Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Our beloved father, Howard D. Yerger, passed away this morning after a lengthy battle with cancer.
He was 77-years old.
On behalf of my wife’s entire family, we wish to thank everyone who has passed along their thoughts and prayers during Howard’s illness. While we will miss him tremendously, we rejoice he is no longer in pain!
I didn’t worry about rambling on to reporter Joe Fryer simply because I knew they could cut and paste down to about ten seconds.
Video of that story can be seen here.
Monday, February 25, 2008
As chair of Precinct 53 in Coon Rapids they wanted my reaction to the MN House (and my rep, Kathy Tingelstad of HD 49B) overriding Governor Pawlenty's veto of the
Sunday, February 24, 2008
But the richest part of the fallout from the news coverage of the Cottonwood tragedy came from Star Tribune
But at a time like this -- when anger is tinged with racism and resentment in a season of charged political debate -- it is important to think carefully about what measures might help public safety, and what might hurt it.
The focus right now should be on the loss of four children, and the enormous grief suffered by the families and the town. But anger is powerful. Some people have moved on already, from mourning to murder.
I have a question here. When the 35W bridge collapsed almost seven months ago, that was also a tragic event, correct? At that time, Coleman surely must have thought it was important to think carefully about what measures might help public safety (i.e. learning the cause of the collapse to ensure another structure doesn’t meet the same fate), and what might hurt it. The focus should have been on the loss of thirteen people, and the enormous grief suffered by the families and the rest of the Twin Cities.
So if we indeed apply the same Nick Coleman logic to the bridge collapse as he applied to the Cottonwood tragedy, then certainly he didn’t politicize the bridge collapse, right?
Let’s go back in time, shall we? How did Coleman respond to the outcries of not politicizing the 35W bridge collapse, less than a week after the tragedy?
If you think everyone should play nice about it, you are living in Pollyanna Land. We are in a bare-knuckled political brawl in this country, and the government is in the hands of government haters who want to starve it or, in the alleged belief of presidential ally Grover Norquist, want to “drown it.”
You can’t drown government. It is people who drown.
A Nick Coleman column: your one-stop shop for all that’s disingenuous.
I was amazed by how humble these men were despite the many books they’ve authored and the many degrees they have attained. Not only did they utilize biblical principles to enhance marital relationships, they also drew from experiences in their own marriages. In doing so, they were willing to cite their own failings as husbands. I don’t think I could get up in front of 1,500 married couples and confess my failings as a spouse. However, because the Smalleys were willing to do so, I would be willing to bet there are a lot of happier marriages as a result.
If there is one main point I took away from this seminar, it’s that I need to focus on changing myself as opposed to my spouse. That may seem overly obvious, but it’s amazing what happens when there are inevitable challenges in a marital relationship. One often places the onus of change on the other member of the marriage. I know I will continue to pray for the ability to be more introspective.
The best part of attending these gatherings is it allows my wife and I to “take inventory” of where we are in our relationship. Having been married 7 ½ years, we both admit that we have much to learn. But we’re also encouraged by the fact that we’re on the right path. And we also know that we’ve been blessed exceedingly, abundantly above what we could ever think or ask.
In the almost ten years I’ve known Dad, I’ve come to realize he’s as big a sports fan as there is. His favorite sport above all others is golf. In fact, he himself was a very good golfer back in the day (He still has a trophy recognizing his hole-in-one back in a 1960s tournament). And he also has a deep appreciation for the great pro golfers. From Ben Hogan to Arnold Palmer to Jack Nicklaus, Dad has seen them all play. And while he marveled at the play of all three in their respective primes, nothing compares to the awe of watching current phenom Tiger Woods. No matter how obscure the PGA tourney, Dad would watch every hole from Thursday thru Sunday if Tiger was a participant.
When we went to visit Dad in the hospital this afternoon, I was shocked at how gaunt he looked. His face was blank and sunken in as he struggled for each breath. I certainly didn’t want to express my shock in front of my wife and mother-in law since they were having a tough enough time enduring this whole ordeal. So I thought I would inject a little levity by talking about golf. “Hey Howard”, I said enthusiastically. “Tiger won again today!!” And would you believe it? His face went from an ashen state to his eyebrows being raised and his eyes lighting up. With all the energy he could muster, he said with a faint whisper “He did??!!” My mother-in law practically fell over, as that was the first words Dad had uttered in several hours. Heck, it was even the first response of any kind all day.
There will be a lot of things I will miss about Dad once his time on Earth is done. But the one aspect of his personality which has always stood out is that, despite his many prestigious accomplishments in his 77-plus years, he always had sheer enjoyment of the simpler things in life (i.e. sports, playing cards, etc.). That has to be the number one thing I’ll miss the most.
Saturday, February 23, 2008
Since the Senate has a veto-proof majority (45 Democrats, 22 Republicans) they will most certainly override the Governor’s veto.
Well if the same six GOP members who voted for the Transportation Bill also vote to override Gov. Pawlenty’s veto, the bill will pass in to law. One of the GOP members who broke ranks was none other than our own Rep. Kathy Tingelstad.
As a result, I wrote the following e-mail:
Kathy, I saw the following vote breakdown regarding the Transportation Bill:
At our January BPOU meeting, I recall you saying how the MN House is the last line of defense in holding up Governor Pawlenty's vetoes.
The Governor is almost certain to veto this bill. Are you also planning on voting yes to override Gov. Pawlenty's promised veto? If so, our "last line of defense" appears to be leaking.
Given that our State Budget has increased substantially over the past couple years, weren't there any other areas where taxes could be cut?
I understand the need for some additional transportation funding. But since MN is in the top 10 as far as taxes per capita, certainly there could have been other areas at least trimmed down.
I can't begin to express my severe disappointment in your "yes" vote.
Coon Rapids, MN
Precinct Chair, 5-3
We’ll see what kind of response (if any) I receive.
GOP delays endorsement of Tingelstad. Michael Brodkorb has the story.
Thursday, February 21, 2008
Now we have Michelle Obama, wife of 2008 Presidential hopeful Barack Obama. Some of her most recent speeches have generated a tremendous amount of controversy. From a talk she gave a couple of weeks ago where she stated that only her husband understands that American souls need fixing to proclaiming that for the first time in her adult life she’s proud of her country.
For me, it all began in February 2007 during an interview with Steve Kroft on CBS’ 60 Minutes. If you listen to Mrs. Obama in that interview, you would think it was the 1960s and blacks were still being blasted by fire hoses.
Check out an excerpt here.
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
According to Michelle Obama, it’s her own husband who will fix the broken souls of this Nation.
In 2008, we are still a nation that is too divided. We live in isolation, and because of that isolation, we fear one another. We don't know our neighbors, we don't talk, we believe our pain is our own. We don't realize that the struggles and challenges of all of us are the same. We are too isolated. And we are still a nation that is still too cynical. We look at it as "them" and "they" as opposed to "us". We don't engage because we are still too cynical. ...
Americans are not in debt because they live frivolously but because someone got sick. Even with insurance, the deductibles and the premiums are so high that people are still putting medications and treatments on credit cards. And they can't get out from under. I could go on and on, but this is how we're living, people, in 2008.
And things have gotten progressively worse throughout my lifetime, through Democratic and Republican administrations, it hasn't gotten better for regular folks. ....
We have lost the understanding that in a democracy, we have a mutual obligation to one another -- that we cannot measure the greatness of our society by the strongest and richest of us, but we have to measure our greatness by the least of these. That we have to compromise and sacrifice for one another in order to get things done. That is why I am here, because Barack Obama is the only person in this race who understands that. That before we can work on the problems, we have to fix our souls. Our souls are broken in this nation.
Can you imagine if a GOP candidate or his wife said such a thing? Mitt Romney was pretty much drummed out of the presidential race because of his Mormonism. And Mike Huckabee has been unflatteringly called “Huck-a-Jesus” ever since the former Baptist minister announced his candidacy. But neither candidate had ever once implied that their faith would be instrumental in how they would govern this country.
In light of Michelle Obama’s comments it’s now utterly laughable to think how the liberals, for almost eight years now, have been wringing their hands due to their fears of the U.S. becoming a theocratic state under the Presidency of George W. Bush. It’s true that the President has been very transparent about his Christian faith and how it guides him on a daily basis. But he has never implied an obligation for the American people to follow suit nor introduced legislation to do so.
Mrs. Obama, I don’t know your husband personally but I know of one immutable truth which pertains to him. He is not the least bit qualified to fix my soul, thank you very much.
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Two magical words to us baseball fans.
Pitchers and catchers reported this past week. Usually the first week merely requires light workouts.
And as Phillies pitcher Kyle Kendrick found out, this time of year also brings light heartedness.
Monday, February 18, 2008
No, my reverence for the 80s stems from its phenomenal pop culture. And one certainly can’t give a top 10 list of 80s icons without inevitably naming actress Molly Ringwald.
Yes, Ms. Ringwald was one of the more prolific teen actresses of that wonderful decade. With brilliantly equal precision she could play an awkward teen whose family forgets her “Sweet Sixteen” or an uppity, rich Prom Queen stuck in Saturday detention or a blue-collar outcast from the wrong side of the tracks. Whatever the status of a high school guy in the 80s, Molly at one time or another played a character which would suit any of our desires.
By the way, did I ever mention that in the mid-90s I went out on two dates with a girl (her name was Lisa) who bore an uncanny resemblance to Molly Ringwald (Yes, my wife knows)? Anyhow, I think Lisa got a little annoyed on our second date when I said to her in an Asian accent “What’s happening hot stuff?” I had a feeling that she had heard that a time or two before.
But I digress.
The ultimate purpose of this post is not so much a tribute to Molly Ringwald as much as it is an acknowledgement on how life is moving on.
Today she turns forty years old!!!
How is it that an awkward teen actress whom I was close to in age is now 40? Unbelievable!!
Saturday, February 16, 2008
-After losing to Dallas twice (by 10 points and 11 points) they went into Texas Stadium in the NFC Divisional playoffs and beat the Cowboys 21-17.
-The Giants then went into frozen Lambeau Field in Green Bay and stunned the Packers 23-20 in overtime, winning the NFC title. What was even more surprising is that Green Bay had routed the Giants by 22 points in Week 2 of the regular season.
-And who could forget the Super Bowl earlier this month? After having their defense shredded for 38 points and 390 total yards by the New England Patriots in the regular season finale, the Giants shocked the world in the rematch by downing the Pats 17-14 in Super Bowl XLII. New York pulled off the big upset despite being 12-point underdogs.
In summary, the Giants completely turned the tables on three of their postseason opponents after having been dominated by them in the regular season.
Huh. How in the world did they do that?
One can only conclude that the New York Giants achieved such incredible turnarounds by stealing opponents’ signals or, worse yet, illegally videotaping the opposition.
But somehow much of the credit has gone to Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo and his incredible game plans he put together to combat three off the NFL’s most high-powered offenses.
Wait a minute!!!! A coaching staff making adjustments based on what failed in a previous game against the same opponent? Why, how is such a thing possible?
Apparently when it pertains to the New England Patriots, such adjustments can only be made through the aforementioned illegal videotaping of opponents’ signals.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell revealed to Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) that Patriots coach Bill Belichick has been illegally videotaping opponents’ defensive signals since he took over the team in 2000. Goodell said Belichick told him he believed the taping was legal. Based on that, either Belichick is supremely arrogant or he genuinely did not know what he was doing was illegal.
Think about it. If Belichick believed that the videotaping of defensive hand signals was illegal, why would he employ such a tactic with his former defensive coordinator coaching the opponent? Former Pats assistant Eric Mangini blew the whistle on Belichick after his New York Jets were drubbed 38-14 in Week 1 of the ’07 season. Certainly Mangini must have known of Belichick’s techniques while working for the Patriots. It makes absolutely no sense to me that Belichick would take such an enormous risk of getting caught if he knew videotaping such signals was against NFL rules.
Most recently, there was an allegation that former Patriots employee Matt Walsh videotaped the St Louis Rams’ walkthrough the day before Super Bowl XXXVI in January 2002. New England defeated the Rams 20-17, despite being a two-touchdown underdog.
Personally, I believe this whole controversy has been wayyyy overblown. Certainly the Patriots would appear to have had a slight competitive advantage based on the findings of Commissioner Goodell. But I have to chuckle at the asinine logic that Rams, Steelers and Eagles coaches/players/fans (as well as all Patriots haters) have been perpetuating since these videotaping accusations have come to light.
Belichick has very high winning percentage against an opposing QB the Patriots play a second time in a season.
Ummmm….so what!! Giants head coach Tom Coughlin was 3-0 in a similar situation in the 2007 postseason alone. But all I’ve ever heard was what a superlative game plan Spagnuolo put together in each of their playoff wins, especially the Super Bowl.
The Patriots taped the Rams walkthrough prior to Super Bowl XXXVI. The walkthrough consisted of the Rams’ red zone plays.
Irrelevant. The Rams never even reached the “red zone” (inside the opponents’ 20-yard line) until the 4th quarter. The Rams scored a touchdown the one time they reached that area. So much for the Pats benefiting from that alleged video taping.
In the 2004 AFC Championship game, Pats linebacker Teddy Bruschi was called to the sideline on a critical 4th and 1 play. He was told by coach Belichick what play the Steelers were about to run. Bruschi then stuffed Steelers running back Jerome Bettis on the ensuing play.
It takes intimate knowledge of another team to know that they’ll call a running play using a 260-pound fullback on 4th & 1? Stevie friggin’ Wonder could have predicted that play was coming. Besides, the Steelers were the most overrated 15-1 team in NFL history. They barely escaped losing the divisional playoff game at home the week before against the New York Jets. Were it not for two missed field goal attempts by Jets kicker Doug Brien in the last two minutes of regulation, the Steelers would have had the distinction as some of the biggest chokers of all time.
Eagles defensive players complained after Super Bowl XXXIX that the Patriots offense called a screen pass every single time a blitz was called by the Eagles defense.
One of the more absurd complaints I’ve heard yet. Ray friggin’ Charles could have told you that the Eagles would blitz on the next play (and he had been dead for eight months at the time)
If indeed there’s more to the story of the Patriots’ videotaping escapades, I believe further punishment of Belichick (and Belichick only) should be meted out accordingly.
Until then, we who appreciate the Pats’ success have to endure continued delusional ramblings from their detractors.
Friday, February 15, 2008
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Given his most recent decline, it was determined by his physicians that he required long-term care. So Monday was the day that Dad was to be admitted to ABC nursing home (NOT the real name) near his residence. My wife has been staying at her folks’ place since Friday in an effort to make the transition smooth. Such logistics as Power of Attorney papers, coordinating Dad’s release from the local hospital, setting up his admittance into the new facility, etc. has consumed the family for about a week now. The hardest part was my mother-in law packing up her husband’s clothes Monday morning. It was a depressing realization that he may never walk in the front door again.
I arrived at Mom and Dad’s place at about Noon on Monday to help load some furniture into the van. Thankfully, the nursing home was less than a mile away. We figured Dad would be in his own private room by dinner time. We waited with anticipation for the nursing home to call. Once they did, my wife and I would go set up his room while my mother-in law and sister-in law went to pick him up from the hospital.
The phone rang at about 1:00. It was the business office at ABC saying that they were still working on Dad’s admittance. They had serious concerns about the cost of his radiation treatments he needs over the next 10 days. We assured them that they would never see the bill for those treatments. Dad’s health insurance through his former employer would cover that fully. But they insisted they needed to hear that official word from the insurance company.
In the interim, the Social Worker at the hospital was calling letting us know that Dad was ready to be released. However, his room at the nursing home was still not ready and we legally could not bring him back home since he requires professional care. Because the nursing home had still not heard from Dad’s health insurance provider, they would not be able to admit him. Thankfully, we had already arranged for Dad to go to the ACME (again, not the real name) in the event we couldn’t get him into ABC. We figured if there was an opening at ABC home, we’d send him there because he would have his own private room. But with the hospital so eager to release him, we resigned ourselves to sending Dad to ACME. We figured we would then move him to ABC once they sorted out the billing logistics.
At 3:00 we called ACME to let them know that we’d be there by 4:00. Upon placing the call, we were hit with yet another bombshell. ACME no longer wanted to accept Dad as a resident. Apparently the hospital where he’s been staying gave him some medication last week that sent up a “red flag”. ACME told us that said medication was the type which alleviates combativeness. They pretty much told us they didn’t want someone with Dad’s “difficulties”. The truth is Dad was given that med once to suppress some agitation he was experiencing due to some general soreness. However, ACME was under the impression that he was taking such medication on a regular basis. We then had to return our pleas to ABC home. By the time we called them again, they too had found out about Dad’s “red flag” meds and were seriously questioning whether or not to take him once they straighten out the billing mess.
The folks at the hospital made a determination that Dad needs long-term care and thus has to be discharged from his current facility. But none of the long-term care facilities will accept Dad because of the medication the hospital gave him. Since he has nowhere to go we would like to bring him home------ except we are legally prohibited from doing so since he requires professional care.
As of Tuesday morning, we still have no answers.
In the mean time, Dad is still stuck in the hospital enduring the pain that would be relieved once he received his radiation treatments.
Have you ever tried to gather leaves in a tornado? I feel as though that’s what we’re attempting to do in trying to receive proper care for our beloved father.
We found an incredibly nice facility in Hudson, WI, less than 15 minutes from my in-laws' home! And they have absolutely no qualms with Dad's health care coverage or medication.
Thank You, Jesus!!
Saturday, February 09, 2008
OK, let’s clear this up once and for all. Exactly what traits does Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) exhibit which leads so many liberal apologists to believe he is the next JFK? Even Caroline Kennedy has gone on record saying Obama can inspire people the way her late, great father once did.
Well, articulate and inspirational speeches are one thing. But what happens if you look at substantive issues?
Let’s compare, shall we?
John F. Kennedy served this country in the US military. Obama has no military experience.
Kennedy served in political office at a national level for fourteen years before he was elected President. Obama has been a US Senator for all of three years.
Kennedy was considered to be a moderate (some even say “conservative”) Democrat, even to the point of promoting tax cuts as part of his “New Frontier” domestic policy. Obama’s Senate voting record is straight down the liberal Democrat party line. In fact, according to the Americans for Democratic Action ratings he scored 95% in 2006 and a perfect 100% in 2005.
Kennedy’s famous words of “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country” seemed to promote the idea of US citizens taking a more active role in strengthening America. Obama’s liberal voting record seems to enhance a belief in entitlement programs.
Again, the only similarity that can be drawn is that both men were 40-something Presidential candidates who delivered nice speeches while looking good on TV. The major difference is Kennedy was a proven leader long before he got to the Oval Office.
It’s just a shame that Lloyd Bentsen won’t be meeting Obama in a debate any time soon.
Friday, February 08, 2008
“Many of you are well enough off that…the tax cuts may have helped you. We’re saying that for America to get back on track, we’re probably going to cut that short and not give it to you. We’re going to take things away from you on the behalf of the common good.”
-Excerpt from a speech at a Democratic fundraiser, June 28, 2004 in San Francisco.
"The other day the oil companies recorded the highest profits in the history of the world. I want to take those profits. And I want to put them into a strategic energy fund that will begin to fund alternative smart energy, alternatives and technologies that will begin to actually move us toward the direction of independence.”
-Democratic National Committee’s winter meeting, February 2007.
"I prefer a 'we're all in it together' society. I believe our government can once again work for all Americans. It can promote the great American tradition of opportunity for all and special privileges for none.
"There is no greater force for economic growth than free markets. But markets work best with rules that promote our values, protect our workers and give all people a chance to succeed. Fairness doesn't just happen. It requires the right government policies."
"I think there are a number of mechanisms" that are possible, including "going after people's wages, automatic enrollment."
Wow!! Is it any wonder author P.J. O'Rourke referred to Hillary as "Hugo Chavez in a pantsuit"?
Tuesday, February 05, 2008
My wife and I were the secretary and convener, respectively, of our precinct. We were to start at 7:00 pm sharp but there was still a line outside the room at 7:05!! And the best part was there was a very age diverse group of people in attendance. From senior citizens to middle-aged folks to 30-somethings to those who aren’t old enough to vote yet (but will be by Election Day), the energy was definitely felt! We didn’t even have enough ballots when the Presidential Preference Poll was taken.
The general sense my wife and I got was that the conservative voters were out in droves. In fact, there were many first-time caucus goers who still felt the sting of 2006 and realized the consequences of not getting involved then. As a result, Mitt Romney was the overwhelming winner in most of the precincts in House District 49B.
Now more than ever folks realize that we can’t very well bellyache about our nominee come November 2008. Now is the time to take action. And if tonight was any indication, the MN Republican party will be heard from loud and clear over the next nine months!!
Monday, February 04, 2008
The program will be turned over to his son, Pat Knight, who was named head coach-designate in 2005.
"There's a transition that's going to take place here from me to Pat and I've dwelt on this all year long -- about what would be the best way to do this, and how it would be best for him and for the team and for what we can do in the long run to make this the best thing for Texas Tech," Knight said, according to the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. "I didn't know, I've never really known when I was going to step down from this job. As I thought about it, my first thought was at the end of this season."
Knight leaves the game as the all-time winningest coach in NCAA history with 902 victories.
While I respect his basketball accomplishments and the principled stands he took on his athletes being model students, I will always think of Knight as a domineering, petty tyrant.
But if you ever listen to senior Star Tribune
I’m predicting one (if not all) of the following excerpts might be printed in Hartman’s column within the next day or two.
”I talked to Bob Knight just before he made his decision…”
”Knight and I have been close friends for nearly forty years...”
”I remember one occasion when I had lunch with Knight and Bud Grant…”
"Not only is Knight a great coach but he was a great human being."
He was misunderstood by so many people..."
Hey, just because the NFL season is over doesn’t mean I’m out of the prognostication game.
Sunday, February 03, 2008
As it turned out, Burress gave the Patriots too much credit.
In a stunning 17-14 Giants victory, Burress caught the game-winning touchdown with 35 seconds remaining, a 13-yard floater from QB Eli Manning. While being interviewed on the field afterwards, Burress was overcome with emotion. He has been battling knee and ankle injuries for much of the season, and was listed as “questionable” on this weeks’ injury report. While the game-winning reception was only his second catch of the game, he obviously came up big when it counted.
Now I fully admit I was rooting for the Pats to make NFL history by being the first 19-0 team ever. I have a deep appreciation for excellence, which is why I also wanted to see Brady become only the third QB in history (along with Terry Bradshaw and Joe Montana) to win four Super Bowls.
But now that I’m able to absorb all that happened in this game, I am thrilled as an NFL fan to say I got to witness such an exhilarating Super Bowl! And I’m also ecstatic for Eli Manning. I’ve always felt it was totally unfair the way he was constantly criticized by the New York media and Giants fans. We here in Viking-land would love to have a QB who averages 3,500 yards and 24 TD passes per season, as Manning has done over the past three years.
And as it turned out, there was some history made Sunday evening. Manning was named Super Bowl MVP, one year after brother Peyton won it for the Indianapolis Colts. And it was Peyton who ended New England’s season last year in the AFC Championship game. So instead of a Patriots victory parade down Boylston Street in Boston this week, you might just see the Manning name being burned in effigy.
Congratulations to the New York Giants! There was debate going into this game on whether the Patriots would be considered the greatest NFL team ever. To me, there is no debate that they weren’t even the better team on Sunday.
Friday, February 01, 2008
But January ’08 has seen an even better outcome, as I dropped a whopping 11 ½ pounds!!!
While I was severely disappointed in myself for getting back up to 218, I’m ecstatic that I am once again in range of getting below 200 lbs. for the first time in about nine years. Now that I’m at 206.5, the challenge for me now is to not rest on my accomplishments. I always fall into the trap of rewarding myself with bad food (i.e. pizza, ice cream, donuts, etc.) when I have some success.
Once again, I’m setting my birthday (May 24) as a target date to hit the ultimate goal of 195.
Until next time…..
Now it’s official.
Johan Santana and the New York Mets agreed Friday to a $150.75 million, seven-year contract, a record for a pitcher and the last major step needed to finalize the team's blockbuster trade with Minnesota.
After the sides were granted an extra two hours to work on a deal, the Mets announced about 30 minutes before the new 7 p.m. EST deadline that negotiations had concluded. The pitcher was scheduled to take a physical Saturday.
Terms of the agreement were disclosed by a baseball official with knowledge of the talks who spoke on condition of anonymity because no announcement had been made.
Santana's contract topped the previous mark for pitchers, set when Barry Zito received a $126 million, seven-year deal from the San Francisco Giants last offseason. Santana was due $13.25 million in the final year of his contract with the Twins, and would have been eligible for free agency after the World Series.
The Twins agreed Tuesday to swap Santana for four prospects: outfielder Carlos Gomez and right-handers Philip Humber, Kevin Mulvey and Deolis Guerra.
For the short-term, there’s no question that this is a bad deal for the Twins. I thought they had a good chance of winning close to 90 games this season with Santana anchoring the starting rotation. With a healthy Francisco Liriano, a slimmer Boof Bonser and up and coming youngsters Scott Baker and Kevin Slowey, the potential was there for a solid starting five. With Santana now gone, there is no longer a true ace of the staff. Certainly Liriano has a chance to be that if he shows a semblance of what he did in 2006. However, that’s far from a certainty a year-and-a-half after his extensive elbow surgery.
For the long-term, who knows? The four players the Twins acquired in the trade are all in the top 10 of Mets prospects according to Baseball America. And it appears Gomez can fit the bill of everyday centerfielder this season, which allows Michael Cuddyer to stay in right field and newcomer Delmon Young to be the regular left fielder.
The bottom line is the Twins were not in a position to demand a huge ransom in a trade for Santana. It was well documented that Santana was not going to sign a long-term extension in Minnesota, thus allowing him to walk after the 2008 season. In fact, Santana openly complained last August that the Twins are constantly in a rebuilding mode. He even went so far as to say it didn’t make any sense for him to remain a Twin. As a result, the Mets were able to take advantage of the Twins’ untenable situation. And they did so without giving up young phenoms like Jose Reyes and Fernando Martinez.
When soaking in this trade I can’t help but think of another big deal the Twins and Mets put together. In July 1989, the Twins traded reigning Cy Young winner Frank Viola to the Mets for five pitchers. One guy the Twins insisted be thrown into the mix was left-hander David West, who was supposedly a “can’t miss” prospect. However, West ended up having a mediocre 3 ½ season with the Twins. As almost afterthoughts, the Twins also acquired Rick Aguilera and Kevin Tapani in the Viola deal. But to the surprise of many, both ended up being integral pieces of the 1991 World Series champions. That season Aguilera saved 42 games as an All-Star closer and Tapani was their #2 starter with 16 wins and a 2.99 ERA.
The optimist in me hopes for a result similar to the Viola trade. Truth be told, that’s the only way I’m able to comfort the realist in me.