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J-Dog Dungan

March for the Postseason

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While the All-Star Break is still about a month away, it is usually the best indicator of whether or not teams will be competing for a spot in the postseason and whether teams will be buyers or sellers at the deadline. The Twins, while having gotten out to another abysmal start due (this year, anyway) to horrendous starting pitching and the Twins' complete lack of any kind of hitting, with RISP or otherwise, are again using a weak schedule in the months of May, June, and hopefully July to give us hope that they will be contenders once again. And with the emergence of Scott Diamond as the staff ace and the Twins' newfound ability to score runs (They are ranked second to the White Sox in runs scored since May 16th, averaging 5.6 runs scored per game), we have a reason to be hopeful.

But is there a reason to be hopeful? The Twins have a solid record of playing "Stomp the NL" in interleague play for a long time, and with the teams that they are playing, I don't see why that couldn't continue. After this stretch of games against NL teams, we then play 10 out of last 13 games before the All-Star Break against Central foes and then the last three against Texas. While the Rangers and White Sox, two of the AL teams we face before the All-Star Break, are contenders, I think the Twins have a serious chance to either gain or lose ground on the White Sox, and either one will decide the fate of certain Twins on the team. Fortunately for the Twins, they have Terry Ryan at the helm, and he will be much better at gauging whether or not the Twins will be contenders before the Trade deadline than Bill Smith was last year with that faux run over June and part of July.

The Twins have several hot commodities on the trade market, as Span, Willingham, and Capps are all likely to draw serious consideration for trades near the deadline. Ryan's job will be to make sure that trades for these guys come when they are at their highest value (which should be close to the deadline when contending teams are looking for that "one last piece" to put themselves over the top.) While I would love for the Twins to be in a position to contend, it will help the team in the long run to trade at least Capps and Span, as they are the ones who have been given the most consideration to in trade talks and most likely to be in demand, although Willingham could bring a serious package of prospects if someone is desperate for his services at the deadline and willing to take on his salary, although he (Willingham) would be a great player to build the team in the interim of their return to a perennial contending team.
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