LaMonte Wade Jr. was an easy player to like. He slowly worked his way up through the minors over five years using his patient plate approach and solid outfield defense and found himself on the back end of a deep outfield rotation in 2019 and 2020. Nobody expected Wade to be a star player, but he seemed like the kind of solid contributor that fills out the edges of a competitive roster. He slashed .211/.336/.388 in a Twins uniform, played decent defense in the outfield, and even filled in at first base on occasion.
It basically came down to a battle between Wade and Jake Cave for a roster spot last winter. To Cave’s and the Twins credit, he was fantastic, especially against righties prior to his disastrous 2020 season in which he was 18% below league average offensively. Cave’s prior play ultimately won him the roster spot as the Twins rightfully were planning on a rebound. Wade was eventually shipped to San Francisco for a high upside arm in Shaun Anderson.
Now I like Shaun Anderson despite his struggles in a Twins uniform and I liked the trade at the time. He’s a high octane righty with a nasty slider that he struggles to locate. Plenty of adjustments that can be made. Unfortunately Anderson never figured it out in his brief time with the Twins, as he was claimed off waivers by Texas after posting a 9.35 ERA and 4.90 FIP in 8.2 innings. Meanwhile LaMonte Wade Jr. is slashing .257/.350/.443 with the Giants. No explanation is needed on Jake Cave’s performance.
This wasn’t a noteworthy outcome in a vacuum, mistakes happen. I find it significant for two reasons however.
First of all, this move symbolizes the entire offseason in my eyes. Was it an exciting move? No. You could make out what the Twins were trying to do however and it didn’t take much to get excited over someone they handpicked that was so under the radar. The same could be said for the signings of Robles, Happ, Shoemaker, Simmons and Colomé. Much like all of these but Robles however, it’s hard to imagine a scenario where the outcome could’ve been worse.
Second, for whatever reason for all of the mistakes that were made this offseason, Shaun Anderson (who has minor league options and is 26 years old) is the first addition the front office has admitted failure on by placing him on waivers. Meanwhile J.A. Happ, Matt Shoemaker and Alexander Colomé continue to “eat innings” with absolutely zero chance of having any future on this team beyond 2021. It’s simply baffling.
This move didn’t change the course of the Twins success in 2021, but it’s incredibly frustrating because it embodies the offseason perfectly. The majority of this winters acquisitions were sensible at the time but look absolutely horrible in retrospect as pretty much anything that could have gone wrong did.
The result of such a string of lame duck acquisitions leaves Twins fans’ faith wavering, as all of the good will built up throughout 2019 and 2020 was undone in one fell swoop of atrocious pitching additions.
The Twins will enter the 2021 offseason with ample money to spend and plenty of holes to fill. Can so many disastrous moves be chalked up to bad luck? Can Twins fans feel good about an upcoming offseason of acquisitions that will surely be relied upon to get back on track in 2022?
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