Rambling On founder Erik Ritland and Twins analyst Peter Ripka bring you the best Twins coverage for the common fan. Come for the insight, stay for the irreverence.
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Twins analyst Peter Ripka discusses the Kepler and Polanco extensions, the Gonzalez signing, Buxton, baseball in blizzards, and more in this edition.
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What did you think of the extensions of Kepler (5 year, $35M) and Polanco 5 year, $25.75M)?
I really like them both. The Kepler deal is the most significant, as I expect him to keep developing at the pace he has and be a "late bloomer." This is partially because he grew up in Germany so he didn't play baseball year-round like the Hispanic nations and southern United States players do.
Polanco showed us two years ago what he could be. He unfortunately didn't give himself a chance to back it up because of PED issues. I believe the player he will be moving forward is the one we saw two years ago.
What did you think of the Twins two-year, $21M deal with Marwin Gonzalez?
Gonzalez hit a key homerun for the Astros in their World Series. He is a very quality utility player, a rich man's Nick Punto. It makes me excited because he can play every position and provide an insurance policy for rest days and injuries.
Do these moves change your view of what direction the team is heading in? Or of what their identity is?
I still think this team will be around the .500 mark. I'll give my official prediction on our first podcast though. To me, it more solidified the fact that they want to win games 10-8 rather than a 3-2.
Assuming that they won't be making any more moves, what areas do you think the Twins should have made more of an effort to patch up?
The bullpen. They didn't do enough to help correct the issues that were around last year. I hope I am pleasantly surprised.
Do you take any stock in Buxton bulking up and looking good so far this Spring?
I hope his current run this Spring is sustainable. Him bulking up can't hurt. If it means he is more durable then it is definitely a very good thing. We'll see if he can continue his production towards the end of the Spring when things are more even among pitchers and hitters.
How much snow do you think will be on the ground when the Twins open the season at Target Field on March 28? Is there anything baseball can do to curb this nonsense?
Well with the field heated there wont be any snow on the field, unless it snows during the games, which is possible. The fact that the season starts March 28th is absolutely asinine. Not only does baseball need to deal with the length of time games are taking but they also need to address the season length. The fact the the "October classic" is now played in mid November is a problem.
Peter Ripka is the original Rambling On podcast co-host and has been a contributor since its inception. He’s currently the Wild analyst, a position he’s held for several years, in addition to contributing to Rambling On's Beer and Baseball Twins commentary. A Wild and Twins season ticket holder, his writing combines the passion of a fan and the insight of a beat writer.