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It's Official: Sportswriters Like to Smoke Crack

And make stuff up.  In that order.

I lived there, and I read their crap on a daily basis.  On some level I'd like to think that only miniscule amounts of the routine rubbish permiated my classical mid-western logic-dominated brain, but whether it did or it didn't I still knew it was all garbage.

But this takes the cake.

That's right, ladies and gentlemen, Dan Rosenheck of the New York Times believes the Twins are the best fit for Barry Bonds.  No, seriously, stop laughing, I mean it.  Rosenheck makes quite the attempt in making the Twins appear to be the best suitor.

Forget the fact that the Twins have two truly glaring holes, needing a hitter (of the designated variety or a heavier-hitting third baseman) and one proven starting pitcher.  Forget the fact that the Twins are a team strapped financially.  Just sit down and put on a blindfold, so that you have an excuse when someone asks you why you didn't realize this was a massive mistake miles away.

Barry Bonds is still a commodity.  Even at 42, if he were brought to the American League to DH 130 games, he would probably put up some gaudy numbers.  Hell, starting in the outfield for San Francisco in 2006 at the age of 41, he hit .270/.454/.545.  Out of his 99 hits, 49 were of the extra-base variety.  He was walked 115 times "unintentionally" and only struck out 51 times.  Steroids or not, the man can hit the snot out of the ball at an age where most ballplayers have been out of the league nearly 8 years.

What is astounding about Rosenheck making a case for Bonds being a signature pickup isn't that he's calling Bonds a "bargain", or that he's talking about Bonds at all, it's that he's talking about Bonds signing with THE TWINS.

Moreover, they are $11 million under last year's payroll. If Carl Pohlad, the Twins' owner, gave his general manager, Terry Ryan, another $6 million and instructed him to offer Bonds a one-year, $17 million contract, he would still have a good chance of making a profit on the deal.

Yeah friggin' right.

I have a lot of faith in the intelligencia of this site, but I can't help myself.  For my own damn sanity, I need to break down the pure idiocy of this article.

1. Rosenheck begins his argument stating that the Twins left field offensive production was the worst in baseball.  This is no big surprise, and this is the only statement that I have no real problem with.  Unfortunately, the Twins biggest problem isn't left field.  That's closer to number 4 on the Offseason Issues depth chart.

In 2006, Shannon Stewart, Lew Ford, Jason Tyner, Rondell White, Jason Kubel and Josh Rabe played significant time in left (Cuddyer's two innings don't count).  Glancing through this list, it's not really a surprise we didn't produce.  Stewart, White and Kubel had health issues of varying degrees.  Ford is a defensive replacement with little offensive value.  Rabe is a rookie.  Tyner, as much as I love what he did and how well he played during a career year, still doesn't tear the cover off the ball.

Left field shouldn't be as large of a focus as a designated hitter, third baseman or a starting pitcher, however, because of the talent that should be available to fill the gap in 2007.  Terry Ryan still believes Jason Kubel will be ready to compete at a higher level than last season, and the word on the street is that the Twins are also looking into resigning Rondell White.  Certainly, neither of these options are ideal and fool-proof, but on a financially strapped team with limited free agency options, there's less urgency to focus on the lesser evil.

2. His second sentence (that's right he doesn't even choose to elaborate on his actually decent first point) implies that signing Bonds would help hold back the flood-gates of a highly contested division.  Chicago, Detroit and Cleveland all have potential to unseat the Twins in 2007 as the AL Central champs, and dammit, BARRY BONDS IS THE BEST WAY TO STEM THE TIDE.

Which, y'know, works well, because as I've mentioned, the Twins only have one offseason issue.

3. Minnesota averages 24,000 empty seats in August and September.  He doesn't really say how signing Barry Bonds guarantees or even gives the hope of filling these seats, but we can draw the conclusion for him.  He believes Bonds, not team success, puts people in the seats.

To some extent, he's actually right.  There's no denying that Bonds would bring in some fans and tourists.  Unfortunately, if the team isn't winning, Bonds' draw would be heavier in the beginning of the season.  If the team IS winning, having Bonds on the roster is no guarantee that more people will actually show up.  They SHOULD (says the baseball freak), but it's not a given.  Hell, remember how hot the Twins were coming down the stretch last summer, how tight of a race it was with Detroit and Chicago?  Yeah, it was absolutely mental, and we STILL had all those empty seats.  The solution to this is a long-term answer, not Barry Bonds.

In addition, the Twins drew 2,285,018 fans in 2006--the 4th highest total since moving into the Metrodome in 1982.  That's without Barry.

4. Take another look at the block quote I used above.  The one that makes me twitch.  How many things do I need to point out that are wrong with those two sentences before I can stop that unceasing feeling in my mind of nails dragging across a chalkboard?

One, the Twins payroll is already increasing.  If you're a Twins fan, you should know, we're thankful for that.  Asking for another 6 mil is like asking Scrooge to put another log on the fire (pre-Ghost of Christmas Future).

Two, even if we were to get an extra 6 mil (WHICH WE WON'T), we wouldn't be using $17,000,000 to throw away on one season of Bonds.  That money would be used for a starting pitcher (via trade), a third baseman (via trade), a designated hitter (probably via trade), and most intelligently, hopefully would be used to sign Joe Mauer through his arbitration years.  Honestly, $17 MM wouldn't even get all of that done.

Three, how would we make a profit off of Bonds on a 1-year, $17,000,000 deal?  I could make something up, which is exactly what Rosenheck did, but if someone could do some real math on this for me that would be awesome.


Five, look at the last sentence of Rosenheck's article.  Newsflash:  It's still out of the Twins' financial league.  Stop making stuff up, there's an 8-year old out there somewhere whose hopes have gotten up about the Twins finally bringing in a big-name hitter in the offseason.

Way to ruin Christmas, Rosenheck.