Despite being next-door neighbors in downtown Minneapolis and having the same corporate sponsorship for their venues the Twins and Timberwolves are having a squabble over the size and placement of a new advertisement.
Target Center, which is home to the Timberwolves, is currently installing a 2,800-square foot billboard advertising local health care provider Sanford Health that is prominent in the Target Field skyline and visible from many of the seats in the Twins’ home.
With the billboard conveniently set to be fully installed in time for the Twins’ playoff opener Wednesday, team president Dave St. Peter called it “an ambush on the ballpark.” Here’s more from St. Peter:
While the Twins always understood an ambush on the ballpark was possible, the sheer size of the proposed signage is shocking. We feel particularly bad about how this signage dominates the new civic gathering place known as Target Plaza. Needless to say it’s disappointing considering the large private investment to create this dynamic celebration of public art, which was in essence a gift to the city of Minneapolis.
There’s some irony is getting upset about an advertisement ruining “the new civic gathering place known as Target Plaza” that is, in fact, a form of advertising (or at least corporate sponsorship) itself. It would be kind of like complaining about there being too many commercials during an infomercial. And make no mistake, there are plenty of prominent ads visible throughout the Twins’ still-beautiful ballpark.
Timberwolves president Chris Wright told David Brauer of MinnPost that he “would disagree with those characterizations” and has “the authority and the right to take advantage of a terrific development that occurred behind our building.”
The Astros have reportedly agreed to terms with free agent DH/outfielder Carlos Beltran for a one-year, $16 million contract, per ESPN’s Buster Olney. The deal includes a complete no-trade clause, according to a report from Bob Nightengale of USA Today.
Beltran elected to return to the Astros after fielding offers from the Yankees, Blue Jays, and Red Sox. He appeared in Houston during the second half of 2004, batting .258/.368/.559 with 23 home runs in 399 PA and making his first postseason run to the tune of a .435 average and eight homers as the Astros battled their way through to a seven-game loss in the Championship Series. Beltran also played with Houston manager A.J. Hinch and bench coach Alex Cora in separate stints with the Royals and Mets, which the Houston Chronicle’s Jake Kaplan cited as possible influences in the Astros’ decision to pursue the free agent.
In 2016, Beltran split the season between the Yankees and Rangers after getting dealt at the deadline for a package of right-handed pitching prospects. He was stationed in right field for the majority of his time in New York, but was almost exclusively utilized as a designated hitter over 52 games in Texas. Between the two clubs, he batted an impressive .295/.337/.513 with 29 homers and earned his ninth career All-Star designation to boot.
The veteran slugger is expected to fill a similar role on the Astros, who need a full-time DH but could use some additional support in the outfield corner. Olney envisions a lineup with Beltran in the five-spot, per an earlier report:
Catcher Welington Castillo was non-tendered by the Diamondbacks on Friday, making him one of 35 additional players to enter the free agent pool. Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reported that Castillo was drawing interest from the Rays, among a bevy of major league clubs, and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s David O’Brien added that the Braves have “some interest” as well.
The Rays’ trifecta of catchers — Curt Casali, Luke Maile, and Bobby Wilson — did little to inspire confidence behind the plate in 2016, and with top free agent Wilson Ramos sidelined after suffering a torn ACL in September, it makes sense that they’d explore more affordable options. Castillo profiled well at the plate during his first full season with the Diamondbacks, slashing .264/.322/.423 with 14 home runs in 457 PA. Behind the dish, he placed third among all qualified major league catchers with seven DRS (Defensive Runs Saved), though his league-leading 10 passed balls weren’t anything to write home about.
Unlike the Rays, the Braves have a serviceable catching platoon in Tyler Flowers and Anthony Recker. Beyond that, their catching depth is fairly shallow despite the recent addition of former Mariners’ outfield prospect Alex Jackson. Jackson, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Mark Bradley, has not played behind the plate since high school, though GM John Coppolella is reportedly interested in trying him there again. A.J. Pierzynski is also rumored to be seeking a deal elsewhere in free agency, which could open the door for a multi-year deal with Castillo.