If you take apart this season and identify the problems that led them to where they are now, and if those problems can be addressed during the offseason, I think the Twins have a good chance of competing next season, if they stay healthy... As many have already said, the biggest problem this season has been starting pitching... How many teams, no matter how good their offense and defense is, could survive losing all five of their starting pitchers from the beginning of the season? Couple that with having few options to replace those starters in the upper levels of the minor league system and you have a real disaster on your hands... However, Diamond and Deduno, and to a lesser extent DeVries have shown some potential to contribute next season... Each now has some significant major league experience and all three could be even better next year, although I wouldn't want to bet on that... One bright spot for next season should be the return of Gibson. I think many people are severely underestimating how good he could be next season... The job for Ryan this off season will be to pick up two solid pitchers, who give the team a chance to win, every time they take the mound... Whether that's through a trade or a free agent signing, it has to happen and Ryan knows it. He did a great job picking up Willingham and Doumit last winter, if he can pick up the pitching versions of those guys this winter, the Twins will be in good shape.
The Twins' offense had been pretty solid this season, including Span, Revere, Mauer, Morneau, Willingham, Doumit and Plouffe... The defense has made too many errors, but has been much better than last year... The one area the team could really use some improvement is to pick up one or two middle infielders. Between Florimon and Dozier, they might be able to adequately fill the SS position, but if they could get a good second baseman who can hit and get on base consitently, I think it would be a vast improvement in the lineup... So yes, the Twins can compete next season, but they have to make the right moves to make it happen...
The Twins of 1984 would be an example of a year in which this happened. Ken Schrom - who had been the 1983 Twins' version of Scott Diamond -compiled the only winning record among the starting rotation in 1983 at 15-8. The staff ERA was 4.66 and the team won 70 games. In the off-season, the Twins sent outfielder Gary Ward to the Rangers for starting pitchers Mike Smithson (10-14) and John Butcher. (6-6). Smithson and Butcher joined Schrom and Frank Viola (7-15) at the top of the rotation. While Schrom disappointed (5-11), Smithson and Butcher combined for 28 wins with ERA's in the mid 3's and Viola emerged from a horrific 1983 to become one of the league's top lefties in 84 with 18 victories. The Twins ERA dropped to 3.85 and the team improved to 81 wins.
Originally Posted by Nick Nelson
So who on 2012 Twins has a comparable trade value as a Gary Ward in 1983?
The Twins have gotten to my ultimate nightmare of having just enough good players and "players with potential" to look like they could compete if "things go right." So you kind of have to try and compete even though you need an awful lot of things to break right for it to happen. Any chance? Sure. I'm not sure I expect it, but it's definitely possible. To deny the possibility of competing is to ignore the obvious potential. To unflinchingly expect to compete is also to ignore the obvious flaws.
Perhaps the most frustrating thing about this situation is their best chance to compete next year probably comes from standing pat with their entire hitting lineup and getting lucky signing a couple FA pitchers. After seasons like these last couple, the desire to rip up the team and start over again is pretty high. Trading Span and/or Morneau seem logical, but also make that lineup really thin, there's no depth left to account for prolonged injuries or slumps/underperformance from the remaining members. It's hard to feel confident the team will be good next year no matter what they do. There's too much hoping for luck no matter what decision you make.
But then again, as the A's and Orioles show, "that's why they play the games."
To the guy above, where is the viola on this roster?
If your scenario for competing is two guys coming back from surgery being good, and a gm that has never before signed a big time pitcher signing two of them, and everyone staying healthy, what are the odds those all happen?
Good analysis---can only add--willingness and desire from ownership is needed!
Originally Posted by mike wants wins
Best case scenario is we'll be average next year.
Our lineup is average (sorry, not great, check out runs scored), and we're wildly inconsistant. Our middle infield needs an upgrade no matter what management says or thinks. The guys we've got are just not viable starting middle infielders.
And then the starting pitching which won't be upgraded via free agency . . .
To compete for the division? Sure. A lot of people dismiss the Twins success in the 00's with the "weak division" argument, but I think the division now is as weak as it's been in a long time. The Whities have been good enough to win it this year, but can they realistically count on AJ, Rios and Dunn all having career years again? The Tigers got a lot of hype after the Fielder signing, but their flaws have been exposed. The Indians are a mess. The Royals have been better lately, but still look stuck in perpetual 'rebuilding' mode.
So the division is there for the taking. And if TR can assemble even a mediocre starting rotation without giving up too much offense,it should be within reach.
Competing beyond that? That would require something more. Divine intervention perhaps.
For the Twins to be competitive, let alone a contender. The following things need to happen:
1. Twins sign a Shaun Marcum type and he blossoms winning 20 games, with very good peripherals, taking advantage of the pitching friendly environment of Target Field.
2. Liriano Misses Anderson and Gardenhire and he signs a team friendly contract. Reaching deep within himself, he is able to harness his enigmatic pitching abilities. Winning 17 games, Striking Out 230, with very good all around peripherals.
3. Scott Diamond has a comparable season to the one he is having with 200 innings pitched.
4. The 4-5 Starters (Baker, Gibson, Deduno. John Doe 1, 2, or 3) are able to pitch to the level of a contending teams 4 and 5 starters
1. Perkins and Burton continue their progression as successful late inning relievers.
2. The Twins leave Duensing alone and let him establish himself in the bullpen and he rewards them by being the shut down left handed specialist.
3. 2 more relievers emerge from the woodwork and do an above acceptable job.
C - Mauer has an elite BA season. .340+BA, 90RBI, 550+PA's
1B - Morneau. He reclaims the ability to hit .300+, 30HR+, 100+RBI
2B - Someone who plays good defense and hits over .250 (not holding out too much hope)
SS - See 2B
3B - Mr. June spreads his wealth around the other months playing serviceable defense, hitting .250+ with 25+ HR's
LF - Willingham repeats this season.
CF - Revere (I hate speculating on trades, but I will go with the overall concensus that Span is traded for a few decent prospects who won't be able to help immediately). Revere bats .300+, 100+ Runs Scored, 50 stolen bases.
RF - Parmelee: .280+ Average, 20+HR's, 85+RBI's
DH - Doumit repeats this season
Bench: Mastroianni, Carroll, Herrmann, Some Joe Cool bench player who can hit a HR off the bench once in a while.
This is within the realm possibility, Right?
That's "best team in baseball", not "contending".
Originally Posted by Zodiac
I like Zodiac. Of course, we need stellar years from an aging Willingham, Plouffe has to be a year-round third sacker, and the Twins hav to find something to fill 2B/SS/ Can Parmelee shine as a future Cuddyer in RF? The strength is the bullpen. Enough arms to run thru 7-10 pitchers during the season. Do the Twins need a lefty starter? Okay, they need 5 starters.
My sense of imagination got away from me.
Originally Posted by Brock Beauchamp
I'll take Rhetorical Questions for $200, Alex, and try "who is Denard Span?" ;)
Originally Posted by Teflon
The $1000 question is who can the 2012 Twins get for Denard Span with comparable value to 1983 Mike Smithson and John Butcher.
Originally Posted by ashburyjohn
A 2b and ss who hits 250 shouldnt be too hard to find, right? Can we call them up from Beloit?
Originally Posted by Brock Beauchamp
I would like to say yes, but too many things would have to go right for that to happen. Baltimore and Oakland both had it happen this year, but that will require the Twins scouts to make all correct judgements on the trades for pitchers. Twins need to trade for some close to ready prospect pitchers, not impossible but not likely. Clubs value pitching more highly than 30 years ago. Marcum would be the best Twins option on the Fa market and resigning Baker, if he even wants to be here, would help. A trade for some better minor league pitchers with stuff, or finding one or two on the scrap heap would help. Still would like to find one better middle infielder(steven Drew anyone).