Kirby Puckett

Kirby Puckett

Monday, January 23, 2017

Potential Suitors for Brian Dozier

The Dodgers have emerged as the frontrunner for Dozier for a few reasons: 1) They badly need a second baseman. Chase Utley played in 137 games there last year and hit a paltry .252/.319/.396. 2) Dodger Stadium's dimensions are ideal for a right handed power hitter like Dozier, with the foul poles being just 330 feet from home plate. So far in the negotiations it sounds like Los Angeles is willing to part with right handed pitching prospect Jose De Leon, but the Twins want another blue chip prospect and the Dodgers won't budge. Time could be running out, apparently the Dodgers are in discussions with the Rangers about possibly acquiring Jurickson Profar,
I hate the idea of Dozier going to St. Louis because I can't stand the Cardinals and I know if he went there he would instantly become the best second baseman in the league. The Cards organization just has the bizarre ability to get the most out of every player*. Anyway, if this deal were to go down, it would probably include Kolten Wong, who I would be a lot more excited about if this was 2013. That said, if they could get former minor league player of the year Luke Weaver in the deal, it might be worth it. Weaver didn't pitch well in his brief time in the big leagues last year, but he's a former first rounder with good velocity and control.
*I have no doubt that Stephen Piscotty, Matt Adams, and Randall Grichuk  would just have been mediocre players anywhere else.
The Braves aren't contenders like the other two teams here, but with a loaded farm system there are some intriguing possibilities here. As with all these other possibilities, the Twins will be looking for pitching, and Atlanta can provide it with last year's number three overall pick Ian Anderson. If not Anderson, Patrick Weigel could also potentially be a main part of the deal. While he doesn't have the potential of Anderson, the 6'6" Weigel is much closer to the big leagues with a fastball that occasionally hits triple digits
The Nats have been mentioned a few times to be interested in Dozier, but there seem to be too many moving parts for a deal to be realistic. For starters, they all ready have Daniel Murphy coming off of a career year at second base. He would need to move to first to make room for Dozier, and after selling the farm for Adam Eaton, the Nationals don't have enough assets to compete with even a mediocre offer from the Dodgers.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Top Eight Minnesota Sports Things of 2016

     I don't usually write introduction paragraphs because I hate them*, but I feel I should warn you that this list that's supposed to be optimistic is going to get really depressing really fast.
*New Year's resolution: Be more straightforward
8. Wild make playoffs again
...And then lost in five games to Dallas, but that's not important. The important part is that they made it, and in a terrible year for Minnesota sports, that means a lot.
7. Gopher basketball starts off hot
After going 12-1 in the nonconference season we knew the Gophers were, at the very least, better than last season. After a huge road victory over Purdue things are looking up. Amir Coffey has done well surrounded by a lot of local hype and Nate Mason has built on his solid sophomore season and was tremendous down the stretch against Perdue. I still think the biggest difference between this year and last year is the presence of Reggie Lynch. Last year's Gophers were badly missing someone who could protect the rim, Lynch provides that and its made a huge difference.
6. Young T-Wolves
Karl-Anthony Towns is the future, but he has his own section later on. Here, let's take some time to appreciate all of the young Wolves. Wiggins, Lavine and Towns are all averaging over 20 points while Dieng's been steady at center. The biggest issue here is depth. Once that first unit of Rubio-Lavine-Wiggins-Towns-Dieng comes out, there's no one who can lead a unit off the bench. Dunn has had his moments but it too inexperienced, Shabazz is more of an energy guy than a reliable scorer. That's going to be one of the biggest factors in them becoming a playoff team.
5. Buxton's hot finish
This Twins season was depressing on just about all fronts, including until the final month of the season, Buxton's performance. But then September rolled around. In his final 21 games, Buxton hit .287/.357/.653 with nine homers, eight more than he had hit in the previous five months of the season. He still strikes out way too much, but this was the first extended look we've gotten at how good he has the potential to be.
4. Lynx win the WNBA championship
Wait, did this happen or not? I assumed it did because it seems to every year but now that I think of it I realize that I actually have no idea. Regardless, I don't care enough to look it up and this year sucked so it's staying on.
3. Dozier's season
I should have named this column "Things that gave me hope during an awful year in sports". Dozier's a really interesting case. He was almost 25 when he made his debut as a shortstop in 2012 and hit .242 with six homers in 84 games. From there he established himself as a decent power hitting second baseman 18, 23, and 28 homers in the next three seasons respectively. But that was nothing compared to 2016 when he overcame an abysmal start to club 42 homers and drive in 99 runs. Now there's a chance of him being traded this winter. I'm saving my thoughts on that for its own column.
2. Towns wins rookie of the year
There are very few player in the league with Towns' combination of size, athleticism, passing, and shooting ability. The best part? He's only 21 years old. Things will improve.
1. Vikings 5-0 start
Well, that was fun while it lasted. Before this season fell off a cliff we had those six glorious weeks where a Super Bowl seemed like a possibility. Shortly after that dream start it became painfully clear that a team can't win with no offensive line and while having to rely on the defense to score every game. Here's to a better 2017.