The Twins’ owners recently announced that they were kicking in an
additional $13 million to Target Field, and it appears that it’s mostly
being used for fun things. Things like this:
A roof deck, complete with a fire pit and a bar, will be the latest
addition to the Minnesota Twins’ new outdoor stadium, giving a
Minnesota twist to the famed rooftop decks that surround Chicago’s
Wrigley Field. “Anyone who has gone on a road trip to watch baseball,
i.e., Chicago . . . just realizes the experience we’re missing in
Minneapolis and St. Paul,” said Brock Guettler, 39, an avid fan who has
followed the Twins since he was 12. “And anybody who has grown up in
Minnesota and gone to the lake has sat out in the back by the lake and
the fire pit. Now we have another opportunity, except now we get to
watch our favorite baseball game” . . .
. . . “Every ballpark has its own nuance,” said St. Peter, the Twins
president. “Arizona has the swimming pool. San Francisco has the Bay
and the Coke bottle slide. ….The fire pit will be uniquely Minnesota.”
Except, unlike the Coke bottle and the pool, the fire pit actually
sounds pretty cool and, at least in April and September, probably
pretty necessary. Oh, and the Coke bottle appears to be maiming people too, so let’s take a few more points off for that.
Anyway, it’s always hard to tell how these projects are going to turn
out — new Yankee Stadium seemed like a good idea on paper — but I
have to say, everything I’ve read about Target Field makes it sound
like it’s going to be awesome.
The Athletics and Royals swapped outfielders on Saturday. The Athletics sent Billy Burns to Kansas City and the Royals sent Brett Eibner to Oakland.
Burns, 26, doesn’t provide much in the way of offense, but he runs the bases well and plays solid defense. He was hitting .234/.270/.303 with 11 doubles, four triples, and 14 stolen bases in 274 plate appearances.
Eibner, 27, was batting .231/.286/.423 with three home runs and 10 RBI in 85 plate appearances. He has spent most of the season with Triple-A Omaha, where he’s put up a .902 OPS in 219 PA. Eibner played the outfield corners in the majors, but racked up a ton of time playing center in the minors, so his versatility will be valuable to the A’s.
Burns will become eligible for arbitration for the first time after the 2017 season while Eibner has hardly accrued any service time, which might explain part of the motivation behind the trade for the small-market Athletics.
The Nationals announced on Saturday afternoon that the club acquired closer Mark Melancon from the Pirates in exchange for reliever Felipe Rivero and minor league pitcher Taylor Hearn.
Melancon, 31, put together another solid season for the Pirates, leaving the club with 30 saves, a 1.51 ERA, and a 38/9 K/BB ratio in 41 2/3 innings. He led the majors last season with 51 saves and has a 1.80 ERA since joining the Pirates in 2013. Melancon is earning $9.65 million this season and can become eligible for free agency after the season.
With Melancon out of the picture, the Pirates intend to have Tony Watson take over the closer’s role.
Rivero, 25, has handled the seventh and eighth innings for the Nationals this season, compiling a 4.53 ERA and a 53/15 K/BB ratio in 49 2/3 innings. He’s just shy of one year of service time, so the Pirates will have control of him for a long time.
Hearn, 21, was rated the Nationals’ 27th-best prospect by MLB Pipeline. He was originally drafted by the Pirates in the 22nd round of the 2012 draft but he didn’t sign and ended up going back to college. The Nationals took him in the fifth round of last year’s draft. This season, between rookie ball and Single-A Hagerstown, Hearn put up a 2.79 ERA and a 39/13 K/BB ratio in 29 innings. He’s a long way away from the majors, so he’s essentially a lottery ticket for the Pirates.
The Nationals needed an upgrade at closer as Jonathan Papelbon has struggled this season. The right-hander has allowed runs in each of his last three appearances, ballooning his ERA up to 4.41 with a 30/13 K/BB ratio in 32 2/3 innings. It will be interesting to see how Papelbon, who has never made a habit of letting his feelings go unspoken, handles a demotion to the eighth inning.