I was watching a NL playoff game one day (because that's all we get on regular tv--how does Fox NOT have the AL playoffs?) and between half-innings I'd click down a half-channel and one of the secondary digital stations was showing "Star Trek III--the Search for Spock." Of course the first thing that jumped into my head was a Seinfeld reference. Kramer: "I know, I know, Jerry will tell you that the Wrath of Kahn is the better picture...yada yada yada."
The second thing that occurred to me was that the Twins last two seasons could be aptly described by Star Trek movie subtitles: Star Trek II--The Wrath of Kahn becomes Twins Playoff II (in the 21st century) the Wrath of NathAhn. (I picture him spinning in circles out on the pitchers mound, staring straight up at the camera, yelling "Yankees!!!!!!!" Or, "My armmmm!!!!!!"
Then you have last year, Twins Trek III--The Search for Doc (Morneau, thanks Batgirl). So of course, next year, Twins Playoff Trek IV is the Final Frontier--getting out of the ALDS. (Of course, if they expand the playoffs, it could set the whole thing back a notch.
At any rate, once I made the mind-meld between Twins Baseball and Trekkie Geekery, it didn't take me long to come up with my offseason plan: Eliminate the Red-Shirts. Remember in every episode Kirk would leave the Enterprise manned by some underling, Transport down to the surface with Spock and Bones and a couple of dudes in red shirts, and the dudes in red shirts would get eliminated pretty quick? Well, the Twins aren't getting rid of the main cast anytime soon, but I think their are auditions on hand for the red shirt guys.
So just who are the red shirt guys, and who are the Main Cast? Read all about it after the jump...
The Main Cast:
Kirk--Joe Mauer, without a doubt. While not as loquacious as William Shatner, I have only one word to verify the comp: Sideburns. Nuff said.
Dr. Spock--Doc Morneau. "Ketchup on Hotdogs is entirely illogical, Joe. Whereas Ketchup flavored potato chips are entirely logical." Also, the furrowed brow. And the pointy ears.
Bones--Cuddyer. Sorry, but its true. "Dammit Gardy, I'm a rightfielder, not a doctor/third baseman/first baseman/tradebait." You just can't replace the ship's doctor that easy, even if he is overpaid.
OK, that part was easy. It gets a bit more, er, stretchy from here on. Also, I don't want to confuse anyone, but there were some dudes who wore red shirts who didn't automatically die every episode. It's a subtle distinction. One of the most important red shirt guys on Star Trek was...
Scottie--The guy who was always trying to deliver more power. In my book, there are only two guys who could fit that bill. Kubel and Thome. And let's be honest--Scottty had a lot of personality, which Kubel has none of, and Jimmers has plenty of. So, in a fairly critical head to head, Long time Major Leaguer Jim Thome has the advantage over long time Minnesota Twins Organizational guy Jason Kubel.
Chekhov--Easy . Delmon. Chekhov was usually the guy who had is hand on the phasers and torpedoes and whatnot, but he also had trouble pronouncing the phoneme "V," and in ST II he had that insect put in his ear by Ricardo Montalban, and, Lord knows that will mess with your equilibrium, which would explain some of Delmon's routes. Right?
Sulu--Francisco. Calm, steady, under the radar, perhaps not as ace like as we want--but an ace nonetheless. I do believe that in Star Trek XII, Sulu eventually achieved Ace status/became a Captain of a "Starship." Unfortunately, that Starship may never be the U.S.S. Minnesota Twins...
who's left? Ahh, Uhura. Tough one. I have to go with...
Matty G. Think about it--Uhura was the communications person--you call, she's there. Ditto for Matty. I predict he comes back on the cheap, Crain is gone to embarrass himself somewhere while simultaneously setting himself up for life ( a trade I'd make if I were him), Fuentes was just a guest star, Rauch...well losing him will be a bummer. He's more like Helo on Battlestar Galactica--a guy you didn't think would be a main player but rose to the occasion and soon became a favorite. But I gotta go with Shaggy.
So, at this point, we've id'd the main cast. If you aren't on the main cast, you are trade/cut bait. Pavano has to be the character we all love but somehow dies at the end of the film. (You know that Harrison Ford thought the Han Solo character should die in Return of the Jedi, to lend the movie some gravitas, but George Lucas wouldn't go for it? Pavano is that guy. Anyway here goes--
Who are the non-descript actors who constitute the Twins' version of the red shirts? The guys you see every night, who might occasionally do something semi-unspectacular, but who ultimately fade in the limelight of primetime?
Kubel. Baker. Perkins. Span. Crain. Tolbert. Hardy. Morales. Punto. Repko. Slowey. Blackburn.
First to get phasered: Kubel. Trade him for a prospect and save some dough. The Grand Slam vs. the Yankees can be his selling point/resume.
Next: Baker. He's like that dude from Star Trek the Next Generation and Stand By Me. Too thoughtful and introspective and calm. There is only room for one baby-faced guy like that on the roster and he will come via trade...a bit later.
Punto, Tolbert, Perkins, Repko: Gone. Gone. Gone. Gone. I don't care if they are cheap or not, they are quintessential redshirts and need to be phasered.
Blackburn: Hmmm, I liken him to Chief Tyrol on BSG. Not a 'cool' fighter jock like Apollo or Starbuck, but, well, he has a beard, and we need to keep some facial hair on hand with the loss of Pavano, Kubel, and...
Crain: Ladies and gentlemen, your 2011 Pittsburgh Pirates Closer.
Morales: I bet if he changed his first name to Pedro, the power would come.
Slowey and Duensing: We need to keep a couple of redshirts around so that there is someone to phase next offseason.
Hardy: Keep him. Chekhov and Sulu need some time off occasionally. I think another year in a Twins uniform will earn him a spot on the Bridge.
Hudson: He's like Samuel L. Jackson (sorry about the African-American comp) in Star Wars. The Twins Mace Windu. He's got personality, for sure, and personality goes a long ways. He's got ten times more personality then that Tolbert guy from Green Acres. But he's phased as well.
The Moves: Flip some prospects for Greinke, the Josh Johnson of his generation. Headliner is Hicks, maybe with Baker added, or Wimmers, or Gibson (but not both.) Also, Guerra---that way, the Santana trade is the gift that keeps on giving, much like the Jelly of the Month Club. Later, when Greinke is trade/lost in Free Agency, more new players are added, and years from now we can view the Santana trade as the Six Degrees of Johann. As for Hicks, well, I wish him my best, and I hope he doesn't become the Carlos Gonzales of his generation.
Next: Sell medium-high on Denard Span for a prospects. Might not save a bunch of credits this year, but Revere is ready, and Span's salary will be increasing. Another year like last years and he is total dead weight.
Finally: Flesh out the roster with veteran gamers. Your Uribes, Huffs, Boones (A. not B.), Millars, etc. Not, mind you, your Batistas, Nevins, and Boones (B. not A.) Gibson or Wimmers in the wings. Guty in the pen. The Rochester Red Shirts in reserve (Slama, Delaney, Burnett, Martin.)
Done and Done.