What Do The Twins Do Now?

It’s only May 17th, but for the Minnesota Twins, the 2011 season is essentially over. Losers of nine straight, they now stand just 12-27 and are 13 1/2 games behind the first place Indians. They’ve been atrocious at nearly every aspect of the game; they rank last in wOBA and last in xFIP, a pretty awful combination. Even the eventual return of Joe Mauer won’t be enough to right the ship – there are just too many problems to overcome to save this season, and the Twins need to start playing for 2012 and beyond.

The problem is that I’m not sure how much they can actually do. For most teams, when they fall out of the race they promote youngsters from the farm and put the veterans on the trade block to try and add a few prospects to the organization. The Twins don’t really have all that much in the way of interesting assets to sell off, though.

They’ll be able to move Jim Thome when he gets back from the disabled list, but he’s a 40-year-old DH, so the market for him will be limited. The other veterans in the final year of their contract are Michael Cuddyer, Joe Nathan, Jason Kubel, and Matt Capps, and of those, only Kubel is likely to have any trade value at the moment – the other three have salaries that all outweigh any positive value they contribute on the field. Moving Kubel might not generate much of a return in a trade either, since they’ll essentially be marketing him to the same teams they’re selling Jim Thome to and effectively giving prospective buyers a choice of which left-handed DH they prefer.

If the Twins are willing to eat most of the remaining money due to Nathan and Capps, they’ll be able to find new homes for their closers, but a little bit of salary relief is probably the best thing they can hope for in return. Cuddyer might not even bring them that. There is no prospect bonanza coming when they initiate a sell-off.

Beyond that, though, I’m not sure there’s a whole lot the Twins can do besides hope that key players improve. They’re committed to Justin Morneau through 2013 at $15 million per season, so replacing him isn’t really an option; they just have to hope he gets back some degree of what he had before the concussion. Likewise, there’s not much to be done with Francisco Liriano except hope he finds his velocity and command again – he has tanked his trade value at this point, and the team now needs to spend the rest of the year figuring out if he’s worth offering arbitration to at season’s end.

Finally, there’s the elephant in the room – Joe Mauer’s future. More than anything else, this issue will determine how long the franchise’s rebuilding might actually take. If Mauer can get back to being a regular catcher who can withstand the rigors of a full Major League season, then there might be hope that this drought could be a one year thing. The Twins will have money to spend this winter, still have the pieces of what could be a decent pitching staff in place, and having a healthy Mauer behind the plate would provide a huge boost to the offense.

But if they determine that Mauer is going to have to switch positions sooner than later, than this year presents an opportunity for them to make the switch. Rather than forcing him back behind the plate when he returns, they could use him as a DH and give him time at third base between games. If he becomes comfortable enough with the position, Danny Valencia isn’t someone you worry about displacing, and the team could give Mauer some time towards the end of the year to see if the position switch would work for him.

At least then the organization would be able to make long term arrangements at those positions. If Mauer’s situation is still up in the air, they can’t really pursue permanent solutions at spots that he might need to move to, forcing them to continue on with transitional players at 3B, DH, and possibly in a corner outfield. They’re also not going to acquire an upgrade over the likes of Drew Butera if the plan remains for Mauer to return to catching, but that leaves them in the same position they are now – without a real alternative if it doesn’t work.

Ideally, there would be better options for the Twins than experimenting with a position change for their best player, hoping their highly paid first baseman recovers quickly and dumping veterans for cost savings, but there are no easy fixes for this roster. The problems in Minnesota run deep, and without some good fortune, they might not be able to turn this thing around all that quickly.



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Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.


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DavidCEisen
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DavidCEisen
5 years 2 months ago

Let us get it over with: So it is safe to say the Twin’s are not the best team in baseball?

We all know this is going to dominate the comments right?

B
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B
5 years 2 months ago

Twins fan here. I’d settle for being better than the Astros at this point.

Small Sample Goodness
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Small Sample Goodness
5 years 2 months ago

I’d settle for being better than the Red Wings.

TFINY
Member
TFINY
5 years 2 months ago

New Britain?

reillocity
Member
reillocity
5 years 2 months ago

I’m sure they would gladly take the #1 draft pick in 2012 if you folks don’t want it.

Baron Samedi
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Baron Samedi
5 years 2 months ago

ib4 #6org

adohaj
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adohaj
5 years 2 months ago

I KNOW RIGHT

Ryan
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Ryan
5 years 2 months ago

Is unheard of for a player to come back off the DL and after a while go back to catching?

Alan Selig
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Alan Selig
5 years 2 months ago

Short answer to your question Mr. Cameron: Contraction

slamcactus
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slamcactus
5 years 2 months ago

I laughed.

Cidron
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Cidron
5 years 2 months ago

not gonna happen. not with a brand new stadium. taxpayers would lynch those that made the stadium happen (politically).

Yinka Double Dare
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Yinka Double Dare
5 years 2 months ago

What to do now? In situations like this I like to use swearing.

EdwardM
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EdwardM
5 years 2 months ago

Bautista’s explanation for his success in Minneapolis: “…they throw me a lot of strikes.”

Small Sample Goodness
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Small Sample Goodness
5 years 2 months ago

Pitching to contact baby!

chuckb
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chuckb
5 years 2 months ago

Never underestimate the ability of the Cardinals to overvalue the effect a veteran closer might have on a pennant race. The Twins may get something back for Capps or Nathan after all.

B
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B
5 years 2 months ago

Why would you have Capps or Nathan when the Padres will be dealing Bell?

chuckb
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chuckb
5 years 2 months ago

As a Cards’ fan, I don’t want to trade for any of them…but we will anyway.

Bryz
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5 years 2 months ago

Someone’s going to miss out or won’t want to pay the price in the Bell sweepstakes, right? Capps will have some takers.

mgraves
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mgraves
5 years 2 months ago

Fire Bill Smith.

TFINY
Member
TFINY
5 years 2 months ago

I’ll jump on this bandwagon.

mike wants wins
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mike wants wins
5 years 2 months ago

Agreed.

adohaj
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adohaj
5 years 2 months ago

no

BX
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BX
5 years 2 months ago

If the Twins were to eat part of Matt Capps’ salary, then how has Capps’ trade value decreased since last year. They control him for a year less, sure, but he was going to be a non-asset after the 2010 season anyway due to his arbitration payday, so how has his trade value declined?

And we all know relievers get overpaid for at the trade deadline all the time and teams aren’t getting smarter with not overpaying for bullpen help.

TFINY
Member
TFINY
5 years 2 months ago

Because 1) the Twins greatly overpaid for him anyway, and 2) part of his value was in his “cheap” price last year, which he will no longer have.

BX
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BX
5 years 2 months ago

Relievers generally get hilariously overpaid for at the deadline anyway.

If the Twins ate enough salary to make Capps cheap money-wise, they should be able to get decent value back. Maybe buy-low on a struggling prospect (e.g. James McDonald and Wilson Ramos from 2010 deadline).

Trotter76
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Trotter76
5 years 2 months ago

Detroit Tigers, I’m looking in your direction! *cough, cough* Benoit *cough*

DrBGiantsfan
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5 years 2 months ago

The Twins need to re-evaluate their whole scouting and drafting philosophy. No quick fixes. They’ve drafted too many toolsy HS position players who have taken too long to pan out. Too many contact, low K pitchers with very limited ceilings.

slamcactus
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slamcactus
5 years 2 months ago

For one, replace Brian Duensing with Kevin Slowey.

Bryz
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5 years 2 months ago

Duensing’s been pretty decent so far. His FIP and xFIP haven’t backed up his career ERA so far, but with the exception of his last start, he’s done pretty well as a starter.

If it wasn’t for Pavano’s contract and veteran status and Francisco Liriano having almost no value as a reliever, either one of them would probably be swapped for Slowey.

Bryz
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5 years 2 months ago

Oops, meant to say “but with the exception of his last start, he’s done pretty well as a starter this year.”

Barkey Walker
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Barkey Walker
5 years 2 months ago

Duensing is their best starter. Replace Liriano with Slowey.

DrBGiantsfan
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5 years 2 months ago

Why is everybody so obsessed with Kevin Slowey? Yeah, he has a low walk rate, but beyond that he’s a flyball pitcher with a low K rate and pedestrian velocity. I just don’t see it myself.

adohaj
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adohaj
5 years 2 months ago

Slowey is overrated

slamcactus
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slamcactus
5 years 2 months ago

Whups, that wasn’t meant to be a reply.

Although since I already replied, I’m not sure the twins’ drafting/scouting philosophy is the problem. They’ve been hit by something of a perfect storm of bad conditions – one star injured, one star who looked on the verge of major breakout a year ago now trying to battle back from concussion, a third star who’s inexplicably lost his command and his velocity, and an aging DH who was one of their best hitters last year has been limited to 20-ish games. Each one of these misfortunes could be absorbed, but taken together (along with the injury to Nishioka and the complete and total collapse of Delmon Young) they’re pretty catastrophic.

“The process” has worked pretty well for the Twins in the past. This year they’ve had absolutely crap luck. I don’t think it’s fair to blame the FO for this. Sure it’d be nice if the squad had a couple more fireballers, but Duensing, Baker, and Blackburn have xFIPs of 4.22, 3.64, and 4.10 respectively. Francisco Liriano’s 5.51 and Carl Pavano’s 4.88 at the top of the rotation hurt the team far more.

Bryz
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5 years 2 months ago

I disagree. Last season, the Twins had a terrible bench that consisted of Drew Butera, Jason Repko, Alexi Casilla/Nick Punto, and Matt Tolbert after Morneau’s concussion. Thome’s resurgence at the plate and good seasons by Delmon Young and Danny Valencia masked the lack of bats off the bench.

This season, the rash of injuries have put the lack of bench depth on display. The Twins put their faith in Joe Nathan, and he showed that he wasn’t fully ready. Behind Nathan and Capps, they went cheap (and in some cases, misguided) with their relievers, such as Dusty Hughes and Jim Hoey. Glen Perkins was even a gamble and lucky for them, it’s paid off so far.

At catcher, they committed to Drew Butera so much that they dumped every other decent catcher. Wilson Ramos for Capps and Jose Morales for minor leaguer Paul Bargas (who is now fighting for his life against brain cancer, unfortunately), and now with Mauer out they’ve had to turn to Butera, STEVE HOLM!, and Rene Rivera. None of them have hit this year.

The infield (except for Morneau) has been a revolving door as they’ve never found long-term solutions for any of the positions. Michael Cuddyer continues to play every day and bat in the middle of the lineup. They just seem to ignore areas of need or attempt to fix them with gambles and/or short-term fixes.

In the past, winning and relative health of the starters masked the lack of depth within the system. But now with everyone hurt and/or playing poorly, it’s shown that the entire organization is lacking in several areas.

The only thing I can really say is out of their control is that the whole pitching staff has basically lost their ability to limit walks, and practically the entire offense is struggling. It’s absolutely baffling.

Dustin
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Dustin
5 years 2 months ago

I think that concussed player already had a breakout when he won an MVP.

slamcactus
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slamcactus
5 years 2 months ago

Justin Morneau’s wOBA the year he won his bogus MVP (also known as the year he was the 2nd-most valuable bat on his own team): .388 Justin Morneau’s wOBA pre-concussion last year: .447.

It’s possible for guys who are already good to break out. If a .59 point uptick in wOBA isn’t a breakout, I don’t know what is. It’s approximately the same gap between the current offensive performances of Ryan Theriot and Mark Teixiera.

slamcactus
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slamcactus
5 years 2 months ago

“This season, the rash of injuries have put the lack of bench depth on display.”

How exactly that the fault of the team’s scouting/drafting philosophy?

Yes, Bill Smith could have done a better job filling out the roster. Nobody disputes that. I’m just saying it’s unfair to blame the team’s scouting philosophy for an injury-fueled team-wide collapse at the big-league level.

Sean
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Sean
5 years 2 months ago

Over the past 10 years, the Twins have made the playoffs 6 times. They haven’t had a losing season once during that (denard) span as well. I’d say their approach seems to be working, this year obviously notwithstanding. I trust the 10 years of success over 1 bad season.

Though Dave is absolutely right that there isn’t much the Twins can do, except hope a big-market team overvalues a middle reliever or the impact of a big bat off the bench.

JR
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JR
5 years 2 months ago

Nothing lasts forever. Margins are tight for small market teams; a few off years of drafting and developing, or a couple unlucky big league moves can end a run like that pretty quickly.

BX
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BX
5 years 2 months ago

The Twins aren’t a small market team anymore. Sorry, you can’t have a payroll above 100MM and be considered “small market.”

Tim_the_Beaver
Member
Tim_the_Beaver
5 years 2 months ago

@JR

true. see Oakland Athletics

BILL@TPA
Guest
5 years 2 months ago

I think their “scouting and drafting philosophy” is phenomenal. That’s the one thing that’s kept them near the top for most of the past decade. It’s their development and coaching philosophies, and their acquisition (and disposal) of players already at the MLB level, that needs a ton of work.

DrBGiantsfan
Guest
5 years 2 months ago

The Twins got Mauer with a #1 overall pick. Then there is Morneau and one big trade with the Giants. Beyond that, where is the stream of talent flowing in from the farm system, or from free agency, or from anywhere else over the last 5 seasons?

TJ
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TJ
5 years 2 months ago

I would like to submit the possibility that the #6 ranking is cursed. Any team team that gets it will be relagated to their respective division’s cellar the following season.

Spinal Tap Drummer
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Spinal Tap Drummer
5 years 2 months ago

Curses don’t exist. They’re just instances where you’re predisposed to notice coincidences. *boom*

Schu
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Schu
5 years 2 months ago

Kind of makes the Ramos trade look even worse now doesn’t it?

fred
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fred
5 years 2 months ago

Not really…. it looked really bad at the time… The ‘fading prospect’ tag got tossed on him way too quickly when his batting suffered after the jump to AAA. Plus there were people even back then wondering how long Mauer would be a full time catcher…. the only thing in my view that has possibly changed is the timeline on that.

Ramos still strikes out too much, but that trade looked really bad at the time and it still looks really bad now….

j6takish
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j6takish
5 years 2 months ago

Jim Thome to the Yankees? If Jorge doesn’t pull it together soon, they may need to fill the DH spot externally. I really want Big Jim to get 600 HR’s, but more importantly I want to see him get a ring. The Yankees aren’t doing so well this year, but what other playoff contender needs a DH? BoSox, Tigers, Rangers, Angels all have DH on lockdown. Maybe the Rays? Sam Fuld has kind of lost his magic, and Johnny Damon can still play a passable LF

Jim Lahey
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Jim Lahey
5 years 2 months ago

I bet Sam Fuld keeps playing, because of his defense, not his bat.

I doubt they want anything to do with putting Damon in the field regularly

Nocturne
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5 years 2 months ago

And if he doesn’t play, they have two prospects ready to take over for Sam. Tampa’s not a taker.

mike wants wins
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mike wants wins
5 years 2 months ago

1. Stop overvaluing “closers”.
2. Use methods developed after 1960 to evaluate players.
3. Hold underperformers (like coaches and players) accountable and fire them, don’t keep moving them around.
4. Don’t trade from positions of scarcity for fungible assets.
5. Don’t assume your backups will never have to play, and the defense matters more than hitting like my mom does.
6. Look at their scouting and development programs. They are not bringing up players at a sufficient rate with high or even medium ceilings. The also don’t do the little things well anymore (like throw to the right base, or not get picked off). Even their most ardent supporters (like Sinker and Seth Stohs) have been saying that for a couple of years.
7. Trade any veteran over 30 for whatever you can get. Eat most/all of the salary to get better players back.
8. Stop marginalizing players with “attitude” like Garza and somehow Slowey.
9. I guess I should go back to working…..

Small Sample Goodness
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Small Sample Goodness
5 years 2 months ago

Sounds good to me.

mike wants wins
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mike wants wins
5 years 2 months ago

Heh, I wasn’t sure if that was about 1-8, or #9!

Small Sample Goodness
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Small Sample Goodness
5 years 2 months ago

#9 may be the only one I disagree with.

Doctor_Teh
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Doctor_Teh
5 years 2 months ago

This is all too painfully true. Being a sabermetrics fan and growing up has made it really hard to support most moves the Twins make..

Barkey Walker
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Barkey Walker
5 years 2 months ago

I disagree with the premise of this post. Last year, when the Twins faced Seattle, I noticed that only Kubel was batting lower than 0.270, and that Seattle had only one batter over 0.270.

Basically, people were saying that there were a lot of “ifs” for the Twins this year, and all of them turned out “nope.”

* Jim Thome is on the DL
* Mauer is on the DL
* Morneau is still struggling from his injury (batting like a shortstop)
* Nishioka is on the DL, so we don’t know how he will pan out at second
* Liriano fell apart
* Pavano is having a career bad year. I don’t think that he has had this many poor starts in a row since ever
* Valencia, who batted like a corner infielder and had a good UZR last Fall, is batting poorly and fielding poorly
* Only two players are batting over 0.250
* Bill Smith traded every shortstop but the second backup (okay, that one wasn’t luck)

In addition, two things went well. Span is having a great year fielding in center and Kubel is earning his DH contract.

BTW, where was Span in all this? He is the highest UZR center fielder in the AL last I checked, and he is doing okay with the bat.

All this bad luck can’t stick–that is what mean reversion is all about. I’m not saying this team is going to the ALDS this year, but there is no reason to sell off the parts yet.

Fat Spiderman
Member
Fat Spiderman
5 years 2 months ago

It’s funny that you mention Seattle in your post, because what is happening with the Twins this season is almost exactly like what happened with the Mariners last year. Everything that could have possibly gone wrong, did go wrong. Furthermore, near the beginning of the season, there were a lot of expectation that Seattle’s underperforming players would regress to their career norms, but for the most part they didn’t.

Bottom line, the Twins are out of the race already, and there is no guarantee that their players will regress.

Barkey Walker
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Barkey Walker
5 years 2 months ago

Regression is towards the mean (as in the mean of all players) not towards some true average, that is just called the law of large numbers.

mike wants wins
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mike wants wins
5 years 2 months ago

Jim Thome is 40, and won’t be back next year.
Pavano is pitching like he did with the Yankees and the Cleveland team. He has certainly been this bad before, and he’s not a spring chicken*
Valencia was mediocre in the minors. Maybe last year was the aberration.
Delmon Young is an awful fielder, and has one average year in his career (though he is young)
Nathan is in year 1 back from Tommy John.
Cuddeyer has 2 mediocre to bad years, 1 good year, and this year in his last four years, and he’s not getting younger.

*I was ok with the two year deal he got.

What part of the premise do you disagree with? You think it is realistic for them to contend this year? You think they should re-sign Thome, Cuddeyer, Capps, and Nathan?

The post was about what should they do to prep for next year? Why would he mention Span as someone to get rid of?

Barkey Walker
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Barkey Walker
5 years 2 months ago

The premise is that the team, if not adjusted, will suck this bad next year, and that their current win rate represents a good measurement of the team’s performance.

Nathan, Mauer, Morneua, Nishioka, and Liriano could well be top performers in 2012. Yes, they need a new SS, but it’s not like he has a three year deal.

reillocity
Member
reillocity
5 years 2 months ago

I’m not suggesting that Gardenhire be canned, but I’m thinking that the Twins must be the organization that’s gone the longest since firing a manager (Sep 13 1986 – victim = Ray Miller). Is this true?

Mr Punch
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Mr Punch
5 years 2 months ago

The Twins have, I think, done pretty well at signing and developing young players, under the circumstances – after all, they’re a small-market team and usually aren’t picking at the top of the draft. But shouldn’t a weak bench raise some questions? To succeed (keep succeeding, in this case) as a lower-payroll organization, putting together an effective low-cost bench (and bullpen) would seem to be key. This year the few stars are hurt, and it’s clear they weren’t surrounded by much.

robdeer
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robdeer
5 years 2 months ago

I always a little perplexed when people expect Joe Mauer to be able to just shift to 3B. Mauer presumably has the arm to play third, and the Twins should undoubtedly try it as a first option if they’re moving him out from behind the plate, but I’m skeptical a transition there will work. A corner OF spot or 1B, I can see, but 3B is not an easy defensive position to play, as a number of prospects who pass through 3B on their way to the OF or 1B can attest to.

It just highlights the hard spot the Twins are in as they try to plan for the future: is Mauer a C, a 3B, an OF, a 1B, or a DH?

mike wants wins
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mike wants wins
5 years 2 months ago

And it is a key question to answer. But I’m not sure they ahve the courage to stand up to Mauer on this. I hope they do.

Cidron
Member
Cidron
5 years 2 months ago

if his legs are semi near shot from catching, imo, i would not be in a hurry to put him in the OF, any slot. 3B or DH is about it, assuming that Morneau is still with team. If HE is gone, then Mauer might be good at 1B.

Dave
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Dave
5 years 2 months ago

How many wins do you think the Twins will end up with this year?

My overly-optimistic, extremely-biased guess: 86 wins.

mike wants wins
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mike wants wins
5 years 2 months ago

If they get to 86, Gardy should be manager of the year again. I started at 88-92, but now I’m down to 79 or so.

mike wants wins
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mike wants wins
5 years 2 months ago

And I think that is optimistic.

Jason B
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Jason B
5 years 2 months ago

Yeah, I’m gonna go with 75. Which is just a tad over .500 from here on out, which even seems a little optimistic but do-able with some better health, better breaks, better pitching, better hitting…basically better everything.

mgraves
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mgraves
5 years 2 months ago

The Twins are currently on a pace to win about 50 games. To win anything more than 70 games this year would require everything to go right the rest of the year (b/c they are not a good team, even if everyone comes back healthy).

CptSpandex
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CptSpandex
5 years 2 months ago

Bullshit, they’re not.

eric
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eric
5 years 2 months ago

12 x 4 = 48, so somewhere around 50

Barkey Walker
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Barkey Walker
5 years 2 months ago

Yeah, this team plus 10 million worth of players in the middle infield could never win the central division.

Cecil Fielder Jr.
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Cecil Fielder Jr.
5 years 2 months ago

I would still be willing to bet that the Twins finish better than the Tigers. They find a way to screw us every year.

Visnovsky
Member
Visnovsky
5 years 2 months ago

Fire Bill Smith

bill G
Guest
bill G
5 years 2 months ago

Check out the starting lineup tonight in Seattle. It is truly pathetic.

CptSpandex
Guest
CptSpandex
5 years 2 months ago

It’s easy to write an article like this when a team is struggling DUE TO INJURIES. Take 5 starters out of ANY team’s starting lineup and see how it fares. I guarantee you, not well.

Sure the team has a lack of depth in the minors, but that is a-typical for this franchise over the past decade. Bill Smith is one of the key culprits. The Ramos trade was terrible, the Delmon trade was questionable, and they got ZILCH for Johan (despite intense negotiations with the Red Sox that included names like: Ellsbury, Masterson, Lowrie, and Lester — wouldn’t any of them be nice on this team right now!)

Also, IMO, Gardenhire is a terrible manager. It is my opinion, after watching nearly every game under his watch, that this team has won in the past despite him. No self-respecting big league manager should commit so heavily to the likes of Nick Punto, Drew Butera, Alexi Casilla, Nick Blackburn, etc. over the years.

BUT, having said all that, the reason this team is 12-27 is due to injuries. Even Morneau, who is playing, is not back at full speed. I think this team has a nice run or two in it once it gets healthy — IF it gets healthy.

CptSpandex
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CptSpandex
5 years 2 months ago

And while I am at it, the Twins’ season is, “essentially over”? Dave, have you been paying attention to the AL Central the past 4-5 years?

Good lord!

eric
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eric
5 years 2 months ago

Theeee Siiiiimpsooooooooooooons~

mgraves
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mgraves
5 years 2 months ago

The team is 12-27 because it is not a very good team. The pitching is the worst in baseball–only five of the 12 belong on a major league roster right now.

The defense is poor.

Even if Mauer and Nishioka were healthy, someone would have to man short and Butera would still be “hitting” every fourth day. Young is having his worst Major League season. Morneau is not yet healthy. Valencia is having a sophomore slump. Cuddyer is in the downward phase of his career. Casilla should be sent through waivers to AAA.

Omar
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Omar
5 years 2 months ago

I agree with pretty much all the assertions you raise, but the point you conclude with. Ownership, Bill Smith, and Ron Gardenhire have ran this team like shit for quite sometime. However, since their division sucked and they’ve always somehow managed to get a few top flight players (Morneau, Mauer, Hunter, Santana, etc.) surrounded by enough mediocre players and win a crappy division in most years. So this was a long time coming, they need major shakeups in the team. The Ramos trade was stone cold stupid, there’s been other cataclysmic moves made in the team’s pasts. The team places a premium on defense at non premium positions, and allows weak hitting players to protrude the lineup.

A core of Mauer and Morneau is great starting point for a team that’s where Twins will likely will end up. They should trade any player over 30 they have for lottery ticket type prospects. Cut down the soft tossing righty tree and the weak hitting MINF tree while they’re at it. There’s not a whole whole lot they can do through free agency, but there’s always a team that will overvalue a reliever and there’s always a team that may be willing to trade an organizational type player for a bench bat. There’s hope yet for the Twins.

Barkey Walker
Guest
Barkey Walker
5 years 2 months ago

always over value relief? They lost their entire pen besides the two closers this off season. How much did those guys go for, and how much did the pay for players that replaced them?

I think they over value relief less than the league.

Cidron
Member
Cidron
5 years 2 months ago

OK. What is good with Minn.

In general, their scouting is ok to above. It is what has kept them competitive for the last decade or more. Their manager is good as well. Cant fault him for the lack of tools to work with. He has run a small market team for some time, successfully, on the field. I wouldn’t can the manager, or remake the scouting dept, (well, maybe a few more dollars for more results, but…).

Minnesota is still transitioning from a small market to a midmarket. They just now got a nice, new, stadium that should put people in the seats if the team puts even a modest team on the field.

IMO, they should try to keep M&M, but, the rest, send them packing, even if it means eating alot of salary. In the offseason, sign some “placeholder” free agents, to let what prospects you have (or will get in trades/drafts) grow. It will take a while and with some luck, Minn will be competitive again down the road, oh, in 5-7 yrs. Houston is finding out this reality as well. Their team got old and brittle in a hurry, and all of a sudden, fell out of competition. Like Minn, they suddenly couldnt hit, field, run, pitch, as well as win.

Minnesota’s luck, skill, whatever you want to call it that kept them competitive this last decade or so, has been running on fumes for the last two years.. now, its GASSED!

eric
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eric
5 years 2 months ago

Whats good with Min: Their division.

robdeer
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robdeer
5 years 2 months ago

Yep — that 94-win team last year was really running on fumes.

CircleChange11
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CircleChange11
5 years 2 months ago

The Twins should avoid the NFL mentality where they have to “do something” in response to a bunch of bad luck with injuries.

As we saw with the Rays earlier, only a few select teams can compensate for key injuries. Everyone else has to struggle through it without losing their head.

Liriano was due some regression the wrong way, but he’s also due some current regression the right way. Veteran players aren’t typically that bad for a whole season.

Mauer’s future health is a real concern just due to the unknown element. But there may be good news coming on that front.

Just get through 2011 without losing your mind and abandoning ship. Their big issues have been injuries. It happens.

Not sure how they all rate in terms of MLB potential, but they have some real burners in the OF in the minors. They could move toward a more run prevention philosophy in target field.

kab21
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kab21
5 years 2 months ago

It looks like Cameron still hates Kubel. They should be able to get a pretty good player for him if they traded him this year. He’s probably a type A FA and almost a lock to be offered arb. But I think the Twins try to find a way to keep him since they will be cutting ties with several other Twins at the deadline or in the offseason.

I also find it laughable that the Twins would have to eat salary to trade Capps. Saves and the special ‘closer’ title might be overrated but Capps is a pretty good RP’er and he’ll only be owed around 2.5M for the final two months of the season. And he looks like a lock to turn down an arb offer as a Type A FA since there is almost for sure some team out there that will offer a multiyear deal to him (and it will end up being an ugly contract in the end).

Larry
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Larry
5 years 2 months ago

Maybe they should sign Cuddyer to a 7-year $75 million contract since they already have Morneau and Mauer locked up.

kab21
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kab21
5 years 2 months ago

You’re a genius!

phareastPhils
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phareastPhils
5 years 2 months ago

The Phils may consider throwing a couple C prospects your way for Delmon Young in July, if you are out of contention. Even though he may not be off to a great start, he still had a hell of a year last year, and has good career avg. against lefties and w RISP…which is what the Phillies could really use right about now. 2 NL pennants and 2 WS appearances in the last 3 years, and were starting Ben Francisco, Michael Martinez, and John Mayberry Jr in the outfield..All this stupid talk about the EPIC 4 man rotation, well I ll tell you, Roy Cliff Cole and Roy arent going to go out and throw shutouts every game…We WILL be looking for corner outfield help come July, or at least I hope so

mike wants wins
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mike wants wins
5 years 2 months ago

I don’t think you can win in spite of your manager for as many years as they have. Gardy must be doing some things very well.

However, that doesn’t mean he can’t learn and get better.

1. Stop hitting MIF 2nd “because that’s what they do” when they have an OBP lower than the odds of the world ending this weekend.
2. Stop encouraging your best hitters to produce productive outs. All hitters should be trying to get a hit, not trying to hit a grounder to 2B.
3. Understand the concept of pitching leverage better in the 7-9th innings.
4. See number 1. Try really hard to remember #1.
5. Get over your dislike of certain kinds of attitudes.
6. Learn from Killebrew, and stop treating fans as ignorant on your shows.
7. Learn to forgive and forget better (seems to have done this with Perkins).
8. See number 1. Try really hard to remember #1.
9. Stop pinch running with two outs and a guy on first. The odds of that helping are much lower than the odds you’ll need your legit hitter later in the game (especially with this offense).
10. Stand up to Mauer and DH/1B him more to keep him more fresh and healthy.
11. Hold your coaches accountable for bad performance, and fire them if they are bad. Don’t keep moving them around.
12. Find someone to teach how not to get picked off first.
13. Find someone to teach what base to throw to (how does someone that has playe ball for over a decade not know what base to throw to?).

That’s off the top of my head.
All that said, he must be doing something right.

Jason B
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Jason B
5 years 2 months ago

Gooooood list. Me likey.

David
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David
5 years 2 months ago

It is hard to remember, but we have only completed six weeks so far. The Twins have been a bad team, but are 8.5 games back in the Wild Card. Though 13.5 games behind Cleveland, they are 8.5 games behind second place Detroit. Will the Twins be better than Cleveland, KC, Detroit and the White Sox during the next 18 weeks? It is certainly possible.

The Twins need some production at catcher and at middle infield, where the offense has been worse than merely bad. They need better production at 1B. They need their ace to be an ace. They need their closers to close. Outfield, DH, 3B and SP2-5 still look okay on paper and they have an ace in the hole with minor league pitcher Gibson.

The Twins recently promoted Plouffe, which allows Casilla to be benched. In addition to this addition by subtraction, Nishioka returns in a few weeks. They desperately need production at catcher, though if there is only one hole in the lineup, that can be overcome. I’d sign and play Max Ramirez (or Jake Fox), if I ran the Twins. Others suggest Molina.

Morneau remains a question mark– he needs to produce or be benched. The Twins have won without him. Liriano seems to be turning it around. Nathan seems to be turning it around, with Perkins adding RP depth.

So, if I ran the Twins, I would sign a backup catcher that can hit. Otherwise, I might hold tight, wait for players to heal, and wait for the rest of the division to return to normalcy.

If the Twins do make a move– not so unlikely with Cleveland leading– I would sign Reyes, which addresses a long-term need, in addition to a short-term deficiency, then likely win the division again.

mike wants wins
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mike wants wins
5 years 2 months ago

I sort of agree with some of this.

1. They probably shouldn’t be trading yet, as only Kubel would yield a good return now (and I’d rather they kept him).
2. Reyes would be great, but I don’t see it happening. They don’t acquire high priced players in their prime (except Capps oddly). It isn’t their style. They are also maxed out (apparently) salary wise. So the only way to add him is after this season when Cuddy, Nathan and maybe Young’s salary are off the books.
3. Benching Casilla is addition by subtraction.
4. I’m not sure Pavano looks good in person, or on paper.
5. No idea if Liriano is really back or not. Pitching to the mariners is like pitching to the Twins. But, they do need him to be back.
6. Nishi is coming back in a few weeks. The question is, will they really be out of it bay then?
7. I think you have to keep sending Morneau out there, but I’d probably give him a day off or three more often. That would likely require Cuddy at 1B, which is bad, really bad, defensively.

David
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David
5 years 2 months ago

We pretty much agree. Though from a financial perspective, I think having a winning team is very important, especially now. The Twins claim sell-outs through most of 2011, but the price of tickets in the aftermarket is down $8 below market price already. If the Twins go merely .500 the rest of this year and finish 14 under .500, the new paint smell is forever gone from Target Field and people will be incredulous that standing room tickets were ever sold for $26. If the Twins instead rebound, and .500 may be enough to win the division this year, and they can keep a winning product, the Twins can finesse their current higher ticket prices for a couple more years before the market breaks. Someone like Reyes could be a difference maker– not just on the field, but for the front office.

mike wants wins
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mike wants wins
5 years 2 months ago

David, I agree, they would be better off with Reyes, both from a box office and on-field perspective. Since I am liking lists so much…..

1. Trade for Reyes.
2. Re-plant the trees (I remain very disappointed in this decision)
3. Cut Casilla. He’ll always be too tempting to play if he’s on the roster.
4. Move Pavano to the pen, start Slowey (or move Blackburn, your choice)
5. The moment someone makes a good offer for Young, trade him. His defense is atrocious, and he’ll be making too much money next year relative to his offense.
6. See if you can package your huge number of AAAA players for a smaller number of MLB players (ok, that part’s a pipe dream)
7. Promote Rams and Parmalee to the next levels.
8. Tell Hicks to quit trying to be Boggs/Mauer, and to start hitting the ball with authority.
9. Get better beer choices in more of the park.
10. Garlic or herbed fries, can we get those there?
11. Consider trading one of your MiLB OFers or pitchers for a catching prospect.

David
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David
5 years 2 months ago

Good list.

Antonio Bananas
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Antonio Bananas
5 years 2 months ago

The division they play in is pretty awful. I think there is still an outside chance that if they have a hot streak and others in the division fall apart that they can be competitive. Probably won’t happen though.

Don’t see a lot of guys they can trade. They have a decent farm system and will get better draft choices. Just go with it. Pretty much everything that needs to happen usually happens for the Twinkies, this year not so much.

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