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Mashup: Francona, Minnesota, Collins

April 26, 2011

The first month of the 2011 season is coming to a close this weekend and there have been plenty of stories worth paying attention to. Here are a few items worth taking the time to read here midweek.

  • Fellow writer Andrew Tuttle took an uncommon path and called out Boston Red Sox manager Terry Francona, blaming him for the disappointing offensive start to the season the team has endured. Of course, Tuttle’s take on Boston’s first month came a few days before the team swept the Angels as part of a stretch where they’ve won 8 of their last 10 games. Despite my disagreement with his premise – Francona has and is doing a fine job at managing this team, some things haven’t come together yet but they will in time – I do find the discussion an interesting one. Two valid points are brought up that are worth consideration. First, some feel as though the 2004 Red Sox could have won the World Series regardless of who was managing them. The belief is that the team was in tact before Grady Little’s mishandling of the bullpen during the 2003 ALCS cost him the job. Secondly, both the 2004 and 2007 winning teams had lineups anchored by a two-time guilty PED userManny Ramirez.
  • Last week I took a look at the Minnesota Twins’ situation behind the plate and the question floating around about Joe Mauer’s future at catcher. One point I brought up was the fact that the loss of Mauer – and potential position move – could be much easier to stomach if the team still had Wilson Ramos in the organization. Of course, had they not dealt Ramos the team would not have current closer Matt Capps to fill in for Joe Nathan. A few days later Dave Sheinin of the Washington Post ran a story examining the same subject with a focus on the value Capps has provided since last July. Sheinin echoes my thoughts that the deal is paying off for both sides, presumably being a move both teams would make again given the chance.
  • It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of MLBTR – both for the quality, timeliness, and accuracy of the news they bring me and for the fact that they’ve linked to my work on numerous occasions driving extra traffic to my site (check out my “Shameless Self Promotion” page for more specifics) – but every now and then there is a contribution that I simply enjoy for the work that it is. Howard Megdal, an occasional contributor for the site who’s writing style I simply do not enjoy, took a look at some of the instances in which teams needed to unexpectedly replace a player on their roster. The post is a worthwhile read and has some interesting notes in it.
  • The New York Times had a nice piece up looking at the unusual story of Tim Collins, the diminutive 5’7” reliever working out of Kansas City’s bullpen. Collins has been impressive so far, albeit in a small sample size, but there are few short players in MLB history who’ve managed to have prolonged careers.
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