Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Off the Mark: Grudzielanek’s Comeback with Minnesota is Over


Veteran second baseman Mark Grudzielanek’s attempt to revive his career with the Minnesota Twins has come to an end.

Minor league director Jim Rantz announced that the Twins had released Grudzielanek after Sunday’s game for Class AA New Britain.

Through eight games with New Britain, Grudzielanek, 39, was hitting a meager .267 (8-for-30) and had committed two errors at the keystone corner.

Grudzielanek signed July 19 in hopes of returning to Major League Baseball after going unsigned last offseason.

He last played in the majors on August 1, 2008, for the Royals before an ankle injury ended his season.

The Twins originally signed Grudzielanek with hopes that he could provide depth and a veteran presence at a position where the team has struggled mightily this season.

Minnesota second basemen have combined to “hit” .186 this season, ranking last in the majors and serving as a veritable black-hole in the club’s lineup.

The Trade Deadline addition of Gold Glove shortstop Orlando Cabrera provided the club with more depth up the middle and ultimately spelled the end of the Mark Grudzielanek experiment with the Twins.

Grudzielanek is a former All-Star and Gold Glover winner and it is a shame that he couldn’t stick with the Twins.

His veteran presence and “gamer” attitude alone would have made him the ideal mentor for young second baseman Alexi Casilla and a great overall presence in the dugout during a pennant race.

Unfortunately, Minnesota’s refusal to end the abysmal “Nick Punto as an everyday player” experiment has ruined any chance of Grudzielanek bringing the aforementioned intangibles and his .290 career average to the Metrodome for a run at the AL Central title.

The future doesn’t look too bright for Grudzielanek as more teams continue to push youth rather than signing veterans.

As such, after spending more than a year away from the game; this release may be the end of Grudzielanek’s career.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Twin Closers: Minnesota’s Missing Link

The Minnesota Twins have made two moves to prepare for a postseason push, but are still missing one key piece.

Last week, the club acquired Gold Glove shortstop Orlando Cabrera from the Oakland Athletics to shore up the middle infield and add another productive bat to the lineup.

Today the team received right-handed starter Carl Pavano from the Cleveland Indians in an attempt to bolster a depleted rotation.

The team’s next move should be to add another reliever to the bullpen.

The bullpen has struggled mightily this season and is in dire need of one more dominant arm to help close out games.

Billy Wagner could be that arm.

Read the rest of the article at BleacherReport.

Twins Trade for Carl Pavano to Bolster Rotation



The Minnesota Twins finally made a move to shore up their depleted pitching corps.

The Twins acquired right-hander Carl Pavano from the Cleveland Indians in exchange for a player to be named later.

Pavano, 33, went 9-8 with a 5.37 ERA in 21 starts for Cleveland this season.

He has given up 150 hits and 23 walks with 88 strikeouts in 125-plus innings.

The addition of Pavano should provide much-needed aid to a beleaguered rotation that has struggled with inconsistency and injuries.

Pavano also figures to offer relief to a Twins bullpen that has been overworked this season as a result of short outings from the club’s starters.

He is a solid innings-eater, who has pitched six or more innings in 14 of his 21 starts for the Indians this season.

Pavano, an All-Star in 2004 with Florida, has largely been derided for the four injury-plagued seasons he spent with the New York Yankees after signing a contract worth $39.95 million.

He signed with the Indians for $1.5 million last winter. The Twins will pay the $500k remaining on his contract.

The team will also be responsible for paying any bonuses for incentives. If Pavano makes 10 more starts and averages 6.0 IP per outing, he'll make another $1.75 in bonuses.

Pavano is expected to join the Twins tonight in Detroit for the start of a three-game series against the AL Central-leading Tigers, who currently hold a 4 1/2-game lead over the third-place Twins.

On the season, Pavano is 5-1 against the Tigers and Chicago White Sox, the two teams the Twins are currently chasing in the division.

He is 3-0 with a 1.93 ERA against Detroit, and may be available to pitch this weekend. Pavano last pitched on Sunday against Detroit, allowing just one run over eight innings.

To make room for Pavano, knuckleballing reliever R.A. Dickey was optioned to Triple-A and the recovering Boof Bonser was transferred to the 60-day disabled list.

Waiver Wire Offers Options to Bolster Twins Rotation


The Minnesota Twins are a mess right now.

After sweeping the Chicago White Sox to claw their way back into the AL Central race and acquiring Gold Glove shortstop Orlando Cabrera from the Oakland Athletics, the Twins have gone on to lose five of their next six games.

As such, the Twins currently sit four and a half games behind the Detroit Tigers in the division and two games under .500 on the season.

The Twins biggest issue this season has been—and continues to be—pitching.

Both Chicago and Detroit made major moves to bolster their rotations at the Deadline.

The Tigers brought in veteran southpaw Jarrod Washburn from the Seattle Mariners to strengthen an already imposing rotation that includes Justin Verlander and Edwin Jackson.

The White Sox made arguably the biggest splash at the deadline by acquiring former San Diego Padres’ ace Jake Peavy for a collection of highly-talented young pitchers.

As a result of these moves, the Twins now find themselves playing catch-up in the pitching department.

The Twins starters have struggled mightily this season and things have only gotten worse as the season has worn on.

Only Scott Baker and Nick Blackburn have shown consistency of late. Beyond Baker and Blackburn, the options aren’t overly inspiring.

Kevin Slowey is out for the season. Glen Perkins and Francisco Liriano have both been ineffective of late and are in danger of losing their rotation spots.

Rookie Anthony Swarzak is suffering through Jekyll and Hyde performances that are expected of rookies, but due to the lack of depth he is being forced to do so as part of the Major League rotation, in the midst of a pennant race.

With that in mind, here are five starters that figure to go unclaimed on waivers and thus have the potential to be traded to the Twins for a final late-season salvo at the AL Central crown.


Read the rest of the article at BleacherReport.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Minnesota Twins: Free-Agents Arms Still Available


The Minnesota Twins currently sit just 2 ½ games back of the Detroit Tigers in the American League Central.

The division figures to—once again—play host to one of the best pennant races in all of baseball with the aforementioned Twins and Tigers vying with the Chicago White Sox for the right to represent the Central in the postseason.

Each of the three teams, however, has their weaknesses as we enter the season’s final two months.

All three attempted to shore up some of those issues at the MLB Trade Deadline last Friday.

The Twins imported Gold Glove shortstop Orlando Cabrera from the Oakland Athletics to improve the middle infield on both sides of the ball.

The Tigers brought in veteran southpaw Jarrod Washburn from the Seattle Mariners to bolster an already-imposing rotation that includes Justin Verlander and Edwin Jackson.

The White Sox made arguably the biggest splash at the deadline by acquiring former San Diego Padres’ ace Jake Peavy for a collection of highly-talented young pitchers.

With both Chicago and Detroit adding arms at the Deadline, the Twins find themselves playing catch-up in the pitching department.

The Twins—as evidenced by the horrid series against the Los Angeles Angels—are in dire need of at least one more arm in the bullpen and potentially another starter to take some of the pressure off of the Twins young rotation.

With that in mind, here is a look at six free-agent arms—three starters and three relievers—that could offer the Twins the boost they need to capture the flag in the Central.


Read the rest of the article at BleacherReport.