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3 Reasons Why Now Is Not the Time For a Rebuild


Twins Daily Contributor

Minnesota’s lack of starting pitching has some fans clamoring for the team to tear down the current roster. However, there are multiple reasons why it isn’t a great time to start the rebuilding process.

Here are three reasons why the Twins should avoid starting a rebuild in 2022. 

1. Rebuilds Don’t Guarantee Future Success
Many fan bases love the idea of a rebuild because of the hope it can offer for the future. In recent memory, there have been successful rebuilds in Houston and Chicago as both franchises won a World Series. These success stories are hardly the norm for rebuilds, as many teams struggle to stay relevant in a competitive MLB landscape. 

For every successful rebuild, plenty of teams never quite make it back over the hump. Philadelphia lost 81 games or more for eight straight seasons from 2012 through 2019. As the team started coming out of the rebuild, they spent big on free agents like Bryce Harper and Zack Wheeler. It’s been a decade since they made the playoffs, and they only have one season with a winning season during that stretch. San Diego had high expectations over the last two years after losing 90+ games for four straight seasons. Their rebuild results include one playoff appearance, and no playoff wins since 2006. 

2. Twins Trailing Other Teams Already Rebuilding
Minnesota can undoubtedly try to rebuild, but it will be tough to field a roster worse than some of the other teams already rebuilding. Last season, seven teams lost 90 games or more, including four that recorded over 100 losses. Franchises like Baltimore, Arizona, and Pittsburgh are stuck in what seems like a yearly rebuilding cycle. Since 1998, Baltimore has had three playoff appearances. Pittsburgh has one playoff appearance that wasn’t in a Wild Card Game since 1993. Over the last decade, Arizona has made two NLDS appearances but never made it out of that round. 

All of these teams are already ahead in the rebuilding process, and their rosters look worse on paper than the Twins. One of the goals of a rebuild is to build draft capital throughout multiple seasons, but there are few guarantees when it comes to the MLB Draft. Even Houston made drafting mistakes as part of their rebuild. In the last decade, Minnesota drafted highly for multiple years, and there were plenty of players that didn’t pan out, including top-10 picks like Kohl Stewart, Tyler Jay, and Nick Gordon. First-round draft picks are valuable, but teams need to develop players in the organization to rebuild successfully. 

3. Minnesota Is Currently In A Winning Window
It may be hard to forget, but the Twins just got out of a rebuild and are in the middle of their current winning window. From 2011-2017, Minnesota’s average finish in the AL Central was 23.6 games out of first place. The Twins saw the results of these losing seasons by winning back-to-back AL Central titles in 2019-20, but that can’t be the peak of this current core. With a veteran core, the Twins should be trying to reload the roster and get back to the playoffs. Plus, the AL Central isn’t getting any easier with other teams like the Tigers and the Royals coming out of their own rebuilds. 

Also, Minnesota signed Byron Buxton to a seven-year contract extension, so it is essential to field competitive rosters when he is in the prime of his career. Age is certainly a risk to consider with a player of Buxton’s skillset, so the team needs to be in win-now mode. A Twins rebuild would take multiple seasons, and then Buxton would be at the back-end of his contract or no longer part of the team. While the winning window is open, Minnesota needs to stay competitive. 

Do you think the Twins should start a rebuild or try to avoid it? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.

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We don't need a rebuild!  I think that is why most of the slightly more than above average fans are a little salty that the Twins F.O. did nothing before the lockout.  There was so MUCH pitching to be had and not many of them went for above what was considered market rate.  If we could have only added two starters, not many people would even be uttering rebuild.  With the talent we have in the minors, the talent we have on our roster, a couple starters to supplement where we are now could have went a long way.  The Twins may not have been the division favorites, but i think that would have pushed us back into contention for it.  

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The team can call it what they like. The fact is, they were SO hyper focused on ensuring they signed a long term deal with a player that cannot and will not stay on the field (and was currently still under contract) they missed out on any chance of brining in any viable FA talent. By their own admission they were "caught off-guard" by how fast the FA market sped up in the midst of the lockout. THAT IS THIER JOB! They are supposed to know what the market is going to do, that is why they have the jobs they have. They missed out on potential players; then they should be replaced by people who know what they are doing. Again, Buxton was under contract and not going anywhere. They should have focused on the guys needing to come in here.

Again, I don't care what the Twins call it, but they need to conduct big changes in the franchise as they are getting passed by, quickly! Other teams, even small markets, were conducting moves... we gave a ten year deal to a guy that can only manage to be on the field 30-40% of the time. Perfect, glad that deal got done. I was worried he'd hobble away.

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I agree a rebuild is not in order for a couple of reasons.  I think the window is still open, maybe not for this coming year, but clearly the year after.  There is enough talent at the AA and AAA level to move the team forward in the near future--including Miranda, Lewis, Martin, Kirilloff, Larnach, and all the pitchers Seth has so artfully described in his recent series.  If all the talent was at the A level, I might have a different opinion.  Second, while the team has a solid core, only Polanco and Buxton would bring back any great return, and I am not sure any prospects in return would adequately compensate for their loss, especially in Buxton's case given his injury history.  Donaldson, Kepler, Garver, Arraez, Taylor and others, while fine players in many ways, wouldn't get a great return given performance, injury, and contract issues. I confess, however, that I am still stunned by the FO's lack of action in signing a quality pitcher so as to have a building block for the rotation locked in for 3-4 years.  They missed a great opportunity in my humble opinion.

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Reload, don't rebuild, but acknowledge that the 'reloading" process will probably take more than one year. The core lineup is pretty good, maybe even very good if we can find a SS, and its got about a 3, maybe 4 year window left (except for Donaldson). We missed out on the FA pitchers but can still get a good starter or two in the trade market if we are willing to sacrifice some assets. We should be, particularly hitting assets.   

How do we do this? I say we trade for a starter we can either have for 2-4 years (Lopez in Miami, Mahle in Cincinnati) or one we can extend (Bassitt in Oakland, Gray In Cincinnati) but ONLY if we can extend to get a total of 2-4 years, and re-sign Pineda for 2 years. That leaves 2 starting spots for the young guys, 3 once Bundy washes out, and we use 2022 as the evaluation year. We hope to get 1 or 2 young guys that can pitch consistently 150 plus innings and hold down the 3 or 4 spots in 2023 out of 2022 and by 2024 have at least 3 of out home grown guys starting and Maeda back, one of which is hopefully in the #2 hole. Bassitt (my choice if we can extend him)  or Lopez hold down the top of the rotation.  We're semi-competitive in 2022  (78-85 wins), 85 plus in 2023 and hopefully up from there. Who do we sacrifice? It's going to have to be someone pretty good and I would consider trading ANY of our hitting prospects for the right pitcher - yes, that includes Miranda, Martin and Lewis even in combination with Kepler, Sano or Arraez if we get the right pitching back. 

That's my idea of a reload. Did we miss a chance to do something like this in the FA market without sacrificing assets? Absolutely.  The bottom line is that not a lot of high end pitching free agents want to come to Minnesota with the uncertainty in the rotation, lack of outside income opportunities, and lousy weather.  We got to grow out own. 

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Yeah I don't think the Twins are in rebuild mode. The Twins had right around a top ten offense last year and with so many injuries had to play guys they normally wouldn't and got a historically bad offensive performance from the Shortstop position so the offense can improve some and is already in the  upper tier as it is.

It all comes down to pitching IMO.  I do think they have assets they can trade to get a Berrios type starter and the pitching pipeline is pretty full at all four levels and while there will be plenty of failures or injured arms, with that many solid guys a few of those starting pitchers have to turn out.  Bullpens are always variable but I think they have enough arms to fill those spots as well.

I honestly don't think this team is that far away from being a playoff team.  I do think they are still a ways off when it comes to competing with the top tier teams for a shot at the World Series.  For that they need some top end pitching and even slightly better offense from more players.  They are getting there but I don't think they will get it all done next year. 

Still this is not the time to rebuild with a good offense in place and the best talent we have ever had in the pitching pipeline this team can still make a run or two or three in the next 4 years.

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1 hour ago, dgdynasty said:

2022 is for evaluating our youth. 2023 is for building and demonstrating consistency. 2024 better be playoffs. 2025 is when we should expect to compete for the crown or the FO failed.

If that's our timeline, the front office failed.  I doubt they'll have until 2025 if the next 2/3 years plays out as you suggest.

 

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I think that, rather than a tank-and-rebuild philosophy,  the Twins aspire to emulating St. Louis: a perennial contender and occasional pennant winner. This requires not a break-down followed by rebuild, but a steady flow of young talent overlapping with a selective investment in veteran talent. If this is the case, they really should have signed Berrios to an extension, but everything else fits. Of course, Maeda's injury is a monkey-wrench in the works for next year, but I think the front office wants the young generation (Kirilloff, Larnach, Duran, Balazovic, Martin, Lewis, etc.) to take over soon and does not want to block them with expensive, aging players on the decline.

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I totally agree with Kipp35 regarding Buxton.  I am so sick of these articles claing he is a superstar.  Oh please!!  I really hope he becomes one but so far he isn't.  Not until he can play full seasons with those results.  And yes Buxton was already here under contract for this coming season.  So we added nothing to the 2022 team that wasn't already there in Buxton.  The Twins blew it by not signing one or two decent FA pitchers before the lockout.  We as Twins fans should be used to it.  Rebuild?  I would hope not.  But if Twins start the season with the current pitching staff it will look worse than a rebuild.

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Absolutely not.  I still believe the 2022 season could be ours for the taking.  What would it take?  1. Sign Story for SS.  2. Sign Rodon and Pineda.  3. Trade for one more starting pitcher.  I think that is all do-able and within budget.  I'd love to see an influx of young guns in the rotation and the lineup, but as supplements, not counted on for the success of the season.  Then with the depth of the minors, we should be able to sustain competitiveness for years to come.  And no, I don't drink or do drugs!

 

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I don’t find the rebuild debate helpful.

Of course they are in a rebuild. They are rebuilding an entire rotation from the one they began with in 2021.

The debate is really how they use their resources to rebuild that staff. Do they trade 2023 assets to improve the 2022 rotation? Do they devote a significant portion of the 23-25 budgets to sign a starter who will likely have their best season with them in 2022?

I would be 2023 focused with every use of assets.

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27 minutes ago, jorgenswest said:

Of course they are in a rebuild. They are rebuilding an entire rotation from the one they began with in 2021.

Unfortunately, this is the crux of every discussion so far in building a team for 2022 and beyond. They have to rebuild the entire rotation from Opening Day 2021 and while the task is difficult it can still be accomplished through a free agent signing and two trades. I'm not yet prepared for 2-3 seasons of 90+ losses.

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On 1/11/2022 at 9:17 PM, PDX Twin said:

I think that, rather than a tank-and-rebuild philosophy,  the Twins aspire to emulating St. Louis: a perennial contender and occasional pennant winner. This requires not a break-down followed by rebuild, but a steady flow of young talent overlapping with a selective investment in veteran talent. If this is the case, they really should have signed Berrios to an extension, but everything else fits. Of course, Maeda's injury is a monkey-wrench in the works for next year, but I think the front office wants the young generation (Kirilloff, Larnach, Duran, Balazovic, Martin, Lewis, etc.) to take over soon and does not want to block them with expensive, aging players on the decline.

St. Louis let Pujlos walk which was a great decision.  I am not suggesting Berrios is going to be dead weight like Pujlos was for the last 5 years but letting a player go is not necessary inconsistent with the approach you are advocating. It aids in the development of the steady stream of young talent you reference.

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On 1/11/2022 at 1:07 PM, Kipp35 said:

The team can call it what they like. The fact is, they were SO hyper focused on ensuring they signed a long term deal with a player that cannot and will not stay on the field (and was currently still under contract) they missed out on any chance of brining in any viable FA talent. By their own admission they were "caught off-guard" by how fast the FA market sped up in the midst of the lockout. THAT IS THIER JOB! They are supposed to know what the market is going to do, that is why they have the jobs they have. They missed out on potential players; then they should be replaced by people who know what they are doing. Again, Buxton was under contract and not going anywhere. They should have focused on the guys needing to come in here.

Again, I don't care what the Twins call it, but they need to conduct big changes in the franchise as they are getting passed by, quickly! Other teams, even small markets, were conducting moves... we gave a ten year deal to a guy that can only manage to be on the field 30-40% of the time. Perfect, glad that deal got done. I was worried he'd hobble away.

Ouch.

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5 hours ago, Major League Ready said:

St. Louis let Pujlos walk which was a great decision.  I am not suggesting Berrios is going to be dead weight like Pujlos was for the last 5 years but letting a player go is not necessary inconsistent with the approach you are advocating. It aids in the development of the steady stream of young talent you reference.

Well, I guess if offering an 8 yr, $200m contract is "letting him walk."

 

The Cardinals tried very hard to retain Pujols.

 

https://www.google.com/amp/s/syndication.bleacherreport.com/amp/610475-st-louis-cardinals-reportedly-offer-pujols-8-year-contract.amp.html

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Agree 100% with you Cody for all the reasons that you mentioned, well done. We have a great core and MLB ready prospects. Trading off our core for the pie in the sky doesn't guarantees us anything, it only multiplies our problem of hoarding prospect which forces us to let go undeveloped prospects for nothing that go on to prospers else where.

We have many times gone from the worst to a very successful team. I don't see our 2021 failure as a player problem, we have a great and proven core with many good supportive players. We could easily plug our holes and compete this year. Prematurely jumping  ship again would be another terrible mistake.

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41 minutes ago, Doctor Gast said:

Agree 100% with you Cody for all the reasons that you mentioned, well done. We have a great core and MLB ready prospects. Trading off our core for the pie in the sky doesn't guarantees us anything, it only multiplies our problem of hoarding prospect which forces us to let go undeveloped prospects for nothing that go on to prospers else where.

We have many times gone from the worst to a very successful team. I don't see our 2021 failure as a player problem, we have a great and proven core with many good supportive players. We could easily plug our holes and compete this year. Prematurely jumping  ship again would be another terrible mistake.

At trading supposed top rookies for supposed top rookies else where, is like deciding whether to shoot craps with you left or your right hand.

Twins need a GOOD left fielder and some pitching, not some crystal ball gazing about rookies who may be above average or pigs in a poke.

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