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Article: Twins Select RHP Tyler Kinley In Rule 5 Draft (L...

Twins Minor League Talk Today, 03:50 PM
See updates below...The Twins lost two players in the Major League portion of the Rule 5 draft and added a right-handed pitcher. In the m...
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2017-18 MLB Off-Season Transactions Thread

Other Baseball Today, 03:41 PM
I thought I'd get this going now (and pin it), even though we still have a few weeks to go. Please use this thread to track MLB NON-TWINS...
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Article: Winter Meetings - Search For A Starter

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 03:39 PM
The Winter Meetings are an interesting event, particularly for fans. There are a multitude of rumors, and we need to sift through them to...
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Article: Twins Sending Relief Messages

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 03:31 PM
As the Winter Meetings came to an end, the Minnesota Twins found themselves mentioned often and making just a few waves. In signing Micha...
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Article: Twins Sign RHP Michael Pineda

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 03:25 PM
The Twins announced this morning that they have signed right-handed pitcher Michael Pineda to a two-year, $10 million deal. The former Ma...
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Twins Must Shake Loser Mentality This Offseason

A third consecutive season that has seen the Twins finish among the worst teams in baseball has understandably bred a sense of hopelessness amongst the fan base. Not necessarily long-term hopelessness -- most people understand that Minnesota boasts one of the best farm systems in the game, and that this assortment of high-profile prospects should eventually help usher a turnaround -- but certainly a feeling that contention is still a distant proposition.

It is for this reason that some have embraced a mindset that involves making no meaningful effort to compete over the next year or two (as was the case this year), and instead saving all bullets for 2015/2016, when the brightest young talents within the organization are more likely to be impact players at the big-league level.

I call this a loser mentality.

The Twins may be in a rather dire situation presently, but contention in 2014 is hardly some implausible dream scenario -- IF the front office is prepared to make such a commitment. Just take a look at the team that plowed through Minnesota in a season-ending sweep at Target Field over the weekend to lock down a playoff berth.

Attached Image: indians_swisher.jpg

Photo by Betsy Bissen


Last year, the Indians finished with 68 wins, just four more than the Twins. Cleveland scored fewer runs than all but one AL team and posted the league's worst team ERA (yes, even worse than the Twins). Before this season, John Sickels of Minor League Ball ranked the Tribe's farm system as the sixth-worst in baseball.

Much like the Twins, the Indians were amidst a lengthy stretch of losing baseball. They hadn't finished above .500 since 2007, and last year was their third 90-loss season in the past four.

But Cleveland did not embrace the loser mentality. Instead, the front office made sweeping changes to reinvigorate a stale product. Seth outlined the ingredients in their resurgence last week, but the bottom line is this: The Indians hired a new manager, made some bold and inventive moves to acquire talent, and had a handful of returning players improve dramatically.

Given that the Twins stand to receive a major infusion from their bustling pipeline very soon (Miguel Sano, Byron Buxton and Alex Meyer all could be up next year), who's to say that a similar transformation could not take place? At the conclusion of his well written piece, Seth said, "Maybe in 2015 the Twins will be able to make a 20+ game improvement and contend for a playoff spot." Why 2015? Why should anyone view next year as another hopeless death march we must inevitably trudge through?

The Twins may not have underperforming talents at the level of Ubaldo Jimenez and Justin Masterson, but there are plenty of candidates to take steps forward and make a positive impact in the rotation, most notably Kyle Gibson, Vance Worley and Scott Diamond. That's before you account for the potential additions of Meyer and any external reinforcements.

In my mind, it is Cleveland's ambitious approach that should serve as a blueprint for the Twins, not the endless patience of Houston or (up until this year) Kansas City. The Indians did what it took to sign high-caliber players at positions of need, spending $104 million on Nick Swisher and Michael Bourn. They turned a player who didn't figure into their long-term future (Shin-Shoo Choo) into a bright young pitching prospect (Trevor Bauer). They took a chance on a classic risk/reward play in Scott Kazmir and ended up with a player that outperformed every Twins starter.

And as for the managerial switch… well, I don't have strong feelings about that. If he's supplied with enough talent and injuries don't bite too hard, I have every confidence Ron Gardenhire can pilot the team to a winning record. At the same time, it's hard to look at what happened in Cleveland this year and not think that -- on some level -- that stagnant club was jolted by a fresh voice with differing thoughts and philosophies.

Regardless of what the course is, the Twins ought to tread purposefully this offseason. There are intriguing free agents, international stars and buy-low trade opportunities to be had, with all options made possible by unprecedented financial flexibility. As long as Terry Ryan avoids adding decline-phase players on multi-year deals, anything he does this winter stands to benefit the team down the line as well as in the short term.

Thus, the Twins are positioned to make some things happen in the coming months. We'll present all the possibilities in the upcoming 2014 Offseason GM Handbook, which will be made available for pre-order this week. And, of course, a stream of constant offseason coverage here at Twins Daily is just about to get underway.


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