We got about a foot of snow like in the last 12 hours, it seems, yet spring is in the air.
Spring camp has started in Florida, and the Twins have acquired some of the pitching help we’ve been asking for the last few years in relievers Fernando Rodney and Addison Reed, as well as starters Michael Pineda, Anibal Sanchez and Jake Odorizzi. I realize two of those three starters likely won’t factor in this season (if Sanchez does at all), but it’s still good to see some transactions happening that will actually benefit the staff.
What A Relief
The Twins had a pleasant surprise with Brandon Kintzler, Trevor Hildenberger, Taylor Rogers and, to an extent, Dillon Gee and Alan Busenitz, but it was just that – a surprise.
Rodney and Reed are both proven veterans who can help finish ballgames. With those two and Hildenberger, I’m actually comfortable with a one-run lead going into the seventh or eighth inning. I expect Reed and Hildy to take the tough lefty vs. lefty/righty vs. righty matchups, and Rodney to close out the ninth in most cases.
How Do You Like Your Eggs?
I prefer mine Odorizzi. My jaw dropped at my work desk last night when I saw the news of the trade. We gave up shortstop prospect Jermaine Palacios straight up for the soon-to-be 28-year-old right hander. With the Twins’ top two prospects being middle infielders (2017 No. 1 overall draft pick Royce Lewis and 2014 No. 5 overall pick Nick Gordon), Palacios is a small price to pay for an arm like Odorizzi’s. Last year, he finished 10-8 with a 4.14 ERA and 8 K/9 for a Rays squad that was 80-82 on the year. At Target Field, I’d expect the record and ERA to improve this season. Full Odorizzi stats.
As for Sanchez, why not? Apparently his contract is a one-year, $2.5 mil. deal which is doubled with incentives, but half of that money only comes if he makes the team. So basically, if he’s gotta earn the money to get the money, which makes him worth the money. He won’t make it, but why not take a low-risk chance on a guy who was 14-8 with a 2.57 ERA in 2013? Stats.
Pineda: We’re paying him a lot of money to rehab this year, but this man can strike guys out when he’s on. Let’s hope for a smooth recovery this year and a strong comeback in 2019 without pine tar or steroids.
A Chat With Dick
A few weeks ago, being the only Twins fan working for the Bemidji Pioneer sports section, I was lucky enough to cover the Bemidji stop of the Twins Caravan. I interviewed Dick Bremer and John Curtiss, and I met Eddie Rosario, who wasn’t doing individual interviews due to his difficulty speaking English.
Anyway, this is what Bremer had to say about the past two seasons and this upcoming summer:
“I’m left thinking that 2016 really was an aberration. You have to remember, this team was pretty good in 2015. They almost got in the playoffs in 2015, so I think we saw the potential on that team, and then 2016 – you can’t recover from losing the first nine games of a season. And a lot of things went bad after that… This is really going to sound strange: the team lost 103 games in 2016, and I wasn’t the least bit surprised that they won 85 the next year. Because we saw the year before, 2015, that the scouts were right. These guys are good. They’re good and they’re young, and they have very high ceilings. So I wasn’t surprised, but I am intrigued now to see whether this team can take it to the next level and not get into a wild card game but maybe win a division.”
I also got a little look into who might be accompanying Dick in the booth this season, since it seems Bert Blyleven is being slowly taken over at the color commentary spot.
“They added Torii Hunter and LaTroy Hawkins last year, and I hear rumblings that Justin Morneau is going to join us for a few games this year,” Bremer said. “All that really matters is how the fans react to the variety of analysts in the booth. The sense I get is they kind of enjoy it, and so we’re more than happy to do that. I’m lucky because I get to work with a lot of great Twins players all in one season.”