Saturday, July 15, 2006

Thinking about Twinkies

Some thoughts while watching the Twins’ series:
Does anyone else watch Joe Nathan and think of what Jason Davis could be? Although Jason Dangerously has found some recent success in Buffalo closing games, he still hasn’t been able to translate to the Bigs. Nathan was a “failed” starter in San Francisco who made a spectacular transition into the bullpen once he got to Minnesota (along with Francisco Liriano and Boof Bonser for A.J. Pierzynski…WOW). Every time I see Nathan, I want to give JD another chance; I wonder if the Front Office still has the patience to see if JD can ever get there?

Joe Mauer is a stud. There are no two ways around it. He’s 23, playing for his hometown team, hitting .373 in late July with a .974 OPS and Gold Glove caliber D. As if that’s not enough, he’s dating a former Miss USA.

I have some friends who have employed Joe Mauer’s mom for the last 20 years and grew up with his dad in the Twin Cities. They have known Mauer since he was a kid and coached him in Little League (at age 7, he played on a traveling team for 12-year-olds with his older brother – and was the best player on the team…think about a 7-year-old you know to comprehend the ridiculousness of that) and said he’s the nicest guy they’ve ever met.
His two older brothers, who were Twins’ farmhands live in Florida in a condo where the Twins have Spring Training to take care of “Joey” while he’s down there during the off-season.
During the season, he lives in an apartment with Justin Morneau in downtown Minneapolis (Mauer hates Morneau’s head-case girlfriend), and according to my friend, “Mauer pulling Miss USA has nothing to do with his swing.”

It will be fun to watch Mauer (and Morneau) develop in the Central for the next couple of years, along with the unbelievable young talent in the Central (Grady, Liriano, Verlander, etc.)

After seeing what the Nationals got for 2 relievers and Royce Clayton (Felipe Lopez and Austin Kearns, who promptly batted 2nd and 4th for the Nats in their first game), does anyone else think about what the Tribe could get for Wickman, Betancourt, and even Mota? Too bad the Reds already made their deals if this is what they’re willing to give up for middle relief.
How bad have the Reds been ripped for this deal? It’s completely appropriate, but I can’t remember such universal outrage over a deal since the Kazimir-Zambrano deal, and we all know how that worked out. Kearns might be a name to watch in the off-season as Shapiro has come close a couple of times to pulling the trigger on a deal that would bring Kearns to the North Coast.

Friday’s game illustrate why the Tribe might shop their veteran relievers, as the 3 of the 4 pitchers who worked the 8th, 9th, and 10th for the Tribe are 22 (Carmona), 24 (Perez), and 22 (Mujica). Although Mujica gave up the go-ahead run in the 10th (the first ER he’s given up ALL YEAR…it’s July 15th), it’s obvious that Wedge has developed some confidence in these youngsters and will continue to put them in challenging spots to expedite the maturation process.

Speaking of Carmona, is he everything that we thought Fernando Cabrera would be this year? Carmona, as Mike Hegan said last night, has a “presence” on the mound that projects confidence that he’s in complete control. With every jam he gets out of (remember the one against the Yanks with the bases loaded and HGHiambi up) or every 3, 4, 5 hitter inning that he has (he’s done it the past 2 nights), the confidence grows and lends more credence to the idea that he is a very viable option to close games in 2007.

How would Luis Castillo look manning 2B and batting leadoff for the Tribe next year?
What about Shannon Stewart in LF?
Both are FA at year’s end and could be worth consideration for the Indians, more so Castillo.

Finally, we know what the Tribe’s going to do with the center field picnic area (formerly the Davey Tree Picnic Area). I like the idea of making a Hall of Fame to honor Indians greats not quite good enough to have their numbers retired.
I wonder who the 1st Tribesman from the 1990’s juggernaut will be? My guess – Chuck Nagy, though AB is clearly the most deserving.

Enjoy C.C. and Johan tonight.


Rockdawg said...

I'm sorry, but unless they play for the Tribe, there is absolutely no joy for me watching other prospects in the Central develop. He may have a great family, and he's a great guy, and he has a hot wife. But to me, Mauer is a p-whipped momma's boy, simply because he plays for the Twinkies. I mean, the guy's got three consecutive vowels in his last name....That's just plain idiotic, don't you think CousinEAU?

Cy Slapnicka said...

I agree. The best names are those without vowels. I know this guy that has NO vowels. Name is Swyt. His name is almost as cool as the guy himself.

Cy Slapnicka said...

Good article by Pluto on Gilbert and Lebron's signing. Gotta love hearing a Cleveland GM talk like that. Quite refreshing after what we've heard (or haven't) from the Tribe front office this year.