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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We'll buy that. Revenues at Target Field are giant compared to what they were in the Dome, and the team's payroll at Target Field has generally reflected that.
But if Nolasco and the subsequent Phil Hughes signing for $8 million a season were products of that increased internal money, the Twins' pursuit of even more high-priced free agents in an attempt to shore up their pitching staff and other holes is presumably fueled by the sneaky asset all teams have in 2014: a massive increase in TV revenues.
Each team is projected to get about $25 million more in 2014 than in 2013 from national TV money.
Our guy La Velle E. Neal III reports that the Twins are looking at Matt Garza, one of the highest-priced free agents on the market. They have also made runs at A.J. Pierzynski and are looking at some other pitchers and possibly position players, too.
Thanks, TV money.
Yes, he really did this. Our guess would have been Aaron Gleeman if any Hardball Talk writer was going to tackle this burning question, but that's just not true.
In any event, he has Brad Ausmus and Mike Matheny 1-2 in his rankings.
But that's not really what you care about. Where did he have poor Ron Gardenhire, who would have at least scored in the top 50 percent if the RandBall Better Half was judging?
Ron Gardenhire: The jowls of Rick Renteria, the facial hair issues of Fredi Gonzalez and the troubling inner rumblings of Terry Collins. Just a bad combination.
And now, let us never speak of this again.
h/t to e-mailer Nathan for the link.
We will refrain from making the "desperation at bar closing" analogy here because it is rather base in nature, but let it be said that the Twins might wind up looking smart -- or at least relatively smart compared to other teams -- by making two of their major free agency acquisitions early in the game.
Ricky Nolasco for $12 million a year (four years) and Phil Hughes for $8 million a year (three years) might not sound like bargains, but did you see that Scott Feldman got 3 years and $30 million from Houston.
He doesn't strike out a lot of batters. He has two decent years to his credit. He is 30 years old.
This is the market right now. Never mind that Robinson Cano got $240 million for 10 years from the Mariners. That kind of thing is going to happen when a team wants to make a splash.
It's the Feldmans of the world that could make the Twins look smart.
He's only 27, but he's won 16 and 18 games in separate seasons. That said, he's also battled some health issues and has never thrown more than 192 innings in a season.
Those are the stats that are sitting there in plain sight. But what if we go just a little deeper to find out exactly what kind of pitcher he is?
*Pitch type: Hughes has a good fastball, topping out around 95 and sitting between 92 and 93. He has thrown fastballs for about 63 percent of his career pitches. Some sort of breaking ball (cutter, slider, curve ball) has made up about 31 percent, while changeups have accounted for the other 6 percent. So in terms of how he attacks hitters, think about someone like Scott Baker, who has very similar pitch type numbers, though Baker has a little less velocity on his fastball.
*Type of pitcher: Sounds the same as the last category, but here we're looking at what batters tend to do when he's on the mound. Plain and simple, Hughes is a fly ball pitcher. Of MLB pitchers last season with at least 140 innings pitched, he had the fourth-highest fly ball percentage (46.5) in the majors. That's consistent with his career average (46.0). But his home runs per fly ball percentage wasn't bad (11.1, ranking 41st). His strikeout percentage last season during a down year (18.9 percent) ranked 61st among pitchers with 140 innings or more. That doesn't sound so great, but consider no Twins starter who threw at least 100 innings last season had a K percentage higher than 15. So it's an improvement.
*Ballpark effect: In roughly the same amount of innings home and away in his career, Hughes allowed 76 homers in Yankee Stadium and 36 on the road. He also has an ERA of 4.10 on the road compared to almost 5 at home. We're not sure if his old hitter-friendly home ballpark can be blamed for all of that disparity, but clearly he has been more comfortable away from Yankee Stadium and that should only be a boon for the Twins.
So the biggest questions for Hughes on this 3-year deal are these: 1) Can he bounceback from a subpar 2013 season (4-14 record, 5-plus ERA)? 2) How much will the more spacious Target Field help keep some of those fly balls in the ballpark? 3) Can he prove to be enough of a combination of durable and effective that he performs more as a No. 2 or 3 starter than someone lower down?
Well, the most interesting story of the day award goes to T.J. Quinn, a former New York Daily News reporter who is now with ESPN.
It was 10 years ago today when Quinn, then at the Daily News, broke the story of Bonds' grand jury testimony in the BALCO scandal. He was never supposed to hear the testimony, of course, but he did nonetheless.
How did he do it?
Well, a little luck ... a little quick thinking ... and the rest is history.
He revealed the entire story through a series of tweets. Deadspin has already captured them, so we won't bother to do the same.
But trust us: go have a look-see.