Competition Shuffling Twins Landscape
Image courtesy of © Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY SportsRecently, the Chicago White Sox made another blockbuster trade. When giving up Chris Sale to the Boston Red Sox over the winter, it was apparent the AL Central foe was going into a rebuild mode. The expectation was that other big pieces would be moved as well. When Jose Quintana was sent across the city to the Cubs, the Southsiders put everyone on notice. As things stand currently, the White Sox have one of the best farm systems in baseball, and they’re stocking up on near ready talent.
So, how does a move like that change the landscape for the Twins? The long and short of it is that it shouldn’t. It’s far from a good practice to allow an opposing organization to dictate how yours is run. That being said, the AL Central is a division in flux as it stands. The Cleveland Indians are built for sustainable success, while the Twins remain an up and coming challenger. As the White Sox rebuild, the Kansas City Royals may soon be faced with that same decision. Detroit keeps getting older, and could soon find themselves struggling to keep up. With that blueprint, it’s the Twins that seemingly have the greatest opportunity.
In 2017 the emergence of Miguel Sano as a true power threat, the blossoming of Jose Berrios as a frontline starter, and the growth of Byron Buxton, have all helped to shape the Twins future. That group will be the key trio that leads the organization back to the Postseason, and gives the Twins a realistic chance at deep runs into fall baseball. What a move like that of the White Sox does for the Twins however, is remind them that the window for error is not a wide one.
There’s no reason to believe that all prospects work out, and despite the White Sox loading up on top tier types, the reality is that some of them will flop. Knowing that they have a good amount of chips in their corner however, Minnesota can expand their opportunity to take over by supplementing what they already have going. At some point, top Twins prospects close to making an impact will be called upon. Nick Gordon, Stephen Gonsalves, and Fernando Romero all look like difference makers for a big league club. What’s worth exploring however, is who from the outside can take the organization to the next level.
Whether the Twins operate on the trade market in 2017, or look to free agency prior to the 2018 season, there hasn’t been a time in recent memory that looks more like a “go for it moment” for the organization. If that means spending big on a top tier starter, making a splash to get a superstar in return, or rounding out the 25 man with some A-list pieces, it would seem that now appears the time to do so.
Baseball is not a sport in which one player significantly advances the overall prognosis of a club. Despite being the best player on the planet, Mike Trout has watched the Angels wrestle with futility for the majority of his career. Asking the Twins to spend money at any point since at least 2010 seems like an avenue for wasting dollars to improve by a marginal value at best. Now however, one or two big additions could be enough to have this group take the next step.
There’s arguments to be made on both sides of the coin, do you make moves in free agency or flip players through the trade market. We’re going to see how Derek Falvey and Thad Levine tackle a real opportunity, and knowing a new front office is in charge of that scenario is something worth being excited about. If there’s a window for the Twins to be exploring, it’s beginning to crack, and they can choose to kick it wide open.
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