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It's Time To Catch Up, The Twins Rebuild Is Over


Ted Schwerzler

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This offseason, and many of recent memory for that matter, Twins fans have talked of the word rebuild. In describing the organization, rebuilding was a way to define the idea that the Twins needed and influx of new talent that would get them back into relevancy. While that has been a fair assessment of where the club has found itself, a new reality has set in. That time period is over, the rebuilding is done.

 

On Twitter recently, I stumbled across a conversation Twins beat writer Brandon Warne was having. He summarized the Twins current situation by saying, "The Twins rebuild is in a lot of ways over. There isn't much else to strip down. It's time to build." I'm not sure there's a more eloquent way to put it.

 

When it comes to big league baseball, there's only a few realities that face a team. Either your a serious World Series contender, you're treading water somewhere in the middle with a vertical trajectory of one direction, or you've committed to an influx of minor league talent with the idea that it pans out at the highest level.

 

To be completely fair, suggesting a team is a World Series contender is somewhat of a fickle practice. Sure, the Chicago Cubs, Boston Red Sox, and Los Angeles Dodgers are juggernauts, but making it into the playoffs makes you a contender of sorts. Although the exits were always quick, that's a stage that the Twins found themselves in during the run of AL Central titles under Ron Gardenhire. They quickly moved through the water treading phase (on a downward trajectory), and went into the doldrums of needing to stockpile talent. At this point though, the cycle has already begun to rotate.

 

While Paul Molitor's club isn't going to be kicking in the Postseason door when the 2017 season draws to a close, they've absolutely entered back into the pool of mediocrity, but with an upward trajectory this time. By suffering through the poor stretch, they've stockpiled talent, and at one point had one of the best farm systems in baseball.

 

The rebuild in which the Twins needed to undertake was highlighted by prospects such as Miguel Sano, Byron Buxton, Jose Berrios, and Max Kepler. Those names are no longer found on prospect lists, they aren't rookie eligible, and they are all basically entrenched at the big league level. At this point, it's on the Twins to support them developmentally as best they can, and get them to contribute over the course of a 162 game season.

 

Although the Twins failed to generate much of anything in the pitching category, the rebuild portion of the big league turnaround is complete. You could say that names like Stephen Gonsalves and Fernando Romero equate to some sort of replenishment when they arrive, and the hope would be that Minnesota would turn out a few more hidden gems. Right now though, the focus needs to be on sustenance.

 

Given what is left on the free agent market, I don't believe that Derek Falvey and Thad Levine are best positioned to spend. They'd likely be giving too much money to players not necessarily deserving of it. Save for Mike Napoli as a rotational partner with Joe Mauer and Byungho Park, I'm good with the Twins standing pat. Entering 2018 is another story however.

 

A year from now, Minnesota will be more able to accurately gauge where there young stars are, what the roster deficiencies seem to be, and how to attack them. A frontline starter should be on the shopping list, and pulling out some significant stops to enter back into contender mode for a stretch makes a lot of sense.

 

When a big league team is losing, it's fair to consider what their plan truly is. However, calling a struggling team rebuilding is a lazy excuse to categorize something that may very well not be the case. Minnesota has moved out of that phase and onto the next one, this team is rebuilding no more.

 

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

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Interesting article. Had the pleasure of interacting with Brandon Warne on Pro Sports Daily for years before he hit  the big  time... good for him. He was always pretty thoughtful in his assessment. You both seem to be on the same page.

 

I agree but also do think that stating the rebuilding is semantics at best.

 

The reality is that this team "is" rebuilding. We are rebuilding or building how ever you want to categorize it with young players that need time to "figure" it out. I believe and hope that Sano, Polanco, Buxton, Vargas, Barrios and the plethora of young power relief arms will get there in '17 but all are young and still are going to have some growing pains. That is reality. We have the  "framework" there but still have work to do to have the finished product ready to contend for championships.

 

Maybe we are on the same page and this time next year after competing for a wildcard spot this year will make some larger moves but I would tend to believe that it will be closer to '19 or '20 when the kids are grown up.

 

That may not be acceptable but finding out who the core players are going to be before spending for accessories would make more sense. Maybe we just have different timelines.

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Great post! I agree almost 100%. Not to split hairs, but I see 2017 as a combination of supporting the new, younger team, as well as still continuing said re-build. I say this because of a couple of the recent graduates, Berrios and Chargois come to mind, have had so little ML time at this point, and because there are a couple of RP and SP arms, and a certain intriguing catcher, that haven't arrived yet but are oh so close to diving in to the ML pool in 2017.

 

I will disagree somewhat on the idea of still spending on some pieces for 2017. I still believe there are some solid FA players available to make the roster deeper and better without big contract numbers...that could easily be removed if need be...that make the 2017 version of the Twins more competitive with a better chance to win some games here and there. And I'm a believer in learning how to win, and winning together. And I want these kids to believe in themselves and learn to win together.

 

Wholeheartedly agree on 2018. Perkins and Santiago themselves should give the team another $14M or so to work with after '17, and the team payroll already projects several million below last season, and even more bellow league average. And 2018 marks the last year of Mauer's contract as well as Santana. (Dozier as well, but that's sort of a different discussion all by itself). There really is no reason...barring some sudden rash of injuries or underperformance/regression...that should keep these "new" Twins from promoting additional talent and making a real financial investment or two for the 2018 team.

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Interesting article. Had the pleasure of interacting with Brandon Warne on Pro Sports Daily for years before he hit  the big  time... good for him. He was always pretty thoughtful in his assessment. You both seem to be on the same page.

 

I agree but also do think that stating the rebuilding is semantics at best.

 

The reality is that this team "is" rebuilding. We are rebuilding or building how ever you want to categorize it with young players that need time to "figure" it out. I believe and hope that Sano, Polanco, Buxton, Vargas, Barrios and the plethora of young power relief arms will get there in '17 but all are young and still are going to have some growing pains. That is reality. We have the  "framework" there but still have work to do to have the finished product ready to contend for championships.

 

Maybe we are on the same page and this time next year after competing for a wildcard spot this year will make some larger moves but I would tend to believe that it will be closer to '19 or '20 when the kids are grown up.

 

That may not be acceptable but finding out who the core players are going to be before spending for accessories would make more sense. Maybe we just have different timelines.

 

Thanks! Funny story -- I just re-joined PSD. 

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