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The Twins Earn Their “A”


Ted Schwerzler

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And there was much rejoicing…Remember when the Chicago White Sox won the AL Central back in December 2020? Unfortunately for them, the Minnesota Twins have a few tricks still up their sleeve. Now days before Spring Training is set to commence, the reigning champs are positioned for a repeat.

 

After signing Nelson Cruz and Alex Colome to deals for the upcoming season, Derek Falvey and Thad Levine have all but put a bow on their winter spending. I’d still think a pact with Tyler Clippard or a reliever in the $2 million range could make sense, as does a trade or non-roster invite for some starting pitching. No matter what happens from here on out though, the Fightin’ Baldelli’s are ready to go.

 

Continuing to view this organization through the lens of Terry Ryan and Bill Smith regimes has been a fool’s errand for some time now. It’s been the blueprint of Falvey and Levine to be calculated, risk averse, and strike where opportunity is deemed to match projectability.

 

Andrelton Simmons is not someone’s leftovers, and Josh Donaldson allowed Minnesota a new high-water mark in free agent history. Colome comes in above the bottom of the relief market, and both Happ and Cruz look like team-friendly deals in the landscape of their peers.

 

The Twins didn’t go out and sign George Springer or Trevor Bauer this offseason, but they didn’t need to. This is already a club that had all of the pieces for a deep run, and reality suggests they just need to get out of their own way. Anything can happen in a short series, which is why winning a World Series in incredibly tough. That said, you should continue to expect Postseason appearances often into the foreseeable future.

 

Today it was announced that 28% of Hammond Stadium will host fans for Spring Training, the players are just days from arriving, and we’re soon going to hear “play ball!” Minnesota is ready to make noise in the American League, and there isn’t a team in the National League that should be licking their chops come October either.

 

For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow @tlschwerz

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I share your optimism for the Twins for this coming season. The roster looks promising and the divisional competition will be the strongest it has been in some time. I always appreciate your articles.

One small quibble - there isn't any need nor use to mention excellent baseball people such as Terry Ryan or Bill Smith in any fashion but a positive light. Dave St. Peter and the Pohlads would agree. Change happens.

The return of fans to stadiums with the smells, sounds, and sights is a positive turn that brings a smile just thinking about it.

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I enjoyed the article and agree that we Twin fans can feel more optimistic now than in December, especially with the Simmons and Cruz signings, but I can't see this FO getting an  A Rating.  Time will tell, of course, but the sole object of this offseason(and the actual 2021 season) was to move the needle  enough to improve our chances not only to make the playoffs, but to succeed in these same playoffs, at least to the point of becoming serious WS contenders.

 

Simmons was the only move that really moved the needle somewhat.  The other additions filled some holes:  Cruz/ Cruz; Happ/Odorrizi & Hill;  Colome and Robles/May, Romo, Wisler, Clippard.  Net result: while we haven't fallen back, this team's odds of breaking their long playoff futility run is still pretty much dependent on the ability of Donaldson and Buxton to enjoy  productive full seasons and Maeda to repeat his great 2020 year.  If any one of these keys fail, we just don't have the depth to compensate.

 

Many readers applaud Falvine's smart, under-the-radar moves.  As you say, this is a risk-averse FO, that is more interested in finding value than "big" moves.  So true!  Others of us who well remember the glory days of 1987/1991 would like to see a repeat.  I realize that this org. will never match the Dodgers, Yanks, Bosox, Cubs in spending, but there are other ways to move the needle, as the Pods have shown.  Yes, Falvine should be applauded for 3 out of 4 years getting the Twins into the playoffs and certainly setting us up for a strong 2021, but can such a risk averse FO bring us a WS?  The answer to that question will ultimately determine their grade. As of now, give them an above average B Grade and hope they drop their aversion to risk and move the needle a bit further than has been done.

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