February 21, 2006
Those are pretty optimistic numbers (Sickels is a Twins fan, after all), although he does put a slight damper on things by predicting "a major injury down the line ... that forces him to move to another position (probably first base) around age 30." Of course, by that time Mauer will have had 10 seasons behind the plate, which is a whole career for all but a couple dozen catchers in baseball history.
Anyway, I've been oddly fascinated by Sickels' previous career projections -- Prince Fielder, David Wright, Felix Hernandez, Jeff Francoeur, Delmon Young, Ryan Howard, Mark Teixeira -- and the Mauer one is certainly of added interest to anyone reading this blog. Sickels also looked into his crystal ball for Jason Kubel and Francisco Liriano earlier this offseason, but the results weren't quite as pretty.
Well, now we can add Twins scout Joe McIlvaine to the list of people who weren't exactly awed by Batista's play this winter. Patrick Reusse's column in yesterday's Minneapolis Star Tribune included the following from McIlvaine:
Batista was a little too heavy when I saw him. He still has the hands to play third, although range is an issue -- and, on turf, that might show up more.
When told that Batista has reportedly lost some weight since he saw him last month, McIlvaine said, "He could stand to lose some more." Reusse also added that "the review from [Japan] was Batista was fat and disinterested."
To recap, the Twins have all but handed the third-base job to a 32-year-old who was let go by the Japanese League team he played for last season, had a .272 on-base percentage in his last big-league campaign, and can't be bothered to get in shape in preparation for what might be his last real chance in the major leagues.
It's all really good, unique stuff and is exactly what makes the Twins blogosphere so great. Seriously, go read those four entries and then tell me the last time you've seen something like that printed in either of the Twin Cities' newspapers or on the Twins' official website.
If Radke does retire after this season, the Twins should be in decent shape to handle it. The best-case scenario has Baker beginning the year in the rotation and pitching well, Liriano replacing Lohse as the fifth starter sometime around midseason, and Glen Perkins being ready to step in for Radke next spring. A rotation of Johan Santana-Carlos Silva-Liriano-Baker-Perkins in 2007 and beyond is pretty exciting (and cheap).