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Article: How full is your Minnesota Twins glass?

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#1 Seth Stohs

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 10:45 PM

You can view the page at http://www.twinsdail...ota-Twins-glass

#2 nfisch22

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 11:01 PM

I think the answer lies somewhere in between the two scenarios. I think we need to trade our depth (OF) for our weaknesses (SP and Middle infield). And also I would say trade Morneau and let Parmalee handle 1B next year. His value probably won't get much higher so trade him now Ecspecially with a weak 1B crop of FA's. Keep willingham though he's a true power threat in the middle of our order.

#3 glunn

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 11:12 PM

I think the answer lies somewhere in between the two scenarios. I think we need to trade our depth (OF) for our weaknesses (SP and Middle infield). And also I would say trade Morneau and let Parmalee handle 1B next year. His value probably won't get much higher so trade him now Ecspecially with a weak 1B crop of FA's. Keep willingham though he's a true power threat in the middle of our order.


I also think that the answer lies somewhere in the middle.

It seems to me that the best path would be to target 2015 or 2016 as the year to build for, and be willing to trade players who don't fit into that time frame. This would mean another dismal two or three years in terms of not contending, but the top prospects (Sano and Buxton) need time to ripen, and the Twins need some good young starters who they develop in house, because they will never pay for really good free agents.

#4 Top Gun

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 01:22 AM

I think the Twins glass is full, but I wouldn't trade anyone. You lose more than you gain by trades. Twins lose by letting players walk too. I would
go after 2 or 3 key free agents. One big name and maybe 2 key guys like last year. The fans would be happy and I think it would payoff huge
for the Twins as well.

#5 IdahoPilgrim

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 06:42 AM

It depends what our ambition is. If the goal is to return to the playoffs, then we are closer to half-full - a few changes could turn this into a contending team (especially in the AL central). If the goal is a Yankees-style domination of baseball, then it is definitely more half-empty.

I would personally opt more for half-full - seeking to improve incrementally. The more radical the changes you seek, the greater the chance for failure as well. I'd hate to blow everything up, only to find that instead of having a World Series champion in 2017 we have instead three years of wasted baseball followed by one that is good but not great (which is all too likely). I guess I'm content with a competitive team and would appreciate but do not require a dominant one.

#6 Han Joelo

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 07:08 AM

Half full. Any team has a chance to compete as long as they have a solid core line-up like the Twins have. A couple of veterans that surprise like a Colon(uggh) or Kuroda did this year, or a younger reclamation project like Jason Hammel this year, and you've got a fighting chance. And maybe Gibson comes on midseason ala a Kris Medlen, and Baker comes back strong. I'm optimistic.

And maybe you pull a Montero for Pineda type trade with either Hicks or Arcia.

Counting on a bunch of guys 25 and under, along with an aging Joe Mauer, to compete in 2015 is just as big a crapshoot as trying to compete next year. And the marketing phrase "wait until the year after the year after year after this year" probably won't sell many tickets.

#7 ericchri

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 07:28 AM

Half-full. I'll be disappointed if we don't make any trades this offseason, but I can certainly see how keeping that lineup intact might offer the best hope for a good season. But with our ridiculous need for SP, I think whatever of Span, Revere, Morneau, Willingham, and Parmelee you can get the best SP (or MI) return from you go with. I'll hate to see any of them go, but our best players are kinda bunched at the same positions, and we need to start distributing the talent around a little better.

#8 Don't Feed the Greed Guy

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 07:30 AM

I see three glasses, my friends, stare with me into your computer screen and imagine not one, but three glasses...

Pitching: Almost empty
Defense: 1/2 full
Offense: 3/4 full

Pitching: We will need to gain two starters via trade or free agency, and hope that the mixed bag of Gibson, Devries, Deduno, Walters and Hendricks will distill into something that will fill out the back end of the rotation, and top off our glass. The bullpen will be fine.

Defense is suspect up the middle of the infield. Plouffe is improving at third. The outfield is above average. Can Florimon, Dozier, or that guy we picked up in the Liriano Garage Sale solidify the defense? Not sure. Oh, for the likes of J.J. Hardy... as I wistfully stare into my glass not full...

Offense: Perhaps the middle infield is where we can improve our offense too. It wouldn't take much to improve on Alexi Casilla's .279 on base percentage, Dozier was anemic, at .271 and Florimon is at .278 after 42 games with the Twins. Escobar has played in 48 games between Chicago and Minnesota, earning a slightly more respectible .285 OBP. This number should be over .300 for whoever occupies second and short. If the rest of the lineup can drive them in, then we'll be full to the brim... groan...:(

Edited by Don't Feed the Greed Guy, 02 October 2012 - 07:34 AM.


#9 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 07:32 AM

I think the answer lies somewhere in between the two scenarios. I think we need to trade our depth (OF) for our weaknesses (SP and Middle infield). And also I would say trade Morneau and let Parmalee handle 1B next year. His value probably won't get much higher so trade him now Ecspecially with a weak 1B crop of FA's. Keep willingham though he's a true power threat in the middle of our order.


Morneau's value will be higher in June if he continues to hit. He's simply owed too much money at this point.

#10 LewFordLives

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 07:38 AM

It's half full, but the problem is I don't see how they're going to fill the rest of the class with some halfway decent starting pitching. It's unrealistic they can fill out the rotation via free-agency and I think we need to be realistic about what the Twins can get back via trade. Teams with pitching hold on to it. So what do the Twins do? Blowing the team up leaves no guarantee of future results and would cause fan interest to evaporate. The best they can do is patch a rotation together somehow and keep the team competitive for a couple years until some of the younger pitchers step up.

#11 Winston Smith

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 08:11 AM

Depends on what you want. If you want a winning type playoff team it probably means blowing it up. Morneau is gone after next yr, Willingham and Doumit a year after that. With 67-68 wins this year it would take a miracle to get 20 more wins next year and be in the race. So you patch things together get another 10 wins and what do we have? A 4th or 5th place team. You can see what good solid pitching can do, the Rays, A's, Mariners have weak lineups but win with pitching. Pitching wins in the playoffs (Giants) the goal should be to stockpile the most good young pitching possible imo. If that takes blowing the team up I'm for it.

#12 JB_Iowa

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 08:14 AM

Doesn't matter if the glass is half-full or half-empty if the milk is sour.

#13 Shane Wahl

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 09:05 AM

After a 7-21 start, the Twins are 59-73. Included in that was a ridiculous mid-August of 2-14. Outside those two stretches (the first plauged by starting pitching that made everyone vomit every game, the second plagued, I believe, by some injuries), the Twins were 57-59. A healthy and intact lineup with the current condition of the rotation would mean 76-80 wins. Adding just two second-tier starting pitchers could make that jump to 83-87. Finally, add bench depth and a solid rotation of players (including Parmelee on the roster does this) and the Twins are at 85-89. Add in a breakthrough from one or more of Gibson, Baker, Hendriks, Dozier, Arcia, Hicks, and Herrmann, and the Twins could be at or top 90 wins.

That is obviously a "half full" account, but it also isn't crazy. And it can be done with a payroll of $95-100 million.

#14 one_eyed_jack

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 09:52 AM

I'm with those who are optimistic about the chances of making a run at the division next year but pessimistic about the chances of joining baseball's elite any time soon.

I'm probably glass two-thirds full on the former and one-tenth full on the latter.

This team is a long, long way from being a serious threat to win it all.

But frankly, I'll be disappointed if the Twins don't remain competitive in the division next year. Look at the state of it. For all that the Gardenhire division titles are dismissed with the "weak division" argument, there was always at least 1 and sometimes 2 other legit teams in there.

Next year, there may not even be that . For all the hype they got the preseason, the Tigers were exposed as a deeply flawed team that struggled to win the weakest division in baseball. The White Sox put together a respectable record by feasting on bottom feeders, but they are a thoroughly mediocre team poised for a fall and not likely to repeat that. They can't count on career years from AJ, Dunn and Rios again. The Indians are a mess. The Royals were supposed to take a step forward this year, but they're still stuck in their latest rebuilding project.

So it should not be all that hard to field a team capable of hanging in the race for a while. If TR can upgrade the rotation from atrocious to mediocre, that could be enough.

Now, such a team would probably be little more than first-round cannon fodder for the true big boy teams. But you never know what can happen in a short series, and even if it were as one-sided as expected, it beats the living hell out of suffering through another year of being out of it by Memorial Day and losing 90+ games.

#15 Seth Stohs

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 10:16 AM

If I've learned anything from the last two years, I'll take a competitive in the division team anytime over a team that may win a World Series once every 8 years and be poor 6 of the other 7 years. I remember that used to be a big question for many Twins fans back when the Twins were winning lots of division titles. Doesn't make the goal any less. Always trying to win every game, but can't get to the World Series without getting to the playoffs.

#16 jharaldson

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 10:28 AM

Morneau's value will be higher in June if he continues to hit. He's simply owed too much money at this point.


The Twins have the option of paying some of his salary for next year if he is traded. I agree that Morneau at $14 million is not super valuable but if you make it known that he is available at $5-7 million then I bet we can get something of value.

Edited by jharaldson, 02 October 2012 - 11:20 AM.


#17 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 10:36 AM

[quote name='jharaldson'][quote name='Brock Beauchamp'][quote name='nfisch22']Morneau's value will be higher in June if he continues to hit. He's simply owed too much money at this point.[/QUOTE]

The Twins have the option of paying some of his salary for next year if he is traded. I agree that Morneau at $14 million is not super valuable but if you make it known that he is available at $5-7 million then I bet we can get something of value.[/QUOTE]

If they're willing to do that (and I've long suggested they should), I think Morneau's value jumps significantly.

It's just unfortunate that his production has taken another nose-dive at the end of this season. That hurts.

#18 kab21

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 10:46 AM

Is this a joke? half full or half empty?

How about damn near completely empty for the next season or two?

I don't think the Twins need to do a slash and burn rebuild. That is for really poor teams that don't have any talent anywhere. They should be trying to find some good deals on Morneau, Willingham and Span in the next year though. They can go out and sign a decent mid tier starter for around 3/30. The important thing is that they avoid a 5/75 contract for a MOR starter that could hamstring the team right when the team should be on the upswing. Luckily they've said that they aren't looking there.

#19 Boom Boom

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 10:57 AM

I can see where Seth falls here because his "Half-Full" outline is realistic and his "Half-Empty" one is exaggerated.

Half-Full - The Twins rotation will be just fine. Scott Baker will be back and contribute all season, Kyle Gibson will jump right in and be a ROY candidate, and Nick Blackburn will be the Viagra Comeback Player of the Year, so no starting rotation additions are necessary.

#20 OldManWinter

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 11:26 AM

More full than not. The team has a lot of strengths too.

1) Improve by eliminating stupid mistakes. 2) Take better at bats by being a little more patient so you actually do drive in runners who get into scoring position. 3) Build with Twins guys who want to be part of the future. 4) Find a couple key arms ... guys who can be serviceable. 5) Get lucky.

Don't assume that Baker, Pavano, and Blackburn are shot. Maybe more than one of those three can be some part of an answer.

It is not like they need a complete overhaul, they just need important help in key areas.

Problem I have trading Morneau or Span is it reminds me of McPhail trading Bruno for Herr. We let go of a team guy, a good performer who wanted to be here and received a highly discontented one in return.

Morneau and Span do not put personal needs ahead of team needs. Keep them and that type of player.

#21 Ultima Ratio

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 12:07 PM

About 5th out of 30 teams reduces to 1/6 full -- just because I'm an optimist. Like some others above have said, this team is no where near average/mediocre to warrant a discussion of "half" glass perspectives. If the offense and bullpen produce the same next year as this, and the rotation is vasty improved -- only then will we have a .500 team, or half a glass.

#22 DirkFun

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 12:22 PM

It depends what our ambition is. If the goal is to return to the playoffs, then we are closer to half-full - a few changes could turn this into a contending team (especially in the AL central). If the goal is a Yankees-style domination of baseball, then it is definitely more half-empty.

I would personally opt more for half-full - seeking to improve incrementally. The more radical the changes you seek, the greater the chance for failure as well. I'd hate to blow everything up, only to find that instead of having a World Series champion in 2017 we have instead three years of wasted baseball followed by one that is good but not great (which is all too likely). I guess I'm content with a competitive team and would appreciate but do not require a dominant one.



Very well put. I agree with what you and Seth later said in the comments. You have to get to the playoffs first before you can get to the World Series. Incremental improvements is more the "Twins way" of doing things. Way too huge of a gamble blowing up the whole roster and suffering for 3-4 more years and might end up being worse than that in 2017. Glass is definitely half-full and would gladly take a few above-average to average FA's this offseason and compete for our AL Central Division title in 2015 and beyond.

#23 mlhouse

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 12:27 PM

It would be half-full if the production we got from the players listed above contributed to a mediocre team, i.e. 81-81. But this team is far from that.

Second, the other reason why this team is far from half full is the financials. The Twins are paying a lot of money to lose 95+ games two years in a row.

Third, several of the players that Seth lists in the "half-full" category are far from proven. Scott Diamond had a good year, but is there any certainty in him having as good of a year next? Burton and Fein are short relievers, a position that has historically been hard to predict quality from year in to year out. Question marks abound about players like Trevor Plouffe, Chris Parmalee, and even Ben Revere to some degree.

#24 LastOnePicked

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 12:44 PM

If I've learned anything from the last two years, I'll take a competitive in the division team anytime over a team that may win a World Series once every 8 years and be poor 6 of the other 7 years.



Seth, I admire your writing and I appreciate everything you contribute to Twins baseball talk, but I totally don't get this perspective. We've had enough of this route to failure over the last decade, and a pathetic three-and-out against the Yankees puts a far worse taste in my mouth than a stinky season with the promise of a stronger draft. It bothers me that people say "anything can happen in the playoffs" --which is proveably false. Carl Pavano cannot magically become Curt Schilling in the postseason. Danny Valencia cannot become Miguel Cabrera. Ron Gardenhire cannot become Tony LaRussa. You get out of the playoffs what you bring into it. The Twins brought nothing into the postseason over the last decade, and got exactly that out of it. The trophy is never a guarantee, but, c'mon, there's a reason why the Yankees considered drawing the Twins a first-round bye. And they were right.

#25 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 12:55 PM

If I've learned anything from the last two years, I'll take a competitive in the division team anytime over a team that may win a World Series once every 8 years and be poor 6 of the other 7 years.



Seth, I admire your writing and I appreciate everything you contribute to Twins baseball talk, but I totally don't get this perspective. We've had enough of this route to failure over the last decade, and a pathetic three-and-out against the Yankees puts a far worse taste in my mouth than a stinky season with the promise of a stronger draft. It bothers me that people say "anything can happen in the playoffs" --which is proveably false. Carl Pavano cannot magically become Curt Schilling in the postseason. Danny Valencia cannot become Miguel Cabrera. Ron Gardenhire cannot become Tony LaRussa. You get out of the playoffs what you bring into it. The Twins brought nothing into the postseason over the last decade, and got exactly that out of it. The trophy is never a guarantee, but, c'mon, there's a reason why the Yankees considered drawing the Twins a first-round bye. And they were right.


It's a sound philosophy because baseball, more than any other sport, has the "best team on paper" losing to an "inferior team". The 2006 Cards were not the best team in baseball on paper, yet they won the World Series.

You can't get to the World Series without making the playoffs. After that, anything can happen. I'm all for the Twins pushing harder to make trades to push them over the top in years they are competitive but the idea of "building a World Series team in March" is a ridiculously impossible challenge. You do your best to field a competitive team, then you supplement that team mid-season in years where you think you have a real shot to win it all (2006 and 2010 come to mind).

The Twins have been very good at building a competitor. They have not been good at pushing hard to build a WS team mid-season.

But before you build that "WS team", you need to be competitive. Walk before you run. The Twins are awful right now. Their first step should be a return to legitimacy, not burning it all down and hoping that 500 things come together perfectly in 2016 and they become a world-beater because chances are that most of those 500 things required to build a world-beater just won't happen on the timeline you hoped to see. All you have to do is look through the recent histories of really bad MLB franchises to see how "building to win it all" often leads to "more losing seasons as prospects sputter and fail".

#26 Winston Smith

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 01:04 PM

A lot of stuff about how close this team is and all the good players we have. Yet 129-193 over the last 2 tears, drafted 2nd this year, likely 4th next year. So why is it that all these good players have such a bad record?

#27 JB_Iowa

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 02:19 PM

I think my problem with this whole discussion is that it doesn't really address the fundamentals of why the Twins had so little playoff success despite winning the division fairly regularly.

PLEASE don't just say "its a small sample size". It isn't really that small a sample size when you are talking about SOME success (not necessarily winning the WS but winning a game or a series).

The real issue, I think, is whether some of the philosophical underpinnings of this organization just don't work when it comes to post-season success (or when it comes to success against the best teams in the league even in the regular season). Does their pitching philosophy work? Not just "pitch to contact" (I'll agree that is a variant in most organizations) but a lack of power pitching. Strict pitch counts. Regimented use of the bullpen. Slap hitting. Injury diagnosis & treatment and training methods. Strict adherence to a small percentage range when it comes to the amount spent on salaries. Gardenhire's long-term view of the season (battle your tail off and there's another game tomorrow). There's a lot more that I'm sure some of you who are more immersed in this can add. (I wish I could add relying on fundamental defense but it's hard to believe that after what we've seen for 2 years).

At least for me, and I think for some others who see the glass as half-empty (if that), that's what it comes down to. i want some visible proof that the Twins understand that my discontent is not just about the last 2 years. That merely returning to relevance in the Central isn't good enough. I'm sure it would be good enough for the Twins organization because it would undoubtedly put butts in the seat and guarantee their profit margin.

But I want more than that. I want ownership and management to do things that will convince me that they care not just about their profit margin but that they care about competing with the best -- including in the post-season.

That doesn't meant that they have to blow up the team or that they can't be competitive next year. But when you never see anything really change, it's hard to believe that they really care about winning against the best.

Edited by JB_Iowa, 02 October 2012 - 02:23 PM.


#28 TheLeviathan

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 03:09 PM

If I've learned anything from the last two years, I'll take a competitive in the division team anytime over a team that may win a World Series once every 8 years and be poor 6 of the other 7 years. I remember that used to be a big question for many Twins fans back when the Twins were winning lots of division titles. Doesn't make the goal any less. Always trying to win every game, but can't get to the World Series without getting to the playoffs.


Well said, I've been saying this at BYTO for years. I hate the "throw everything in for one chance" model. I'd much rather have a gun loaded with multiple bullets than one silver one.

On this subject - very much empty. This team was 15-20 games worse than what it needed to be to be a playoff team and that was with a number of things going well. People who convince themselves that this offense can carry a team next year with a future pitcher additions are going to be sadly disappointed.

#29 BD57

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 03:19 PM

Half-empty.

Willingham, Doumit, Revere & Plouffe had the best years of their careers; Joe Mauer, meanwhile, was merely "very, very good" ... and we still only improved to "mediocre" in terms of scoring runs. While you can win with the offense we put on the field - there are playoff teams which have scored a similar number of runs - you'd better pitch REALLY well.

And we don't.

The challenge for us is we have to home-grow enough of the "top-flight" talent that we can afford to add a piece here & there which pushes us over the top.

#30 peterb18

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 05:01 PM

If I've learned anything from the last two years, I'll take a competitive in the division team anytime over a team that may win a World Series once every 8 years and be poor 6 of the other 7 years.



Seth, I admire your writing and I appreciate everything you contribute to Twins baseball talk, but I totally don't get this perspective. We've had enough of this route to failure over the last decade, and a pathetic three-and-out against the Yankees puts a far worse taste in my mouth than a stinky season with the promise of a stronger draft. It bothers me that people say "anything can happen in the playoffs" --which is proveably false. Carl Pavano cannot magically become Curt Schilling in the postseason. Danny Valencia cannot become Miguel Cabrera. Ron Gardenhire cannot become Tony LaRussa. You get out of the playoffs what you bring into it. The Twins brought nothing into the postseason over the last decade, and got exactly that out of it. The trophy is never a guarantee, but, c'mon, there's a reason why the Yankees considered drawing the Twins a first-round bye. And they were right.


I agree with this analysis. However, I think we need a willing ownership. I don't know if the desire is there for a successful team that looks for world championships. Now that the stadium has been built for them they seem to be satisfied.