8-7-09: DFTU

Hello again everybody...

We've done it once again. The end of the week is here. And I'm as confused as I've been all year.

I have a lot of conflicting thoughts rattling around my head. One of the nice things about the blog is that it allows me to try and sort them out. “Try” being the key word there. I'm not always successful, and I'm somewhat pessimistic about my chances today.

But I'm not going to let that deter me from the attempt!

Okay, perhaps that's a little dramatic for a lightly-read sports blog. But sports is all about drama, right? So maybe it's fitting after all.

I'm feeling good because my folks are in town and I've got a fun week or so ahead. I'm depressed because the Twins just lost a series to Cleveland. CLEVELAND! And I'm confused because they also made a move to finally shore up their pitching a little bit. But I'm wondering if it's too little too late.

What I'm saying is, there's a lot going on. And when I find myself in need of sorting stuff out, I know it's time for a solid shot of DFTU!


"A bore is a man who deprives you of solitude without providing you with company."
- Gian Vincenzo Gravina (1664 - 1718), Italian man of letters and jurist

And lord knows, I love me some solitude! So hopefully The Sports Take provides you with some good company!

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It's Friday. The weekend's ahead. But before you can settle in for some R&R, you've got to get your fix. So here it is. It's time... once again... for everybody's favorite segment:

Dan's Favorite Teams Update

Minnesota Twins:
The Twins are 53-55, in third place in the AL Central, 2.5 games behind the Chicago White Sox for second place and 4.5 games behind the Detroit Tigers for first place.

The Twins acquired Carl Pavano in a deal with the Indians today. How can that happen after the "Trade Deadline"? July 31st was technically the "Non-waiver Trade Deadline". After that, teams have til August 31st to complete deals in which the big-league players involved clear waivers prior to being traded. That means that Cleveland had to make Pavano available to claims by the other 29 teams before they could trade him. If a team put a claim on Pavano, then the Indians could either try to work out a deal with that team, or pull him back off of waivers and keep him.

It's a complex process, but the bottom line is that either no one "claimed" Pavano, or the Twins put a claim on him and then negotiated a deal with Cleveland to bring him to Minnesota.

I mocked the Indians in my season preview column saying, “Pavano is trying to come back after washing out with the Yankees. And if he's their 3rd best option, I can't get that excited about the Indians.”. And now I have to reconcile that with the fact that he's on my favorite team.

On the one hand, I'm thrilled that the Twins have finally made a move to address their biggest weakness. On the other hand, I have to wonder if it's too little, too late.

Pavano was 9-8 with a 5.37 ERA, a 1.377 WHIP, and a 3.83 K/BB-ratio for the Indians before being traded to the Twins. Those numbers aren't awful, but they don't knock you out either.

(Ed.'s note: Okay, as it was pointed out to me, those numbers aren't good. Perhaps they even are awful. I was trying to put a positive spin on it, and semantically-speaking, I was in error.)

If I was really going to try and throw out numbers to convince myself that this was a good deal, I'd mention that he's 3-0 with a 1.93 ERA against the Tigers, and 2-1 with a 2.42 ERA against the White Sox.

It's hard to judge the deal, since the Twins sent the Indians the dreaded "Player-to-be-named-later" in exchange. For those of you not familiar with baseball-trade parlance, that means that the Twins and Indians agreed to a deal where the player that Cleveland gets in the deal will be one of several on a list, dependent on certain statistical marks that Pavano could reach while with Minnesota.

His base salary for this year was $1.5 million, with incentives that could bring it up to $5.3 million. So even if he hits all of those, it's not a big monetary drag on the Twins either.

So given all of that, I guess you could say I'm "thumbs in the middle" on the deal. I'm not convinced that Pavano will make a drastic difference in the Twins starting rotation. But he is another arm. And it does allow Minnesota to shift some people around.

To make room for Pavano on the 40-man roster, the Twins optioned knuckleballer R.A. Dickey to AAA Rochester. While I'll miss having a junkballer on the team, Dickey had gotten shelled in his last couple of relief stints, so I don't mind him being the odd man out.

So if Pavano continues his solid numbers against Detroit and Chicago, and if this allows the Twins to shift Fransico Liriano to the bullpen, and if Liriano blossoms in a relief role (a'la Phil Hughes in New York), then maybe this is a deal that helps them turn the corner.

But that's a lot of dominoes that have to fall just right. And that doesn't happen too often. It's not impossible, but it's not likely either.

We'll see.

At least it takes the focus off the stinker of a series the Twins just had with Cleveland. I know it's a road series, but if you're a contender, you don't lose 2 of 3 to the Indians at this point, you just don't.

But we're moving on.

The Twins stay on the road over the weekend, and it's an important series. Three games in Motown can help the Twins get right back in it, or put them even further behind. Next week, the boys finally get home for 6. Three versus Kansas City and three versus Cleveland. Once again, a chance to make some hay!

Arizona Diamondbacks: The D'backs are 50-59, in fourth place in the NL West and 17 games behind the L.A. Dodgers.

And just like that, .500 is back in play. It's amazing what a 5-game winning streak can do for a club. Sure it was the Mets and Pirates involved, but those wins count as much as a win against the Phillies, so the Snakes will take them.

Those 5-straight wins make the D'backs one of the two hottest teams in the bigs. Unfortunately, that status is mitigated somewhat by the fact that the other team is the Nationals. Just goes to show that anybody can get hot at any time.

But if Arizona could manage to crawl back to the .500 mark by the end of the year, that'd be a big achievement given how awful they started, and the number of injuries they've had to endure over the course of the season.

Speaking of which, OF Justin Upton has landed on the 15-day Disabled List with an oblique strain. The "oblique strain" is the "hamstring pull" of the upper body. Meaning that it's a difficult injury to treat, and can easily re-occur if a player tries to come back too soon. Upton will likely spend most of his DL stint simply resting, and perhaps doing some light cardio work to keep in shape. And even then, we won't really know if he's ready to play again til he tries some light hitting work. If there's even a twinge at that point, they'll shut him down for another week at least.

Given the fact that the team's not going anywhere, there's simply no reason to push for his return and risk further injury. It's a shame though. Upton's .301, 20 home-run and 66-RBI season was one of the few bright spots during an otherwise dismal season for Diamondback fans.

At least we can look at it as the start of what should be a promising career. Here's to hoping he comes back healthy soon.

Arizona continues their East Coast swing this weekend with three in Washington, before returning home for three against the Mets and then three with the Dodgers.

That's all for this week ladies and gentlemen. I hope you have a fantastic weekend and come back on Monday refreshed, renewed and ready to take on the week! Okay, I just hope that we all make it to Monday alive. After that, everything else is gravy!

Until then, thanks for reading!

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