Quick Hits: Volume CLXXIII

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- There's a decent possibility that US Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh will have his confirmation voted upon by the Senate this week. While Christine Blasey Ford's allegations of sexual assault against Kavanaugh seem to be collapsing due to a lack of corroborating evidence, there's still an air of believability to her story. Whether or not Kavanaugh was perpetrator remains the salient question.

With that said, it would be suuuuuuper helpful if President Trump, who appeared at a rally in Mississippi on Tuesday, didn't resort to commentary which some might construe as mockery of Dr. Ford's testimony.

It’s possible to criticize Ford’s testimony without mocking it, but that’s not what Trump’s doing here. He’s entertaining the crowd by making fun of her argument, and they’re eating it up. Given the tenor of the character assassination going on and the Democratic machinations that brought us to this point, it’s hardly the worst of what we’ve seen. Still, at this particular moment it’s notably impolitic and won’t make it any easier to get the needed votes from Senate Republican holdouts like Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, and Jeff Flake. Just to underscore that danger, Flake called Trump’s remarks “appalling” on NBC’s Today show.

Naturally, senators should judge Kavanaugh's confirmation based on merit as well as his testimony surrounding the assault allegations as opposed to punishing him for Trump's obligatory bluster. Unfortunately, the "guilt by association" mantra is ever-present in Washington today, particularly in the minds of "resistance" Dems and "#NeverTrump" Republicans.

- Imagine 20 years ago (heck, maybe even ten years ago) if satire publication The Onion had put forth the following headline:

Object to gender identity? Minnesota debuts ‘non-binary’ option on driver’s license

I don't know if satirical outlets even have editors. If they did, even they would have indicated this particular parody is too far-fetched.

- I, for one, wasn't overly shocked by this latest transaction made by the Local Nine.

The Minnesota Twins have relieved Paul Molitor of his duties as manager but hope to keep him with the organization in a different role next season.
Molitor, 62, compiled a 305-343 record over four seasons as manager. The Twins went 78-84 this season and finished 13 games behind the first-place Cleveland Indians after entering spring training with expectations of competing in the American League Central.
"This wasn't about our record this year. This is about what we think is best as we continue to grow a young team in the direction toward being a championship contender," said chief baseball officer Derek Falvey.
"I fully respect that decision," Molitor said in a statement distributed by the team. "I will forever be grateful for the opportunity they gave me to serve in the role as manager for these past four years. I'm going to consider their genuine offer to serve in a different capacity to positively impact the Twins from a different role."

When Falvey and General Manager Thad Levine assumed their roles after the 2016 season, they were told specifically by owner Jim Pohlad that Molitor was to retain his role as manager. Inexplicably, the Twins made the postseason in 2017 despite losing 103 games the year before. But even though he won American League Manager of the Year for the '17 campaign, Molitor almost was not brought back in 2018. The bottom line is any new front office is going to want to bring in their own people, so Molitor in a sense got a 2-year reprieve.

With that in mind, the Twins' brass of Falvey and Levine now has a clean slate. Not only do they get to decide whom their field manager will be but they'll have substantial money to spend on payroll. As of today, the Twins only have $32.5 million committed in guaranteed contracts for 2019. If indeed they're given authorization to have a payroll similar to 2018, that leaves approximately $70 million at their disposal for arbitration eligible players, free agents, etc.

It's not a stretch to say that this offseason will be what ultimately determines the Twins' on-field success over the next few years. Choose wisely, gents.

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