Hello all, I’m Andrew Bryz-Gornia (Bryz rhymes with “is,” by the way). Some of you may recognize me from the comments sections of some Twinkie Town posts, and while I would like to believe that my amazing ratio of quality vs. quantity has led to this promotion of sorts, it’s more likely that it’s my work at my blog Off The Mark that caused Jesse to give me a chance here. In fact, this has been in the making since the end of the past season, and Jesse’s just been indecisive over if this was the right decision until finally, ironically, it was waffles that I served him that put an end to his waffling.
As I’ve grown older, my choice of breakfast cereal has changed from Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Reese’s Puffs to something that contains more cardboard than color. The season of our favorite sport is changing as well, but in the opposite direction as the dull of winter is starting to fade and the excitement of spring training and a new season is approaching. I suppose this probably should have been retitled "Lunch and Baseball," but it's my first day. Give the newbie a break. Now, on to the notes:
- Phil Mackey of 1500ESPN Radio has his prediction of what the Twins 25-man roster will look like at the beginning of the season. He notes that this is not necessarily what he wants, but rather what he believes the Twins will do. I can’t really argue with this, although I do think it’s possible the Twins swing a trade so they can keep Terry Doyle in the system, just like they did last season with Scott Diamond. Doing so would open the door for Lester Oliveros, Kyle Waldrop, or my personal favorites Jason Bulger and Jared Burton. Considering that this is just “Version 1.0” for Mackey, it appears as though we can expect another post or two in the future outlining the roster he would prefer to see sometime in the near future.
- Because we all enjoy predicting what the roster will look like come April 6th, MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger also put together his idea of the Twins roster. It looks very similar to Mackey’s, except Bollinger tells us how many openings are available at each position. If you’re a reliever, congratulations! There are three spots open. But there’s also 14 (depending on who you pick and if you call Anthony Swarzak a reliever) realistic options battling for these three spots, and if you expand this to all relievers that will be in camp, you now get around 20 pitchers fighting for those 3 spots. Everything else on the roster is basically set, with the exception of one or two infield spots on the bench and possibly an outfield bench spot.
- It appears as though the Athletics and Rangers are nearing a trade for righthanded reliever Koji Uehara. This doesn’t affect the Twins much, other than the fact that Uehara would be the exact type of pitcher the Twins would target. He doesn’t throw hard and he limits his walks. Oh, and he’s been really, really good in his short major league career. As a reliever over the past two seasons, Uehara has thrown 109 innings with a 2.56 ERA, 2.77 FIP, 11.6 K/9, 1.2 BB/9, and a .186 batting average allowed. As if he wanted to prove that he’s not a machine, Uehara has been below average in allowing home runs (1.32 HR/9 as a reliever). But with being awesome (and not just for sideburns that trump Joe Mauer's), he could be expensive to acquire if the Rangers choose, and it would be tough fitting his $4 million salary into the Twins payroll.
- In another article from Phil Mackey, he looks at the injury concerns for quite a few Twins entering spring training. The post highlights Justin Morneau and his attempt to come back from not only concussions, but also four surgeries and numbness in his left index finger. Plus, there’s a bit on usual suspect Joel Zumaya, recently hurt trash-talker Luke Hughes, and fellow concussed individual Denard Span.
- As a little side note at the end, Mackey mentions that relief prospect Carlos Gutierrez has added a cutter to his repertoire. You may know that Gutierrez primarily features a mid-90s sinker, but has not been able to find a good second offering for hitters, and adding a cutter was likely an easy decision. For a righthander like him, a cutter will ride away from a righthanded batter, while his sinker will bore into the hands. You probably already knew that, so you probably also know that these two pitches typically complement each other very well. However, sometimes “adding” a new pitch turns out to just mean “tinkering with” and subsequently “abandoned,” but we can still keep an eye out for it this upcoming season. There are five televised spring training games in March, so maybe we'll be able to see for ourselves without having to trek to Florida.
- Finally, I was present at Lindsay Guentzel’s voting party last night, located at the soon to be formally known as Smalley’s 87 Club in Minneapolis. We had a great time watching the Timberwolves beat the Houston Rockets handily, I got to meet some other Twins fans, and I even hijacked Aaron Gleeman and John Bonnes’ podcast, which they were recording a few days early. Spoiler alert: Aaron and John argued plenty about eating innings, and Aaron was most definitely
notnonplussed. If you happen to listen to the podcast next week and are confused when I tell Aaron, “You’ll never be four-popped collar cool,” this is what I was referencing. I also learned that my 2012 TwinsFest shirt is not an appropriate voting party wardrobe choice, and there was something funky going on with my hair, I guess… but I digress.
Let’s hope for an uneventful first week of spring training. Uneventful as in no torn elbow ligaments, back spasms, or visa problems.