I first want to say rest in peace to Cory Lidle, who was piloting a plane that crashed into an apartment building in NY this afternoon. He was originally drafted by the Twins in 1990. He had a wife and a son. He was just 34. More can be read here.

Yesterday, at about 11:30 AM, the Twins announced that they will pick up Torii Hunter‘s option for 2007. The 1-year deal is worth $12 million, or approximately 18.5% of the Twins’ entire payroll. It’s still possible for the Twins to work out a multi-year deal with Hunter in the upcoming season, however I think it’s very unlikely. A lot can change depending on his performance.

George Steinbrenner announced yesterday that Joe Torre will stay as the Yankees’ manager. It seems George is putting a lot of pressure on Joe. George is quoted (through a team spokesman) as saying (to Joe) “You’re back for the year. I expect a great deal from you and the entire team. I have high expectations, and I want to see enthusiasm, a fighting spirit and a team that works together. Responsibility is yours, Joe, and all of the Yankees.”

The Tigers beat the A’s last night in Game 1 of the ALCS. Oakland pitcher Barry Zito was roughed up, allowing 5 runs in 3 and 2/3 innings. He walked 3 and threw 92 pitches total; it took him 8 innings against the Twins to throw 92 pitches. As Bill Simmons from ESPN.com put it, “Really good ESPN at-bat/replay sequence that proved Zito keeps throwing junk out of the strike zone and the Minny guys keep swinging at it. Can’t the Twins afford to hire some scouts? How do you not know to wait out Zito and make him throw strikes? That’s why his ERA against the Yankees from 2003-2005 was 7.01 and his ERA against the Yanks in 2006 was 8.16. Yes, I just looked this up.”

I haven’t mentioned it before, but I’ve talked to a few guys on the KFAN message boards and 4 of them have agreed to do a Q & A with me. The questions I asked them are listed first, with their answers in bold. Any thoughts I might have will be written in italics. I will do one per entry, as these are the only answers I’ve received so far. All of the questions are the same to each person. These answers come from member Rasheed:

Do you agree with the Twins picking up Torii Hunter’s option? Why or why not?
I don’t think it’s a bad signing, but it was done too soon. It bothers me we didn’t even look at any other replacement, like Vernon Wells out in Toronto.
Do you think the Twins need to sign a veteran starting pitcher? If so, who would you choose?
We have to wait until Radke “officially” retires. Then I would love to go after Jamie Moyer. He would be the perfect replacement to Radke. He also can teach our young pitchers (Baker) it’s not all about the power, but about location and control. Add in the fact that Carlos Silva is still technically with the team.
What do you think should happen with guys like Luis Rodriguez, Jason Tyner, Lew Ford, and Rondell White?
I would not like to see Rondell back. He’s a liability at left field, and if we let him DH, he looks lost. As for the others, we can keep them for depth. As long as i don’t see any of them starting, I’m fine with them.
Do you think Liriano will stay healthy next year or will he need surgery?
Liriano is a huge question mark going in next season. The worst thing about his injury, no one can figure what exactly it is.
What guys would you try and sign for the team next year?
SP- (Jamie) Moyer, 3B- (Hank) Blalock– he is being shopped. He would be the answer to our 3rd base problems. If we can make the right deal, he would be awesome. LF- Frank Catalanotto– free agent, fits our team perfect. Great speed, glove, and makes good contact. I have to disagree on Moyer; he’s 44 years old, and was an average pitcher (which is fine) about 5 years ago, but I think he should hang it up.
Going off of that question, what would your batting order look like?
1- Catalanotto- LF

2- Mauer- C

3- Cuddyer- RF

4- Morneau- 1B

5- Hunter (Vernon Wells)-CF

6- Blalock- 3B

7- Kubel- DH…. until he heals up.

8- Castillo- 2B

9- Bartlett- SS

I think I’m dreaming………the players that I named aren’t that hard to get, but I doubt Ryan will go after them.
If you had to single out one or two players, who would you blame for the Twins’ ALDS loss?
Gardy, for not getting these guys prepared to play. And he did a real poor job managing the game. Especially the best bullpen in baseball. Crain? Why would you bring this guy in with the game on the line and we’re facing elimination? Neshek!!, Nathan!!……….. sorry you’re getting me worked up with that question.
What do you think of Nevin’s performance as a Twin? Should we release him or bring him back?
What performance? Did i miss anything?…… this guy is washed up, let him go
What do you think of the Twins releasing Gassner, Jones, and Tiffee?
To be honest, I’ve never seen any of them. But I trust our judging of talent, we rarely let a good player slip. Except for Ortiz!!Sad
as for Tiffee, he was never part of anything.
I’m a big fan of Tiffee, but hope to see him succeed elsewhere. Jones was supposed to be a good prospect, but was out I think half the year with an injury.
If the Twins could sign one of the following big-name players, who would you most want to see as a Twin and why?: Alex Rodriguez, Alfonso Soriano, Carlos Lee, Barry Zito, Jermaine Dye, or Frank Thomas?
We’re not known to be the big spenders, but i would like Zito or Thomas. The A’s don’t have the cap space to sign both, but that’s too much to ask…. I would be happy with Blalock, Moyer, and/or Catalanotto.

Thanks Rasheed!

I said in my last entry that there would be a post up tonight about the Twins’ minor league teams. Sorry but that isn’t happening, yet. Look for that sometime next week.