December 8, 2004
Yesterday I was getting ready to write a much different post for today. I was fully expecting neither Koskie or Radke to sign. This wouldn't have bothered me much, though. I remember two years ago when Radke was just pitching awful, and some guy joked in the paper that his kids must not love him very much because for Father's Day they bought him tickets to a Twins game with Radke pitching. So, I think Terry Ryan was wise to give Radke only a two year $18 million deal. With pitchers, you never know when they are just going to tank it. Don't get me wrong, though. I think Radke had a very good year last year and I am excited, no thrilled, to have him come back. When I saw the news this morning it immediately brightened my whole outlook.
However, again, losing Radke wouldn't have bothered me that much. That is what we get for being Twins fans. We should come to expect this kind of crap now: losing our best players, watching baseball indoors on a beautiful summer day, losing to the Yankees every year, praying that our minor league system can keep churning out talent, etc. It makes life exciting doesn't it? I love being able to complain about all this stuff. What would I do with my time if I wasn't belly-aching about Pohlad and his cheap ways or those idiots at the state capitol? I have no idea.
Having said that, I gotta also say that my respect for Radke has just gone up big time. How many times have we heard a player say "its not about the money" and then prove to us that it is, in fact, almost all about the money? Too many times (Guardado?). Radke could have probably gotten the 3 year $33 million dollar offer his agent wanted from another team given his track record, but obviously staying in Minnesota is important to him. I can relate. On the librarian free agency market I could probably command at least $500 - $1000 more per year from another library, preferably in a warmer climate, but I choose to stay at the U of M. Oh yeah, it's all about loyalty. Brad and I have something in common now.
With this deal the Twins starting rotation looks like this: Santana, Radke, Silva, Lohse, Mays. Mays, of course, is the big question mark, but if he can come back with his normal stuff I like the looks of this rotation. The TwinsGeek had a great column yesterday talking about what other teams in the Central have been doing and quite frankly it doesn't look like much. With the signing of Radke the Twins may have just become the favorites in the Central again.
What about Koskie and Jones? Again, the TwinsGeek did a nice job in today's column talking about how he expects that Jones and Rivas both will be gone next year to make room for Radke and Koskie. And even with Jones and Rivas gone the Twins payroll will be about $4 - $5 million more than last year. Has Pohlad had a change of heart? Sid Hartman reported on December 5th:
On another subject, Bell said he never has seen Twins owner Carl Pohlad as determined to win another World Series. "Sure, finances are important to him, but he talks much less about finances these days and a lot more about how we can put a team together that can win a World Series," Bell said.
This is good news, and the increase in the Twins payroll may be proof that Pohlad does indeed want another World Series. We shall see.
I would be remiss if I didn't discuss the article in Sunday's Star Tribune that talked about the rumors of a Vikings sale to Glen Taylor. Of course, those rumors "fizzled" out, but the article itself was loaded with interesting tidbits, including news about Reggie "Donald Watkins" Fowler. That isn't really fair, I guess. It appears he is still in the game:
Fowler, whose group of potential partners appears to be growing, met with members of the Anoka/Blaine stadium contingent Nov. 22 at the Minneapolis Club. During the meeting, Fowler and a host of other interested businessmen listened to a presentation of development possibilities for the 740-acre land tract off I-35W.
Good news. Very good news. I think Fowler would have a good chance with the state legislature given that 1) he is a minority, 2) he has said he will move to Minnesota, and 3) he isn't insanely wealthy. It looks like Fowler is waiting patiently until either Red lowers the price or he can line up some investors. The article also had a good explanation of the total cost of buying the Vikings and why Fowler is taking his time:
Private development of a new stadium might prove critical to the team's future in Minnesota. The Anoka County Board, the only public entity to step forward for the Vikings, has approved a county-wide sales tax that would contribute $250-$300 million toward a new stadium.
That total still would leave some $300 million to complete the stadium portion of the project, and the state's $700 million budget shortfall makes it unlikely that any further public money will become available. The conceptual development -- which would include a major shopping area, a hotel, restaurants and a team museum -- is projected to cost $1.5 billion.
The stadium cost would come on top of the Vikings' purchase price for any new owner. McCombs had been seeking $600 million for the franchise, a number that could grow when the NFL completes negotiations on its remaining television contracts. The magnitude of that investment has led Fowler to continue his search for big-money investors to back his candidacy.
Truthfully, I hope Glen Taylor just puts us all out of our misery and buys the team. According to today's Pioneer Press (Charley Walters):
Of his interest in buying the Vikings, Taylor said owner Red McCombs' asking price of $600 million makes it a difficult transaction. He also said there wouldn't be many changes required if he bought the Vikings because the team has been well run and isn't far from becoming a contender.
I wonder what kind of price Taylor would be happier with: $500 million? $550 million? I have a feeling this off season will be very interesting for Vikings fans.
I was thrilled to visit startribune.com today and see that Radke had re-signed. I was worried that good ol' Carl would go back into cost-saving mode. Radke adds so much stability to the rotation, and I agree with you and the Twins Geek that the Twins are looking like Champs again. What about Jacque? If Pohlad really does want to win another World Series, is he inclined to keep Jones? The situation is complicated by the fac that Kubel is out for the year. Could Restovitch step up? Cuddyer seems like no option since he'll be at 2nd. I am very excited to see a complete season with Mauer batting 3rd and Morneau in the clean-up spot. Reminds me of Puckett followed by Hrbek. (It warms my heart just to write that). Skol Twins!!
Curt in Grand Forks (who attended Games 6 and 7 in 1987, and skipped class, along with Shane, to see the 1991 victory parade)
Posted by: Curt Hanson at December 8, 2004 9:27 AM
Radke is a class act and a better pitcher than people realize. He had as many quality starts as anyone last season, and I believe the only one who tied him was Mr. Santana. I'm glad the Twins kept him, and I'm glad Radke turned down better deals to stay here.
Radke has a no-hit game in him. I hope we get to see it this season.
Posted by: Kurtis at December 8, 2004 12:11 PM
Randy Shaver, sports director from the NBC affiliate here made a great point about Radke. He will eat up 200+ innings this year, guaranteed. Not too many pitchers out there will do that. This helps make the bullpen that much more effective if he does this, limiting their exposure. Yes, Brad will get lit up every now and then, but keeping the bullpen rested and not exposing them to constantly coming in at the 4th inning for his starts is great. I can live without Koskie as a Twin. I think the Twins can do better than him. He's too injured and too inconsistant at the plate for my tastes.
Posted by: Cheesehead Craig at December 8, 2004 12:32 PM
Curt, what about Ford at right, Hunter in center, and Stewart in left? Seems to me that we don't really need Jacque. I'm not saying I wouldn't like to keep him around, but do we really need him? I suppose the big question is who will be the DH then? Could a Chili Davis type signing be in the works? Can Resto handle the DH role? Probably not.
Kurtis, I like your thinking. I would love to see a Radke no-hitter. I would probably bet on a Santana no-hitter before a Radke one, but I'll take whatever I can get.
And Craig, would you rather keep Jones then? I guess I wouldn't mind that. Koskie has been injured an awful lot in recent years.
Posted by: Shane at December 8, 2004 12:34 PM
It was really nice to see Radke choose the team over bigger money. Very rare, indeed, in sports these days.
I hope Mays can pitch this year. I'd rather him at #4 and produce 12+ wins this year than Lohse. Lohse was a head-case last year and hurt the team at times. Unless that changes, he would be better suited at #5. But what do I know? I'm a football guy!
Posted by: Brian Maas at December 8, 2004 1:30 PM