* Now that the ballpark issue has been settled in Minnesota, the looming question for the Twins has now become what to do with Torii Hunter? The guy HAS been the face of the franchise, but with the emergence of Joe Mauer and Hunter being owed $12 million for next season, he could be roaming center field for some other team by August. Local scribes have scoffed at the idea that trading Hunter is a necessity, that with the new ballpark coming, the Twins can now afford to keep him and show Twins fans they're serious about spending for a winner. Hunter had been relatively quiet of late, saying all the right things when asked about his future in the Land O' Lakes. But today in Ken Rosenthal's column, Hunter for the first time says he'd like to play elsewhere to save his legs from 4 more years of pounding on the Metrodome concrete- I mean, turf.
Hopefully, this will encourage Twins GM Terry Ryan to look to move Hunter. THe Twinks have won 14 of 16, but are STILL 11 games behind the Tigers for first, and 9.5 behind the White Sox for the Wild Card lead. Although I'm in the minority on this one, I don't think the Tigers are coming back to earth. They've got veteran hitters up and down their lineup, and most importantly, have one of the league's best pitching staffs. Everyone is in agreement that the White Sox aren't slowing down either. The Twins are close to contending, but I don't think they'll be within striking distance (i.e. 6.5 games back of the Sox) by the end of next month. They need to deal Hunter, Stewart, and Lohse and build around a VERY solid core of Mauer, Santana, Liriano, Nathan and Morneau. Twins fans will keep coming to the park to watch those guys this year, and I believe are smart enough to understand that building for a very bright future makes more sense than a futile run at an unreachable playoff spot this year.
* Baseball's All-star game has officially become a joke. Fan voting is all the rage in all the major sports, because apparently these leagues believe fans will be more likely to watch if they get to vote in players. Well that's certainly true if you live in Boston and New York, because the Red Sox and Yankees are dominating the voting, and there's going to be more deserving players left at home because of it. Yanks or Sawks are the leading vote-getters at 6 of 8 positions for the American League, and only two- David Ortiz and Derek Jeter- are deserving. The all-star game is a mere popularity contest for the largest markets, and because of this some deserving players will be left at home. Most notably is Twins catcher Joe Mauer, who as of today is leading the majors in hitting at .369, but is probably won't be an all-star in 2006. Sox catcher Jason Varitek is leading, and has no business playing in the all-star game. White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen gets to choose the reserves, and has already said he'll take his own guy, A.J. Pierzynski, as the backup instead of Mauer. Sure, Guillen can point to his team having a great year and currently having ZERO all-star starters, as well as only getting to take one of his two prized first basemen. A legitimate beef, but don't take out your frustrations on a deserving guy. At least the game's best left-handed hitter, Big Papi, will be keeping Konerko or Thome out of the all-star game. There is catcher more deserving than Mauer but because of politics and biased fan-voting, Mauer won't get to go. Nice work, MLB: here's an opportunity to promote one of your rising young stars in the league, but instead you'd rather shove the overhyped Sox/Yankees rivalry down our throats one more time. Feel free to waste your time trying to vote in Mauer here.
* I'll let the Strib's Jim Souhan say what Jer won't let me: the Wolves need to consider dealing Garnett.
And I'll add something Souhan didn't: IF the Wolves could get from the Bulls the #2 pick, next year's #1 from the Knicks, Ben Gordon and Luol Deng they couldn't pull the trigger fast enough for me. Although this would be the first time in history Kevin McHale has actually gotten 1st round picks instead of giving them away.
* I'm probably the only person in America who got excited about all the wheelings and dealings from the NHL's draft weekend, but I thought I'd share my joy anyways. Not only did my Vancouver Canucks make a HUGE deal to get Roberto Luongo, the franchise goalie we haven't had since...ok well we've never had a franchise goalie. But we got rid of Todd Bertuzzi in the process. Look, I was a big Bertuzzi guy even after the Steve Moore incident. It was tragic what happened to Moore and I wish him the best but the media's hatred of Big Bert was ridiculous. I've seen worse hits than his (Claude Lemieux hitting Kris Draper face-first into the boards is one example), but people who didn't care about and don't understand hockey took this as their chance to take shots at a game I love. Bertuzzi deserved the suspension he got, and I would have been fine with him getting another 30 games or so to start last season, but people's inability to move on baffles me.
However, it was obvious after the incident Bert needed a change of scenery. He may never be the same player he was before the lockout, but if it's going to happen, it wasn't going to be in Vancouver. If Canucks GM Dave Nonis can lock-up (Lock it up! No YOU LOCK IT UP!) Luongo long-term my boys are on the fast-track back to Cup Contention. And in an added bonus, it creates the opportunity to get rid of extremely overrated goalie Dan Cloutier, who has basically been the bane of my existence.
* Great move by the Minnesota Wild to get Pavol Demitra from the LA Kings over the weekend. Yes, the Wild had to give up promising center Patrick O'Sullivan and the #17 pick from Saturday's draft, but the ramifications of this deal could be twice as nice. Demitra is a solid 2-way player that will finally give the Wild another bonafide sniper. Not only that, he and Marion Gaborik, the youngster the Wild are trying to keep, are good friends and showed great chemistry in the World Cup. This move not only boosts their offense now, but if it can encourage Gaborik to stay, it'll be a huge boost to the team for years to come.
Gleeman and The Geek #337: Wild Card Postgame Show
6 months ago