Thursday Links

If nothing else, this offseason has been busy for the Minnesota Twins.  Well, busy up until this past week.  With Twins executives and other front office types taking time off for holidays any and all baseball news has pretty much ground to a halt.  Luckily for you, the Twins blogosphere marches on.  Here are the best links from the past week:

We will start off with what might be the oddest link of the week.  Apparently not everyone is busy this offseason, especially not Baseball Nation’s Rob Neyer, who built some excitement into the offseason by Live-Blogging ‘For Love of the Game”. This isn’t the weirdest thing on the internet, but it might make a top 10 list.

If you’re like me, you understand the idea behind many of baseball’s advanced statistics, but you just can’t wrap your head around exactly what they mean.  Especially when the stats involve SIERA, which is an acronym for Skill-Interactive Earned Run Average.  SIERA is similar to FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching) but is slightly more accurate.  For all the details on SIERA, check out Alex Remington’s recent post on the Big League Stew.

There was a lot of chatter about the Jason Kubel signing not making a lot of sense for the Arizona Diamondbacks.  I have to be honest, I didn’t bother looking in to a lot of it because the Diamondbacks are in the National League and at the time I was a little disappointed the Twins didn’t pony up the cash to keep the talented left-handed right fielder/designated hitter.  But I digress, here is a Graphic Look at Why Kubel by David Fung.

When the Twins signed Jason Marquis to a one year, $3 million dollar contract I didn’t know a lot about him.  Sure, I referenced his baseball-reference page and looked him up on Fangraphs, but I really had no feeling for who the guy was.  Luckily, The Tenth Inning Stretch has Seven Little Known Facts on the newest Twin to bring me up to speed on Marquis. My favorite is number 2, Marquis owns a higher career batting average and OPS than Drew Butera.  Who says pitchers can’t hit?

Neck Nelson examines the Marquis signing as if it were a trade involving Kevin Slowey, and Nelson isn’t sure that moving Slowey was best for this ballclub.

Betsy Bissen, over at For the Love of the Game, is thrilled about the Marquis signing because it gives Mario (Carl Pavano) a Luigi (Marquis).

I have a new Blog-Crush on Twins Trivia.  John Swol does an excellent job tracking down interesting pieces of Twins history and bringing them back to the forefront.  This week he looks back at some old newspaper clips about the Twins dating back to the 1980’s.

A year ago Twins fans were buzzing with excitement as the signing of Tsuyoshi Nishioka was announced.  Could this Japanese Batting Champion bring his skills across the ocean and become the short stop the Twins organization has been lacking for the better part of the last decade?  Well, a year later, the answer to that question is a definitive NO.  Twins Fan From Afar, Andrew, is still feeling the pain.

In a recent blog post, Andrew Bryz-Gornia  attempts to understand the concept of Pitch to Contact.  I have no idea what to make of pitch charts and how they make sense to anyone, but Bryz-Gornia weaves them into an article that is both informative and while it doesn’t necessarily make pitching to contact any more palatable, it at least brings the idea into context.

Edward Thoma is still dissecting the Bill Smith era.  Thoma is leaving no rock unturned and this week looks into the J J Hardy- Carlos Gomez trade.  The trade hasn’t worked out great for either team, but Gomez is still prowling center field for the Brewers, while Hardy has taken his talents to Baltimore and resumed slugging the ball like he did early in his career.  (Thoma is a writing machine because he also wrote a solid piece on platooning Ben Revere and Trevor Plouffe in left field next season, a platoon I certainly wouldn’t mind seeing.)

Fanatic Jack has the inside scoop on Minnesota Twins number selections and changes for the 2012 season, including Jamey Carroll, Ryan Doumit, Josh Willingham, Jason Marquis and Danny Valencia‘s numbers for the upcoming season.

I have to admit it, I’ll link to just about any article about Kirby Puckett.  I mean really, the guy is easily my favorite Minnesota Twin of all time. Collin Kottke, a correspondent for Bleacher Report, lists the 15 Biggest Fan Favorites in Twins History, a list made for Kirby. Most surprising selection? Jack Morris.

With 2011 winding to a close, Seth Stohs looks back and lists his top Twins Moments of 2011.  Babels Love Baseball have a list of their own, the Most Memorable Stories in MLB from 2011.

Pitching, and pitching well seem to be two different things, but as Josh Weinstock reports at Fangraphs, the difference between the best in the league and everyone else isn’t as great as we’d all like to think, at least when it comes to command.

The North Dakota Twins Fan thinks that the Twins scheduled starting 9, and their lack of a true power hitter (unless Morneau returns to his pre-concussion form) could actually play pretty well at spacious Target Field.  After two full years playing in Target Field the Twins’ Front Office has a better idea of how the ballpark plays (albeit just a 162 game sample size) and the additions of Carroll, Willingham, and Doumit demonstrate their intent to fill the roster with players who will benefit from playing half of their games in Minneapolis.

Jeff Bagwell failed to make it into Cooperstown in his first opportunity.  A large number of voters voiced their reluctance to vote for Bagwell because of his suspected PED use.  Eric Augenbraun believes that not voting for Bagwell because of steroid use is “shameful because there are literally 16 better reasons not to vote Jeff Bagwell into the Hall of Fame.”  I couldn’t agree more, especially if Nicholas Cage IS his favorite actor.

Speaking of PEDs, here is The Common Man’s take on players who played with PED users, and their prevalence INSIDE the Hall of Fame.

Twinkie Town’s Brandon Warne had an opportunity to talk with Minnesota Twins’ hitting coach, Joe Vavra, at the end of the 2011 season.  Vavra is clearly an expert in breaking down Major League hitters and he has a way of explaining it so that even a little leaguer could pick up a few pointers.

Decreasing payroll by more than 10% and increasing gate receipts at Target Field?  That seems to be plan for 2012.

This one has nothing to do with baseball, but it is worth including because it showcases beards.  And not just any beards, but QUILTED beards.  Click through for the full glory of man-made beards.

With news that the Vikings stadium deal may be nearing completion, this week’s Video of the Week is the Vikings Stadium Shuffle, courtesy of the Official Birthday Boys.
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Tags: Ben Revere Carl Pavano Carlos Gomez Danny Valencia Drew Butera Jamey Carroll Jason Kubel Jason Marquis Josh Willingham Kevin Slowey Ryan Doumit Trevor Plouffe Tsuyoshi Nishioka

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