While Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph has made it clear he will not take any pay cuts to stay with the team, he does believe that if a contract can be worked out, the offense will be much improved in 2019.
“I am really excited about where this offense is headed, under the guidance of [offensive coordinator] Kevin Stefanski, with the influence of [assistant head coach] Gary Kubiak. I am extremely excited about our offensive staff,” Rudolph said. “I think we have the best offensive staff in football and they’re going to put our guys in great situations to be successful.”
What does he think of Kubiak so far?
“I like him a lot,” the Pro Bowl tight end said. “I think he brings a lot of experience to this offense. He is a guy that has played and coached in a lot of Super Bowls.”
Still, Rudolph said “no way” when asked if he’d take a discount deal to stay.
“No I won’t, I am too young for that,” he continued.
Rudolph is due $7.6 million this season.
On the other hand, when he was asked if there was any other club he wanted to join, Rudolph was emphatic again in saying he wanted to stay here.
“Nowhere. I don’t want to go anywhere,” he said. “We want to stay here.”
Rudolph said he believes the team and his representatives are still on the same page in trying to get a deal done.
“They’re working really hard to get it done, and I hope it gets done,” he said.
Rudolph said he thinks there are teams that would trade for him, even if that isn’t his wish.
“I do, but I don’t think they want to,” he said of the Vikings front office. “I don’t think anyone wants to. We want it to end right with me being here.”
Twins limit Trout
The Twins had a dramatic 8-7 win over the Angels on Wednesday afternoon at Target Field, and several times it seemed as if Angels star Mike Trout, the best player in baseball, could bust the game open. But for the most part the Twins held Trout in check this week as they won two out of three games from Los Angeles and moved 12 games over .500 at 27-15.
Trout finished the series 4-for-13 with just one RBI and one run scored. He went 3-for-11 with two homers and four RBI in the series vs. Baltimore before facing the Twins.
Twins manager Rocco Baldelli described what it’s like managing against Trout.
“He is as good as there is. I mean he is as good of a ballplayer, as an offensive player, as there is and maybe I don’t know if I have ever seen anybody like him,” Baldelli said. “If he gets enough at-bats he is going to do some damage. We were fortunate, we made good pitches against him. I don’t want to say we pitched around him in any way, we threw strikes and made him go out there and do what he does.
“He is going to create a lot of runs for his team. He is going to make things happen. He is going to drive the ball, hit balls hard. He is the best player in the game. That being said, I am proud of our guys and you know again we attacked some very, very good hitters and did the job.”
Trout singled in the first inning but was left on base after starter Jake Odorizzi got a double play from Andrelton Simmons.
In the third inning Odorizzi struck out Trout, and in the fifth inning, clinging to a 2-1 lead with a runner at first and two out, Odorizzi walked Trout and got Shohei Ohtani to ground out to end the threat.
The Twins then scored four runs in the bottom half of the inning.
Trout got two more at-bats, Trevor May struck him out to lead off the top of the seventh. Then Trout came to the plate with the bases loaded, trailing 8-6 with two outs in the ninth inning and Mike Morin hit him with a pitch, forcing in a run. But Morin was able to get Ohtani on a ground out to earn his first save.
“It was a pretty good game, a pretty exciting game, a lot of drama,” Baldelli said. “Ultimately we had some guys come through and do some really nice things for us. Morin coming in and finishing the game out was good. He made some good pitches and faced a tough part of the lineup and did a good job. A lot going on.”
Depth plays key role
The Twins also showcased a big part of why they can contend this season: their depth.
Earlier in the day Wednesday they moved catcher Mitch Garver to the 10-day injured list after he was injured on a play at the plate in the Twins’ 4-3 win Tuesday.
Nelson Cruz was also out of the lineup while dealing with a sore wrist.
The Twins used seven pitchers in the contest after Odorizzi, who had been on fire lately and still managed to win his sixth straight start, allowing three runs on nine hits and two walks in 5⅓ innings.
Trevor May and Trevor Hildenberger, who are expected to be solid relievers, combined to allow four runs on five hits while recording just four outs. But Matt Magill, Ryne Harper, Blake Parker and Morin combined to throw 2⅓ innings of scoreless relief.
On offense, Jason Castro stepped in at catcher and finished 1-for-3 with a two-run homer and two runs scored.
The bottom four hitters in the lineup — Jonathan Schoop, Ehire Adrianza, Castro and Byron Buxton — combined to go 6-for-14 with six RBI and five runs scored. The top five hitters — Max Kepler, Jorge Polanco, Eddie Rosario, C.J. Cron and Willians Astudillo — were 4-for-18 with two RBI and three runs scored.
Buxton has been incredible lately with his defense and his offense. The former No. 2 overall pick, is hitting .278 with 22 extra-base hits and had his second homer of the season on Wednesday. Over his past five games he’s hitting .471, and if Buxton keeps it up, he’ll be in the MVP conversation.
• ESPN updated its NBA mock draft after the Wolves fell back to 11th place in the lottery. ESPN has the Wolves selecting Gonzaga forward Brandon Clarke. “While the Wolves might be tempted to reach for a point guard here, they could also use a versatile big man like Clarke to pair alongside Karl-Anthony Towns. Clarke’s defensive versatility, pick-and-roll finishing prowess and budding shooting ability make him a strong match for the existing pieces on the roster.”
• Former Gopher Terrin Vavra is hitting .308 with five home runs and 23 RBI for the Asheville Tourists of the Class A South Atlantic League. Vavra was drafted by the Rockies in the third round of last year’s draft.