• November Mailbag!

    Welcome to another Minnesota Twins mailbag. There has been so much juicy Twins news in the past month, I just couldn't resist asking questions to qualified Twins analysts. Unfortunately, with the iOS7 upgrade, none of my emails, texts, tweets or vines actually send, so I'll just have to answer my own questions this time. This should be a nice change of pace.

    Would you move Joe Mauer to first base to alleviate any potential concussion issues going forward?

    Brad S., St. Paul, MN

    Thanks for reading! First, moving Mauer to first will not remove all risk of a concussion. The Twins used to have this guy named Justin Morneau. He was a former MVP and he played first for the Twins for like a decade. I think he played for Pittsburgh most recently. Anyway, he actually was injured while running the bases, so he could have been a DH and still gotten a concussion.

    Now, the risk of getting a concussion is still higher behind the plate. So yes, I would move him to first. A, first base is open right now. B, the Twins have a reasonable replacement at catcher in Josmil Pinto. C, Mauer may not hit a lot of home runs, but his .476 slugging percentage would have been sixth among qualified catchers. D, Mauer would be able to play more games at first than at catcher. E, if Miguel Sano breaks camp with the Twins (and I think he will), there will be plenty of over-the-fence power at the other corner.

    "F, you're a gimp."

    Maybe so, but this is a low risk move and I'd do it right now.

    Originally posted at Kevin Slowey was Framed!


    Would you sign Johan Santana?

    Brad S., St. Paul, MN

    Yes, and I'd sign him to a twenty-year contract. I am essentially a completely biased Johan Santana guy. I'd bring him back at any cost and I wouldn't even care if he only served as Bert Blyleven's barber. For me, he's the best player of the last generation of Twins baseball and that includes Joe Mauer (who I love). Having Santana back in Minnesota just makes me happy.

    What if he somehow recovered from his injury? It would easily be the greatest story in Minnesota sports history. That might be an embellishment, but if Santana could come back for three productive seasons, he could get back on the Hall of Fame pace that he was on back in 2010. His glory days would pretty much all be in Minnesota and he'd be one of two Twins Hall of Famers from this era (Mauer again, save your rage).

    I'd sign him because I am a huge fan and he seems like a nice guy. At the right price, it's a low risk/high reward/good PR move. If he could actually pitch, it would be a cool bonus.

    What would your rotation look like in 2014, if no starters are signed between now and April?

    Brad S., St. Paul, MN

    Assuming that Santana is not brought back and the Twins decide to eschew their biggest need for another year, their rotation will be gross. Of the available arms, I would choose these five:

    Kevin Correia
    Kyle Gibson
    Scott Diamond
    Vance Worley
    Samuel Deduno

    I need a shower. That rotation will bring the Twins another top-5 pick in 2015. I don't want that. I would rather have a pick in the teens and watch a team win 70-75 games. Normally, I prefer bad teams to be really bad, but four years in a row with no hope is too much for me. Of those five, I'd really prefer that only Gibson is there next year. I'm willing to give Diamond and Worley another chance, but I'm not optimistic with either guy.

    In all honesty, I'd probably prefer Liam Hendriks to Sam Deduno, but I'm trying to go at least one week without being a stupid idiot. I still think that Deduno is a mirage. Also, he gets hurt a lot. Has anyone pointed that out? At least you can count on Hendriks to be awful every fifth day.

    What did you think of the World Series?

    Brad S., St. Paul, MN

    Excellent question! At one point I thought to myself, "I'd be happy if Carlos Beltran won a World Series."

    Why? I mean, when I got a promotion at work, Carlos Beltran didn't call me. He probably didn't even read the HR newsletter even though I FedEx'd it to him. It's almost as if we have no relationship whatsoever.

    As for the series, I find it hard to root for a team that has repeated success. I don't root against them, but I don't really care either. Both of these teams were going for a third title in the past ten seasons, so it was hard to care either way. Boston won. They went a billion years without a title or whatever, so I guess getting three in ten years is cool for them.

    Trevor Plouffe currently has 48 career home runs. Do you think he will hit 100 in his career?

    Brad S., St. Paul, MN

    Nope. Plouffe looked like a legitimate power hitter just about fifteen months ago. His 2013 season was actually pretty decent, and he improved slightly in most offensive areas. His home runs regressed and that hurt his slugging and therefore his OPS, OPS+, wRC+, WAR, OCEAN and every other acronym and acronym+ you can find.

    Now, he's a year from arbitration and about to be replaced by a younger, sexier, better player. 52 more home runs is not a lot. If Plouffe can just average the 14 he hit last season, he'd get there in four seasons. I'm not sure he's a regular player for the next four seasons though. He can't hit right-handed pitching, his defense is suspect at best and he doesn't do enough well to make up for what he doesn't do well.

    I think the Twins got the most they could have hoped for out of Plouffe (as a post-prospect, not as a former first-round pick) and I'd be surprised if he ever reaches that soft, round 100.

    Would you sign Bartolo Colon to fill one of the spots in the Twins rotation in 2014?

    C. Bolon, Email Land, Netscape

    An actual question! I can't include the whole question because it was very long. It was very amusing too, although you'll have to take my word on that.

    I'd probably pass on Colon unless he would be willing to take a one-year deal. Considering his age and appetite, I'd assume he'd want more stability. If he would sign for one-year and say, ten million, I'd do it. The Twins have the money and they need starters. Colon wouldn't transform the team from 96 losses to 96 wins, but he would be their best starter and he would help improve the team. If you believe in the concept of installing a "winning culture," finding a guy who can help propel a team from 66 wins to 75 wins is worthwhile.

    I can't see why he would want to pitch here, unless he had no other offers. Although, if the Twins could sign him and Santana, we could arrange for Colon to sheepishly return his ill-gotten 2005 Cy Young Award to the rightful owner.

    Who will be the Brian Dozier of 2014?

    Brad S., St. Paul, MN

    You mean ruggedly handsome? If so, I'm not sure. I'll need to wait until the Spring Training mug shots come out.

    If you are looking for the next breakout player, then I choose Aaron Hicks. The parallels are almost too eerie. Both were rushed to Minnesota before they were ready. Both were Spring Training/media darlings. Both were sent to AAA later than expected and did not return to the MLB team. Both sucked, although Dozier stopped sucking once he was awesome. For those reasons, I feel that Aaron Hicks will be the Brian Dozier of 2014.

    Thank you very much for indulging me. If you ever have the inkling to ask a question, but want an answer in an indeterminate period of time, just send me a message at [email protected]. I spend 100 bucks a month for that email address, but all the Princes that keep emailing me about their kingdoms of riches should balance it all out.

    Have a great weekend, everyone!
    This article was originally published in blog: November Mailbag! started by Brad Swanson
    Comments 8 Comments
    1. Willihammer's Avatar
      Willihammer -
      Hope you're right about Hicks, that would be a huge boost for this club.
    1. 70charger's Avatar
      70charger -
      As for the series, I find it hard to root for a team that has repeated success. I don't root against them, but I don't really care either. Both of these teams were going for a third title in the past ten seasons, so it was hard to care either way.
      Yep.

      And I also hope you're right about Aaron Hicks.
    1. Paul Pleiss's Avatar
      Paul Pleiss -
      No one will be the 2014 Brian Dozier, unless you're looking for someone to simply cut their hair. Chris Herrmann cut his hair already, so he's out. Dozier's locks are gone, but it seems there's been some reverse Sampson skill thing going on there. Silky Smooth, how I miss your beautiful locks. Make Kevin Correia will go with a close shaved look in 2014 and beome the hairless wonder. He gets my vote. Also if he grows a mustache I'll purchase a Correia shirsey.
    1. grumpyrob's Avatar
      grumpyrob -
      Nice article. Just one question though. Everyone says there is an increased risk of getting a concussion behind the plate. I know Mauer has taken his fair share of foul tips to the head, but is there a website which identifies that catchers are more likely to get a concussion versus other players on the field? Just curious.
    1. Brad Swanson's Avatar
      Brad Swanson -
      Quote Originally Posted by grumpyrob View Post
      Nice article. Just one question though. Everyone says there is an increased risk of getting a concussion behind the plate. I know Mauer has taken his fair share of foul tips to the head, but is there a website which identifies that catchers are more likely to get a concussion versus other players on the field? Just curious.
      Catchers Experience More Concussions than Other Major League Baseball Players, Data Shows | Spinal Cord Injury, Brain Injury | Resources for TBI & SCI

      It's a small sample, but 10 of the 18 players placed on the 7-day DL since 2011 are catchers. Although, I have to admit I wrote what I wrote about concussions based entirely on my own anecdotal evidence that catchers are more likely to take a 100 MPH baseball to the facial region.
    1. Willihammer's Avatar
      Willihammer -
      Here's a partial list: MLB Concussions | The Concussion Blog

      The same blog has 2011 totals here: MLB Concussion Wrap Up 2011 | The Concussion Blog

      and a partial 2012 total here: 2012 MLB Concussion Update #1 | The Concussion Blog

      2013 totals are here (I'm pretty sure these figures didn't change in the last month): For catchers, concussion dangers all too real

      The total is:

      Catchers: 20
      All others: 34

      That's 37% of confirmed concussions since 2001, according to the above data, were catchers. And most, maybe all of them, were on foul tips (I know all 10 in 2013 were sustained on foul tips).

      Also, this: Chirinos facing long comeback from concussion

      Scary stuff.

      I have read, however, that some of the catchers in 2013 switched to titanium masks before being concussed, and then switched to steel after. Steel has more flex and might be a safer material concussion-wise, but I don't know if it reduces the risk to zero.
    1. grumpyrob's Avatar
      grumpyrob -
      Quote Originally Posted by Willihammer View Post
      Here's a partial list: MLB Concussions | The Concussion Blog

      The same blog has 2011 totals here: MLB Concussion Wrap Up 2011 | The Concussion Blog

      and a partial 2012 total here: 2012 MLB Concussion Update #1 | The Concussion Blog

      2013 totals are here (I'm pretty sure these figures didn't change in the last month): For catchers, concussion dangers all too real

      The total is:

      Catchers: 20
      All others: 34

      That's 37% of confirmed concussions since 2001, according to the above data, were catchers. And most, maybe all of them, were on foul tips (I know all 10 in 2013 were sustained on foul tips).

      Also, this: Chirinos facing long comeback from concussion

      Scary stuff.

      I have read, however, that some of the catchers in 2013 switched to titanium masks before being concussed, and then switched to steel after. Steel has more flex and might be a safer material concussion-wise, but I don't know if it reduces the risk to zero.

      Thanks for the info. I wonder if the MLB will ignore long term medical concerns like the NFL did. Also wonder if there will be some company attempting to make a mask which could deflect a bit better.
    1. YourHouseIsMyHouse's Avatar
      YourHouseIsMyHouse -
      Aaron Hicks is a pretty handsome guy, so I agree. Beltran never texts me, so I can confirm he's a pretty bad friend and therefore I'm happy he didn't win the WS.
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