07-11-2012, 10:01 AM #21
On the other hand, the Twins have Revere behind Span. Putting Revere in CF actually strengthens him as a player, as CF makes his range more of a factor and his arm is slightly marginalized there.
That means the team needs to find a corner OF for 2013. Thankfully, corner outfielders who can put up Revere's offensive production (though not defensive) are one of the easiest things to find in baseball. It's not even that difficult to find a guy who will hit enough to offset the defensive loss in moving Revere to CF. All the Twins need is a guy who can play corner OF for one season, after which one of the Hicks/Arcia/Benson trio should be close to getting a shot.
Like, say, a one or two year deal to Torii Hunter. It makes sense on so many levels. Fans love him, he's probably open to returning to MN, and he's nothing more than a corner OF at this point and possibly nothing more than a backup in 2014.
07-11-2012, 10:08 AM #22
For instance, Baltimore could really use some help in the corner OF spots. Ditto the Mets, Pirates, and Dodgers. I'd argue we could get a solid young pitcher from any of those teams that would be worth pulling the trigger.
07-11-2012, 10:10 AM #23
07-11-2012, 10:13 AM #24
07-11-2012, 10:13 AM #25
Another thing to mention is that it's not impossible that teams are eyeing up Ben Revere right now.
If you can deal Revere, I'd do it yesterday. I have so little faith in his continued production*...
*but in all fairness, I have very little faith in speed-based/BABIP/no walk guys in the first place
07-11-2012, 10:23 AM #26
07-11-2012, 10:26 AM #27
I don't see us contending as a real possibility, but who knows.
07-11-2012, 10:31 AM #28
Damn--compare this season's numbers for Ben Revere and Juan Pierre (note: I don't think a Juan Pierre comparable is such a bad thing).
Why not spend $25 million on two starters in the offseason, keep your best players, and not give in to a near-repeat of 2012 in 2013?
07-11-2012, 10:31 AM #29
Since September 2010 the Twins have been the 2nd worst team in the AL. The Mariners are 112 and 167 for a .401 winning clip and the Twins are 117 and 159 for a .423 clip. You may call that nitpicking and say they're still not good but I'd call making up statistics worse. Check your facts.
While you're at it, work on reading comprehension. Nick clearly stated that he was throwing out a fun hypothetical which succeeded in adding some levity to a disappointing season. I'm hoping your snide "I take it this is your first year following the club?" is just you being sarcastic and bitter because if you meant it that way I'd have to ask "Is this your first year on the internet?" since Nick Nelson founded this site and is one of the best Twins bloggers out there.
07-11-2012, 11:54 AM #30
You all realize Nick is absolutely NOT saying this is what IS going to happen, only what MUST happen if they expect to get back in it, right?! Obviously, it's not likely.
07-11-2012, 01:47 PM #31
Nick and others took "what would it take" as what particular things must go right. My reaction was to look at the big picture. Three teams are above .500 in the division; even if we agree the Sox must fall off their current pace, it's reasonable to expect some team other than the Twins will finish above .500. Say it will take 87 wins to claim the division crown. The Twins need to go 51-26 from here on out to achieve that. A .662 clip, Nick mentioned this but didn't take the next step: it means a pace that would be a 107-win team if carried a full season.
It's disallowed to say "can't happen". But this is what would have to happen: an historically-good 107-win team emerging from the present situation. Even with all the good things listed so far, starters going 6 innings and so forth, I am not sure I see a 100+ win team adding up from it. So, what would it take? More than we've collectively said so far, except for radioactive spiders.
Is it disallowed to say "a miracle"?
Last edited by ashburyjohn; 07-11-2012 at 01:51 PM.
07-11-2012, 02:42 PM #32
07-11-2012, 04:25 PM #33
Let's take this one at face value, Nick. I realize that this scenario isn't likely, but I'm not sure the scenario you have laid out is optimistic enough:
1) Twins need to come out of the break on fire.
Agreed, but what counts as 'on fire'? The good news is that the Twins play Oakland, Baltimore, and Kansas City coming out of the break, but the bad news is that those teams aren't the pushovers they've been over the past few years: the Orioles in particular are holding their own in a very tough-looking division. Even given that these won't be as easy of games as they might have been, sweeping all three series would still leave the team below .500 with just over a week to go until the trading deadline. Even if they then followed that up with a sweep of the White Sox, they'd *still* be below .500 with five days before the trading deadline. That would be enough to scare them off being sellers, but too little time to come up with a decent deal as buyers, meaning that the surge had better mean a real uptick in quality and not just an illusion. (Though admittedly, that's exactly what your hopeful prediction is hoping for -- keep the current club together, watch them soar. Frankly, I'd be hoping more for 'addition by subtraction' in getting guys with big-name reps but with sub-optimal performance off the club -- say Pavano.)
2) Twins need to 'dominate' divisional rivals
If the Twins win every three game series and split the one four-game series against a divisional rival from here on out, they'll go 26-14 in divisional games. *This does not even get them back to .500* So by 'dominate' what we mean is win every series and sweep half.
And even that doesn't promise anything, since the Twins have already been far better against the Central (14-15) than against the East (5-12) or West (8-13); we could go 32-8 in divisional games and still end the season below .500 if we keep playing at our current pace against non-divisional opponents. So it's basically 'win every series, sweep most'.
3) White Sox must stumble.
The White Sox do appear, at least by Pythagorean record, to be the class of the division, so they've got to tumble for us to pass -- problem is, while they're tumbling, they're giving wins to every other team ahead of us in the division, making our task that much harder. Passing four teams is a lot harder than passing one. So what we really need to root for is that both we and the Sox dominate the division, but we dominate the Sox -- if our records are identical against similar opponents, but we beat the Sox all 12 times we play them the rest of the year, we'll finish a game ahead. And if we've both been beating our divisional opponents, we'll both finish ahead of them.
4) Starting pitching must lead the way
Well, when your club allows a league-leading number of runs, that seems obvious. And when you're the worst in the league in quality start percentage (we're at 35%, KC is at 36%), that's another knock on the starters.
Interestingly enough, though, the Seattle Mariners are above league-average in runs per game and nearly average in quality start percentage, but have a record worse than ours. That's because of their offense, right? Except they and us have exactly the same run support per inning pitched (4.1). (They're a bit behind us in run support per game, largely because they've played more extra-inning games which makes our innings closer than our games.) By this argument, the starting staff could drop their ERA by a full run, and if the offense remains pokey, the record will barely budge. The starters would have to get *massively* better for them to help lead the way, or the offense would have to improve by the same lesser margin.
5) The bullpen can't slip up.
By 'slip up', what you really mean is 'make any mistakes, ever', because as poor as the bullpen looks by runs, it looks great by alternative measures -- the Twins' bullpen is in the top 5 in the league in percentage of inherited runners scored, save percentage, and bullpen wins. The problem is that the bullpen is pitching from behind -- the Twins' bullpen leads the league in relief pitchers entering a game while losing -- and in a good number of those games, the guys coming in aren't the top guys in our 'pen and put a losing game out of reach. So, 'enter more games with a lead' would be one good way to improve the bullpen, just to let them do what they've already done this year some more.
So, if you want to be optimistic about the Twins and what it would take to come back, aim higher. The Twins could achieve every single one of the goals as listed and still not break .500.
07-11-2012, 04:27 PM #34
Here's what has to happen:
1) Everything that's been going well (Diamond, Liriano 2.0, Plouffe, relatively good health, etc.) keeps going well,
2) Morneau hits .312/.382/.544 in the 2nd half, raising his 2012 stats up to his career averages,
3) Carroll hits .312/.386/.408 in the 2nd half, raising his 2012 stats up to his career averages. He moves up to the #2 spot in the lineup because,
4) Tampa accepts Revere in a straight-up trade for James Shields. Tomorrow. Doumit, Parmelee and Mastroianni hold down RF and bat 7th or 8th. Shields, liberated from facing the bomb squads of the AL East, wins 11 games down the stretch,
5) Dozier goes back to Rochester to work on some things. Carroll goes back to SS, Casilla to 2B, batting 9th. Casilla doesn't hit any better than Dozier, but steals more bases and prevents about 15 unearned runs,
6) Heartened by a 13-3 run to start the 2nd half (including a 3-game sweep of the Sox in Chicago), TR decides to go all in. He convinces the Brewers to accept a quantity package for Greinke consisting of Arcia, Hermsen, any RH reliever from Rochester, any pitcher from New Britain, and any player from Fort Myers. Greinke wins 10 down the stretch, and enjoys MN so much that he signs a 5-year extension at $18.5M/season.
7) Peavy gets hurt and Konerko and AJ remember that they're old and should be declining. The Sox play slightly under .500 ball the rest of the way, and the Tigers and Indians finish with records befitting their run differentials.
Yeah, that outta do it!
07-11-2012, 04:49 PM #35
I'm not saying this team is capable of going .650 from here on out but you're exaggerating the magnitude of the feat. We're talking about 77 games.
07-11-2012, 06:21 PM #36
07-11-2012, 07:17 PM #37
07-11-2012, 07:41 PM #38
The Twins are 14-15 vs the AL Central. To me, there are two pieces of good news there:
1) They aren't outclassed by the division. They aren't dominant either, but they aren't out of their league in these head to head games
2) There are still a LOT of head to head games left - 43 to be exact, of 14 more than they have played.
Personally, I don't see this team having the horses to win, but because of this goofy schedule, the opportunity is still there. They don't need to be dominant overall. They need to win division matchups.
07-11-2012, 08:27 PM #39
Looking back at that 2003 team, they went from 7.5 GB at the All-Star break to winning the division by four games. That's an 11.5 game swing. Granted, they had to pass two teams and not four, and they were better than this current group, but really they weren't all that different. One great starter (Santana) supported by a bunch of meh (Radke was second on that team in ERA at 4.49), a good bullpen and a capable offense with a couple stars.
Just some food for thought that I find more pleasant than dwelling on the obvious negatives associated with this club.
07-11-2012, 11:46 PM #40
And then, if the White Sox, winners of 11 of their past 15 games, do not fall off their current pace for 89.6 wins, even that 51-26 (.662) miracle finish will not be enough. There's the other problem with pinning our slim hopes on the presumably weak intradivision schedule: the teams already at the top have to stumble while playing a similar schedule within the division, plus, unlike the Twins, they get to play the team currently at the bottom.