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When the Twins acquired Kendrys Morales in early June, most of us figured two things: 1) it was probably a rental and 2) in spite of that, it was worth the money and gamble because he would probably help out a stagnant offense.
As part of that, Josmil Pinto, who had been getting at-bats as DH, was shipped back to the minors to work on his catching. That’s a good thing. But as it turns out, the Twins missed Pinto’s bat. And that’s a bad thing.
Morales was traded to the Mariners today, as you probably knew. Here are the comps between he and Pinto this season with the Twins:
Morales: 162 ABs, .234 BA/.259 OBP/.325 slugging, 1 HR, 18 RBI.
Pinto: 158 ABs, .222/.323/.407, 7 HRs, 16 RBI.
It’s not as though Pinto was lighting the world on fire, but his 7 home runs are still tied for third-most on the team. Morales was a rental, but an unproductive one. He slugged .325; Nick Punto, in his Twins career, slugged .324.
The best part about Vikings O-lineman Charlie Johnson’s T-shirt — and there were many to choose from, including the color and that he chose to wear it on the day the team reported to training camp — is that we actually saw him still wearing it around 2:15 as he, two other linemen and Adrian Peterson rode their bikes to what we presume was their 3 p.m. conditioning test.
Hope there wasn’t any cardio. Just lifts and water breaks.
As noted on Twitter on Wednesday by Aaron Gleeman, the Twins are now at the 100-game mark of their season, and this is how their record in 2014 compares to their records at that milestone each of the past three years (all of which, of course, ended in 96 losses or more):
We don’t believe his intent to was to demonstrate that the Twins have been improving over the past couple of years. Rather, we imagine it was designed as a warning to those of us trying to extrapolate and figure out where this team might wind up at the start of the year.
None of those 100-game records are good, but combined they add up to a .448 winning percentages and paces to win about 73 games. Again, not good. That means 89 losses. But far better than what happened over the final 62 games each of the last three years:
2011: 16-46 (final record 63-99)
2012: 24-38 (final record 66-96)
2013: 22-40 (final record 66-96)
That adds up to 62 wins and 124 losses after reaching the 100-game mark each of the past three seasons. That’s one win for every two losses, or a .333 winning percentage. So you can see that whether by injuries, a stiffening schedule or just the general malaise that can befall a team with nothing left to play for but pride, bad Twins teams have turned into historically awful teams right at this magic mark each of the last three years.
How important is it for the Twins to avoid a similar fate this year? It depends on how you look at it, we suppose. The difference between finishing with, say, 68 wins (going 22-40 down the stretch) or 75 wins (going 29-33) means more to perception than anything else.
It’s been our belief that while 75 wins would not be a “good” year, it would at least be some measure of progress from the putrid finishing marks of the past three seasons. It would allow fans to say, “That wasn’t as bad as it has been, and it should be getting even better.” How they finish could play a role in how they evaluate their front office, their manager and their coaching staff.
So yes, we’d say these final 62 are very important. Maintaining at least their current pace wouldn’t be great, but it would be an improvement. Sliding back would mean nothing has changed — and might mean a lot of things have to change.
A Football Outsiders post on ESPN.com caught our attention this afternoon. Using a number of criteria, they attempted to rank the NFL teams from 1-32 when it comes to the best accumulation of talented players less than 25 years old.
Now, having that many good, young players doesn’t necessarily translate to success, but Seattle was No. 1 on the list last year and won the Super Bowl; crazily enough, the Seahawks sunk to the bottom of the list this year because many of those top young players are a year older and no longer qualify. That is an indicator of just how arbitrary the 25-year-old cutoff is, but it also stands to reason that teams with talent that fall below that age threshold will be in good shape salary-wise and therefore be able to compete.
In any event, the Rams were No. 1. The Bills were No. 2.
And No. 3 — perhaps not surprisingly since they’ve had seven first-round picks in the past three years, but still interestingly enough — were the Vikings. Here’s what FBO had to say about your purple:
The Vikings are the only team to have three U25 players honored with an All-Pro or Pro Bowl selection. However, one of those is kicker Blair Walsh, and while he’s very good, he is still just a kicker. Cordarrelle Patterson was honored for his work as a kick returner last season, leading the league with two touchdowns and in average return (32.4 yards). Big things will be expected this year from Patterson as a No. 2 wide receiver behind Greg Jennings. Tight end Kyle Rudolph made the Pro Bowl in 2012 with nine touchdowns, and Jarius Wright makes it three primary pass-catchers under the age of 25 for this Minnesota offense.
We might be ranking the Vikings at the top if they were committed to immediately starting rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, who may prove to be the steal of the draft.
Defensive guru Mike Zimmer gets his first crack at a head coaching job, and he has high-caliber talent to work with after the last two drafts have netted cornerback Xavier Rhodes, defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd and rookie linebacker Anthony Barr, all in the first round.
Indeed, it will be interesting to see how this mass of talent pans out and how the new coaching staff will influence it. But having the potential to have so many contributors at young ages and relatively low salaries could give the Vikings a chance to compete sooner than some of us might think.
He already had credibility before that, but he gained more that day — enough that we need to take his report of a Chicago offer to the Wolves quite seriously.
Per Sheridan, Chicago is offering a package of Doug McDermott, Nikola Mrotic and Taj Gibson in a potential Kevin Love deal.
Such a deal is extremely intriguing to the Timberwolves, but there is a catch — it cannot be completed for another 29 days after McDermott and Mirotic signed their rookie contracts Tuesday. NBA rules prohibit rookies from being traded within the first 30 days after they sign. And that could be good news for the Cleveland Cavaliers, who still have not signed Andrew Wiggins and may not do so until the end of this week. That will give them time to present Minnesota with an offer that can be acted upon immediately.
We still like the Cavs deal better because it offers, in our mind, the biggest chance for a home run player (Andrew Wiggins), but this is a much better fall back plan than anything else we’ve heard, and ans Sheridan notes if it can speed up a Cavs deal, all the better.
Also, it should be noted that if the Cleveland and Chicago deals being reported are true, it makes Golden State’s reported unwillingness to include Klay Thompson in a deal that much more absurd. Thanks for playing, Golden State.
|Boston - LP: R. De La Rosa||0||FINAL|
|Toronto - WP: M. Stroman||8|
|San Francisco - LP: T. Hudson||1||FINAL|
|Philadelphia - WP: C. Hamels||2|
|Texas - LP: C. Lewis||2||FINAL|
|NY Yankees - WP: B. McCarthy||4|
|Houston - LP: S. Feldman||1||FINAL|
|Oakland - WP: J. Samardzija||13|
|Miami - WP: H. Alvarez||3||FINAL|
|Atlanta - LP: C. Kimbrel||2|
|San Diego||12||Top 7th Inning|
|NY Mets||1||Top 9th Inning|
|Chicago WSox||5||Top 9th Inning|
|Cleveland||1||Top 9th Inning|
|Detroit||0||Top 3rd Inning|
|Baltimore||0||Bottom 2nd Inning|
|Montreal||1||1st Half 10:00|
|Real Salt Lake||1|
|Winnipeg||7/25/14 9:00 PM|
|Ottawa||7/26/14 6:00 PM|
|Toronto||7/26/14 9:00 PM|
|Winnipeg||7/31/14 6:00 PM|
|Toronto||8/1/14 6:00 PM|
|Brt Columbia||8/1/14 9:00 PM|
|Saskatchewan||8/2/14 6:00 PM|
|New York||32||2nd Qtr 4:26|
|Phoenix||7||1st Qtr 7:55|