La Velle's 3-2 Pitch: Three observations and two predictions every Sunday.


Trevor Plouffe has the hot hand right now, and I was looking to monetize off him.

I just wanted a nugget. The Vikings' final record, the Super Bowl winner, anything. Any tip and I was off to Las Vegas. Or Iowa.

Plouffe, the former Twin, declined. He's going to sit on his 1.000 prognostication average a little longer.

"My next prediction I have to choose carefully because now I've got some eyeballs on me," he said.

Just desserts for calling the World Series winner back in March.

Plouffe, married with two children in California, is a co-host of the "Talkin' Baseball" podcast by Jomboy Media. The show spent spring training examining every team's 40-man roster. When it was time to make World Series predictions, Plouffe had an informed opinion.

"I liked the Braves and I liked Houston," he said. "I always think starting pitching gets you somewhere. I felt these two teams had that. And the Astros, it's hard to ignore them being in the LCS a zillion times in a row. I thought that this could be their last hurrah, which it may or may not be."

Then Plouffe took it one step further, predicting a Braves title in six games. This was before the first pitch of the season was thrown.

The Astros entered the season as a threat even without injured ace Justin Verlander. But Atlanta had to shuffle and reshuffle its outfield after Marcell Ozuna was charged with domestic violence and Ronald Acuna suffered a season-ending knee injury. The Braves added Jorge Soler, Joc Pederson, Adam Duvall and Eddie Rosario and watched them take turns providing big moments.

Plouffe was offered a chance to change his picks during the season as the Braves' saga unfolded, but he was steadfast. He sweated through the playoffs, then the World Series.

Jomboy Media invited him to attend Game 6, but he opted to stay home. From there, he watched the Braves clinch.

Nailed it.

"I was actually nervous, bro," Plouffe said. "I never played in a playoff game. I don't think I ever rooted for a game as much as I rooted for the Braves in that game. Two of my close friends came over and we did the champagne thing and they sprayed me.

"It was the closest to a real-life celebration as it gets. I can brag on that whenever I can."

Plouffe said his next prediction will likely be the next Super Bowl winner. Our correspondents will check in with him before the NFL playoffs begin.

Twins will need to write bigger checks

The Hot Stove League burners have flicked on, providing a moment to imagine how the Twins can possibly assemble a quality starting rotation in 2022.

The move that caught the eye wasn't necessarily Jose Berrios' extension with Toronto. It was the one-year, $21 million deal Noah Syndergaard signed with the Angels.

A wise baseball executive once told me that there's no such thing as a bad one-year contract. But Syndergaard has pitched in only two games over the past two seasons due to Tommy John elbow surgery. And $21 million is quite a chunk of change. If a recovering Syndergaard is worth $21 million — plus draft pick compensation — what's a healthy Marcus Stroman or a healthy Kevin Gausman worth? Sheesh.

Yet, I still haven't forgotten that the Twins paid Homer Bailey $7 million in 2020 and got eight innings out of him. They have no choice but to fish deeper in the free-agent pond this offseason.

The Wolves' quarter-mill party

The Wolves provided some quality entertainment last week when they were fined $250,000 for holding an offseason workout outside their market.

The infraction took place at and around Coral Gables, Fla., where minority owner Alex Rodriguez lives. The team worked out for a week and had dinner at Rodriguez's home one evening. They were joined by Marc Lore, Rodriguez's fellow minority owner. Must have been one heck of a party.

There have been no signs of any remorse from the Wolves, who fired off photos of their excursion on social media. After all, the team is being sold for $1.5 billion. What's $250,000 to them? Imagine the reaction to the fine across the league, as teams are likely thinking, "That's all?" as they pull out maps and wonder where in the world can they take a working vacation next year.

This was not the Timberwolves being the Timberwolves. This time, they just didn't care.


Can't stop the NFL

Look for the NFL to add a second bye week as early as next season. The steady stream of players landing on injured reserve will motivate the league to give teams a second week off. And an 18-game schedule is inevitable.

More thrills coming from Kirill

Kirill Kaprizov got the hint Thursday when Wild coach Dean Evason shook up the lines, scoring a goal and adding three assists. Look for Kaprizov to score three goals and add three assists over the next four games.