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How Long Can the Twins Keep Their Window of Opportunity Open?

josh donaldson byron buxton jose berrios alex kirilloff royce lewis
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#21 Alex Schieferdecker

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Posted 23 February 2021 - 02:37 PM

The Twins actually seem decently positioned. Before 2019's breakout, I think most people thought the Twins were a couple years away, and that they'd be entering into their window right now. The window opened a bit earlier than expected, but that doesn't mean it will now close earlier than expected.

 

Nothing is guaranteed, but the Twins are in the enviable spot right now of having a top-half farm system while also being back-to-back division winners and a bunch of affordable contracts. Unless there are a bunch of surprising prospect busts, the Twins might sustain this success for a good stretch.

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#22 gunnarthor

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Posted 23 February 2021 - 03:19 PM

 

I read a lot about how the question mark this year is the starting pitching staff.

 

I did an exercise recently where I pulled up baseball-reference and looked at the pitching staffs, year-to-year, going back until I found a Twins pitching staff that performed at the level this group of starting pitchers is capable of.

 

I went all the way back to 1992 before I found the team. I expected to find a similar staff in the early 00s, at the latest. 

 

This should be exciting. We know the hitters have been there, now the team will have good starting pitching. Of course, it will need a good bullpen as well.

 

I invite anyone else to do the same exercise. The Twins won the division many times with a bunch of 4.00+ ERA yobs. (Granted, they had a 1-2 punch of Joe Nathan plus a couple of elite set-up men to shut teams down on the back end -- if we want to talk about this team having a hole, it's this).  

Not sure what your criteria would be but the knock on the Twins used to be that they could produce pitchers but not hitters. I don't think anyone on the current rotation is as good as Brad Radke, for instance. Berrios is entering his age 27 season and his best WAR is 3.4. Radke had four better seasons by then. Maybe the 4.00 ERA yobs were better than you think because of the PED era inflated offensive numbers? 

 

If everything breaks right, we could have a strong pitching staff this year, that is certainly true. And making the starters pitch fewer innings might have a good impact on our staff. The 2019 Twins certainly had some good numbers. 2020 did too but it was such a SSS that I don't think it matters much. Still it seems we have a bunch of #3 type starters and are hoping for a strong pen. That's not bad.

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#23 saviking

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Posted 23 February 2021 - 03:38 PM

Based on our current talent and our talent pool I'd say they have only pried the window open 70% of the way with it fully open in two years.  

 

Let's wait until we get the window completely open before we try to decide how long they can keep it open ..

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#24 Darius

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Posted 23 February 2021 - 07:00 PM

I’d gladly take a shorter window for a more aggressive approach in going for deep playoff runs.

Setting the record for most consecutive playoff losses doesn’t happen by accident. That’s where you end up with a middling approach and a refusal to part with prospects/dollars to bolster the roster.

I’m not ready to lump Falvine into the same category as the previous regime in the ‘00s. They’ve shown some aggression. But, I’m not yet convinced they’ll do (or be allowed to do) enough, either.
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#25 Blackjack

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Posted 23 February 2021 - 07:18 PM

What the Twins really need is for Buxton, Sano, and Berrios to become the super stars that we were hoping they would become. Can we even call them stars?? How many All Star games have the the three of them been in??And yet we're already talking about them becoming free agents!!!

 

Every very good team needs a few superstars surrounded by good players, who are the Twins superstars??If two out of the three would emerge as truly great players, then you could build around them, make a big trade or two, but at this point is just a 'poke and hope'. Hope that they emerge so the other moves the front office makes pans out.

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#26 Brandon

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Posted 23 February 2021 - 07:22 PM

With the prospects we have and the ability to sign complimentary players, we need several prospects to pan out to keep costs down. Luckily our OF and middle IF will be low cost for the forseeable future. The one exception would be a Buxton extension. C will also be low cost. Those positions will be good through most of the decade. Also we have lots of pitching prospects and Dobnak may make it as a 4th to 5th starter as a low cost option. Others are on the way and some of those starters may make it in the pen like Rogers, Duffey, May. Keeping pen costs down seems likely. It seems we may only need to spend on a position player or 2 and 1 or 2 starting pitchers. And what I mean by spend is 10+ million per season contract. Anyway we should be good through at least 2026/ 2027. By then we will need to start seeing the next wave of talent coming up....

#27 mikelink45

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Posted 23 February 2021 - 09:08 PM

This is a fun exercise, but no one knows how to really stay on top forever - except the Yankees who were there all of the 50's and then spent some of Steinbrenner's cash.But overall throwing money around does not guarantee anything either - what has Harper meant to the Phillies?Mike Trout is the best in baseball according to the experts - but he can't even get to the playoffs with Pujols and Rendon as teammates.  

 

Darvish signed with the Cubs and then failed, will he fail or win with the Padres?  

 

Pitchers arms fail, concussions ruin careers, players like Herb Score seem destined for the HOF until their is a line drive. 

 

Plan well, but baseball is a game of failures as the cliche goes about success being able to get three hits out of ten and become a star - a 70% failure rate.  

 

I went to the Twins yearly record.Going backward the Twins have been 1st/second 5 of the last 6 years.The exception was 5th (last place). 

 

2011 - 2014 we were 4th or fifth - this ten year period from 2011 to 2020 we were top two 5 times, bottom two 5 times.Fits the projections.

 

2006 - 2010 we were 1st three times, 2cd once, and 3rd once.

2001 - 2005 1st three times, 2cd once, 3rd once.That ten year period defies the odds and perhaps should allow more credit to an earlier regime.6 first, 2 seconds, 2 thirds!

 

1996 - 2000 we were in the doldrums 2 fifth and 3 4th  

1991 - 1996 we were last twice and 4th once the last three years of this stretch - adding to the next five years with 4 times in last and 4 times in 4th which must balance out with the exceptional years of 2001 - 2010.The beginning of this period saw us win the world series and come in second.

 

So to recap these thirty years - one world series - nine times 1st, six times 2cd, twice 3rd, 5 times 4th, and 8 times 5th. Nice symmetry in those numbers. 

 

Then it gets more confusing because there are more teams in a division and fewer teams in the playoffs, but three decades is an interesting view.I will add that we only finished 1st in the years from 1961 - 1990 four times. Too bad there were no extra divisions in a few of those years. 


#28 terrydactyls1947

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Posted 23 February 2021 - 10:02 PM

I see no reason why the starting lineup listed below can't remain in contention for a long time. 2023 1B Roller 2B Arraez SS Camaro 3B Miranda LF Kirilloff CF Celestial RF Larnach DH Santo SP Duran SP Balazovich SP Winder SP Sands SP Canterino RP Duffy RP Rogers RP I ran out of thoughts. Good night.

#29 DocBauer

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Posted 23 February 2021 - 10:32 PM

Cody, this was a great OP and very relevant! I liked and agreed with just about everything with the exception of 2 items.

1] I found the Twins window being clearly open but perhaps closing fast inaccurate. More on that in a moment.

2] Probably should have included Cleveland in your examples. If ever there was a team that had a shot and short changed themselves, they would be it.

You all know I'm opinionated and long-winded, LOL, but Cody's OP strikes at my Twins heart. So I'm going to TRY to be direct and not be TOO long winded.

I live in Royals country here in Omaha. I totally appreciate the 2 teams that went all in and won one. What a thrill for their fans! But they went decades between championship teams. And now they are re-building yet again.

As fantastic as the Dogers have been the last several years, all of their regular seasons and playoff appearances, and their $200M payroll, they still never won the WS until last year. With all their talent and $, do you realize they hadn't won the WS since 1988? And they had to beat the "upstart" and frugal Rays to do it.

I am not dismissing anyone's opinion, but what would you rather have? A team that at least contends year to year and provides hope and opportunity to win? Or a team that blows up payroll and trades off talent for that one big season? There is no wrong answer.

But for me, I want contention yearly. And that's what this FO has been talking about since DAY ONE. For those who want instant gratification...so to speak since its been a while since we won the BIG ONE just like the Dogers...it doesn't happen easily. The best chance you have is to compete yearly.

So, bullet points:

1] Surprise! We've been winning!

2] The FO has done exactly what I hoped they would do for 2021. I prefer a long view of things, no matter how emotionally attached I am to the Twins. They filled holes and kept their eye on the prize with solid, smart additions without going nuts. A good, contending team with flexibility without signing long term deals or trading anyone away after a missed 2020 milb season.

3] While a few of us are old enough to remember the 80's and the number of pitching prospects we had then that NEVER turned out, we are 30+yrs removed from those days to realize this current crop is very different. And the FO and coaching changes are also very different. In all my years, I have NEVER been more excited and pleased about what I am seeing coming up! There's a reason, beyond the next CBA, the Twins have been looking at 1yr deals. They know what is coming up and they have the $ to bring someone back if they want.

4] Berrios has been treated well. There have been discussions about an extension. There is no animosity. This could be important for many reasons. We have a great number of arms ready or nearly ready. No reason why he can't be part of a great rotation for the next few years. The possibilities are endless right now.

5] Not only are there pitching options, there are position players and positional depth options and versatility to complete the roster. EXAMPLE: Sano at 1B, and a rotation of AK, Larnach, Kepler, Rooker and Sano at 1B, OF and DH.

The window, IMO, is very much wide open right now! And it could be for 3-5 years plus if they just keep playing the smart card
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#30 Dodecahedron

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Posted 24 February 2021 - 08:50 AM

 

Maybe the 4.00 ERA yobs were better than you think because of the PED era inflated offensive numbers? 

 

I also talked about how those teams had great set-up men and a great closer. Rincon and Romero, who I consider the best of those set-up men, were both using PEDs. PEDs helped pitchers too.


#31 Channing1964

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Posted 24 February 2021 - 07:55 PM

Are you referring to the trades that helped build the farm system rankings that this post is partially touting?

i am referring to the fact that i did not agree with the trade of Escobar, Lynn, or the way they treated Molitor and Santana. To see the look on Molitor's face as he learned of the trade of Escobar made me cry. He had already turned in the lineup card for that nights game at Fenway. Every administration has its good and bad points. I am not attacking the Falvines. I just do not agree unequivocally with every thing they do. Nor do I think they walk on water like the omnipotent one. Hopefully they learned some lessons that year about how we treat our own.

#32 Channing1964

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Posted 24 February 2021 - 07:56 PM

I was doing fine without revisiting that.

#33 Shaitan

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Posted 24 February 2021 - 10:37 PM

 

i am referring to the fact that i did not agree with the trade of Escobar, Lynn, or the way they treated Molitor and Santana. To see the look on Molitor's face as he learned of the trade of Escobar made me cry. He had already turned in the lineup card for that nights game at Fenway. Every administration has its good and bad points. I am not attacking the Falvines. I just do not agree unequivocally with every thing they do. Nor do I think they walk on water like the omnipotent one. Hopefully they learned some lessons that year about how we treat our own.

It's really bizarre that a human being can be traded. No way I'd take a job with that requirement. I love the human side of the game too, so I appreciate this comment, even if I still think the right "business move" was trading those players.

 

Okay, not Lynn. He seemed more like he treated the Twins that way, imho.

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#34 Channing1964

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Posted 25 February 2021 - 06:33 AM

It's really bizarre that a human being can be traded. No way I'd take a job with that requirement. I love the human side of the game too, so I appreciate this comment, even if I still think the right "business move" was trading those players.
 
Okay, not Lynn. He seemed more like he treated the Twins that way, imho.

it's kind of weird about why i liked Lynn as a Twin. One thing about hom that i knew before we got him is that, being an ex Cardinal we knew he knew how to win ball games. He signed late and if i remember right maybe only got a week or two os Spring Training. Without looking up the stats i am pretty sure his overall numbers were pretty in line with his career numbers by the trading deadline. I think we got maybe Austin from the Yankees for him. He was pitching Super when we traded him. Guarantee we will see plenty of him now that hes on the Sox. I wasnt mad they traded him. 2018 made me as mad as a hornet all year because of the Sano fiasco, Buxton's fluke injuries, the whole Ervin Santana thing and the fact that we gave up with 70 games to go and if i recall only like 7 back. This was only a year after a torrid August and September got us a wild card. The Falvines traded our closer that year too and some other questionable moves (jaime garcia). It just felt like the front office wanted the team to fail so they could put their "stamp" on a total rebuild. Well there are plenty of guys still around from before their tenure. To sit there and say trading Es obar was smart is a matter of opinion. I haven't seen any of those guys in the bigs yet. Maybe Alcala is one. I am not sure. The Pressly trade was not a genius stroke, nor was Dozier's. Im not crying about any one thing. 2018 was a fiasco on every organizational front. I am not going to say the Falvine mission is a failure at all. All I am saying is that they are doing okay for their first times and they make smart moves usually. I am not buying the fact that they are the best ever like the administration of this website would have us believe.

#35 Major League Ready

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Posted 25 February 2021 - 09:43 AM

 

i am referring to the fact that i did not agree with the trade of Escobar, Lynn, or the way they treated Molitor and Santana. To see the look on Molitor's face as he learned of the trade of Escobar made me cry. He had already turned in the lineup card for that nights game at Fenway. Every administration has its good and bad points. I am not attacking the Falvines. I just do not agree unequivocally with every thing they do. Nor do I think they walk on water like the omnipotent one. Hopefully they learned some lessons that year about how we treat our own.

 

I think you give up your right to criticize the team’s effort to improve if you are unwilling to trade pending free agents at the deadline when the team is not a contender. This is anything but “boneheaded”. Do you really look around the league at the deadline and wonder why all these bonehead teams are stupid enough to trade away pending free agents? Literally ever GM in the league makes these trades. The Yankees traded away Chapman. Do you think Yankee fans think that move was boneheaded now?

 

The relative value of trading of Escobar is still to be seen. If Duran ends up being an average BP guy it’s a modest win. It’s a big win if he becomes a high leverage RP. In the event he reaches something close to his ceiling, this is the kind of move that dramatically improves a team. This is exactly the type of move that opens or extends a window. The extremely shortsighted approach you advocate is a really good way to ensure mitigating relative success over the long-term. Escobar and Lynn were not going to get that team to the playoffs. At best the net result would have been a couple extra wins.

 

It's possible Duran / Maciel / Alcala and Celestino all falme out. However, I think it’s fair to believe those trades will very likely have significant benefit over the course of 6-7 years. To forego that possibility for a couple regular season wins would be absolute incompetence so I really don’t understand labeling it “boneheaded”.

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#36 by jiminy

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Posted 25 February 2021 - 11:57 AM

 

 

 

They should've gotten something for Rosario, sadly. Losing him because of arbitration is a somewhat loss, but you do have replacements that need to play in Rooker and Kirilloff. The Twins have also signed temporary emergency stopgaps if need be.

 

How could they have gotten something for Rosario? They offered him for free on waivers, and not one team bit. If you won't take him for free, why would you offer anything in trade? I think it's fair to assume the Twins offered him in trade before they cut him loose.  

 

The only way they could have gotten something in trade is if they offered him earlier, I suppose. But when? During the pennant race? He might have been a useful piece to a contender -- but that's what we were! We needed him too!

 

So maybe a year earlier? He was coming off a leg injury, and given his lack of walks and suppressed defense, I doubt he would have brought much in return, at least not till he showed his fielding could rebound, which it never did.

 

More than a year ago? I don't know. I was enjoying his contributions right up till the end. I don't mind replacing him with someone cheaper, if the replacement has higher upside, like Kiriloff. And with Rooker and Larnach in reserve, I think it's an acceptable risk for a contending team to cast off their long-time starter, but only because they are confident there won't be a huge drop-off. 

 

I can't say they handled this wrong at any stage.

 

I will miss Rosario a lot -- his timely homers and dazzling throws to third and home seemed to give the team a real jolt. He could single-handedly take over a game. But his poor plate discipline and reduced fielding skills meant we had a good chance for more production at lower cost. And having invested several recent first round picks at his position, it was to let them give it a shot.

 

But I will be rooting for him to hit 30+ homers, keep throwing out everyone except Twins, and for his legs to return to the days he was a plus fielder. I loved his passion and timely hitting, and I will miss seeing him come to the plate. I won't miss his boneheaded base-running blunders, but maybe they will seem a lot funnier now that they will be happening with the Tigers.

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#37 ashbury

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Posted 25 February 2021 - 12:49 PM

but maybe they will seem a lot funnier now that they will be happening with the Tigers.

Cleveland. But otherwise I share your view.
 

Sarcasm. Just one of the many fine services I offer.


#38 Channing1964

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Posted 25 February 2021 - 11:38 PM

I think you give up your right to criticize the team’s effort to improve if you are unwilling to trade pending free agents at the deadline when the team is not a contender. This is anything but “boneheaded”. Do you really look around the league at the deadline and wonder why all these bonehead teams are stupid enough to trade away pending free agents? Literally ever GM in the league makes these trades. The Yankees traded away Chapman. Do you think Yankee fans think that move was boneheaded now?
 
The relative value of trading of Escobar is still to be seen. If Duran ends up being an average BP guy it’s a modest win. It’s a big win if he becomes a high leverage RP. In the event he reaches something close to his ceiling, this is the kind of move that dramatically improves a team. This is exactly the type of move that opens or extends a window. The extremely shortsighted approach you advocate is a really good way to ensure mitigating relative success over the long-term. Escobar and Lynn were not going to get that team to the playoffs. At best the net result would have been a couple extra wins.
 
It's possible Duran / Maciel / Alcala and Celestino all falme out. However, I think it’s fair to believe those trades will very likely have significant benefit over the course of 6-7 years. To forego that possibility for a couple regular season wins would be absolute incompetence so I really don’t understand labeling it “boneheaded”.

Actually you are correct. I would not say my views on that subject are farsighted at all. They are absolutely shortsighted for sure. I happpen to have an old friend who was so excited for that 2018 season that he scraped and scrimped to be able to afford a season ticket package at Target Field. Can you imagine his dismay to realize the last 60-65 games of that season were deemed unimportant to the fans by the front office. Sometimes people have other reasons to be upset at their team or their team's front office decisions. I do get your point clearly. If i had the motivation to become the next junior general manager i would look at in a different light. I am only reminiscing about that fiasco of the 2018 season before i declare Derek Falvey the greatest team executive in Twins history

#39 Channing1964

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Posted 25 February 2021 - 11:56 PM

How could they have gotten something for Rosario? They offered him for free on waivers, and not one team bit. If you won't take him for free, why would you offer anything in trade? I think it's fair to assume the Twins offered him in trade before they cut him loose.  
 
The only way they could have gotten something in trade is if they offered him earlier, I suppose. But when? During the pennant race? He might have been a useful piece to a contender -- but that's what we were! We needed him too!
 
So maybe a year earlier? He was coming off a leg injury, and given his lack of walks and suppressed defense, I doubt he would have brought much in return, at least not till he showed his fielding could rebound, which it never did.
 
More than a year ago? I don't know. I was enjoying his contributions right up till the end. I don't mind replacing him with someone cheaper, if the replacement has higher upside, like Kiriloff. And with Rooker and Larnach in reserve, I think it's an acceptable risk for a contending team to cast off their long-time starter, but only because they are confident there won't be a huge drop-off. 
 
I can't say they handled this wrong at any stage.
 
I will miss Rosario a lot -- his timely homers and dazzling throws to third and home seemed to give the team a real jolt. He could single-handedly take over a game. But his poor plate discipline and reduced fielding skills meant we had a good chance for more production at lower cost. And having invested several recent first round picks at his position, it was to let them give it a shot.
 
But I will be rooting for him to hit 30+ homers, keep throwing out everyone except Twins, and for his legs to return to the days he was a plus fielder. I loved his passion and timely hitting, and I will miss seeing him come to the plate. I won't miss his boneheaded base-running blunders, but maybe they will s eem a lot funnier now that the y will be happening with the Tigers.

Of course...nice take. Some of us loved Rosario more than others, i just think that 8-10 mil to keep him around for one more year wasn't going to ruin the budget. With the tiny sample size ive seen of Rooker and Kiriloff im not convinced either one will make us forget Rosario. IMHO they should have let Cave go and kept Kiriloff and or Rooker on the 25 man in a role like Cave's. If Buxton goes down, and he will, we all know Kepler will be in center anyways. To just jettison Rosario like that was b.s. I hope karma doesnt come back to haunt the dynamic duo on that one.

#40 Major League Ready

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Posted 26 February 2021 - 08:22 AM

 

Of course...nice take. Some of us loved Rosario more than others, i just think that 8-10 mil to keep him around for one more year wasn't going to ruin the budget. With the tiny sample size ive seen of Rooker and Kiriloff im not convinced either one will make us forget Rosario. IMHO they should have let Cave go and kept Kiriloff and or Rooker on the 25 man in a role like Cave's. If Buxton goes down, and he will, we all know Kepler will be in center anyways. To just jettison Rosario like that was b.s. I hope karma doesnt come back to haunt the dynamic duo on that one.

 

The reason you and many other fans find themselves at odds with the front office is that your evaluation is from a micro perspective. The front office takes a more macro approach. Your approach is that they COULD spend $10M on Rosario if the elected to do so. Their approach is that $10M spent on Rooker or Cave + Simmons is a considerably better roster. Again, they are also looking past this year. How do you get better if you don’t develop players at the ML level?

 

I also have a different fan perspective. Rosario was definitely one of my favorite Twins. Now, I don’t care to watch the high percentage of absolutely horrible ABs and mistakes in the field. I would rather watch one of the young guys develop into a player we can enjoy for several years.

 

Bottom line is that fans with a macro view or a decidedly short-term focus are always going to be at odds with the front office. It’s not their fault for acting in the best interest of the team.

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