Tuesday, March 09, 2010


Or so it sounds listening to the news on ESPN.  Yes, Joe Nathan has a significant tear in his throwing arms ligament.  Yes, this undoubtedly sucks.  Sucks hard.  Sucks burro testicles.

But the always steady, never stupid crew of Mike and Mike in the Morning w/ guest Buster Olney took things a little too far, when they basically buried the Twins.

I'm paraphrasing, but the argument which has been around a bit longer than the truth, was this:  Joe Nathan when healthy is a preeminent closer--one of the best in game.  The Twins don't score a whole lot of runs, so runs will be at a premium; they are a small market team, and don't have a payroll that allows for much movement.  They don't have any proven closers.

Only fact one was 100% true.  Joe Nathan is one of the best in the league, without a doubt, especially when looking at his career over the past five years.

The Twins not scoring a lot of runs is based on assumptions based on last year's (or maybe even the year before) line-up.  The Twins scored 817 runs last year.  That's more than Detroit, or the White Sox, or the Rangers.  It is behind the Yankees, Red Sox, and Angels, but it still better than most teams in the league.  There wasn't a power outage last year for the Twins--Mike and Mike may have not noticed, but the Twins had four guys who hit over 25 home runs last year; 10 guys who hit 15 or more doubles; and 4 guys with 90 or more RBI.  That's an offense that was clicking along OK most of the time.   Anyone who watched the Twins last year knows that the thing that stung them was injuries to starting pitchers.  That was not hyperbole--literally anyone who watched them last year knows that.

The Twins have announced plans to add to their payroll, based on new income based on the new outdoor park, and so far, they seem to be following suit.  They've added Jim Thome, Orlando Hudson, and J.J. Hardy this offseason, and are still likely to sign Joe Mauer to a long term, big time deal.  They aren't ever going to be the Yankees (thank god) but when you look at what they've been willing to do so far, it isn't impossible to imagine they'd look at potential free agent players.

The Twins don't have any proven closers, that part is true.  But let's all remember something.  When they got Joe Nathan, he wasn't a proven closer himself.  He was a failed starter in San Francisco who had become a good set-up man.  Not so good that the Giants thought twice about trading him (and Boof Bonser and Francisco Liriano) to get the Awesome Asshole that is A.J. Pierzynski.  So, you know--if you are looking for a great closer, maybe the place to look is a good set-up reliever, and the Twins actually have a few of those.  My guess is you'll see Matt Guerrier, who went 5-1 with 33 holds and and ERA of 2.36 last year.  A dark horse could be The Sub-Mariner!, Pat Neshek, who is back from an injury plagued couple of years, and is looking good at the moment.

So, please ESPN's Buster Olney and the circuit of clowns you have to talk to in the morning--please let's not bury the Twins just yet.  Let's wait until they play a game or two, shall we?


Miwacar said...

Talk around the league is perhaps Big John Stud, uh I mean Rouse and/or perhaps signing Smoltz who is teamless at the moment. The Twins have a lot of arms and will fill some of the hole, but it is still a large blow to their soaring expectations.

I think Matty G would be excellent, and Rouse closed in Washington. Another possibility is Mijares. He has the attitude and the stuff, now all he needs is some control and mental fortitude.

Jess said...

ESPN.com fantasy projections put Rauch as the closer if Nathan does have surgery.

I'm not entirely sure what fantasy projections have to do with real-life line-ups, but that's what the ticker told me.

Big Blue Monkey 2: The Quickening said...

Rauch has the most career saves of any in the reliever core. I assume that is what it is based on.