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Game Thread: Twins @ Dodgers, 7/26 @ 9:10pm CT

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 10:01 PM
Having done more than my fair share of minimalist Game Thread Intros, due to trying to do other things, well, i was thinking of joking he...
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Crazy Talk: The Bullpen as a Strength in 2018/2019?

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 09:56 PM
The timing of this topic may be odd since there is a reasoned plea for Falvine to go outside the system for relief help at the moment. I'...
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Can selling now improve 2018?

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 09:44 PM
I am not sure that selling now can help 2018? They can trade Kintzler. He will be a free agent. That can help 2018. If they trade Santana...
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Article: Twins Minor League Report (7/26): Vargas Homers...

Twins Minor League Talk Today, 09:57 PM
The Twins are finishing up their series with the Dodgers on Wednesday night, hoping to avoid a sweep.A few moves were made on Wednesday a...
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Kyle Gibson optioned

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 09:15 PM
Well, it appears that Bartolo Colon will continue to pitch after his five inning, three-run outing on Monday night in LA. The club announ...
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The Elephant in the Room

Attached Image: mauer.jpg Earlier this week, Charley Walters of the Pioneer Press asked Terry Ryan whether the team's recent run of success has affected the way he's preparing for the offseason.

"Regardless of what you look like right now, you still look at the club and figure out where you're headed and where you need to add," Ryan told Walters. "My focus and our focus will always be, as you go through a season, to look at what you've got and what you've got coming up."

What the Twins have got and what they've got coming up are one in the same: bats.[PRBREAK][/PRBREAK]Their lineup is looking strong, and everyone is locked in for next year and beyond. In the offings, you've got Chris Parmelee obliterating Triple-A, while Aaron Hicks and Oswaldo Arcia thrive in Double-A.

Where they need to add, clearly, is pitching. Everyone agrees on that. Opinions differ on the scope of the project.

Should they focus solely on adding young, high-upside arms, even if it means disassembling their current core and delaying their window of contention by a few years?

Or should they try to keep this group largely intact, picking up pitchers wherever they can and hoping for some good things to happen in 2013?

From my perspective, there are a number of ways to work toward putting a contending team on the field next year that don't jeopardize the organization's long-term outlook. And not doing so would be an injustice to the franchise's most valuable (and highly-paid) asset: Joe Mauer.

You may have noticed that Mauer has been rather awesome this year in spite of the club's struggles. After a sluggish start, he's turned it on the summer months and is back to ranking among the elite in batting average and on-base percentage while logging significant time at catcher.

The likelihood that Mauer keeps playing at this level diminishes a bit next year. And a little bit more the year after that. And so on. That's because he'll turn 30 next spring, and historically baseball players have often started to show decline as they age into their fourth decade of life. Particularly guys with substantial injury histories.

The time to build a championship-caliber team around Mauer is now, while he remains in his physical "prime." As the years pass, it becomes more difficult to center plans around him, and as long as he's consuming close to a quarter of the payroll there's really no other choice.

As the Twins ponder whether to take a long-term approach in putting a competitive product back on the field, what they need to ask themselves is whether biding their time and stocking the farm is worth wasting the best years of Mauer's career.


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