Yep, I'm the one.
The one that slammed the Twins for trading Frank Viola to the Mets for Rick Aguilera and Kevin Tapani.
A Staples-Motley teacher/coach reminds me of that column every time I see him.
I'm also the one who criticized the A.J. Pierzynski trade for Joe "Never Heard of Him" Nathan and the Eric Milton trade for Carlos "Sinkerball" Silva and Nick "Prime Time" Punto.
And, the one who was critical of letting Kenny Rogers, Eddie Guardado and LaTroy Hawkins sign elsewhere.
To a knee-jerk reactor like myself it always seems the Twins get the short end of the stick when they make a trade.
But, after nearly every one of these moves turned out in the Twins' favor, it's time to eat a little crow.
The Twins know what they're doing when it comes to evaluating players. They unearth hidden gems of talent.
Or they've been incredibly lucky.
In 2004, Nathan has blossomed into a lights-out closer. He has saved all but three of 47 chances in his first season as a closer. He has blown away opposing hitters with 95 mph gas.
Silva won 14 games in his first season as a starter and will be No. 3 in the playoff rotation. Although opponents hit .300 against him he finds a way to win.
Punto is a rocket-armed utility player with blazing speed who has yet to prove his value due to injury. He was the likely successor to Christian Guzman at short next season but that likely won't happen. The enigmatic Guzman is having a decent season during a contract year and likely will be resigned.
I can't remember wanting to watch the Twins more than this season even though I only catch a few innings here and there. Here are a few reasons why.
* Lew Ford. Where did this guy come from? In a trade with Boston in 2000. He's blessed with great speed, can play any outfield position and hit .300. Had the Twins known how good Ford would be they could have saved $18 million and not signed Shannon Stewart but he's an impact player.
* Justin Morneau. The Twins drafted him in 1999. He has made everyone quickly forget Doug Mientkiewicz although he doesn't possess Mientkiewicz's defensive skills. He could be the franchise's first legitimate power hitter since Harmon Killebrew. He has a chance to drive the ball out of the park every at bat.
* Nathan. You have to admire the consistency of any athlete who hardly ever falters. He endured a difficult stretch in August but has rebounded. He can throw the ball through a brick wall.
* Torii Hunter. My favorite, ever since interviewing him at Washington Middle School during a Twins Winter Caravan. He's charming, engaging and sincere. His personality comes across on every TV interview. He's not a .300 hitter but is a solid 20 home run, 75 RBI player and a magnificent defensive player, better than Kirby Puckett.
* Johan Santana. He's locked in and should win the Cy Young Award. Hitters have had no chance against him. He deserves a monster contract. Any left-hander like him deserves a long-term deal, probably approaching $20 million for three years.
* Jason Kubel and Terry Tiffee, two first-year players, Tiffee at third base, a likely replacement for Corey Koskie, and Kubel in right field, probably replacing Jacque Jones. I hate to see Koskie or Jones leave. Both are solid. But Tiffee and Kubel are younger and more affordable and may one day be as talented.
Unfortunately, I don't think these Twins will go deep into the postseason. They struggle to beat the Yankees, at home or at Yankee Stadium.
Remember. This is the opinion of a guy who thinks the Twins have been hosed every time they make a move.
And, I may be eating more crow in a few weeks.
Mike Bialka, sports editor, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 855-5861.
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