Michael Rand started RandBall with hopes that he could keep lies from conquering the minds of the weak. 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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Anyone clamoring for the Twins to load up the payroll with high-priced veterans -- you know, the folks always yelling that the Pohlads are cheap -- should pay attention to this piece by Tom Verducci in SI.com. It goes beyond buyer beware in MLB free agency to what he describes as a culture shift. A few grafs:
For all the overhyped noise of baseball's silly season -- when fans demand teams spend on free agents and owners get emboldened by their TV money -- free agency is becoming a more and more inefficient market. In addition to the troubles of Greinke, Hamilton and Upton, among other top free agents who changed teams Edwin Jackson (0-5, 6.39) has been horrible for the Cubs and Michael Bourn has been hurt for the Indians.
Kirk Gibson in 1988 became the poster player for the "one player away" philosophy that pervades baseball's winter: sign the right guy and you can win the World Series, which the Dodgers did after Gibson left Detroit for Los Angeles and had an MVP season. More recently, the Yankees spent nearly half a billion dollars on Mark Teixeira, CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett after New York failed to make the playoffs in 2008. The Yankees did win the World Series the next year, but paid $20 million to make Burnett go away and are paying steep prices for the decline years of Teixeira and Sabathia.
Free agency isn't quite dead, but it's become a used car lot cluttered with lemons and high-mileage models -- with high price tags -- among the rare gems.
The Red Sox have denied all of this, of course, but here is a portion of a story from the Boston Globe:
Blue Jays broadcaster Jack Morris, the owner of 254 career wins, also chimed in Thursday, saying Buchholz was throwing a spitball based on video review after the game. ... .Red Sox analyst Dennis Eckersley did not take Morris’s comments kindly. “To me, that’s clueless on his part,’’ Eckersley said on NESN’s postgame show. “Where’s Jack Morris been all these years, anyway? He finally gets a job up there in Toronto and he has to make statements like that and take away from what this kid has done? I think it’s wrong.
“I think Jack Morris should zip it,” Eckersley added. “I feel sorry for Buchholz to even have to deal with this. I’m styling here, and you’re taking away from me, a guy that can’t even make it to the Hall of Fame yet, and he’s chirping over there — zip it.” During Thursday’s broadcast, Morris also accused Sox reliever Junichi Tazawa of doctoring the ball.
Those are pretty serious charges from Hayhurst and Morris. The images from the screen grab via Sportsnet were explained by Buchholz as part of a normal and legal routine. It would get more interesting if MLB got involved -- and it would be a bigger story locally if Morris was still doing Twins games.
Minnesotans love to talk about the weather. Also, Minnesotans love to find the good in the bad (and the bad in the good, but we digress).
So how about this: As bad as this alleged spring has been, the Twins are lucky they are on a nice, long road trip right now. And we are lucky that, at least here in Minneapolis, the May snowstorm of the century never really materialized. Because if the Twins had been at home in early May and been dumped on with eight inches of snow, it might have been at least the termporary breaking point for a lot of people.
Instead, they were in Detroit -- where it was gorgeous yesterday. On Friday they go to Cleveland, where the forecast calls for 72 and mostly sunny.
And we'll muddle through a few more days of ridiculousness before things return to normal.
It could always be worse -- like it is, for example, for the Gophers softball team. Minnesota has had five home games flat-out canceled (including a doubleheader yesterday) and five more moved from home games to away games in the more balmy cities of Ames, Iowa and Champaign, Illinois. Minnesota has played just THREE home games this season out of 46 total games. And yet the Gophers are 30-16 heading into this weekend. You guessed it, it's a home series -- the Big Ten regular-season three-game finale against Indiana.
Will they play? Quite possibly. So it could always be worse.
The Twins have a long-established reputation for being cautious with their prospects -- moving them along fairly slowly through the minor leagues and, at the very least, erring on the side of development before rushing them to the big-league club.
We have to wonder, though, if all of that is about to change -- or, should we say, changing already?
Oswaldo Arcia destroyed pitching at Class A Fort Myers and Class AA New Britain last year. He was destroying pitching at Class AAA Rochester this year. The Twins brought him up to fill a need, and, while he hasn't consistently destroyed pitching (just six hits in 31 at bats) two of his hits have been three-run homers and he hardly looks overmatched at the plate from at bat to at bat.
Arcia is just 21 years old, due to turn 22 in early May. We often looked at Arcia as a 2014 arrival. Same with Aaron Hicks, 23, who instead made the jump directly from New Britain to the Twins this year. Hicks has struggled mightily, but lately he has at least shown signs of belonging.
Miguel Sano? He looked like a 2015 arrival. He isn't even 20 yet, reaching that mark soon with a birthday around the same time as Arcia. But with the way he is hitting at Fort Myers, he could follow the Arcia path -- particularly as the Twins search for permanence at third base -- and debut in 2014. Byron Buxton? Maybe he gets here sooner, too.
We're not sure if this is a shift in organizational philosophy, a team thin on talent filling a need or these players making themselves valuable at an earlier age than anticipated. It's probably a mix of all of them, but we'll say this: it makes thinking about the Twins' immediate future a lot more interesting.
Also, programming note: This is probably the final post of the day as we are technically taking the day off and heading down to the X later to watch the Wild.
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