High Expectations: Are The Twins In Win Now Mode?
Image courtesy of Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY SportsIt seems weird to contemplate the Twins as a win now team. A young core of under-25 players like Byron Buxton, Miguel Sano, Max Kepler, and Jose Berrios should solidify the roster for the next decade. There are plenty of roster pieces that will be shifting by the time the calendar shifts to Opening Day 2019.
Team leaders like Brian Dozier and Joe Mauer are set to be free agents for the first time in their career. Other veteran pieces like Eduardo Escobar can test the free agent waters as well. Heck, even Ervin Santana could end up on the market if the team declines his $14 million option for his age-36 season.
Brian Dozier might provide the team with the most difficult decision. He’s clearly become the vocal leader in the clubhouse but he’s also made it clear that he will be a free agent at season’s end. It’s tough to think of Joe Mauer in any uniform besides the Twins but there are no guarantees about him playing beyond 2018 either.
In fact, there are no guarantees about any of these players returning and Minnesota has given themselves some flexibility when it comes to this year’s free agent additions. Derek Falvey and Thad Levine struck out landing Yu Darvish but this left more money to add multiple other pieces.
Lance Lynn, Logan Morrison, Zach Duke and Fernando Rodney were all added on one year contracts. Lynn was considered one of the top starting pitchers on the market but it was a strange off-season with few free agents signing for large contracts. Morrison would have led the Twins in home runs last season and the club inked him to a team friendly $6.5 million deal.
Rodney and Duke were signed early to help bolster one of the worst bullpens in the American League. Duke might have had an even more important role before the club signed Addison Reed. Reed seemed to fall into the Twins’ lap and he could be a deadly bullpen weapon over the next two years.
So here we are, Twins Territory, on the cusp of a new season with a strangely different feeling. Minnesota should win. Minnesota needs to win. It might be the closest feeling to World Series-or-bust this organization has felt in a long time.
Are the Twins in win now mode? It certainly seems so…
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