The Twins have been retooling over the last few seasons. Understandably so. I thought it might be a good idea to see how a few former Twins in the world are doing.
Michael Cuddyer – Michael became a free agent at the end of 2011, and joined the Colorado Rockies after what seemed like a half-hearted effort at resigning him by the Twins. I was sad about that, as Michael was a good guy who came up from the minors, played a few positions in the field, played hard, knocked in runs, and could do card tricks, too. The Twins replaced him by signing Josh Willingham, which took some of the sting away, and Josh certainly has been a good addition to the club. I try not to think that the Twins could have had Willingham in left and Cuddyer in right.
Cuddyer struggled a bit last season and had some injuries, hit only .260 (.274 lifetime), with 16 HR and 58 rbis. The Rockies went 64-98, and finished 5th in their division. But Cuddyer is having a better season this year, hitting .344 with 14 hr and 48 rbis. He’s been hot of late.
Jason Kubel – Kubel also left after the 2011 season, finding a home in Arizona. Along with the rest of the team, Kubel struggled in 2011; injuries kept him at 366 at bats, and while he hit .273, with 12 home runs and a .766 ops, this wasn’t near to meeting the expectations/hopes the Twins had for his bat, and there was no question of signing him, really. In 2012, with Arizona, he only hit .253, but with 30 HR and 90 rbis, and I suppose Arizona was happy with that.This season he’s hitting .262, with only 4 HR. “A vast power outage,” they say. I wonder what’s going on with him this year?
I remember when Kubel was just coming up — he had a great reputation as a hitter in the minors, and hit .300 in his first call up with the Twins, in 2004. In the Arizona Fall League, that year, however, Kubel wrecked his knee in a collision with another outfielder, and missed the entire 2005 season recovering from major reconstructive surgery. I can’t help but wonder where he’d be today if not for that injury. I always liked Kubel, but in his three post-season appearances with the Twins he batted .069, in 29 at-bats, with 13 strikeouts. Ouch. Of course, all three of those series were against the Damn Yankees, and Kubel had plenty of company as far as “not hitting” goes.
Denard Span – Denard was the Twins center fielder, the heir to Torii Hunter. It was a bit of a surprise when he was traded in the off-season, to Washington, for a minor league pitcher, Alex Meyer. Denard was a all-around ball player, excellent fielder, solid lead-off hitter; I thought he might be around longer. But the Twins certainly need pitching, and he was expendable, with a young center fielder, Ben Revere, just waiting in the wings for his chance.
Denard’s hitting just .263 this year so far, with 0 home runs and 20 rbis. His on-base-percentage is down too, this year. Maybe he’s just adjusting to the National League. He’ll probably come around by year’s end.
Alex Meyer, for the Twins, is playing in AA ball at New Britain. He’s 3-3 in 11 starts, with a 3.69 ERA, and a 1.33 WHIP. He’s highly touted.
more updates later…