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The Flip Side of Selling

Posted by Ted Schwerzler , 10 July 2018 · 1,102 views

Right now, the Minnesota Twins own a 1.7% probability when it comes to making the postseason per Fangraphs. I recently wrote about how Minnesota can utilize their remaining schedule if and when they decide to sell off. Should the losing continue, things become very clear for this squad. What makes things interesting however, is the slate that lies ahead.

So far, the Twins have found themselves playing a significant amount of games outside of the AL Central. While divisional matchups are all bound to get in eventually, it's of note for Minnesota given the poor quality of competition. Obviously the Cleveland Indians have the same opportunity to beat bad teams, but the Twins schedule sets up favorably. In September, 17 of the 28 games come against the White Sox, Royals and Tigers. In August, the club plays more than their fair share of games against Cleveland, as well as Kansas City.

What that means for Paul Molitor's squad is somewhat of an unknown at this point. Having recently faced both the White Sox and Royals, Minnesota is enjoying a nice five game winning streak. On the year, the Twins are just 12-10 against the three "poor" teams in the division, while owning a 6-3 record against Cleveland.

Beating bad teams, or the ones that you should beat, is what good teams make a habit of. Sitting eight games below .500 at the moment, Minnesota can't say they've capitalized on opportunities thus far. What makes things somewhat interesting, is that there's plenty of opportunity ahead.

I don't know that I believe this club can turn it around. On paper coming into the year, this should've been a very good team. The pitching has been there, but seeing very little from players like Dozier, Morrison, Sano, Buxton, and Kepler has crippled the offense. Should they all turn it around, we're talking about a much different outlook down the stretch. The Indians have their warts, and a clicking Twins team is more than capable of holding serve.
Derek Falvey and Thad Levine are stuck in the position of deciding whether or not they're willing to bet on their expected producers to turn things around. They've got roughly two more weeks to evaluate the progress, and while they could end up being sellers, don't really have a big trade chip of note.

Given what we've seen thus far, it's hard to bet on a group of five or six guys all turning things around and competing at a high level. If half of those players become assets however, we could be in for a bit of interesting baseball slightly longer than anticipated. The unfortunate flip side to this however, is that the middle ground seems to be where this is all trending, and that's hardly an enviable place to be. Not bad enough to grab a top third draft pick, but not good enough to make the playoffs, the success would then need to be measured on what you learned or the evaluation that took place.

While not dead, the Twins are on life support. They have a few key contributors that could help them to pull through, and if that takes place in even the slightest fashion, the opponents that wait down the road may be of assistance as well.

For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow @tlschwerz

  • slash129 and nclahammer like this

The Twins definitely shouldn't mail it in and "take what they can get" for their pending FA's and desirable controllable vets at this point, but I think they should be in sell mode as far as fielding offers and working deals that will improve the system long term. Win now type deals should go by the wayside, IMO, but I'd rather watch a few extra weeks of Dozier, Escobar or Rodney types than let them go for organizational filler that is unlikely to make an impact, just to say they got something (e.g. Pat Light, Alex Presley). With many winnable games on paper left to play, I'd rather watch them win, even though I know it isn't going to result in a playoff berth. Competitive baseball is always more fun than a 5-23 September, unless you went into it expecting a full rebuild year.However, if let's say - hypothetically - a player like Will Smith, C, Dodgers (#9) could be aquired in a deadline deal and added to the lacking depth at catcher this organization has, than I think those types of deals need to be made.

    • Miles Death likes this
I contemplated the following as a post initially. Regardless if the Twins could come close to Cleveland or not, is it a good idea? Is keeping some expiring contracts, and some players with no reasonable future on the roster worth the slight chance of catching Cleveland? Or are we better restructuring and evaluating. I know the rebuild has moved glacially, but the fact is it's still not there. I for one would dump this season, not tank it, just move on. Otherwise we could easily end up in that dreaded middle ground for longer than just one year.
    • Sconnie and KirbyDaisy like this
Miles Death
Jul 11 2018 07:47 AM

You will know for sure on August 10, after 7 games against CLE in 11 days. At that point, there is plenty of playing time to be awarded to guys who need a look for 2019. As far as the deadline is concerned, you really only need to decide on Gibson and Escobar, as the others are basically getting nothing in return. Obviously Dozier could heat up, and you may be able to get a B/C level prospect for him from Boston/L.A. Dodgers.

I'm probably in the minority but I don't think they should make a lot of changes. This just seems like one of those years where everything that can go wrong does go wrong. No reason to panic and start dumping people just to make it lot like they're doing something. 


Santana, Polanco, Buxton, Sano were totally unforeseen occurrences. They're not going to get anyone better than Gibson or Escobar so what's the point of trading them? They don't have any huge salaries to dump other than Mauer and he goes off the books after the season. I think the same talent is there that made them so optimistic at the beginning of the season.


Now if Buxton and Sano really turn out to be busts then they have more problems than picking up a few prospects will solve. Dozier can go because Gordon is waiting in the wings. Lance Lynn is Ricky Nolasco. Dump for him for whatever you can get. Other than that I wouldn't do much.