Mauer hitting 2nd instantly puts pressure on the pitcher to get Hicks out, which should give Hicks more hittable pitches. Unfortunately, Hicks is starting the season with a lot of whiffing. That should change as he settles down. Already the few walks Hicks has drawn have paid off, with Joe Mauer right behind him.
I think he should be batting 3rd. I hope Dozier shows he can hit well enough to hold down the 2nd spot in the lineup. I really think the best hitter on the team, one as good as Mauer with RISP, should be batting 3rd. Just the 50 or so extra base runners in front of Mauer in the first inning alone,(compared to when you bat him 2nd) provided by by even a below average 2nd place hitter, makes it worth batting Mauer 3rd.
While Mauer doesn't hit a lot of fly balls to right, he does hit hard ground balls and line drives to right. Mauer isn't fast by any means, but those hits would pretty much all be triples, and anything pulled down the line could end in an inside-the-park home run.
I'm all for wild shifts, but this one might be too extreme for me.
The bottom line is that the Twins need an ace for their staff now and not a pipe dream of a prospect that might get there. Grienke is gone but we still need a leader bad. A guy that can bring up the level of the whole staff and the whole team. We are the only team in baseball that does not have a starting pitcher that would be above a #4 or 5 starter on any other MLB team. Try to think of a team that does not have a #1 or #2 caliber starter on their staff. The Twins might be the only team outside of Houston that has this bad of a starting staff. The Twins are one ace away from contending in my opinion. That is all I ask of the people that demanded a stadium. I just want to have a chance every year. To believe that if everything goes our way, we could win the division at least.
And I would respectfully contend that Greinke is only consistent when he isn't being inconsistent. (Compare his 2009 to his 2010 or his ERA's ballooning over 5.00 in both July and August this year) I do see the advantage of having a Verlander or a Sabathia but to put Greinke on that plateau is being overly generous, especially considering pitchers V and S are both all-out gamers while Greinke has a history of being a less-than-uplifting teammate and emotionally fragile. He will get paid (overpaid) big dollars by somebody, but in the Twins case, it would cripple their ability to address other roster deficiencies.
I respectively disagree that the number of wins for a starting pitcher is an important statistic. The team needs a #1 starter that brings much more to the team than two average middle rotation pitchers. He keeps the team from going into long slumps. He changes the whole teams perspective on everything including how they look at a 3 game series when the ace has game 3. An ace gives his team a chance to win every 5 days but gives the team a psychological advantage on the other 4 games in between also. Obviously, he cannot win on his own or the Royals would have three World Championship rings but if you don't see the advantage of Detroit having Verlander for example, beyond his 18-20 wins or so a year then you will never agree with me on this. Grienke is one of only a handful of starters that can be an ace in my opinion and it has nothing to do with his Ws. He is controlled, overpowering and consistent and that qualifies him as an ace in my book. The Twins don't have to have Grienke, but they must have our own version of Verlander or Sabathia from somewhere else or the best they will be is a .500 team. If we can't get Grienke then we need to find an ace somewhere else but to think substituting three #3 starters instead of paying for a #1 is just as good, will guarantee that we will not produce a winning attitude or a winning team this decade. I hope we have one or even better, a couple of potential aces in our system somewhere or that we can somehow pick up in a trade but I don't see one that can be controlled, overpowering and consistent enough to be our Ace!
In some ways I agree with Teflon. Better to have two guys who can win 12-14 games and be around for 3-4 years for the same amount of money.I don't see Grienke averaging more than 15 wins a season over 7 years unless he is with a powerhouse team all those years.
Greinke has never won more than 16 games in a season. For the same money they'd end up paying a year for Greinke, the Twins could sign two competent 12-14 game winners.
We have the richest owners in all of baseball. This could cost $20 million a year but it is what the team needs. From the Pohlad's perspective, spend $100 million and be non competitive for the next 7 years and slowly lose the fan excitement that was at Target field in 2010 and 2011 but is slipping or spend $120 million per year on payroll for example and have a team that could win the division every year if Grienke stays healthy. Paying for an ace is the cost of admission to build a championship team. I wish that pitchers were not this expensive but the secret is no longer a secret...pitching wins! Either one comes from your system and you still end up paying huge money to keep the pitcher on your team or you sign one as a FA like the other teams that win have to do. We need to stop assuming that the Pohlad's have a payroll limit of $80-$100 million. I'm sure they want to spend the least amount that they can to win but they are smart enough businessmen to realize that they need an ace on the staff to win championships or to even be competitive. My rule of thumb that has absolutely no scientific basis, is that a team needs at least three superstar players to win. Grienke and Mauer are two, so we need another one to come from the ranks and surprise us. One of the young kids like Liriano did for us in 2006. We actually had 4 for sure that year. Mauer, Morneau, Santana and Nathan all qualified that year with honorary mention to Liriano and Hunter. 2006 was my favorite Twins year ever. 87 meant a lot and 91 was awesome but 2006 was so great even with the three game loss t the A's in the first round. That year was so exciting. Every day, we expected them to win in July, August and September. They locked up the wild card early on but that was the year that the team and all of us stayed to watch the Royals sweep the Tigers to get us the division on the last day. The Tigers won the pennant that year but I wouldn't trade it for the year we had. That was the year that Mike Redmond could smell the RBIs!
Nice thought, will not happen as it would take all or more than all of our FA money