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Is Waiting Really a Good Thing for Twins?

Posted by Ted Schwerzler , 21 January 2019 · 1,600 views

byron buxton miguel sano manny machado minnesota twins
Payroll angst has been at what seems like an all-time high this offseason. Joe Mauer’s contract came off the books, and there’s zero committed dollars for 2020 and beyond. Instead of allocating those funds though, the Twins are hovering around a $100 million payroll and made another “splash” by signing Martin Perez. Local media has suggested the Twins are waiting to get it right, but does that make sense?

Phil Mackey of the recently rebranded Skor North radio tweeted he’s been told directly by someone within the organization that this is a waiting game. Needing to get the “nucleus” of the roster right before adding pieces, the strategy of acquiring filler talent this offseason jives with that notion. Realistically speaking, Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano are going to be the straw that stirs Minnesota’s drink, and even the next wave of prospects won’t change that reality. Waiting for the perfect scenario seems to have plenty of hurdles, however.



There’s no denying that Sano and Buxton have both failed to live up to their prospect projections. Expected to be franchise cornerstones for years to come, neither has solidified that notion yet. Chief among the concerns for new manager Rocco Baldelli, will be jumpstarting and developing both of those guys into the players they’ve been expected to be. If he’s able to accomplish that goal, he’ll have done what former manager Paul Molitor was unable to achieve.

The idea that the spending, supplementation, or bolstering the roster with talent hinges on a set group of players seems like a poor decision, however. First and foremost, baseball is not a sport that’s dictated by even a handful of guys on a 25-man roster. Winning teams accomplish goals by being a stronger sum of their parts and raising the water level of those on the ends of the roster helps to push the bar. On top of that, projecting year-over-year certainties is somewhat of a losing battle.

Recently the Twins sprung up for an 85-win season in 2017 following the disastrous 103 loss campaign a year earlier. Twins Daily’s Nick Nelson pointed out that neither World Series winning Minnesota club was coming off a season in which competitiveness should’ve been the expectation either. On top of that, there’s plenty of opportunity to be had given the current landscape within the division. Minnesota has the opportunity to play two surefire 90 loss clubs in both Detroit and Kansas City. The White Sox are not yet ready to run, and the Indians have taken considerable steps backwards. Jumping at the window present by the AL Central itself should be enticing on the surface.

Oh yeah, and about those White Sox. Chicago is coming off a 2018 in which they lost 100 games and finished 4th in the division. Boasting one of the best farm systems in the sport, they are in the middle of guys yet to pan out (Yoan Moncada and Reynaldo Lopez), those yet to debut (Eloy Jimenez), and those still a ways off (Nick Madrigal, Luis Robert). Despite all of that, they’ve gone out and signed recruiting tools in Jon Jay and Yonder Alonso, while jumping to the front of the line in hopes of landing a game changing Manny Machado. There couldn’t be a blueprint highlight a less established nucleus than what Chicago currently employs, but they’ve chosen to spark winning by seeing what’s coming and supporting it.

At some point, the Twins need to be held accountable. Holding off on spending in previous seasons while battling uncertainty and a less than ideal opportunity cost was defendable. With more than their fair share of assets available, talent on the rise, and the red carpet nearly rolled out in the division, the sensibility this time around is nowhere to be found.

We can continue to wait for a sign, an omen, or an airplane flying a banner. In the meantime, I guess we just wait for the circumstances to be even more ideal.

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

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It's odd, I suppose people would rather prefer that we A) try as hard as possible to compete for B) start tanking, but instead they're staying stagnant... it's hard to say much about this team. It feels like they're pretending to compete while hoping they can trade these one year deals at the deadline for more assets. And if that's the case and they're hoping for their own prospects to come up and do some damage, then let's make some trades and do something! Standing pat just doesn't seem right.

    • diehardtwinsfan and beckmt like this
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whatyouknowtwinsfan
Jan 21 2019 09:56 PM

I get both sides of the argument. I look at the Twins plan being that if everything goes right in 2019 (Buxton, Sano, and Kepler emerge, full season of Polanco, Prospects taking the next step), I would not be surprised if they go after next offseason's free agents and reel one in (and there are a lot of HIGH END options out there-particularly in the pitching department).

Yes, but I would not put my faith in pitchers 30 and older that are not already pitchers rather than throwers who will lose velocity in the near future.

There’s no denying that Sano and Buxton have both failed to live up to their prospect projections.

 

That statement would had bee truth if both players were beyond their primes.  

They still have to reach their primes.They still can become superstars. 

 

One down season and let's call them busts.Under the same logic Torii Hunter was a bust as well...

    • Platoon and sdangus like this
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Ted Schwerzler
Jan 22 2019 02:29 PM

 

That statement would had bee truth if both players were beyond their primes.  

They still have to reach their primes.They still can become superstars. 

 

One down season and let's call them busts.Under the same logic Torii Hunter was a bust as well...

I'm the last person to be out on them, and I'd expect both to rebound. At this point however, they have failed to live up to their prospect projections. It is true in this moment. I don't anticipate it continuing to be so.

What's more likely to elevate their games...forcing them to step up and carry a mediocre roster or surrounding them with talent that allows them to relax and play? That's the question. There's money available to bolster the lineup. Do it. 

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Ted Schwerzler
Jan 22 2019 03:59 PM

 

What's more likely to elevate their games...forcing them to step up and carry a mediocre roster or surrounding them with talent that allows them to relax and play? That's the question. There's money available to bolster the lineup. Do it. 

Ding ding ding. Baseball isn't a one or two player sport. Even if they step up and break out, the overall impact isn't felt unless 10-15 guys are playing at peak performance. Bring in more talent so the bottom of those 10-15 performs at a higher level.

    • SQUIRREL likes this

 

That statement would had bee truth if both players were beyond their primes.  

They still have to reach their primes.They still can become superstars. 

 

One down season and let's call them busts.Under the same logic Torii Hunter was a bust as well...

And Aaron Hicks! How did that work out?

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diehardtwinsfan
Jan 22 2019 05:57 PM

Given that the core is good enough right now to win games (the team as contructed will probably top 80 games) one would think it makes sense to shore up weak spots in some capacity. 

 

I'm not liking this standing pat thing. If Sano and Buxton turn into those guys, at the end of the year we will be wishing we had gotten a couple more players.

    • Winston Smith, LA VIkes Fan, shimrod and 1 other like this
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Winston Smith
Jan 22 2019 11:05 PM

14 years since they won A playoff game. Maybe it's time for a new plan of attack. This just looks like Ryan 3.0.

There doesn't seem to be much excitement regarding any signings by the team so far, and I am not sure what would move the needle for the fans but a Harper or Machado level signing, the Twins are in an odd situation. The analysis of Sano and Buxton should be complete. For various reasons, well documented, it's not. So in a manner, the Twins are in a sort of time warp. It's spring 2017 all over again. They know little more now than from that time in history about their two franchise altering players. Hopefully this year both will be healthy and progress. Until that happens, and hopefully they show progress, there just doesn't seem a way to competently finish a competitive roster. Take a Correa and Springer away from Houstons lineup. It's not the same. To me the pressure on the FO will be this: Once the season is in full swing, they will be forced to make a decision on how Sano and Buxton will pan out earlier than one would normally do so in a season. In that manner I agree with those who say "times a'wasting". No doubt the Twins have some holes to fill/improve. But it won't make any difference to, for example, improve our defense at SS or behind the plate unless Buxton and Sano produce as hoped for and expected. For better or worse the eggs are in those two baskets.
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