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Winter For a Minnesota Baseball Fan

November 17, 2014

There’s not a lot of fun for a baseball fan in Minnesota during the winter. The winter meetings are something to look forward to but that’s mostly from the standpoint of being a baseball fan and not so much from being a Minnesota Twins fan. After that it’s pretty much a drought until Spring Training starts rolling around, unless you count the two weeks in January where everyone in the Twins organization travels all over Minnesota, Iowa and North and South Dakota on the annual Twins Caravan exciting. The reason for the dearth of winter baseball merrymaking is because the Twins generally don’t make any big moves or do anything a baseball newshound can sink his teeth into. They might trade for a AA player or two, or sign an older, or non-marquee, free agent, but they don’t make any moves that make for a lead story or panel discussion on the MLB channel.

This winter will be no different. The Twins need a starting pitcher and there are some good free agent starters available. But does anyone think we’ll pursue anyone like Max Scherzer, James Shields or Jon Lester? Not me. I lean more toward us showing interest in ex-Twin free agents Scott Baker and Kevin Slowey and I wouldn’t be surprised to see either one of them return to the team. It would certainly follow last year’s failed signings of ex-Twins Jason Kubel and Jason Bartlett.

The most exciting thing happening in Twins Territory right now is the wait for a new pitching coach. Reading the rumors has been interesting and while I’m not sure that Bert Blyleven would make a good pitching coach, or that he’d even want the job, he’s easily my sentimental favorite for the position. Due to my thoughts about Blyleven, I found a recent interview with General Manager Terry Ryan interesting. Ryan, a master of the non-answer, gave this answer after being asked about Blyleven being the new pitching coach:

“He’s got a great personality and a great sense of humor, but he knows exactly when to put his thumb down on things as well. Will I talk to him? I don’t know about that. I’m open to anything. I’ve got a lot of other guys who want in, too. Ultimately, I have to make a decision on how fast to move forward.”

Personally, I think I have a better chance of being named Twins pitching coach than Bert Blyleven does. While Ryan sounds like he was being upfront with his answer, what struck me about it was his word choice with the words “want in”. What does that mean? Sure, a lot of different guys want the job and are being considered for the job, but “want in” makes it sound secretive to me; like only a certain type of person will be allowed to get “in”. Sadly, that leaves me feeling that the Twins are less a baseball organization operating to win games and championships and more of a good ‘ol boy network operating to keep team management happy and, probably most important, like-minded on how to play baseball.

Oh well, pitchers and catchers report in something like three months and despite my grumbling and griping, I can’t wait.

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