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Saturday, January 26, 2008

Morneau, Cuddyer, and Dan are winners

Friday marked a historic day in Twins history. The Twins inked former MVP Justin Morneau to a six-year $80 million deal, the largest contract in franchise history. The Twins didn't stop there as they also locked up rightfielder Michael Cuddyer to a three-year $24 million deal. In amazing news, Twins owner Carl Pohlad opened his wallet 104 million dollars deep, which we all know is still pocket change to the billionaire banker.

The sighs of relief across Twins Territory were great enough to blow the air out of the Metrodome as Twins fans know two of their stars will be sticking around for awhile longer. After an offseason that has seen franchise star Torii Hunter leave and the imminent departure of ace pitcher Johan Santana, we're reassured to see Cuddyer in the new ballpark in 2010 and we can rest easy as Morneau will not be a free agent until 2013.

I was ecstatic to read this news and see new GM Bill Smith be proactive and lock up our key players which past management has failed to do. I think the Cuddyer 3-year deal is a good one given the current high market value. Initially it may seem more than he is worth, but it is key for the Twins to know they have a stable right hand bat to produce for three years in the middle of the lineup. Cuddyer brings a great outfield arm, below average defensive range, but it is a great man for the clubhouse and the Twin Cities. Having Morneau locked up is such an important move for this franchise. This is the first time Twins fans can know they will have a star player like Kirby Puckett sticking around Minneapolis for awhile. Morneau will not only be around for the opening of the new ballpark but for many years after. He will be the new face of the franchise along with catcher Joe Mauer, so let's hope for a few more MVP awards.


I apologize as I cam currently on a 10 day roadtrip and internet access will be rare. That's why this breaking news from Friday is posted so late. But the Twins contract announcements came as a great opener for the 2008 Twins FanFest at the Metrodome. From what I've read and seen in pictures, the weekend looked like another great success and most importantly there was good news to share.

Attending the Twins FanFest will be the winner of the first ever Twins MVB Free Prize Giveway, Dan. Dan is an avid MVB reader from Farmington, MN.

Congratulations to Dan and I promise another free prize giveaway in the future.

Until then, celebrate the good Twins news and prepare for more with the Santana trade clock ticking down to four weeks.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

FREE Prize Giveaway

That's right MVB fans, it's the first ever FREE PRIZE GIVEAWAY!

I know this is a little late notice, but I just got my hands on two tickets to the Twins FanFest at the Metrodome in Minneapolis this weekend Jan 25- Jan 27. Sadly, I am unable to go and I want some Twins fan to have the opportunity to go.

Here's how this giveaway will work....

All you have to do is send an email with your first name and your favorite Twins player as the subject line to twinsmvb@gmail.com by 8 PM tomorrow (Thursday, Jan. 24). I will then randomly select an email, get in contact with the winner, and send the tickets overnight to our winner.

If you've never been to the Twins FanFest it really is a great time. It's a huge festival down on the field in the Metrodome. There are opportunities for autographs, player photos, trivia, games, auctions on memorabilia, auditions to sing the national anthem, and my favorite Q&A sessions with the players. I'd recommend it to any Twins fan.

Check out the link here for player autograph schedules and a full description.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Morneau signs... just for one

Justin Morneau and the Twins agreed this morning to a one-year deal avoiding arbitration between the two parties. Morneau signed for $7.4 million which is a $3 million raise from the $4.5 that he made last year. Morneau isn't eligible for free agency until after the 2010 season but this offseason is an indication of why the Twins must sign their star players to long-term contracts. I understand simply avoiding arbitration and giving the 2006 MVP a fair deal, but I don't understand why the Twins are so hesitant to give Morneau the $4 million more that separated them last time they attempted to lock him up long-term. This is a top priority!

In related news, yesterday the Twins avoided arbitration with Jason Kubel and locked the 26 year-old outfielder to a one-year deal worth $1.3 million. After these two signings, this leaves RF Michael Cuddyer and pitchers Matt Guerrier and Juan Rincon as the remaining players who could possibly enter arbitration.

Joe Sheehan of Baseball Prospectus writes in his column that Jason Kubel is one of the nine players in baseball poised to have a breakout season in 2008. Here's to Sheehan's projections coming true. Kubel was destined for great things in 2004 when he flew up the minors all the way to the Twins playoff roster. After a devastating injury caused him to miss the entire '05 season and took him two more seasons to regain his swing, Kubel seems ready to establish himself as one the Twins' top hitters. If Kubel emerges, Delmon Young improves on his rookie season, and Joe Mauer can stay healthy the middle of the Twins' order along with Morneau and Michael Cuddyer could be very dangerous and solve our "run problem" from last year.

What do you think of the possibility of Kubel breaking out in 2008?

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Rumors Flying

With every day that passes it seems that either the Yankees, Red Sox, or Mets have emerged as the favorite to land Twins ace Johan Santana or one of the three teams seems to be out of the race. I can honestly say I'm no longer sure who is the favorite, what the GM Bill Smith and the Twins are looking for, or where Santana will be at the start of spring training.

I decided to compile all the "news" that I have read which is actually more speculation/rumor. But it's certainly fun to guess and wonder, so here is what the supposed insiders know...

In Boston, Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald writes that the "experts" believe the Sox have the best talent to offer the Twins.

In New York, the boy who cried wolf, I mean Hank Steinbrenner, is still trying to decide if he is "in or out" of the Santana sweepstakes. Tyler Kepner of the New York Times says the Yanks expect to open camp without Santana.

In Minnesota, despite reports that the Yankees are out, the Twins are confident that the stakes are "still a 3-horse race." Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star Tribune argues the Twins need the Yankees for leverage.

In Chicago, (yes Chicago) Barry Rozner of the Daily Herald says the Chicago Cubs should seriously look into Santana.

In Bill Smith's office, it is believed that the Twins GM has no timetable of if or when he will make a trade. Nick Carardo of the The Boston Globe Reports.

So MVB readers, you decide who the favorite to land Santana, what Bill Smith and Twins are looking for in return, and where will Santana be in the end.

And if you find any answers..... I'd love to hear them in the comments.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Maybe the Mets

Finally, some new developments in the Santana sweepstakes, but don't get too excited because of course "no deal is imminent." I'm starting to think that if the Twins cannot find what they want in a trade for Santana, maybe, just maybe it wouldn't be the craziest thing to open up the wallet and show him the money!

Anyway, Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported today that the New York Mets may have become the best match for the Twins and a Santana trade.

The framework of the deal is believed to be Santana to the Mets for top pitching prospect Deolis Guerra, CF Carlos Gomez, and pitchers Kevin Mulvey and Phi Humber. Christensen gives a good background of each young player in his article. Guerra is a 6-5 righthander with nasty stuff and is only 18 years old. He has a very high ceiling but is still very far from pitching in the majors which means many potential question marks. Gomez could take over the CF vacancy for the Twins in 2008. He has blazing speed (even faster than SS Jose Reyes) but needs work with his bat. The other two pithers, Mulvey and Humber, were once prized prospects in the Mets organizations and now project as solid No. 4 or No. 5 starters.

Reports claim that the Twins would accept the deal if the Mets are willing to trade top prospect, OF Fernando Martinez. Martinez is only 19 and is regarded as one of the best prospects in baseball with an extremely high ceiling. I've even heard quite large comparisons to a young Ken Griffey Jr. Not convinced on that one as Griffey was destined for greatness from the day he picked up a baseball bat with no questions asked.

Overall, the deal has lots of talent and is loaded with some potential stars and solid MLB contributors; however, it has many question marks and much more risk than that of the Red Sox and Yankees deal. Although all the deals involve young players and every deal involves risk. Here is MLB.com's take.

The kicker in the emergence of the Mets as the new frontrunner comes with the news today that the Yankees are considering pulling out of any Santana deal. With the loss of a potential suitor in the Yanks and the Red Sox standing very firm in their current proposals, the Mets may become the Twins best option. The NL team from Queens needs Santana the most, is willing to pay Santana the most, and may be willing to give up the most for Santana.

But as I said.... no deal is imminent.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Bert goes for Hall, Santana Rumblings

Today is the day Bert Blyleven will learn if he will get an invitation to the baseball Hall of Fame. He has been waiting 9 years to no avail and many voters believe this year is his best chance to get in. There aren't any for sure 1st year eligible players who will get the invite and with steroids still up in the air I don't believe voters are ready to let Mark McGwire in yet. Many argue that Blyleven deserves an invite including you the MVB readers, so at 1 PM CT Bert and the rest of us will know.

Update on Santana news, which seems to be dragging on so long that sports writers and Twins fan alike are ready for this arduous process to be over and for the Twins to simply make a deal. I still am glad the Twins are waiting for exactly the right deal. With such a valuable assest as Santana the Twins organization needs to get equal value in return; however, after all this time I don't think the Yankees or Red Sox have shown any sign of budging and adding to their current offers.

Aaron Gleeman, a well known Minnesota Twins blogger, offers some great insight on weighing the two offers from New York and Boston. He states, the Twins need to decide if they want Phil Hughes or Jacoby Ellsbury as their future star.

Buster Olney asks simply where will Santana be traded and when? Here is his response...

Santana may be the best pitcher on the planet, but there is a distinct lack of enthusiasm among Boston and Yankees officials to add more players to the offers they have made to Minnesota. The Mets would love to have Santana, but Twins' talent evaluators view the Mets' prospects as being dramatically inferior to those of the Red Sox and Yankees.

Either the Twins will have to embrace the idea that they will accept less than they wanted for Santana, or they'll open the season with him. I don't know where he's going to land, but the guess here is -- and a guess is all it is -- that he eventually lands with Boston, for a package built around Jacoby Ellsbury.

The Twins MVB asks you, who do you want the Twins new future star to be.... CF Jacoby Ellsbury or SP Phil Hughes?

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

More work to be done in 2008

Today is January 2, 2008 which means the the Twins office in Minneapolis is finally open again and the organization is back to work. And there is certainly more work to be done...

With so little news to report over the holidays I apologize on the lack of posting. There is still little at the moment, but I predict the month of January to again be very busy for GM Bill Smith and the Minnesota Twins.

In this good piece by Star Tribune columnist Patrick Reusse, GM Smith admits that there is still "one issue" left to resolve. This of course is Santana, there is also some good commentary on the offseason progress of 3 potential starters for the 2008 rotation.

Also, MLB.com gives a 2008 preview of the Minnesota Twins with an offseason recap if you've been left out in the dark.

Keep checking back for more Twins news. Until then, check out the poll about Twins great and witty TV broadcaster, Bert Blyleven. With 287 career wins, 3,701 strikeouts, 60 shutouts, and a 3.90 lifetime ERA... should Blyleven be in the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame?