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Let's Face Reality - This is a Development Year, We Ain't Contenders, So What Do We Do?

Posted by LA VIkes Fan , 14 June 2018 · 925 views

It's time to face facts. I was on the "it's early, don't panic" bandwagon for a long time but it's time to admit defeat and realize this is nothing more than yet another development year. I really thought that the 11 game home stand plus these 6 road games would tell the tale - win 10 or more and there's a chance. With this turd burger the Twins are now 7-7 in the first 14 of the 17 and the chances of sweeping Cleveland are zero, especially with Kluber pitching Friday. Even worse, there are no reinforcements at AAA to really speak of for this horrific offense. Yes Mauer and Polanco coming back will help but we're too far down to even smell a WC and have very little hlep of a Division title unless Cleveland craters completely and I see that as very unlikely as long as Francona is their manager. Time to sell of the spare parts that won't be around next year, extend the ones we want, get some young talent to replenish the minors and help next year or in 2020, and bring up the kids for development.

Open Forum - what do we do; buy, extend, sell, DFA, fire? Here's what I do. All trades are for MiLB talent that could at least be at AAA at some point next year, but no expectation of anyone ready to contribute much this year. We don't have the parts to trade that will get MLB ready talent.

Extend or sell if can't extend - Lynn and Escobar. Both worth keeping if we can, Both worth something if we put them up for trade.

Sell for whatever we can get, just make sure they're gone and not blocking others - Dozier, Grossman, Morrison.

Sell, but only for a good return - Odorizzi, Duke, Reed, Rodney.

Buy - catching (Wilson Ramos, fantasy is Realmuto), RH hitting OF, any high upside AA or AAA prospect.

Promote if possible - Busnitz, Gonsalves, Littel, Gordon, maybe Curtiss - there isn't anybody else who deserves the shot right now. Keep Cave in the majors to see if he can hit consistently. LaMarre and Wilson go down to make room.

Majors or Minors? - Sano and Kepler. Probably keep them up for now but it may be time for one or both to go back and rediscover how to hit if they can.

Fire - Sadly, time for Molitor to go. Good guy, good manager if you want to contend. Probably not the guy to develop young talent.

Promote for sure- Gordon, Busenitz.

Maybe promote depending on how the trades go: Gonsalves, Littel, Bard, Curtiss, May, Moya. It's sad that the only MiLB hitters that deserve a promotion are Cave (who we had to trade for) and Gordon. Wade is a year away IMO.

When the dust settles, let's assume we can extend and keep Escobar but Lynn wants too much $$ so we trade him to an NL team like the Dodgers. Roster for the second half:

1B Mauer/Sano
2B Escobar/Gordon
SS Polanco /Gordon
3B Sano/Gordon (5 IFs)
LF Rosario
CF Buxton
RF Kepler/Cave (4 OFs)
DH Sano/Mauer/Cave
C Garver/Ramos (2 Cs)
UTL: Adrianza (1 UTL)

SP: Berrios, Santana, Gibson, Odorizzi, Romero (Gonsalves or Littel if we can trade Odorizzi).
BP: Hildenberger, Reed, Busenitz, Magill, Rogers, Pressley, and 2 of the following 5: Bard, Belisle, Curtiss, Moya or May.

I'm assuming that we can trade Rodney and Duke for a reasonable MiLB return, that we can't get enough for Reed to make him worth trading (take 3 of the last 5 if we can), and that nobody wants Belisle so we either keep or DFA him. I'm on the fence about what to do with Belisle.

No more playing in the low end of the mediocre middle. We can't compete so let's use this year wisely to develop/audition guys for next year.


  • nclahammer likes this

LA VIkes Fan
Jun 14 2018 02:28 PM

First shoe just dropped - Sano to Ft. Meyers. First of several IMHO. 

    • nclahammer likes this

The question is: who would be a good Manager for the Twins. Always liked the fire of Dougie Mientkiewicz, who ended up getting non-contracted. Thought Jake Mauer was also in the pipeline.


Is it better to advance from inside someone who has worked with the players, since you have so many players to throw in the mix, or who do you garner from outside?


The Twins have a lot of chips to trade for low-mid level prospects, but that is about it. In the offseason, they should have monies to BUY their needs.


Jun 14 2018 03:17 PM
If we’re rebuilding then I’m not sure trading for an aging Wilson Ramos would be the way to go. If we’re trading for players we should be getting younger/controllable players that can help us 2018 (now) and beyond. Players that I feel could be worth trading for are- JT Realmuto (of course), Wil Meyers (1st/OF) (A RH replacement for Mauer/Morrison at 1st), Brad Hand (LHP high leverage fireman for those one run games).
Jun 14 2018 03:27 PM
If we’re really looking at dumping Molitor, the Twins should be sending calls to Ozzie Guillen, Doug Mientkiewicz, Buck Showalter, and Dusty Baker right now.

Gordon hasn't even handled his AAA promotion well.  


    • nclahammer likes this
LA VIkes Fan
Jun 14 2018 04:25 PM

He hasn't done that poorly - .276/.292/.379 (.671) at AAA, after starting the year .333/.381/.525 (.906) in AA.My thinking on Gordon is that the team needs to make a decision for next year whether to try to keep Dozier and/or Escobar.Gordon's ability to play at the MLB level next year figures into that decision.The second half of this year is a good time to find out where hes' at and there isn't any other infielder in the system ready for MLB consideration next year. 


The other possibility is Chris Carter, he of the .243/.342/.573 (.914) slash line in AAA this year. He's 31 though so he's a short term solution at best. H'es a guy to call up if we are in contention this year replacing Morrison but not really a long term play. 

    • mikelink45 likes this

We are not rebuilding - we are stagnating.

Kelly Vance
Jun 14 2018 08:58 PM


The question is: who would be a good Manager for the Twins. Always liked the fire of Dougie Mientkiewicz, who ended up getting non-contracted. Thought Jake Mauer was also in the pipeline.


Is it better to advance from inside someone who has worked with the players, since you have so many players to throw in the mix, or who do you garner from outside?


The Twins have a lot of chips to trade for low-mid level prospects, but that is about it. In the offseason, they should have monies to BUY their needs.

Mike Redmond


    • woolywoolhouse likes this

Both of the catchers in Rochester are hitting well. Astudillo and Sawyer deserve to be promoted. Bobby Wilson needs to go.

    • Danchat likes this

It is incredibly painful that for the first time in years (ever?) the rotation is the strength of the team, and they still are struggling because of the offense and the pen.


If there is any decent return to be had for Lynn, Odirizzi, Santana, May its probably a smart idea to trade them.Gonsalvez needs a shot and Berrios/ Romero are the new core.Pineda is lurking for next year hopefully.If we are rebuilding the kids need to get their chance.


I don't have much confidence in Molitor as a manager but he is likely around for at least most of his new contract, manager of the Year was an unfortunate curse.His assistants seem capable of their jobs but questionable decisions keep happening.


Rosario/ Buxton/ Sano/ Polanco/ Kepler are still the pieces to build around though minus Rosario they haven't taken the next step.Mauer and Dozier will be gone, the other vets minus Escobar are replaceable.They should re up Escobar he has more than earned it. 


The pen still needs serious work, the minor league guys need to get an extended look to figure out if any can stick.Reed is around for awhile and is probably closer next year, Duke is signed and reliable.Hildenberger looks like a solid piece and past that they need to figure out what they have. 


The Falvey/ Levine hire was one intended for the future after they have a few years to re build a broken system, last year was a surprising fluke fueled by a young offense that has now lost itself.I am still excited to see their reformation of the system really sink in with time, The Twins needed to modernize badly and its not an overnight process despite last years results.


LA VIkes Fan
Jun 15 2018 08:47 AM

I agree with you for the most part. I would keep May. He's young enough and coming off of TJ surgery. Leave him in AAA for the year and see if he can be a usefull starter or BP piece by next year. 


Also, I would keep at least one veteran starter to help the younger guys emerge. Frankly, at this point I would vote for Lynn based on the last 6 weeks. He's pitched like a solid 2 or 3, and he's only 31. He's worth a 3-4 year deal if we can get him for 15M a year. Ervin's great, but he's 35 and probably doesn't have more than 1-2 years left. I'd also see if we can keep Gibson or Odorizzi at a reasonable cost with a preference for Gibson. Gibson is 30 and Odorizzi 28 so they both should have at least 3-4 years left and can be that solid #4 type. We put Berrios and Romero at the top, Lynn and Gibson/Odorizzi in the middle, and have an open spot for Gonsalves/Littel/Slegers and eventually Graterol. Frankly, we'll be lucky if one of the Gonsalves/Littel/Slegers/May group becomes a good MLB starter, blessed if 2 of them make it. We need to keep at least one vet and I say at least 2. 

Kelly Vance
Jun 15 2018 10:03 AM

The Twins core is in place. Sure they are struggling, but you don't throw the baby out with the bath water just because a young team is struggling. I think the retooling is more on finer points than a wholesale turnover. But Sano going down indicates we are seller, doesn't it?  If not, then maybe Sano stays down until he gets it right... See you in 2019. 


Rotation:  I don't see Littel or Slegers or May making much of a difference and Gonsalves is next year's competition with Pineda for a fifth spot. Right now we have to figure Berrios, Romero, Odor, Lynn, Gibbie (and Erv and Pineda when healthy). I feel that the FO has put a good rotation in place, which is what they set out to do. I don't see moving out a SP that IS doing well for a minor leaguer that MAY do well. I also think Pineda starts in the BP when he gets activated. 


Bullpen:  Here you have some options to move people around. I see Belisle and Butznitz as belonging somewhere. Magill has done nothing to earn a demotion, but for some reason Molly is playing favorites (shades of Gardy  seasons past).  Molly is overusing Pressley and Reed and Hildy, less so Duke, but other arms are getting little use. That shows Molly lacks confidence in guys like Magill, for whatever reason. Now with Belisle and Butz looking like a call up, Magill is lost in the shuffle.  


Outfield:  Just be patient with Buck. He is a rare talent and defense is underrated. Rosie is a stud and Keps is better in some ways this year and still growing into a complete major league hitter.  4th outfielder needs to be changed. Grossman's main claim to fame is getting walks on 3-2 counts. That is not inspiring. LaMarre has cooled off, but he is needed while Buck is out. I don't think Cave plays CF as well. But I like Cave's surprising HR the other day.  


Infield:  With Sano down on the farm my view has changed. I still think Adrianza is a AAA SS, but I doubt Gordon is ready. Eduardo is 3B. Period. Polanco coming back should strengthen this group. Those calling for LoMo to be sent away forget we have no other 1B or DH options without Mauer. Dozier has earned our patience, and I hope he bounces back. But I think he gets offered up to see what he will bring and maybe gets moved by the deadline. 


Catcher:  Garver is ok, but just ok. I see Wilson as a chubby weak hitter, but listening to Bert and Jack Morris, they both say he calls a really good game. Those guys should know. I'd like to see us upgrade the position, but we are not losing games because of our catchers.


Bench:  I don't get why Grossman is on the roster. He is a meh talent who is a weak fielder, bad base runner and doesn't really hit like we need from a bench bat. Molly likes him, so he is like Gardy's Bartlett, Punto or Kubel.  I think for bench bats we call up any player with a hot bat from AAA as a way of rewarding good play. Cave? Gordon? Nothing wrong with giving them a taste of the show for incentive sake. Thing is, if they are going to mostly sit, nothing cools off a hot bat like sitting. 


Manager: Like it or not, Molly will likely be around for a couple more years. Someone needs to talk to him about his BP use.  All another team has to scout is like 3 relievers. 


I don't see a fire sale happening. I see maybe a couple moves after Joe gets back and I think Sano will be back, maybe not until late. If his attitude doesn't improve he gets traded.

LA VIkes Fan
Jun 15 2018 11:40 AM

I disagree with you in one fundamental respect. We simply don't have much minor-league depth/emerging players who are not pitchers. We can't just assume that the core position players will all develop. In fact, we can and should assume that at least some will be busts, we just don't know who. That's why we have to have depth in the minors.We simply don't have MLB ready talent outside of Gordon and maybe Wade, Rooker and/or Cave.The bottom line is that we don't have anyone in the minors at AAA or AA who looks like a major-league player right now outside of those four that I can see. Things are better at the A level but those guys are at least two or three years away. 


That's why I want to trade a MLB pitcher for high upside position player talent. We are in the rare position of actually having established veteran MLB pitching that we could trade and replace with minor-league talent. I think we should trade one or two of Lynn (who we have to extend if we don't trade, keeping him all year and then losing him is the worst route to go), Gibson and Odorizzi. the hope would be that we could get one or two minor leaguers whose upside is at least that of a solid major-league player so that we have the necessary depth when one or more of the current young "core" turns out not to be a solid or better MLB player.

The rotation is the gem, but some bodies will be going and the Twins will have to see what they have so there could be a complete overhaul by 2020 (with Odorizzo, Pineda and Gibson all gone by then).


The bullpen is overworked. Not that guys are on vacation at Rochester, too.


Yes, Castro will be back in 2019. Do we jump for joy? Do we wait for Navaretto or Roltvedt?


The infield will have a turnover. Is Escobar the most valuable guy to keep? We should be looking at Gordon for the next month as the regular at short...not Adrianza (or Motter). Would it kill the team to do that?


DH is a shambles. Vargas and Carter are down on the farm, both better bets than Grossman. Looks like it will be the home of Sano, if you don't think he can play first.


Who's on first come 2019? Time for Mauer to go out with a bang, sadly. Not sure if Morrison is worth anything.


The Twins have a lot of pieces (and salary) to move at the trade deadline: Santana, Lynn, possibly Gibson, Morrison, Dozier, Grossman, Rodney, Duke, maybe Reed, Belisle.


They have to make a call on Duffy, Rogers, Castro, Adrianza, and trade or longterm sign Rosario or Escobar.


Kepler, Buxton, Sano can't be this bad, can they?


The minors don't look bad bad. There will be money.


The Twins do need to look, too, at Slegers, Granite, Curtiss, Moya, Busenitz and hope Thorpe and Jorge can stay on the 40-man and be a part of the future.


Lots of guys, I see upwards of 8-1, will need to be protected next off-season. Luke Bard, for one. Jake Reed, another.


And, sadly, the Twins could still be in the race in this putrid tight division!


Jun 18 2018 12:46 PM
I know Adrianza is playing ok rn, Polanco’s close to returning, and Gordon is in AAA, but if you haven’t heard, Jurickson Profar is returning to a utility role for Texas since Andrus is back from the DL. Rn would be the perfect time for a trade. Remember when Profar had about as much (if not more) hype than Sano did a few years ago, and it seems he’s finally figured it out with the bat. And with all the uncertainty surrounding Dozier, Polanco, and Sano trading for Profar (plays SS, 2nd, 3rd, OF) would be a step in the right direction in adding to our core.