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Article: Report From The Fort: Decisions And Divides

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 07:55 PM
Pop quiz, hot shot: When the rubber meets the road, what makes everything move forward?Answer: Friction.For a team that was supposedly go...
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game thread N where N>20, Twins @ Pirates, 5:05pm ct,...

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 07:54 PM
Things to think about. Why we can't have nice things. I don't know. Why can't we have nice things? No, really. Thinking is hard. Lets wa...
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Article: Report From The Fort: Returns And Concerns

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 07:45 PM
The Twins lost to the Orioles last night 6-3, but most of the day’s drama came earlier. There was a 5th starter battle on the minor leagu...
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Neal: Twins find hidden gem in Romero

Twins Minor League Talk Today, 07:29 PM
http://www.startribu...mero/414924934/   LaVelle E. Neal wrote about the signing of Fernando Romero. He didn't sign on July 2nd, and...
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Why is Sano a lineup lock?

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 06:15 PM
As each starting day rolls around each year, I take interest in roster projections. There hasn’t been a great deal of different opinions...
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Embracing the Suck

Attached Image: 165769904_8.jpg By virtually every measure, the Minnesota Twins are a very bad baseball team. Entering Friday night’s game against the Astros, the Twins offense ranked 21st in both runs scored and wRC+. The starting pitching has been horrific even by recent Twins standards, ranking last in ERA (5.18), last in xFIP (4.56) and last in strikeouts (302) by an embarrassing margin. Lastly, the defense has been mediocre (12th in DRS) to bad (27th in UZR), depending on your metric of choice. The team’s lone bright spot has been the bullpen, which has been great despite a lack of name recognition and chronic overuse from the outset (367.2 innings pitched, 5th most in MLB).

So yes, the Twins have been bad this year.[PRBREAK][/PRBREAK] Fortunately (or unfortunately, as I will argue), a few other teams have been worse. One of those teams is the Houston Astros, who are in town this weekend for a three game series at Target Field. The Astros know they are bad, and they are proud of it. From the moment GM Jeff Luhnow assumed control of the team, that has been the plan. Why? Because Luhnow is one of the smartest men in baseball, and he knows the best way to rebuild under the current CBA is to bottom out and embrace the suck. At 45-60 and virtually assured of a third straight 90-loss season, the Twins would be wise to do the same.

That’s because in today’s MLB landscape, if you’re going to be bad anyway, you might as well strive to be the worst. With more and more teams locking up their best players to long-term contracts before they are able to hit the market, adding impact talent through free agency has never been tougher. Further, as evidenced by this week’s trade deadline (emphasis on dead), teams are valuing their controllable assets more than ever, making improvement via trade just as difficult. That leaves the international market and the draft as the only remaining avenues through which a team can dramatically improve its roster. The team that finishes lowest in the standings stands to benefit the most from both – in the form of the largest international spending pool and the number one pick in the amateur draft. Simply put, it pays to suck.

Twins fans need look no further than Miguel Sano to understand the value that can be had on the international market. It’s an area they have taken some advantage of in recent years, but one where they could surely do more. As for the draft, the 2014 class figures to be much stronger than this year’s crop, with the top prize being NC State lefty Carlos Rodon – who likely would have gone number one to Houston over top selection Mark Appel had he been eligible as a junior. Of Rodon, Keith Law has stated: “[He] checks every box you might want to see in a potential first overall pick and projected No. 1 starter.” In other words, he’s just what the Twins roster doctor ordered.

Heading into this weekend, the Twins trail the Astros by ten games for the worst record in baseball. They also have the White Sox, Marlins, and Brewers to contend with, among others. With 57 games remaining, the race for Rodon is still wide-open. So maybe you try to deal Justin Morneau and Josh Willingham to contenders, even if it means eating some salary to do so. Maybe you give Liam Hendriks one more shot to prove he can be a major league starter, and Chris Parmelee one more chance to show he can hit major league pitching. And maybe you give Joe Mauer a few more days off in the second half, to save those knees and extend his career behind the dish. I’m not advocating intentionally trying to lose, but it’s past time to worry about 2013. It’s time to embrace the suck. #p2c

Originally published at pitching2contact

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