December 15, 2005
The Twins signed Tony Batista to a 1 year, $1.25 million contract. CW had its doubts from the beginning:
I hope there is more to the plan than this. Batista had some impressive homerun numbers five years ago, but wasn’t even in the Major Leagues in 2005. Batista is 32 years old, he doesn’t get on base (.298 career OBP, .272 in 2004- that would not even qualify as a good batting average), he strikes out a lot, and he can’t field 3B (19 errors in 2004, 20 in 2003).
Batista went on to do basically what we all expected. In 50 games he hit .236/.303/.388 with 5 homeruns. He did earn 15 walks, which seems like a minor miracle compared with his career walk rate (in 650 PAs in 2004 he managed to draw only 26 walks, the 15 walks in 2006 came in only 195 PAs).
The Tony Batista (and Juan Castro) era will likely be remembered as a comic footnote to a great 2006 season in Minnesota. When Batista was finally sent on his way in early June, the Twins were 28-34, in fourth place, and 11.5 games behind the division leaders in Detroit.
All the Twins did without Tony was go on a 68-32 run to end the season and win the division.