Friday, September 30, 2005

Friday Cats

Izzy and O'Malley

Calico in the Gloaming

Ornette and Izzy


Thursday, September 29, 2005

Scotty, You're Doin' a Heckuva Job

Terry Ryan in the Pioneer Press:

"We've had a difficult year with the bats, and consequently a lot of people start putting responsibility on one individual. But for me, it's an organizational-wide responsibility.

"Scott Ullger is a professional. He does as good as he possibly can under the circumstances. He's very, very hard working. He's very accessible. He's very responsible. He doesn't stereotype hitters. He's willing to work any time. It's more my responsibility than it is the individual coaches."

All right. Fortunately for Scotty, he works for bosses who care more about his effort and good intentions than the results of his work. I wonder about the assertion that he doesn't stereotype hitters, when we know that certain players are counseled to "slap n' run" while others are urged to "let it fly," but whatever. The GM isn't going to blame his field manager or any of his coaches for what's gone wrong this season, or the poor showing of the offense in most recent years. Ryan says its "an organizational-wide responsibility," starting with himself.

So how will those words translate into action after the season ends? Will we see significant changes to how the whole organization operates?

Will we see Ryan commit to finding a 2nd baseman who can hit, and a corner outfielder who can mash the ball as well as bring some plate discipline to the lineup? Will he clear out some overpriced contracts to give himself the flexibility to pursue a Big Ticket bat? Will he finally trade some pitching surplus to bring his offense up to code?

If Terry Ryan really does commit himself to change his own operating procedures, then I'll forget about the hitting coach for awhile. Maybe the GM only needs to shuffle his outfield and find a better 2nd baseman than Rivas/Punto/Rodriguez, and the natural maturing of the young foundation of his lineup will take care of the rest. If he pursues that sort of course of action this winter, I'll give him the benefit of the doubt. I'll be optimistic about the chances for improvement next year. But if retaining Ullger turns out to be the first sign that Terry Ryan remains committed to maintaining the status quo, then I'll be looking ahead to another season of watching the team stuck in traction. The rebuilding project may take awhile, in that case.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005


Ron Gardenhire, on why he wants hitting coach Scotty Ullger back next year:

"Scotty's accountable. The offense didn't have a good year, and it's not from a lack of work, all of a sudden losing knowledge of how to teach guys to hit. That hasn't happened. Scotty's a very good hitting instructor. We've just had injuries. We've had young hitters come up, and we've had some of the veterans come up and have bad years.

"The whole unit didn't get it done. And you can throw that on the hitting instructor, but the same guy got it done for three years when we won championships. We got it done, and he's worked his tail off, so I'm not going to blame it on Scotty."

For the record, when Gardy says, "the same guy got it done for three years when we won championships," he is thinking of an offense that was 9th in the AL with 4.77 runs per game in 2002, 6th with 4.94 rpg in 2003, and 10th with 4.81 rpg in 2004.

You may remember spending the three years pining for just one hitter to build on the individual accomplishments of 2001-2 and become the big presence in the middle of the order which the team so desperately needed.

You may recall how one young player after another would tease us with a promising, apparent breakout season, only to hit a plateau or regress under our hitting coach's tutelage. You probably can name at least a few more top prospects who hit at every level of the minors only to disappoint us after arriving in Minnesota.

Of course you know Scotty Ullger is the guy who worked at it for 4+ seasons but couldn't unlock the potential in David Ortiz which came out within a few months of landing in Boston.

Now this offense is last in the American League with 4.20 rpg; it might not even score 700 runs for the season.

On what basis does the hitting coach deserve a break?

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Gardy's Log

Tuesday, 9.27.05
4.57 am

The team is 8-15 this month and has scored 83 runs in those 23 games, an average of 3.61 runs per game. Since putting up a 10-spot against Oakland last Wednesday--with Punto, Rivas, and Tyner each stealing a base!!--we have scored just 7 runs in the last 5 games. Last night, we were shut out by the Kansas City Royals. Some kid named J.P. Howell, who spent half the season in AAA Omaha and came into the game with an ERA north of 7, went all Felix Hernandez on us and no-hit the boys for 5 innings before he had to come out because he'd already thrown 97 pitches.

But what can I do? Torii and Stewie are out, Guzy is gone, and that wily Canuck Koskie went back to Canada. How's a manager supposed to get a running game going with all that speed and cunning experience missing? I've spoken to Terry Ryan about bringing in more speed for next season. I've been riding him about it since early August, actually. He says he'll see what he can do to get more guys like that Tyner kid for me. I reminded him that Neifi Perez will be available, and that we could use a veteran like Kenny Lofton, too. But I'm not sure whether he takes me seriously. I can never tell when he's just humoring me anymore.

I was talking to Harmon awhile back, on the day they gave out those little statues in his honor. I asked if he could help me sell the youngsters on the importance of doing all the little things that make up Twins Baseball. He just smiled and said maybe he wasn't the right man for the job. That's what's so great about the Killer. So humble. Truly a man from another era. The Twins organization may never see another player of his like again. Damn the luck!

I just don't know what to do with this current crop. Some of 'em wouldn't know how to get down a sac bunt or move the runner along with a productive out even if I could get Harmon himself to explain it to them. If I had a dollar for every hour of sleep I've lost, stewing over a busted hit-and-run, a bad bunt, or some failure to get a damn flyball to rightfield, I'd be half as rich as Carl by now.

We hoped to see Morneau take care of run production in the cleanup spot, but that's been a bust, too. Scotty Ullger has tried everything. We've tried telling him to focus on gaining his comfort by driving the ball the opposite way, we've tried telling him just to let 'er fly. We've preached aggressiveness, we've suggested watching Mauer for tips on working the count. Nothing works! He just looks lost and confused out there.
Kids! I would just about kill for one veteran slugger out of the Boston lineup to bat cleanup for us next season. If only....

Well, that's life. One more week of watching this, and I can go fishin'. I wonder if Dougie will take me out on his boat this year? Note to self: ask daughter to send me his e-mail address again. Or I wonder if I can get his phone number from Terry?

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Buckingham Fountain, Chicago

Ravel in the Garden of Eden

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Cat Sofa

Thursday, September 22, 2005

The Oriole Sings Like a Canary

The Baltimore Sun reports that word has leaked back to Orioles management that Rafael Palmeiro told the MLB arbitration panel, in seeking to overturn his suspension, that he got his steroids from a certain Orioles teammate. His manager Sam Perlozzo suggests that, if this is the case, perhaps Raffy should not return to the team this season. Even if he told the truth, under oath.

My gut reaction is to laugh at Raffy for turning stool pigeon against a teammate in order to save himself, or at least get some leniency from the Commissioner's office. Where's the honor among thieves, Raffy? Even worse, if he's again lying under oath to slip the rope.

On the other hand, assuming he's told the truth under oath, it looks embarrassing for Orioles management to see that their first instinct at hearing this news is to close ranks and banish Raffy, indicating that protecting the sanctity of the clubhouse is their top priority. I wonder if this is the most important priority for the Baltimore players, too. Is anyone involved with the club truly serious about unmasking members of the chemistry set and rooting steroids and HGH out of the game? If Palmiero has a supplier in the O's clubhouse, why should he be the sole pariah?

UPDATE: it turns out that Palmeiro claimed that a false-positive test could have been triggered by a Vitamin B-12 injection given to him by Miguel Tejada. The club Co-GM Jim Beattie said:

"Miggy [Tejada] is cleared in any implication that he provided steroids to Palmeiro. That was investigated by HHPAC [House Health Policy Advisory Committee], and just to be sure they tested the stuff that Miggy had. It was found to be the B-12. That cleared it. End of story."
Tests on whether Rafael Palmeiro is indeed a ratfink wanker are still inconclusive.

Animal Rescue

Bill Would Require Safety Plans for Pets

By ELIZABETH WHITE, Associated Press
Thu Sep 22, 1:43 PM ET

WASHINGTON - Federal disaster grants to state and local governments should be conditioned on how they accommodate pets in their evacuation plans, say lawmakers disturbed that some Hurricane Katrina victims refused to leave home because they couldn't take their animals with them.

"I cannot help but wonder how many more people could have been saved had they been able to take their pets," Rep. Tom Lantos (news, bio, voting record), D-Calif., said Thursday.

Lantos and Reps. Christopher Shays, R-Conn., and Barney Frank, D-Mass., are sponsoring a bill that would require that state and local disaster preparedness plans required for
Federal Emergency Management Agency funding include provisions for household pets and service animals.
I'm putting this up for anyone who is concerned about the animals displaced or stranded by the storms in the Gulf Coast region, and as a reminder to myself to look more thoroughly into the details later.

In the AP story, a representative of the Humane Society claims that 6,000 pets have been rescued in Louisiana and Mississippi since Hurricane Katrina hit, but "tens of thousands" could still be stranded in New Orleans alone. The Doris Day Animal League claims it still has 4,000 outstanding requests to rescue pets in the region.

Any animals lovers out there have ideas for a coordinated system that could evacuate and save more animals in future storms? I realize that the government doesn't even have a real plan for evacuating and rescuing humans in such cases, yet, but I'm glad to see this issue also brought to the table.

Any opinions and ideas, please sound off!

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

The Face of the Twins

If Torii Hunter is The Face of the Twins, I wonder if he's on the cover of the Media Guide this year. Anyone know?

Who is The Face of the Twins, in your opinion?

Take the poll.

Hunter vs. Cameron

I'd been mulling whether to write a point-by-point rebuttal of the mostly silly reasons Jim Souhan listed as to why Torii Hunter is too important to trade--unless the Twins can get Vernon Wells, Shea Hillenbrand, cash, and a few cases of Labatt's, he says. But SBG already got his hands dirty for me this evening, and there's no need for me to go rewriting his blog.

I would like to nibble on one delicious crumb, however, which SBG left on the table: "In short, hitting big-league pitching is really hard," says Souhan. "Hunter is not Willie Mays, but he's not Mike Cameron, either."

Not Mike Cameron, either?

Hmmm, let's see....

Batting Line

Batting Line

If you're tallying along at home, you should have 165.9 VORP (which Baseball Prospectus defines as, "The number of runs contributed beyond what a replacement-level player at the same position would contribute if given the same percentage of team plate appearances.") for Cameron over the past 5 seasons, and 30.4 Wins that Cameron has been worth above a replacement-value player. Torii Hunter over the past 5 seasons has been worth 151.5 VORP and 25.6 Wins above a replacement-value player.

I guess Jim Souhan is more right than he knew: Torii Hunter not only falls short of the Willie Mays standard, he really is no Mike Cameron, either. At the least, there hasn't been a significant difference between them in the past few seasons. Cameron is also a Gold Glove Centerfielder, and he's getting paid $6m this year, $8m next year, with a $6.5m option for 2007. Choosing between the two, why wouldn't you prefer to have Mike Cameron?

Terry Ryan, get the Mets on the phone! Let's wheel n' deal, pardner....

Kidding. Just kidding, TR. I hope to see the Twins aim higher than Cammy when bartering at the market this winter. But the point is, let's not lose our heads about how valuable Torii Hunter is to this team. Would you want the Twins to pay Mike Cameron $10.75 million next year, and $12 million to keep him in 2007? Then why overspend like that to keep Hunter?

Torii Hunter is not a franchise cornerstone. He's a very good Centerfielder, who is about to become overpaid for his true value. What the Twins need in an $11-12 million player is not a rough facsimile of Mike Cameron. They need that money to pay a big basher, and trading Torii Hunter may be the only way that kind of money could become available to the Twins GM.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Why the Twins Should Trade Torii

Well, here I am, back from a restful vacation, only to find all of Twins Territory in a tizzy because Torii Hunter has put his local condo on the market. Does that mean he knows he's on the way out after the season? Would trading him be a step backwards for the club, or a public relations disaster? Or could it be a good opportunity?

Jim Souhan has lobbied against the idea, as have Batgirl and 3BL. Ideally, I would like to see Carl Pohlad just give his GM an extra $25 million to buy a couple big sticks this winter, allowing him to keep Hunter in the fold for at least another season. But what are the chances?

So Terry Ryan is in a bit of a bind. He needs to upgrade an offense that ranks 13th in the AL, but he doesn't have much wiggle room in his budget so long as Torii Hunter stands to take up 18% of the payroll. Pair Torii with Shannon Stewart, and that's 28.75% of next year's budget on a couple bats whose production is rather mediocre for the outfield. If he trades Torii, and can either trade Stewart or say goodbye to Jacque Jones, that would give the club a lot of financial flexibility to address problems in the lineup. Getting busy in the trading pool could also allow Ryan to look beyond the thin free agent market for help.

The big names in the prospective free agent market include Brian Giles, Nomar Garciaparra, Johnny Damon, Bernie Williams, Craig Biggio, Mike Piazza, Paul Konerko, Kevin Millar, Bill Mueller, Joe Randa, Mark Grudzielanek, Richard Hidalgo, Kenny Lofton, Matt Lawton, and Juan Encarnacion. There isn't much left from there. The Twins might be able to land a couple guys in that pool who could help, if Ryan has the money to spend; but to make some truly impactful changes this winter, the GM really needs to make a blockbuster trade.

How about trading some pitching? The Twins have plenty of it. And Kyle Lohse, due to make at least $4m in arbitration this winter, would be an ideal chip to trade. Perhaps Ryan can entice some interest by dangling a pitching prospect or two, as well. But he has to be mindful of planning for 2007 and beyond, too. At that point, a number of Twins pitchers' contracts will be expiring or becoming expensive. The club will need youngsters like Baker and Liriano to step in. Trading key pitching prospects just to keep Hunter for one or two more years could look awfully shortsighted just a ways down the road when not only Baker or Liriano but Hunter himself could be gone. Just trading Lohse and prospects also does little to solve the GM's budget flexibility problem. It might not be enough to set a true blockbuster trade in motion, either.

It's true to a point that Torii Hunter is generally one of the most productive bats in the Twins lineup, but that's a bit like having better than average vision in a School for the Blind. His offensive value measured by Runs Above Replacement-level rates 2nd on this year's team, but that's only because no regular but Joe Mauer is having even a decent season at the plate. Last year, Hunter was 3rd on the team measured by that value; but he could have been 5th, as he was in 2003, if Stewart and Morneau were with the club all season. Even in a weakling offense, Torii Hunter has been a supporting player the last few years.

Meanwhile, the team has a crying need for a masher, or at least a consistently productive hitter. You can generally count on Torii to put up something like his career numbers (.267/.321/.452). This year, he was hitting .269/.337/.452 through the end of July, when he broke his ankle. He'd also been putting us through his typical streakiness: a 783 OPS in April, 633 in May, 1.091 in June, and 664 in July. Is that the kind of performance the Twins should be happy to get for $10.75 million next year?

In New York, maybe the club lives with that. Just 25 HR, 90 RBI, and the occasional Spiderman catch could be all they require. Minnesota can't afford that expensive luxury. Terry Ryan needs better value for the dollar. Jim Souhan writes that trading Torii should net "three good or two great righthanded bats in return, or you're treading water." Come on. We're talking about an outfielder who, since 2001, has put up Equivalent Averages of .264, .291, .261, .276, and .280. It won't require Manny and David Ortiz together to replace that kind of production.

Souhan also cites the fear of the unknown as a reason to stay the course, as if we already hadn't been orbiting some ring of the Inferno watching this lineup struggle to score runs. Hey, even Terry Ryan could get burned like he did with Rick Reed and Todd Jones, he says, apparently forgetting that Reed did lead the rotation in 2002 with a 15-7, 3.78 mark in 188 innings, and that Reed struggled in 2003 mainly because he tried to pitch with a nagging back injury. Todd Jones also had a 3.26 ERA in his short term with the Twins, although his WHIP did stink. But what made that a poor trade was just that the club threw away Mark Redman when his stock had dipped because of arm trouble, in exchange for a two-month rental whose stock was riding low as well. It was a "change of scenery" deal, made to get rid of someone Tom Kelly didn't like, in exchange for a very limited gain. Trading Torii wouldn't be like that.

This is simply a potential opportunity to go get an experienced banger or a youngster with great upside by offering around a veteran player who may have great appeal to another club that won't sweat paying him $23 million over the next couple years. Meanwhile, trading Lohse and letting go of Stewart or Jones could also free up over $20 million for Terry Ryan to spend on trade acquisitions or some complimentary free agents. He should be able to find one great bat, or at least a couple upgrades on the ones we have, with that kind of flexibility. The possibilities of reshaping the roster through the trade market this winter could be very exciting. If the alternative is to stand pat, making just minor tweaks to this putrid lineup, I'm all for embracing fresh change.

Friday, September 16, 2005

I'll be back posting again on Monday. I had meant to post some pictures of my latest visits to Safeco Field to watch the M's play this week, as well as some occasional short commentary on the Twins. Alas, I forgot the plug to connect my camera to this computer, and I haven't had much spare time or opportunity to check in with the Twins and pull together some cohesive and thoughtful analysis. But I have not given up on the blog since the Twins have practically fallen out of the playoff race.

Having a lovely.
Wish you were.
I shall.

Thursday, September 08, 2005


Mark Sheldon at writes that Kyle Lohse hurt a finger on his pitching hand while hitting some doors in the clubhouse after Ron Gardenhire pulled him after 2 innings, trailing 5-2, in Tuesday's loss to Texas. In "You Should See the Other Guy" news: the damage included a dent in the manager's office door.


As if that weren't enough to test the business relationship between manager and employee, Lohse escalated the tension by complaining to reporters after the game, "I would have liked to have somebody stand behind me and say, 'We've got your back, go out there and shut them down from here on. That didn't happen today, so whatever."

Oh, now it's ON!

"It's too bad you have to read stuff like that in the newspaper," Gardenhire said. "Don't have your back? I think I've had his back for three years.

"It's about winning. If you don't understand that, take a hike out of the clubhouse."

Gardenhire said he still hadn't spoken to Lohse about Tuesday night's incident.

"I have nothing to say," the manager said. "I don't have his back, so what do you want me to say?"

It's OK, Gardy. "I think I've had his back for three years" will suffice for now.

Kyle, did you not notice what happened to Luis Rivas when he took it for granted that he was a Made Man just because the club let him wear the uniform for 4+ years? Granted, you have not been such a consistent embarrassment to the uniform as Rivas has been, but since when does a career mark of 48-51, 4.77 ERA, and 1.43 WHIP entitle a pitcher not to get yanked after giving up 5 easy in the first couple frames of the game? Man, batters are hitting .300/.341/.470 off you this year. And you want to throw tantrums and rip the manager in the press because he doesn't give you the deference due to an Ace?

Kyle, have you met Francisco Liriano? Behold the face of the future. He'll be having your job soon enough.

I've said before that Lohse should be on the trading block because of his due salary increase next year, and the fact that he often has trouble getting through a batting order more than once or twice, but now it really has to happen, don't you think? His walking papers have been all but signed by Kyle himself, marked with that dent in Gardy's door. Imagine what must go through the manager's mind every morning when he comes to work and sees that dent before he's even had his first cup of coffee. I wonder if Gardy would like to have it fixed or if he'd prefer to keep the reminder awhile.

Lohse didn't clear waivers in August, so we know at least one team must have an interest in him. Ship him out by Thanksgiving, and apply that $4 million salary to some better use, like upgrading the offense.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Liriano, Tyner Called Up

Good news: Twins management decided not to wait until next week to call up Francisco Liriano. He and outfielder Jason Tyner were placed on the roster last night and should be available to play against the Indians today.

Liriano is the International League Rookie of the Year, posting a 9-2 record with 1.78 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, .177 opp avg, and 112 strikeouts (11.08 K/9) in 91 innings at AAA. Next to Felix Hernandez of Seattle, he's been billed lately as one of the top pitching prospects in baseball. And as if that didn't sound almost too good to be true, he's even lefthanded and hits 97+ on the radar gun. Expect the Twins to use him out of the pen for most of the month, but I hope he might get at least one or two starts as the schedule winds down.

Tyner hit .286/.351/.334 in 577 plate appearances for Rochester this season and led the team with 81 runs scored and18 stolen bases. Gardenhire has mentioned that he'd like to have Tyner onhand for his speed, although it's not likely we'll see much of him until the Twins might be officially eliminated from the postseason, or can clinch an October berth. Look for him to show up mainly in pinch-running and pinch-hitting spots in the next few weeks.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Hurricane Relief

The Twins will be hosting an auction and other events this weekend to raise money for the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army to provide relief to the victims of Hurricane Katrina. The auction prizes include opportunities to meet Joe Mauer during batting practice, to spend time with Tony Oliva while you watch a game from a luxury suite, or to meet Harmon Killebrew, as well as other prizes. Click HERE for full details.

I also found a handy list of
Hurricane Relief charities organized at Billmon's blog. Amidst several charities that will help people recover from the disaster, the list also includes donation links to the Humane Society and Noah's Wish to help rescue and care for animals in the disaster area and to assist the animals' owners.

I keep writing about the Twins this week because I care too much about baseball. My interest in the game is a passion which sometimes becomes an obsession for all the wonderful and myriad details involved, and this blog is an outlet to talk about all that and reach people who share that passion. Yet even as I'm frustrated or disappointed by the sorry Twins offense, and I feel compelled to pick apart Ron Gardenhire, I know these things are insignificant next to the tragedy of what is unfolding in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast.

To see New Orleans, birthplace of jazz, destroyed and mostly underwater while thousands of its people are stuck in chaos and squalor, and to think of the lost cultural and architectural history as well as all the lost lives, homes, communities, and ways of life, is deeply saddening to me. One of America's unique treasures is gone. The recovery and rebuilding of communities to take its place will require us to pull together and pitch in whatever we can do to help.

Please, keep the victims of the hurricane in your thoughts and prayers, and consider contributing to the relief efforts in any way that you're able.

Thank you.

Kristi in the comments provides this LINK with a message from the cat kingdom. (Scroll down after jumping to the new window.)

A Chicken with Its Head Cut Off

Another 1-0 loss, this time with the novel twist of the Twins getting shut out despite 13 hits, or 16 baserunners in all. As Royals outfielder Terrence Long put it in perspective: "That's something we'd do--thirteen hits and not score." We have come to that, where the offense of our contending team is inventing ways to lose that remind players on the worst team in baseball of themselves.

Jacque Jones hit into a couple double plays and was thrown out trying to score from 2nd base on an infield hit, gambling that the pitcher covering 1st base wouldn't notice him trying to sneak home. Later, Ron Gardenhire followed up on his crackdown against boneheaded mistakes by telling the press, "I don't mind Jacque trying that. Heck, you think we're going to knock him in? Come on, don't start arguing when guys are trying to score."

Brent Abernathy also got thrown out trying to scurry back to 3rd base after a wild pitch to the backstop took a hard bounce right back to the Catcher. Michael Ryan got picked off while trying to get an early jump on stealing 2nd base against a lefty pitcher. The team left 6 runners stranded in scoring position. Of course, the manager made his own questionable judgment call in the 9th, when he again tapped Terry Mulholland in a crucial moment, relieving Matt Guerrier after Denny Hocking had singled and advanced to 2nd on a Terry Tiffee error. The old man mustered enough energy of the Tao to strike out Matt Stairs, but then lost the game in giving up a single to Emil Brown as Jesse Crain was warming in the pen.

Gardenhire defended his decision afterwards:
"You can't go with the same guy every night. That's all we're doing. We didn't even want to get Crain up. You can't do that every stinking day. We didn't even want to use Rincon today, but we had to. It's not about who we pitched today. We gave up one run. It's about offense. I think you guys could all agree with that one."
Yes, I agree it is hard to win when your offense is shut out for 9 innings. It's also true that Kyle Lohse and Juan Rincon still gave the team a fighting chance to win by shutting down the Royals for 8 innings, and those efforts were blown in part by decisions made by the manager in the 9th. Terrible baserunning and a dearth of clutch hitting do not wipe away all other factors in the game, including the manager's hand in the outcome.

Judging by the relievers' recent usage, and considering that today is a day off for the team, it appears that nobody in the pen really should have been unavailable to work that inning. I can see the sense in using Guerrier to start the inning, but why would you rely on Mulholland to get 3 outs with a runner already in scoring position?

Even if the manager felt like he was forced to use Mulholland because Crain was tired and he doesn't trust Romero to strand Hocking on base, well, who made the decision to keep Terry Mulholland on the team even at this late date? Yesterday after the game, Gardy mentioned that it will be nice to have Travis Bowyer and Francisco Liriano around in September "to take the pressure off" his core relievers. So why isn't one of them with the team already? Why is the club waiting until next week to bring the call-ups on board, if the manager is feeling such a pinch of available players now?

Gardenhire responds:

"Our reinforcement is getting Shannon (Stewart) back. Who's going to help us? We have the players up here who are the best players right now. We're talking depth off the bench. As far as guys who are going to help us in the lineup, Shannon's the guy."

Does he listen to himself? After talking about how he feels shorthanded, and how nice it will be to have Liriano and Bowyer join the team, he turns around and claims there is no urgent need for reinforcements, and nobody who can really help comes to his mind, anyway. Speak up if you believe that the 25 men on the roster are all the best Gardy might have under his command right now. Does the Twins manager really believe that Terry Mulholland is better than Francisco Liriano?

Hey, that's why he gets paid the Big Bucks. He's the boss.