I expected last year to be a transition season where "out with the old, in with the new" would happen. Some movement occurred, but it was late--Morneau and now Doumit are gone and the pitching staff has new faces--and the season was a gigantic mess.
I am again expecting major changes this year. I expect that the starting staff will be sort of stable because of the guaranteed contracts for four of the projected starters, but Correia has to be a likely midseason or earlier trade candidate and whoever seizes the fifth spot will probably be switched out at some point. The Twins starters at third, center field, left field, DH and shortstop probably won't see another Opening Day with the club.
I am hoping that a young potential-filled club will be on display by midseason or September 1 at the latest. Players who currently have less than one season--Arcia, Hicks, Pinto, Gibson--should be mainstays and we should know whether there is anything to Plouffe, Florimon, and Parmelee. If not, they should be gone and not coming back. Sano, for sure, should see his major league time and perhaps Rosario and Buxton, along with Alex Meyer on the mound. Guys at the end of their contracts--Willingham, Correia, Suzuki--should either be gone or re-upped.
I don't want to see a holding pattern like most of last season was. I want the club to know what they have to pursue in Free Agency in order to contend until 2020.
I agree, but I'm not holding my breath.
I'm a little worried about the Twins not willing to recycle the vets. They've been pretty reluctant in the past to make the mid-season swap, only Morneau and Liriano were moved in season the last two years despite plenty of other options available to be traded/released.
I worry that:
A) They value the potential return much more than the opening of a roster spot for a youngster (and I often don't like what they value in a return)
B) Opening up the checkbook this offseason will compel the team to act "competitive" and not make the changes that may hurt the short term but help the long term. If the Twins are hanging within a couple games of .500 at the deadline, will they actually move Correia, Willingham, Plouffe or any of the relievers?
At some point the Twins need to stick with young players who have shown success in AAA and give them a long extended shot in spite of struggle. It is the only way to develop team control talent. Without that talent they will be stuck in a cycle of mediocrity.
The signing of Pelfrey and Kubel point to a team trying to a team trying to squeeze out as man wins this year as possible at the cost of developing the future. Trading Doumit and replacing him with Kubel is a wash.
It can take two full seasons of consistent regular playing time (1000 plate appearances, 50 starts) to start to realize he potential as players adjust to the major leagues. Will a Gibson get that chance or will he bounce back and forth like Hendriks? Will Arcia get that chance or will Kubel eat into his at bats as Doumit did Parmelee?
It is easy to see the transition the a Twins made in their last two successful runs. You can see it in the roster turn over of 1999-2000 and the early 80s. They gave playing time to young players and let them struggle.
Maybe the a Twins can do both. Compete and develop a core of young players. That wasn't the road they took developing the core for their previous two runs of successful season.
What happens if the Twins are in contention at the All-Star break? That's one of my fears--strange as that must sound. Willingham finds his power, Correia starts strong like last year, http://www.baseball-reference.com/pl...&t=p&year=2013, and Buxton, Sano, and Meyer get rushed to the majors.
How much fun would that be? Do you trade someone like Rosario for an ace/pending free agent who can pitch us into the postseason? It would be a nice problem to have, but transition, to me, means another year of .450 to .500 ball.
No. Rosario is basically untradeable in 2014. His suspension will depress his value until he posts a full season and gets back on track.
Originally Posted by Don't Feed the Greed Guy
As for other prospects, I doubt we see any acquisition trades in 2014... Ryan is hesitant to trade for MLB vets under the best of circumstances. I don't see it happening in a season where the Twins are not expected to compete and even if everything coalesces perfectly, are still probably no better than a .500 team.
Another year of .450 to .500 ball?
Originally Posted by Don't Feed the Greed Guy
That last happened in 2007. Before that, it was 1996.
.450 to .500 at best, in the transitional year of 2014.
For the record:
2011 = .389
2012 = .407
2013 = .407
If the Twins are contending at the All Star break it is more likely that it is because Nolasco, Hughes and Meyer are pitching like studs. If they are doing so you have a solid post season starting 3.. My definition of being in contention is that you have actually been within percentage points of the lead in July, not 7-8 games back going "if only a little win streak". If there is also a conversation about Detroit's pitching staffs peripherals being great despite their record you really can't be in contention if you are 5 games back. Note that last year's final standings and the all star standings were similar for playoff teams
Originally Posted by Don't Feed the Greed Guy
Meyer and Gibson need significant starts this year. The key to sustained success will bed eloping their own team control pitching. Those two are the best bets to be significant mid or even top of the rotation pitchers in 2016. May, Worley and Diamond might also contribute from the back end. The Twins need to develop three pitchers to hopefully join Nolasco and Hughes.
The best hope for Correia is to trade him early in the year or before the season. If he pitches poorly, they should not hesitate to release him. The twins won't release Pelfrey. The absolute worst case is that he pitches at a mediocre back of the rotation level for two years taking starts away from pitchers with upside. The best case is that he has the luck of BABIP and had good numbers to make him appear more valuable in a trade is summer.
If Meyer and Gibson combine for more starts than Pelfrey and Correia, it will be the first step taken in the transition.
Maybe if the kids step up and Pelfrey continues to struggle you see him moved to the pen as a 1 inning guy
Viola and Radke didn't produce for two years. They kept getting opportunities and paid off. If the Twins believe in their talent, Gibson and Meyer must get a long look. They need them to be part of a core they can count on by 2016. It might take 50 starts.
I think this is a .500 team as constructed, but could get better if guys like Sano and Meyer progress faster than I expect. Next year is the year they could put something together.
If it is a .500 team, why not add Drew and Garza, and get to around 85+ wins, and see if you get lucky?
Going to be a very, very interesting year to say the least. And transition is a perfect word description. Some of that transition began last season.
A few story lines to follow that might seem obvious as well as not so:
After 2 full seasons and some welcome streaks, is this the year Plouffe begins to transition in to a player with at least SOME consistency so we know we have a valuable utility piece to plug in somewhere?
Does Presley, temporarily pressed in to full time duty and probably lead off role, transition in to a valuable 4th OF option? He has some skills. And the great OF depth the Twins posess is a bit misleading as many are more than a year away.
Does Hughes forget about Bronx nightmares, work a little more on his off speed stuff with the help of Anderson and/or Cuellar, have better confidence with a change of scenery and half of his starts not in a bandbox, and transition in to a 180-200 innings and 14-16 wins SP?
Certainly there are other stories to watch with eager anticipation as well, (and I am not including vets such as Willingham or Kubel rounding back to form as we're talking about the future and not temps)
There is every reason from talent to past track records to expect Dozier to improve on Avg and OB, for Arcia to frustrate at times but put up some solid and potentially excellent numbers, for Hicks to rebound and begin to get a foothold on consistency and establish himself as the temp CF and future corner OF. Even Florimon, all debates aside, could approach more of his milb mean and at least temporarily make everyone feel pretty decent about SS.
Pinto has the ability to emerge as a solid new C with an exciting bat. Sano and Rosario have legitimate chances to become fixtures around all star break-ish and by Sept. Not holding my breath for Buxton, but what if?
On the mound, whether he takes hold of a spot immediately, or a month or so in the season, this should be the year we see Gibson transition in to regular rotation starter with upside. Healthy, study, AFL innings to help boost him along, we could see Meyer mid season. May, with his durability, high heat and SO totals doing what he has done his whole career to this point, show improvement the next season, we could be talking about a Sept look see.
This is some exciting stuff as we transition to 2015.
I would be in favor on Garza. Not sure about Drew. But yeah, as long as they have the money and they can improve the team with it, go for it.
Originally Posted by mike wants wins
A couple thought on a possible .500 team potentially, veterans on the team and addition veteran FA targets.
Forget contention, just hitting .500 would be exciting and very welcome to us fans, just having a team/product that has a legit chance to win daily/nightly. It also helps the turnstiles, which can't be ignored. And further, it helps the youngsters maintain a more positive winning approach with an even brighter future ahead. And while I still hope and favor a Garza signing, (you can always find a market for excess SP), I don't believe in the idea of signing that veteran DH bat or someone like Drew necessarily because I feel you have tempory options in Willingham, Kubel perhaps, and Florimon/Escobar (which has been debated elsewhere at length)
I definitely feel the team is transitioning this year, to a small degree last year, to something young, exciting, and built for future contention. And while I do think the Twins this next season, with a better and deeper starting staff, better health for the likes of Mauer and Willingham could approach that .500 mark, I'm not eager to take on contacts of older players to fill a short term roll at this time. I think the Twins are better served running mostly as is for now, and then re-examine a veteran option or two next off season to fill in a gap or two.