Thursday, October 27, 2005

Dougie Being Dougie

I forgot to mention the funniest part about Reusse's column about the A.J. Edge. While Dougie Mint asserts that the Twins became "too nice" without A.J., notice how he also steps up to claim credit for giving A.J. the idea to sign with Chicago last winter:

"I told him, 'If you want to change the perception of yourself as a player, one team sticks out: the White Sox.' I said, 'No place were you hated more than in U.S. Cellular by the White Sox fans. If you can win over those fans, then everyone will realize people have the wrong idea about you as a player.' "

Oh, I don't know. The fans in Oakland really hated A.J., too.

Think Dougie is collecting a commission for that advice? Or maybe, for A.J., it's pro bono. I'm not sure I'd take career counselling from someone who had just managed to alienate himself from Boston fans and the Red Sox organization even while Red Sox Nation was drunk with joy last Fall. If you make a little girl cry on her birthday, after she's just been presented with a pony, can you call yourself qualified to give advice on organizing children's parties?

Now, apparently upset that Mets manager Willie Randolph auditioned new 1st basemen last month, Dougie is intent on setting fire to more bridges on his way out of New York, too.

"I don't know why they would pick up my option, but if they do, I might quit. I'm serious. I don't want to be back there."

Where else would he like to go? Hey, Minnesota suddenly looks real nice again.

"I always thought Minnesota was a great place to play. After a year with the Mets, an organization that doesn't have a clue, I know that for sure."

I don't know why he doesn't ask A.J. to put in a good word for him with his bosses in Chicago. He seems to think that's where a player's career can be reborn; or he did, once upon a time.

I should say that I am still a big Dougie Mint fan. His value as a Twin was generally underrated, and I enjoyed watching him play. His glib mouth never bothered me; I think his comments in the press are just part of the entertainment package. I even defended him when he said he wanted to keep his World Series souvenir. It probably wasn't his best move, but I figured it was his right. Whatever his faults may be, I still miss watching him play for the Twins.

Should the Twins have any real interest in bringing him back?

He hit just .240/.322/.407 for the Mets this season, posting a 4.30 RC/27 rate--the same as Michael Cuddyer. He had just 313 PA's in 87 games because of injuries and his late-season benching to make way for Mike Jacobs. He's 31 years old, turning 32 next June; considering his age and problems with nagging injuries, he's probably left his best seasons back in 2001 and 2003. Those are some reasons the Twins shouldn't spend any serious money to bring him back as a starting player.

However, his batting line this year was tarnished because he just struggled so badly in Shea Stadium. On the road, he hit a respectable .260/.329/.473 for the Mets. We know he's generally liked hitting in the Metrodome, too: he put up a .283/.387/.425 line in the dome from 2002-04, and .301/.370/.492 at home in 2001. I'm not saying he's the guy who will raise the moribund offense back to the heights of mediocrity again; but, in the right environment, he might be a productive help to a competitive club. Given a cheap, one-year trial deal, the Metrodome may bring out a little more life in his bat, yet.

I doubt it will happen, if only because Terry Ryan may want to avoid spooking Justin Morneau, and there's still no telling how Dougie might handle it if he's again relegated to part-timer status in midseason next year. Who knows, Doug might only want to come back because he thinks Morneau has flopped and left his old job open for him.

What do you think: if the realistic alternatives for help at 1B/DH are players like Olerud, Snow, Millar, Fick, and Saenz, would you welcome Doug Mientkiewicz coming back on a short-term, bargain contract?

At this point, I'd prefer Mark Sweeney or Erubiel Durazo, if not a trade for Lyle Overbay, but I think Dougie could be an acceptable secondary option.


At 10/27/2005 11:57 AM, Anonymous Jeff said...

I'm not very excited about the prospect of having Mientkiewicz back, although if I knew for sure that he would quit griping and just play, he might be a decent bench option. The question is, what effect would this have on Morneau? Would it make him play scared, afraid to make a mistake because he was looking over his shoulder? Or would it light a fire under him, knowing that if he didn't produce, he could be benched? Or, would it have no effect whatsoever? I don't pretend to know anything about his psyche, so I don't have any idea, but it's something the Twins would need to know before doing this.


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