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A Twins fan since 1969 and a copy editor for The Free Press (Mankato, Minn.) since 1985, I've written a weekly column on baseball since 1989.


Latest Content from Baseball Outsider

Contemplating Anibel Sanchez
via Baseball Outsider February 21, 2018 at 07:13 PM

The Anibal Sanchez signing, criticized here when the news broke last week, became official Tuesday. (For the record, the Twins opened spots on the 40-man roster by putting Michael Pineda and Trevor May on the 60-day DL. In the past teams had to wait until cusp of the regular season to make that move, but neither was going to pitch in April or early May anyway.)The Twins are describing their additi

The Gary Sanchez rule
via Baseball Outsider February 20, 2018 at 07:13 PM

MLB on Monday announced new limits on mound visits, by players or coaches, in a effort to speed pace of play.Just as the rules established to protect catchers and middle infielders from collisions quickly got nicknamed for the stars who "inspired" the rule (the Posey rule for catchers, the Utley rule at second base), this one should bear the name of Yankee catcher Gary Sanchez, who wore a path out

Hello, Odorizzi
via Baseball Outsider February 19, 2018 at 07:13 PM

The Twins on Saturday traded for Jake Odorizzi, an established right-handed starter, from Tampa Bay.A bit less than a month ago I tried to imagine what Odorizzi would cost the Twins. I would have massively overpaid. So I have to like this trade for the Twins.The Twins get two years of Odorizzi for a Class A shortstop, Jeramine Palacios. Palacios had a big first half at Cedar Rapids and was markedl

Pic of the Week
via Baseball Outsider February 18, 2018 at 07:13 PM

Ron Gardenhire is notably trimmer this spring than he was in his final years with the Twins.Many challenges await Ron Gardenhire as manager of the Detroit Tigers. I was and remain dubious that this job is a good fit for him. The Tigers are all-in on a tear-down and rebuild project, which means play the kids, and Gardy's consistent pattern with the Twins was to prefer an experienced player to

He's low-risk until you put him on the roster
via Baseball Outsider February 17, 2018 at 07:13 PM

The Twins on Friday reportedly signed Anibal Sanchez to a major-league deal. The signing has not been made official pending a physical.Sanchez was good -- years ago. Last season he put up a 6.41 ERA for the Tigers. The year before that, 5.87. The season before that, 4.99. I think you see the pattern.When word broke Friday afternoon I figured it was a minor league deal, and while I wasn't enthused

Spinning the rotation
via Baseball Outsider February 16, 2018 at 07:13 PM

With Ervin Santana sidelined for more than a month to open the season and the Twins' search for rotation depth frozen in the free-agent standoff, Paul Molitor this week hinted at the possibility of skipping a starter with frequency in the early part of the season.As he and his pitching advisors see it, the Twins could get through April only using the fifth starter twice.It's easy to see the ration

Trevor Plouffe and the New Reality
via Baseball Outsider February 15, 2018 at 07:13 PM

#OldFriend Trevor Plouffe this week signed a minor league deal with major league invite with the Texas Rangers. This figures to be some tough sledding for him, since the Rangers have Adrian Beltre at third and powerful Joey Gallo splitting time at third and first. If they're healthy, that doesn't leave a lot of at-bats at Plouffe's positions.One of the oft-heard complaints in this winter of free a

Contemplating Miguel Sano
via Baseball Outsider February 13, 2018 at 07:13 PM

The big topic around the Twins as the opening of camp nears is the starting rotation. But Miguel Sano casts a big shadow over the coming season, and that deserves more acknowledgement that it gets.Sano is coming off surgery to put a rod in his shin after the stress reaction that sidelined him for much of September. He is being investigated by MLB after a creditable allegation of sexual assault and

Yu don't say: Thoughts on missing out on Darvish
via Baseball Outsider February 12, 2018 at 07:13 PM

First, a short explaination for my relative silence the past four days: I've been playing rope-a-dope with the influenza bug, and as Bert Blyleven might put it, it's been kicking my butt-TOCKS.Somewhere in all that it registered with me that Yu Darvish had agreed to sign with the Chicago Cubs. Count me as disappointed but not surprised. The longer it went, the less likely he was to sign with a non

The non-roster invitees
via Baseball Outsider February 08, 2018 at 07:13 PM

A few hours before the Ervin Santana finger surgery news broke, the Twins announced 13 non-roster invitees to spring training:The #MNTwins announced they’ll have 13 non-roster invites to Spring Training pic.twitter.com/BbmrbGe4Tj— Rhett Bollinger (@RhettBollinger) February 6, 2018Thirteen seems a pretty light number. Most springs in the past decade or so the Twins have had 60 or so players in majo

Twins rotation gets the finger
via Baseball Outsider February 07, 2018 at 07:13 PM

Ervin Santana had surgery on the middle finger of his pitching hand and isn't expected to join the Twins rotation until mid April at the earliest, perhaps not until May.One can almost feel the panic rising among the fans. Even with Santana, the Minnesota rotation isn't particularly strong or deep. Even with Santana, the Twins had signaled their intent of adding at least one, preferably two, establ

From the Handbook: Bill James leaders
via Baseball Outsider February 06, 2018 at 07:13 PM

Over his long career as a pioneer of sabermetrics, Bill James has concocted a number of analytical stats. Some. such as runs created, have become foundation pieces for further metrics; some never caught on in the sabermetric community.Win shares is one of the latter. I took note earlier this offseason of the philosophical debate on social media over WAR -- wins above replacement -- which has the s

Jim Thome's Hall of Fame plaque
via Baseball Outsider February 05, 2018 at 07:13 PM

Jim Thome late last week said that he'd prefer the "block C" cap on his Hall of Fame plaque over the "Chief Wahoo" logo that he wore during his stellar tenure in Cleveland.A colleague suggested this weekend that the solution is for him to have the Twins' TC, but I'm pretty sure he knew that isn't happening.Thome spent all or part of 13 seasons in Cleveland and no more than four in his other stops

The Sunday Funnies
via Baseball Outsider February 04, 2018 at 07:13 PM

Let's go for four in this sequence of stories, even if we start wandering away from Zeke Bonura and Jimmy Dykes.This one is from the creation of Connie Mack's support staff in his dotage. Mack and former star Al Simmons are talking contract.The elderly Mack: "You know, Al, that there will always be a place for you with this team."Simmons: "Yeah, but would you make sure your sons know that?"

What are Yu waiting for?
via Baseball Outsider February 02, 2018 at 07:13 PM

The calendar keeps sliding closer to the opening of spring training camps, and the free agent market remains agonizingly frozen. And breaking up the jam probably starts with the top pitcher of the market, Yu Darvish.The Twins have made no secret of their interest in the Japanese right-hander. For a variety of reasons they appear to prefer him to the other top starters on the market (Jake Arrieta,

RIP Oscar Gamble
via Baseball Outsider February 01, 2018 at 07:13 PM

Oscar Gamble and his magnificent Afro in 1974. Alsoevidence that the Cleveland team didn't always use Chief Wahoo.Oscar Gamble played for a lot of teams, but Minnesota wasn't one of them. He was a poor defensive outfielder, and he spent most of his career as a platoon player. But if you were a baseball fan in the 1970s, you knew about this guy.There was, for one thing, the hair. Gamble sported, as

From the Handbook: 2017 Leaderboards
via Baseball Outsider January 31, 2018 at 07:13 PM

Another longtime staple of the annual Bill James Handbooks: top ten lists in virtually every statistical category. A double of easy Brian Dozier nuggets:Dozier was third in the AL in plate appearances (705), but he was "only" eighth in at-bats (617). That's because his 78 walks were ninth most in the league, and most of the regular top-of-the- order guys didn't show on that list..Sticking with Doz

Chief Wahoo and the Old English D
via Baseball Outsider January 30, 2018 at 07:13 PM

Two of the Twins division rivals changing their look. One is purely aesthetic, the other is deeper.Start with the aesthetic one. The Detroit Tigers have long had, in my opinion, baseball's best looking home uniforms. One oddity of the design was the use of two different versions of what they call the Old English D. The one on the cap has thinner lines and points on the top; the one over the heart

On robot umps
via Baseball Outsider January 29, 2018 at 07:13 PM

I didn't post on Saturday. I didn't actively post on Sunday (The Sunday Funnies were all composed weeks ago). I almost didn't post today either. Until the Twins make some moves, posts are likely to be rare here. (I still believe there will be moves, just not on my preferred timeline.)But this article on why "robot umps" aren't coming to MLB anytime soon caught my eye this morning. It's long and it

The Sunday Funnies
via Baseball Outsider January 28, 2018 at 07:13 PM

Having told a couple of Zeke Bonura stories, let's milk Jimmy Dykes -- almost certainly the source of those two -- for another.A bit of background: Dykes had a long playing career, mostly with the Philadelphia Athletics -- he held the Athletics franchise record for games played for decades until Bert Campaneris broke it in Oakland -- and was part of the core of Connie Mack's second dynasty.The 192