Monday, January 28, 2008

New York, New York (and Notes)

Let me start out today's post with a personal note that is somewhat relevant. On Thursday morning, I will be heading to New York for a short three-day trip. In and of itself, that's not all that exciting (well, for me it is because I've never been to The Big Apple), but what spices things up is that I'll be there on Super Bowl weekend as the Giants prepare to take on the Patriots in the year's biggest sporting event. Not only that, but it seems like there is a very good chance that Johan Santana will be traded to a New York team within the next week. I think it would be utterly crazy to be in New York at the time a trade was pulled off to send Santana to the Yankees or Mets. I'll walk around Times Square wearing my Santana jersey and I'll be sure to share what types of reactions or comments I get.

Anyway, a few notes from over the weekend:

* From the Department of Double Takes, check out this statement that the Pioneer Press' Charley Walters made when wrapping up a blurb predicting that Santana will be traded within the next ten days:
It's clear that Santana, acquired in a Rule 5 minor league draft trade deal in 1999, has become a baseball mercenary who doesn't care where he pitches as long he's paid the optimal amount.
I had to read this a couple times because it came out of nowhere within the context of the article. I wouldn't say that Walters' charge is "clear" at all -- at least it is not evidenced by anything he wrote in the article. Perhaps behind closed doors, Santana truly is the type of disloyal and greedy mercenary that Walters makes him out to be, but none of the quotes Santana has given to the media have really illustrated anything to that effect.

* Along with Walters' seemingly unsubstantiated jab at Santana, yesterday's edition of the Pioneer Press also featured an encouraging update on the progress of Francisco Liriano courtesy of Phil Miller. Says Frisco:
"There is nothing to tell anymore, because my arm feels great now. I can't say it hurts this much, or I still have this work to do, anything like that," Liriano said. "I think I'm ready to go, right now. There is no soreness, no pain, nothing. It's the same every time I throw - there's nothing for me to say because I can pitch normally."
The article goes on to state that Liriano is now throwing all of his pitches -- including the worrisome slider -- without pain and that he has no plans of making changes to his mechanics.

It's certainly great to hear these things, but I must confess I'm a little wary of taking Liriano's personal medical judgments at face value. As many will recall, Liriano downplayed the significance of his elbow issues during the 2006 season, and it later came to light that he was pitching through some serious pain. Hiding his injury may have worsened the problems for Liriano. With that, said, if what he's saying now is true, and he can continue to pitch pain-free through spring training and into the season, the Twins might have their ace after all even with Santana gone. That'd be great, because as much as I like Scott Baker, the idea of having him featured as the team's No. 1 starter is a bit frightening.

* I didn't make it to TwinsFest this weekend, but I've heard from people that were there and encountered Boof Bonser that the slimmed-down right-hander was barely recognizable. Apparently Bonser responded to challenges from his coaches to lose some weight and shed 20 lbs during the offseason. After a disappointing 2007 campaign, a rebound year for Bonser could be crucial to this rotation.

* Speaking of TwinsFest, be sure to check out the Curlz and Curveballs blog for a nice series of photos from the couple's Friday night trip to the Metrodome gathering.

* Here's a name to add to the long list of people who are fully aware that Michael Cuddyer should not be playing center field: Michael Cuddyer. It seems that the only name not on that list could well be that of the Twins' manager.

4 comments:

Josh's Thoughts said...

Nice post, Nick. I'm still worried about Liriano's arm, despite what he might say, although it is refreshing to hear a player say that they're ready to go.

If he can come back anywhere near his '06 form, I'd be ecstatic. But you're right, he totally downplayed his injury in '06 (however nobody really knew the severity at first). I'm just hoping his "illness" over the weekend at TwinsFest (with an early exit on Saturday and not arriving on Sunday) has nothing to do with his elbow being at all sore from signing autographs. But I'm betting most players arms are sore from signing. I talked to Jeff Manship tonight after TwinsFest and he said his hand was "dead".

Have fun in New York.

Anonymous said...

If you walk around Times Square the most reaction you'll get is from other Minnesotans since the only New Yorkers there are trying to pick your pocket or sell you crap.

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