Ladies and gentlemen, TwinsFest is upon us! I was volunteering last night at the Metrodome, and I was able to chat a bit with Drew Butera, Casey Fien, and Liam Hendriks towards the end of the night as the lines died down. First, I learned that Drew is a very funny guy, as evidenced by this picture of him taunting Trevor Plouffe with a cutout of Plouffe.
(Photo credit: Heather Caine)
I also embarrassed myself with Casey Fien when I told him that he looks like my girlfriend's brother, except with "less of a receding hairline," which Liam Hendriks thought was absolutely hilarious. I quickly apologized and told Fien that I probably could have chose a better line, but I quickly clammed up after that and stood awkwardly next to Fien for the last 15 min. of the autograph session.
Finally, a fellow usher nearly asked Butera to "instruct me how to Douglas." I think she should have followed through with that request.
- Being a former Twin, many of us have probably heard this already, but Delmon Young's new contract contains several weight loss incentives for this upcoming season. He weighed in at 238 lbs. at his pre-signing physical, and he will stand to make an additional $600,000 total for making weight at 6 separate times throughout the season, as chosen by the Phillies. The first three times, he must at or under 230 lbs., and the last three weigh-ins he can be at 235 or less. I think what's truly amazing is how different Delmon looks between this photo in 2010 with the Twins, and this one from the 2012 playoffs with the Tigers.
Michael Bourn has had trouble finding a new team this offseason due to a multitude of reasons, starting with having Scott Boras as his agent and secondly, the fact that his new team would have to forfeit a 1st round pick (or 2nd round if the team has one of the top 10 picks in the draft). Well, the New York Mets have interest in Bourn, but they have a conundrum on their hands. You see, the Mets have the 11th pick in the draft, which means that they'd have to give up their 1st round pick to sign Bourn. This hasn't stopped them from requesting MLB to make an exception to allow them to keep their 1st round pick and instead give up their 2nd rounder. At first, this sounds rather ridiculous, as being 11th clearly does not fall into the "top 10 picks" definition. But, the Mets did finish with the 10th worst record last year, and were bumped to 11th simply because the Pittsburgh Pirates failed to sign Mark Appel in last year's draft. MLB rules stipulate that if you fail to sign a player, you receive a compensatory pick in the following year's draft that is one place worse than what you had the prior year. This caused the Pirates to nudge their way into this year's top 10 while pushing the Mets down to 11th. I have to feel that MLB should grant this exception as the Mets are currently being punished for the Pirates failing to sign Appel, but the new CBA negotiated prior to the 2012 season does say that the top 10 picks are protected, not the picks belonging to the 10 worst teams, so the Mets might not even win this argument.
- Aledmys Diaz is a 23-year old Cuban shortstop that should incite a bidding war among teams for his services. Unfortunately for Diaz, though, is that MLB is currently investigating his age. We all know that this is nothing new for Latino players, but Diaz possibly does have a first. He might be the first Latino player to claim that he is older than he truly is. Going back to the new CBA, teams are now restricted to a $2.9 million international budget unless the signing player meets certain criteria. In Diaz's case, he must have attained at least 3 years of professional experience, and he must also be at least 23 years old. The advantage of meeting both requirements is that Diaz and his signing team is no longer limited by the $2.9 million budget. At first glance, he meets both of these, but the issue is his birth date. Diaz claims that he was born on January 8th, 1990. However, there is a story from December 2007 on Serie Nacional (Cuba's official website of its top baseball league) that said that Diaz was born on August 1st, 1990, which would bump him down to 22 years old and no longer eligible for that bigger payday. Even worse, a roster from the 2010 Pan-American games stated that Diaz was born in 1991. There is a possibly explanation for this confusion though, as Diaz's agent Jaime Torres points out that in Latin America, dates are presented as day/month/year, whereas in the United States it's month/day/year. In fact, this subtle change makes sense, as 8/1/1990 in Latin America reads as "8th day of January of 1990," while you and I would read it as "August 1st, 1990." If Diaz is found to have indeed lied about his age, he will face a 1-year suspension from MLB.
- Finally, A.J. Burnett shows us how his offseason training is coming along.
Those were still better throws than what we see in this commercial, however.