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.
Follow Randball on Twitter
The Twins have already committed $20 million per season over the next three years to pitchers Ricky Nolasco and Phil Hughes. This is a clear sign of progress and attention being paid to the starting rotation, even if there are still gobs of Twins fans out there who will never be satisfied with any offseason unless it includes landing the 10 best free agents.
Nolasco and Hughes were definitely among the top 10-15 starters available on the market this offseason. So are Bronson Arroyo and Matt Garza -- the former being around the same slot as Nolasco, perhaps, and the latter being above all of them because of his potential.
That said, even if the Twins have been linked to Arroyo and Garza, this offseason is not a sudden failure if they can't land another top-of-the-rotation pitcher. That leads us to Mike Pelfrey, who pitched here last season in his first year off of Tommy John surgery.
Most Twins fans are treating a possible two-year deal for Pelfrey as some sort of crime.
Listen: Pelfrey is only 29 years old. Pitchers generally get better the further removed they are from that major elbow surgery, and there were even signs last year that Pelfrey was improving as the year went along. Batters had an .837 OPS against him in the first half of the season; it was .731 in the second half. Before getting hurt, he threw at least 184 innings in four consecutive seasons. Two of those years were quite good -- ERA around 3.70 and at least 200 innings in both.
Bottom line: don't get caught up in 2013 Pelfrey when thinking about the Twins possibly re-signing him. As a mid-to-bottom of the rotation starter, he would be more than fine.
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.
TwinsFest, that annual Winter event, has a new twist this year as it will be at Target Field for the first time. That's a great thing in terms of the niceness of the facility, since the Metrodome always felt like a cave. That said, the charm of the Dome was that admission seemed to be almost limitless and inexpensive -- advance tickets last season were $9 for adults and $5 for kids 14 and under.
This year? Well, tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. Wednesday, and if you missed earlier announcements there might be a little shock in terms of prices and availability.
Per the Twins:
The Minnesota Twins and the Twins Community Fund today announced additional details for "TwinsFest at Target Field," a new twist on a longstanding Minnesota baseball tradition. "TwinsFest at Target Field" will run from Jan. 24 through Jan. 26, 2014 and will provide a much more exclusive and intimate experience for fans in comparison to the event's storied Metrodome history.
The fundraising event will feature numerous new interactive activities and behind-the-scenes fan experiences that celebrate Twins baseball and Target Field. Based on the event's move to Target Field, TwinsFest '14 tickets will be much more limited than in previous years and will go on sale to the general public on Wednesday, Dec. 11 at 10 a.m. Ticket sales will be capped for each day and a sell-out is expected. Tickets will cost $20 for adults and $10 for kids 14 and younger.
The Twins are promising new activities and a "chance to reinvent" the tradition of the event, according to Twins President Dave St. Peter. Among the new twists: The option to purchase a "white glove" tour of the Twins Archive Room, the chance to take batting practice in the Twins batting cages and an opportunity to enjoy the signature food and beverage options which have made Target Field baseball's best dining experience.
Also: No live National Anthem auditions.
We popped over to Target Field this afternoon for Ricky Nolasco's introductory news conference with the Twins. According to the official press release, he has a four-year contract at $12 million per season every year from 2014-17 and a club option with the potential to vest in 2018.
*It sounded like Nolasco really enjoyed pitching for the Dodgers in the pennant race last season, when he was 8-3 with a 3.52 ERA. He has a lot of family in California and that was a major boost for him, he said. That will obviously not be the case in Minnesota, where he had never been before pitching for the Marlins at Target Field last year. He was here in April, when it was brutally cold. In fact, he pitched in a double-header that was part of a makeup for a snow/cold postponement.
*Twins GM Terry Ryan did not think the contract was a departure from the Twins' philosophy, even though it more than doubled the previous largest free agent deal given out. Ryan pointed out that Joe Mauer's contract isn't exactly chump change. He also said that if the team was still in the Metrodome, this deal likely wouldn't have happened. That said, Ryan made it clear that free agency isn't his preferred method of team-building.
*Ryan also made it sound like the team cast a very wide net in free agency. They liked everything about Nolasco and clearly he was an early target, but he wasn't by any means the only target. It's unclear when the team's deal with Phil Hughes (3 years, $24 million reportedly) will be announced.
*Nolasco was flattered by how much the Twins wanted him. It was also revealed that he has an affinity for muscle cars. Hopefully he'll clock in faster on the radar gun with his pitches than his driving.
|Arts (1)||Books (1)|
|Movies (3)||Music (6)|
|Hobbies (1)||Fishing (1)|
|Society (2)||Crime (1)|
|Sports (522)||Baseball (1)|
|Professional baseball (744)||Basketball (8)|
|Football (1)||College football (118)|
|Professional football (532)||Technology (1)|
|Food and drink (14)||Politics (1)|
|Transportation (1)||Employment (1)|
|Career development (1)||Cooking (2)|
|Pets (1)||Vikings (1029)|
|Men (3)||Games (1)|
|Gambling (1)||Commercial (1)|
|Animals (3)||Dogs (3)|
|Gripes (1)||Newspapers (1)|
|Beer (6)||Minnesota wine retailers (1)|
|Wine retail + marketing (1)||Bad driving (1)|
|Commuting (1)||Family activities (1)|
|Style (2)||Pregnancy (1)|
|Car buying (1)||Retirement (1)|
|Shopping (1)||Chickens (2)|
|Fruit and berries (1)||Weather (1)|
|Internet (2)||Twitter (2)|
|Video games (2)||Web pick (1)|
|YouTube (1)||Birds in the backyard (1)|
|Business trends (2)||Loopholes (1)|
|Problems on the job (1)||The rich get richer (1)|
|Airlines (1)||Midwest getaways (1)|
|Road trips (1)||Skiing (1)|
|Travel deals (1)||Wisconsin (3)|
|Gopher road games (1)||TCF Bank Stadium (1)|
|NCAA: football (121)||Basketball on TV (2)|
|Gophers coaches (1)||Frozen Four (11)|
|North Dakota (1)||College hockey (19)|
|Fantasy football (12)||Golf (83)|
|Minnesota state tournaments (19)||Preps (8)|
|Soccer (88)||WNBA (16)|
|Wild news (5)||Wolves news (354)|
|NFC (2)||Super Bowl (1)|
|Vikings coaches (1)||Behind the scenes (3)|
|Celebrities (1)||Dance (1)|
|Local TV and radio (1)||Ex-players (1)|
|Injury report (2)||Baseball wisdom (1)|
|Target Field (250)||Twins fans (763)|
|Twins game coverage (17)||Twins management (3)|
|Twins offense (1)||Twins pitching (3)|
|NBA playoffs (1)||Wolves draft news (1)|
|Wolves guards (1)||Wolves players (9)|
|Values and morals (2)||Miscreants (1)|
|Wild coaching (41)||Wild game coverage (2)|
|Wild off-season news (1)||Wild player moves (3)|
|Wild pregame skate (1)||Wild trade news (1)|
|Movies (1)||Ortonville (2)|
|Brad Childress (1)||Stillwater (1)|
|Television (2)||NHL news (92)|
|Outdoors Women (1)||Olympics (2)|
|Olympic hockey (1)||Glen Perkins (1)|
|Health + Beauty (1)||Beer (2)|
|Wine (1)||Public safety (1)|