Sunday, February 19, 2012

2012 Twins Personnel to Watch

And now for something a little different. My name is Jon, and Kyle, who normally writes here, asked me to lighten things up and write something every now and again on such varied topics as...
  • Baseball 
  • The Twins 
  • Life 
  • Baseball and life
  • Life, the Twins, and baseball
  • Blank verse poetry
I am a lifelong fan of the Twins and last year entered into a new phase of my fan-hood: following the team from afar. I am watching or listening, yelling at Pat Mears Lew Ford Matt Capps through the TV/computer, and writing from Anchorage, Alaska [insert moose/igloo/darkness joke here]. Having enjoyed reading so many great Twins blog entries over the years, I'm excited to join the fray (the cliche, not the band.) Let's get down to business. What's a Spring Training Twins blog without  a "Players to Watch" post? Rare. But let's not just limit it to players. 

Now presenting the official Armchair GM  Twins' Personnel to Watch 2012 Edition:
Matt Capps: the Twins trade for Capps involving top-prospect Wilson Ramos robbed the Twins worse than Venezuelan kidnappers (too soon?). But now it's 2012 and the second full season with the reliever affectionately known as "Star" Capps is beginning. Spring training means we are once again going to hear about how he pitched through injury last year, how it's really just a bunch of water weight, and how he kept asking for the ball and going out there. Some would point out that he was dreadful when doing so, but those are "glass is half empty" kind of people. 

Being a "who drank my beer" kind of person, I'm just glad that he hasn't started Justin Morneau on fire (fingers crossed). Just give him a chance to see what he can do in a contract year...what? Last year was a contract year too? JIMINIY-CHOCOLATE-SAUCE! Where is Mark Guthrie when you need him?

Wanda the Target Field Concessions Worker: She gave me free chicken fingers and fries once last year when the credit card reader malfunctioned and she couldn't be sure whether it charged my card or not. Turned out it didn't. It was a brilliant customer service move. Looking for another strong year from you Wanda!

Denard Span: Ever since he was called up in 2008, I have stridently--if unsuccessfully--tried to get the nickname "the Spaniard" to stick. Anyone who likes Gladiator should agree this is a super cool nickname. All my lame friends and even my wife have told me to stop mass texting "THE SPAN-IARD!!!!" when he makes any half decent play. They need to stop ignoring the facts. It's a sweet nickname. Don't be mad just because you didn't come up with it. This needs to happen. 

I'm also rooting for Denard to have a comeback year because the Twins really need him in center field. It seems like Morneau and Mauer have been hogging all the injury spotlight, and not without some cause, but Span's concussion worries me significantly. Without him tracking balls out there, we have Ben Revere and his slinky of an arm trying to hold AJ Pierzinski to triples with that weed whip. I may be selling his speed short here, but it's not ideal. Anyway, I genuinely like Span and want to see him do well enough for his nickname to catch on. 

Larry DiVito: No one was looking forward to Michael Cuddyer leaving more than the head Target Field groundskeeper. From game number 7 and on in the new park, there was a solid 3 square yards of turf out there in right field that he had to keep patching because Cuddyer stood in the same freakin' place inning after inning. Believe me. I've watched enough games from the first-baseline cheap seats to imagine Larry crying into the field drainage (way to go green) because his beautiful turf was disappearing in another of Cuddy's magic tricks. 

Joe Mauer: If you have read any of the StarTrib's comment sections from any off-season story having to do with Hometown Joe, you already know that Mauer is a no-talent whiner who is stealing money from this club by sitting out with his fake side-burn injuries. Now I'm not just saying this to try and get an invite to one of Theresa Mauer's ice cream sundae parties, but I say we give Joe another shot this year. Now, I know he has never played through pain or shown any desire to win at any point in his career, but I think there might be a good season left in him somewhere. Call me an optimist, but I won't be booing him on opening day. Hopefully a few people join me. 

Well that about does it for the initial/ possible final ever Armchair GM Personnel to watch column. Hope you found it informative. I know I did. Anyway, thanks goodness it's baseball season again. 

Never fear, Kyle will be back soon to update you on some high-school pitcher who won't see Triple A for 7 years. 

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