Stocking Stuffers

This year, the Twins seem to have forgone any big splashy signings (the baseball equivalent of cars with big red bows on them) and supplemented the line-up with smaller signings...stocking stuffers if you will. So lets take a look at what Terry Claus has brought us and analyze it both in terms of the baseball and in terms of our sophomoric mockery!

(Understand that we're not really this materialistic, it's just that we needed a metaphor to start out this post and I figured that the whole "Christmas Present" theme would work best.)

Jamey Carroll: life-long scrappy infielder with a mediocre bat seems like...well...almost every infielder we've signed in the last decade or so, making this signing the equivalent of Santa delivering his annual pair of wool socks. Some might mock the fact that "Jamey" and "Carol" are two common names for girls, leading to all sorts of "The Twins' shortstop throws like a girl!" jokes, but we'll take the high road and assume that Carroll overcompensates for his names by being an inveterate badass.

Ryan Doumit: since the Pittsburgh Pirates are our official National League team, we're delighted to have a former Bucco in the dugout--especially when he can be a catcher, first baseman or right fielder who hits well. We hope that he's willing to become our new Dread Pirate--since Dread Pirate Joe Nathan has shuffled off to Arlington, after a decade in Pittsburgh, seafaring treachery should be natural for him, right?

Josh Willingham: we totally understand that Willingham is the low budget version of Michael Cuddyer, same age, equivalent defense, more consistent offense, less cost and for that reason he makes sense for baseball. However, we don't always root for teams based on logical, rational reasons--and logic and rationality melt away anytime we see Cuddy's dimples. So, until he rockets to fame and excellence in our hearts he will be known simply as "Not Michael Cuddyer".

Jason Marquis: Hey look, it's a strong, veteran pitcher who will eat up innings and maybe notch a few wins before the year is up. Valuable as that is, I'm mostly pumped for the fact that his last name makes me think of the antiquated nobility title: "Marquis" (Marquis de Sade, Marquis of Queensbury, etc.) This allows for the stupid easy photoshop of: the Marquis de Marquis.

Minor-Leaguer Grab Bag: This year, like many other years, the Twins helped themselves to the big ol' bin of cheap minor-league talent to keep the Rochester Red Wings competitive and hopefully protect us in the event we have to make twenty some DL moves again next year (please, sweet lord, no). With that in mind we know have infielder Pedro Florimon, pitchers Terry Doyle, PJ Walters and Daniel Turpen, near-miss prospects JR Towles and Steve Pearce, and come-back kid Sean Burroughs. Hopefully this list turns out more like the Magnificent 7 and less like the 7 Dwarves, but one way or another we'll probably see someone here at Target Field before the summer is up...whether we call them "Dopey" or "Steve McQueen-esque" is up to them.


Wish you were here

It's a holiday special post here at Peanuts From Heaven. While this time of the year is normally associated with large shiny objects with big bows on them, we've always more inclined to spend these days  appreciating our loved ones. With both our families in spitting distance from our condo, we have plenty of family to spend the day with: parents can help us reminisce, siblings will goof off with us, and pets will allow us to dress them up in adorable elfin costumes.

As much as we love the family, we peanuts can't help but think about those who aren't around any more.- And after this year as Twins fans there are lots of old favorites who are not around the land of 10,000 lakes. We love our baseball family, and while we know there's little point in reminiscing, we can't help but feel like the right thing to do is share our gratitude for the years of entertainment and amusement that some of our (now former) twins gave us. So, today we'd like to send out our year end thank you cards to those erstwhile members of the Minnesota 9 who now find themselves playing elsewhere.

Dear Jim Thome,
Our thoughts exactly, Delmon
Thank you for being our very own Paul Bunyan slugger. We know you were hoping that we could win the World Series for you  and that didn't come close to happening. But knowing that you'd turn up every day, behave like a pro, and occasionally try out a Minnesota accent makes you awesome. We hope you enjoy Philadelphia (kiss the Liberty Bell for us).

Dear Delmon Young,
Thank you for being the inspiration of one of our earliest gimmicks here at PFH: Supraction. If anyone encapsulated the fine Twins art of accidentally doing something good in a way that left the opponents surprised, distracted and utterly incapable of withstanding our offensive assault, it was you (probably because nobody expected you to do anything impressive...ever). Sure you could be prickily and you ordered your Johnny Walker Blue with 7-Up, but you were ours and for that we're grateful.

Dear Joe Nathan,
Thank you for the horse flutters, and the arm pumping and the stand up and shout and giving us the feeling that if we could just have the lead after the 8th inning then we should be victorious. It's hard to believe that you're turning in your Lake Calhoun piracy for the chance to eat brisket in Dallas, but we'll wish you well (unless you forget to bring us some brisket when the Rangers come to town)

Dear Kevin Slowey,
Slowey and Mijares at left, after their capture by
a villainous pirate umpire
Thank you for asking out my old co-worker. I'm sorry she turned you down. Thank you for appearing on the Onion. I'm sorry the show was cancelled shortly after your appearance. Best of luck in Colorado, we hope they have more willing single ladies and a greater appreciation of your grisly sense of humor.

Dear Jose Mijares,
Thank you for never suing us for defamation of character despite repeated reference to the whole "Pretty Princess Mijares" character. You're truly an understanding gentleman. Enjoy Kansas City, we have a hunch you'll like the barbecue down there.

Dear Jason Kubel,
Thank you for all your tireless work raising awareness about the "Running is Stupid" campaign. Your power-hitting/slow-trotting around the basepaths was a valuable combination and we hope more of the ground-ball prone rookies in the organization take your lead and swing for the fences. We hope that they savor your smirk in Arizona.

Dear Jim Hoey,
Thank you for...ummm...uhh....thank you for not minding that we can't think of anything to thank you for.

Dear Michael Cuddyer,
Thank you. For the great throws from right field. For the consistent clubhouse leadership. For the powerful bat. For the dimples, and the startling catches, and the clutch hitting, and the willingness to play 2nd base, and 1st, and center, and pitcher. Thank you for magic tricks. Thank you for charity work. Thank you for grit and pluck and pre-game line-up cards. Thank you for being the guy we wanted to see in the batter's box; because you looked so calm, hit so well, and took the team's success so much to heart. Thank you for seeming like the player who would most likely smile bemusedly at our shenanigans. Thank you.
This photoshop is officially retired...*tear*
We've said our thank you's and we meant them all. If you want to thank any of these guys a little more please vote in the poll at the right for the next class of Peanuts from Heaven Hall of Famers (a hall of fame for those who weren't necessarily the best, but were the most entertaining part of a Twins game). You can vote for as many players as you want as many times as you want.

Next week we'll come back with that other part of the holiday season: comparing all the cool stuff/free agents we now have. But for now we hope you savor the holiday whereever you are...and oh yeah, thank you for reading, whomever you are.


A Fistful of Transactions: The 2011 Winter Meeting Recap Post

Time for one of our many December traditions here at PFH: a recap* of all that went down in the Twins-o-verse during the recent Winter Meetings.

*Note: for our purposes "recap" means wild dramatization of events based on hearsay, conjecture and good ol' fashioned irresponsible journalism (see previous years examples here, here and here)

Here's our report.

10:03 AM Terry Ryan arrives at his first Winter Meetings in almost five years to discover that all the other GMs have gotten super cliquey, moved into separate cabins and won't let Ryan eat lunch or join bracelet weaving anymore.

1:21 PM After a few hours of aimlessly wandering the corridors of the Hilton Anatole, wondering if he's made a huge mistake coming back to GM land, Ryan grabs infielder Pedro Florimon and a $16 box of jellybeans from Batimore's minibar. He feels much better about himself.

Welcome back Minnesota Capps
4:42 PM Negotiations to bring closer Matt Capps back to the Twin Cities nearly break down when, in a sweltering hotel room, Ryan asks an aide to "turn on the fans" and the aide turns on a twitter feed of bloggers and ticket holders berating Capps. Leading to an awkward silence

7:35 PM The awkward silence ends when Capps says, "meh, they'd probably say that anywhere. You've got a deal!"

7:36 PM The Capps news hits the internet and the entire state of Minnesota hits its collective head on its computer screens

8:18 AM After reading the various hyperbolic reactions of those in the Twins bloggery/fan community, Ryan faces reporters. Instead of answering questions, he simply stares sternly and with a measure of disappointment until everyone hangs their head in shame and promises to try being nicer to Matt Capps.

Ham AND Tomatoes?!?
10:47-11:35 AM Ryan intiates a long brunch bartering session with executives from Denver, nearly getting a trade of Kevin Slowey in exchange for exclusive rights to the Denver Omelette. Sadly, Rockies staff members realize that the Denver Omelette is worth far more than Kevin Slowey but do agree to the trade in exchange for a player to be named later and an extra serving of cantaloupe.

3:19 PM Feeling like he's on a roll, Ryan decides to take a run at signing Michael Cuddyer, offering him a three-year deal of for $24 million dollars per year and full amnesty from diaper duty for his new twin daughters.

8:02 PM With most of the major goals of the winter meetings accomplished, Twins front office people begin suggesting TV shows to replace Lost in their annual all-night DVD marathons (a tradition instituted by Bill Smith). Though Terry Ryan is initially hesitant, the vast repository of options on Netflix Instant Queue leaves him staring goggly-eyed through three seasons of Friday Night Lights.

9:51 AM Believing Friday Night Lights to be based on a true story (like the movie and book of the same name) Ryan begins driving to College Station to recruit Brian "Smash" Williams to consider signing with the Twins minor league system as an athletic reserve outfielder in the Ben Revere mold (only with a better arm).

2:36 PM Ryan sadly realizes that Williams is a fictional character...but that Blue Baker sandwiches, pizza and cookies are AMAZING.

6:19 PM In a last ditch attempt to sway Mark Buehrle away from signing with the Miami Marlins, the Twins front office sends a glossy recruitment package to Buerhle advertising the tonnage of fried food available at the state fair, the prominent bike paths, lack of serial killers and nearly 85 days of livable weather.

11:22 PM Buehrle informs the Twins that he is passing.

Stupid Economist...
7:50 AM Stinging from Buehrle's rejection, Ryan puts together an incredibly complex offer to get Albert Pujols & CJ Wilson involving default credit swaps, bundled home mortgages, averaging out to 22 Million Euros per year.

9:29 AM Before signing this deal, Pujols and Wilson see a recent cover of The Economist (pictured Right) and instead go to Los Angeles, because nobody's dreams of stardom and success ever fail in Los Angeles.

10:18 AM Having learned a valuable lesson from the foolishness of pursuing overpriced free agents with silly promises, Terry Ryan goes back to what he knows best: drafts Terry Doyle from the White Sox in the Rule V draft, agrees to take Daniel Turpen as the player to be named later from Colorado, and grabs a new batting helmet to hold all his cantaloupe.

12:22 PM With his mouth full of cantaloupe, Ryan describes the winter meetings as "productive."


Everything's Bigger in Texas

Especially the bargains!!

Yes, it's time for our annual Winter Meeting's preview post, in which we highlight what we expect to see happen during the annual three day rumor-a-thon in one of the nation's finest Hilton Hotels. For this first time we're going to see blog about the way business is done under Terry Ryan rather than would-be-Rico--Suave Pick-Up Artist/GM Bill Smith.

Thus far, the current offseason has confirmed my old sense that Terry Ryan shops for major league talent in much the same way that my grandmother shops for furniture at IKEA. See, our peanuty grandma has two golden rules when it comes to shopping: first, it has to be practical, and second it has to be "terribly on sale" to justify the expense (no matter how small). So, naturally grandma loves IKEA, get in, go directly to the section you need, pick the best option at the best price and get out; no dithering over the upholstery, no hemming and hawing over which would fit best: get the one you need, get it cheap, get out.

C'mon Target Field, make this happen
Terry Ryan operates the same way. Sure you really need that short stop to tie the middle infield together, but don't go ogling the ruby-encrusted ottoman that is Jose Reyes, Jamey Carroll will do just fine, thank you very much! The Yankees might dither over whether to get a mahogany or Brazilian teak back-up backstop; the Twins get a Doumit and have enough change left over to treat the whole family to Swedish meatballs.

Terry's very disappointed
that you've been so mean to
Matt Capps
So expect much the same this week as the front office heads to Dallas for the Winter Meetings. Other teams will be debating just how fancy to get in their wheelings and dealings, and Terry Ryan will keep on doing what he does best: staying practical and finding deals. So with that in mind, and in the spirit of the Lone Star State's lone star, here's our 5 point prediction for Uncle Terry's Bargain Hunting in Big D.

#1---Sign Matt Capps to be closer for 1 year for $1.5 million and 2 body guards
Bill Smith fell victim to last year's big fad in bullpen decorating: hard-throwing, somewhat-erratic, right handers. Terry Ryan does not like fads and without the time to snooker the San Francisco Giants into giving us another Joe Nathan, so Uncle Terry says: "we'll make do with the budget option and public opinion be damned; you fans were raised better than that...shape up or ship out."

#2--Have Tony Oliva bring Yoenis Cespedes a sandwich
Cespedes is the real deal, a five-tool outfield star who figures to command major dollars just as soon as baseball finds a way to make him legally employable. There hasn't been a Hall of Fame calibre Cuban  since Tony O and there hasn't been a Cuban MVP since Zoilo Versailles, we've got some history here. Sure Cespedes could rely on his natural talent and a big budget team around him to make him great...but if he comes to Minnesota there will be sandwiches, and of course...Tony O. (Sure it won't work, but it's a low cost, high reward way of trying to make something happen.)

#3--Try to Trade Kevin Slowey
We like Kevin Slowey, he's a gentleman and a scholar, he's funny enough to appear on the Onion, we were even trying to popularize nicknames like "SloSlo" or "Killthrow" or "KZone". But the writing's been on the wall for months now. He's also not going to be rejoining the rotation any time soon and doesn't want to go to the bullpen, so unless he starts playing third base like a champion, his days in the blue and red are numbered. The sad part is, he doesn't have much trade value, so at best he could be the "Brendan Harris" of this year's "what-the-hell-give-us-some-prospects-and-we're happy" trade. Fortunately Terry Ryan's track record with tose kinds of trades is pretty good, so fingers crossed!

Bob Dylan's all over this thing Cuddy 
#4--Send Michael Cuddyer a Mix-Tape
All our favorite jams can be on it! Like Green Day's "Time of Your Life" and one of Joe Mauer's rap tracks. We could include personal appeals from local-inspired artists like Doomtree and the Hold Steady. Then he'll realize that he's always really loved us and stop listening to the Red Sox nattering about "Sweet Caroline", and sign a three-year deal for a local discount and the promise that he can replace Bert Blyleven after he retires.

#5--Twiddle your thumbs
Every year we get riled up about the big moves coming during the winter meetings, and every year very little actually happens. This year will likely be no different. Sure some big name free agents might sign with other teams, but the Twins news will likely be confined to one of those four story lines. But rest assured, Uncle Terry's still looking for a deal, patience is a virtue friends...trust the man, just like I trust my grandma.