Image courtesy of Denny Hedley, USA TodayI always like to go back and say that this team is way too talented to really be the worst team in Twins history. Brian Dozier has had an elite year. Ervin Santana was very good. Young players like Miguel Sano, Byron Buxton, Max Kepler, Jorge Polanco, Kennys Vargas, Taylor Rogers, JT Chargois, Jose Berrios - guys with a lot of talent - took lumps, had successes and learned.
The offense was middle of the pack and still has some chance at hitting 200 home runs.
The pitching, however, was horrible. I’m a positive guy, and that’s probably the nicest word I can use to describe the Twins pitching in 2016. There were injuries. Glen Perkins pitched two games in the season’s first week before his season came to an end with shoulder surgery. Phil Hughes struggled and eventually learned that he had thoracic outlet syndrome and he needed surgery. Last year’s Twins pitcher of the year, Kyle Gibson, missed six weeks of the season with a shoulder injury and when he returned didn’t return to his 2015 form.
A quick look at that 1982 season shows some of the same fatal (and sometimes encouraging) flaws. They had some young talent. players like Kent Hrbek, Tom Brunansky, Gary Gaetti, Tim Laudner and Frank Viola.
If the Twins pitchers give up 14 runs in the final two games, they will have given up 900 runs, tying the 1996 Twins for most in team history.
When that 1982 Twins team went 60-102, they followed it with a 70-92 season in 1983. They then had that surprise 81-81 season in 1984. Manager Billy Gardner stuck around until the middle of the 1985 season. In 1985, they won 77 games and followed it with 71 wins in 1986. Then came 1987. In the World championship season, they went 85-77.
Is it the organization’s worst team? Maybe.
Is this this most disappointing season in Minnesota Twins history? I don’t know, but for me it is. Without question.
Think about it. Coming into this season many of us thought that the team would be competitive again after an exciting 2015 season in which the Twins weren’t officially eliminated from playoff contention until the second-to-last game. I said I thought that the young players would continue to have ups and downs and that the team would win about the same number of games in 2016.
The Twins failed to get 2 million fans for the first time in Target Field history. Can’t help but wonder how much more that number will come down in 2017.
When I was at Target Field a couple of weekends ago, I was talking to a Twins player. He told me that he had finally come to the reality that this team just wasn’t very good. There was the bad start. Then there was the 80-game run in which they played at and slightly above .500. But they have been really bad the final 40 games again.
We reached an agreement. In a 162-game season, a team generally is what it is. At 57-103, the only real conclusion at this point is that the Minnesota Twins 2016 is a bad baseball team. Is it the worst? I don’t know. Close enough that it really doesn’t matter. And if you want to say it’s the worst, I won’t be able to make much of an argument in disagreement.
Best wishes to Derek Falvey! Things can only get better.... right?
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