In the course of the weeks leading up to spring training, there is a void of baseball news, and thus, Twins-related news, to speak of. However, despite this, we have tried our best to keep posting on this site to keep people up-to-date.
Matthew LeCroy was a player, who over the course of the 2005 season, took a lot of attacks on this website... and likely for good reason. But it wasn't all LeCroy's fault. He is many things. An awful runner, one of the worst first-basemen or backup catchers I've ever seen, a bad hacker versus tough right-handers, and a guy who looked more fit for a beer-league softball team.
He also led the team last year in OPS at .798 and posted a career high .354 OBP. He was a good, patient hitter off the bench who crushed lefties. But that was always the key. Manager Ron Gardenhire could never use him in his best role. While LeCroy hit .306 with 13 HRs, 24 RBIs, and a 1.025 OPS against lefties, he was given 56 more at-bats (180 vs 124) against righties and hit .228 with 4 HRs and a .641 OPS.
What's left to wonder is - had LeCroy been used properly in a role against lefties off the bench - if he would have been re-signed, since he would have been a great bat off the bench against AL Central pitchers like Mark Buerhle, Cliff Lee, Mike Maroth, and C.C. Sabathia. In that sense, its unfortunate that they couldn't keep him. One of two things thus happened: Either Ryan realized that Gardy didn't know how to use LeCroy or he didn't want to deal with Scott Boras (LeCroy's agent) more than once this offseason.
Regardless, LeCroy signed yesterday with the Washington Nationals. Its a one-year deal for $850,000, which is less than the Twins had previously envisioned. This is the same Nationals team that is getting excited at the prospect of puttin Sammy Sosa on its roster. Seems ironic or just plain strange that Frank Robinson, an amazing slugger like Harmon Killebrew in the pitching-rich era of the 1960's, would end up managing a guy like Sosa, who is trying to pass Robinson on the all-time list when his home runs don't even feel like they should be in the same ballpark as Robinson's or Killebrew's.
In other Twins News, Wayne Krivsky, the Twins assistant GM who helped negotiate such multi-years deals as those for Torii Hunter and Johan Santana, and who scouted Joe Nathan and envisioned him as the future Twins closer, was signed yesterday by the Reds to be their new GM. This could be potentially bad news for the Twins, as Krivsky was one of the key parts to the Twins recent run of success. However, I wouldn't worry too much. The Twins still have Terry Ryan, Jim Rantz, and Mike Radcliff. Bill Smith, Terry Ryan's other assistant, has sat in on these negotiations, according to the Star Tribune, and should be ready to Krivsky. On that note, congrats to Wayne Krivsky!