Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Minnesota Today

Four things involving MN sports teams happened today or will be happening. I thought I’d touch on them with some help from my fellow writers on the last one. This probably should have been out earlier, so I apologize.

Topics are: 1) Gophers Men’s B-ball at home against Illinois. 2) Wild at Edmonton. 3) Viking Kenechi Udeze has been diagnosed with leukemia. 4) Twins sign Pitcher Livan Hernandez.

Gophers Men’s B-ball at home against Illinois

A must win if they want any chance at making March Madness and having this team be the surprise team of the nation. If they make the tourney, doesn’t Tubby have to be up for coach of the year? Nine wins last year! Like I said in my stew earlier, they need to win five out of eight to make this even a possibility. Taking care of this home game is a must. I fully expect a W also. Illinois is coming off an emotional double overtime loss against Indiana where they spent a ton of energy trying to spoil Eric Gordon’s arrival to Illinois for the first time. I think the boys take care of them tonight. Hoffarber with four three’s and McKenzie with a good overall game is my prediction.

Wild at Edmonton

If you know nothing about what the Wild are doing this season, here’s a recap: They are first in their division and currently hold the third spot in the playoffs. They also still have 10 guys no one has heard of or can pronounce. The one problem with them that I’m noticing is that they aren’t beating a whole lot of the elite teams in the league. They’ve knocked off only a slight margin of these types of teams. They also play in a weaker division, which helps. Like Q said last night: “My life will revolve around Wild games once the playoffs start.” It’s so true with us. We don’t write about them because we really don’t know a lot about hockey. We don’t want to be frauds. Once playoffs roll around it’s a different story my friends. It’s waking up saying: “Game day!” The writers at TKOT will be taking turns driving the Wild playoff bandwagon. Hop on…

Kenechi Udeze has been diagnosed with leukemia

A horrible story. We don’t have a lot of information yet on the details because the Vikings are wisely respecting Kenechi’s privacy. It always throws you for a loop when you read things like this. He’s 24 years old! Doesn’t seem right. We can all hope he gets through this and beats this thing. Sports don’t mean much when you hear stories like Kenechi’s.

The Twins just signed Livan Hernandez to a 1-year deal around 5 million.

This was kind of an impromptu Roundtable. It was done like a conference call. We all dialed up and talked about the recent signing of Livan. I brought in a stenographer to record the substantial words that were said. Here’s the transcript that the lady with the 80’s fro wrote down:

Dogg: If this is for real, I like it a lot. He's like Silva but we only have obligation for one year. Lets roll!!!

Fuzz: I hate it. We aren't going to win the division this year with this guy. We just wasted $5 million on a guy that is going to take away innings from younger guys that need to develop.

Dogg: Why aren’t we going to win the division? I think we are taking this division by 10 games this year. Delmon Young is the AL MVP this year!!

Fuzz: With Detroit adding Cabrera and Willis? And us losing Santana & Hunter? What are you smoking?

Dogg: Willis can suck a D for all I care. He’ll get torched in the AL. Cabrera will gain 30 more LBS and be overrated. It’s the Tigers!!! They won’t win shit.

Fuzz: The Tigers went to the World Series two years ago and Cleveland won the division last year. Livan doesn't push us over the edge...

Dogg: He doesn’t push us over the top but he helps us…A LOT. Plus with all his postseason experience he’ll be prepared to challenge any team come that time.

Fuzz: We aren’t making playoffs so his playoff experience doesn’t mean rip to me.

Q: I actually don't mind the signing. I know it's more money than he probably deserves, but I think he still has something left in the tank (unlike Ponson and Ortiz last year). Plus, we're rebuilding now, not going for a division title. I realize that we need to get our young arms as much work as possible to see what they have, but you also have to realize that young pitchers tend to get rocked more often. As a result, your bullpen gets tired more quickly and then there are a ton of problems. Having one guy (Livan) that can eat innings and give your pen the occasional rest is a good thing in my mind.

Dogg: Like I previously mentioned, there is obviously something we don’t see with some of these young arms we have. The coaching staff sees something we don’t with several pitchers who we think have potential. Whether it be Perkins, Blackburn, Slowey, Boof, Baker, etc. Something tells me that half the young arms we think have potential don’t really have any.

Q: That's definitely a possibility. Or, with Liriano likely starting in AAA and Baker/Bonser tied for the team lead with 48 career starts, maybe they just decided to get one veteran arm in the rotation and let the other 2 spots rotate among the unproven young guys (Perkins, Slowey, Blackburn, etc.) until someone proves they are worth it. If more than one of those guys pitches well, it wouldn't surprise me to see Livan go to the pen or come down with an "arm injury" at some point. Hell, we might even move him at the deadline if he's pitching well.

Dogg: How about we put him at DH? If my memory serves me right, he’s a good hitter. $5M these days is like a box of sunflower seeds in the 90’s. Honestly, everybody makes millions in the league these days.

Fuzz: Fine, fuck you both. This is an awesome signing. Notice the sarcasm? It's there. I don't get signing a guy for one year. We're not winning the division with him so why pay $5 million to eat up innings so the young guys don't get killed so much? I don't get it. Throw the kids out there and see who survives. They'll be better off next year in this route.

Q: Because there is no reason to shatter the confidence of these young guys. Plus, what sense does it make to wear out your bullpen, possibly causing long term arm troubles? I know we need to make this youth movement, but you need to have one guy that is reliable to pitch into the 6th or 7th inning every time he goes out. We had that with Santana, but nothing until now. All of those other guys will get plenty of innings. I don't see the problem with this signing. We have a payroll under $50 million and it's only a one year deal. Plus we've shown that we have no problem demoting or releasing these guys if need be. It makes far less sense to come into a season with 5 starters who all have fewer than 50 career starts. At least Livan is a better option than Josh Fogg.

Dogg: Like I said, they obviously don’t have faith in some of these young kids and you need at least one guy you can count on to go 5+ innings each night otherwise like Q said, our pen will get destroyed. $5M is nothing for a pitcher like him and we weren’t going to use that $5M on anybody else anyways so lets roll. Maybe they think we can win the division and I’m starting to believe as well. Mauer, Morneau, Cuddyer, Young, Harris are all young and getting better. This might be the year we have a few guys have career years and we roll. We have enough talent in our lineup but the pitching has to hold its end of the bargain. Hernandez will hold his end up and give us 200+ innings.

Fuzz: We should probably start scoping out our victory parade seats now, don't you think? Make sure we have the best seat in the house when Livan & company are yelling out: "No one believed in us!" Whatever.

Dogg: I am going to live and die with the Twins this year fellas because I think this Delmon Young kid is absolutely the real deal. I only saw him via highlights but he’s a 5- tool player who’s going to mature here in MN. Playing with other young and proven players like Morneau and Mauer, he’s going to be a top 5 outfielder in the AL. I wouldn’t be one bit surprised if he makes the all-star game this year.

Q: Hey Fuzz, Dogg is the one putting in an advanced order at twins.com for his '08 Divisional Champions shirt and hat. All I'm saying is that the signing makes sense both because it's a guy who can save our bullpen a little and because we are spending so little money overall that the cost doesn't bother me. If you want to talk about a waste of money, we can talk about Craig Monroe. But that's another story entirely...


Kent said...

Nice little argument fellas. I am with Dogg though and wonder why the rest of the TKOT staff is throwing the '08 Twins season away? There are a lot of question marks but if Liriano pitches like '06 we'll contend. I like the Livan signing and it gives us a solid man in the middle of that rotation. We could legitimately compete this year. I like our lineup over everyone in the division except Detroit. I'm with you Dogg, we can win in '08.

Chosman said...

First of all the Gophers played like it was last year tonight. Losing to an Illinois team that was 2-9 in the conference at home by 24 is absolutely terrible. So much for that great defense Tubby was puting in as the Illini shot about 60% from the field and over 50% on 3s. Let's hope the NIT still lets us in.

Dogg- Of course you like Delmon Young from watching only highlights. That's why they're called highlights. If you didn't think he was going to legit from highlights then we'd have a hug problem.

Sow Cow said...

Fuzz - Thanks for jinxing the Gophs AND the Wild.

Fuzz said...

A few things you need to know about Livan Hernandez: 1) He sucks. 2) He weighs 528 pounds. 3) His fastball tops at 85 these days and has a 60-mile per hour hanging curveball that the AL hitters are going to smash off the left field jumbotron at the Dome. 4) He had a FIVE ERA in the fucking National League last year. 5) He's from Cuba and says he's 32 years old. Meaning he's 44. 6) He sucks.

Don't the Gophers piss you off? The "big three seniors" combined to go 6-15, 18 pts, 8 rebounds, 1 assist and 11 fouls. Combined!! Come on fellas, pick it up. You're killing our chances.

Mr. Cue said...

First of all, Dogg just got owned by Chosman. Now that's funny.

Next, I'm glad one of our writers would use ridiculous, over the top, Souhan-like exaggerations about a guy that is going to anchor our staff, pitch 220 innings, serve as a mentor to our young staff, and be able to translate for Liriano in the media. There's a reason this guy has been pitching consistently in the majors for 10 years. This is nothing like the Ponson or Ortiz signings. Think of it more like the Kenny Rogers signing a few years back.

Fuzz said...

Please don't compare me to Souhan. He gets paid. We don't. I don't like him either, just trying to get my point across.

Second, isn't 220 innings, an anchor of our staff that has a 5 ERA and translater for Liriano an exxaggeration also?

Why is he the anchor? Because he's the oldest? Because he's going pitch the most innings? I don't get it. He's going to be our 4th best pitcher at best this year. The anchor theory is overrated in my mind. Santana was our anchor last year because he was our best pitcher. Livan might eat up innings but that's about all.

Throw out a wager Mr. Cue that supports your homerness with this sign and I'll take it. Maybe we should start comparing you to Sid?

Sow Cow said...

I like this argument... it's the first time this blog has been lively since pre-Christmas. I side with Fuzz here. Why take innings away from our young pitchers when we're not going to contend this year? Let them all learn from the school of hard knocks this year and come back strong in 2009. As much as I love the Twins, there's no way we are contending for a wild card this year. The rest of the division/AL is just stacked!

Fuzz said...

Pre-Christmas? That's not good.

I understand where Q and others are coming from. He's going to eat up innings. That has it's advantages as Q has pointed out. But, like it's been said before in other places, the Twins have no balls when it comes to rolling with young guys. They always pull a washed up veteran to bring in. Then we hear stuff like, he's going to mentor the young staff and he has all that experience. Does he have good mentoring skills? Or is bringing a vet in automatically do this? I wish I had some inside info if this actually works because people love using this argument. Anyways, I wish the Twins would just try the young guns for one season---see how it pans out.

If any of you are into stats, here's how Livan stacks up:

Last year-

Most hits given up in MLB
2nd most HR given up in MLB
6th in total earned runs given up in MLB
65th best in total ERA
105th best in strikeouts in MLB

Anonymous said...

Yeah I like how the board is looking now on this topic.

But I am with Fuzz on this one. We do the same crap every year. Let the young guys pitch and see what happens. We are not going to make the playoffs this year so let them take lumps and see who can battle through. The only way we have a chance to make the playoffs if a lot of are players have career years but that is not going to happen every year. Should be another long year for us Twins fans.