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DET 5, MIN 3: Is There Anything Left?

It’s easy to forget just how good Ervin Santana was for the 2017 Minnesota Twins. He was an All-Star, finished fifth in the American League in both ERA and WHIP. He was seventh in Cy Young Award voting. Ervin made his fourth start of this season, and saw his ERA jump to 6.53.
Image courtesy of © Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Snapshot (chart via FanGraphs)
Ervin Santana: 44 Game Score, 6.0 IP, 3 H, 5 ER, 5 K, 2 BB, 58.5% strikes (55 of 94 pitches)
Multi-Hit Games: Ehire Adrianza (3-for-4, 2B) Jorge Polanco (2-for-4, 2B), Logan Forsythe (2-for-4), Jake Cave (2-for-4, 2B)
WPA of 0.1 or higher: Forsythe .153
WPA of -0.1 or lower: Kepler -.101, Morrison -.129, Mauer -.165 Santana -.223
Attached Image: WinChart810.png
Santana topped out a 90.6 mph and averaged 88.8 mph with his fastball tonight. To his credit, he was able to stay one step ahead of most batters. Ervin only allowed three hits over his six innings of work, but two of them came in the form of two-run homers.

It’s actually been impressive to see Ervin execute with diminished stuff, in sort of a depressing way. He should be getting clobbered. Like bounced outta the game in the second inning clobbered.

The lineup certainly could have executed better. The Twins outhit the Tigers 10-3, but were only 1-for-5 with runners in scoring position. Detroit even committed two errors, but the Twins couldn’t capitalize.

It’s pretty fun to see what Niko Goodrum is doing with Detroit. He hit his 11th home run of the season tonight and has a .720 OPS.

After the game, Santana did what you'd expect a professional veteran ballplayer to do. He took responsibility for his shortcomings and ... oh wait, no, he didn't. Jump head to about the 1:20 mark on this postgame interview:

My take: It's not like Ervin is going on a rampage here, but that's not his style. Still, I say just let him go. Honestly. I'm already wondering if this finger injury has derailed his career, he's certainly not getting his $14 million option picked up and now he's taking shots at the front office.

Even worse, by saying "it’s difficult to play without our good pieces" Santana is being disrespectful to his new teammates who've joined the club in the wake of those players leaving. Just end it now, there are plenty of other starting pitchers dying to get an opportunity.

Bullpen Usage
Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days:
Attached Image: Bullpen810.png
AL Central Standings
CLE 64-50
MIN 53-62 (-11.5)
DET 48-68 (-17)
CHW 41-73 (-23)
KC 35-79 (-29)

Next Three Game
Sat at DET, 5:10 pm CT: Kyle Gibson vs. Francisco Liriano
Sun at DET, 12:10 pm CT: Kohl Stewart vs. Matt Boyd
Mon: Off
Tue vs. PIT, 7:10 pm CT: TBD vs. Jameson Taillon

Last Three Games
LE 5, MIN 4: Walks and a Walk-Off
CLE 5, MIN 2: Cleveland Prevails on Lindor Walk-Off Homer
MIN 3, CLE 2: Mitch Garver Makes it Rain


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116 Comments

 

 

It’s easy to forget just how good Ervin Santana was for the 2017 Minnesota Twins. He was an All-Star, finished fifth in the American League in both ERA and WHIP. He was seventh in Cy Young Award voting.

 

Indeed.And my take last off-season was that the Twins FO will suck if they do not sell high on Santana and Dozier.

(and they did not)

 

Albeit, Santana sucked in the post season in 2017, and he had a (pretty much) under the table surgery that would (allegedly) delay him till late April.

 

ahem

 

Whether the middle finger or not, Santana has lost about 5-6 mph in all of his pitches, and he really needs the Phil Hughes treatment.The Twins will be better server with Romero/Gonsalves/Littell/your-favorite-minor-leaguer (or Pindeda ;) )taking his starts for the rest of the season.

 

He sucks.

    • mikelink45 and rghrbek like this

I agree, Ervin. They took away a lot of your good pieces. It's a shame. It might have been necessary, or even smart, but it's still not what I want to see my front office do...Give up. Shameful.

    • Jerr, adjacent, notoriousgod71 and 4 others like this
They went in hard in the off season. It didn't work. The players were mostly bad, or hurt. I don't know what Santana wanted, logically. Emotionally? Sure. But the front office can't act on emotions.

And no, there is no evidence they should bring him back. I don't know if odorrizi is the right veteran or not.....
    • Carole Keller, Jerr, 70charger and 9 others like this
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FormerMinnasotan
Aug 10 2018 08:44 PM

Indeed. And my take last off-season was that the Twins FO will suck if they do not sell high on Santana and Dozier.
(and they did not)

Albeit, Santana sucked in the post season in 2017, and he had a (pretty much) under the table surgery that would (allegedly) delay him till late April.

ahem

Whether the middle finger or not, Santana has lost about 5-6 mph in all of his pitches, and he really needs the Phil Hughes treatment. The Twins will be better server with Romero/Gonsalves/Littell/your-favorite-minor-leaguer (or Pindeda ;) ) taking his starts for the rest of the season.

He sucks.

Santana isn’t healthy, and since we are not in any races we might as well do Santana a favor and shut him down and bring up Gonsalves or Romero (and give Thorpe a taste of AAA) a spot in the rotation. If we aren’t in contention there’s no reason to keep an injured 36 year old starting pitcher who has nothing in our rotation for the rest of the season.
    • Jerr, Mike Sixel, mikelink45 and 4 others like this

No reason to keep trotting out Santana after this, yes he's owed alot of money still. But he's not going to regain that velocity. Need to give his starts to a young guy.

    • Danchat, mikelink45, gman and 1 other like this
Pitching is about ability and pure stuff, at the end of the day. It's also about experience and knowledge. How many dynamic arms, over the years, have we all just seen flame out due to the inability to throw secondary stuff, or learn "how to pitch"? And how many guys have we seen that weren't flamethrowers but had that secondary stuff to succeed? And how many guys have we seen who used knowledge and command to offset a loss of velocity over time?

Your answer would undoubtedly depend on age and how long you've been a baseball fan. The ultimate example, IMO, would be Greg Maddux, who began his career with dominate stuff, and finished with dominate stuff based on said control and pitchability.

So where does Santana fit in this conversation? He's had a long and great career. He's been mostly steady his whole career. If you look at his numbers, his brief Twins career he has performed about as well as he ever has. I would never diminish a pitcher, or any athlete, undergoing surgery. Something is wrong/hurt, and you are attempting to correct it. But physically, Santana has always been in shape. Mentally, he's always been strong. I've heard rumors and whispers for some time now that age will catch up, and that he has a tendon just waiting to give out.

A pitcher doesn't just need a healthy shoulder and elbow...along with hips, knees, etc...but something as simple as a wrist and fingers to control the ball and snap off his stuff. Considering his career, and his season last year...not to dimish surgery...but is it possible the velocity and such are still there waiting for a normal prep time?

The Twins have financial flexibility, and prospects to trade, and talent in their nucleus to work with, that they could afford to bring Ervin back. Not at his $15M to be certain, but maybe on a cheaper 1 year deal with incentives. Unless there is something else going on physically, would it be such a bad move? Would you bet against him?
    • BJames likes this
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Hosken Bombo Disco
Aug 10 2018 09:00 PM

 

Even worse, by saying "it’s difficult to play without our good pieces" Santana is being disrespectful to his new teammates who've joined the club in the wake of those players leaving. 

Disagree completely. 

 

Santana was asked a question and answered it candidly and professionally. I appreciate that. Isn't that what we say we want, instead of the canned answers all the time? 

 

As for the other players joining the team, they know what's up. Field, Drake, whoever, they know what's going on. I doubt they would be insulted by what Santana said. They are getting a chance to play. It is what it is.

    • USAFChief, Riverbrian, notoriousgod71 and 9 others like this

 

Santana isn’t healthy, and since we are not in any races we might as well do Santana a favor and shut him down and bring up Gonsalves or Romero (and give Thorpe a taste of AAA) a spot in the rotation. If we aren’t in contention there’s no reason to keep an injured 36 year old starting pitcher who has nothing in our rotation for the rest of the season.

 

Exactly my thought....

 

 

 

The ultimate example, IMO, would be Greg Maddux, who began his career with dominate stuff, and finished with dominate stuff based on said control and pitchability.

So where does Santana fit in this conversation? He's had a long and great career. He's been mostly steady his whole career.

 

 

A. Ervin Santana has not a "great" career.He was never ever close to a Cy Young award,He has been an average number 3 pitcher in a good team. (Great for him, he made $)

 

B. Comparing him to Maddux, especially after he has been lit by AAAA players this season, kinda, really, surely, absolutely, does not work.

 

C. And he is yet another year removed from PEDs

 

 

    • gil4, mikelink45 and gman like this
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Tom Froemming
Aug 10 2018 09:07 PM

 

Disagree completely. 

 

Santana was asked a question and answered it candidly and professionally. I appreciate that. Isn't that what we say we want, instead of the canned answers all the time? 

 

As for the other players joining the team, they know what's up. Field, Drake, whoever, they know what's going on. I doubt they would be insulted by what Santana said. They are getting a chance to play. It is what it is.

Was he paying attention to the game?

 

Logan Forsythe, Brian Dozier's replacement, had two hits. Ehire Adrianza, playing Eduardo Escobar's old position tonight, had three hits. But it's too bad the deflated bullpen blew it. Oh wait, no, Oliver Drake threw two no-hit innings.

 

Hell of a thing for him to say on a night where the replacement guys were great.

    • Carole Keller, ashburyjohn, glunn and 15 others like this
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FormerMinnasotan
Aug 10 2018 09:12 PM

Pitching is about ability and pure stuff, at the end of the day. It's also about experience and knowledge. How many dynamic arms, over the years, have we all just seen flame out due to the inability to throw secondary stuff, or learn "how to pitch"? And how many guys have we seen that weren't flamethrowers but had that secondary stuff to succeed? And how many guys have we seen who used knowledge and command to offset a loss of velocity over time?

Your answer would undoubtedly depend on age and how long you've been a baseball fan. The ultimate example, IMO, would be Greg Maddux, who began his career with dominate stuff, and finished with dominate stuff based on said control and pitchability.

So where does Santana fit in this conversation? He's had a long and great career. He's been mostly steady his whole career. If you look at his numbers, his brief Twins career he has performed about as well as he ever has. I would never diminish a pitcher, or any athlete, undergoing surgery. Something is wrong/hurt, and you are attempting to correct it. But physically, Santana has always been in shape. Mentally, he's always been strong. I've heard rumors and whispers for some time now that age will catch up, and that he has a tendon just waiting to give out.

A pitcher doesn't just need a healthy shoulder and elbow...along with hips, knees, etc...but something as simple as a wrist and fingers to control the ball and snap off his stuff. Considering his career, and his season last year...not to dimish surgery...but is it possible the velocity and such are still there waiting for a normal prep time?

The Twins have financial flexibility, and prospects to trade, and talent in their nucleus to work with, that they could afford to bring Ervin back. Not at his $15M to be certain, but maybe on a cheaper 1 year deal with incentives. Unless there is something else going on physically, would it be such a bad move? Would you bet against him?

Still, with all the pitching we have in AAA and the fact we won’t be competing for the playoffs next year we have no use for for a 37 year old starting pitcher especially if it blocks Fernando Romero from pitching for the Twins next year.
    • Jerr, gman and Original Whizzinator like this
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KirbyDome89
Aug 10 2018 09:17 PM

 

Was he paying attention to the game?

 

Logan Forsythe, Brian Dozier's replacement, had two hits. Ehire Adrianza, playing Eduardo Escobar's old position tonight, had three hits. But it's too bad the deflated bullpen blew it. Oh wait, no, Oliver Drake threw two no-hit innings.

 

Hell of a thing for him to say on a night where the replacement guys were great.

Are any of those guys better than the players they've replaced? I think that was Erv's point. 

 

I don't have an issue with the FO selling or player(s) voicing their displeasure with that direction. I'd guess his frustration has as much to do with last season's deadline as it does with this season's trades. 

    • Rigby and bighat like this

my take is that Santana is the voice of the clubhouse in this case. I know that the Manual of the Good GM says that you should trade your good pieces when it doesn't look like you are going to make the play-offs, but you shouldn't expect the players to like it. And Santana said it, that's it

    • USAFChief, Jerr, Mike Sixel and 3 others like this

 

my take is that Santana is the voice of the clubhouse in this case. I know that the Manual of the Good GM says that you should trade your good pieces when it doesn't look like you are going to make the play-offs, but you shouldn't expect the players to like it. And Santana said it, that's it

 

But Santana cannot keep his end of the bargain, can he? If he cannot walk his talk, he should shut up.

 

He sucks.And he has fulifilled about 1.5 years of his 3 year contact.

 

And he is keeping worthy kids in the minors from getting MLB $.I'd rather see Romero take over his starts, but that's me....

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Hosken Bombo Disco
Aug 10 2018 09:31 PM

 

Was he paying attention to the game?

 

I wasn't. Was anyone? :)

    • USAFChief, Jerr, Riverbrian and 8 others like this
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ChrisKnutson
Aug 10 2018 09:35 PM
Despite his diminished velocity, I could easily see the Mariners claiming Erv, given the state of the wild card race and their current rotation.

Realistically, I think a prospect like Cesar Izturis Jr. would be a solid return.

A. Ervin Santana has not a "great" career.He was never ever close to a Cy Young award,He has been an average number 3 pitcher in a good team. (Great for him, he made $)
 
B. Comparing him to Maddux, especially after he has been lit by AAAA players this season, kinda, really, surely, absolutely, does not work.
 
C. And he is yet another year removed from PEDs


I never compared him to Maddox. I was speaking in general terms about pitchers in general who started with great stuff and learned to adapt over time, vs, pitchers who flamed out.

Another 2 years removed from PED'S? That argument I would debate. Let's say it's true. Let's say allegations are fact. So if he's been clean for 2 years, that would mean all the good he's done the last 2 years were clean. I don't pretend to be an expert, but his surgery this year and so much time off would be a result of giving up PED'S 2 years ago? Again, not an expert, but my limited medical knowledge is that steroids and PED'S wash out of the system in days/weeks/months at longest. So his surgery on his finger, recovery time, etc, can be traced back to presumed PED usage over 2 years ago? Sorry, not going to buy it.

I am NOT saying he should be signed on a 1 year. I think what the FO know/believes over the next month or so is what matters. I'm saying jts something to look at and consider.

I am in the same camp as you: audition and play Mejia, Gonsalves and Romero. But I think it's worth at least discussing a return for a fully healthy Santana. Is there really anything to lose on a 1 year deal with incentives?

14 years as a ML SP with a winning record and solid numbers doesn't constitute as a great career, I will grant you that. I never said HOF career. Let's try to agree, at least, a very good career then. Some very good years, a few not so much. His first 2 seasons with the Twins, pretty damn good.

What a game - this is Detroit we were playing, not Cleveland.But there is a lot to take away from this.If you noticed previous postings I have made - we blew it with Goodrum.Good for him for taking advantage of his opportunity.

 

Santana is done, in every way.He is a FA, we are going nowhere and neither is he.The FO has shown a real reluctance to bring up Gonsalves - why?Put him in Santana's place since they are not going to give him Mejia's start.

 

If we are willing to DFA Santana (I am) why do we not DFA Morrison?Why do we keep playing him?

 

Did my eyes deceive me?I thought I saw Forsythe batting fourth.  

 

Nice to see Drake reduce his ERA to 7.13,Too bad we do not have any relief pitchers in the minors.  

 

Mauer has no power - we know that so his 354 slugging does not shock, but Morrison was hired for his power and his slugging is 368 even though he has 15 HR. CUT CUT CUT. 

 

I believe there has been talk about Rosario being a good fielder.He now has 8 errors.The next worst LFshave 3!Maybe there are more raindrops hitting the turf than we want to admit. If you check the most errors by RF you will find Grossman tied for fourth in errors considering how few games he is in the field that is a real accomplishment. 

 

 

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FormerMinnasotan
Aug 10 2018 09:55 PM

What a game - this is Detroit we were playing, not Cleveland. But there is a lot to take away from this. If you noticed previous postings I have made - we blew it with Goodrum. Good for him for taking advantage of his opportunity.

Santana is done, in every way. He is a FA, we are going nowhere and neither is he. The FO has shown a real reluctance to bring up Gonsalves - why? Put him in Santana's place since they are not going to give him Mejia's start.

If we are willing to DFA Santana (I am) why do we not DFA Morrison? Why do we keep playing him?

Did my eyes deceive me? I thought I saw Forsythe batting fourth.

Nice to see Drake reduce his ERA to 7.13, Too bad we do not have any relief pitchers in the minors.

Mauer has no power - we know that so his 354 slugging does not shock, but Morrison was hired for his power and his slugging is 368 even though he has 15 HR. CUT CUT CUT.

I believe there has been talk about Rosario being a good fielder. He now has 8 errors. The next worst LFs have 3! Maybe there are more raindrops hitting the turf than we want to admit. If you check the most errors by RF you will find Grossman tied for fourth in errors considering how few games he is in the field that is a real accomplishment.

If they are reluctant to bring up Gonsalves then at least bring up Lewis Thorpe for a couple or three starts if you want Gonsalves to work on control/command since it looks apparent Thorpe has a good handle on control/command (131 K’s, 30 BB in 108 innings with a B.B./9 rate of 2.5) and after those starts bring up Gonsalves. Problem solved.
    • mikelink45 and BJames like this
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mngopherguy
Aug 10 2018 09:55 PM

 

A. Ervin Santana has not a "great" career.He was never ever close to a Cy Young award,He has been an average number 3 pitcher in a good team. (Great for him, he made $)

 

B. Comparing him to Maddux, especially after he has been lit by AAAA players this season, kinda, really, surely, absolutely, does not work.

 

C. And he is yet another year removed from PEDs

 

 

Semantics.Anyone who can play in MLB for 14 seasons has had a pretty damn good career that 99.9% of baseball players would dream of.  

 

I don't see where he was compared to Maddux.Maddux was one of a kind.  

 

Agreed, that does sully his rep non doubt.

 

I don't think the Twins should resign him even at a reduced price.He looks done to me.I guess his is the argument for running him out there for another month.

    • birdwatcher and Vanimal46 like this

Still, with all the pitching we have in AAA and the fact we won’t be competing for the playoffs next year we have no use for for a 37 year old starting pitcher especially if it blocks Fernando Romero from pitching for the Twins next year.


NOT disagreeing with you at all!

This team has a nucleus that shouldn't be denied. Just to be accurate, Santana would be 36 next season.

My whole point was, forget age for a moment, what has Santana been most of his career, and what has he been the last 2 years for the Twins? Easy answer, pretty damn good. Is he done? Yeah, maybe he is. But again, lots of variables, we are not talking about a surgery and recovery for TJ or TOR or a hip or knee. Is he worth, maybe, a flier on a 1 year deal with incentives?

Look, Gonsalves should already be up. Romero should be up and getting ready for 2019 as well. Pineda could be a big boost, but could find himself in the pen with May. (Not necessarily a bad thing) Mejia will be with the club as a starter, or in the pen. Thorpe has the potential to be as good or better than Gonsalves or Mejia. But unless we make some BIG FA move or trade move, we have some guys to work with and build around.

Audition Santana for the rest of the season or not. Bring him back on a 1 year flier or not. Isn't it worth considering at least?
    • IndianaTwin, Doctor Wu and BJames like this
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FormerMinnasotan
Aug 10 2018 10:14 PM

NOT disagreeing with you at all!

This team has a nucleus that shouldn't be denied. Just to be accurate, Santana would be 36 next season.

My whole point was, forget age for a moment, what has Santana been most of his career, and what has he been the last 2 years for the Twins? Easy answer, pretty damn good. Is he done? Yeah, maybe he is. But again, lots of variables, we are not talking about a surgery and recovery for TJ or TOR or a hip or knee. Is he worth, maybe, a flier on a 1 year deal with incentives?

Look, Gonsalves should already be up. Romero should be up and getting ready for 2019 as well. Pineda could be a big boost, but could find himself in the pen with May. (Not necessarily a bad thing) Mejia will be with the club as a starter, or in the pen. Thorpe has the potential to be as good or better than Gonsalves or Mejia. But unless we make some BIG FA move or trade move, we have some guys to work with and build around.

Audition Santana for the rest of the season or not. Bring him back on a 1 year flier or not. Isn't it worth considering at least?

I guess I am a bigger let the kids play kinda guy considering what we have. I suppose if we could get Santana for under $10 million it may be tempting but I also hope that the Twins alleviate the log jam of minor league arms. I see Fernando Romero at the point of his career that Berrios was in 2016, the only difference is Romero has pitched more capablely in his 1st year in the bigs than Berrios did so conventional wisdom should be that he’ll be even more ready next year and with his immense skill set I don’t want to see him even start the year in AAA. That will set up Lewis Thorpe being moved up to a crowded Rochester rotation and give some mid season promotion opportunities for the likes of Sean Poppen, Tyler Wells, and Brusdar Graterol.
    • gman and 108Stitches like this
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TheLeviathan
Aug 10 2018 10:25 PM

Near as I recall, I don't remember Falvey or Levine stinking it up during any games on their way to being 8 games under .500.  

 

I love all these people "rah rah"ing a guy who is passing the blame.Yeah, he was candid, but he refused to take accountability like an adult.You want candid?  

 

Don't suck your way to a 48-56 record and maybe your FO doesn't sell.That's candid and it also has the benefit to be truth rather than sour grapes.

    • birdwatcher, Thrylos, Mike Sixel and 5 others like this
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Tom Froemming
Aug 10 2018 10:28 PM

 

Audition Santana for the rest of the season or not. Bring him back on a 1 year flier or not. Isn't it worth considering at least?

Here's the projected 2019 rotation right now:

 

Berrios

Gibson

Odorizzi

Pineda

Mejia

 

It's likely somebody in that mix will be hurt, but it's also likely there will be another addition over the offseason, whether it be via free agency or from a trade. So as it stands, all of the prospects are already on the outside looking in even next season. Ervin would have to return to his 2017 form in short order and sustain that through the rest of the season for me to seriously consider bringing him back.

    • Danchat, gman and BJames like this

At some point you just eat the remaining salary of people that will not be abck next season. Give those innings and at bats to someone else.

 

Go with a six-man rotation, if you must, to see Goncalves, Romero, Littell and Stewart as part of the mix.

 

You already have to pencil in Pineda, too.

 

You have to have a look at Gordon at second base. You need to see Tyler Austin at the plate,m and maybe even advance Bent Rooker...if nothing else have Rooker play the remainder of the season at Rochester now that Austin is up here and Vargas is probably a lost cause.

 

YOU DON'T HAVE TO PLAY OUT CONTRACTS, YOU JUST HAVE TO PAY OUT CONTRACTS if you can't move the pieces.

 

And, when you look at the bigegr picture, we will probably see that once Molitor can figure out a lineup (he ahsn't yet, so I guess we shouldn't be too surprised)...any new pieces might perform as well as jettisoned pieces. Santana and Lynn haven't been lighting up the game for the Twins. Rodney made saves a nail biter. Dozier may be hitting now, but he certainly didn't in the past. Press;y (like Hildenberger) was overworked. Morrison is having a career year...the other way. Escobar is truly missed. But even Mauer makes you question just how much you wish to pay him for 2019. So that is why we HAVE to see what the system can give us.

 

On the radio earlier today was talking about going out and getting quality free agents for ALL these positions. NO - ADMIT IT - REBUILDING THE TWINS and it got derailed when a glimmer of hope materialized last year (it wasn't THAT GREAT of a season, folks). We have to do it all again in 2019. And young guys will egt more of a chance and other young guys may be pushed a bit.

 

Maybe.

 

Still haven't figured out a front office that still favors waiver wire claims, will give work to Forsythe and Wilson, and...try their darndest to put an upbeat spin on everything.

 

Okay, who IS the leader in the clubhouse. Not Ervin, from what I can read.

    • gman and BJames like this

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