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Max Scherzer was deservedly named the AL Cy Young Award winner on Wednesday, capping a dominant season for the Detroit right-hander. We were vaguely aware that he was obtained by the Tigers in a trade several years ago; what we had never put together is that he was part of that three-team blockbuster between the Yankees, Tigers and D-Backs that benefited all three teams in some way but was clearly won, in the end, by the Tigers.
The recap of the trade, per Baseball Reference:
In December of 2009, Scherzer was traded as part of a 3-team trade by the Arizona Diamondbacks with Daniel Schlereth to the Detroit Tigers. The Detroit Tigers sent Curtis Granderson to the New York Yankees. The Detroit Tigers sent Edwin Jackson to the Arizona Diamondbacks. The New York Yankees sent Phil Coke and Austin Jackson to the Detroit Tigers. The New York Yankees sent Ian Kennedy to the Arizona Diamondbacks.
So: The Tigers traded Edwin Jackson and Curtis Granderson and got back Max Scherzer, Austin Jackson, Phil Coke and Daniel Schlereth.
The Yankees traded Ian Kennedy, Coke and Austin Jackson and received Curtis Granderson.
The D-Backs traded Scherzer and Schlereth and received Edwin Jackson and Kennedy.
So here we are four years later ... Edwin Jackson had a terrible year for the D-Backs in 2010 and has bounced around with numerous teams since then. Kennedy had a great year in 2011 and a very good year in 2012, then fell off the map last season and was traded to the Padres. So the D-Backs have nothing tangible to show for the trade except for two unproven players received from San Diego.
Curtis Granderson had two very good years in New York, was hurt quite a bit last year, and is now a free agent who could very well sign somewhere else. That would leave the Yankees with nothing to show for the trade four years later.
Scherzer won the Cy Young Award and looks to be an ace of the future. Jackson has had four years of decent production for the Tigers as a center fielder. Scherzer won't reach free agency until 2015, and the two sides are talking about a long-term deal. Jackson won't reach free agency until 2016. Having both players at reasonable prices these past seasons has enabled the Tigers to spend big on players -- either their own (Justin Verlander) or outside FAs (Prince Fielder).
The winner, by far: the Tigers.
Could Twins fans be turning those boos into boo-yas?
There has been speculation that the Twins are interested in bringing back long-ago catcher A.J. Pierzynski, and that speculation has at least turned to some credible reports (albeit with unnamed sources), including this one from CBS Sports' Jon Heyman.
What would it mean to bring back A.J., who hasn't played in a Twins uniform since 2003?
Well, it would mean a 180 for Twins fans, who have gotten used to booing Pierzynski in pretty much every plate appearance for an opposing team (even though he was traded away instead of leaving of his own free will like the normally applauded Torii Hunter).
It would mean a somewhat convoluted situation at catcher even with Joe Mauer shifting to first base. The biggest question would be finding at-bats and a position for Ryan Doumit, who like Mauer dealt with concussion problems a year ago. The Twins have Josmil Pinto ready to catch some games; he and another veteran could arguably share duties and also DH.
It would also mean adding an element that has been lacking in recent years. Call it brashness ... call it cockiness ... call it the ability to agitate ... call it, even, leadership ... Pierzynski has it. He's one of those players you hate to play against but want on your team.
It would mean undoing the curse of A.J. as well. The Twins haven't won a playoff series since Pierzynski was traded. Heck, they've only won one playoff GAME since he was traded -- going 1-12 combined in 2004, 2006, 2009 and 2010. That, of course, included sweeps in 06, 09 and 10, meaning Mauer is 0-9 in his career in postseason games.
Not all of that is Mauer's fault or A.J.'s doing, but Pierzynski did have the memorable home run in Game 5 of the 2002 ALDS that helped seal the deal. He's a career .300 hitter in the playoffs with five home runs and an OPS near .900. Mauer, in fewer at bats, has just one RBI and a .673 OPS in nine career playoff games.
In short, the Twins could probably use a guy like Pierzynski -- to shake things up and maybe help turn things around. They wouldn't have announced their plan with Mauer so early in the offseason if they weren't keen on going after a replacement.
It's another one of those reunions that's just crazy enough to work.
Here is our 2 cents -- or five thoughts, as it were -- about the move:
1) This won't be as big of a transition as we might think. Mauer has started 192 games at catcher over the past three seasons (64 per year). He has started 140 games at all other spots (DH, 1B and even a game in right field). So he's going from being a part-time catcher to a no-time (or emergency) catcher.
2) If you are worried about Mauer earning his $23 million per season at first base, that's valid. Then again, here are the seven first basemen who made more than $15 million in 2013: Mark Teixeira, Prince Fielder, Ryan Howard, Adrian Gonzalez, Albert Pujols, Justin Morneau and Joey Votto. Mauer's name does not look out of place on that list.
3) The average OPS for an MLB first baseman last year was .772. Mauer's career OPS, primarily at catcher, is .873.
4) This was a move for Mauer's health, no doubt, but it probably also helps that Josmil Pinto had a strong September and looks capable of transitioning into more steady work.
5) That said, this move will make it harder for Mauer to win awards (other than batting titles) going forward. And it won't help his Hall of Fame candidacy eventually, either.
Just another reminder that Joe Mauer -- who had an OPS 139 points higher than any other teammate with at least 100 plate appearances last year -- is not the problem. (He also led the way in doubles, hits, slugging percentage and batting average, by the way).
Or to put it another way, the Twins have 99 problems, but Mauer isn't one.
He took home the Silver Slugger Award on Wednesday, given out to the top hitter at each position in each league. It's the fifth time in his career that he has won the award.
Congrats to Joe Mauer on winning the Silver Slugger Award! pic.twitter.com/T549UmMXS9— Minnesota Twins (@Twins) November 6, 2013
Much of it is humorous, including this description of the logo used by the Detroit Tigers in the 1920s:
My God, I have eaten Charlie Gehringer!
It's OK... I will just hide the body up in a tree. Everything is going to be fine. Just fine.
We thought the local teams might be spared, but they got to the 1970s Twins logo (pictured) near the end and had this to say:
The Twins spent two decades tweaking their logo of Minneapolis and St. Paul, represented by two dudes, shaking hands across the Mississippi. By the 70s, the twins looked anachronistically like 1950s cartoon characters, and the drawing became busy with details like baseball stitching (which appears inaccurate) and the STP logo within the logo. But the worst part of the logo is the grammar of Win! Twins! Shouldn't it be Twins Win!? Or Win, Twins!? Dotting the I's with stars AND doubling down on exclamation points are signs of a logo trying too hard.
Hard to argue with that. Feel free to peruse the entire post.