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Friday Four: Lockout Update, Mitch Garver, Willians Astudillo, and a Trade Retrospective

In which I make my disdain for the owners even clearer than before.

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Toronto Blue Jays v Minnesota Twins
Man of the people, Mitch Garver
Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Welcome back to the Friday Four. Full disclosure, I have been battling a case of covid this week which has totally knocked me off my game. The good news is that I am on the upswing and I have a wonderful excuse for any typos or bad opinions. Half of this was written in a state of complete delirium.

Weekly Lockout (Non)Update

Time for everybody’s favorite game. Say it with me: MLB LABOR DISPUTE WATCH! The short version is that there’s still no deal and won’t be anytime soon. The long version is a bit more complicated.

After a few meetings earlier this week that made a little progress, MLB reached out to the feds for help.

Theoretically, this is good news. A federal mediator should get the ball rolling and help the two sides come to a resolution. However, rather than a move to find common ground, this appears to be a PR play by the owners.

The former head of the MLBPA was even harsher on the owners when asked about mediation from the 1994-1995 strike, saying, “It was a joke. It had no value. And there were all kind of agendas at work in the mediation that had nothing to do with the agendas of the parties trying to resolve the dispute.”

The mediator could end up being the solution. One famously saved the NHL season back in 2013. However, this just feels like another bad faith negotiation tactic from a group of people unwilling to give an inch on anything of substance.

Mitch Garver Speaks Out

Maybe “tweets out” is the better phrase.

To sum everything up: the owners locked out the players, waited two months to bring a proposal, sat down for exactly three meetings, immediately said all of the central changes the players wanted were non-negotiables, and then decided the players were too difficult to work with.

Regardless of which side you think is at fault, a chasm remains between the players and the owners. Folks, it’s officially time to get worried.

Turtle Dance

With MLB play not on the horizon, let me present to you Series del Caribe. The Dominican Series matches up the champions of 6 top leagues in Central and South America. One of those teams is the Venezuelan champions Navegantes del Magallanes, who rosters none other than La Tortuga himself, Willians Astudillo.

Amid a big comeback by the Venezuelans, Astudillo hit a clutch RBI single in the top of the 8th to tie the game and celebrated as only he can.

His performance on the field left a lot to be desired, but his joy and love of the game will be missed in 2022. The good news: cult heroes never die. Just ask LNP.

On This Day in Twins History

The Twins swapped Lamonte Wade Jr. for Shaun Anderson in a much-maligned trade with the San Francisco Giants. You know what happened next. Anderson limped his way to 12 runs (nine earned), 13 hits, five walks, and eight strikeouts in only 8.2 innings before ultimately being designated for assignment in early June. Wade... well you know at this point.

Standard Batting
2021 27 SFG NL 109 381 336 52 85 17 3 18 56 6 1 33 89 .253 .326 .482 .808 117 162 3 5 4 3 1 973H/8 MVP-21
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 2/3/2022.

Don’t ignore that last column. He was so good that someone gave him an MVP vote! The trade is widely viewed as a disaster for the Twins, and rightly so, but I think the front office deserves a little more credit.

At the time of the trade, Lamonte Wade Jr. was a 27-year-old corner outfielder who had shown no power at AA, AAA, or the majors. He had elite contact and on-base skills, but for a team that was theoretically supposed to compete for a title last year, there just wasn’t space for that kind of player on the roster.

This wasn’t a David Ortiz situation where they let a good player go. They traded a player who was unquestionably inadequate for a reliever they hoped would be part of their future. Hindsight is 20/20, but this wasn’t a poor decision by the front office. It was San Francisco doing what they do best: turning bad players into good ones, and good players into stars.

The Twins should, however, take a look at their player development. If they want to compete in the future, they need to figure out how they can create their own success stories like Lamonte Wade Jr.