March 30, 2005

Twins Notes

  • Here's a note of interest from Sunday's Washington Post:

    Matt Riley, who pitched in a minor league game against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Saturday, likely will be traded. Several teams, including Texas and Minnesota, have expressed interest in Riley. It appears though that neither the Rangers nor Twins were able to match up on a trade.

    Matt Riley is Baltimore's version of Michael Restovich, a once-promising prospect who is now out of options and not a big part of the team's long-term plan. I'm not sure if the Orioles are interested in Restovich, but I would love to see a Restovich-for-Riley swap take place. Riley could step in as the second lefty in the bullpen for the near term instead of the proven mediocrity known as C.J. Nitkowski (which, if you've looked at his career numbers, is being kind), and potentially move into the rotation at some point.

    Riley has struggled through a ton of injuries since the Orioles picked him in the third round of the 1997 draft and he is just 4-4 with a 5.40 ERA and 74-to-62 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 85 career innings with Baltimore. On the other hand, he is still just 25 years old, he is a left-handed pitcher with good stuff, and his minor-league numbers are very good. Riley has a 3.54 ERA and 136-to-55 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 119 career innings at Triple-A, including a 1.71 ERA in 10 Triple-A starts last year.

  • Another available guy who I would love to see the Twins go after is Brooks Kieschnick, who was recently released by Milwaukee. Kieschnick is a legit two-way player, with a 4.59 ERA in 96 innings over the past two years and a career hitting line of .248/.315/.444. He's not great at either hitting or pitching, but when the two are combined he becomes a pretty valuable bench player. Of course, he has a lot less value to an AL team than he would in the NL, and the Twins have already filled their "left-handed bat off the bench" job with Terry Tiffee. In other words, Kieschnick doesn't really have a fit on the roster, but in theory he would be a nice spare part to add.
  • The Tampa Tribune ran a nice little puff piece on Johan Santana yesterday, including stuff like this:

    "He's the first guy to the ballpark," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "By the time I get there, he and his sidekick Carlos Silva are already on the bikes, jabbering things in Spanish that I don't understand, just having a great time."

  • Minnesota sports fans have been pretty lucky, because for every superstar local athlete like Randy Moss, we've had Santana and Kevin Garnett, who come across as legitimately great guys. Of course, we all thought Kirby Puckett was a hell of a guy at one point too, so youneverknow.

  • Spring training stats are almost completely meaningless, but it is still nice to see that nearly every Twins position player is having at least a decent spring at the plate. Of the 15 guys who still have what I would think is a reasonable chance to make the team, six are hitting .300+, 11 are hitting .275+, and everyone but Restovich, Nick Punto, and Luis Rivas are hitting at least .260.

    The Official Whipping Boy of is hitting .171 against major leaguers and went 0-for-6 in a minor-league game the other day. The Twins are spending $2.6 million between him and Juan Castro, which is a bargain when you consider that breaks down to about $4,000 per out.

  • Today at The Hardball Times:
    - The Biggest Deals of All Time (by Studes)
    - Five Questions: Oakland A's (by John Gizzi)
    - Five Questions: Arizona Diamondbacks (Robert Dudek)

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