Posted by: gravessack | May 18, 2019

Goodbye, Speechless!

ABC's Speechless logoA week ago, ABC’s sitcom Speechless, featuring a character (J.J.) with cerebral palsy, was canceled after three seasons, presumably because of low ratings. Many people in the disability community, including me, were not happy with ABC’s decision.

ABC deserves a lot of credit for airing three seasons of Speechless, which did a good job of raising disability awareness while being funny and entertaining. However, the decision to cancel the series was very unpopular. Speechless has been such an important show because even though it was a comedy, it talked about important issues relating to disability, such as J.J. wanting to be more independent. It also was one of the only shows starring an actor with a disability (Micah Fowler), which was a major strength of the show. Here’s an article about how there needs to be more disability representation in Hollywood.

Hopefully, there will soon be a similar TV series to Speechless. Fowler said that [Speechless] “was the greatest three years of my life. I hope we changed the world a little bit. I am so honored I got to do this.” It is important to represent diversity on TV, and Speechless did a good job of doing that because it talked about important issues and starred an actor with cerebral palsy. Plus, it got us our top-performing post: Exclusive Interview with Actor Micah Fowler!

Written by:Sam Graves

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Posted by: gravessack | April 28, 2019

Twins Are Hot!

Byron Buxton hitting for the Minnesota TwinsThe 2019 MLB season is only about a month old, but there is good reason for Twins fans to be excited about this year’s team. They are in first place in the AL Central with a 16-9 record, and their .640 winning percentage is second in the AL.

The main reason for this early-season success is the offense. The team is third in MLB (and second in the AL) with a .269 batting average. They are fourth in MLB (second in AL) with 47 home runs, and they’re on pace to shatter the franchise home run record! Eddie Rosario is first in the AL with 11 home runs. I may be most excited that Byron Buxton is hitting well so far this year since he is key to how the Twins do this season. And the offense is doing all this without Miguel Sano, who is out until at least May! The defense looks good too.

The pitching, though, is my main concern. The starting rotation isn’t the best, but it should be fine as long as the starters stay pretty healthy, especially Jose Berrios. The big problem this year. though, may be the bullpen. Right now, Twins relievers are 16th in MLB with a 4.54 ERA. 16th out of 30 teams isn’t terrible, but it isn’t great either.

Since the Twins don’t have a true closer, I think they should sign Craig Kimbrel. Kimbrel had a great regular season last year for Boston, but became a free agent and is unsigned because he didn’t pitch so well in the playoffs and may be asking for too much money. Signing Kimbrel would be risky because the Twins would have to give up a draft pick, and he would have less time to get into playing shape than if he signed during the winter. Still, the Twins should get Kimbrel because he is a true and usually very good closer, and one of the Twins’ main weaknesses is they don’t have a real proven closer.

Keep it up, Twins (and get a closer)!!

Written by: Sam Graves

Posted by: gravessack | March 24, 2019

“Wheelchair Rule” Will Hold Airlines Accountable

At around half past midnight on July 30, 2018, after flying across Florida and above Colombia, our Delta flight landed at the main airport of Ecuador’s capital city of Quito. Tired and weary-eyed, my family just wanted to get to the hotel right next to the Mariscal Sucre International Airport. Unfortunately, and nervously, we noticed that the lap tray to my manual wheelchair was missing. Did the airline forget it all the way back in Atlanta!?

With the little Spanish that we knew, we communicated what the issue was. As the hunt was going on, we found our luggage at the carousel. After a few long minutes, an employee emerged with the clear tray. My family and I went on our way to get rest for our hourlong flight to Cuenca later that morning.

Thankfully, our situation was resolved in a timely manner; however, there have been numerous reports of airlines mishandling wheelchairs and assistive devices with no accountability. That changed on December 4, 2018, when the Department of Transportation (DOT) implemented the “Wheelchair Rule” that requires the twelve biggest airlines – including Delta, Southwest, and United – to track broken adaptive equipment.

The new requirement, which was drafted by the Obama Administration, was supposed to take effect the first day of 2016. However, as Donald Trump became President, the DOT abruptly changed course due to ongoing pressure by the airline industry. After multiple delays and non-satisfactory excuses, lawsuits were issued. With airlines seemingly ready to track the changes, the FAA Reauthorization Act was finally kickstarted in December.

According to a Washington Post article on the issue, there were “32,445 disability-related complaints to the Transportation Department” about domestic and foreign airlines in 2016 alone, with those numbers increasing in 2017 and 2018.

In February, the first set of stats were released in the Air Travel Consumer Report. It states that from December 4-31, out of 32,229 wheelchairs and scooters handled by the twelve airlines, 701 were damaged or broken. Above, I mentioned three airlines; here are how those numbers break down. Delta had damaged 105, .89% of the total; Southwest wrecked 186, 7.22% of the whole; and United damaged 80, 1.09% of the total.

Of course, not every airline is going to carry the same amount of wheelchairs and scooters. Therefore, the lesser-known airlines are going to damage less since they carry fewer passengers. For instance, the same report concluded that ExpressJet caused havoc on 4 mobility aids, however, they only had 75 wheelchairs and mobility devices that needed to go under the plane.

To nullify the possibility of damage to wheelchairs and scooters, airlines recommend that air travelers notify them before the flight and explain that you have special needs devices. Another thing you may do is to attach a card to the equipment, telling workers how to handle it with care. If you suspect your wheelchair or scooter is in disrepair, you should contact the staff right away and file a complaint with the airline and the DOT.

For air travelers with disabilities, disfigurement of their mode of getting around can cause unnecessary havoc for them. In the event of severe deficiencies, the person – with help of attendants – would need to scour the area for a replacement chair or equipment. Moreover, being that wheelchairs are designed specifically for the individual, the loaner chairs could cause them to be uncomfortable and have pains that they would not otherwise have. If they are about to be on vacation or attend an adaptive sporting event, that would be difficult to enjoy if they are worried about their mobility or comfort.

Luckily, for me, my tray (I’m uncertain if a tray counts as part of the law) was found just before our 10-day journey of a lifetime in a foreign land. But, to thousands of those less fortunate, this new law will provide them relief in knowing that airlines will now be held accountable for their misdeeds.

To view previous and future reports, feel free to follow this link.

Written by: Michael L. Sack

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Posted by: gravessack | March 9, 2019

More Sano Drama

 

Miguel Sano sitting in Twins dugout in Fort Myers, Florida, with walking boot on his right foot

Photo: Star Tribune

Twins infielder Miguel Sano has had several on and off the field issues throughout his MLB career, from his chronic weight issues (and related injury problems) to being accused of sexual assault to hitting a police officer with his car. Just when people started to get at least somewhat excited when it was reported that he lost 20 pounds this winter, Sano suffered a cut on his heel and had surgery March 5 at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, which could keep him out of the Twins lineup until May (hopefully, it won’t be any longer). It must be quite the cut!!

Luckily, it looks like the Twins will be fine without Sano, unless he’s out a lot longer than expected. Marwin Gonzalez, who will be very valuable to the Twins because he can play several different positions, will likely play third base in place of Sano once the regular season starts. In addition to being able to play multiple positions, Gonzalez’s career batting average is .264, which is pretty good. Interestingly, although Sano is a very dangerous hitter (when he plays!), the Twins actually have a better record without Sano than with him!

Still, the Twins are a better team with Sano healthy and playing. Hopefully, he’ll come back healthy (and not having gained back the weight he lost!), but you never know with Sano!

Written by: Sam Graves

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Posted by: gravessack | March 3, 2019

Twins’ Offensive Productivity Should Be Swell This Year

Without a doubt, General Manager Thad Levine made it a top priority over the last five months to improve the batting order. Last year was a letdown on that front when the Twins batted .250 as a team. Additionally, the Twins lost two good hitters this off-season as Brian Dozier chose not to re-join the team by signing with Washington and with Joe Mauer deciding to hang up his cleats. A major revamp was needed and Levine believes he has delivered. With all the offensive add-ons, there will be more productively in that area, leading to more victorious handshakes. Let’s go around the horn!

On February 14, shortstop Jorge Polanco and outfielder Max Kepler both agreed to contract extensions that will keep them in Minnesota at least until 2023. The Twins are hoping that the duo will show even more improvement this year. While Polanco has a career batting average of .272 with 286 hits, Kepler has 337 hits that have resulted in a .233 average. They both know each other very well and want to help the team progress to greater heights. Polanco and Kepler now realize they could be the two key players in the line-up for years to come, especially if the phenoms continue to falter.

Speaking of the phenoms, this is a huge year for center fielder Byron Buxton and third baseman Miguel Sano. They have been large disappointments since joining the big league club in 2015. In addition to underperforming, various injuries have plagued them both: Buxton played just 28 games last season, with Sano playing in 71.

In 2018, Buxton’s multitude of injuries prevented him from being a September call-up; he has since put that behind him as he has bulked up for the upcoming campaign. With his new body and technique, the 25-year-old has been on fire this spring. Buxton is batting .545 with three home runs and six hits in 11 at-bats.

Meanwhile, Sano has a boot on his right foot until a cut heals. That process is taking a lot longer than expected as he has not been doing much this spring. These two players must step up and show fans why the Twins once promoted them. More than ever, Buxton and Sano need to perform as they were advertised.

However, the Twins have legitimately beefed up their roster by landing presumably everyday players in DH Nelson Cruz, second baseman Jonathon Schoop, and first baseman C.J. Cron. Cruz, who has 360 career homers, was the biggest get, but the other two can do damage too. The three players combined for 88 home runs last season.

Cruz has hit over 35 home runs each season since 2014 and has just over a thousand career RBIs. Meanwhile, Schoop has 51 homers and 166 RBIs the last two season and looks to be gearing up for a special year. That leaves Cron, who astonishingly was cut by Tampa Bay in October. Cron has driven in 287 runs and hit 89 home runs in his five-year stint in the majors. If these three potential power hitters get their groove on early, they will be extremely helpful to a line-up that is seeking more power.

Eddie Rosario, who is slated to be the Twins primary left fielder, will be seeking to continue his impressive start to his career. 2019 will be the 27-year-old’s fifth season in the majors. He had a .288 average with 24 home runs and 77 RBIs last season. While playing left, he has recorded 30 assists and 705 putouts during his Twins tenure. Every time Rosario comes to the plate, he has a chance to do something great. That will be even more important this year, as he will be surrounded by players who can produce.

The bench is not a forgotten piece anymore, as the Twins brought in utility man Marwin Gonzalez, and catcher Willians Astudillo should be making the 25-man opening day roster. Gonzalez, who signed a two-year, $21 million deal last week, is a major surprise addition. The 29-year-old’s versatility will be welcomed as he can play eight different positions. Gonzalez has spent his entire seven-year career in Houston, where he had a .264 batting average. Last season, he belted 16 home runs and drove in 68.

The newest Twin played a vital part during the Astros’ 2017 World Championship run. Playing in all seven games, Gonzalez had five singles, two doubles, and a home run. The Twins will be wanting Gonzalez to play every day, most likely at third in place of a struggling or injured Sano.

Astudillo will hopefully be the back-up catcher behind Jason Castro, who is coming back from a torn meniscus in his right knee in May. Although Astudillo was a fresh newbie in 2018, he showed the Twins why he is there for more than his looks and personality – chubby, flowing hair, happy-go-lucky. In 29 games, he had 33 hits, slugged 3 home runs, and drove in 21. The 27-year-old is a contact hitter, having struck out just three times in the majors last year. In thirteen at-bats this spring, Astudillo is hitting .308 with 4 singles and 4 RBIs.

There are other hopefuls that will be competing for a spot on the roster. Nonetheless, finally, the Twins can create a solid starting nine and get it fine tuned in time for the home opener March 28 versus Cleveland! The offense looks to be on pace to be very good and should produce very efficiently. I’m very excited to see what they can accomplish!

The pitching remains a problem, and we’ll analyze that debacle later.

Written by: Michael L. Sack

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Posted by: gravessack | February 20, 2019

Ervin Santana’s Career Quickly Faded Into Thin Air

As snow continues to pummel the Upper Midwest, the Twins are preparing for their spring opener in Fort Myers, Florida in comfy warmth. When the team takes the field this Saturday in a split-squad duel against Baltimore and Tampa Bay, they will be missing a pitcher that once was believed to be their future ace. Starter Ervin Santana’s Twins tenure started with excitement and aspirations but ended with a whimper in the dark Halloween night.

Seeking a blockbuster deal to rejuvenate a struggling ball club, then-General Manager Terry Ryan signed Santana on December 14, 2014, to a four-year, $54 million contract with a 2019 option. The Twins had already signed former Yankee pitcher Phil Hughes to a three-year deal a year prior. Ryan had visions of the two promising stars being a one-two punch at the top of the rotation. He was hoping that they could help bring his organization back to the top of the AL Central, but that was not meant to be.

Things went awry for Santana really fast to start his Twins career. Days before the start of the 2015 season, on April 3, MLB slammed him with an 80-game suspension as tests came back positive, concluding that he had taken a banned drug. Everything was put in a frenzy; Santana knew that this was not a good look for him if he wanted to impress his new team.

When the middle of June rolled around, he ramped up baseball activities. Then, on July 5, Santana debuted for the Twins against Kansas City, one of his former teams. Kicking the rust off, the Dominican displayed a valiant effort in a 3-2 loss, in which he had eight strikeouts. As the second half of the year went by, Santana racked up 7 wins that resulted in 82 strikeouts.

After his year of a few ups and mostly downs, Santana was assigned the opening day role the following year: a no-decision in a 3-2 loss at Baltimore on April 4. By fans’ standards, he had a down year. Making 30 starts, Santana went 7-11, had an ERA of 3.38, and recorded 149 strikeouts. Ultimately, the Twins finished 59-103, 35.5 games back of Cleveland.

For some reason, the Twins roared all the way back and made the playoffs in 2017. Remember that was the year that new General Manager Thad Levine was forced to keep Paul Molitor at the helm. Santana was the one pitcher who really improved. Heading into the All-Star break, he had already won 10 games and had a 2.99 ERA. Santana was rewarded with an All-Star Game invite, where he pitched the fifth inning, striking out one. He continued his brilliant season, ending with 16 wins and 167 strikeouts.

However, Santana injured his middle finger on his right hand during the season. That injury was hidden so the Twins gave the ball to him to start the AL Wild Card Game on October 3 in the Bronx. After getting out to an early lead, the club and Santana faltered. Santana survived for just two innings, giving up four runs. The Twins never came back, as they went on to lose 8 to 4.Ervin Santana as a member of the Minnesota Twins

Still bothered by the finger injury that ultimately required surgery on February 6, Santana’s career may have been ending slowly. The now 36-year-old made his first start of the 2018 season on July 26. He started just five games, going 0-1, that added to an ERA of 8.03. After his last start three weeks later versus Detroit, Santana never picked up a baseball on a Major League mound again that year due to a variety of injuries.

Once the campaign ended, General Manager Thad Levine informed the declining pitcher that the Twins would not accept his option, immediately making him a free agent. Santana would have to convince a team that he was still capable of being a productive pitcher.

So far, though, no team is willing to take the gamble. Besides, there are a handful of other pitchers better than him that are still looking for a job. The very slow market this off-season  – in which the top hitter Manny Machado just agreed to a 10-year, $300 million deal with San Diego – does not bode well for a descending pitcher.

If this is the end of Santana’s career, he sure had a solid one in which injuries caught up to him. In 14 years on four teams, he has a record of 149-125 with a 4.06 ERA and struck out 1,921 hitters. The three-time All-Star, who spent his first eight seasons with the Angels, tied for first in complete games with five in 2017. Undoubtedly, if he stayed healthy, Santana would surpass more records and had a chance to be one of the greatest pitchers of the 21st century.

Instead, Santana, along with Hughes, is keeping in shape, waiting for a call from a ball club, hoping for one last chance!

Written by: Michael L. Sack

Posted by: gravessack | February 13, 2019

Large Companies Starting To Hear Disability Advocates

Not too often does the disability community have a chance to celebrate a moment of realization. Indeed, people with impairments have to fight more than their peers to get recognition. That changed in a big way this month when three large organizations – Apple Inc., Major League Baseball, and Mattel – made announcements that will delight most advocates.

Last year, Apple Inc. contacted the Unicode Consortium and suggested they add emojis that are disability-related to their 2019 array of emoticons. Advocates had said that there were not enough symbols that represented that particular group.

After months of communicating with disability services, Apple ultimately announced in early February that they would be debuting 13 specifically designed emojis to reflect people with disabilities. The 13 new symbols cover a bunch of impediments: people in manual and electric chairs, people who are hard of hearing, and people who have artificial limbs. There is also a service dog emoji.

Adding symbols to represent all kinds of people could be very helpful. Children are using iPhones and iPads at a younger age now and if they get introduced to these symbols, they might be more open to coming up to someone who looks a little different from them. Honestly, I am uncertain how I will use these emojis, but it is still fantastic they are going to be premiered later this year.

Meanwhile, as disability supporters were pressuring Apple in California, they were doing the same at MLB’s headquarters in New York. That group was concerned over the term, “Disabled List”. Since 1966, that phrase has been used in the minors and majors to signify that a player is injured. Realizing the significance of the debate, it was learned last week that in December MLB told clubs they are going to change the name to the “Injured List.” That switch will start this month as spring training gets underway.

In a recent ESPN article, Jeff Pfeifer, the league’s senior director of economics and operations, explained why MLB made the change: “The principal concern is that using the term ‘disabled’ for players who are injured supports the misconception that people with disabilities are injured and therefore are not able to participate or compete in sports.”

It never really bothered me that MLB used the word “disabled.” Nonetheless, I applaud MLB for listening to the community and making this change. I did not mind them using the word because, according to dictionary.com, disabled means “to make unable or unfit.” That is what a player is when on the now-Injured List: They are unable to play the sport. Seeing the big picture, though, this is the right move by the league to clarify what the designation actually means.

This post wouldn’t be complete without some very important Barbie news! Mattel informed their supporters February 12 that they will make new dolls, including one who is in a wheelchair and another with a detachable artificial leg. Since I am out of the Barbie loop, take a gander at an article that has all the deets. The dolls will be available to purchase this June.

It certainly has been a busy start of the month for disability awareness. Let us see what comes next!

Written by: Michael L. Sack

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Posted by: gravessack | February 5, 2019

New Year Brings Improvements To Target Field

Over the winter, the annual tradition of attempting to make Target Field the best ballpark in America happened. Since its inception in April of 2010, the stadium that sits on the western edge of Downtown Minneapolis has seen lots of add-ons. First came the addition of the smaller scoreboard and a video tower in right field the following year. Then, heaters were installed on the Terrace Level; Barrio popped up in left field; the Minnie and Paul gathering area and The CATCH were created in center field; and, finally, the Metropolitan Club was transformed into a public area, which was renamed Bat & Barrel.

The Twins and Mortenson Construction have been working on two different projects that will make Target Field even more aesthetically pleasing. It was announced shortly after the 2018 season that the main entrance, commonly known as gate 34, would be getting a massive re-do. Also, the pesky batter’s eye is getting some greenery and, hopefully, a kinder look.

The front door to the nine-year-old facility will look totally dissimilar when fans arrive at the home opener March 28. The Twins are pushing the gate out creating an abundance of new space, which will make room for a huge turf area for a kids play zone, seating, games, and other events inside. In addition, the club is constructing a structure called “The Market” outside the gate. “The Market” will provide additional space for autographs, as well as allowing different sellers to promote their businesses.

Moreover, there will be an updated look as to how the actual gate is designed. “It will move from a straight line entrance to more of a sawtooth entrance, 4 groups of 4 entry booths,” said Dustin Morse, the club’s Senior Director of Communications. “We will net two more points of entry.”

Accessibility in and around the reconfigured area will not be affected, although some overall changes should make the entering/exiting experience go more swiftly. “The whole area will be under a protective canopy. We will go to pedestal scanners (vs. handheld) which will speed up fan entry,” explained Morse. The Twins are also “moving the glove (which has become a popular photo destination) to an at grade location outside the gate,” he added.

Beyond center field, the batter’s eye has been struggling to find its calling year after year. Players had complained about the small black spruce trees that aligned just past the center field wall in the stadium’s first year, which resulted in the trees being removed. At last, the Twins think they have found a solution to beautify the area.

The club announced on January 7 that the installation of a green “living wall” will be erected on the dark green backdrop. The 2,280 square foot section will have thousands of Juniper plants attached to it, making the enhancement “one of the world’s largest living walls.” The plants, which come from Oregon, will need to be swapped out about every two years. Once the original Junipers perish, they will be replaced with ones from Minnesota.

More importantly, the feature will provide hitters a pristine view of incoming pitches. Hopefully, that means a couple of Twins players will produce thirty or more homers this season! It will be interesting to see how the “living wall” will affect the offense!

In the end, the improved entryway and the new green planters will enhance the overall experience at Target Field. While the Twins hope the renovation of gate 34 will make it easier for fans to enter, they are also betting that the center field creation will help their offense be more productive.

There’s just one more thing to say: we shall see if their guesses hold true!

Did you know? According to the official 2019 seating manifest, which was obtained by the Twins, there are 759 handicap seats at Target Field: 370 in the lower bowl and 208 in the Terrace Level. The rest are scattered on the Club Level, Bat & Barrel, and elsewhere.

Written by: Michael L. Sack

Posted by: gravessack | February 2, 2019

Twins 2019 Season Preview

Sidewalk leading to front of Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers, FloridaIt may not seem like it in Minnesota, where we had historically cold temperatures this week, but spring is right around the corner (well, kind of!)! Twins pitchers and catchers report to spring training in Fort Myers, Florida, on February 13!

After a disappointing 78-84 season in 2018, the Twins added some players this offseason, including sluggers Nelson Cruz and C.J. Cron. They also signed second baseman Jonathan Schoop. Although Minnesota recently signed two pitchers, Blake Parker and Martin Perez, I was hoping the team would sign a top-level pitcher, like closer Craig Kimbrel, especially since Joe Mauer’s massive contract expired at the end of last season. Management, though, seems to prefer saving money until the Twins prove they can consistently win.

I am especially excited to see how Cruz does this season. Cruz is 38, but hit 37 home runs and had 97 RBIs in 2018, and has 360 career home runs. I also think he will be a good influence on the young guys, especially Miguel Sano.

I also am excited again to see how Byron Buxton does. Buxton had a bad and injury-filled 2018 season, but if he can stay healthy and figure it out at the plate (I think he will), he could be one of the best players in the majors because he is so fast and plays great defense.

My early prediction for 2019 is that the Twins will finish 85-77 and in 2nd place in the AL Central behind Cleveland again. I do think they can make it to the wild-card game and possibly win, but the key is if Buxton and Sano, as well as the new guys, can play well. I am afraid, though, that they won’t have the pitching to win a playoff series. Spring training hasn’t even started, though, so who knows how this season will go!

Written by: Sam Graves

Posted by: gravessack | January 29, 2019

Twins Move On To Bolstering Pitching Staff

Seemingly satisfied with their offensive additions, the Twins have moved on to revamping their pitching staff. Last year, that department really struggled to hold leads, which led to an overall ERA of 4.50 between the starters and relievers. General Manager Thad Levine knows this but has been patiently waiting to make the right deal. Those right deals came to be over the past few weeks when they added Blake Parker and Martin Perez to the mix.

On January 14, Parker officially signed with the Twins for one-year with $1.8 million guaranteed. The reliever debuted in 2012 for the Cubs, when he played in 7 games and had a 6.00 ERA. Parker appeared in 74 games with Chicago until they released him during the 2015 season. He then hitched on with Seattle in 2016. However, that was short lived as Parker just appeared in one game before being claimed by the Yankees in August to finish the year. In 16 appearances with New York, Parker had a 4.96 ERA and 15 strikeouts.

Following a pit stop in Milwaukee, Parker’s career really settled down when he landed with the Angels for the 2017 season. In 71 relief appearances that year, the 26-year-old posted a 2.54 ERA with 86 strikeouts. Parker has a record of 8-7, with 256 strikeouts and 24 saves in six seasons in the majors.

Five days later, Levine snagged up Perez and signed him to a one-year, $3.5 million contract. The deal, which was formally announced January 30, includes a club option for 2020. Making his first MLB appearance in 2012, Perez has been an unreliable starter for Texas, the only team that he has played for. During his first year with the Rangers, he went 1-4 with a 5.45 ERA. Perez rebounded in his second season, when he went 10-6, resulting in a 3.62 ERA. However, he really tailed off, having started just 22 combined games in 2014 and 2015, due to Tommy John Surgery, which contributed to a 7-9 record. Martin Perez pitching for the Texas Rangers

For the next two years, Perez was a decent starter. He started 65 games and reached the 10-win mark in each season. Although his ERA was still high, the 27-year-old struck out 218 batters. However, Perez pitched very poorly last season: 2-7 record, 6.22 ERA, while surrendering 68 runs in 85.1 innings. It seems it went so bad for Perez that Texas demoted him to the bullpen.

The Twins picture Parker will be vying for a bullpen spot and Perez competing to be the fifth starter. I have no idea how the Twins view Perez as a starter since he has an abysmal track record. Maybe they are looking for a veteran presence, but unless these two pitchers can somehow improve, I do not see how they will help the team.

Levine and the Twins should spend some money and sign a proven pitcher to a multi-year deal. They easily have enough cash to snatch up a Craig Kimbrel-type pitcher. The club is currently without a reliable closer, and Kimbrel would fill the hole. Will the Twins be willing to give him $60 million for three years? Don’t get your hopes up.

“The best moves are made not when you’re trying to open the window to contend, but when the window is wide open. We’re very eagerly waiting for this window to be opened, and when it is, we plan on striking,” said Levine in a recent Star Tribune article.

By saying that, the front office seems content on letting Parker and Perez try to perform to the best of their abilities. Nonetheless, if they do not succeed, the Twins will have to do some explaining as to how they define when a window is open or closed, especially since Cleveland is projected to have a down year!

Written by: Michael L. Sack

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