Twins Notes: Atkins, Feliz, Humber, Blyleven, and Game 163
Not much going on worth writing about in Twins land right now, but here are a few tidbits ...
When it comes to free agents sometimes being a Twins fan means rooting for other teams to save them from themselves, which is why Garrett Atkins and Pedro Feliz signing last week qualifies as very good news. Atkins and Feliz have been linked to the Twins at various points this offseason, but neither would've been a particularly positive addition or a sound investment. Atkins has a horrible glove with an overrated bat and Feliz has a good glove with a horrible bat, yet they'll each make $5 million in 2010.
Maybe the Rockies will save the Twins from themselves with Robb Quinlan.
Philip Humber twice cleared waivers after the Twins dropped him from the 40-man roster during the season and now he's left the organization, inking a minor-league contract with the Royals. He was the third overall pick in the 2004 draft and came to the Twins in the four-player package for Johan Santana, but hasn't been the same since undergoing Tommy John elbow surgery in 2005 and showed nothing since the trade to suggest that he can be a useful major leaguer.
Humber coughed up 14 runs in 21 innings for the Twins, allowing opponents to bat .329/.430/.518, and posted a 4.96 ERA in 254 innings at Rochester. It wouldn't be surprising to see Humber pitch in the big leagues again and maybe he can even find a niche as a long reliever, but as a 27-year-old who cleared waivers twice in the past six months and could manage only a minor-league deal from one of MLB's worst teams as a free agent it's safe to say that any pretense of upside has vanished. Oh well.
Rich Lederer of Baseball Analysts has put together his annual plea to Hall of Fame voters regarding Bert Blyleven deserving induction. I'm in total agreement with Lederer and have written similar pleas in the past, but eventually stopped doing so because a) the Hall of Fame and other honors chosen by the Baseball Writers Association of America ceased meaning much to me, and b) Blyleven doesn't actually buy into the rationale for his enshrinement, constantly relying on wins to evaluate every pitcher but him.
I'll marry and dump Official Fantasy Girl of AG.com Keeley Hazell before the Twins out-bid 29 teams for a 21-year-old Cuban defector who throws in the mid-90s, but at least it gives Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star Tribune something to write about.
Joe Posnanski of Sports Illustrated selected the one-game playoff between the Twins and Tigers as the best regular-season game of the decade:
Naturally it's hard for me to disagree, although if you don't mind overlooking who actually won the game the previous year's tiebreaker between the Twins and White Sox wasn't too shabby either.
The beautiful thing about baseball is a great game doesn't necessarily have to be a well-played game. The Twins-Tigers tiebreaker to decide the AL Central had blunders, errors, pickoffs and all sorts of confusion. But it was loaded with drama. The Tigers had a lead going into the bottom of the 10th inning. The Twins tied it up and had a chance to win, but Alexi Casilla was thrown out at the plate by Ryan Raburn. The Tigers had the bases loaded in the 12th but could not score. The Twins scored in the bottom of the 12th to win 6-5. Sometimes sloppy, sometimes brilliant, always exciting--that's baseball at its best.
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