Michael Rand started RandBall with hopes that he could convince the world to love jumpsuits as much as he does. So far, he's only succeeded in using the word "redacted" a lot. He welcomes suggestions, news tips, links of pure genius, and pictures of pets in Halloween costumes here, though he already knows he will regret that last part.
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Still, it was a little bit of a shock to look at Busted Coverage today (full slide show of photos at that link) and see a report that Radke has -- and is trying to sell -- an 11,000 square foot mansion in Florida.
It honestly looks like the kind of house usually reserved for a guy like LeBron or A-Rod -- a mega-star who has made many hundreds of millions of dollars in a career.
The house was reportedly built in 2009 and has these features:
A finely appointed island kitchen with custom Olde World cabinetry and professional appliances combines with a generous butler’s pantry to provide for your every need. The spectacular great room features both fireplace and media sitting areas adjoining an open breakfast area. The floor plan includes a state of the art media room, game room with walk-in bar, exercise room, library and 500 bottle wine vault.
If you have $6.8 million lying around, make an offer!
It pains us to say this because we thought Mike Pelfrey was due for a big year -- so much so that we made a friendly wager with Jon Marthaler about it -- but it might be time, at least temporarily, to let Pelfrey cure what ails him out of the bullpen instead of the starting rotation. In his place, the Twins could seamlessly insert Sam Deduno -- either their best or second-best starter last year, depending on your perspective of Kevin Correia.
Pelfrey's velocity is down from a year ago, which as Nick Nelson notes is quite odd for a pitcher in his second year back from Tommy John surgery. He doesn't look overly confident on the mound, which is one of those "eye test" things but can be an important intangible.
Deduno has a 1.84 ERA in 14.2 innings out of the bullpen. He's been part of a very effective relief group -- one that has a run of 25 consecutive scoreless innings -- but his role as a long reliever is not nearly as important as a potential role as another solid starter in a rotation that could use some more stability.
Maybe Pelfrey gets one more try to sort things out. Or maybe, if the Twins are serious about continuing to be proactive about their roster, they make the move now.
Joe Mauer is still very much capable of squaring up a ball and hitting it sharply. Just ask David Price's protective cup, which Mauer blasted on the fly for an infield single Tuesday.
As a matter of fact, 28.3 percent of all balls he's put into play this season have been line drives -- a small sample size, but the highest number of any season in his career. The best full season was 2013, when his line drive rate was 27.7 percent.
Last year and this year, however, also have a more disturbing trend in common: a rapidly increasing strikeout total for a player who used to be one of the tougher guys in MLB to whiff.
Mauer had two more strikeouts last night, giving him 24 in just 19 games. That's obviously more than one per game for a guy whose career average is more like a strikeout every other game.
And the strikeouts have been coming in bunches. Mauer has 12 career games with three or more strikeouts (11 with three, one with four). Half of them have come in either 2013 or 2014. He has struck out either two or three times in nine of his 19 games this season.
As pointed out by Parker Hageman, Mauer is struggling particularly this season against non-fastballs, with just a .161 average against off-speed stuff before last night's game. He also hasn't fared well with two strikes, something he used to be well above-average at doing.
The big question is: should we worry? Part of us wants to say no because this is a 19-game sample size for a player with a much longer track record of success. He was striking out at a one per game rate for about the first third of last season before he started putting more balls in play, so there should be some adjustment coming.
Part of us, though, is concerned. When he was fanning last year, he was still maintaining a high average and hitting for power; through 49 games in 2013, he had 49 Ks but a .492 slugging percentage and .332 batting average. This year, he has just three extra base hits in 19 games. He just turned 31, and we can't forget that a concussion ended his 2013 season.
In other words, it's not time to pull the alarm yet ... but if we check back at, say, the 50-game mark and Mauer is still trending downward, you have our permission to be very concerned.
Former Twins outfielder Denard Span is known for generally having good plate discipline. But there's ball four ... and then there's a pitch so wild that it does this:
The Twins' collective approach at the plate this season doesn't always make for the most aesthetically pleasing brand of baseball, but through 18 games -- one-ninth of the season -- it's hard to argue with the results.
Minnesota is among the top-10 teams in MLB in strikeouts, having whiffed 162 times this season. That's exactly nine per game, putting them on a pace for 1,458 this season -- even more than the 1,430 they had a season ago.
But when you go to a lot of deep counts and take a lot of pitches, you are also going to walk a lot (hopefully). The Twins were seventh in that category a year ago. This year, they lead MLB in walks with 96, and those walks have helped the offense average close to 5.5 runs per game -- putting them very near the top in all of baseball after many of us thought this would be an historically bad offense.
The sample size is still small, but it gets larger by the day. The Twins had eight more walks against the Royals on Sunday, helping them score eight runs to even their record at 9-9. Three of their runs yesterday were directly linked to walks.
The Twins have done pretty well with runners in scoring position, hitting .253 this season to rank 10th in MLB. But that's not such an absurdly high number to think it's unsustainable.
If Minnesota can keep taking free passes, maybe their offense will be better than we imagined.
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