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    by 07-04-2012, 09:27 PM

    If the Twins want to sign Francisco Liriano to an extension, it will need to be in the parameters of what Liriano will make on the free agent market this winter. But its hard to know even roughly how much he’ll command. Partly that’s because of his mercurial performance. But that problem is compounded by a free agent class that is unprecedented in pitching depth.

    It starts with two 28-year-olds, right-hander Zach Greinke and left-hander Cole Hamels that are both better than anyone in last year’s class. They both could reach nine figure deals with yearly salaries that approach $20M per year.

    But the really remarkable variable about the free agent class is the next level. There is a glut of “potential” star pitchers and Liriano falls into that class.
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    by 07-04-2012, 01:15 PM

    Nick Blackburn was bad again last night. Really bad. Thankfully, the Twins were able to overcome an early deficit and defeat the Tigers 8-6. Willingham and Plouffe homered again and the Twins' pen put in a stellar performance to close out the game.

    Tonight is not going to be any easier. The Twins face off in the most lopsided pitching matchup of the series as Justin Verlander takes the mound for the Tigers against Brian Duensing and the Twins. Duensing will have to go deeper tonight as the depleted pen could be a problem
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    by 07-04-2012, 10:08 AM

    Earlier in the week, I posted the June Twins minor league starting pitcher and relief pitcher of the month of June. The starters were not too terribly impressive, but there were a lot of tremendous bullpen performances in June. So today, let’s take a look at which Twins minor league hitters had the best June performances. I’ll let you be the judge of how impressive the performances were.

    Here are my selections for the Top 5 Twins Minor League hitters in June:
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    by 07-03-2012, 11:49 PM

    A rain delay in Detroit held up the start of the Twins game for an hour and a half. When the game got underway, it turned into a back and forth contest between the Tigers and the Twins. The Twins bash brothers of Josh Willingham and Trevor Plouffe each added another home run to their totals for the season as they continue to try and match each other for the team lead. Even Joe Mauer was able to hit his second home run in the past week with an opposite field home run in the later innings of the game.
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    by 07-03-2012, 10:47 PM

    The Big Picture
    The Bronx Bombers have made the playoffs in seven of the past eight years but have reached the World Series only once, when they beat the Phillies in 2009. For most teams, one championship in eight years would be perfectly adequate, but not for the Yankees. This is a franchise that appeared in the Fall Classic six times in nine years prior to their latest "drought."
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    by 07-03-2012, 02:00 PM

    The Twins go into tonight's second game at Detroit feeling pretty good about themselves. They're on a four game winning streak, all against division rivals. Of course, that could all change tonight as Nick Blackburn takes the mound again for the Twins. I won't bother dredging up the numbers; we all know Blackburn has struggled mightily this season. To top it off, Max Scherzer was scratched from the lineup at the last moment with hamstring tightness. In his place, the Twins will see Duane Below, a young lefty who has been
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    by 07-03-2012, 01:23 PM

    Last night, I posted the Twins Minor League Starting Pitchers of June. It was clearly not a strong part of the organization during the month. One area where the Twins minor league system was very strong was in the bullpen. There were plenty of very strong candidates. It was difficult to rank the relievers because there are some very good relievers who have really pitched well into this middle part of the season.

    However, here are my choices for the Top 5 Twins Minor League Relief Pitchers in June:
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    by 07-03-2012, 05:36 AM

    Liam Hendriks was again unable to pick up his first career win. Despite being given a five run lead going into the bottom of the 5th against the Tigers, he was unable to get an out. However, the Twins bullpen did what they’ve done all year. Anthony Swarzak came in and maintained the lead. Alex Burnett was tremendous again. And Glen Perkins got the save. All the efforts gave manager Ron Gardenhire his 900th career win. Quite an accomplishment! The Twins have now won four in a row and play the Tigers again tonight.

    For all this and more, here is a look at the Twins minor league scores and highlights from Monday:
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    by 07-02-2012, 08:55 PM

    As the Fourth of July is approaching, I have found myself asking several people, “What happened to June? It just flew by. It seemed like just four or so weeks ago that I was posing my May Twins Minor League Hitter, Starting Pitcher and Reliever of the month. And here we are again. Over the next couple of days, I will post my June recipients. I am going to start by the area that was far and away the weakest for the organization in June, starting pitching.

    BJ Hermsen won the award in April and May, but in June he fell back to a solid, but unspectacular level. In previous months, I’ve been posting a top five or a top six. This month, I can only give you a top four Twins
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    by 07-02-2012, 07:20 PM

    The Big Picture
    In the hyper-competitive NL East, the Braves are 4.5 games back of the division leading Nationals. But they’re also just one game back of the second wild-card spot, which happens to be shared by division rival New York Mets. Atlanta is reportedly searching for a top starting pitcher. That’s unusual ground for them – just last year they ranked 4th in MLB in ERA – but some injuries and regression by youngsters have them looking for rotation help.
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    by 07-02-2012, 06:17 PM

    On International Signing Day, the Twins locked in Dominican shortstop Amaurys Minier for $1.4 million - leaving them with approximately $1.5 million to divvy up among any other international signings.

    According to Baseball America, the six-foot-two Minier ranked 12th among available prospects and was the fourth-best rated shortstop prospect. The switch-hitting Minier has a decent sized frame including a stout lower-half making many evaluators believe that he will eventually move from his original position to third base.

    Here's what the scouting report on him from the Dominican Prospect League has to say:
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    by 07-02-2012, 02:00 PM

    For the first time all year, the Twins should be feeling pretty good about their recent play. They closed out June strongly and swept a doubleheader, posting their first winning month of the season. They closed out a series with Kansas City by winning three in a row.

    But things are about to get considerably more difficult. The Twins travel to Detroit, where they will start a four-game set against the Tigers. Detroit is looking to get back on track in the Central and will throw Verlander, Porcello, Fister, and Scherzer against the
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    by 07-02-2012, 09:08 AM

    On Sunday afternoon, the 2012 MLB All-Star rosters were announced for the American League and the National League. There were a few different candidates that had the opportunity to be selected to be the Twins representative. Joe Mauer is near the top of the AL in a variety of batting categories and he plays a premium defensive position. Josh Willingham started off the season on quite the run and he might be the team MVP to this point. Since his promotion at the beginning of May, Scott Diamond has been the ace of the Twins pitching staff. Glen Perkins and Jared Burton have been dominant in their appearances out of the bullpen.

    In the end, the Twins will have one representative for the second year in a row. Joe Mauer was selected to his fifth career All-Star Game and he is the lone representative for his team much like Michael Cuddyer last season.
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    by 07-02-2012, 04:23 AM

    The Sunday Tweet of the Day comes from yours truly (@SethTweets). Before the game started, I tweeted, “After that pregame and national anthem rendition, is there any questions that @TPlouffe24 is planning to hit a home run or two for #America?”

    Josh Willingham hit a big three-run home run that tied the game at five. He also tied Trevor Plouffe with 17 home runs. Plouffe came up and knocked the first Bruce Chen pitch he saw in the at bat for his second home run of the day (18th of the year) and more important, he gave the Twins a lead that they would hold for the win. The Twins now have a three-game winning streak as they head to Detroit to take on the Tigers.

    For all this and more, here is a look at the Twins minor league scores and highlights from Sunday:
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    by 07-01-2012, 11:34 PM

    Since he was first called up in 2008, Denard Span has been an integral cog for the Twins. He's also been a joy to watch. He plays hard, brings a great approach to the plate, offers very solid defense in center, and is good with the fans.

    Yeah, it's fair to say that I'm a big fan of Span. So I'm going to make sure to savor watching what will very likely be his final month in a Twins uniform.

    There are a number of factors that lead me to believe Span's departure from the organization is imminent.
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    by 07-01-2012, 09:32 PM

    Aaron and John talk about Joe Mauer making the All-Star team while Josh Willingham got snubbed, Aaron's vodka-filled experience at the SABR convention in Minneapolis, Ryan Doumit's contract extension, John returning from his East Coast ballpark tour, Trevor Plouffe staying hot, whether the Twins should be in full-on sell mode, the Francisco Liriano dilemma, and why Pizza Luce at 3:00 am is a bad life decision. Here are:

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