• How full is your Minnesota Twins glass?


    Two more games left. 160 Twins games have been played in 2012 season. Itís been yet another frustrating, 90-loss season for the Twins and their fans. As the offseason fast approaches, it will soon be time for the Hot Stove League. That means 40 man roster decisions, winter meetings, trades, free agents, and most important, rumors. Rumors will, as always, be prevalent throughout the offseason. Twins Daily is the place for all of that!

    One question that the Twins front office will have to ask themselves, and Twins fans will want to ask themselves (just for fun), will affect how the offseason plays out. Is the Twins' glass half full or half empty?

    Consider:

    • Josh Willingham came to Target Field and in his first year with the Twins, he hit a career-high 35 home runs and drove in a career-high 110 runs in a career-high 145 games.
    • Joe Mauer returned from a frustrating 2011 season to compete for the AL batting title and lead Major League Baseball in On-Base Percentage. Proving he can play a solid 1B, his 147 games played (assuming he plays the final two games in Toronto) will be a career high.
    • Ryan Doumit was brought in on a one-year, $3 million deal and posted his career bests in doubles (34), home runs (18), RBI (75) and games played (134). He did a nice job behind the plate and showed enough versatility to play some left field. The Twins locked him up for two more years at just $7 million.
    • Justin Morneau overcame wrist and brain injuries to have a monster second half.
    • Denard Span and Ben Revere did a nice job instigating the lineup, helping the team to more an 0.5 more runs per game than a year ago. Both played very good defense as well.
    • Lefty Scott Diamond came back from a difficult 2011 season to become the Twins best starting pitcher. With one start remaining, he is 12-8 with a 3.54 ERA (4-1 in Rochester, giving him 16 total wins in 2012 after losing 19 combined last year). He has already thrown 202.2 innings.
    • Glen Perkins was signed to a long-term contract extension this spring and has proven to be worth every cent regardless of the role he has been in. Heís 3-1 with 16 saves. In 69.1 innings, he has walked just 16 and struck out 75.
    • Jared Burton was signed as a minor league free agent after missing time the last couple of years with shoulder injuries. He became the Twins 8th inning stalwart. He was 3-2 with a 2.21 ERA and a 0.90 WHIP. In 61 innings, he walked just 15 and struckout 53.


    Note that if nothing changes, each of these players is scheduled to be back with the Twins in 2012. However, at the same time, a few realities need to be front of mind:

    • Despite the offensive performances listed above, the Twins offense ranked 10th out of 14 teams in the American League with 4.35 runs per game. They are 7th in batting average and 6th in on-base percentage. However, they are just 12th out of 14 in slugging percentage thanks to the second fewest home runs.
    • The Twins pitchers gave up 5.16 runs per game which was better than only Cleveland (5.17 R/G). Of course, their ERA is 4.78 and Clevelandís is 4.77. What is staggering is that the Twins had just 924 strikeouts. The second-lowest total in the AL? Cleveland pitchers have struckout 1,058. Tampaís pitchers led with 1,348 strikeouts.
    • Last year the Twins were the second-worst team in baseball. This year, despite relative health (at least compared to 2011) and strong performances by all of those listed above, the Twins will have another top five pick in the 2013 draft. Theyíre also competing over the final two games of the season with Cleveland for last place in baseballís worst division.


    So again, the question for the Twins front office (and for all of you reading this, of course), how full is the Twins cup? Half Full? Or Half Empty?

    • Half Full - The Twins could make one trade and sign two or three mid-level pitchers who will make Diamond the Twins #3 or #4 starter, instead of #1 starter. In doing so, the Twins could be competitive in the AL Central in 2013 or at least 2014. Meanwhile, Kyle Gibson, Aaron Hicks, Oswaldo Arcia, Chris Herrmann and a few other minor leaguers could be ready to contribute by midseason.
    • Half Empty Ė The Twins need to blow this thing up. Trade Morneau. Trade Span. Trade Willingham. Acquire youth. Build for 2017 and hope that the rebuilding goes better than the Royals or Pirates plans have gone. The Pirates assured themselves of their 20th straight losing season. The Royals have one .500 season in the last 20.


    So as the Twins finish out their season north of the border, Twins Daily will be great place for Twins fans to discuss what direction we would encourage the Twins front office to go.
    This article was originally published in blog: How full is your Minnesota Twins glass? started by Seth Stohs
    Comments 44 Comments
    1. nfisch22's Avatar
      nfisch22 -
      I think the answer lies somewhere in between the two scenarios. I think we need to trade our depth (OF) for our weaknesses (SP and Middle infield). And also I would say trade Morneau and let Parmalee handle 1B next year. His value probably won't get much higher so trade him now Ecspecially with a weak 1B crop of FA's. Keep willingham though he's a true power threat in the middle of our order.
    1. glunn's Avatar
      glunn -
      Quote Originally Posted by nfisch22 View Post
      I think the answer lies somewhere in between the two scenarios. I think we need to trade our depth (OF) for our weaknesses (SP and Middle infield). And also I would say trade Morneau and let Parmalee handle 1B next year. His value probably won't get much higher so trade him now Ecspecially with a weak 1B crop of FA's. Keep willingham though he's a true power threat in the middle of our order.
      I also think that the answer lies somewhere in the middle.

      It seems to me that the best path would be to target 2015 or 2016 as the year to build for, and be willing to trade players who don't fit into that time frame. This would mean another dismal two or three years in terms of not contending, but the top prospects (Sano and Buxton) need time to ripen, and the Twins need some good young starters who they develop in house, because they will never pay for really good free agents.
    1. Top Gun's Avatar
      Top Gun -
      I think the Twins glass is full, but I wouldn't trade anyone. You lose more than you gain by trades. Twins lose by letting players walk too. I would
      go after 2 or 3 key free agents. One big name and maybe 2 key guys like last year. The fans would be happy and I think it would payoff huge
      for the Twins as well.
    1. IdahoPilgrim's Avatar
      IdahoPilgrim -
      It depends what our ambition is. If the goal is to return to the playoffs, then we are closer to half-full - a few changes could turn this into a contending team (especially in the AL central). If the goal is a Yankees-style domination of baseball, then it is definitely more half-empty.

      I would personally opt more for half-full - seeking to improve incrementally. The more radical the changes you seek, the greater the chance for failure as well. I'd hate to blow everything up, only to find that instead of having a World Series champion in 2017 we have instead three years of wasted baseball followed by one that is good but not great (which is all too likely). I guess I'm content with a competitive team and would appreciate but do not require a dominant one.
    1. Han Joelo's Avatar
      Han Joelo -
      Half full. Any team has a chance to compete as long as they have a solid core line-up like the Twins have. A couple of veterans that surprise like a Colon(uggh) or Kuroda did this year, or a younger reclamation project like Jason Hammel this year, and you've got a fighting chance. And maybe Gibson comes on midseason ala a Kris Medlen, and Baker comes back strong. I'm optimistic.

      And maybe you pull a Montero for Pineda type trade with either Hicks or Arcia.

      Counting on a bunch of guys 25 and under, along with an aging Joe Mauer, to compete in 2015 is just as big a crapshoot as trying to compete next year. And the marketing phrase "wait until the year after the year after year after this year" probably won't sell many tickets.
    1. ericchri's Avatar
      ericchri -
      Half-full. I'll be disappointed if we don't make any trades this offseason, but I can certainly see how keeping that lineup intact might offer the best hope for a good season. But with our ridiculous need for SP, I think whatever of Span, Revere, Morneau, Willingham, and Parmelee you can get the best SP (or MI) return from you go with. I'll hate to see any of them go, but our best players are kinda bunched at the same positions, and we need to start distributing the talent around a little better.
    1. Don't Feed the Greed Guy's Avatar
      Don't Feed the Greed Guy -
      I see three glasses, my friends, stare with me into your computer screen and imagine not one, but three glasses...

      Pitching: Almost empty
      Defense: 1/2 full
      Offense: 3/4 full

      Pitching: We will need to gain two starters via trade or free agency, and hope that the mixed bag of Gibson, Devries, Deduno, Walters and Hendricks will distill into something that will fill out the back end of the rotation, and top off our glass. The bullpen will be fine.

      Defense is suspect up the middle of the infield. Plouffe is improving at third. The outfield is above average. Can Florimon, Dozier, or that guy we picked up in the Liriano Garage Sale solidify the defense? Not sure. Oh, for the likes of J.J. Hardy... as I wistfully stare into my glass not full...

      Offense: Perhaps the middle infield is where we can improve our offense too. It wouldn't take much to improve on Alexi Casilla's .279 on base percentage, Dozier was anemic, at .271 and Florimon is at .278 after 42 games with the Twins. Escobar has played in 48 games between Chicago and Minnesota, earning a slightly more respectible .285 OBP. This number should be over .300 for whoever occupies second and short. If the rest of the lineup can drive them in, then we'll be full to the brim... groan...
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Quote Originally Posted by nfisch22 View Post
      I think the answer lies somewhere in between the two scenarios. I think we need to trade our depth (OF) for our weaknesses (SP and Middle infield). And also I would say trade Morneau and let Parmalee handle 1B next year. His value probably won't get much higher so trade him now Ecspecially with a weak 1B crop of FA's. Keep willingham though he's a true power threat in the middle of our order.
      Morneau's value will be higher in June if he continues to hit. He's simply owed too much money at this point.
    1. LewFordLives's Avatar
      LewFordLives -
      It's half full, but the problem is I don't see how they're going to fill the rest of the class with some halfway decent starting pitching. It's unrealistic they can fill out the rotation via free-agency and I think we need to be realistic about what the Twins can get back via trade. Teams with pitching hold on to it. So what do the Twins do? Blowing the team up leaves no guarantee of future results and would cause fan interest to evaporate. The best they can do is patch a rotation together somehow and keep the team competitive for a couple years until some of the younger pitchers step up.
    1. Winston Smith's Avatar
      Winston Smith -
      Depends on what you want. If you want a winning type playoff team it probably means blowing it up. Morneau is gone after next yr, Willingham and Doumit a year after that. With 67-68 wins this year it would take a miracle to get 20 more wins next year and be in the race. So you patch things together get another 10 wins and what do we have? A 4th or 5th place team. You can see what good solid pitching can do, the Rays, A's, Mariners have weak lineups but win with pitching. Pitching wins in the playoffs (Giants) the goal should be to stockpile the most good young pitching possible imo. If that takes blowing the team up I'm for it.
    1. JB_Iowa's Avatar
      JB_Iowa -
      Doesn't matter if the glass is half-full or half-empty if the milk is sour.
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      After a 7-21 start, the Twins are 59-73. Included in that was a ridiculous mid-August of 2-14. Outside those two stretches (the first plauged by starting pitching that made everyone vomit every game, the second plagued, I believe, by some injuries), the Twins were 57-59. A healthy and intact lineup with the current condition of the rotation would mean 76-80 wins. Adding just two second-tier starting pitchers could make that jump to 83-87. Finally, add bench depth and a solid rotation of players (including Parmelee on the roster does this) and the Twins are at 85-89. Add in a breakthrough from one or more of Gibson, Baker, Hendriks, Dozier, Arcia, Hicks, and Herrmann, and the Twins could be at or top 90 wins.

      That is obviously a "half full" account, but it also isn't crazy. And it can be done with a payroll of $95-100 million.
    1. one_eyed_jack's Avatar
      one_eyed_jack -
      I'm with those who are optimistic about the chances of making a run at the division next year but pessimistic about the chances of joining baseball's elite any time soon.

      I'm probably glass two-thirds full on the former and one-tenth full on the latter.

      This team is a long, long way from being a serious threat to win it all.

      But frankly, I'll be disappointed if the Twins don't remain competitive in the division next year. Look at the state of it. For all that the Gardenhire division titles are dismissed with the "weak division" argument, there was always at least 1 and sometimes 2 other legit teams in there.

      Next year, there may not even be that . For all the hype they got the preseason, the Tigers were exposed as a deeply flawed team that struggled to win the weakest division in baseball. The White Sox put together a respectable record by feasting on bottom feeders, but they are a thoroughly mediocre team poised for a fall and not likely to repeat that. They can't count on career years from AJ, Dunn and Rios again. The Indians are a mess. The Royals were supposed to take a step forward this year, but they're still stuck in their latest rebuilding project.

      So it should not be all that hard to field a team capable of hanging in the race for a while. If TR can upgrade the rotation from atrocious to mediocre, that could be enough.

      Now, such a team would probably be little more than first-round cannon fodder for the true big boy teams. But you never know what can happen in a short series, and even if it were as one-sided as expected, it beats the living hell out of suffering through another year of being out of it by Memorial Day and losing 90+ games.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      If I've learned anything from the last two years, I'll take a competitive in the division team anytime over a team that may win a World Series once every 8 years and be poor 6 of the other 7 years. I remember that used to be a big question for many Twins fans back when the Twins were winning lots of division titles. Doesn't make the goal any less. Always trying to win every game, but can't get to the World Series without getting to the playoffs.
    1. jharaldson's Avatar
      jharaldson -
      Quote Originally Posted by Brock Beauchamp View Post
      Morneau's value will be higher in June if he continues to hit. He's simply owed too much money at this point.
      The Twins have the option of paying some of his salary for next year if he is traded. I agree that Morneau at $14 million is not super valuable but if you make it known that he is available at $5-7 million then I bet we can get something of value.
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      [QUOTE=jharaldson;56574]
      Quote Originally Posted by Brock Beauchamp View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by nfisch22 View Post
      Morneau's value will be higher in June if he continues to hit. He's simply owed too much money at this point.
      The Twins have the option of paying some of his salary for next year if he is traded. I agree that Morneau at $14 million is not super valuable but if you make it known that he is available at $5-7 million then I bet we can get something of value.
      If they're willing to do that (and I've long suggested they should), I think Morneau's value jumps significantly.

      It's just unfortunate that his production has taken another nose-dive at the end of this season. That hurts.
    1. kab21's Avatar
      kab21 -
      Is this a joke? half full or half empty?

      How about damn near completely empty for the next season or two?

      I don't think the Twins need to do a slash and burn rebuild. That is for really poor teams that don't have any talent anywhere. They should be trying to find some good deals on Morneau, Willingham and Span in the next year though. They can go out and sign a decent mid tier starter for around 3/30. The important thing is that they avoid a 5/75 contract for a MOR starter that could hamstring the team right when the team should be on the upswing. Luckily they've said that they aren't looking there.
    1. Boom Boom's Avatar
      Boom Boom -
      I can see where Seth falls here because his "Half-Full" outline is realistic and his "Half-Empty" one is exaggerated.

      Half-Full - The Twins rotation will be just fine. Scott Baker will be back and contribute all season, Kyle Gibson will jump right in and be a ROY candidate, and Nick Blackburn will be the Viagra Comeback Player of the Year, so no starting rotation additions are necessary.
    1. OldManWinter's Avatar
      OldManWinter -
      More full than not. The team has a lot of strengths too.

      1) Improve by eliminating stupid mistakes. 2) Take better at bats by being a little more patient so you actually do drive in runners who get into scoring position. 3) Build with Twins guys who want to be part of the future. 4) Find a couple key arms ... guys who can be serviceable. 5) Get lucky.

      Don't assume that Baker, Pavano, and Blackburn are shot. Maybe more than one of those three can be some part of an answer.

      It is not like they need a complete overhaul, they just need important help in key areas.

      Problem I have trading Morneau or Span is it reminds me of McPhail trading Bruno for Herr. We let go of a team guy, a good performer who wanted to be here and received a highly discontented one in return.

      Morneau and Span do not put personal needs ahead of team needs. Keep them and that type of player.
    1. Ultima Ratio's Avatar
      Ultima Ratio -
      About 5th out of 30 teams reduces to 1/6 full -- just because I'm an optimist. Like some others above have said, this team is no where near average/mediocre to warrant a discussion of "half" glass perspectives. If the offense and bullpen produce the same next year as this, and the rotation is vasty improved -- only then will we have a .500 team, or half a glass.
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