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Article: A Closer Look at the 2015 Twins

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#31 birdwatcher

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Posted 02 September 2014 - 10:47 AM

And the bullpen could use serious upgrades as well.

 

The way I would plan with Buxton and Sano is to plan on nothing next year, but to pretty much avoid a long commitment at those positions.

 

From August 31, 2014 to April 1, 2015 I would anticipate 2 different hitters (not counting Pinto for Fryer) and 5 different pitchers at a minimum.

 

Well said regarding Buxton and Sano. I'd leave Santana, Plouffe, and Escobar in the lineup until those two supplant them and Santana pushes Escobar out. And it's not illogical to think that both of them would be ready to contribute some time in 2015. In fact it might be illogical to think they wouldn't.

 

So, they have two massive holes: an above-average corner OF and a starter that projects to be as good as we thought Hughes was going to be, or better. I'd love it if they'd shop for a young catcher too. The bullpen will get overhauled and is a minor concern because we have good options there. 


#32 Nick Nelson

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Posted 02 September 2014 - 10:58 AM

Meyer? Ryan basically said again he's not ready. Gibson looks like a 3/4. Nolasco is terrible. Hughes is a nice pitcher. Then there are a bunch of question marks. There are at least 2, if not three, holes there. The Twins can choose to eat Nolasco's money, or trot him out there. We know what they will do there.

Well, no, they really can't "eat Nolasco's money." That's not a viable option. No MLB team would do that one year into a four-year deal. They gave him $50 million for a reason, and that reason is still there even if his contract is off to an incredibly bad start. Are you suggesting that they just eat $36 million and sign another expensive pitcher to replace him? That's not even remotely realistic.

 

 

Any expectation and Buxton and Sano are there to help is hope talking, not logic.  I'm ok with hoping they have an impact next year, but the roster should be addressed by logic, not hope.

Is it? I guess I don't really agree. They're two of the top prospects in baseball and they've both played at Double-A. Either way, as drjim notes, at most the team would be looking to sign short-term stopgaps to keep their seats warm, so any additions at those positions would (logically) be relatively minor.

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#33 Nick Nelson

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Posted 02 September 2014 - 11:02 AM

I'm not sold on Oswaldo Arcia and I think the Twins could do better in right field.  He's hitting .220/.288/.429 with 101 strikeouts in only 81 games... and not to mention the bad defense.  I know he's young, and I know he's conquered AAA already, but he needs to step back and collect himself because I'm not impressed with how he's played.

 

I'm also not sold on Trevor May being part of the rotation immediately in 2015, leaving Nolasco, Hughes, Gibson, and... Mike Pelfrey?

 

I guess what I'm saying is that I disagree with the premise that the Twins don't need to make any major moves in the offseason.

Well yes, it's one thing to say they could improve in certain areas. It's another thing to say they SHOULD spend a bunch of money on a player who will likely block a younger guy from getting a chance. Are they really in a position where they should be operating like that, especially when you consider that free agents aren't exactly the model of reliability?

 

 

While we're on the subject of outfielders, the Twins are still lacking a left fielder for 2015 as well.

Yep. In the original article that this one is following up on, I said I thought left field is the one spot where the Twins could stand to make a significant addition, so I agree with you there. I'd like to see them sign or trade for an established corner OF bat to stabilize a talented but young lineup.

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#34 laloesch

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Posted 02 September 2014 - 11:13 AM

Milone really shouldn't be discounted so much since he does have a pretty good AL history so far. One big contract for a guy like Lester or Shields would go a long way. Its not an easy fix since you aren't comfortable that the talent is ready but don't want to block them either. This year we went with more youth on offense and I would be fine with doing the same on the pitching side even if it means taking a few more lumps but I understand that I have more patience than most.

 

 

Do you honestly believe that Lester and Shields or any other ace quality starter would sign with the Twins?  Even if Pohlad and Ryan were willing to spend the money (probably would take 25-35 million a year), no legitimate ace is going to sign with a franchise mired in 4 seasons of losing and rebuilding.  Just not gonna happen.  I mean we can sit here and daydream all we want, but the facts are the facts.

 

The only way out of this disaster is to lose more games and continue to stock pile talent like the Royals and Pirates.  What we really NEED is a #1 or #2 pick in a pitching heavy draft.   Those top two or three picks are where you find top tier pitchers.

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#35 Boom Boom

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Posted 02 September 2014 - 11:31 AM

Well yes, it's one thing to say they could improve in certain areas. It's another thing to say they SHOULD spend a bunch of money on a player who will likely block a younger guy from getting a chance. Are they really in a position where they should be operating like that, especially when you consider that free agents aren't exactly the model of reliability?

 

 

I wouldn't even suggest signing a long-term right fielder... but I would be interested in signing a right fielder to a relatively short contract and make Arcia earn his way back on to the team. 


#36 JB_Iowa

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Posted 02 September 2014 - 11:41 AM

You undersold the Twins, they were first in runs in August. But alas the record was the same.

 

Way to depress me even more.


#37 Platoon

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Posted 02 September 2014 - 11:47 AM

Everyone, including myself has taken turns defending the honor of specific players. By now this includes the entire roster, with the exception of the batboy. But to clarify my previous submission, it is the sum of these parts that is the problem. A Dozier is a nice 2B, an Escobar could play short or second for many good teams, and a Suzuki could catch for a contender. But those teams will have superior players at other positions, and these guys will be major league level "fill ins". Well that might be a bit harsh, but they will not be the engine that drives the train. They are all major league level players, and in some cases very decent ones. But there are too many clustered on one team at one time. A couple examples, with no particular bias.... Dozier hit in the 3 hole this year. Plouffe hit in the 4 hole. I do not mean to say that on those days they were not the TWINS best options, what I mean to say is that if they are, that is a reflection on the entire roster as it currently is constructed!
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#38 stringer bell

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Posted 02 September 2014 - 11:54 AM

There is real progress this year. Look who has been jettisoned. The Twins started the season with a bunch of 30+ guys who were either past their prime or never were very good. Most are gone. They have two (TWO) pretty good options at short, when they started with Florimon. Trevor Plouffe has established himself (as Dozier did in 2013) and Dozier has proven that his breakout wasn't a fluke. The Twins acquired two nice players (Hughes and Suzuki) both now for three years. There is more to be done, no question. Somehow, some way, the pitching needs to be improved dramatically. On the position player front, one key acquisition plus improvement of young players would equal a pretty dynamic and effective offense.
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#39 mike wants wins

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Posted 02 September 2014 - 11:55 AM

Well, no, they really can't "eat Nolasco's money." That's not a viable option. No MLB team would do that one year into a four-year deal. They gave him $50 million for a reason, and that reason is still there even if his contract is off to an incredibly bad start. Are you suggesting that they just eat $36 million and sign another expensive pitcher to replace him? That's not even remotely realistic.

 

 

Is it? I guess I don't really agree. They're two of the top prospects in baseball and they've both played at Double-A. Either way, as drjim notes, at most the team would be looking to sign short-term stopgaps to keep their seats warm, so any additions at those positions would (logically) be relatively minor.

 

No, I think I was pretty clear, they aren't going to eat that much money. That wasn't clear in my statements?

What I just typed is probably an opinion, not a fact. I mean, I'm usually right, so you should maybe assume it is or will be a fact soon, but that's up to you. :)


#40 jharaldson

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Posted 02 September 2014 - 12:17 PM

Is it? I guess I don't really agree. They're two of the top prospects in baseball and they've both played at Double-A. 

 

Just to confirm, you are using the presence of 3 plate appearances in AA as a reason why Buxton might be ready for the majors at some point next year.  If such a limited sample size is worth noting then I would also note that he has a .000 OPS, a -100 wRC+, and an astonishing 100 K% in AA.

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#41 Adam

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Posted 02 September 2014 - 12:36 PM

I echo the comments about needing a top of the rotation starter. If the Twins are as far under budget as people seem to believe, they could afford to add a high-end arm to the rotation. I realize that May and Meyer both need opportunities, but the team will need at least six starters next year because someone inevitably will get injured. The Dodgers supposedly had an embarrassment of starting pitching at the beginning of the season with Kershaw, Greinke, Ryu, Beckett, Haren, Maholm, and Billingsley (who's been hurt all year). They wound up needing to acquire Roberto Hernandez and Kevin Correia because all of those first seven pitchers have had either injury or performance concerns. Yes, the Twins have Hughes, Gibson, Nolasco, Meyer, May, Milone, and Pelfrey either under contract or under control for next season, but I'd rather those guys be making starts than Logan Darnell and Kris Johnson when someone inevitably gets hurt.

Beyond that, if Nolasco isn't pitching better, I'd have no problem sending him to the bullpen to work as a long man if he isn't getting better results next season and younger, cheaper guys are putting up better numbers. Nolasco's HR rate is above both his career norm and league average, but his FIP is 4.55 and with his innings pitched totals makes him good for only 0.6 fWAR. Yes, he's been unlucky and his ERA is more than a run higher than his FIP (and nearly two runs higher than his xFIP), but his peripherals suggest he hasn't been good either. I doubt the Twins would consider moving him to the bullpen, but if they're serious about winning, they ought to think about it.


#42 drjim

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Posted 02 September 2014 - 12:51 PM

Everyone, including myself has taken turns defending the honor of specific players. By now this includes the entire roster, with the exception of the batboy. But to clarify my previous submission, it is the sum of these parts that is the problem. A Dozier is a nice 2B, an Escobar could play short or second for many good teams, and a Suzuki could catch for a contender. But those teams will have superior players at other positions, and these guys will be major league level "fill ins". Well that might be a bit harsh, but they will not be the engine that drives the train. They are all major league level players, and in some cases very decent ones. But there are too many clustered on one team at one time. A couple examples, with no particular bias.... Dozier hit in the 3 hole this year. Plouffe hit in the 4 hole. I do not mean to say that on those days they were not the TWINS best options, what I mean to say is that if they are, that is a reflection on the entire roster as it currently is constructed!

 

I recommend you look at some of the other teams and see who has hit in the #3 and #4 spots of the order at least once this year. It will change your perspective on how devastating it is that Dozier and Plouffe ended up there a couple of times this year.

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#43 mike wants wins

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Posted 02 September 2014 - 12:54 PM

I recommend you look at some of the other teams and see who has hit in the #3 and #4 spots of the order at least once this year. It will change your perspective on how devastating it is that Dozier and Plouffe ended up there a couple of times this year.

 

That is a one liner in a post about how you can't win with a bunch of guys that are at best average, while still carrying several players that aren't good at all. I don't necessarily agree or disagree with the poster, but it seems unfair to the post to pick on a nit in a long post. YMMV, of course.

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What I just typed is probably an opinion, not a fact. I mean, I'm usually right, so you should maybe assume it is or will be a fact soon, but that's up to you. :)


#44 drjim

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Posted 02 September 2014 - 01:00 PM

That is a one liner in a post about how you can't win with a bunch of guys that are at best average, while still carrying several players that aren't good at all. I don't necessarily agree or disagree with the poster, but it seems unfair to the post to pick on a nit in a long post. YMMV, of course.

 

The Twins are currently #6 in mlb in runs and trending upward. The lineup is good enough to at least be competitive (which is not to say it can't be upgraded).

 

EDIT: They are actually #5 behind Oakland, Angels, Tigers, Rockies.

Edited by drjim, 02 September 2014 - 01:06 PM.

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#45 Kwak

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Posted 02 September 2014 - 01:19 PM

It is true that the Twins scored many more runs in August than earlier in the season.  Consider when they scored those runs.  All too often they score a bunch when trailing by two bunches.  Or, when with a nice lead--say the six-run 10th inning, when two runs would be considered "a lot".  The Twins have far too few games where they score early and then grind down their opponent the rest of the game to secure victory by a small margin.  Hitting stats can be very misleading.  Sunday's 12-8 loss  is an example--score was 11-2 at one point, the next six runs weren't all that useful.  The lineup needs to be more productive early in the game to become a consistent winner.

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#46 mike wants wins

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Posted 02 September 2014 - 01:47 PM

The Twins are currently #6 in mlb in runs and trending upward. The lineup is good enough to at least be competitive (which is not to say it can't be upgraded).

 

EDIT: They are actually #5 behind Oakland, Angels, Tigers, Rockies.

 

i'm not sure what that has to do with my post, since my post was in reply to you posting about how often Dozier has been in the three hole.....I was not posting about the offense at all.

 

People do realize that they can't complain about the D, say it needs to get better, and then argue that the Twins should make no changes on offense, right?

What I just typed is probably an opinion, not a fact. I mean, I'm usually right, so you should maybe assume it is or will be a fact soon, but that's up to you. :)


#47 Linus

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Posted 02 September 2014 - 01:57 PM

I think people are underestimating that most of our young players in the lineup will continue to improve which makes the lineup better, even without adding new players.

 

I'm of the school that they could very much use a left fielder and another starter but only if they are quality players.  We don't need anymore quantity, especially with starting pitchers.  I would go hard after someone that will move in at or near the top of the rotation.  In the event that we end up with too many good, proven, candidates for the rotation, we can deal someone.  After what we've seen the last few years, I will take that problem.

 

With a rotation upgrade, this team will be 500 in 2015, with an outside chance at contending.


#48 mike wants wins

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Posted 02 September 2014 - 02:18 PM

I'm not convinced Santana and Vargas will improve next year, they are producing at a level much higher than I think most expect to continue. They are likely to not be this good, imo.

 

That kind of leaves Pinto and Arcia on the position player side, doesn't it? Plouffe is not "young", nor is Escobar. They probably are who they are this year (or worse, given their previous records, but I think they will be about what they are this year, not worse). Dozier probably is this player.

 

One guy that I think will product more is Mauer. I just believe he'll be healthy next year......

 

I have no idea what to expect out of Milone or May or Nolasco, frankly.

Edited by mike wants wins, 02 September 2014 - 02:20 PM.

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#49 SD Buhr

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Posted 02 September 2014 - 02:22 PM

At the risk of cross-pollenating MinnCentric boards, daanderson20 over at VikingsJournal has a good article posted concerning the QB position that, to some degree, expresses how I feel about the Twins' starting pitching situation. http://vikingsjourna...-ponder-era-r66

 

I quote:

 

The quarterback position isn't "settled" until you have a top-10 guy that can win playoff games. Don't reach for guys, don't use first round draft picks necessarily, but the Vikings should be drafting or finding a young QB to develop every year or two until they find the Guy. There should be a quarterback competition in every training camp until they have the Guy.

 

That's pretty much how I feel about the importance of the Twins continuing to look for a true ace starting pitcher. Not just a "potential #1," but an elite SP.

 

Hughes has been great. Better than any of us had any right to expect, even those of us who liked the signing. The Twins' SPs for years have been so bad that, by comparison, he certainly LOOKS like an ace at times. And maybe he will be, with improved defensive support around him and a full season of offense along the lines of what we've seen in August.

 

Or maybe Alex Meyer will be a true ace. Or maybe JO Berrios. Or maybe Kohl Stewart some day. Maybe.

 

But, if you're really serious about being an elite baseball team, you can't be satisfied with maybes.

 

I largely agree with much of Nick's premise. There aren't many obvious holes to fill.

 

But I'm going to be honest and say that I will only believe the Twins are serious about competing in 2015 if they make a concerted effort to lure an elite SP to Minnesota. I don't even know what may be available, via FA or trade, but not making that effort will tell me the FO is continuing a "slow build" and will be satisfied with something close to a .500 record in 2015 while they merely hope for the arrival of their ace in 2016 or later.

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#50 SweetOne69

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Posted 02 September 2014 - 02:44 PM

At the risk of cross-pollenating MinnCentric boards, daanderson20 over at VikingsJournal has a good article posted concerning the QB position that, to some degree, expresses how I feel about the Twins' starting pitching situation. http://vikingsjourna...-ponder-era-r66

 

I quote:

 

The quarterback position isn't "settled" until you have a top-10 guy that can win playoff games. Don't reach for guys, don't use first round draft picks necessarily, but the Vikings should be drafting or finding a young QB to develop every year or two until they find the Guy. There should be a quarterback competition in every training camp until they have the Guy.

 

That's pretty much how I feel about the importance of the Twins continuing to look for a true ace starting pitcher. Not just a "potential #1," but an elite SP.

 

Hughes has been great. Better than any of us had any right to expect, even those of us who liked the signing. The Twins' SPs for years have been so bad that, by comparison, he certainly LOOKS like an ace at times. And maybe he will be, with improved defensive support around him and a full season of offense along the lines of what we've seen in August.

 

Or maybe Alex Meyer will be a true ace. Or maybe JO Berrios. Or maybe Kohl Stewart some day. Maybe.

 

But, if you're really serious about being an elite baseball team, you can't be satisfied with maybes.

 

I largely agree with much of Nick's premise. There aren't many obvious holes to fill.

 

But I'm going to be honest and say that I will only believe the Twins are serious about competing in 2015 if they make a concerted effort to lure an elite SP to Minnesota. I don't even know what may be available, via FA or trade, but not making that effort will tell me the FO is continuing a "slow build" and will be satisfied with something close to a .500 record in 2015 while they merely hope for the arrival of their ace in 2016 or later.

 

I understand what you are saying, but the financial situation between football and baseball is different.  Sure in football they could draft a QB every year (or sign as a FA) and try him out and release him if he doesn't work out.  All they would be out is a signing bonus and possibly the current years Salary and that's it ($10-20M total).

 

In baseball, unless you groom your own Elite SP or acquire him before he becomes and Elite SP you have to sign him for 5-7 years at $100-200M.  If he doesn't work out you are stuck with him for 5-7 years or you have to eat $100-200M.

 

The Twins will never sign a pitcher for 5+ years (no other teams should either).  So that leaves drafting pitchers and waiting for them to develop or trading for other teams minor leaguers that you think can be elite (like Santana).

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#51 SD Buhr

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Posted 02 September 2014 - 03:24 PM

I understand what you are saying, but the financial situation between football and baseball is different.  Sure in football they could draft a QB every year (or sign as a FA) and try him out and release him if he doesn't work out.  All they would be out is a signing bonus and possibly the current years Salary and that's it ($10-20M total).

 

In baseball, unless you groom your own Elite SP or acquire him before he becomes and Elite SP you have to sign him for 5-7 years at $100-200M.  If he doesn't work out you are stuck with him for 5-7 years or you have to eat $100-200M.

 

The Twins will never sign a pitcher for 5+ years (no other teams should either).  So that leaves drafting pitchers and waiting for them to develop or trading for other teams minor leaguers that you think can be elite (like Santana).

 

I do understand that difference. That said, when a team like the Twins is in a situation like they are right now, having failed to develop such a pitcher for over a decade AND with the payroll flexibility to afford to take a chance or two, I still believe it's something they need to do IF the situation presents itself where it's an option. They obviously can't force any elite pitcher to go to Minn.

 

That top of the rotation leader is just about as important to a true contending MLB team as a QB is to a contending NFL team. Maybe even moreso.

Edited by SD Buhr, 02 September 2014 - 03:24 PM.

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#52 JB_Iowa

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Posted 02 September 2014 - 03:25 PM

The Twins will never sign a pitcher for 5+ years (no other teams should either).  So that leaves drafting pitchers and waiting for them to develop or trading for other teams minor leaguers that you think can be elite (like Santana).

 

But what if you can't develop them?

It has been so long since Johan Santana that I question whether the Twins system is conducive to developing an elite pitcher.

 

It's time for a change.


#53 mike wants wins

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Posted 02 September 2014 - 03:30 PM

I disagree with the statement that no team should sign a pitcher for 5 years or lots and lots of money. What should the Twins do with that money? I'd say they should spend it on elite players to get better. Mauer is off the books in three years. Not one other player on the 40 man roster is likely to make the kind of many we are talking about, certainly no one on the 25.

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What I just typed is probably an opinion, not a fact. I mean, I'm usually right, so you should maybe assume it is or will be a fact soon, but that's up to you. :)


#54 SweetOne69

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Posted 02 September 2014 - 03:46 PM

I disagree with the statement that no team should sign a pitcher for 5 years or lots and lots of money. What should the Twins do with that money? I'd say they should spend it on elite players to get better. Mauer is off the books in three years. Not one other player on the 40 man roster is likely to make the kind of many we are talking about, certainly no one on the 25.

First, Mauer has 4 years left on his contract.

 

2nd I have no problem with giving top pitchers $20-30M/yr.  The issue I have with pitchers is the length of contracts greater than 5 years.  That is because I believe that a pitcher has a greater chance to sustain a career ending injury than a position player. 

 

Until baseball does away with multi-year guaranteed contracts that will be my stance.

 

How many pitchers that have sign 5+ year contracts actually performed well enough to justify their salary for the majority of the contract?

 

Johan didn't, Cliff Lee fell of the cliff.

Edited by SweetOne69, 02 September 2014 - 03:49 PM.


#55 mike wants wins

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Posted 02 September 2014 - 04:00 PM

So the answer is to sign none of them, and hope you can pick and develop the right 18 year old? Think of it as a 4 year deal with a 1 year retirement plan. Does that help?

What I just typed is probably an opinion, not a fact. I mean, I'm usually right, so you should maybe assume it is or will be a fact soon, but that's up to you. :)


#56 Kwak

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Posted 02 September 2014 - 04:00 PM

Or, the Twins could do a KC and trade prospects for a top starting pitcher.  KC sure turned themselves around by acquiring huge improvements in starting pitching.  The shouting from the rafters "we've got the best MiL system"  indicates that there is plenty of depth to make a trade or two and still have quality "in the pipeline".  Money? They were willing to operate on a $110MM budget--and that was before MLB renogotiated their national TV contract.  Hence, yes, there is enough money to afford a top starter.


#57 mike wants wins

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Posted 02 September 2014 - 04:06 PM

Or, the Twins could do a KC and trade prospects for a top starting pitcher.  KC sure turned themselves around by acquiring huge improvements in starting pitching.  The shouting from the rafters "we've got the best MiL system"  indicates that there is plenty of depth to make a trade or two and still have quality "in the pipeline".  Money? They were willing to operate on a $110MM budget--and that was before MLB renogotiated their national TV contract.  Hence, yes, there is enough money to afford a top starter.

 

But KC lost the greatest prospect ever, and can never recover from that.    /s

 

I agree, but when we've suggested that, people have said the prospects (other than Sano and Buxton and maybe Berrios) aren't worth much in a deal (while also claiming the Twins will rely on those prospects to be successful).

Edited by mike wants wins, 02 September 2014 - 04:07 PM.

What I just typed is probably an opinion, not a fact. I mean, I'm usually right, so you should maybe assume it is or will be a fact soon, but that's up to you. :)


#58 Nick Nelson

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Posted 02 September 2014 - 04:34 PM

Just to confirm, you are using the presence of 3 plate appearances in AA as a reason why Buxton might be ready for the majors at some point next year.  If such a limited sample size is worth noting then I would also note that he has a .000 OPS, a -100 wRC+, and an astonishing 100 K% in AA.

The point was that he is the top-rated prospect in baseball and has at least reached Double-A, which means he'll be very much in position to make an MLB debut next year (and would've been this year, if not for all the ridiculous injury stuff). Regardless of production and time spent in New Britain, I think the fact that the Twins moved him there despite his underwhelming performance at Ft. Myers is telling with regards to their plans for him.

 

No, I think I was pretty clear, they aren't going to eat that much money. That wasn't clear in my statements?

There seemed to be an implication that they should consider doing it. I apologize if I mis-read.


#59 KGB

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Posted 02 September 2014 - 04:47 PM

I can't see any reason why a top starter would sign with the Twins.  Why sign with a team that has lost 90 games 4 years in a row?  KC found that out and had to overpay for a pitcher in a trade.  Last year, the Twins said they offered contract to Santana and Garza but were turned down.  Lester going to get $20 million from a playoff contender, how much would the Twins need to offer.

 

I hope they finally commit to a youth movement and see what the young pitchers can do.  We traded two NL top 10 batting averages players for Mays and Meyers, isn't time to see what they can do?


#60 Thrylos

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Posted 02 September 2014 - 04:53 PM

But how can you look at this lineup and not credit the organization for what they've brought together? The Twins have scored the fifth-most runs in baseball, and the offense has been clicking most in recent weeks with a lineup consisting almost entirely of players who are 28 or younger (Joe Mauer and Kurt Suzuki being the lone exceptions).

 

Here is the thing:  Cannot have it all.   For a team that has lost 99 + 96 + 96 + 9?  something must be broken.  Cannot blame it on "luck", the spruces or whatever.   Either the players, or the front office or the manager and his coaches.   I think that is the reason of the particular reaction to the original article.  Most of the Twins' fans are convinced that Gardenhire and Ryan are not part of the problem.  So it has to be the players (but the players go hand in hand with the GM who brought them on, which in another long discussion.)

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