Monday, January 9, 2012

Twins, Vikings, Wolves Notes

Twins Notes

  • Since the season ended, the Twins have added Jamey Carroll, Ryan Doumit, Josh Willingham and Jason Marquis to a team that lost 99 games last season. They watched Michael Cuddyer, Jason Kubel and Joe Nathan sign elsewhere. I'm not sure a healthy Mauer and Morneau would even be enough for the Twins to contend again.
  • Matt Capps looks like he'll be the opening day closer, which is a mistake. The closer position is generally overvalued and therefore overpaid, so I wouldn't have a problem with the team just giving it to a good reliever who has yet to be a closer. The two best closers in Twins history were a failed starting pitcher (Aguilera) and a failed shortstop (Nathan) so it's important to remember closers are created, not born. But Capps shouldn't be pitching in a lot of high leverage situations, so unless the team adds a "closer" before opening day, it looks like Capps job to lose in mid-June.
  • My best guess at the Twins opening day lineup, at the moment: CF Span, SS Carroll, C Mauer, 1B Morneau, DH Doumit, RF Willingham, 3B Valencia, 2B Casilla, LF Revere, and I have no idea who the team will start on the mound.
  • The Twins will have four picks in the top 75 in the June Amateur Draft.  #2 overall, because they were terrible last season, #32 overall and #65 overall from Cuddyer signing with the Rockies, and #40 overall from Kubel signing with the Diamondbacks. That's a great opportunity to add some elite prospects to a solid system.

Vikings Notes

  • According to the ESPN's Chris Mortensen, former Bucs head coach Raheem Morris interviewed with the Vikings for a "high level position" last Thursday. Since the team hasn't officially fired current defensive coordinator Fred Pagac, they can't admit they interviewed Morris for that role. However, the  Minneapolis Star Tribune reports the interview was indeed for the defensive coordinator position. Morris would be a good hire.
  • Speaking of the Bucs, they'll reportedly meet with Brad Childress at some point this week about their head coaching vacancy. Some expect Childress' interview to actually lay the ground work to possibly become the offensive coordinator in Tampa Bay, as nobody believes he has a real shot at being the team's head coach. Vikings fans would agree.
  • The Vikings are drafting 3rd overall in April, and with Andrew Luck and Ryan Kalil expected to go at 1 and 2, the Vikings likely will need to decide between trading back a few spots with someone who wants Robert Griffin III (ie Cleveland), or selecting Morris Claiborne, the corner from LSU. Personally I want the Vikings to get Blackmon, but with so many 'experts' saying that Blackmon will go in the latter half of the top 10, I can't see the Vikings taking him as high as #3. A trade with Cleveland could get the team the #5 and #22 picks if the Browns decide RGIII is their man, and I'd be happy with that.

Wolves Notes 

  • The Wolves have until January 25 to extend Kevin Love's contract, but have yet to finalize an extension. GM David Kahn has continued to say he expects negotiations to be simple and that Love will be in Minnesota for a long time. I just wonder why it hasn't been finalized yet. There's been questions of whether Love is worth the max contract offer, but the fact is he's one of the league's top 10 players, he's 23 years old, and he's a huge cornerstone for a team that hasn't had one since KG left. Give Love the max, for five years, and let all us fans breathe a sigh of relief.
  • Even I didn't expect Ricky Rubio to be so loved in Minnesota so quickly. It's extremely early in the season, but through 8 games Rubio's been an absolute joy to watch. Rubio's highlight reel passes have been sensational, but the most impressive part of Rubio's game so far is his defense. He's been fantastic against some of the league's elite guards. I'm going to continue to say the Wolves should be trying everything they can to get Monta Ellis, because he would flourish playing next to Rubio, and now that Rubio has shown even better defense than expected, I'm even more convinced Ellis would be a great 2 guard for this team.
  • DeMarcus Cousins demanded a trade, then didn't, then the Kings fired their head coach a few days later. The team clearly chose Cousins over their coach, Paul Westphal, which is fine with me. Some Wolves fans have said they are happy the team passed over Cousins, because he's a headcase and a problem, but it's worth remembering the Wolves drafted Wes Johnson instead. 
  • And in case you think Wes Johnson is going to be a good player, let's remember he's almost a full year older than Kevin Love. Also, here are his shooting numbers in the 8 games this season: 2-4, 3-9, 2-6, 1-7, 6-6, 0-5, 2-8. He's shooting a god-awful 35% this season, and let's keep in mind how many of those shots were good, open looks thanks to Rubio or Love drawing multiple defenders. Even with a 6-6 game, he's shooting 35% through 8 games. Johnson is simply not a good NBA player, and another example of a wasted lottery pick by Kahn.