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The Hunt Down
Name: Craig Monroe
Claim to Fame, Minnesota: a member of your 2008 Minnesota Twins. Like your Rondell Whites and Phil Nevins before him, Monroe was the budget veteran acquisition who the Twins really hoped would add some pop to the lineup. He did not. After being acquired from the Cubs in November 2007 for a player to be named later, Monroe belted a mere 8 jack jobs before the Twins released him in August. Chicago eventually received Doug Deeds, Aaron Gleeman’s 35th-best Twins prospect of 2007.
Did the Twins Give Up On Craig Monroe Too Soon: no, Bleacher Report, they did not.
Claim to Fame, Everywhere Else: best known for his stint with the Detroit Tigers from 2002-2007, where he earned a reputation as a Twins killer. Monroe began his career with the Texas Rangers, and closed it in 2009 with the Pirates.
Has He Been Arrested for Alleged Belt Theft: yes.
Has He Ever Been in a Twitter Feud with Patrick Reusse: no.
Glorious Randomness: his middle name is “Keystone,” which brings us to our Power Rankings of budget-conscious beers that can also conceivably be used as your child’s middle name, Michael.
4.Natty/Natural (Not Natty Ice, that’s just stupid)
The Twins very well could be better this year than they have been in the past three (light praise, but still). That said, the fruits of their offseason pitching acquisitions might not be seen right away and fans could be asked to exercise a certain level of patience that is already surely wearing thin.
That's because over at ESPN.com (Insider required), Buster Olney breaks down the schedules of all 15 AL teams for the first quarter of this season and comes to the conclusion that the Twins have the toughest of them all.
*Games against teams with records of .500 or better in 2013: 31 of their first 40.
*Home/road: 18 of their first 40 are at home.
*Notable: My son plays a video game called "Injustice," and I think that lineup of villains is easier than what the Twins will face early in the year. They start out the season with six road games, and then beginning April 18, the Twins will play 25 straight games -- count 'em, 25 -- against teams that either made the playoffs or contended, including the Red Sox, Tigers, Rays and Dodgers. The Twins' new pitching will be tested early.
If the Twins can make it through that 40-game stretch without the wheels falling off, it could bode well for a rebound or "bridge" season to better times. But if they falter early, all the old questions could resurface.
Making matters even tougher, in terms of competition: the Tigers, Royals and Indians have the three easiest first-quarter schedules in the AL according to Olney.
The numbers have been crunched, and based on the Twins' current roster ... er, well, thinks aren't looking good. Again.
Friend of the blog Parker Hageman notes on Twins Daily that Baseball Prospectus co-founder Clay Davenport projects the Twins to finish with 72 victories this season.
Now, that would be an improvement over the last three seasons, but it would also leave their record at 72-90 ... their fourth-consecutive 90-loss season.
Interestingly, the projection includes a major drop-off for Joe Mauer even though he is moving to first base. Overall, it has the Twins scoring the fewest runs in the AL while allowing the second-most.
Again, these are initial projections -- more roster upgrades could change things.
We'll have to see how it looks at the end of March.
Former Twins player and new coach Paul Molitor was asked this weekend at a banquet in Ontario what his thoughts are on Alex Rodriguez. If he had it his way, Molitor said, A-Rod would not join him in Cooperstown.
Is suspended New York Yankee third baseman Alex Rodriguez a Hall of Famer?
“No,” said Hall of Famer Paul Molitor.
“I don’t think he was overly targeted by Major League Baseball,” Molitor said Saturday night. “I don’t think they would impose such a severe suspension.
“I know that there was not a positive drug test, but there was just cause. So, no, I don’t think he belongs.”
Molitor was in Woodbridge to speak at the annual Ontario Blue Jays Hall of Fame banquet as the team inducted its third class.
“I don’t envy the job that the voters have,” said Molitor, inducted 10 years ago along with closer Dennis Eckersley. “Regardless of where (Rodriguez’s) career was going, from the information I’ve been exposed to and from what I have read, I don’t think he will get in … but hey Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds get roughly 30% of the vote.”
For some reason, TC Bear looks lovable while the new Cubs mascot, Clark, looks kind of creepy. But neither one is wearing pants. Discuss.
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