Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Notes, quotes and comment

Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers, Fla.
The Twins late last week signed a pair of minor-league free agents, RHP Tim Wood and C Eric Fryer, both of whom spent the 2012 season the Pittsburgh organization.

Wood's signing carries some potential significance. He had a very strong 2012 for Indianapolis, the Pirates' Triple A affiliate, and the emergence of Jared Burton and Casey Fien last season has many Twins bloggers anticipating another such success with a minor-league free agent.

Which is certainly possible. It's worth remembering, however, that Wood turns 30 later this week, that he's been unimpressive in previous major league trials and that his excellent 2012 in Triple A didn't get him a call-up with the Pirates.

He'll compete for a job. He may even win one. But if he were really a prime prospect, he wouldn't have been available.

Fryer figures to be Triple A fodder; Rene Rivera's Twitter outburst in September when the Twins bypassed him for Chris Herrmann made it quite likely that he wouldn't remain in the organization in 2013. Fryer figures to rank below Joe Mauer, Ryan Doumit, Drew Butera, Herrmann and maybe Danny Lehmann on the catching depth chart.

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Last Tuesday, Lee County (Fla.) approved a $42 million expansion of the Twins complex in Fort Myers, which involves not only the Twins spring training home but two minor league affiliates, the low-Rookie level GCL Twins and the high-A Fort Myers Miracle.

Among the highlights:


  • Hammond Stadium's outfield dimensions are to mimic those of Target Field;
  • The stadium will get improved concourses and concession areas;
  • A 55-bed dormitory will be constructed (the Twins will pay the tab), which will include classrooms and commissary.


The first two will be more obvious to spring training visitors, but it's the latter that I would expect to have the bigger impact on the operation. It figures to give the Twins greater control over the nutrition and education of the young players on the complex-level GCL (Gulf Coast League) Twins, many of whom are Latin Americans getting their first taste of the United States.

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Josh Willingham won a Silver Slugger award. It's a more elegant trophy than comes with the Gold Glove Award.

It's a nice honor for the Willinghammer, who did have a fine season, but I'm not sure that he was really one of the three best-hitting outfielders in the American League. On the other hand, I'm not sure offhand who to say deserved it more than he did.


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