Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Radke Retires, White Re-Signs

For a very slow and uneventful offseason, this week has actually been "action-packed." Yesterday was probably one of the sadder days Twins fans have recently witnessed. Brad Radke, the 12-year veteran pitcher, officially retired. Now, unless you really thought there was a chance Radke would return, there was no surprise in this.

With that in mind, like many others out there, its fair to "memorialize" Brad in a way. He did, after all, give twelve very good years to the Twins organization and its fans, along with his right arm. I don't want to retread too much on things I've said before, but if there is one thing to remember Radke by, its his sheer will and determation.

There were many things over the years that endeared me to Radke. While constantly frustrated by his infamous first-inning struggles, the man constantly gave his team a chance and watching him pitch was always a joy. His effortless delivery and impeccable control was something to be amazed at. Radke was also the model of what altheletes should try to be. He stuck with the team that drafted him for less money twice out of loyalty and because it seemed like the avid outdoorsman liked Minnesota for the same reasons many of us do.

He was always soft-spoken, honest, and a professional. He never made offhand comments about teammates or his managers. He didn't point the finger. Instead, he just pitched his heart out every fifth game. And, of course, like so many this year, you it was impossible to not be effective by how much Radke gave this season, pitching with a torn labrum and a stress fracture in his shoulder. We'll never know how much pain he really pitched through, but we know how much he cared about the game, his teammates, and winning ballgames for the fans of the Minnesota Twins.

I'm going to miss Brad Radke this next year for sure, but I have to happy to have had the chance to watch the guy compete all these years. And no one can be really upset; the guy deserves his time now with his family.

As for other Twins news, Rondell White signed a one-year deal with the Twins yesterday. According to the Associated Press release, White has a second-year option and with performance bonuses, White could make $8.5 million if he has 650 plate appearances or more in each of the next two seasons. The one-year deal is for a guaranteed $2.75 million and will be completed once White passes a physical.

White's batting line last year was a unspectacular .246/.276/.365 with only 7 HRs and 38 RBI. He also, notably, scored only 32 runs in 337 at-bats, which is alarmingly low number. Naturally, many have pointed to his second half numbers as a marker of success, as he hit .321/.354/.538 with all seven homers and 23 RBI. Of course, he also hit only .143/.143/.357 in 28 August at-bats and was a ghastly .241/.281/.322 with RISP. His inconsistency was the major problem; he was actually almost halfway decent in May as a DH, hitting .263, but with no power. He had three awful months, in April, June, and August, one marginally better month in May, and two good months in July and September.

The most important split, though, is between his stats as a DH and as a left-fielder. Playing the outfield, he hit .328/.366/.507 and DHing, he hit .194/.215/.276. Obviously, because the Twins are worried about White's age (35 next year) and injury history, the second-year option only kicks in with 525 plate appearances. I'd also be concerned about White's general inconsistency and his awful arm in left-field. The Twins already spent the last few years with noodle-arms in left-field, particularly with the defensively-challenged Shannon Stewart.

However, at $2.75 million, its hard to complain too much considering the market. Let's remember that in recent days, a pitcher who had a 6.02 ERA got a three-year, $21 million deal when he should have gotten an incentive-laden contract instead and numerous other mediocre players have been raking in the money from clubs foolish enough to give them long-term deals.

With the White and Cirillo deals, the Twins haven't exactly done tons in the offseason, but they have made a smart investments. Neither contract is long-term or for high amounts of money, meaning that even if White is hurt or inconsistent or if Cirillo falls off very quickly, it won't hurt the Twins that much. These are, in that sense, the kind of deals the Twins have to make while they focus on the all-important extensions for Mauer, Morneau, and company.

5 comments:

Nick N. said...

He never made offhand comments about teammates or his managers.

He did once say he was "suicidal" over his lack of offensive support. But for the most part, I'd agree that he was a good team player who knew how to keep his mouth shut and play the game.

Nick M. said...

Yes this is true, but I let that one slid, since the Twins offense was so horrendous at that time it cost them a playoff trip and Johan the Cy Young.

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