Saturday, June 20, 2009

Minnesota Twins Preparing for an International Affair

The Minnesota Twins have spent most of June slowly gaining ground on the Detroit Tigers in the American League Central.

Early next month, the Twins could quickly gain ground on the rest of the Major League Baseball when it comes to high-profile international signings.

The Twins are one of a small handful of teams reported to be very interested in making a play for Dominican slugger, Miguel Angel Sano when the international signing period opens on July 2.

Sano is a 6-foot-3 slugging shortstop from the Dominican Republic who has been compared to everyone from Hanley Ramirez to Alex Rodriguez. Oh yeah, and he recently turned 16, the magical age that makes international players eligible to sign with a Major League club.

Read the rest of the article at BleacherReport!!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Bryce Harper: Prodigy, Savior, Teenager

Super prospect—and by "prospect," I mean "teenager"—Bryce Harper has officially stated that he plans to forgo his final two years of high school so that he can enter next year’s amateur draft.

Harper, just 16-years old, has decided to pass up two more years of proms and homecomings and will instead get his GED and enroll at the College of Southern Nevada this fall.

For those who haven’t heard of Bryce Harper yet, rest assured, you will. Take one part Stephen Strasburg and dash of LeBron James. Mix them both together and you get the hype and hysteria that figures to accompany Harper in the year leading up to the 2010 draft.

He has already been anointed as “Baseball’s Chosen One” by Sports Illustrated. The following excerpt from that Sports Illustrated story paints a picture of the ultimate baseball prototype:

“Harper stands 6'3", weighs 205 pounds, has faster bat speed than Mark McGwire in his prime and runs so fast that he scored on wild pitches six times this season from second base. As a catcher, he picks off runners from his knees, and when he pitches, he throws a fastball that has been clocked at 96 mph. He also does volunteer work, holds down a 3.5 grade point average, and attends religious education classes nearly every morning before school.”

Harper, barring an injury, figures to be the most sought-after player in next year’s draft despite his relative inexperience against top-tier talent. The Washington Nationals, barring an act of divine intervention, figure to have the first pick, again.

For the Nationals, this creates a scenario in which both Strasburg and Harper could serve as battery mates and saviors of an otherwise lackluster franchise for years to come.

Granted, for that to happen, the Nats would have to be willing to shell out major bucks in back-to-back seasons for Scott Boras clients, a proposition that no team would deem desirable.

Yet, for players like Strasburg and a once-in-a-generation gem like Harper, how could the Nationals not go all in?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Francisco Liriano: the Kid’s Alright

Francisco Liriano has served many roles in the eyes of Twins fans.

In 2006, he was the second-coming of Johan Santana and part of a vicious one-two punch that would lead the Twins to the Promised Land.

In 2007, he was the missing piece on a team that failed to meet expectations.

In 2008, he was an early season bust who returned in August to help propel the Twins within one game of a division championship.

In 2009, he has been…well…maddeningly inconsistent and the villagers have stormed the castle with pitchforks and torches in hand.

Okay, the last one is a bit of exaggeration, but fans have definitely been calling for Liriano to be demoted to Rochester to work on his mechanics or to be jettisoned to the bullpen to work through his inconsistencies on the mound in big league situations.

In my opinion, we’ve got nothing to worry about.

Continue Reading at BleacherReport.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Prince Ready to Trade His Crown for a Halo

Prince Fielder has looked downright kingly this year.

The 25-year old is hitting for average and power while playing top-notch defense at first base. Without a question, he is in the midst of a great season and makes a lethal one-two punch alongside slugging outfielder, Ryan Braun.

Fielder is currently on pace to set career highs in numerous statistical categories such as runs batted in (157), batting average (.295), on-base percentage (.421), hits (167) and walks (122). He is also on pace to finish with 41 homers, a number that would fall nine shy of his career high set in 2007, but would eclipse last year’s somewhat disappointing total of 34.

Despite all that, it would be in the Brewers best interest to trade Fielder now.

Keep reading at BleacherReport.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Twins Set Sights on Free Agent Targets

Yesterday I took a look at five players the Twins could logically target in trade talks. Today it is time to look at some of the remaining free agent options still on the market that could help the Twins reach the postseason.

With the amateur draft now in the rearview mirror, all free agents who were offered arbitration can be signed without resulting in a forfeited draft pick by the signing team. As a result, expect a flurry of action regarding free agents in the coming days and weeks.

The following is a list of five current free agents that could help put the Twins over the top in their quest to win the American League Central.

Read the rest at BleacherReport.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Trading Time for Twins: Five Logical Options

Today is the annual Major League Baseball amateur draft, an event which gives struggling franchises a glimmer of hope for the future.

Unfortunately for teams on the cusp of contention, like the Minnesota Twins, the players taken today won’t have an impact on this season’s playoff races. That’s what the trading deadline is for.

With that thought in mind here are five players the Twins could logically look to add before the July 31 deadline.

Continue Reading at BleacherReport.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Minnesota Twins: Ready to Become Road Warriors?

The month of June has just started, but by the time it ends the Minnesota Twins could know whether or not they’ll be in the mix for the postseason.

Following last night’s win against the Seattle Mariners, the Twins are only 7-16 on the road, a far cry from the 21-12 record they hold in the cozy, teflon confines of the Metrodome.

The Twins have 23 games left to play this month and 17 of them are on the road.

The Twins start with a west coast swing against the aforementioned Mariners and then head south to battle the struggling Oakland Athletics, before returning to the Midwest for an interleague battle with the Chicago Cubs.

Following the road trip the Twins get six games on friendly ground against the woeful Pittsburgh Pirates and Houston Astros, before heading back out to tangle with regional foes the Milwaukee Brewers, St. Louis Cardinals and Kansas City Royals.

Although the thought of two lengthy road trips could be very daunting for a team that has struggled so much when sitting in the visitor’s dugout, the Twins still have a lot going for them.

Entering play on June 6th, the Twins currently sit at .500 with a 28-28 record and trail the division-leading Detroit Tigers by a mere game and a half in the standings.

Additionally, the Twins opponents for the rest of the month—even with the red-hot Brewers and Cardinals factored in—are a combined 10 games under .500 on the season.

If that isn’t enough to keep Twins fans and players confident, there is the simple fact that the Twins simply haven’t been playing nearly as bad as their road record would indicate; nine of the club’s last 10 losses on the road have been by three runs or fewer.

With the same level of play and perhaps a little bit more luck the Twins could very well have won any of those games and could be looking down on the rest of the division.

No doubt, the month of June will be a tough test for the Twins, but this team has the pitching and the bats to make serious waves in the still very wide-open American League Central before it’s all said and done.

It could be that a long road trip is all it takes to bring it all together.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Where Does Tom Glavine Go from Here?!

Future Hall of Famer Tom Glavine was released by the Atlanta Braves on Wednesday.

This shocking move came just days after Glavine had thrown six scoreless innings in his latest rehab start. The Braves claim they released Glavine because his velocity was down, but skeptics believe the move was spurred by financial concerns.

Glavine was to be paid $1 million for his first day on the active roster, $1.25 million for 30 days on the roster, and another $1.25 million for 90 days on the roster, bringing the total possible value of the deal to $4.5 million.

The Braves didn’t feel they could get $4.5 million worth of production out of Glavine at this stage in his career, and they opted to release the 305-game winner and call up super-prospect Tommy Hanson instead.

The question now becomes, where does Tom Glavine go next?

The way I see it, there are three logical options for Glavine at this point in his career. continue reading visit

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Lights, Camera, History: Johnson Takes Aim at 300

Tonight Randy Johnson will attempt to make history…yet again.

Tonight, at 45 years old, “The Big Unit” will attempt to have his cake and eat it too…yet again.

Tonight the San Francisco Giants southpaw makes his first bid for career win number 300.

With a twist of irony, Johnson’s 300th could come against the very franchise that drafted him and for whom he recorded his very first win, way back in 1988, the Washington Nationals (then the Montreal Expos).

Much has been made about the magical milestone of 300 wins since Tom Glavine accomplished the feat back in late 2007. Many wondered if anyone else would ever reach the mark again. At the time Johnson’s own ability to do so was in question following another career-threatening back surgery.

Less than two years later, Johnson—fully-recovered from back surgery—is a member of the Giants and far removed from his glory days with the Seattle Mariners and Arizona Diamondbacks, yet he sits on the precipice of history as all of the prognosticators now claim that Johnson, not Glavine, will be the final member of the 300 win club, ever. The finality of that prediction is weighty, but logically, not out of the realm of possibility.

The list of active pitchers with 200 wins is a short one that contains just three names: Jamie Moyer with 250, Andy Pettitte with 220 and John Smoltz with 210. None of the three figure to pitch long enough to reach 300 and with declining pitch-counts and deeper bullpens the odds of any current (or future) pitcher reaching the milestone continue to get slimmer.

If Randy Johnson has an opinion about his potential status as “Baseball’s Last 300 Game Winner,” he isn’t letting on, one way or another.

"I'm not going to talk about this stuff. OK, I got to go," he said during an ‘interview’ earlier this week. "I get distracted. I just try not to talk at all."

It seems that Johnson is simply taking things one game at a time until he snares win number 300. That one game at a time approach leads him first to the lowly Nationals who sit on the chopping block waiting for “The Big Unit” to add yet another line to his sure-fire Hall of Fame resume.

Johnson (4-4, 5.71 ERA) already owns a World Series ring and co-MVP honors to go along with five Cy Young awards. He is a 10-time All-Star who has tossed two no-hitters (including the majors' last perfect game in 2004) and ranks second on the career strikeout list with 4,843.

At this point earning win number 300 is just icing on the cake. But honestly, isn’t the icing the best part?!