2004 Minnesota Twins season
The 2004 Minnesota Twins met their goal of three-peating as American League Central Division champions. The team was able to do this in spite of several new players and the absence of three former all-stars. Closer Eddie Guardado, set-up man LaTroy Hawkins, starter Eric Milton, and catcher A. J. Pierzynski had all been dealt prior to the beginning of the season, while first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz was traded midway through the season. The season had both highs – such as Johan Santana winning the Cy Young Award – and lows, such as highly anticipated rookie catcher Joe Mauer injuring his knee and playing for only 35 games. For the second year in a row, the team was not able to carry its regular season success into the post-season. The New York Yankees eliminated the Twins for the second year in a row in four games in the 2004 American League Division Series.
|2004 Minnesota Twins|
|American league Central Champions|
|Major League affiliations|
|General manager(s)||Terry Ryan|
(Bert Blyleven, Dick Bremer)
|Local radio||830 WCCO AM |
(Herb Carneal, John Gordon, Dan Gladden, Jack Morris)
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- 1 Offseason
- 2 Spring training
- 3 Regular season
- 4 Post Season
- 5 Player stats
- 6 Miscellaneous
- 7 Other post-season awards
- 8 Farm system
- 9 References
- 10 External links
- November 14, 2003: Traded catcher A. J. Pierzynski and cash to the San Francisco Giants. Received Pitchers Joe Nathan, Francisco Liriano, and Boof Bonser.
- November 20, 2003: Selected pitcher Matt Guerrier off waivers from the Pittsburgh Pirates.
- December 3, 2003: Traded pitcher Eric Milton to the Philadelphia Phillies. Received pitcher Carlos Silva, IF Nick Punto, and a player to be named later. The Philadelphia Phillies sent Bobby Korecky (minors) (December 17) to the Minnesota Twins to complete the trade.
- December 18, 2003: Signed Henry Blanco as a free agent.
- January 8, 2004: Signed Aaron Fultz as a free agent.
- February 6, 2004: Signed José Offerman as a free agent.
The Twins posted a 20–10 record in spring training, the best of any major league team in 2004. This includes split-squad games but not ties or exhibition games.
For a playoff team, the offense was not strong. This was partly due to injuries and starters absent from the lineup. Lew Ford surprised many by batting .299 in his first full year in the major leagues. Free agent acquisition José Offerman saw a majority of time in the designated hitter spot, but hit only .256 with two home runs. Shannon Stewart did hit .304, but injuries limited him to 378 at bats. In 107 at bats, Mauer was able to hit .307. In his absence, catcher Henry Blanco hit only .206. First baseman Doug Mientkiewicz's hitting continued to decline, as he hit .246 with five home runs before being dealt to the Boston Red Sox.
Nine players hit ten or more home runs. When the Twins hit their record 225 homers in 1963, only eight players reached double figures.
Brad Radke was the opening day starter, but he was soon overshadowed by Johan Santana's Cy Young year. Radke, Santana, and Carlos Silva anchored the starting rotation. Unfortunately, Kyle Lohse had a bad year that saw his ERA balloon to 5.34, while the fifth spot in the rotation was nebulous. (41-year-old Terry Mulholland made 15 starts, while Seth Greisinger made nine.)
The Twins set their club record of 32 consecutive scoreless innings in June, which included back-to-back-to-back shutouts by Radke, Santana and Lohse.
In the bullpen, Joe Nathan blew everyone away during his first year as a closer at any level, earning 44 saves with a 1.62 ERA. Juan Rincón and J. C. Romero continued playing as excellent set-up men, while the rest of the bullpen was weaker. Romero set a Twins record by going 36 innings over 32 appearances without allowing a run to score.
Blanco and Mauer (when he played) were solid catchers, both with .991 fielding percentages. Mientkiewicz was a one-time Gold Glove winner, but his successor Justin Morneau surprised people with his .995 fielding percentage. Luis Rivas was dependable at second base, while Cristian Guzmán could turn exceptional plays at shortstop. (It was the routine ones that fooled him.) Corey Koskie was defensively average, while the outfield quartet of Hunter, Jacque Jones, Shannon Stewart and Ford were solid – especially Hunter, who won a Gold Glove.
|Chicago White Sox||83||79||0.512||9||46–35||37–44|
|Kansas City Royals||58||104||0.358||34||33–47||25–57|
Record vs. opponentsEdit
2004 American League Records
Sources:              
- April 9: The Toronto Blue Jays selected Mike Nakamura off waivers.
- April 11: Signed Joe Beimel as a free agent.
- April 13: Signed Terry Mulholland as a free agent.
- July 31, 2004: As part of a 4-team trade, traded Doug Mientkiewicz to the Boston Red Sox. Received Justin Jones (minors) from the Chicago Cubs. In addition, the Boston Red Sox sent Nomar Garciaparra and Matt Murton to the Chicago Cubs; the Montreal Expos sent Orlando Cabrera to the Boston Red Sox; and the Chicago Cubs sent Brendan Harris, Alex Gonzalez, and Francis Beltrán to the Montreal Expos.
- November 23, 2004: Signed Juan Castro as a free agent.
- November 24, 2004: Signed Mike Redmond as a free agent.
|2004 Minnesota Twins|
The Twins entered and exited the postseason almost exactly the same as the previous season, losing to the Yankees, 3 games to 1. The Yankees would go on to be upset by the Boston Red Sox on their way to breaking the curse.
Starters by positionEdit
Note: Pos = Position; G = Games played; AB = At bats; H = Hits; Avg. = Batting average; HR = Home runs; RBI = Runs batted in
Note: G = Games played; AB = At bats; H = Hits; Avg. = Batting average; HR = Home runs; RBI = Runs batted in
Note: G = Games; IP = Innings pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts
Note: G = Games; W = Wins; L = Losses; SV = Saves; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts
- Johan Santana won the Cy Young Award, becoming the third player in Minnesota Twins history to do so. The first two were Jim Perry in 1970 and Frank Viola in 1988.
- The lone representative of the Twins in the All-Star Game was closer Joe Nathan.
- On July 25, Paul Molitor was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. He is the second St. Paul native to enter (following Dave Winfield) and, from 1996 on, has played with, coached for and managed the Twins.
- The highest paid Twin in 2004 was Brad Radke at $10,750,000; followed by Torii Hunter at $6,500,000.
- Earl Battey was inducted into the Twins Hall of Fame.
Other post-season awardsEdit
- Calvin R. Griffith Award (Most Valuable Twin) – Johan Santana
- Joseph W. Haynes Award (Twins Pitcher of the Year) – Johan Santana
- Bill Boni Award (Twins Outstanding Rookie) – Joe Mauer
- Charles O. Johnson Award (Most Improved Twin) – Juan Rincón
- Dick Siebert Award (Upper Midwest Player of the Year) – Keith Foulke
- The above awards are voted on by the Twin Cities chapter of the BBWAA
- Carl R. Pohlad Award (Outstanding Community Service) – Torii Hunter
- Sherry Robertson Award (Twins Outstanding Farm System Position Player) – Jason Kubel
- Jim Rantz Award (Twins Outstanding Farm System Pitcher) – Scott Baker
- A. J. Pierzynski Statistics Baseball-Reference.com
- "MLB Spring Training Standings – 2004". ESPN. Retrieved July 23, 2017.
- Johnson, Lloyd, and Wolff, Miles, ed., The Encyclopedia of Minor League Baseball, 3rd edition. Durham, North Carolina: Baseball America, 2007
- Baseball America 2005 Annual Directory