What a week, Twins fans. Apparently the deal hasn’t been finalized yet, but the Twins have essentially wrapped up a deal with Josh Willingham to play corner outfield for them in 2012, likely ending the tenure of Michael Cuddyer*. The Twins also lost Jim Hoey, Jose Mijares, Kevin Slowey, and Joe Nathan this offseason, and it will likely just be a matter of time before Jason Kubel finds a new home as well.
*I had an interesting conversation with my significant other last night during which I lamented the inner turmoil I will almost certainly face when Cuddyer leaves and I will have to find a new favorite Minnesota Twin. I’m an adult, and I’m agonizing over who my favorite Twins player is like a 9 year old boy. Unlike many 9 year old boys (or girls) I’m not leaping straight to Joe Mauer or Justin Morneau as my favorite Twin, but they’re not out of the running. I haven’t decided yet, as this will likely be a difficult decision to make, requiring more thought than I can afford to give it at the moment. In the vein of saddness, here is a Michael Cuddyer Eulogy from Twins Fan From Afar.
With yet another busy week behind us, let us look again at the best reads of the week that was:
Here is all of the Josh Willingham signing coverage you are likely to need. First, an excellent piece by Parker Hageman about how well suited Willingham’s offensive style is for Target Field. In case you like being skeptical, here is Rob Neyer’s counter argument, which doesn’t say that Willingham isn’t going to be successful in Minnesota, rather that Target Field might not be such a bad place for power hitting righties who hit the ball to the opposite field. However, it seems fairly evident that no matter where he is hitting the baseball Willimgham’s power will help boost the Twins offense in 2012. Even my new favorite man crush, Dustin Parkes, weighs in on the Willingham signing, suggesting that it is probably a good deal, but might not be as good as Twins fans hope. Finally, Twinkie Town weighs in with an estimation of the Twins’ 2012 payroll, including Willingham’s estimated 2012 salary, pushing the Twins dangerously close to their suggested $100 million dollar cap.
With the passage of the Non-tender deadline on Monday, here is a look at the newest pool of Free Agents, courtesy of The Sweet Spot’s Christina Kahrl. There are a couple of relievers and starting pitchers in that bunch that might be worth a flyer for the Minnesota Twins, including Dan Cortes, Fabio Castillo, Doug Slaten, and Joe Saunders.
Edward Thoma continues his excellent dissection of the Bill Smith Era with a piece on the Carl Pavano Trade. All in all, this has been by favorite blog series of the offseason. In the Pavano deal, I have to admit, I don’t even know who Yohan Pino is, besides the guy the Twins gave up for Pavano (apparently not much of anyone, as he has yet to crack a Major League Roster)!
With the recent announcement of Ryan Braun‘s failed PED test, I found Capital Babs’ Sunday Morning Comic Relief particularly relevant (Reviewing The Brew’s Colin Bennett, however, didn’t find things so amusing on Sunday Morning).
The Tampa Bay Rays continue to make moves to sign players to team friendly contracts which allow them to compete with the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees despite spending only a small portion of those two teams’ payroll. Tampa’s latest move was locking up Matt Moore for the next five years. This is exactly the kind of low risk/high reward move I would love to see the Twins make with a young, talented pitcher.
As a Twins fan, when I hear about neck tattoos I automatically think about Jon Rauch. This story, from The WGOM, is about neck tattoos and the Minnesota Twins, but not Mr. Rauch, and I like it just the same.
After Albert Pujols signed for $5670 bajillion dollars last week, it was time for Prince Fielder to step into the MLB lime light. Bases Love Baseball almost forgot about their favorite, “chubby free agent firse baseman,” but his agent (Scott Boras) certainly didn’t.
When the Pujols deal with the Angels was announced at the Winter Meetings, Twitter pretty much went crazy. Every trending topic in the United States was baseball or Pujols related. Pretty cool.
Ian Casselberry, from Yahoo!’s Big League Stew wonders if the Angels’ free agent acquisitions have shifted the balance of power away from the AL East? The Rangers have been to the last two World Series and they are arguably the 2nd best team in their own division right now.
There are a lot of people that complain about teams overpaying for relievers and putting too much value on the Save. Drew Fairservice from Getting Blanked remembers a fonder time, when, amongst relievers, walks were almost as common as strike outs.
This is my favorite article of the week. Not only does this article about back-loading contracts and the Time Value of Money make me feel dumber, but it also makes me feel like I’ve learned something, which makes me feel smarter at the same time.
The Associated Press laid out some additional details of MLB’s new Collective Bargaining Agreement, including extra replay, divisional opponents meeting in the first round of the playoffs, and a ban on players tatting themselves up with corporate logos, among other things.
A big piece of the success of the Minnesota Twins in 2012 will be the health of their two biggest stars, Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau. Twins fans hope the two can combine for more than the 151 games played and 7 home runs the pair put up in 2011!
The Tenth Inning Stretch keeps things rolling with a rather impressive Top Ten List featuring the best batting averages by players to play for the franchise now playing baseball in Minneapolis. Beyond The Boxscore gets in on the list action too, rolling out the All True Twins Team, which includes only Twins players that played their entire career for the Minnesota Twins (Michael Cuddyer and Jose Mijares (really, he made the list?!) will likely soon be departing both the Twins and this list).
And here is this week’s Video of the Week: Featuring a man falling into a fountain.
Thanks for joining Puckett’s Pond for another exciting edition of the Thursday Links.
Topics: Albert Pujols, Carl Pavano, Dan Cortes, Doug Slaten, Fabio Castillo, Jason Kubel, Jim Hoey, Joe Mauer, Joe Nathan, Joe Saunders, Jon Rauch, Jose Mijares, Josh Willingham, Justin Morneau, Kevin Slowey, Matt Moore, Michael Cuddyer, Prince Fielder, Ryan Braun, Yohan Pino