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Twins Problems Start and End on the Mound

Posted by stringer bell , 04 July 2016 · 1,173 views

last in the league bullpen rotation dozier defense
Yep, the Twins are bad. They almost certainly will lose 100 games and finish last in the AL Central. Management has been trashed regularly on Twins Daily and has deserved the scorn of the fan base. Articles have been written and several threads have discussed trading just about every veteran on the roster. I submit to everyone that the position players aren't that bad and not that much needs to be done. There is enough talent to score plenty of runs.

Pitching, on the other hand, is a problem. The only home grown pitcher in the rotation for more than a year is Kyle Gibson. Tyler Duffey has had a couple of moments, but his numbers this year don't inspire confidence. There is talent but I don't know when or if it will ever develop. The bullpen has evolved a bit this year. The supposed end of the bullpen has imploded almost completely--Glen Perkins has a career-threatening injury, Kevin Jepsen was just DFAed, and Trevor May has been both injured and ineffective.

I think that reforming the pitching staff is Problem #1 and Problem #2 is defense. All of that has to do with suppressing runs. Last year, for whatever reason, the rotation and bullpen performed much better than it had in all of the 90-loss seasons. They ranked in the middle in runs allowed. This year the Twins are last by a long ways in runs allowed. They are something like 1-34 when they score less than four runs.

Too many veterans occupy spots in the rotation and too much money is invested in them. Some of those guys need to go. They are over thirty and most likely will never be better than they are now. The Twins bullpen has traditionally carried several guys who depended on their defense to make plays behind them. The bullpen has evolved somewhat, but isn't that effective.

What transactions need to happen? I think at least one of Nolasco/Santana has to go. The live arms in the minors need to be tried, even if they aren't that effective. On the trade front, several players could go. I just saw an article on mlbtraderumors.com that lists Kinzler as a sneaky trade candidate, Abad could be on several team's radar and several position players might be gone--Nuñez, Suzuki, Plouffe (if healthy), perhaps Grossman--and most of this is addition by subtraction or moving on to the next season.

The team could get better fast in scoring runs if Sano, Buxton, and Kepler live up to the hype and become solid regulars or better than that. Maybe the pitching and defense can get better fast. IMHO, it's harder to project pitchers than position players. I don't think it's a rebuild, it is a recasting.

I think the disaster is in the use of the whole pitching staff, and not sure who to blame for that. It seems we might be seeing some light, with Gibson and Duffey pitching well, Santana doing his job...but otherwise, we can't trust Milone and Nolasco can't go deep.


The bullpen is settling in. No true closer (not that the Twins need one). But they seem to have some guys who can K batters, as well as get a ground ball or fly ball when necessary. What is missing is a bonafide longman. Roles have failed to  be set all season with the majority of the pen pitching one inning (or less).


I don't put longterm stock in Kintzler or Boshers or even Abad. They are what they are. Guys you give a chance, they shine, they can move on and hopefully get replaced by a Blaine Boyer next season. You can always scrounge up some diamonds in the rough.


Sadly, we can expect to see the surprising Wheeler and the return of Berrios. Have no idea on the state of Meyer. We won't see Stewart, Jay or Gonsalves until next season at the earliest. We can continue to drag out Dean, Greenwood or whomever. Baxendale...but he is being used in relief right now.


It doesn't look like May will be stretched. Sad. Unless they groom him to close.


We have to see where Burdi, Bard, Reed, Jones, Chargolis, Melo and any other young arm end the season (Hildenberger (?) might be an exception). And then hope hope hope they will come into the storm sometime in 2017. One year late. Sadly.


If the Twins CAN write off Nolasco, trade Santana...they free up some monies. Also Milone and Jepsen and we are looking at a lot of bucks ($30 mill next year alone). What they do with it in the off-season is anyone's guess. Doubt that they will bank it to overspend in the future.


I'm curious to see what happens with Wimmers. He has to be entering minor league free agency, so do they 40-man him and hope? Not to mention the other guys like Romero and Landa who are years away (where is Jorge in all this mess, not to mention Thorpe and Cederoth).