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Article: Let's Just Roll With What We Have

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 08:41 PM
It may mean a bunch of losses in 2015, but the Twins need to use their next season to evaluate what they have. Next off-season, they can...
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Emilio Bonifacio a logical Twins Target?

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 08:35 PM
Think about it for a minute. All logic dictates the Twins should bring in someone, from somewhere, to compete for at least a share of the...
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Article: Twins Organizational Depth Chart: First Base

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 08:29 PM
After what seems like such a long delay, the World Series begins with Game 1 tonight. When the Series is complete, players that are eligi...
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World Series starts Tuesday...

More Baseball Today, 07:39 PM
...so who do you like? I picked KC as my adopted team going into the postseason, so I'll ride that horse and say the Cinderella story has...
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Article: Want to ask Twins President Dave St. Peter a que...

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 07:08 PM
Do you have a question for Twins President Dave St. Peter that you have wanted answered? A topic he should address? Now is your opportuni...
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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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