Haven't gotten a post in since Monday, so let's touch on the past week's developments quickly...
* The BBWAA has pleasantly surprised me this week by electing deserving winners for both league's Cy Young Awards, uncharacteristically looking past relatively unimpressive win totals and awarding Zack Greinke and Tim Lincecum for their fantastic bodies of work in the '09 season.
Greinke, who had a historically great season, was the clear-cut class of the AL this year, and any concerns that the voters would lean toward the gaudier win totals of less deserving candidates like Felix Hernandez, Justin Verlander or CC Sabathia were erased when Greinke captured all but three first-place votes and won in a landslide. The NL picture was a bit less clear, and I was pretty torn between Lincecum and Chris Carpenter, but ultimately Linecum's huge strikeout totals and 2.48 ERA caused voters to overlook his weak 15-7 record. Adam Wainwright, who looked to many like the presumptive winner due to his league-leading totals in wins and innings pitched, surprisingly finished third.
With the quality selections in these categories, the much maligned BBWAA is starting to build up some good will among modern-thinking baseball analysts and fans everywhere. Of course, that could all be erased if Joe Mauer and Albert Pujols aren't announced as MVPs next week.
* Results for this year's Manager of the Year voting were also announced this week, and on the AL side, Ron Gardenhire finished just behind winner Mike Scioscia to notch his fifth second-place finish in eight years as Twins manager (there's also a third-place finish mixed in there). When pondering Gardenhire's candidacy for this award in late October, my conclusion was as follows: "I don't know if Gardenhire excelled more than any other American League manager this year -- Mike Scioscia and Ron Washington both did excellent work -- but he certainly deserves to be one of the front-runners for the Manager of the Year award." So, obviously I think Scioscia was a deserving candidate and I'm happy he won. The fact that Gardenhire recorded his sixth top-three finish in eight seasons since becoming Twins manager, though, only strengthens my perception that he is viewed much more highly around the country and around the league than he is here in Minnesota, and that he's probably a better manager than a lot of local fans give him credit for.
* Thrylos98, who authors the Tenth Inning Stretch blog, has been claiming on his Twitter account to have inside info on a developing blockbuster deal between the Twins and Marlins that will bring Dan Uggla and Ricky Nolasco to Minnesota.
Around the end of the regular season, Thrylos made a vague mention of a major move on the imminent horizon for the Twins, and after the J.J. Hardy trade was completed he claimed that this was the move he'd been referring to all along. Of course, that statement doesn't really jive with reports that the Twins started talks with the Brewers only 10 days before the Hardy trade was consummated, so you can color me skeptical. There's no way in the world I believe the Twins have the pieces (that they'd be willing to move, anyway) to reel in a marquis package like Uggla and Nolasco, but if such a swap actually goes down, I'll officially start referring to Thrylos by the nickname "Scoop."
* On Tuesday night, Seth Stohs had third base prospect Danny Valencia as a guest on his weekly podcast. An amusing moment came midway through the interview when Valencia took an opportunity to call out one of his harshest online critics.
"That guy, I don't know his name, he goes by TT," said Valencia. "It just seems like he doesn't like me, it's kind of unfair, but you know I guess it comes with what we do. TT, if I can make you like me man, let me know if I can get you on my side. I hate to read all the bad things you say about me, but we'll see what we can do."
Readers of this blog might recognize that name, as TT frequently engages in lengthy debates in the comments section here and also runs his own blog, Granny Baseball. I found the quoted portion of Seth's interview quite humorous given that I've always felt that TT has been far too critical of Valencia without any legitimate reason. In fact, just this week, when making his recommendations for additions to the Twins' 40-man roster on his blog, TT astonishingly skipped over Valencia while pointing out that the Twins seem high on the third baseman "despite his struggles at AAA last year." That seems like a rather absurd spin on a 758 OPS in a 24-year-old's first stint at the Triple-A level, and of course it's not difficult for any objective observer to see why the Twins are high on Valencia given his .299/.354/.480 hitting line in the minors and the relatively success he has experienced at every level, but it's hardly surprising to read that from TT.
Perhaps a personal appeal from the player himself will soften our friend's stance on Valencia. Somehow I doubt it.
By the way, make sure to check out Seth's podcast from Tuesday night here if you haven't had a chance. Aside from the interview with Valencia, who comes off as a real good kid, Seth also chatted with Steve Singleton, who just yesterday finished up a solid run in the Arizona Fall League.
* Finally, when you get a chance, make sure to check out the newest promising blog dedicated to the Twins and Minnesota sports at large, Undomed.