Well, that’s the ballgame. Good morning! I hope you enjoyed it. The Braves and the Astros are done duking it out, and Atlanta has been crowned the World Champions for the year 2021. Congratulations are due to the players, perhaps most specifically Eddie Rosario, who had himself one heck of a postseason, winning an NLCS MVP and proving to be one of many notable deadline outfielding acquisitions on the part of Alex Anthopolous.
But enough about that.
Winter is coming, and with it will be lots of news. The expiring CBA will dominate headlines as soon as awards season is over with; labor negotiations are set to be the hot topic for the next few months. As a result, there may be a shortage of the usual hot stove discussion, much like a few seasons ago, when 30 teams collectively decided, “eh, who needs free agents?”
Until then, though, there’s plenty to discuss. Which is why I’ve written about it, and why you, in turn, are reading it right now.
- Our top story today... Alex Colome is outtie. Or at least, his contract is. Who knows? We might be lucky enough to see him re-sign at a reduced rate later this winter. Factoring in the cost of the buyout, if the Twins can sign him to anything less than a $4.25MM deal, they’ll have saved money compared to what they would have paid him picking up the option. After all, he was a fan favorite, particularly around here in Twinkie Town.
- In other Twins roster news, Rob Refsnyder ran into the padded wall of being outrighted. Meanwhile, reliever Jharel Cotton was grabbed off waivers from Texas. Cotton is a guy with upside; the Dodgers sent him to Oakland when they acquired Rich Hill and Josh Reddick in 2016. He put down a 3.52 ERA in 2021.
- Tony Oliva is back on the Hall of Fame ballot. The Golden Days Era committee will vote on his candidacy for Cooperstown, after letting him fall one vote shy of enshrinement during the last cycle. The 83-year-old outfielder had a HOF peak (.313/.360/.507 with 1455 hits, 177 homers, 84 steals, 8 all-star games, and three batting titles) but lacks some of the sustained success of other baseball immortals — part of the reason for a career WAR in the low 40s. Will he make it this time? How about Jim Kaat, also on the ballot, but as more of a compiler (2.0 bWAR season average)?
- Nelson Cruz wins the 2021 Roberto Clemente Award after another season of what MLB describes as “extraordinary character, community involvement,” and “philanthropy and positive contributions,” all accolades that Cruz has duly earned throughout his career. The Twins elected to nominate Cruz despite his midseason departure; he’s now the fourth Twin (Kirby Puckett, Dave Winfield, Rod Carew) to be so honored.
- As I’m sure you’ve seen by now, Trevor Plouffe predicted the exact result of the 2021 World Series way back on March 31. Couldn’t have thrown us a bone, Trev? Used that magic mojo on a little Minnesota, maybe?
- Andrelton Simmons is a finalist for the American League Gold Glove at shortstop. Much was made of the eye test this season after Simmons was marketed to the fanbase as a generational defender (which he is.) Simmons put up the second-highest Defensive Runs Saved at his position, behind only Carlos Correa, while managing solid Outs Above Average numbers (not to be confused with Oats Above Average, a statistic generally reserved for racehorses.) Jose Berrios was a finalist with Toronto.
- This week brought the announcement of the Twins’ new hitting coach. David Popkins is taking over for the recently-reassigned Edgar Varela, who lasted just a year in the position after a promotion following James Rowson’s trip to become bench coach of the Miami Marlins. Popkins was previously the hitting coach for the Dodgers High-A affiliate, the Great Lakes Loons. He’s a younger, fresh hire, with relatively recent playing experience and a reported affinity for coaching.
- The bench coach position is still open, and will be one of the more significant vacancies to be filled on a coaching staff that still intends to accommodate at least one other “Major-League Coach.”
Enjoy the hot links and feel free to dive into the discussion below.
Who was the best Twins hitting coach of the 21st century?
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