Posted at 9:01 AM on June 27, 2008
by Steve Rudolph
I was planning to write about how amazed I am by the Twins current run, but for some reason I can't stop thinking about basketball today.
When I went to sleep last night I thought the Timberwolves had added a promising and talented young player (O.J. Mayo), but put them in a position of not having enough playing time to go around and didn't address some of there most glaring weaknesses.
Still half-asleep when the news of the trade came over the radio, my first reaction was McHale blew it once again. Now that I've had some coffee and have read a little more on the trade, I think this might be one of his better deals. (Although he had set the bar quite low.)
O.J. Mayo will be a better NBA player than Kevin Love and will make an impact in the league right away. I don't think there's a lot of debate on those points. But trading Mayo to the Memphis Grizzlies makes the Wolves a better team.
It's a classic case of addition through subtraction. Marko Jaric is not an NBA point guard and his hefty contract was limiting the club's ability to make future moves. Antoine Walker was making even more money next season and had the potential to be a disruptive force.
So the Wolves got rid of two players with big salaries who didn't fit into their future plans and added a great three-point shooter in Mike Miller (something they've never had), a nice low-post player to complement Al Jefferson in Love, and a 7-footer (Jason Collins) that makes them more physical in the paint.
Am I delusional or after countless draft-day flops, did McHale finally get it right?
Posted at 8:03 PM on June 27, 2008
by David Zingler
Everybody needs a break and Brian Buscher got his when he became property of the Twins organization in 2007 after 4 years of toiling in anonymity in the Giants farm system. Buscher played 3rd base - a well-documented void on the team - and hit over .300 in two minor stops.
Now the 27-year-old is tightening his grip on the hot corner and the Twins are playing their best baseball since 2006. I sat down with Buscher before tonight's game for a quick Q&A:
DZ: You are hitting like crazy and the team is winning, I imagine you are having the time of your life right now.
BUSCHER: It's great. It's always awesome when you are winning. That's the name of the game: winning.
DZ: How about that homerun you hit the other day off Trevor Hoffman; where does that rank among your career highlights?
BUSCHER: It felt good, but the play I made yesterday - keeping the tying run from scoring in the 6th in San Diego (a perfect strike to Mike Redmond to nail Kevin Kouzmanoff at home plate) - means more to me than the homerun.
DZ: What's it like going up against guys like Hoffman, Greg Maddux and Randy Johnson - guys you grew up watching - are you kind of in awe of them at first and how do you get over that?
BUSCHER: At first (you are in awe), but you kind of go out there and compete against them. They really don't know who you are, so I guess that might help a little bit. It's great facing them.
DZ: Last year you came over to the Twins organization, started in Double A, moved up to Triple A, got a taste of the big leagues and won (the organization's) Minor League Player of the Year (award). Talk about what the Twins organization means to your career.
BUSCHER: It's been a big help. They took a chance on me and I've tried to make the most of it. I am just happy to have a jersey on, that's the main thing. If you have the jersey on, you can keep playing. Somebody's always watching you, so you have to be aware of that.
DZ: It takes a little luck to stick in the big leagues: somebody has to get hurt, you have to play the right position like you have this year - is that just something where you have to keep your nose to the grindstone and hope something good happens?
BUSCHER: Yeah. I got sent down out of spring training and I just took it for what it is worth. They didn't need me at that point and there were things I needed to work on and I did that. I just played the game right and that's just the way the Twins do it and it worked out good for me.
DZ: The experience you got last year - just getting a taste up here - how has that helped you this year?
BUSCHER: It's helped a lot. I had an idea what it is like, what it is all about. Last year I went to minor league spring training, I didn't know any of the guys. When I got called up last year, it took awhile to get adjusted. I had to get adjusted to them, they also had to get adjusted to me...I feel pretty comfortable now.
DZ: Which of your teammates have you sort of hit it off with so far; quickly become friends with?
BUSCHER: Pretty much all of them. Justin (Morneau) - last year he took me under his wing, let me stay at his place, which is great for me. I kind of followed in his footsteps, he showed me the ropes pretty much and made things easy for me. Everybody is great on this team.
DZ: When go up-and-down and never know where you are going to be, how do you deal with packing stuff - you have to travel pretty lightly, I imagine?
BUSCHER: Yeah, but it's something I've just gotten used to. You are always in and out of hotels in the minor leagues and it's the same here, it's just something you kind of get adjusted to.
DZ: Better hotels (in the big leagues)?
BUSCHER: (laughs) Yeah, a little bit better hotels.
(Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)