Taylor's Twins Talk

Focusing on the Twins, with a few ramblings on other things that catch my attention

Friday, August 18, 2006

Quick Notes

1.) This was a huge game for the Twins, not only because it preserves the possibility of a sweep, but because this was the game that the Twins were supposed to lose. With Brad Radke and Johan Santana going the next two days, the Twins are poised to make a run at grabbing the top spot in the Wild Card on Sunday afternoon. Let's hope they can.

2.) The Tigers are doing their best to slide back to the pack. Trailing 2-1 tonight against Texas, they managed to get a runner on 3rd with no outs against Rangers closer Aknori Otsuka. They proceeded to squander the opportunity. That's the kind of situation that would have been automatic for them earlier in the season, but their aura of invincibility has disappeared, and now the question is whether or not they can hold on to their lead, not whether they can clinch by September. The discussion of Justin Verlander tipping his changeup by using a different arm slot when he throws it also has to be a concern for the Tigers; what's clear is that he hasn't been the same pitcher in recent starts that he was in the first half.

3.) It continues to look like Shannon Stewart is too far gone to make a return to the Twins this season. It's equally clear that the Twins aren't going to make an effort to resign him. The really unfortunate thing about his injury, and the Twins inability to trade him away at the deadline, is that they now probably won't get anything at all for him, and here's why: Stewart's injury problems don't exactly make him the most attractive player to teams looking for outfield help. As a result, it's highly unlikely that he'll be signed by a team in the approximately one month window between the opening of free agency (10 days after the World Series ends) and the deadline to offer arbitration (around December 7). If a player is signed in this period, the team losing the player automatically gets draft pick compensation. Since Stewart won't likely be signed in that period, however, the Twins would have to make a decision on whether to offer arbitration, and with few suitors lining up to give him a contract offer (at least in the price range he's used to), it would be very tempting for Stewart to accept arbitration if it's offered. That would be disastrous for the Twins, because it's very unlikely the arbitration board would cut Stewart's salary. As a result, the best move is for the Twins not to offer Stewart arbitration at all, thus assuring his departure. Unfortunately, that's the price the team will probably have to pay to cut ties with Stewart.


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