories...Ranked!  If you hate good music, you should stop reading right now.

I don't like to get into "not baseball" too much, but in April, The Afghan Whigs are releasing their first album in 16 years and I can't contain myself.  This is one of my all-time favorite bands, they broke up 13 years ago, and I never thought I would ever get new music from them.  I love The Twilight Singers, Greg Dulli's new band, but The Afghan Whigs are just so cool.  Here's the video for their newest song, "Algiers;" it's outstanding.

I apologize for this musical interlude, but if you aren't familiar with their work, they are definitely worth listening to.  My favorite album is Congregation, but you really can't go wrong with any of their stuff.  Ok, "not baseball" over.  See you next week!


  1. Ok, that was my first ever listen to the Whigs, and man, good stuff! Heading for Itunes...

    1. Oh yeah, they're fantastic. One of my favorites!

  2. And by the way, what ever did happen to Les Straker?

    1. I've got Straker on my list for Forgotten Twins. I actually had planned to write about him this month, but I've got something else planned instead. For now, i have no clue where he is, but I'll find out soon.

  3. The Hrbek concussion comments are sickening. I hate all the corruption that there is in the NFL surrounding concussions and I don't want to see anything similar play out within the MLB.

    1. Yep, it would be great to see a guy like Hrbek come out in favor of better concussion protocol, but I guess it's not fair to make him assume that responsibility, especially if he doesn't believe it. I need to look more closely, but it would be great to see some former and current catchers who have come out in favor of the new blocking rules. Managers too, actually.