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Houston, We have a Problem

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Since the start of the 2011 season, the Twins have a recordof103-157. Only the Houston Astros have a worse record in that time (90-170).As the trade deadline approaches, it is striking how active the Astros havebeen in making trades while the Twins have been pretty quiet to this point.

Since the beginning of July 2011, the Twins have made thefollowing moves:

· August 2011 – Traded Delmon Young to Detroit forRHP Lester Oliveros and LHP Cole Nelson.
· August 2011 – Traded Jim Thome to Cleveland forCash.
· December 2011 – Traded Kevin Slowey to Coloradofor RHP Daniel Turpen

In contrast, here are the trades made by the Astros in thatsame time:

· July 2011 – Traded Hunter Pence to Philadelphiafor 1B Jonathan Singleton, RHP Jarred Cosart, RHP Josh Zeid, and OF DomingoSantana
· July 2011 – Traded Jeff Keppinger to SanFrancisco for RHP Henry Sosa and RHP Jason Stoffel
· July 2011 – Traded Michael Bourn to Atlanta forOF Jordan Schafer, RHP Juan Abreu, RHP Paul Clemens and LHP Brett Oberholtzen
· May 2012 – Traded Justin Ruggiano to Miami for CJobduan Morales
· July 2012 – Traded Carlos Lee to Miami for 3BMatt Dominguez and LHP Rob Rasmussen
· July 2012 – Traded Brandon Lyon, JA Happ andDavid Carpenter to Toronto for Francisco Cordero, Ben Francisco, RHP JoeMusgrove, RHP Asher Wojciechowski, LHP David Rollins, C Carlos Perez, and aPlayer to be Named Later.
· July 2012 – Traded Brett Myers to Chicago (WhiteSox) for RHP Matt Heidenreich and LHP Blair Walters
· July 2013 – Traded Wandy Rodriguez to Pittsburghfor OF Robbie Grossman, LHP Randy Owens, LHP Colton Cain

The Twins have used their high waiver spot to claim thelikes of Pedro Florimon, Clete Thomas and Erik Komatsu. The Astros have usedtheir waiver spot to claim players like Fernando Martinez and Mark Hamburger.

The Astros masterfully handled the draft. Instead of takingthe “easy” pick, Mark Appel, they took the top high school bat (according tomany) in Carlos Correa and signed him for well below the suggested slot for thetop pick. That allowed them to sign Lance McCullers, who fell to them in thesupplemental first round.

The Astros have pretty much blown up their roster andstarted from scratch. Of the players who were on the Astros Opening Day roster,Jed Lowrie is the player remaining who has the largest contract, at $1.15million.

It’s hard to imagine the Twins completely blowing things up,but should they? What is the right thing to do? With needs at many positions atthe big league level and throughout the minor league system, would it be bestto start over and accumulate as much talent as possible?

Does it need to happen at the July trade deadline? ForFrancisco Liriano, the answer would seemingly be Yes. However, since JoshWillingham and Denard Span are signed long term, if Terry Ryan doesn’t feel heis getting maximum return, he can keep them and try again this offseason.

So what do you think? Will the Twins or the Astros contendin their division first?

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