It took less than ten hours from the time the Twins clinched last night until I saw the first blogger make a joke about how funny it will be to see World Series games snowed out in Minnesota. And really, we’ve been hearing that ever since the first roofless ballpark plans were drawn up for Target Field.
Is there reason for concern? Does Joe Mauer have to worry more about snowblindness than his wonky knee? Will Delmon Young be able to field his position with a North Face Summit Series 800-fill goose down jacket under his jersey?
We’ve covered this before, but let me reiterate: No. There’s no reason to worry. No reason over an above the worry we should always have about such things, anyway. Sure, freak weather can happen in the fall in the upper Midwest, but it can happen anywhere, as the Phillies and Rays learned a couple of years ago. But the average highs and lows in Minneapolis for late October and early November — while a tad chillier than we’re used to in the playoffs — are not so far removed from the norms in New York or Philly that we should make a big deal about it.
National Weather Service data from 1971-2000 reveals the average highs in Minneapolis range between 57 and 46 degrees for the period covering October 20th through November 5th. Average lows: 32-37. Average precipitation of any kind .07 inches. The same numbers in Philly: highs 64-58; lows 47-43, precip .08-.10. New York: highs 63-57; lows 49-45, precip..10-.12. Denver: highs 64-56; lows 34-27, precip .03-.04.
Yes, it’s colder in Minneapolis than it is in New York and Philly, but it’s not so extreme that we should freak out about it. If the Rockies make it in we should worry about the Denver weather far more, I think. Partially because of the cold, but also because we all can remember some October Denver Broncos Monday Night Football game going on in a blizzard.
Snow could happen, because snow can always happen. But there’s a decent chance that we’ll get some run of the mill nice fall days turning into chilly, but not unpleasantly chilly, fall nights, even if the Twins make the World Series.
MASN’s Roch Kubatko is reporting that the Orioles have “some level” of interest in free agent outfielder Denard Span. The Nationals did not make a $15.8 million qualifying offer to Span, which means he doesn’t come attached with draft pick compensation unlike other free agents such as Alex Gordon and Dexter Fowler.
Span, who turns 32 in February, hit a solid .301/.365/.431 with five home runs, 22 RBI, 38 runs scored, and 11 stolen bases, but took only 275 plate appearances due to back and hip injuries. He underwent season-ending hip surgery in September but is expected to be ready to participate in spring training.
The Mets and Royals have also reportedly shown interest in Span’s services.
ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that the Blue Jays are on the prowl for relievers with closing experience. Ryan Madson is one of the names on their list.
Madson, 35, had a career rebirth with the Royals in 2015. He signed a minor league deal with the club that paid him a salary of $850,000 if he made it back to the majors. Due to a plethora of arm injuries, Madson hadn’t pitched in the majors since Game 5 of the 2011 NLDS against the Cardinals as a member of the Phillies. For the Royals, he wound up becoming a crucial member of the bullpen, finishing with a 2.13 ERA and a 58/14 K/BB ratio over 63 1/3 innings.
While Madson allowed five runs in 8 1/3 post-season innings, he pitched well when it mattered most, as he hurled three scoreless frames in three appearances in the World Series against the Mets.
Madson has closing experience, with 55 career saves. 32 of them came in 2011 when he took over the closer’s role from Brad Lidge.
After signing Marco Estrada and J.A. Happ, and trading for Jesse Chavez, the Jays have bolstered their rotation but it was reported on Saturday that interim GM Tony LaCava is still focused on upgrading the pitching staff.
ESPN’s Buster Olney reports that free agent pitcher Trevor Cahill is looking for a one-year, bounce-back deal. The Pirates are one of the potential teams he is considering.
It’s no surprise that the Pirates are on Cahill’s list. Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage has garnered a reputation as a miracle worker after turning around the careers of a handful of pitchers, including Edinson Volquez, Francisco Liriano, and J.A. Happ. Volquez parlayed a one-year, $5 million deal with the Pirates into a two-year, $20 million deal with the Royals last December. Liriano signed with the Pirates on a one-year, $1 million contract and turned that into a three-year, $39 million deal. Happ, dealt to the Pirates from the Mariners at the most recent trade deadline, just signed a three-year, $39 million contract with the Blue Jays.
Cahill, once a highly-regarded pitching prospect, has scuffled over parts of seven seasons in the majors. The 27-year-old owns a career 4.13 ERA with a 754/427 K/BB ratio in 1,083 2/3 innings. Cahill had some brief success after signing with the Cubs as a free agent in mid-August, compiling a 2.12 ERA in 11 appearances out of the bullpen.
Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports that the Blue Jays have narrowed their search for a new general manager down to two candidates: current interim GM Tony LaCava, and Indians vice president of player personnel Ross Atkins. Former Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos resigned last month.
LaCava was promoted to interim GM on November 2 and has already made a handful of moves along with new president Mark Shapiro. The club acquired Jesse Chavez in a trade and signed pitchers Marco Estrada and J.A. Happ to multi-year deals.
Atkins worked under Shapiro in the Indians organization for 15 seasons, so it is no surprise that he is a finalist for the open GM position.