Results tagged ‘ Justin Morneau ’

Random Notes: Bonuses and Former Players

Things are moving slowly in Twins Territory as the date nears mid-January. The Minnesota Twins have uncertainty remaining at both second and third base, and options are falling off the table with each passing day.

Despite the slow move through the winter, there are some interesting notes to pass along.
Award Bonuses
It is common for players to receive award bonuses in contracts, and if calculations are correct, the Twins paid out $200,000 worth of bonuses last season. How did it all stack up?

Justin Morneau received $25,000 for his All-Star selection.

Joe Nathan received $25,000 for his All-Star selection.

Joe Mauer received $25,000 for his All-Star selection, $25,000 for his Gold Glove award, and $100,000 for his Most Valuable Player award.

Paying Lamb
Next season, Mike Lamb will be nowhere in sight. Nonetheless, the Minnesota Twins will be paying him for one more year. For the 2010 season, the Twins will pay the former Twin $100,000.
The Twins signed Lamb to a two-year contract prior to the 2007 season, and designated him for assignment before he completed even one season. Lamb was paid by the Twins last season, and the money he’ll receive this upcoming season will be for an option year that was included in the deal.
Hocking an Oriole
Denny Hocking played for the Minnesota Twins for 11 seasons before moving around at the end of his career. Hocking has been in the radio business since, but now is moving back to baseball.
After sending messages to three teams, Hocking has joined the Baltimore Orioles and will be a minor league coach next season:

“Once I decided to get into pro coaching I sent out e-mails to the Twins, Angels and Orioles. The Orioles’ David Stockstill called me back within three hours and it didn’t take me too long to join the organization.”

Hat tip: Cot’s Contracts

All-Decade Team: Infield

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The year is changing to 2010, and the first decade of the 21st century is coming to an end. It has without a doubt been an interesting 10 years for the Minnesota Twins as they’ve faced contraction, made the playoffs in five of the past eight seasons, and put forth two great comebacks. 
Several Minnesota Twins’ bloggers and writers were sent questionnaires to help put together the All-Decade team, and four responded: Seth Stohs from SethSpeaks.net, John Bonnes from TwinsGeek, Nick Nelson from Nick’s Twins Blog, and Michael Rand from RandBall, all made their picks for the best of the decade.
Catcher
Who played: Matt LeCroy, A.J. Pierzynski, Henry Blanco, Joe Mauer
Seth
Stohs
John
Bonnes
Nick
Nelson
Michael
Rand
Alex
Catcher
Joe
Mauer
Joe
Mauer
Joe
Mauer
Joe
Mauer
Joe
Mauer

Joe Mauer was the unanimous selection at catcher, and the reasoning in pretty simple. After being injured during his rookie season in 2004, Mauer began taking off with his first full season in 2005.
In 2006 Mauer became the first American League catcher to ever win a batting title, and he won a second in 2008 and a third in 2009. He made the All-Star Game three times, won two Gold Glove awards, was chosen as a Silver Slugger winner twice, and capped off the incredible decade with an American League MVP award.
The decade was great to Mauer, and the greatest hope for the new decade is that Mauer will again be in Minnesota. 
First BaseWho player: Ron Coomer, Doug Mientkiewicz, Justin Morneau

Seth
Stohs
John
Bonnes
Nick
Nelson
Michael
Rand
Alex
First
Base
Justin
Morneau
Justin
Morneau
Justin
Morneau
Justin
Morneau
Justin
Morneau

Much like his good friend and teammate Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau was the unanimous selection at first base. Morneau received his first opportunity in 2003, and took over first base full time when the team traded Doug Mientkiewicz in 2004.
In 2006, Morneau broke out. He hit 30 homeruns on his way to winning the American League MVP award, and was an integral part to a historic second half comeback. In the past decade, Morneau made the All-Star Game three times, won two Silver Slugger awards, and won the 2008 Homerun Derby.
Second BaseWho played: Jay Canizaro, Luis Rivas, Nick Punto, Luis Castillo, Alexi Casilla

Seth
Stohs
John
Bonnes
Nick
Nelson
Michael
Rand
Alex
Second
Base
Luis
Castillo
Luis
Castillo
Luis
Castillo
Luis
Castillo
Luis
Castillo

Rolling along with the unanimous selections, Luis Castillo was selected as the second baseman of the decade. The Twins acquired Castillo before the 2006 season, and played in Minnesota for two years.
In 2006, Castillo was an integral part to the historic comeback, hitting .296 with 25 stolen bases. In his two seasons combined in Minneapolis, Castillo hit .299 with 3 homeruns and 67 RBI.
Third BaseWho played: Corey Koskie, Michael Cuddyer, Nick Punto, Brian Buscher, Joe Crede

Seth
Stohs
John
Bonnes
Nick
Nelson
Michael
Rand
Alex
Third
Base
Corey
Koskie
Corey
Koskie
Corey
Koskie
Corey
Koskie
Corey
Koskie

Corey Koskie was a fan favorite, and he was also the last player at third base before the position became a consistent question mark. Koskie played in Minnesota for seven season, with five coming in the decade.
In seven seasons with the Twins, Koskie hit .280 with 101 homeruns and 437 RBI. He played a solid third base defensively, and appeared in the playoffs in three seasons for the team. 
ShortstopWho played: Cristian Guzman, Jason Bartlett, Nick Punto, Orlando Cabrera

Seth
Stohs
John
Bonnes
Nick
Nelson
Michael
Rand
Alex
Shortstop
Cristian
Guzman
Cristian
Guzman
Cristian
Guzman
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Guzman
Cristian
Guzman

Rounding out the unanimous selections in the infield is shortstop Cristian Guzman. Guzman played in Minneapolis for six seasons, and five of those seasons came in the decade.
Guzman began his career in 1999, and in 2001 he established himself as he represented the Twins in the All-Star Game. In six seasons with the Twins, Guzman his .266 with 39 homeruns, 289 RBI and 102 stolen bases. 

Designated Hitter
Who played: David Ortiz, Matt LeCroy, Jose Offerman, Rondell White, Jason Kubel
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Stohs
John
Bonnes
Nick
Nelson
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Alex
Designated
Hitter
Jason
Kubel
Jason
Kubel
Jason
Kubel
Jason
Kubel
Jason
Kubel

Had David Ortiz played longer in Minnesota, he may have been the choice as the designated hitter of the decade. He didn’t however, and the title deservingly goes to Jason Kubel. Kubel has been in Minnesota for six years, and has played five seasons.
Knee injuries hindered Kubel’s career in the early years, but in 2007 he started becoming the player everybody expected. In five seasons as a Twin, Kubel has hit .278 with 71 homeruns and 279 RBI. He nearly hit 30 homeruns during the 2009 season, and received an MVP vote. 

No More Morneau

After putting up impressive numbers in the first portion of the season, former MVP award winner Justin Morneau set himself up for a career year. Poor performances in the months of August and September saw his average drop and his projections go with. Now however, there might be an explanation.

A test has revealed that Morneau has a stress fracture in his back, and while no surgery is required for such an injury, his season is over. While the team stands at 72-72 on the season and 5.5 games back of Detroit with seven games remaining against them and 18 remaining overall, any run at the playoffs will need to be completed without one of the league’s best players.
Morneau’s loss however could lead to another player’s gain. The Twins in no way will be better off without Morneau, but his absence will ensure consistent playing time for both Carlos Gomez and Delmon Young over the final stretch of the season. 
Through much of the season, the outfield has consisted of both Denard Span and Michael Cuddyer day in and day out with Gomez and Young rotating in the final spot. Cuddyer will move up in the order and up down the right field line to first base while both Gomez and Young will receive opportunities to prove their worth not only for the remainder of this season, but possibly for the next one too.
Through 81 games, Morneau was on pace for a .311 average to go along with 38 homeruns and 131 RBI. Now his season is over after just 135 games. Morneau’s average dropped 28 points in the past month, leading to questions about his health. How long Morneau played through the pain is uncertain, but the team and fans finally have a good answer for his drop in production. 
The season has been cut short for Morneau, but the left-handed slugger still reached key milestones with 30 homeruns and 100 RBI during the 2009 season. With rest and rehab he should be fully healthy by the end of the year and ready for the inaugural season at Target Field next spring.

All-Star Representation

AL Team.jpg

With one minor league prospect in Sunday’s All-Star Futures Game, and three major leaguers on the American League roster, the Minnesota Twins had a good group of players on hand in St. Louis to show off to the nation.
Each of the four players played a role in the many events and represented the organization in good fashion.
Tosoni MVP.jpg
As the lone representative in the All-Star Futures Game, Rene Tosoni couldn’t have represented the organization any better.
An outfielder for the team’s double-A affiliate, the New Britain Rock Cats, Tosoni in the first half of the season put up great numbers. Tosoni hit.278 with 10 homeruns and 51 RBI to go along with a .480 slugging percentage.
Tosoni didn’t start, but he did enter the game in the seventh inning and delivered a go-ahead double. The World would remain ahead and go on to win the game by a final of 7-5.
Tosoni’s hit was the deciding factor, and along with a shaving cream pie to the face, the 22-year old prospect was named the game’s Most Valuable Player.
Past recipients of the award include Alfonso Soriano, Toby Hall, Jose Reyes, Grady Sizemore, Aaron Hill, and Billy Butler.
Mauer.jpg
Joe Mauer has received a lot of attention since his May return. The two-time batting champion has hit near .400 for much of the season, and his 15 homeruns got him an invitation to the Homerun Derby to compete against stars such as Prince Fielder, Ryan Howard, and Albert Pujols.
As Mauer attempted to become the second Twin in as many seasons to win the Derby, he found himself in a swing-off with Carlos Pena and Pujols after hitting five homeruns in the first round.
Mauer wouldn’t make the second round, but he had a good showing overall, and his yellow Livestrong cleats helped with a good cause.
The big day for Mauer came in the actual game. As the American League starter behind the plate, Mauer had the opportunity to catch the likes of Roy Halladay and Zack Greinke among others. Mauer’s RBI double in the fifth inning tied the game at three and played a big part in the American League’s 4-3 victory.
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Justin Morneau opted not to take part in the Homerun Derby a year after winning it, so for the most part he remained out of the spotlight. Morneau was there to root on his teammate, and throughout the events he was seen talking with stars such as Derek Jeter and Josh Hamilton.
Morneau didn’t start in the main event, but entered the game at first base in the middle innings. While he went 0-2, Morneau made a few good catches at first base and gave the ball a ride in his second plate appearance only to be robbed by Jayson Werth.
Nathan.jpg
The final All-Star for the Twins, closer Joe Nathan, quite possibly made the most memorable pitches of the night. Entering after the American League took a 4-3 lead in the top half of the inning, Nathan found himself working through the eighth as a setup man for Mariano Rivera.
The first two outs came easily for Nathan, but a two-out walk and single put runners on the corners with two outs. After Hudson moved up to second base, Nathan found himself facing St. Louis native Ryan Howard in a game-changing situation.
Nathan worked ahead of Howard, and got to a 2-2 count before the lefty fouled a few pitches away. A slider in the dirt ended the inning, and a relieved Nathan pumped his first as he walked toward the dugout.
From Tosoni to the three big names for the Twins, the 2009 All-Star festivities had All-Star representation for the organization.
All photo from the Associated Press; for more, visit Yahoo! Sports.

On Pace: Hitters

With a 5-hour, 16-inning game, the Minnesota Twins have played 81 games in the 2009 season; signifying the completion of half of the season. Through the midway point, the Twins find themselves one game above .500 with a record of 41-40 (compared to 44-37 last season).

The Twins have some work to do in the second half if they hope to make the playoffs. Some players will need to step up, while others will need to continue their first half production. After three months, many players are on pace for career numbers.
** Denard Span is on pace to hit for a .292 average, hit 9 homeruns, and drive in 58 runners. More impressive is his projection to walk 74 times, collect 171 hits and score 97 runs from the leadoff spot.
** Joe Mauer is on pace to knock out a career high 34 homeruns and collect 110 runs batted in. In addition to those eye-popping numbers, Mauer is projected to collect 201 hits despite missing the first month of the season. Some other key projections include a .390 average and 78 walks compared to only 69 strikeouts.
** Justin Morneau is on pace to reach a career high in the homerun department with 38 and in the RBI category with 131 runs batted in. Some other key projections include 191 hits and 42 doubles; all while hitting .311.
** Jason Kubel is on pace to hit a career high 28 homeruns and drive in a career high 90 runners. The career high projections also carry over into the hits and average categories where Kubel is on pace to collect 163 hits and hit for a .304 average.
** Michael Cuddyer is on pace to hit .280 with 25 homeruns and 92 runs batted in. The thus far healthy right fielder is also projected to collect 38 doubles and an astonishing 10 triples.
** Joe Crede is on pace to provide some of the best production from third base in quite some time. The powerful right-hander is projected to hit 28 homeruns, drive in 83 runners, and possibly most impressively, be the best defensive third basemen in all of baseball.
** Delmon Young has had a down year, but is starting to heat up which could alter his projections. The youngster is on pace to hit 8 homeruns, drive in 62 runners, and collect 124 hits in only 132 games.
** Brendan Harris is on pace for a solid year with projections of 9 homeruns and 48 runs batted in (compared to projections of 9 HR and 47 RBI midway last season) over the course of a projected 149 games. Harris is also on pace to tie a career high 149 hits and a .280 batting average.
** Nick Punto is on pace for 37 runs batted in, Matt Tolbert is on pace for 32 runs batted in, Brian Buscher is on pace for 6 homeruns and 26 runs batted in, Carlos Gomez is on pace for 2 homeruns and 26 runs batted in, Jose Morales is one pace to hit .356, and Mike Redmond is on pace for 16 runs batted in.
Due to lack of games, both Alexi Casilla and Jason Pridie were excluded from the list.
The second half of the “On Pace” series, the pitchers, is due up next.
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