Michael Rand started RandBall with hopes that he could convince the world to love jumpsuits as much as he does. So far, he's only succeeded in using the word "redacted" a lot. He welcomes suggestions, news tips, links of pure genius, and pictures of pets in Halloween costumes here, though he already knows he will regret that last part.
Follow Randball on Twitter
We didn’t really like Flip Saunders’ first draft as Wolves President in 2013, when it seemed as though the team got caught without a plan when dealing the No. 9 pick (Trey Burke) for No. 14 (Shabazz Muhammad) and No. 21 (Gorgui Dieng). But now we’re absolutely in love with Dieng as a player and like the potential of Muhammad as well.
We weren’t sure about all of the free agent moves Saunders made last year — Kevin Martin, Corey Brewer, re-signing Nikola Pekovic — but in retrospect we at least could understand the reasoning of trying to build as good of a short-term roster as possible in an attempt to keep Kevin Love’s wandering eye from drifting too far astray.
When that didn’t work, we were sure the Wolves needed to deal Love before the NBA draft in June in order to maximize his value and expand the number of possible teams in play.
But Saunders, once again, is proving that he deserves the benefit of the doubt — this time in the most important decision of his tenure-to-date. Whether it was intuition that the post-draft, free agency world of the NBA could yield better Love deals — maybe even a hunch that LeBron-to-Cleveland could happen — or whether Saunders stumbled into some good fortune, his patience is being rewarded.
Love to Cleveland for the last two No. 1 overall picks, and perhaps some other assets, is a better deal than we could have imagined possible — not because we doubt Love as a player, but because the leverage in any potential deal feels equally divided between the Wolves, Love and the acquiring team.
Now it’s time to close the deal. We do not care one bit that Golden State is reportedly willing to part with Klay Thompson. This chatter with Cleveland is not to gain leverage in a mediocre trade with the Warriors. The purpose is to make the deal with the Cavs. Put Golden State on some version of eternal call waiting, Flip, and get this thing done with Cleveland.
Our guess is that Flip wants the Cavs deal. He talked post-draft about hitting home runs instead of settling for doubles. The baseball analogy was apt in that he was saying teams like the Wolves need to shoot for franchise players, even at the risk of swinging and missing. The Cleveland deal could be a home run. The Golden State deal, with Thompson, would be a double.
You’ve played everything perfectly so far, Flip. Finish this off, and you will have aced the biggest test of your tenure.
GREAT! He was the All-Star Game MVP!
Well, OK, let’s downgrade that a little. Hendriks is doing well for his situation, which is pretty much the same as it was with the Twins: terrific at the highest level of minor league ball, but pretty meh when he got to the majors.
Hendriks is 7-1 with a 2.19 ERA for the Buffalo Bisons of Class AAA, which earned him a spot in the Triple-A All-Star Game. There, he threw two scoreless innings to earn the game MVP honors.
Hendriks has made three starts with the Blue Jays this season as well, and though two of them were pretty good, the third (1.2 IP, 6 ER) left his MLB ERA at 6.08 for the season.
If that sounds familiar, Hendriks was 9-3 with a 2.20 ERA in 2012 at Class AAA Rochester, then 1-8 with a 5.59 ERA with the Twins that season.
That said, Hendriks is still only 25, so it remains possible that he will still find sustained MLB success — albeit not with the Twins.
When he’s not screaming in ALL-CAPS and swearing about the Vikings — things we also love about him — Drew Magary is evolving into one of our nation’s finest social critics.
We implore you to read his piece on how competition — or, more aptly, our warped definition of it — is ruining us and our children.
A main takeaway:
I’m never gonna discount how awesome winning feels, even when it involves me crushing my kid at foosball. But winning is best viewed not as a goal, but as the fortunate byproduct of chasing another, more realistic goal—the satisfaction of hard work done well. Enslaving yourself to the almighty W makes you stupid; it deforms you, robs you of your creativity, as you pursue some agreed-upon idea of excellence instead of doing the worthwhile job of defining it for yourself.
It’s time to play a little “Good News, Bad News” when it comes to Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano — the Twins’ two best prospects and perhaps their Nos. 3 and 4 hitters of the not-too-distant future — as well as the rest of the team’s prospects.
Good News: In Keith Law’s ESPN.com ranking of all the top prospects in baseball, Buxton and Sano are still firmly entrenched near the top — with Buxton No. 2 overall and Sano at No. 11.
Bad News: Both of those positions represent a drop, albeit a small one, from the start of the year. Buxton was No. 1 overall, while Sano was No. 8.
Good News: Considering both have been injured for almost the entire season, that’s not too far to fall. That means the ceiling for both, at least in Law’s estimation, remains very high.
Bad News: This time missed has cost both of them valuable development time. Though Law notes that it shouldn’t, at least in the case of Buxton, “change his ultimate ceiling at all,” it has basically made this a lost season. Whereas both could have conceivably debuted this year with the Twins, at least for a taste, getting healthy is now the top priority.
Good News: Those two now have very good company within the Twins’ organization on Law’s top prospects list. RHP Kohl Stewart vaulted from No. 76 to No. 19 since the preseason. SS Nick Gordon, drafted in June, is No. 25. Alex Meyer, No. 62 in the preseason, is up to No. 42 now. And Jose Berrios, not rated in the preseason, is now No. 50.
So that means the Twins have six of the top 50 prospects in all of baseball, according to Law. Do the math: That’s about 1 of every 8 top prospects that are on the Twins even though they are just 1 of 30 teams. That bodes well for the future, even if the future can’t get here soon enough.
Want to get excited about something Timberwolves-relate? Tired of all the Kevin Love rumors and dead ends?
Well, here’s first-round pick Zach LaVine showing off some serious hops Wednesday in a summer league victory over Phoenix.
|Los Angeles - LP: P. Maholm||7||FINAL|
|Pittsburgh - WP: V. Worley||12|
|San Francisco - WP: G. Kontos||9||FINAL|
|Philadelphia - LP: J. Manship||6|
|Texas - LP: N. Tepesch||1||FINAL|
|NY Yankees - WP: J. Francis||2|
|Boston - LP: J. Peavy||3||FINAL|
|Toronto - WP: J. Happ||7|
|Miami - WP: J. Turner||6||FINAL|
|Atlanta - LP: M. Minor||5|
|San Diego - LP: E. Stults||0||FINAL|
|Chicago Cubs - WP: K. Hendricks||6|
|Cincinnati - LP: S. LeCure||3||FINAL|
|Milwaukee - WP: F. Rodriguez||4|
|Cleveland - WP: D. Salazar||8||FINAL|
|Minnesota - LP: Y. Pino||2|
|Kansas City - WP: B. Chen||7||FINAL|
|Chicago WSox - LP: S. Carroll||1|
|Tampa Bay - WP: J. Odorizzi||7||FINAL|
|St. Louis - LP: A. Wainwright||2|
|Washington - WP: C. Stammen||7||FINAL|
|Colorado - LP: B. Brown||4|
|Detroit - LP: P. Coke||4||FINAL|
|Arizona - WP: E. De La Rosa||5|
|Houston - WP: D. Downs||3||FINAL|
|Oakland - LP: F. Abad||2|
|Baltimore - WP: M. Gonzalez||4||FINAL|
|LA Angels - LP: M. Morin||2|
|NY Mets - WP: J. deGrom||3||FINAL|
|Seattle - LP: E. Ramirez||1|
|Calgary||7/24/14 8:00 PM|
|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|