Your soundtrack today is the final track off of the Foo Fighter's new album, I Am A River. Enjoy, and carry of for Twins-related nuggets of joy.
Twins payroll not restrictive
According to Sid, Twins owner Jim Pohlad has said (in Hartman's words): "there are no serious restrictions on General Manager on Terry Ryan when it comes to spending in free agency." Pohlad has stated previously this off-season, on more than one occasion, that if Ryan thinks that spending the money on a player makes sense that he'll sign the check.
In Pohlad's own words:
"We’ve said this a million times, and the answer to that is clearly and unequivocally yes, whatever Terry wants to spend," Jim Pohlad said. "I’m not saying we’re going to have a payroll of $200 million or $150 million but we’ve been up past $100 million before, and if Terry finds the opportunity, we’re willing to go there again."
Can the Twins find a way to spend $100 million this season? Possibly, although it could take more than free agency to get there. Minnesota could always take on payroll in a trade. Regardless, it's good to continue to hear Pohlad make this statement. He'll give Ryan the money to get the players he can get; Ryan just has to go out and find the right players.
Danny Santana gets second place vote
In the race for the American League's Rookie of the Year award, Danny Santana finished with a second place vote. That gave him three points and, while it doesn't push him into the top three vote-getters, it does put him on the list. And that's deserved.
Santana hit .319/.353/.472 in 101 games while playing his natural shortstop and the unnatural center field.
Hey Mets...what's up?
Nobody is really sure what the Mets are doing here. Not only are they spending $21 million on a player who will be 36 years old and has averaged just 93 games his last three years, but Cuddyer is also leaving Coors Field and will cost the Mets their first round draft pick.
You have to love Cuddyer, and he certainly brings those intangibles to the table that every front office loves. But the red flags are multiple. Did the Mets think they were one player away?
With hitting coach Tom Brunansky the only coach on board so far for new manager Paul Molitor, it sounds like Eddie Guardado looks to be in the mix for the bullpen coach. While he has yet to have coaching experience on his post-playing days resume, he has been a pitching instructor for the Twins in spring training for the last few years.
Guys with no managerial or coaching experience doesn't bother me. If they know how to deal with people and understand how the game works in their area of responsibility, they're probably going to be just fine.
Speaking of Molitor, Phil Miller has some interesting items regarding the new manager's goals and philosophies. We know that he wants Danny Santana back at his natural position of shortstop, but it gets more interesting. He recognizes that the organization's philosophy on pitching has changed, particularly where it applies to trade and draft targets, but he wants to see that philosophy implemented at the Major League level, too.
It's worth noting that Molitor is quoted as saying "We've seen velocity make a difference for many teams," and that's great, but we've heard that from the Twins front office before. Velocity and the ability to miss bats are not the same thing. I know that Molitor certainly understands this, but the quote is similar to what we've heard from the front office in the past, when it was quite clear they may have been targeting velocity without concern for strikeouts. Remember Jim Hoey?
Molitor wants to have a meeting with Joe Mauer to ensure they're on the same page. It sounds like Molitor wants clear and open lines of communication so that he can ensure Mauer is happy, but it also sounds like he may want Mauer to recognize the special place and special role he plays for the organization.
The final note is on defensive shifts, of which we know Molitor is a fan. And that's great. He also wants to work with hitters on their mentality while facing the shift though, and that's fascinating. That's the kind of area where Molitor's baseball intelligence and his teaching abilities will come into play.
That's everything for now, but we'll be back later today with more.