Wow, there’s a lot going on right now. Thanks to the Winter Meetings, there is a non-stop barrage of baseball speculation. An annoying percentage of it involves Albert Pujols and Hanley Ramirez. But don’t worry, there are plenty of stories involving players we really care about, like Tom Stuifbergen.
I’ll lead with Stuifbergen, a Dutch-born pitcher in the Twins organization. He’s easily the most interesting and unusual story of the day. If Stuifbergen’s Twitter feed is to be believed, he has been knighted. Or, in his words, “ben zojuist ridder in de orde van oranje nassau.” I think that about says it all, doesn’t it? I tried to find some more information about this, but the only article I could find that mentioned his name was in Dutch. I was hoping to find a picture of him being knighted by Queen Beatrix, but alas I could not. Being knighted probably won’t have much effect on Sir Tom’s chances of making the Big League team, but I hope it at least stirs up a friendly rivalry with fellow Dutchman Bert Blyleven. Sure, Blyleven made it to the Hall of Fame, but has he met the Queen?
On to the more serious Twins-related business. You probably heard by now that Kevin Slowey has been traded to Colorado. In my opinion, this was a completely expected move, and it made sense, but it’s still a little sad. There was a 0% chance that Slowey would be back next season. Regardless of who was at fault (and I don’t really care to speculate), all accounts said that Slowey and the Twins didn’t mesh well together. The Twins were going to non-tender Slowey if they couldn’t trade him, so anything they get in return will be a bonus. Don’t expect the player they receive to be anything special – when you trade a guy who went 0-8 with a 6.67 ERA and boasts a fastball that is as slow as his name suggests, you can never expect much in return. The Twins almost certainly would have received a better return if they’d traded him last offseason, but hindsight is 20/20.
The sad part of it is that Slowey has never really been the same pitcher since he hurt his wrist in 2009. In 2008 he was very solid, and in 2009 he was striking out 7.44 batters per nine innings and on pace to win 20 games despite giving up a lot of hits. But injuries plagued him each of the last three years, and 2011 was an absolute nightmare performance. I wish Mr. Slowey luck, but I am really scared to see how he’ll pitch at Coors Field. He’s a flyball pitcher, and that seems like a recipe for disaster in Denver.
I already complained about Matt Capps enough, so I’ll just add one more comment about him: the Capps deal is not such a terrible move if the Twins are planning to increase payroll. My argument that the Twins shouldn’t exceed $3.5 million for a reliever is based on the assumption that they’d have a payroll around $110 million. If they are somehow willing to go higher than that, I don’t mind having Capps around. Still, I am kind of afraid that he’ll pitch just well enough in 2012 for the Twins to pick up his $6 million option in 2013, and then tank again that year.
Finally, congratulations to Michael Cuddyer and his wife, who are now the proud parents of twin daughters. Chloe and Madeline Cuddyer were born this morning. The Twins didn’t let that interfere with their negotiations, as they offered Cuddyer (Michael, not Madeline) a three year contract in the $8 million per year range. So we might hear some news about his status very soon. Then again, I don’t blame him if he is a bit too distracted to respond right away.