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2022 Twins--What Went Wrong and How to Fix It


stringer bell

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Some time after the All-Star break, I was pondering how the Twins could fit all of their quality major league position players on the active roster. A few weeks later, baseball immortals Mark Contreras and Caleb Hamilton were on the big club. Fast forward to a crucial five-game series in Cleveland and the Twins were starting Bailey Ober, Josh Winder (both coming off injuries) and having Louie Varland make his second major league start and Jake Cave and Gilberto Celestino were considered regular starters. The season unraveled quickly and now the Twins look likely to finish below .500 and in third place in the weak AL Central. How did it happen? I have several answers--there have been enduring issues all year exacerbated by a rash of injuries, most of them season-ending. 

Offense underperformed almost all year. Going back to the start of the season, after a rocky first couple of weeks, the Twins offense was sufficient to win a lot of game despite never scoring runs commensurate with their underlying numbers. Right now, the Twins are 18th in runs scored despite being 11th in OPS and 12th in homers. They have often been futile with runners in scoring position and they have been a terrible running bases as a team. I have seen many posters state that the team is terrible at fundamentals. I would submit that all teams draw their fans ire for not advancing runners and "beating the shift". Part of these problems is the way the Twins are built. They lack team speed and their is a lot of swing and miss in their collective game. With the changes made to limit homers, the Twins (IMHO) have suffered disproportionately. 

Pitching regressed after overperforming early. The Twins seized first place in late April and held on to the top spot for most of the season bolstered by a pitching staff that performed better than expected. Despite seemingly having at least one and usually two or more guys in their rotation that were locks to go no more than five innings, they won a lot of games and obvious weaknesses at the back end of the bullpen were not evident in the win-loss record. Things unraveled here in slow motion. The failure of anyone but Jhoan Duran in late innings cost games (particularly to Cleveland). The extra innings assigned to the bullpen showed the lack of depth that so many short starts demanded. Back to statistics--the Twins currently are right in the middle of total runs allowed stats. Underlying stats (WHIP, Opponents BA and OPS and BB and K numbers) come out slightly below the mean. I think team defense has been slightly better than average, which has helped keep runs allowed acceptable. 

Injuries (oh my!). The Twins lead the AL in total man-games on the Injured List. They went into the season with one player slated to miss time, so it isn't like there were a bunch of players already on the IL. Some of the injuries could be expected and put on the front office. The Twins obtained several pitchers with injury issues and this season have come up snake eyes with most of them missing significant time. 

There have been plenty of position player injuries as well. Regular players Ryan Jeffers, Miguel Sano, Jorge Polanco, Alex Kirilloff, Trevor Larnach, Byron Buxton and Max Kepler have all missed significant portions of the season. Carlos Correa also missed over 20 games with COVID and a badly bruised finger. We all know Buxton hasn't made it through a season without spending time on the IL. The other guys would figure to be healthier than they have this year. 

Dick Bremer characterized the Twins as developing a "slow leak" from June through August. The leak has been accelerated in the month of September and injuries are a factor in that. That said, even without the injuries, the Twins' flaws probably were too big to win the division. The club exhausted their depth and seeing Jermaine Palacios, Mark Contreras, Caleb Hamilton, Sandy Leon, Aaron Sanchez, and (second half) Devin Smeltzer "perform" in key situations just shows that the Twins have scraped bottom.

I think some roster turnover is necessary. Among the position players, they need more guys who make contact, are better base runners and who have more speed. They need more left-right balance in corner outfielders. The front office needs to adjust their focus and bring in more durable players. It should be noted that the position players they brought in (Urshela, Sanchez and Correa) have been basically healthy. The problem has been with the pitchers. 

I think there is too much talent to tear it down. If the club fails to compete next year, it is probably time to try something else, starting at the top. It won't be easy to win the Central next year, but there needs to be significant progress and better health.

 

 

 

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I think people just overvalue a lot of Twins players.

Guys like Kepler and Polanco aren’t going back to 2019.

Nick Gordon and Trevor Larnach just aren’t that good.

Buxton will never play a full season.

Kirillof’s career may be derailed at this point.

Royce Lewis may never stay healthy. If he does, we don’t know he’s a good major leaguer yet based on a small sample.

The list goes on.  

 

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I think this is a fair analysis. I will say the biggest organizational philosophy they need to examine in bullpen construction is identifying 2 pitchers that they intend to throw more than 1 inning per outing. The back end is looking a lot stronger going into next season than it was at the start of this one with Lopez, Duran, Thielbar, Jax, and (hopefully) Alcala. But I think with starters often being in the "5 and Fly" mode you need a couple of relievers that you expect to throw 2-3 innings when they come in to bridge the gap. Do they have that in Moran, Sands, winder, etc? Could Dobnak be that kind of guy? Don't know, but having TWO guys who can attack the game that way makes it viable to manage the innings load.

1 hour ago, Beast said:

I think people just overvalue a lot of Twins players.

Guys like Kepler and Polanco aren’t going back to 2019.

Nick Gordon and Trevor Larnach just aren’t that good.

Buxton will never play a full season.

Kirillof’s career may be derailed at this point.

Royce Lewis may never stay healthy. If he does, we don’t know he’s a good major leaguer yet based on a small sample.

The list goes on.  

 

Kepler is unlikely to ever have a 2019 season again; it's looking like a Brady Anderson-style fluke year. but Polanco was great in 2021 and has been injured in 2022, not bad. (and Kepler has actually produced enough to be a reasonable starter even with the injuries and sapped power...which almost certainly has a lot to do with the busted toe)

Nick Gordon has improved as a hitter to the point where he's a quality player, especially as a super-utility guy; he's going to finish the year right around 2 bWAR. Larnach was having a fine season before injury, so saying that "he's not that good" is a snap judgment that's awfully hasty. We shouldn't assume he's going to be as great as he was in May, but we also should write him off already no better than he was in April.

Buxton might never play a full season again, but even in 92 games he was worth 4 bWAR. That's a really good player. If they can get him to 120-130 games a season he's an all-star quality player every year.

I mean, if you're determined to presume the worst case scenario for every Twins player, I don't know what to tell you. Find a new team if you think the twins are uniquely jinxed? While I don't think every fan has to look only on the positive side of things, casting everything in a negative light, even when the evidence suggests a different story isn't very helpful.

Polanco isn't a bad player. Polanco doesn't need to go back to 2019; he was actually better in 2021. Nick Gordon is proof for why you shouldn't give up on Larnach too soon. Buxton, Kirilloff, and Lewis might never stay healthy enough to maximize their talent...but that's the great unknown.

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By far our #1 problem was, is & will be is over dependence on short relief. What compounds this is having poor short relief candidates (except Duran) to choose from. FO solution- doubling down on candidates that clearly are terrible and over extending a weak rotation.

Result- Injured & ineffective pitching, BP losing many games that offense & rotation were winning- Team overall steadily lost motivation, because of it.

Poor BP & weak rotation can be overcome with strong long relief. And we had the potential of a strong long relief core with very good candidates. And they were our solution to this problem.

 

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8 hours ago, jmlease1 said:

I think this is a fair analysis. I will say the biggest organizational philosophy they need to examine in bullpen construction is identifying 2 pitchers that they intend to throw more than 1 inning per outing. The back end is looking a lot stronger going into next season than it was at the start of this one with Lopez, Duran, Thielbar, Jax, and (hopefully) Alcala. But I think with starters often being in the "5 and Fly" mode you need a couple of relievers that you expect to throw 2-3 innings when they come in to bridge the gap. Do they have that in Moran, Sands, winder, etc? Could Dobnak be that kind of guy? Don't know, but having TWO guys who can attack the game that way makes it viable to manage the innings load.

Kepler is unlikely to ever have a 2019 season again; it's looking like a Brady Anderson-style fluke year. but Polanco was great in 2021 and has been injured in 2022, not bad. (and Kepler has actually produced enough to be a reasonable starter even with the injuries and sapped power...which almost certainly has a lot to do with the busted toe)

Nick Gordon has improved as a hitter to the point where he's a quality player, especially as a super-utility guy; he's going to finish the year right around 2 bWAR. Larnach was having a fine season before injury, so saying that "he's not that good" is a snap judgment that's awfully hasty. We shouldn't assume he's going to be as great as he was in May, but we also should write him off already no better than he was in April.

Buxton might never play a full season again, but even in 92 games he was worth 4 bWAR. That's a really good player. If they can get him to 120-130 games a season he's an all-star quality player every year.

I mean, if you're determined to presume the worst case scenario for every Twins player, I don't know what to tell you. Find a new team if you think the twins are uniquely jinxed? While I don't think every fan has to look only on the positive side of things, casting everything in a negative light, even when the evidence suggests a different story isn't very helpful.

Polanco isn't a bad player. Polanco doesn't need to go back to 2019; he was actually better in 2021. Nick Gordon is proof for why you shouldn't give up on Larnach too soon. Buxton, Kirilloff, and Lewis might never stay healthy enough to maximize their talent...but that's the great unknown.

Just want to say I'd give this post a double LIKE if I could!

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Stringer, first off, just an excellent post and I think you hit just about everything on the nail head. Honest truth, robbed a little thunder of what I'm wanting to post myself in a blog. 

I really appreciated one of your initial comments about trying to figure out how the Twins can possibly fit all their position players on the roster at one point. I'm in the same boat both then, and looking at next year. Despite the naysayers, I'm very excited about the POTENTIAL of the lineup in 2023. Other than SS, there isn't a major hole anywhere on the roster with a return to health. Amazing that a team can hit, get OB, and be amongst the best in all MLB getting a runner in from 3B but be amongst the worst at getting runners advanced or IN from 2B. There is a disconnect somewhere that is hard to quantify.

I think, in retrospect, the early SP was a bit of an illusion. Bundy has actually been about what most teams would love to have in a 5th starter. The problem was, that role fell to Archer, who never took a step forward. And while Gray was very good, and Ryan had a wonderful rookie season, they were doomed by not adding someone from a tremendous FA class. My goodness, how much better would the rotation have been if they had signed Cueto, as rumored. 

Ignoring the pen was ridiculous. Even with a healthy Alcala, the pen needed an arm, and NOT Pagan. 

The lack of middle relief was a maddening downfall!

And despite a team not exactly put together anything close to perfect, I just don't understand anyone not looking at injuries to just about everyone and anyone as not being a devastating blow to a contending team.

And I don't think I even have to discuss injuries to the staff. (Ober was vastly missed and nobody talks about that).  But how much better is the lineup with potential hitters like AK and Larnach and a healthy Kepler and Polanco beyond July? Instead, August and September,  as you stated, the lineup was filled with a pair of Hamiltons and Cave and Contreras. And let's not forget having Beckham as an "emergency" player off the bench. Sheesh! How do you score runs at that point!

Agreed there will be some roster turnover. It has to happen. Jeffers needs someone. A quality RH OF is needed. Fulmer needs to be re-signed or replaced adequately.  And if Correa is not re-signed, not only do we need to figure out a temp situation, but we have to decide if there is a SP available to add to hedge bets vs just filling in with a young arm and hoping for the best.

Agreed there is just too much talent on hand to tear things down. My goodness, with health and just a handful of smart additions,  this team could be primed to win the ALC and make noise in the playoffs. But the FO HAS to make those few smart additions to add to the roster as well as hedging bets against injury.

I'm an optimist about 2023 if the FO is smart and  fills a couple holes and "over does" the roster a bit.

 

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The Twins have options going forward, but they also have problems. The Plan was a problem but it was really only fully in force this year so maybe someone actually decides to can that fail. The lack of fundamentals was a yearlong problem but if someone actually decides that good baseball includes a steady diet of fundamentals this can be addressed and emphasized starting in the offseason and continuing on through Spring Training and the 2023 season. 

The roster has problems too and the front office will need to decide who stays, who goes, who gets an opportunity, and who might be acquired via trade or free agency. If the Twins make the correct preparations and move forward with a baseball oriented strategy, they could have as much success next season as they did this year and be much more interesting. This would lead to improved attendance and interest. And this could be done for a $60-90 million roster. Of course, there is more room for error with a $140 million payroll but I don't care how much anyone makes. I only want to see good baseball.

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It’s time to look how today’s players prepare for a season. The Twins have gone all in on conditioning and nutrition. It’s obviously not working! Time to make changes. Hip and wrist injuries with multiple players. 3 position players that came from other teams basically played the whole season and the rest of the players from the Twins organization were injured. This organization looks at trends way too much! Changes need made by the staff we have or we need new leaders. 

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Agreed Stringerbell! Great post.

I think one of the challenges that will carry over from ‘22, is there’s a ton of quality players, but many have been injured (some frequently) and the efforts made to keep them on the field might not do enough.

how do the Twins keep enough depth to avoid another death spiral?

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I wonder what the team would've been like if Sano ws available for the entire season.

The weakness was NOT having innings eaters in the rotation. But we got our current batch built up for 2023.

Someone has to make outs, so I can live with a weakness in a catcher atr the bat. But they have to be able to stop the running game in return. And the Twins do have guys who should be able to run, sacrifice, make things happen. 

 

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3 minutes ago, Rosterman said:

Someone has to make outs

Ignoring extra innings and walk-offs, when the home team wins they make 24 outs.  When they lose, they make 27.  Sounds like a strong correlation of wins to not making outs. :)

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Spot on, stringer bell. The offense never held up their end of the bargain. I would look at the roster on B-Ref and see all of these guys with OPS+ over 100. It never jived with what we saw on the field. Jose Miranda needs 4 RBI in the final 3 games, otherwise we will end the season with no one hitting 70 RBI. Brutal. 

If the pitching wasn’t over performing at the beginning of the year, we would finish the year with 90+ losses. It was predictable that they’d regress to the mean, and it was assumed that the offense would take over more. Didn’t happen. It was also planned that prospects would take over throughout the season for under performing vets. That also didn’t happen. 

Roster turnover needs to happen. We need to strip away the redundancies on the roster. Mainly our abundance of LH hitting corner OF, and back of the rotation SP. IMO it’s time to say goodbye to some long term core players like Kepler and Polanco.

If we end up running it back with the vast majority of players and blame it all on injuries, that’s a recipe for another below .500 season. 

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Great topic S.B. and one I consider the "opening salvo" of how the Twins can look to improve in 2023.  INJURIES.  That more than anything else killed the Twins in 2022.  We were basically a AAA team from August 1st.  Goodness, an outfield of Cave, Contreras and whoever can't win you anything in the major leagues.  More than anything else, the Twins need health in 2023.  The problem is, we've been saying that for several years now.  Something has to change in their off-season training/preparation and in season as well.

I'm looking forward to our many discussions of the 40-man roster and how the brain trust should manage it. We still have areas of strength (talented LH hitting OF'ers, 2B) and gaping holes (SS ??  Certainly Catcher, SP's that can go 6+).  One of the first things I'd do is get on the phone to Toronto. They've got THREE good catchers.  Top prospect Moreno, Kirk and Jansen.  What would it take to pry one of them away ?  With a projected starting rotation of Mahle, Gray, Ryan, Maeda and Ober, and with Winder, SWR and Varland waiting in the wings there is depth in the rotation, but what if another quality SP like Pablo Lopez was acquired ?  Everyone drops a peg and you've got a 6-7 inning pitcher leading your staff.  Winder, Ober and others are the 2+ inning BP options.  Duran and Lopez make a fine back end.  Theilbar and Jax will be back.  It has the makings of a solid pitching staff.

Which leaves us with SS.  I've been the guy holding out hope for Correa.  I still don't want to give up on that.  A Gold Glove SS with 20-25 HR power and a .280-.300 batting average is pretty hard to come by.  I'd give him 4-years $160 million.  I'd still have Lewis and Brooks Lee waiting in the wings, but the Twins are just so much better with Correa on the team.

I like what I saw from Wallner.  I'm sure other teams noted him as well.  With Kirilloff, Larnach, Wallner and Kepler somebody needs to be traded.  I'd move one of them in a package for a Pablo Lopez type or a Toronto catcher.  I'd also look at moving Polanco to solidify catcher and a #1 SP.  Arraez and Gordon, maybe Lewis as well can cover 2B.  I play Kirilloff and Miranda at 1B.  I retain Urshela.  The Twins have assets other teams would be interested in.  It shouldn't be as hard as we've made it to find a solid RH hitting 4th OF'er.  Finally, if Correa isn't back a Jose Iglesias type is still needed to bridge the gap from Lewis being READY to step in full time.

That's my plan (kind of) and I'm sticking to it. (until a better idea comes along).   

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Good analysis! My take would simply be...what went wrong? Everything. (and I doubt Sano would have made any difference at all)

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15 hours ago, Vanimal46 said:

Spot on, stringer bell. The offense never held up their end of the bargain. I would look at the roster on B-Ref and see all of these guys with OPS+ over 100. It never jived with what we saw on the field. Jose Miranda needs 4 RBI in the final 3 games, otherwise we will end the season with no one hitting 70 RBI. Brutal. 

If the pitching wasn’t over performing at the beginning of the year, we would finish the year with 90+ losses. It was predictable that they’d regress to the mean, and it was assumed that the offense would take over more. Didn’t happen. It was also planned that prospects would take over throughout the season for under performing vets. That also didn’t happen. 

Roster turnover needs to happen. We need to strip away the redundancies on the roster. Mainly our abundance of LH hitting corner OF, and back of the rotation SP. IMO it’s time to say goodbye to some long term core players like Kepler and Polanco.

If we end up running it back with the vast majority of players and blame it all on injuries, that’s a recipe for another below .500 season. 

Problem is that both Polanco and Kepler are under contract and either might get you a lottery ticket at this point, not a good sell time. Kepler is now a 4th outfielder and if you plan to have Gorden as the 5th, then Celestino should be gone. We need a decent right hand hitting outfielder, Gordon and Arreaz as utility types and Miranda probably at 3B.  Urshela should be kept at this point until we know there is no regression from Miranda and Polanco is healthy.   You either have to sign a SS or move Polanco back there until Lewis returns.  2023 if going to be a transition year (with hope), and expecting the Julien, Rodrequiz and others will make their mark in 2024.  Still need one major starter and one major bullpen piece. 

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2 hours ago, joefish said:

It concerns me greatly that our young call-ups seem to be so poorly schooled in some very basic baseball fundamentals. Base running blunders. Poor outfield play on so many levels.  Do we need better coaches in the minors?

Better coaches OVERALL. But aren't some of the basic fundamentals learned in little league and the way they become a MLB player is because these fundaments are above average to excellent?   How does a player who doesn't understand the fundamentals make it to the MLB to start with?

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When I was a kid, baseball was king.  No soccer, no video games, no other activities that competed with baseball.  With teams full of players, you had to be the best at fundamentals to get more paying time.  You also had parents who would lend their time to coaching.  Now the parents hardly even drop their kids off at the practice field.  How many times after dinner did I throw a rubber ball against the side of the garage practicing fielding.  I can't remember how many MLB players I struck out, pitching against a brick wall.

The bottom line, playing and honing your basic baseball skills was a common thing.  My older brother schooled me in the strategy of baseball.  He explained the cut off throw, the taking of an extra base, etc.

So I firmly agree with the above comment.  The basics are no longer ingrained.  Kids spend the majority of their time in the batting cage.  Baseball is such a more complicated game than swinging for the fences.

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Many decisions to be made during this off season:

1). Where does Arraez fit position wise?  Is it reasonable to have a BA champ as a jack of all trades?

2). Where does Miranda fit in the field?  1B?  3B?

3). Is Kirilloff an outfielder or a 1B?  Does he need a RH platoon partner?

4). Who is the back-up catcher?  Is Sanchez kept or do you let him walk?

5). Is Wallner really READY for the bigs?

6). Do you keep Urshela?

7). Does any other team want: Urshela, Kepler, Polanco?  What should we expect?  What would we accept?

8). So long, don't let the door hit you on the way out:  Billy Hamilton, Kyle Garlick, Jake Cave, Sandy Leon. Miguel Sano.

9). Here's a map of St. Paul for you: Mark Conteras, Jermaine Palacios, Caleb Hamilton.

10). Is Royce Lewis the Shortstop, FINALLY, or tradebait?  If the latter, WHO is the Shortstop?

AND I have not even gotten to the Pitching Staff !!!

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@stringer bell Excellent, sober summary. There definitely needs to be some turnover, and frankly most of it is needed on the offensive side.

First of all, it would help if we could get Polanco back to some sort of fair health. I suspect they missed his steady RBI performance (even in a down year he was leading the team when injured) more than Buxton down the stretch  (sure Byron's better, but when has he ever been healthy in September?). Another in-house hot topic in the comments is Kirilloff; frankly the Twins shouldn't even plan on him being in MLB unless they get off-season reports he is fully-healed, pain-free, and mashing legitimate pitching in practice sessions. Though it might be just as likely he never plays in the majors again.

There will be plenty of money (Carlos $ + Miguel $ + Sanchez $ just to start) to pursue solid answers (because Correa isn't coming back). Everyone can come up with their own plan, but I'd chase a Rodon type, a real hitting catcher (Wilson Contreras/Christian Vasquez?) or one that can throw out runners, and acquire (trade/FA) a legitimate starting OF (Benintendi?). I'd guess some of our youngsters will pan out, but betting the farm on it (as was done this year) and counting on Byron staying healthy (as was done this year) is a dream, not a plan. (I like Max, but if he is legitimately one of our starting OFs in 2023, we didn't fix the problem enough).

Add a stopgap SS (Adrianza? Andrus?) and a bullpen arm or two (I hear Taylor Rogers is available), and we are set!

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I think the front office did a good job on the season.  Where they messed up is in evaluating a pitchers third time through the order as being worse then our 7th and 8th relievers.  THat was clearly not the case as Pagan blew so many games this year then the starters could possibly have blown had they went the extra inning or two.  

The Twins did have lots of depth to handle injuries this year.  probably more than anyone else.  The problem was the injuries didnt stop.  I mean the Twins had the following as potential starters this year.

Sano

Jeffers

Arreaz

Polanco

Correa

Miranda

Sanchez

Urshala

Kepler

Buxton

Celestino

Killeroff

Larnarch

Gordon

and an occaisional Garlick against LHP

Thats 15 position players ready to go.  I mean who has that much depth and it still not be enough.  

Yes there was a middle relief deficiency that cost us games and until injuries mounted and Archer wore out we were ok but not great.  

At least going into next season we have most of the position player depth and a good base for our rotation as well with several rookies ready to join the rotation.  

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On 9/30/2022 at 6:34 PM, Doctor Gast said:

By far our #1 problem was, is & will be is over dependence on short relief. What compounds this is having poor short relief candidates (except Duran) to choose from. FO solution- doubling down on candidates that clearly are terrible and over extending a weak rotation.

Result- Injured & ineffective pitching, BP losing many games that offense & rotation were winning- Team overall steadily lost motivation, because of it.

Poor BP & weak rotation can be overcome with strong long relief. And we had the potential of a strong long relief core with very good candidates. And they were our solution to this problem.

 

The secondary problem was playing players who were hurt & playing well below 100%. The decision to keep Buxton off the IL & playing him well below 100% was very counter productive. We had competent players who could cover for him & could play better than him under those circumstances, while Buxton regains his productivity either by periodically place on the IL or better yet have the corrctive surgery right away & be 100%  in Sept. 

Polanco was visibly hurting in Aug. yet they still played him ragged which drastically reduced his productivity which eventually put him on the IL for the rest of the season. Arraez was visibly hurting in Aug. also & his BA nose dived. Any sign of not playing up to par players should be rested until they recouperate. We were blessed with depth this year so resting anyone shouldn't be an issue.

Along with  playing Lewis in CF shows very poor medical decisions. IDK if the medical department was by-passed or our medical department is incompetent. Either way this problem should be dealt with.

Correa gave a great effort down the stretch, along w/ good effort from Urshela, Gordon, Miranda + others. It'd have been great if Buxton, Polanco, Arraez & Lewis were 100% the last month or so.

So poor medical decisions from obtaining Paddack & Mahle hurt to not giving much needed rest to pitchers & players who needed it to putting Lewis in jeopardy.  Solution? Consult the medical team if this was done, replace the medical team.

 

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Lot of good comments here about the roster for next year. Obviously, the key is Correa. Keep him AND add a quality SP - either a FA like Rondon or trade corner OF and pitching prospect to Miami for Lopez (or something similar) - and I think you can run the same group back with Winder or Sands as a long man in the BP instead of Megill. No Correa and Polanco and Gordon play SS and 2B and we better get Rondon and Benintendi/Josh Bell.

Just so much uncertainty going into 2023. Is Larnach the quality hitter we've seen in stretches or the easy out we've also seen? Will Kirilloff ever play at the MLB level again and, if he does, will the wrist injuries sap all of his power? Are Miranda and Gordon the 2022 versions again or do they get better or fall off? The rotation actually looks fairly solid 2-5 but where do we get a #1 starter?  The back end of the BP  is pretty good, what about those 5-8 spots? 2022 was supposed to help answer those questions but instead has lead to even more uncertainty. 

The 2023 Twins look like a lot of Twins teams in the past - about 2/3 to 3/4 of a contending team with the big holes in the most crucial spots, we're short a #1 starter and one middle of the order bat.  And that's with Correa coming back. With him gone we are closer to 1/2 to 2/3 of a contending team because now we're short 2 middle of the order bats on a team that was mediocre to poor offensively to start out with. 

Plan? Add a top end starter (Rondon, Lopez, someone similar) and a middle of the order bat (Benintendi, Bell, someone similar). If Correa leaves, don't pick up a defense first lousy mediocre vet like Iglesias, play Polanco or Gordon and live with the defensive downgrade for the offensive upgrade. Trade, release, do something so that Pagan and Kepler are not on the team next year. Current management cannot be trusted to only use either as a bench/spot player. Find a spot to play Miranda, Larnach, and Kirilloff (if healthy) every day for a least the first half of the season to see if they can play. Put Maeda in the BP to start, re-sign Taylor Rogers, and leave Gray, Ryan, Mahle, and Ober in the rotation with SWR, Varland, and Winder as backups. 

See if that works through the 2023 ASB. If it doesn't, blow it up. Trade our vets and play only the young guys. Move on.      

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1 hour ago, LA VIkes Fan said:

Put Maeda in the BP to start, re-sign Taylor Rogers, and leave Gray, Ryan, Mahle, and Ober in the rotation with SWR, Varland, and Winder as backups.    

I don't really get the desire I'm seeing to bring back Rogers. He wasn't good last year, overall, we have lefties in the bullpen in Thielbar & Moran (maybe Sisk, if they can nail down his command better, but right now he's too wild IMHO) and Rogers is probably going to still command a decent salary on the FA market...unless his value has really tanked and wants to come back late in the offseason on a "prove it" deal in a familiar place, he feels like a stay away to me. Especially because what we really need is another guy who can consistently throw 2+ innings in the 'pen, not another 1 inning dude.

I'm looking at the bullpen being Lopez, Duran, Thielbar, Jax, Moran, and Alcala with 2 spot to be named later for longer outings. Maeda might be a good fit in there, same for Winder/Dobnak/Sands. If Alcala isn't going to be ready or you're really worried about his ability to stay healthy, then another RH flamethrower would be nice. But I'm not sure I see a good space for Taylor Rogers, especially the version from the last 2 years.

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