This is a bit of a grab bag of stuff that should probably end up filling out a post.
Wild hire Richards as Head Coach:
So we’re shaking the Penguins tree to see what falls to us in the front office, apparently. Todd Richards was a minor league coach for the Penguins before moving up to assistant coach of the San Jose Sharks. He’s had success everywhere he’s coached, so we’ll see how he does with a roster that (at least partially) wasn’t designed with his systems in mind. This hiring isn’t terribly surprising as new Wild GM Chuck Fletcher comes from the Pens organization and worked with Richards whilst there. As far as organizations to pilfer from, it doesn’t get much better than the current holders of the Stanley Cup.
A note from Russo at the Strib points out that Fletcher will have his name on the Cup as part of the Penguins. That’s pretty efficient work, he’s hired as the Wild GM, and within a month he’s got his name on the Stanley Cup. A sign of things to come?
The difference betwixt the old coach and the new one are amusing (to me, anyway)
Lemaire – respected, established, defensive minded coach is paired with a team that had an all time franchise record of 0-0-0.
Richards – career NHL head coaching record of 0-0-0. A young, apparently offensive-minded coach paired with Wild that are expected to compete for division titles and playoff berths.
I am most interested to see how much of Richards’ offensive strategies will require roster turnover. Related to that, how long will it be until Fletcher and Richards have “their guys” in place. I’m not terribly optimistic for next season (pending Gaborik), but I am very interested in what this team will look and play like.
Swarzak, Morales, Crain, Perkins, Span, Pridie Transactions
Swarzak got sent down to make room for Perkins return. He pitched well while he was up here, and he’s got to be the first guy off the Red Wings if the Twins need a spot starter. Calling up Morales didn’t make a whole lot of sense as Span and Cuddyer were out at the time, leaving the Twins with only three outfielders on their roster. Thankfully, they were in a National League park, otherwise we may have seen a Twins DH who was hitting less than .200 (Tolbert, Buscher, take your pick we’ve got all kinds of those players right now).
The outfielder dilemma was addressed by Cuddyer receiving a cortisone injection and Span going on the 15-day DL. Pridie was called up to replace Span – although if he gets more than token playing time I have to say Gardy is just messing with us. Delmon-Gomez-Cuddyer works (rotate Kubel in when Mauer is at DH) and Pridie will be little help at the plate.
Jesse Crain was demoted to Rochester. No one can say they didn’t see this coming. Here’s Crain’s WPA (Win Probability Added) in the last two months.
For reference, three Twins relievers last season had more appearances with WPA < -.080 than the seven Crain has had since April 16. They were Matt Guerrier (13 in 76 appearances), Dennys Reyes (10 in 75 appearances), and Jesse Crain (13 in 66 appearances). That Crain racked up 7 of these bad outings in 18 games says something about how poorly he pitched and something about the state of the bullpen which forced Gardy to turn to Crain time and again.