that\’s how many days until pitchers and catchers report to spring training. and not a moment too soon, really. as such, a few baseball-related nuggets for a historic tuesday.
+ according to LENIII, the twins appear close to signing reliever eric gagne. this would have been better news back in 2003, when gagne was in the middle of a three-year run as (arguably) the most dominant closer in the game. since then, things have gotten a little less rosy: Tommy John surgery, a subsequent elbow surgery, back surgery, an awful stint with the Red Sox, being mentioned in the Mitchell report, and a bad 2008 with the brewers in which he lost the closer\’s role in may and posted an ERA of 5.41. however, he seemed to regain some decency after the all-star break, with 20 Ks in 27 innings and a WHIP of 1.07.
assuming it happens, the only way this signing is ok is if it\’s not guaranteed, for one year, and for $2MM or less. i\’m curious about gagne\’s potential, and he\’s certainly more intriguing than some of the other (yawn) names of available relievers out there. that said, i would certainly would rather have had the team jump on some more reliable options (howry, affeldt) earlier in the offseason.
+ i\’m quite excited for the World Baseball Classic this year, much more than i was during its debut back in 2006. my excitement was tempered only a little bit this week upon learning that joe mauer will be skipping the events this year, due to kidney surgery. (yes, kidney surgery.) there are a number of decent catchers to take his place on the USA roster, though, and i look forward to the team beating the pine tar out of justin morneau and his canuckian counterparts on march 7th.
+ lastly, while we\’re on the topic of mauer… check out this clip from Fox 9. let\’s all sincerely hope that the logo that the baby jesus is sporting isn\’t something we\’ll be seeing much of in the future.