I usually like to keep things positive, but just for kicks I thought I’d start out my blog with an All-Star team of sorts compiled of former Minnesota Twins. The criteria? The player had to be on the Twins major league roster at some point from 2000 – 08 and then move on to another team. It’s that simple. Well, it seemed like it would be simple, but as it turns out, the Twins haven’t really let as many great guys go as I had originally thought. So, without further adieu, I bring you my All-Decade “We Got Rid of “Em” Team.
Johan Santana – When a guy goes 16 – 7 with a 2.53 ERA for his new team and everybody wonders what in the heck is wrong…you know he’s in a class of his own. That being said, I think the trade had to happen and we haven’t begun to reap the rewards. If Gomez and just one of those pitchers in the minors work out, I’ll say it was a decent deal.
Matt Garza – 11 – 9 and a 3.70 ERA for a World Series team is enough to make the list. We knew he had the stuff but he just seemed a bit immature. He and Gardy never seemed to click too well, either.
Kyle Lohse – See “Matt Garza” except upgrade that Gardy relationship to pure dislike. It looks like Kyle’s found his groove in St. Louis. I always hoped he’d blossom with the Twins, but he just never got comfortable.
Kenny Rogers – What? Old Man Time? Yeah, 18 – 9 and 14 – 8 for the Rangers followed by a 17 – 8 season with the Tigers. Who knew he had that left in him? And, of course, lets not forget one very amusing smack down of a camera guy.
It’s a four man rotation…I refuse to put Carlos Silva or Livan Hernandez on here.
A.J. Pierzynksi – You either love him or hate him and usually it’s completely dependent upon whether he’s on your team or not. I will always remember him best for getting a ridiculous number of two-strike hits by just flipping his bat at the ball. He’s a tough out who helps his team win…if he likes ’em. (Sorry, Giants!)
David “Big Papi” Ortiz – Okay, we all know he’s pretty much a DH, but first is another position that’s a bit thin and he’s a stud. Enough said.
Luis Castillo – Another very thin position, but Castillo still has some game left in him. He’s a solid defender who can get on base and we don’t even want to throw batteries at him when he comes back to the Dome.
Casey Blake – Oh boy. I think we missed out on this one. Since 2003 Blake has averaged about 20 HR and 60 – 80 RBI each year. He’s never spectacular, very consistent, and a great clubhouse guy. You can’t tell me that wouldn’t have been better than the revolving door we’ve had at the hot corner over the past…well, decade.
Jason Bartlett – He was a key cog for the Rays World Series run last year. He just does everything pretty well. I think he has Michael Young-type potential without quite as much power. He also gets bonus points for bringing ladies to the Dome with his baby-faced good looks. Thanks for that.
J.C. Romero and Grant Balfour – They each helped their team to the Series last year by holding onto leads. Sure, J.C. got busted, but he still helped the Phils. I’m guessing someone is going to call me out on these guys.
Todd Jones – I couldn’t stand watching this guy pitch as a Twin. He just never seemed impressive to me at all and that’s not cool for a closer. But, that being said, he had 40, 37, and 38 saves consecutively from 2005 – 07. Somehow he was getting it done.
Torii Hunter, Jacque Jones, Matt Lawton – Torii is a given. The other two didn’t do anything amazing after leaving Minnesota, but they at least put together a respectable year or two out there. I don’t recall Brian Buchanan doing that.
All right. Go for it everyone. Tell me who I missed. I’m sure there is someone who slipped through the cracks here. The upside to this list is that there are only a couple of these guys I wish we’d held onto. Otherwise, I think we have to admit that Ryan and Smith have done a pretty solid job.