Citing factors including difficulties in negotiating a new lease at its longtime home of Xcel Energy Center, Minnesota Swarm team owner John Arlotta said it was time to move on. A new location is not yet determined but it will not be in the Twin Cities.
Toronto is 19-24 this season. That’s not good at all, in case you wanted a strong take on losing records.
But it has not been the fault, in the least, of the Blue Jays’ offense. Toronto actually leads all of MLB in runs scored with 223 (next-closest is 205 while the Twins are a very solid ninth at 183).
Most of the damage has been done by mashers such as Josh Donaldson, Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion, but Toronto is getting some supplementary help from some surprising sources: namely, from three former members of the Twins organization — Chris Colabello, Danny Valencia and Steve Tolleson.
All three were in the lineup Thursday when Toronto bashed its way to an 8-4 win over the Angels. And get this: Colabello started and played right field while batting cleanup for the best offense in baseball; Valencia batted seventh and played left field — and hit a home run. Tolleson went 2-for-2 with two walks and two runs scored while starting at 2B.
Colabello, you’ll recall, showed some big power (and also big holes in his swing) as a journeyman with the Twins in 2013 and 2014. The Jays picked him up this year, and in a limited sample — Colabello is often best in limited samples — he’s hitting .356 in 59 at bats with a .907 OPS.
Valencia finished third in the AL Rookie of the Year voting as the Twins’ regular third baseman in 2010; by 2011, he had regressed and by 2012 he was dispatched to Boston. He’s since played for Baltimore, Kansas City and now Toronto, gaining a foothold as a situational hitter. Like Colabello, he has exactly 59 ABs this year and has a .339 average with an .858 OPS.
Tolleson was drafted by the Twins in 2005 but never made it to the bigs with Minnesota. Oakland picked him up in 2010, and since then he’s had 326 career at bats with the A’s, Orioles and now the Jays. In limited action this year he has eight runs scored and a .794 OPS in 40 plate appearances.
This is not at all to suggest the Twins should have kept any of these players. Rather, it’s just to note both the oddity that all three found their way into the same lineup for the best offense in baseball … and to point out how some organizations have done well picking up situational hitters and squeezing value out of them.
You have questions; we have answers and opinions. Here's the latest edition of Vikings mailbag.
@MasterStrib Who will have a better first year in the NFL for the Vikings: Waynes, Kendricks or Clemmings? #VikingsST
— Judd Zulgad’s Hoodie (@JZHoodie) May 19, 2015
Good question, and I’d go with linebacker Eric Kendricks. He’s undersized at six feet and 232 pounds, but Kendricks might be the best bet among the three players listed. The UCLA product has great instincts and has the capability to become a three-down middle linebacker. He can also play weakside linebacker as well, which will only help Kendricks’ case to receive playing time early in the season.
As much as head coach Mike Zimmer complimented Waynes during rookie minicamp, it’s a tough adjustment playing cornerback from college to the NFL. While I was high on Waynes heading into the draft, I’m also realistic when I look at all the talented wide receivers in the NFL.
I’m not sure what to think about Clemmings yet given that he could possibly get a shot at playing guard. He’s still raw and needs to improve at both tackle positions. He’s only played two seasons at the position, switching from defensive line, so it’s best to hold off any assumptions until camp with Clemmings.
Then again, the Vikings drafted a player last year that only played his current position for two seasons in college. Some guy named Anthony Barr that I didn’t think would start in Week 1.
@MasterStrib will Adrian Peterson report to OTAs next week? #VikingsST
— Matt Pitcher (@MattPitcher3) May 21, 2015
I highly doubt he will. While it may seem beneficial to return with his teammates, it’s an optional event. Most big name players like Adrian Peterson hardly show up to organized team activities during most offseasons (Peterson showed up last year during Zimmer’s first season), so I wouldn’t expect this year to be any different.
Nobody should have a problem with Peterson not showing up to OTAs, either. If it truly mattered, it’d be mandatory. You know what you’re getting out of Peterson even after he missed almost all of last season. Those types of players don’t have much to prove in May. They’ll be ready by minicamp.
Now will Peterson report to mandatory minicamp next month? I don’t have a clue. We’ll see how the situation develops over the next few weeks.
@MasterStrib what’s the number one position battle to watch when training camp arrives?
— Derek Caron (@dcaron28) May 21, 2015
I think, without question, it’s what the Vikings do at left guard. It’s not the sexiest position battle, but it’s the most important battle because of the ramifications. It impacts two significant pieces offensively, quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and left tackle Matt Kalil. Bridgewater is coming off a season of inconsistent play from the entire offensive line, but he didn’t receive much help from his blind side. It also affects Kalil, who has to prove his worth this season and didn’t perform well with an aging Charlie Johnson on the left side last season.
The most logical solutions at this point are either Joe Berger, David Yankey or even switching right guard Brandon Fusco to left guard. It doesn’t appear as if Clemmings would be ready to play on the left side given he only played right tackle in college.
@MasterStrib will they still wear purple jerseys this year at home
— Ted Glover (@purplebuckeye) May 22, 2015
I’m hijacking this clearly sarcastic question to ask my own question regarding the Vikings jerseys.
Uni Watch released its NFL uniforms power rankings this week, and the Vikings were ranked 16th. Where’s the “trash” emoji when you truly need it?
That’s way too low.
The Vikings uniforms were terrible up until Nike redesigned them two years ago. Now, they should be ranked in the top 10. It’s such a clean look with the matte helmets and the minimalist jersey designs. The purple/white/purple look on the road is my favorite combination, though I’m also a big fan of the purple jerseys.
The Vikings jerseys should be ranked ahead of the Packers, Colts, Chiefs, Titans, Patriots, Giants and Jets on this list.
The Dolphins, ranked 17th, were also ranked too low. That’s another team that should belong in the top 10 after their uniforms were redesigned.