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  1. #331

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    STrib: Home run-hitting Nelson Cruz eager to join Twins lineup

    Nelson Cruz says he’s excited about being a Twin and believes his new team, like the Rangers of 2010-11, has the talent for a postseason breakthrough. But before he gets started, he intends to make an apology.

    “I’m looking forward to spring training to say, ‘I’m sorry’ ” to new teammate Tyler Duffey, who served up what Cruz said may be the longest home run he’s ever hit.

    “I cannot remember a [longer] one,” Cruz said.

    Duffey probably doesn’t mind, not if Cruz continues to blast home runs now that he’s landed in Minnesota. The Twins announced the free agent’s signing Wednesday, acquiring a player who hit 203 homers over the past five seasons for $14 million this year, and a team option of $12 million for 2020.

    “I could not be more excited. Last year, when I went to Minnesota [with the Mariners], I was thinking ahead: ‘This should be a good fit for me, a team that has really good young guys with a lot of talent,’ ” Cruz said on a conference call with Twin Cities media members. “I guess I can predict the future.”

    http://www.startribune.com/home-run-...eup/503807002/

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  2. #332

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    Really good article in The Athletic about the Cruz signing. It sounds like Cruz didn't need a lot of convincing, he was really sold on the Twins going back to last year. I think he could have a major impact on the roster, he affects everyone batting around him. Let's hope he stays healthy!
    - Respect is the ultimate currency

  3. #333
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    Quote Originally Posted by howeda7 View Post
    Depends on what you mean by long-term. If you can get someone like Dallas Kuechel on a 4-year deal, he can both help you now and still be here in 2 years when you think you can win it all. They probably won't win the WS in 2019. But they can win the division and there's something to be said for going for it. It's tough to have a team that is entirely players under team control and 1-year deals.
    That wouldn't be the worst signing in the world for sure. But he is getting up there in age so it would be risky. He allowed more than a hit per inning in 2018 and his strikeouts are going down.

  4. #334
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    Quote Originally Posted by GophersInIowa View Post
    That wouldn't be the worst signing in the world for sure. But he is getting up there in age so it would be risky. He allowed more than a hit per inning in 2018 and his strikeouts are going down.
    FA starting pitching is always risky. Frankly, you sign him to a 4-year deal and hope to get 3 good years.

  5. #335

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    STrib: A 'living wall' of juniper plants chosen for Target Field backdrop



    The center-field backdrop at Target Field is getting yet another makeover, this time with thousands of sea green juniper plants that Twins management says will offer batters an ideal contrast for tracking fastballs and be “one of the world’s largest living walls.”

    The team has been searching for just right look for the “batter’s eye” area above the center-field wall since it removed 14 spruce trees that were in place when the stadium opened in 2010, but removed after one season amid complaints from hitters that they were a distraction.

    Ejection of the trees raised objections from fans and gave birth to the team’s own version of the Boston Red Sox’s decadeslong “Curse of the Bambino.” The Twins won 94 of 162 games and made the playoffs in 2010, then endured four seasons of 90-plus defeats.

    The junipers — totaling roughly 5,700 — will take the space currently filled by a large black rectangle. The grass berm immediately below will remain.

    “The Minnesota Twins are excited about plans to install one of the world’s largest living walls at Target Field,” said team President and CEO Dave St. Peter, who added that there is nothing else like it in Major League Baseball.

    “Since the removal of the original trees, which were part of Target Field’s batter’s eye in 2010, the Twins have been searching for the right solution which balances playability and aesthetics,” St. Peter said. “We believe the living wall concept delivers on both fronts, while further enhancing the ballpark’s sustainability platform.”

    Matt Hoy, the Twins’ senior vice president of operations, said the decision to go with the juniper plants came after consulting with players and coaches, and after signoff from Major League Baseball.

    http://www.startribune.com/a-living-...rop/504003302/

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  6. #336
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  7. #337
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bad Gopher View Post

    Word is for just $3M too. Nice pickup.

  8. #338
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    Quote Originally Posted by GophersInIowa View Post
    Word is for just $3M too. Nice pickup.
    Hard to argue. He's 33, but minimal risk. Now just need a left reliever and Dallas Kuechel and call it a day.

  9. #339

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    ESPN: 2019's most interesting player already hit home run of the year

    Check out the home run above. Courtesy of the amazing Willians Astudillo, we already have the best home run highlight of 2019. It came in Venezuela, and it defies description. I think the only way it could be topped is if Yasiel Puig hits a walk-off home run in Game 7 of the World Series, but that would mean the Reds getting to the World Series, which seems unlikely.

    Astudillo made his big league debut last season with the Minnesota Twins and in 29 games hit .355 with two home runs. But if you remember anything about Astudillo, it's probably this highlight of him running the bases:




    With his nontraditional physique and hair flying behind him like he's poking his head out of a 747, Astudillo became an immediate cult hero. There's even a five-minute highlight video of his 2018 exploits on YouTube.

    As you can see from the videos, Astudillo isn't without some athleticism despite his girth, and he can play multiple positions. With the Twins, he started 14 games at catcher, five at third base, one at second and even played a few innings in the outfield -- including an inning in center field, making him, according to Ben Lindbergh, the first player in major league history listed at 5-foot-9 or shorter and 215 pounds or heavier to play center field. In winter ball, he has spent most of his time in left field. At 27, he's too old to rank high on prospect lists, but he can play and has a chance to stick with the Twins as a utility player.

    http://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/2...-home-run-year

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  10. #340

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    STrib: Byron Buxton to avoid arbitration, agrees to $1.7 million deal with Twins

    It appears the Twins and Byron Buxton will avoid arbitration, as he closes in on a one-year contract worth around $1.7 million.

    Two sources close to the negotiations confirmed the deal, which comes as major league teams try to reach contracts with arbitration-eligible players before Friday’s filing deadline.

    Buxton made $580,000 in 2018, when he played in only 28 major league games during an injury-plagued year. He played 35 games at Class AAA Rochester trying to find his swing, hitting .272.

    The Twins did not bring Buxton back to the majors in September, a move that ensured he would not gain enough service time to become a free agent until after the 2022 season instead of 2021 — he is 13 days shy.

    “Yes. I ain’t sugarcoating nothing,” he said Dec. 11 when asked of his displeasure with the decision. “It kind of didn’t go over well.”

    Chief Baseball Officer Derek Falvey responded by saying Buxton will be the starting center fielder.

    “I feel as soon as Byron gets around his teammates and we get things moving, going forward, he’s going to be exactly what we expect him to be. And we are going to support him to be the best possible player he can be,” Falvey said.

    http://www.startribune.com/byron-bux...ins/504193692/

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  11. #341
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    Quote Originally Posted by BleedGopher View Post
    STrib: Byron Buxton to avoid arbitration, agrees to $1.7 million deal with Twins

    It appears the Twins and Byron Buxton will avoid arbitration, as he closes in on a one-year contract worth around $1.7 million.

    Two sources close to the negotiations confirmed the deal, which comes as major league teams try to reach contracts with arbitration-eligible players before Friday’s filing deadline.

    Buxton made $580,000 in 2018, when he played in only 28 major league games during an injury-plagued year. He played 35 games at Class AAA Rochester trying to find his swing, hitting .272.

    The Twins did not bring Buxton back to the majors in September, a move that ensured he would not gain enough service time to become a free agent until after the 2022 season instead of 2021 — he is 13 days shy.

    “Yes. I ain’t sugarcoating nothing,” he said Dec. 11 when asked of his displeasure with the decision. “It kind of didn’t go over well.”

    Chief Baseball Officer Derek Falvey responded by saying Buxton will be the starting center fielder.

    “I feel as soon as Byron gets around his teammates and we get things moving, going forward, he’s going to be exactly what we expect him to be. And we are going to support him to be the best possible player he can be,” Falvey said.

    http://www.startribune.com/byron-bux...ins/504193692/

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    Hearing many people think he would have gotten about $1.2 million in arbitration. I'm guessing they offered more to make up for what happened in the fall.

  12. #342

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    per Shooter:

    Look for an announcement that Jim Kaat will be added to the Twins’ broadcast package this season, with Torii Hunter deciding to pass up the booth this season.

    It’ll be interesting whether Twins analyst Bert Blyleven eventually ends up working some Los Angeles Angels games the way Twins analyst Jack Morris does some Detroit Tigers games.

    https://www.twincities.com/2019/01/1...aunders-staff/

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  13. #343

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    per Shooter:

    Minus Joe Mauer’s $23 million, look for Twins’ payroll to come in at about $100 million this year, some $30 million less than last season, when it ranked No. 18 among baseball’s 30 teams.

    https://www.twincities.com/2019/01/1...aunders-staff/

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  14. #344

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  15. #345

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    Miguel Sano in Dominican playoffs, will miss Caravan and TwinsFest

    Miguel Sano will miss the Twins Winter Caravan and TwinsFest next week to participate in the Dominican Winter League championship series.

    Sano's Estrellas de Oriente team leads the nine-game series over Toros del Este 1-0 after a 13-1 victory on Thursday night. Sano was 1-for-4. In six games with Estrellas, he is hitting .273 with a home run and three RBI.

    Estrellas is based in Sano's hometown of San Pedro de Marcoris, and it has not won the Dominican championship since 1968.

    The winner of the series moves on to the Caribbean Series, facing teams representing Puerto Rico, Mexico and Venezuela. It's not clear if Sano would play in the series if Estrellas qualifies.

    "Miguel Sano's Dominican Winter League team has made the playoffs. Due to this he has an extended opportunity to get into live game action in advance of spring training," Twins Chief Baseball Officer Derek Falvey said in a statement. "We have supported his request to remain with his club as they compete for the league championship this week."

    Sano was to appear at caravan stops Monday through Thursday in North Dakota and western Minnesota with Mitch Garver. Kohl Stewart will replace Sano on the caravan.

    TwinsFest runs Jan. 25-27 at Target Field.

    http://www.startribune.com/miguel-sa...est/504568992/

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