It's apparent that a lot of fans are sick and tired of all the losing. Many are frustrated that the rebuild Terry Ryan has undertaken isn't showing better results. But is that fair? Three questions:
1) What does it mean for an MLB team to be rebuilding?
2) How long should a rebuild take?
3) How far along are the Twins in their rebuilding process?
1) An MLB team is rebuilding when it shifts resources from sustaining the Major League core it has built around in the previous seasons (present value) toward accumulating young talent which will ideally mature into a new core (future value).
2) Depends upon how much present value there is when the rebuild begins, and how advanced the young talent coming in is. The post-Puckett rebuild began in earnest after a 94-loss 1997 season with the trade of their most valuable asset (Knoblauch) for a couple of new core pieces (Milton & Guzman). They averaged 67 wins from '98-'00 before returning to contention in 2001. I can't think of many examples where a bad team brings up a new core of players much faster than that.
3)For me, the rebuild begins when they turned their high draft position and Cuddyer's comp pick into Buxton and Berrios. Those guys being high-schoolers, that put a realistic date for them making a major league impact at 2016 at the earliest.
1)In my opinion, the Twins haven't done this beyond the high draft picks they received for being terrible.They never once capitalized on one of their former "core" players present value to add to their future value (discussed more below).To me, what they did is hope and pray that it would turn around, instead taking actual actions to do so.I do agree with you're general premise on what constitutes a rebuild, but in my opinion the Twins didn't jump fully into this philosophy until the end of last year.
2) For a team like the Twins, I'd hope this could be accomplished in a period of 4 years.Unfortunately for them, that's working under the premise that they cashed in some of their present value for future value.As mentioned, the Twins never did this in my view, and/or botched every attempt at doing so in their recent history (Santana, Gomez, etc...).The Span and Revere trades might alter this some, but it's been 2+ years and they're just scratching the surface of those returns now.Thus, unless they strike gold with every one of those top prospects they drafted (which is not a given), I think it's going to take longer.Yes, there's plenty to like from guys like Santana and Vargas now, but if you didn't notice, the Twins still aren't shifting the needle of the gauge toward winning more games.
I see four total (and even just "potential") "future core" guys on this team right now.Brian Dozier, Oswaldo Arcia, Danny Santana and Kyle Gibson.That's it. (there's obviously others you could/would add to a "team core" that will be around for a turnaround, but I'm thinking in a future context).In your core mentioned above there were 14 guys, and many of them far better than what you would add to a current core now.
3) I don't think they really even acknowledged rebuilding until this year, but they did take some steps in that direction last year.So I put them at year 2 of a rebuild right now. Thus, next year will still be a large struggle as several more guys get their feet wet, then in 2016 we see some .500-ish competence, and in 2017 they start being in the Division title conversation.But for our sakes, I definitely hope I'm wrong and it happens earlier.
Scouting Report: Power: 30, Hitting: 50, Arm: 60, Defense: 45, Speed: 45. "Line drive swing and shows good contact and on-base abilities. Double's power at his peak. Strong arm from 2B or the OF, stiff hands. Not a fast runner, but above average instincts on the bases. Skinny body doesn't look the part, but will sneak up on you. ACL surgery sapped much of his athleticism." (Probably)