Huzzah! A summer friday night in Minnesota. I'd like to dedicate today's comments column to the drunk Brewers fan who will accidentally pay me $11 for a $2 GameDay Program and Scorecard tonight because his eyes can't focus. Sir, enjoy that extra three second pause between any crucial stimulus and your response. It's like a little vacation!
And now, on to the comments....
Love the 16 Candles reference. That's one of my favorite movies ever. I am also really starting to like Brian Buscher, small sample size or not.
You like Sixteen Candles references? All right. I knew you'd come around. This blog...this blog is happenin' I'm blowing your mind aren't I? I'm just getting warmed up. Grooowwwwllllll.....
It's worth noting that Buscher's pro career started at a relatively advanced age; he was already 22 when drafted. Not to say Buscher is his equal, but Corey Koskie's first full season was at age 27. Casey Blake didn't get his first real shot until age 29.
Very nice. I thought about comparing Buscher to Koskie but was under the impression that Koskie started his MLB career much earlier. They aren't dissimilar player in that they are both left-handed, fairly patient hitters. Let's call Buscher a poor man's Koskie, shall we? Because we haven't used that cliche yet.
(BTW, I just looked up Koskie's minor league stats. He had a similar jump in power, but it happened earlier, and he never really had Buscher's plate discipline in the minors.)
And bringing up Blake is partially brilliant and partially just cruel. But it makes me wonder if there's something about third base that allows players to start in the majors a bit later than other positions.
I think we sometimes put too much stock in a minor-league track record. A lot of baseball is mental, and it can take some people a while for the light to come on. Nick Blackburn is another one who was middling for awhile, but appeared to figure something out last year. Hopefully, the same sort of thing is also happening for Denard Span, and he'll turn out to be a productive player after all.
Well, I do put a lot of stock in a minor-league track record, but I would argue that Buscher's minor league record does demonstrate growth and some maintainable skills for the majors.
On Waiting and Outrage
John, I think it is just a matter of time before Span is brought up again. He will undoubtedly be the first to be called up if an OF lands on the DL. I will also not be surprised if the Twins were to send Gomez down if he goes into a prolonged slump, which appears to be the direction he is heading. Lately, he has not been the catalyst that he was earlier in the season.
I've thought the same thing about Gomez, and the stall pattern he is in makes me wonder if it wouldn't benefit him to spend some time in Rochester. But let's also note that Delmon Young didn't play in the Padres series. I'm not too surprised he was the odd man out in an NL park versus three right-handers, but I am a little surprised that he was the odd man out every night.
I think you have to also consider Bill Smith's mindset in the equation. Span has been in the organization since day one, while Young and Gomez are high-profile Smith acquisitions. As such, they are going to get every chance to prove themselves "at the major league level," as Bert likes to say (way too often). Smith does not have nearly the same vested interest in seeing Span succeed as a major league player as he does in seeing Young and Gomez succeed with the big club.
Well, it's not like Smith wasn't in the organization when they drafted and invested in Span, so there is some interest there. But I can't argue your point. It would be a much larger feather in Smith's cap if one of those guys turned a corner this year. I just wonder if they might not have more success turning that corner in AAA, and I suspect the Twins are debating the same thing, and have been for some time. The longer each one's development stalls, the more it makes sense to try something else.
In addition to the contractual considerations you suggest, I think organization depth makes it clear that the pitcher is the right one to sacrifice.
Where is that depth? The only pitcher at AAA that looks remotely read to step into the rotation is Liriano. And he isn't ready. Korecky may be able to step into the bullpen. But the reality is that the Twins vaunted pitching depth appears to be mostly anticipation, rather than anyone really ready for the major leagues.
If Span is going to be on the bench, I agree that the person to cut is the seventh bullpener, and I'd nominate Bass. I don't want Span on the bench, so I'd lean toward Gomez or Young, whichever the coaching staff thinks is more likely to regain confidence in Rochester.
I'll admit that I haven't really researched how the organizational depth is doing in Rochester. I don't think it's overwhelming. But I trust Rick Anderson to find someone else servicable to help out in the bullpen if need be.
Part of the problem is that the Twins' left-handed hitters as a group are much better than their right-handed hitters, so adding another lefty bat isn't as appealing as it otherwise would be.
Another fair point. I don't know if it changes anything for me, but it's becoming a little spooky, isn't it? This isn't a new problem this year, or even since Mauer and Morneau arrived. Jacque, Corey, AJ, Ortiz - it seems like we're trying to find someone to plug in between those guys every freaking year. I would love to hear someone from the Twins farm system try to explain this phenomenon.
If Span comes up, will he play? The Twins have to make a decision on him for 2009 especially. He's out of options and has to stay in 2009 or go elsewhere.
I also hadn't thought of that. Like the left-handed thing, I'm not sure it makes any difference right now. At the very least, I suspect they trust him to be a fourth outfielder. The question is whether he can be more than that, and he'll likely get a chance this year or next to show us.
As for next year, this just means the Twins won't re-sign Craig Monroe, and I don't think there are going to be any bitter tears over that. But I'll point out that the Monroe has had his moments, and if I hear one more indignant tirade about the money he's making, my temples might implode. Try out this exact change on the clue bus: before you gripe about the four million that they spent on Monroe (or the three they're spending on Lamb), you might want to gripe a bit about the $8 million dollars that they aren't spending on anyone. Good golly.
Notes from a Late Night Game
Josh's Thoughts said...
Like they did with Brandon Roy, I'm starting to get worried about the Wolves selecting either Mayo or Beasley and then trading him for a player lower on the board (a guy like Kevin Love) and then A) unload some salary and/or B) pick up a veteran role player as well. I hope that whoever they pick (as long as it's one of those two or Rose), I hope they keep them.
It was very quiet and very boring, but I'm excited about seeing what OJ Mayo can do. I just don't understand the argument that the Wolves "don't need" that position. The Wolves definitely need an outside threat to open up the inside game for Jefferson, and neither McCants or Foye showed that they can consistently play that role.
Would I have rather seen an impact center taken? Yep. But there wasn't one. There was a mediocre center. There were impact guys who might be able to occasionally play center (in fact, we have one of those already). But there wasn't an impact center.
Oh, and if you want to get to know Mayo a bit, check out this story by Chad Ford. It will get you excited.
(Late edit: I'm sick about this trade. Sick.)
Nick N said....
This is basically the reason I've been sticking up for Bonser all year long. His peripherals have been SOOO much better than his results. It strikes me that he's just been unbelievably unlucky. I really feel like he'd be fine if he got back into the rotation; the bullpen is not a particularly good fit for him.
He's become the single most puzzling and intriguing guy on the roster for me in the last 24 hours. And I don't believe it's just luck. But I can't figure out what is going on with him. This is just crazy.
Personally I would not describe the Marbury trade as the work of inspired, insightful masters of the trade. ... Imagine KG with Allen, and Gugliotta, and high number one pick, instead of a team cancer like Marbury. I'm sorry, but I really, really, really can't stand that guy.
Well, I won't blame the Wolves too much for that one. It's hard to look into someone's heart and determine if they're going to win or lose a battle with themselves. I really, really, really can't stand that guy either, but the difference is that I pity him, in the same way I would pity a fallen Greek hero in a cautionary myth.
The further we get from that break up, the more obvious it becomes that Marbury could have literally had it all. He was absolutely the perfect compliment to KG, and KG was the perfect compliment to him. KG needed someone selfish to play with him, someone who wanted the ball in the most crucial situations, and that was Steph. Steph needed someone who could take require attention and assist the offensive flow so Marbury didn't become a one-dimensional scorer, and that was KG. The fact that they liked each other so much wasn't just coincidence. It was fate gently nudging them to each other.
And ironically, Marbury's need to be "the man" on a team would have fared far better if he had stayed. It likely would have come to fruition during numerous playoff crunch time appearances, just like it did for Paul Pierce and (to a lesser extent) Ray Allen this year. And he would have been on a bigger stage, with more success than he ever actually achieved. And he threw that all away in a pique of jealousy. It honestly breaks my heart.
OK, that's it for this week. See you at the Metrodome this weekend. Hopefully on Monday we'll talking about twelve in a row.....