Tuesday Evening Twins Notes: Wheeler and Mientkiewicz


Today Twitter told me (via ESPN 1500’s @DarrenWolfson) that relief pitcher Dan Wheeler’s agent contacted the Twins. Nothing actually happened with this, because Minnesota’s execs are enjoying a week off for the Christmas/New Year holidays, but it could make an intriguing story once the calendar turns. Wheeler made $3 million last year with the Red Sox, and he’s 34 years old, so he probably won’t command a very high salary on the market. The Twins would probably like him because he is a “Proven Closer,” albeit in limited duty, having racked up 11 saves with the Astros in 2007 and 13 with the AL Champion Rays in 2008. I like him because his K/9 rate has hovered between 7.0 and 9.0 throughout his career. He’s a career journeyman relief pitcher, but he’s a pretty successful one. Since 2008, Wheeler has a 3.49 ERA with just 168 hits against 183 strikeouts in 221.2 innings.

Given $100 million payroll, the Twins probably only have a couple million dollars left over. They could do much worse than spending those dollars on Wheeler. Team him up with Glen Perkins and you have a pretty nifty righty/lefty setup combination.

Doug Mientkiewicz is the latest Twin to get a coaching job. Last week, barely a week after the Padres hired Jacque Jones, the L.A. Dodgers nabbed Mientkiewicz to become the hitting coach for the Rookie League Ogden Raptors. I have three observations about this:

  • The 2001 Twins roster is slowly taking over the minor leagues. Denny Hocking manages the Orioles’ Single A squad, and Matt LeCroy is the manager of the AA Harrisburg Senators. Eric Milton isn’t managing in the minors, but he is a coach with the University of Maryland Terrapins.
  • Mientkiewicz always had good plate discipline (.360 career OBP), but I’m surprised he became a hitting coach, since fielding was always his forte.
  • If Mientkiewicz can’t teach hitting or fielding to the Dodger rookies, maybe he can at least teach them how to Dougie.

Sorry to end on an awful pun, but I had to do it. Guys named Doug don’t get teaching/coaching jobs every day, you know.