Monday, September 03, 2007

Labor Day Notes

The Twins ended their four-game weekend series against the Royals in a split after dropping the final game 8-1 yesterday afternoon. Boof Bonser was crushed, recording just five outs while giving up five earned runs on seven hits. In general, the Twins' pitchers got beat around throughout the series, with the exception obviously being Scott Baker's magical outing on Friday night. In the other three games, the Royals racked up 21 runs on 39 hits. Ugly stuff.

Some other notes:

* I'm convinced that Torii Hunter has his mind made up that he won't be returning next season. He elected to skip the groundbreaking ceremony for the Twins' new stadium on Thursday, then made the following comments in a Star Tribune story published Friday:

"Sometimes I just walk around and look around and talk to the people," Hunter said. "Everyone is like, 'Don't leave.' It's pretty tough. Not just around the Metrodome but around downtown and all the different restaurants I go to. Nobody wants me to leave.

"But I might have to leave."

Hunter seems to be choosing his words carefully in order to avoid overtly admitting that he has no intention of returning to the Twins next year, but I don't think there's a whole lot of doubt that he is looking for the big payday in free agency. There's nothing wrong with that, but I wish he'd quit acting like it's the Twins' fault for failing to initiate negiotiations when I'd bet he never had any true desire to re-sign without seeing what he could make on the open market.

Losing Hunter, who has been the team's best hitter this year, is going to make Terry Ryan's task of improving the offense during the offseason exceedingly difficult. He had better find an answer in center field that doesn't include the words "Ford" or "Span."

* After putting together a phenomenal year at Triple-A, Kevin Slowey will start tomorrow night against the Indians. Another pitcher coming up from Rochester as a part of September call-ups is Nick Blackburn, who was our Prospect of the Month for June (when he went 5-0 with a 0.00 ERA). In total, Blackburn went 7-3 with a 2.11 ERA over 110 2/3 innings in Triple-A.

* I didn't catch it, but Terry Ryan apparently did a radio interview on KSTP yesterday, which you can read about here. During the interview, Ryan reportedly claimed that he would rather have an "RBI guy" than a "guy who can hit it over the fence." He later went on to say that when you look at the numbers, the biggest problem with Triple-A catching prospect Jose Morales is that he has no power. Not only is that a horrible contradiction, it is a point of view that makes no sense.

Morales is hitting .313 in Rochester this season with a .402 slugging percentage, which works out to an Isolated Slugging of .089. Joe Mauer's Isolated Slugging is .125 and Mike Redmond's is .060. In other words, none of the Twins' current catchers really have any power either. Yet, Mauer regularly hits in the No. 3 slot and Redmond batted sixth yesterday. Oh, and as for Chris Heintz? He's posted a .269 slugging percentage over 24 career major-league games.

Regardless of Morales' lack power, he has hit very well this season, as evidenced by the excellent batting average. Moreover, the Twins need to make a decision on him after this season because he is approaching his sixth year in the organization, which means that if they don't add him to the 40-man roster they will lose him. Letting a talented young catcher slip away for nothing in order to keep a guy like Heintz would be a horrible mistake, but considering what we've already seen happen with guys like Alex Romero and Alexander Smit this season, I wouldn't be too surprised if it happened.

I'm really starting to lose faith in the way this organization is being run.

4 comments:

BD said...

Adding some power to this lineup should be darn near mandatory.

With that said, catcher's not really the position I look to for more pop - if a guy can handle the pitching staff & defense and add ANYTHING with the bat, he's helping out at catcher.

So I don't really understand criticizing Morales for a lack of power. Seems to me there are a number of other positions where power usually resides which could stand an upgrade.

If Morales hits, let him split time with Redmond and move Mauer to 3B or LF - as good as he is defensively, he doesn't help us when he's hurt (and I can't help thinking there are other positions where he'd be less likely to get hurt).

And yes, move Mauer "even if he's not that special as a hitter at 3B / LF / WHATEVER." If he hits .320 with commensurate OBP, etc. at 3B or LF, all we need to be "better" is for Morales/Redmond to hit better than Punto, Kubel or Tyner.

Anonymous said...

Oh good grief. Guys that hit the ball over the fence with regularity are just about the best RBI guys out there.

SBG

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