A simple rule to live by: if you have a chance to trade for Pedro Munoz, you do it.
Thankfully, Twins manager Rocco Baldelli subscribes to this same theory, although his waffling almost cost him.
Baldelli appeared on the ‘Old Baseball Cards’ web series with Mike Oz of Yahoo! Sports this week. The spot was filmed back during Winter Meetings, so Baldelli was in the mood to make some trades, and after opening a pack of 2004 baseball cards and watching Oz open a 1994 pack, the wheeling and dealing commenced.
Baldelli opened a veritable who’s who of players from 2004 — or, as Twins fans remember it, the third year of the back-to-back-to-back A.L. Central Division Title run, aka The Last Twins Dynasty. The pack included Garrett Anderson, Paul Konerko, Bobby Abreu, and a Dontrelle Willis rookie card. Good pulls, to be sure.
To break up the monotony of opening baseball cards (although that’s a thing that people like to watch on the internet these days, I’m told) Baldelli augmented the excitement by sharing memories from each of the cards that he opened. For instance, Anderson swung an insanely heavy bat, Abreu is a gigantic human that ran really fast, and Baldelli faced Brett Myers in the 2008 World Series.
(It’s important to note that Baldelli had apparently zero memory of poor Mike Timlin and Wade Miller, who were the only two players that the Twins’ manager completely breezed past without any additional comment. This is the first recorded incident of Baldelli big-timing his players, and perhaps this means that ol’ Rocco isn’t so nice after all. Only time will tell.)
Then, Oz opened his pack and Baldelli showed his true colors.
The first pull was Twins great Pedro Munoz, who Baldelli clearly had never heard of. It was a tough moment for die-hard Twins fans, to say the least.
If you’re reading this, I don’t need to tell you that Munoz was a big part of the terrible Twins teams of the mid-1990s, slashing .273/.315/.444 and hitting 67 home runs over parts of six seasons with the team as a part-time outfielder and designated hitter.
Munoz only appeared in 75 games in 1994 but hit .295/.348/.508 with 11 home runs. He followed that up with a 104-game campaign in 1995 that saw him put up a .301/.338/.489 line and knock 18 balls out of the park. Unfortunately, Munoz was constantly injured and only played one more year, which was his age-27 campaign with Oakland in 1996.
All that to say, you best know who Pedro Munoz is if you’re going to put on a Twins jersey 162 times this season, Mr. Baldelli. Get it together.
Oz pulled plenty of slouches out of his pack, including Sandy Alomar, Jr., Cal Ripken, Jr., Dave Henderson. But Oz knew who he was dealing with and tried to force Baldelli to trade for Munoz instead of any of the aforementioned stars.
While I’d like to believe that Baldelli was playing hardball, he clearly just didn’t want Munoz on his fake squad and continued to angle for Ripken. Never had Baldelli’s status as a rookie manager been more obvious.
At the end of the day, a two-for-three trade was commenced that landed both Munoz and Ripken on Baldelli’s team. Baldelli lucked out after nearly angering Twins Territory with his clear indifference surrounding the great Pedro Munoz.
Good save, Rocco.