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  • Week in Review: Out of Their Depth


    Nick Nelson

    The Minnesota Twins are a bad baseball team. This was made painfully clear during another losing week in which they were thoroughly outplayed by two plainly superior contending clubs.

    Where do we go from here? 

    Image courtesy of Jordan Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

    Weekly Snapshot: Mon, 6/7 through Sun, 6/13
    ***
    Record Last Week: 2-4 (Overall: 26-39)
    Run Differential Last Week: -15 (Overall: -50)
    Standing: T-4th Place in AL Central (15.0 GB)

    Last Week's Game Recaps:

    Game 60 | NYY 8, MIN 4: New York Pulls Away Late, Wins Series Opener
    Game 61 | NYY 9, MIN 6: Yankees Tee Off on Dobnak in Victory
    Game 62 | MIN 7, NYY 5: Donaldson, Cruz Power Dramatic Comeback vs. Chapman
    Game 63 | HOU 6, MIN 4: Shoemaker's Late Lapse Leads to Loss
    Game 64 | MIN 5, HOU 2: Twins Win Behind Strong Effort from Berríos  
    Game 65 | HOU 14, MIN 3: Astros Destroy Twins Pitching in Blowout

    NEWS & NOTES

    Relatively speaking, it was a pretty quiet week in terms of roster moves and injury updates. Byron Buxton, Kenta Maeda, Luis Arraez, and Max Kepler all embarked on rehab assignments in St. Paul, so the Twins figure to get back these important fixtures in the near future. Gilberto Celestino was optioned to Triple-A, then quickly recalled, as Kyle Garlick went on the shelf with a sports hernia. Rob Refsnyder is back. (He started in right field and batted cleanup on Sunday, which says a lot about the state of this roster.)

    HIGHLIGHTS

    The biggest highlight of the week, and the season, came in the ninth inning of Thursday's series finale against the Yankees. With the Twins trailing by two runs and facing a sweep, Aroldis Chapman came to the mound, carrying a 0.39 ERA, 4-0 record, and 12-for-13 save conversion rate. He'd been lights-out, and was going up against a Twins team that has constantly shrunk in big spots.

    All of which made the ensuing sequence of events astonishingly improbable. 

    If you turned away from the TV, you might've missed one of the most exhilarating comeback wins in recent franchise history. It all happened so quickly.

    Jorge Polanco led off with a single. In stepped Josh Donaldson, who took ball one and then launched a mammoth game-tying home run to left-center. Willians Astudillo, pinch-hitting for Nick Gordon, followed with a first-pitch single of his own. And then came Nelson Cruz, who basically replicated what Donaldson did two ABs earlier by drilling a 1-0 pitch deep to center for the walk-off winner. 

    Within a span of nine pitches, the Twins grasped victory from the jaws of defeat.

    For Twins fans, the feeling was bittersweet, because it was hard not to think about how much more epic and energizing that win would've been if the Twins hadn't cast themselves hopelessly out of contention. In anticipation of this season, we dreamed about Cruz and Donaldson coming through with game-changing jolts like this all year long, but instead, such marquee moments have been far and few between, which is part of the reason the team finds itself buried in last place. 

    With that said, Cruz's bat has been showing some life at the plate again lately and that's good to see now matter how you slice it. He went 6-for-16 with three home runs and six RBIs on the week, equaling his totals in those categories from the entire month of May. He might not find himself leading the Twins on a pennant chase in August and September, but maybe he can do it for someone else, and score Minnesota a prospect or two in the process.

    Donaldson's clutch bomb was also part of a power-hitting rejuvenation, as he followed the next day by going deep twice against Houston – his second two-homer game in an eight-day span. His slugging percentage, which had sagged to .408 by the end of the Baltimore series in early June, is back up to .475. As I noted last week, Donaldson's been remarkably healthy and durable since his season-opening IL sint, leading the team in games played and plate appearances since returning. He's also been doing some very nice work with the glove.

    Polanco, whose single set up the dramatic finish against New York, has generally stayed hot at the plate. He went 6-for-21 with three homers and six RBIs last week. His left-handed swing is actually doing damage again and that's huge. Other standout offensive performances included Miguel Sanó (8-for-24 with two homers and four RBIs) and Alex Kirilloff (5-for-13 with just one strikeout in five games). 

    There weren't many positives on the pitching side, but José Berríos certainly qualifies. He was masterful against the Astros on Saturday night, spinning seven innings of two-run ball. The righty allowed only five hits and two walks while striking out eight. Berríos has won five straight decisions and the Twins are 7-1 in his last seven starts dating back to the beginning of May. 

    The other noteworthy pitching bright spot was a strong showing from Bailey Ober on Friday night, when he made a spot start in place of Matt Shoemaker. Going against an elite Houston offense, Ober tossed five innings and allowed just two runs, striking out seven with one walk. He continues to pump 92-93 MPH with his four-seamer, which is immensely encouraging. Ober looks like he could be a legitimate factor on a pitching staff that desperately needs help, both now and moving forward.

    LOWLIGHTS

    Even after being bumped from the rotation, Shoemaker continues to cost the Twins with his staggeringly poor play. He appeared in relief on Friday night against the Astros and took the loss, giving up two runs in the ninth to break a tie. (The decision by Rocco Baldelli to use him in this situation was ... questionable to say the least.) He came out of the bullpen again on Sunday and looked customarily awful, coughing up three runs on four hits and two walks in two innings of work. 

    Shoemaker has the worst ERA in the league, he's been tagged with eight losses in 13 appearances, and seems to look worse every time he takes the mound. It's past time for the Twins to move on. Roster crunches and depth issues be damned: you can't justify continuing to run a guy like this out in major-league games.

    The same can also be said for Alex Colomé, whose brief stretch of effectiveness in May is now a distant memory. He gave up two runs on three hits in his one inning of work on Sunday, and has a 5.48 ERA on the season to go along with his league-worst (by a mile) negative-2.34 Win Probability Added. Colomé's departure is probably less imminent than Shoemaker's, because they're paying him three times as much and are so direly short-handed in the bullpen, but in both cases it's only a matter of time. These guys were complete free agent busts and wherever the Twins go from here, they aren't going to be part of it.

    The situation with Randy Dobnak is a bit more complicated. He's looked every bit as bad as Shoemaker, with his ERA inflating to 8.38 after allowing 14 earned runs in 6 ⅔ innings over the past week. Dobnak gave up five home runs in two appearances, with four coming against his reinvented slider which has changed from a powerful asset to a glaring weakness for him. That begs the question why he or the Twins thought it would be a good idea to tinker with that pitch in the first place.

    It's not pleasant to watch Dobnak pitch right now, but the solution isn't as simple as cutting bait like it is with Shoemaker. The Twins just signed Dobnak to a five-year contract extension on the heels of an outstanding spring training, and while the monetary commitment isn't huge, they are invested in him for better or worse. It behooves them to help him work through his issues because he's currently one of their few figments of long-term stability in the rotation picture.

    Fixing the pitching staff has become a primary crux for the Twins and their future outlook. The work is cut out for them here. Michael Pineda looks to be headed for the Injured List. Shoemaker is unusable and J.A. Happ hasn't been much better. Berríos is under contract for one more year after this and Maeda two more. It's tough to have much confidence in the front office filling tons of holes and constructing a quality unit from scratch during the offseason given how poorly all of their moves this year fared. 

    As such, you can see why it's critically important for Ober to build on his early success and for Dobnak to get straightened out. The Twins need some things to break right with young pitchers or they simply won't be equipped to contend next year, in which case, why not just trade Berríos at the upcoming deadline?

    TRENDING STORYLINE

    For what it's worth, the Twins are about to get a lot closer to full strength. Maeda, Buxton, and Arraez have completed their rehab stints and will be traveling to Seattle for the upcoming road trip. Maeda is scheduled to start against the Mariners on Monday, and the other two will presumably be activated for that game as well. Kepler is be a bit further behind, given that he played his first rehab game in St. Paul on Sunday (and was the DH), but we could see him up before week's end. Those are some pretty key cogs the Twins have been playing without. 

    We'll see if their returns, along with a softening of the schedule, can help this team get on a bit of a winning run here in the back half of June. So far, sustained hot streaks have eluded them.

    LOOKING AHEAD

    Get ready for some late-night baseball as the Twins head to Seattle for a showdown against the Mariners in Pacific Time. Then, following an off day, Minnesota heads down to Texas for a weekend series against the last-place Rangers.

    MONDAY, 6/13: TWINS @ MARINERS – RHP Kenta Maeda v. LHP Marco Gonzales
    TUESDAY, 6/14: TWINS @ MARINERS – LHP J.A. Happ vs. RHP Chris Flexen
    WEDNESDAY, 6/15: TWINS @ MARINERS – RHP Bailey Ober v. RHP Justus Sheffield
    FRIDAY, 6/17: TWINS @ RANGERS – RHP Jose Berrios v. RHP Mike Foltynewicz
    SATURDAY, 6/18: TWINS @ RANGERS – TBD v. LHP Kolby Allard
    SUNDAY, 6/19: TWINS @ RANGERS – RHP Kenta Maeda v. RHP Dane Dunning

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    9 hours ago, h2oface said:

    Hmmm. And just a couple of months ago, by most accounts everywhere, they were a top 5 team in MLB. The adored FO and its manager have sabotaged this team with the crummy parts they added or resigned. Colome, Happ, Dobnak, Shoemaker, the scrap heap pitchers signed and in AAA, Duffey becoming doughboy and ineffective, Maeda becoming himself again (everyone was penciling him in as ace and even took homegrown Berrios opening day start away from him), believing in Sano come hell or high water..... 

    This could have been different, and off season signings been remarkable instead of tragic. This is not a bad team. It is a team that needs uninjured players, and pitching that isn't a hope. And a manager that inspires. Some of his decisions have just been horrid. Many, I mean. I hope they don't trade their best players. You don't become better if you trade Berrios, for instance. Just like we aren't better by trading Ryan Pressly for prospects. Blah blah blah... you can't grade the trade yet..... sure you can. Houston got a closer and we got hope. All these years count still. And so far, for what we needed for the "window", we got nothing.

    We get better by replacing the bad players with good players, not by trading the best ones for hope and dreams.

    I have no idea how you can berate the Pressly trade NOW after already seeing Alcala succeeding and with Celestino close to being MLB ready at AA. Alcala is really "nothing" to you but hope? We traded 1.5 years of Pressley on a non contending team in 2018 for 6-7 years of Celestino and Alcala. I'd do that trade again in a heartbeat.

    I'd agree that it is easy to reload for 2022 by ditching Happ, Shoe, Colome, etc. but if you CANNOT reasonably extend Berrios or Buck by the trade deadline it makes sense to shop them around for difference making level prospects like Pache, Pearson, etc to see if you can do the Pressly trade AGAIN by trading 1.5 years of a player for 6-7 years of one or more other guys that can improve this team long term.

     

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    26 minutes ago, LA VIkes Fan said:

    The path forward is clear now and frankly has been for the last month or so. This is a developmental/retooling year. What we need to learn from this year is what pieces we have and don't have and whether our focus is short term or a full rebuild is in order. I think if you start there, the steps are relatively straightforward. 

    First, you DFA or trade the players on expiring contracts or who aren't part of the next contending team, unless you want to re-sign them now. DFA Shoemaker TODAY. Get ready to trade Cruz, Happ and Simmons. Trade Pineda if he's healthy enough to be interesting, you can always try to re-sign him in the offseason and he just isn't healthy enough for more than 20-22 starts. Demote Dobnak, he might be part of a contending team as a back end starter, you need to try to straighten him out in AAA. Colome is going to be almost impossible to trade because of his contract so we're probably stick trying to "fix" him or an August DFA. We're stuck with Donaldson and while he's overpaid, he does help us, just not as much as we'd hoped. Try to re-sign Robles and trade him if you can't.

    Second, bring up the troops and play them every day. Keep Larnach and Kirilloff on pace for at least 500 MLB at bats, and try to find 350-400 for Gordon. Jeffers and Rortvedt catch until Garver is back and even then should stay and get MLB experience. Ober stays in the rotation, Duran joins him after the All-Star break, and find 5-8 starts for any other starter you think has a chance to be MLB helpful next year (Winder, Sands, Barnes?). Get Hamilton, Vasquez, Moran and Cano into the bullpen at various points and try to get them 20 appearances apiece unless they stink out of the gate. Try Thorpe as a reliever when he's off the DL. Balzevic can move up to AAA in a few weeks, and then get a start or 3 in September so we don't use up a year.

    As for everyone else, while they've done ok, they should be moved to AAA or traded if necessary to give other guys their shot.  These are the guys on the roster who are nice to have but don't move the needle much - Theilbar, Astudillo, Refsnyder, Garlick, Cave. Love Astudillo as a 26th man, both Refsnyder and Garlick are nice stories and Theilbar has been better than expected but we're talking about a 26th man/3rd catcher utility guy, 2 guys competing for the 5th or 6th OF spot, and a back of bullpen LH. They could help another team this year but they aren't part of the core of the Twins going forward ( with the possible exception of Refsnyder if this SSS is even close to what he could do off the bench). Let's use their roster spots for evaluating players. 

    Whatever you do DO NOT trade Buxton or Berrios until the offseason. Try to keep them and then trade them only if you can't re-sign them and then only for near MLB ready starting pitching. They are part of the next contending Twins team and we need this year to figure out the horizon for that team - 2022, 2023, or are we looking at 2025 or later? The answer to that question determines how much you pay to keep them.     

    Good times. 

     

    I agree with everything except POSSIBLY trade Buck and Berrios. If you get offered a haul at the trade deadline you take it because they help a team for 2 playoff runs rather than only 1. Only do it if you get at least a GOOD package AND they REFUSE to sign any extension by the trade deadline.

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    When vets are putting up bad numbers, and youa re losing, might as well let prospects take their bumps and use it as a learning tool. You can at least send the prospects down to work it out in the minors between call-ups.

     

    Which is what is needed with Dobnak. You hope to get at least a couple more years out of his newly signed contract. But he needs to start on a regular basis and work it out at AAA.

     

    Of most importance to the Twins: The Future of Buxton and Berrios. We gave them Target Field so the team could keep their own free agents. You can afford to overpay for homegrown talent if they have produced for you now and in the past. How much, that is always the question.

     

    The Twins have a problem, though. Kirilloff and Larnach are here to stay. Kepler is not going anywhere until his numbers rise, but the Twins will soon have four outfielders. Sadly stories like Rfsnyder and Garlick are out-of-luck, but either should be able to still find a job in the majors for the year.

    What to do with Nick Gordon. Too few at bats, but he ahs given the Twins more of a base-running threat than they have seen in years. If you had to choose, right now, between Arraez and Gordon, who would you pick. And that is still giving fulltime field work to Polanco and Simmons. ANyone give us soemthing for SImmons?

    Willians Astuldillo may be the odd man out again. He is lovable. He can play all positions, but when Garver comes back we got catcher covered. Kirilloff can play first base. Gordon and Arraez cover the infield and outfield. Is "The Turtle" out of options?

     

    The Twins need to make major blowouts in the pitching staff. Just cut loose some guys - Shoemaker, Colombe. 

    Your bullpen: Taylor, Duffey, Robles, Jackson (amazing), Alcala.

     

    Your rotation: Berrios, Pineda, Happ, Ober, Maeda. I want you to give Jax a couple of starts to see if that is his forte. Happ and Pineda need to be gone for the msot value you can get if they produce a couple of quality outings. I fear that their stock may continue to tumble and all you get is a roster spot and minor salary relief.

     

    We have Thielbar and Thorpe injured in the wings, still. Although counting on Caleb for 2022 is not in my crystal ball. Smeltzer is still on the radar. The Twins could run out Ian Hamilton if a roster spot appears. That is the issue now. Anyone you remove from the roster you will probably lose (except Minaya). At what point does Duran get the call?

     

    Is there a major purge? Garlick, Rfsnyder, Astudillo, Simmons, Colombe, Pineda, Shoemaker - 7 name ptffutttt! Followed by Happ, possibly Cruz ad maybe Thielbar in 30 days!

    Make decisions made on Buxton and Berrios. It shouldn't be hard to exchange numbers to see a reaction.

     

    Who do you add (and keep) on the 40-man. Of course, hard decisions on that include players that need to be protected come the Fall, and that can actually learn from getting some time in the major in 2021 and possibly break camp to the majors in 2022 and stay!

     

    The Twins continue to hit the slush pile. Garca, Milacki, Anderson, Descalso, Whalen, Koch, Johnson, Lau, Milbrath, Horstman, Boyd, Mullenbach, Manoah, Washington are all castaways the Twins brought to the island to go with Broxton, Shepard, Pena, Tomscha, Leyer, LaFlor, Maggi, Albers, Mooney - all placeholding spots for future prospects developed by the organization.

    I am seeing too much time spent shopping at the Dollar Store than actually making hard decisions on the future of the team!

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    37 minutes ago, Vanimal46 said:

    Beyond flipping the rental players I don’t see this being a bold trade deadline for us. There might be a blockbuster trade that happens in MLB. For the most part, I think it’s going to be a quiet trading period, for the same reasons why we don’t have depth ready right now. 
     

    No MiLB season in 2020 and minimal opportunities to scout other teams’ players in the last 15 months. The league is littered with injuries, and teams that do have MLB ready prospects in the upper minors will need them for their own depth. And A ball players are playing under different rules than AA/AAA. All of that makes it quite difficult to pull off a Berrios/Buxton/Rogers trade in season. 

    Yeah I think you are right.  It has been hard to pry top prospects loose from any teams at the deadline recently and I think that is what the Twins would be looking for if they are going to trade Berrios or Buxton.  Maybe they can get a team to overpay but the odds seem pretty low. 

    If Berrios keeps pitching this well though one of the top revenue generating teams could make a move feeling that they can sign him long term. He is only 27 right now heading into his prime, has had no durability issues and is a sub 4 ERA pitcher most of his career.  The bigger question would be if we match up prospect wise to get a deal done with NY, BOS, LA, PHI, SF etc?  Might take a three team deal to get it done but I could see it happening.  He has to continue to pitch well down the stretch to be wanted and willing to move valuable prospects for, but his age and health make him a pretty valuable target IMO.

    Buxton seems too risky to get what the Twins would need to move him.  Injury prone players don't generally bring back much.  If he is a missing piece for a team heading to the post season maybe they pony up?  It just seems very remote to me that the Twins will trade him. 

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    2 hours ago, Major League Ready said:

    The examples of players who have turned around a bad season are endless.  Players should not be jettisoned at the first sign of trouble.  They moved him to the pen 60 games into the season.  It's not if they just ignored the problem.  The next logical step was to see if he could provide value out of the BP.  

    They also have to have a replacement.  How quickly did you expect them to determine readiness with no Milb season last year and a late start this year?  I would have much more difficulty having faith in an organization that did things without a thoughtful process.  Just dumping Shoemaker is not a thoughtful process. 

    Can you point to any discernible signs that he's turning things around? He's been atrocious for 2.5 months now, this isn't a recent development. I'm at the point of audibly laughing every time I read a "there's no replacement for Shoemaker," defense for his continued presence on this roster. 

    1 hour ago, Major League Ready said:

    So what would you have done within the budget they have to work with in 2021?  Most here advocated for Odorizzi.  That would not be much better.  Some said trade a bunch of prospects for Snell.  That would be a little better but for all practical purposes insignificant.  It's easy to complain.  What would have been accepted here at the start of the year as a reasonable solution, within the budget, that would have made this team a contender?   

    You don't think there was a better use of $16M other than Colome, Shoemaker, and Happ? There are at least 3-4 SPs on one year deals within that budget that would be marked upgrades. To Cheif's point; you can't whiff badly on 2/5 of your rotation plus a bullpen anchor and then throw your hands up and say "we don't have the depth to overcome this, what were we supposed to do." 

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    With Arraez coming back, I really hope Nick Gordon keeps a roster spot. I know short sample size and all that, but he has looked great. He has dealt with a lot of injuries and different things the last couple years from a health standpoint. However, when he's been on the field he has shown he can hit. Someone with his former prospect status playing like he currently is has to stay on the roster. He is still 25 this entire season.

    If you haven't read The Athletic article Dan Hayes wrote about Nick Gordon recently, I would definitely suggest checking it out.

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    3 hours ago, Major League Ready said:

    So what would you have done within the budget they have to work with in 2021?  Most here advocated for Odorizzi.  That would not be much better.  Some said trade a bunch of prospects for Snell.  That would be a little better but for all practical purposes insignificant.  It's easy to complain.  What would have been accepted here at the start of the year as a reasonable solution, within the budget, that would have made this team a contender?   

    Here are two alternate options:

    1. Re-sign Rich Hill instead of Happ...probably save 5-6 million.  Hill pitched well last season, and was a known quantity to the team.  The FO probably could have got him for 2-3 million.

    2. Use Ober, Dobnak, Thorpe as the 5th starter instead of Shoemaker.  That trio would not be worse than Shoemaker. 

    3. The money saved on Happ & Shoemaker could have been used on bullpen help.

    We still wouldn't be 15 games over .500 if the Fo followed this path, but we would be in a better position than we are now. I sincerely hope that every extra dollar is used on pitching this offseason.

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    4 minutes ago, SanoMustGo said:

    Here are two alternate options:

    1. Re-sign Rich Hill instead of Happ...probably save 5-6 million.  Hill pitched well last season, and was a known quantity to the team.  The FO probably could have got him for 2-3 million.

    2. Use Ober, Dobnak, Thorpe as the 5th starter instead of Shoemaker.  That trio would not be worse than Shoemaker. 

    3. The money saved on Happ & Shoemaker could have been used on bullpen help.

    We still wouldn't be 15 games over .500 if the Fo followed this path, but we would be in a better position than we are now. I sincerely hope that every extra dollar is used on pitching this offseason.

    Sure with 20/20 hindsight Hill was the better choice but Happ was widely considered the better option during the off-season which is why he got paid more than 2X Hill.  I thought Walker was a better choice but most people were not that high on him.  We also can't reallly suggest they should have know to use Ober out of the gate when he had not competed since 2019.  This is pure hindsight given Shoemaker failed.  Regardless, we might be talking about a couple more wins.  We can hardly look back and say these choices would have made much of a difference. 

    BTW ... most people were feeling pretty good about Dobnak after he had a very good spring training.

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    47 minutes ago, KirbyDome89 said:

    Can you point to any discernible signs that he's turning things around? He's been atrocious for 2.5 months now, this isn't a recent development. I'm at the point of audibly laughing every time I read a "there's no replacement for Shoemaker," defense for his continued presence on this roster. 

    You don't think there was a better use of $16M other than Colome, Shoemaker, and Happ? There are at least 3-4 SPs on one year deals within that budget that would be marked upgrades. To Cheif's point; you can't whiff badly on 2/5 of your rotation plus a bullpen anchor and then throw your hands up and say "we don't have the depth to overcome this, what were we supposed to do." 

    Hindsight makes for pure genius.  Colome and Happ were very reasonable additions.  We can find countless examples of free agents that failed in every year for every team for a lot more money that were perfectly good choices.  Easily over half of "high-end" free agent RPs fail.  The majority of people on this board have called for the signing of a long-list of RPs that have failed, including a call to keep Wisler and Clippard.  Most posters here called for Odorizzi.  Turns out he has been bad but he was not a horrible choice.

    Let's not forget they could have signed Bauer and we would still be quite bad.  People just feel better if they bitch about it especially if they can insinuate the problem is the stupidity of management.

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    3 hours ago, Major League Ready said:

    So what would you have done within the budget they have to work with in 2021?  Most here advocated for Odorizzi.  That would not be much better.  Some said trade a bunch of prospects for Snell.  That would be a little better but for all practical purposes insignificant.  It's easy to complain.  What would have been accepted here at the start of the year as a reasonable solution, within the budget, that would have made this team a contender?   

    You're very adept at changing the subject.

     

    This discussion has nothing to do with who they should have signed. It started with me saying Shoemaker should have been DFA'D 2 weeks ago, to which you said players rebound all the time, and besides, they don't have anyone else.

     

    BTW, I'm with Kirbydome...although I roll my eyes rather than laugh when someone attempts to defend the front office with "who else?" as a defense of the front office. If Shoemaker is the best you have, 2.5 months into the season, you've failed miserably. Epicly.

     

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    16 minutes ago, Major League Ready said:

    Hindsight makes for pure genius.  Colome and Happ were very reasonable additions.  We can find countless examples of free agents that failed in every year for every team for a lot more money that were perfectly good choices.  Easily over half of "high-end" free agent RPs fail.  The majority of people on this board have called for the signing of a long-list of RPs that have failed, including a call to keep Wisler and Clippard.  Most posters here called for Odorizzi.  Turns out he has been bad but he was not a horrible choice.

    Let's not forget they could have signed Bauer and we would still be quite bad.  People just feel better if they bitch about it especially if they can insinuate the problem is the stupidity of management.

    Ultimately, the FO is open to criticism when they have an offseason like we just experienced.  Sure, they thought they were making the correct moves. Frankly, I would probably give them a grade of "D".  In professional sports, it's all about the results.  They are not at fault for the injuries, nor are they responsible for drafts that took place before they were in place.  But they still had a not so memorable offseason.

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    2 hours ago, Seansy said:

    I agree with everything except POSSIBLY trade Buck and Berrios. If you get offered a haul at the trade deadline you take it because they help a team for 2 playoff runs rather than only 1. Only do it if you get at least a GOOD package AND they REFUSE to sign any extension by the trade deadline.

    I would accept that friendly amendment. It would have to be a huge offer to tempt me, however, particularly with respect to Berrios. The Twins don't do a good job of developing pitching so we need to hold on to what we have until it's very clear that we can't re-sign him.  

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    4 hours ago, Major League Ready said:

    The point was they need to cash in on their trade value if possible.  Keeping them through 2022 relinquishes that opportunity so just keeping them is the same outcome for the purposes of this discussion.  The comments on signing them was directed at the masses that say we just have to sign them.

    Actually, the comment was directed at me. It was a misrepresentation. You should be more careful about the wording of your posts.

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    28 minutes ago, Major League Ready said:

    Hindsight makes for pure genius.  Colome and Happ were very reasonable additions.  We can find countless examples of free agents that failed in every year for every team for a lot more money that were perfectly good choices.  Easily over half of "high-end" free agent RPs fail.  The majority of people on this board have called for the signing of a long-list of RPs that have failed, including a call to keep Wisler and Clippard.  Most posters here called for Odorizzi.  Turns out he has been bad but he was not a horrible choice.

    Let's not forget they could have signed Bauer and we would still be quite bad.  People just feel better if they bitch about it especially if they can insinuate the problem is the stupidity of management.

    What signs have you seen that Shoemaker is turning things around? He had his worst start of the season prior to being relegated to the pen and his two recent outings there have been awful....

    The signings have been a disaster. Full stop. You can't excuse the failures because FAs can be volatile and at the same time defend the decision to address 2/5 of the rotation and the back end of the pen via FA. Tossing around names is beside the point. Again, if you're going to sign rotation pieces, particularly in an organization that doesn't have much, if any, SP depth, you simply can't miss this badly. Period. 

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    4 hours ago, Major League Ready said:

    So what would you have done within the budget they have to work with in 2021?  Most here advocated for Odorizzi.  That would not be much better.  Some said trade a bunch of prospects for Snell.  That would be a little better but for all practical purposes insignificant.  It's easy to complain.  What would have been accepted here at the start of the year as a reasonable solution, within the budget, that would have made this team a contender?   

    Well, if it was me, the Twins would still be on Year 4 of the Darvish contract.

    Do you want to continue? :) 

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    4 hours ago, Major League Ready said:

    So what would you have done within the budget they have to work with in 2021?  Most here advocated for Odorizzi.  That would not be much better.  Some said trade a bunch of prospects for Snell.  That would be a little better but for all practical purposes insignificant.  It's easy to complain.  What would have been accepted here at the start of the year as a reasonable solution, within the budget, that would have made this team a contender?   

    Same question to you.....because I don't think you or they went into this year saying blow it up. Why the change, only 60 games later? If they can't cut Shoemaker after 60 games, I'd think they can't change their feeling about the whole org. 

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    3 minutes ago, chinmusic said:

    Actually, the comment was directed at me. It was a misrepresentation. You should be more careful about the wording of your posts.

    The fact you felt it was directed at you does not make it so.  

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    9 minutes ago, Mike Sixel said:

    Same question to you.....because I don't think you or they went into this year saying blow it up. Why the change, only 60 games later? If they can't cut Shoemaker after 60 games, I'd think they can't change their feeling about the whole org. 

    To be clear, I'm talking about next year not being competitive (as you seem to be saying that, but I could be wrong). Clearly, this year is lost. 

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    5 minutes ago, Mike Sixel said:

    Same question to you.....because I don't think you or they went into this year saying blow it up. Why the change, only 60 games later? If they can't cut Shoemaker after 60 games, I'd think they can't change their feeling about the whole org. 

    Who is suggesting they blow it up?  I would view blowing it up as what Chicago did trading top players with multiple years of control.  I am suggesting they are very unlikely to contend next year.  Could they go out and make one last push next year in the last year of Berrios and Buxton.  Sure, how is that going to be different than the last few years?  

    IMO, becoming a true contender is going to require the crop of SPs that are nearing MLB ready become established.  That does not happen over night.  Again, my opinion is that process is going to take the rest of 21 through 22.  They do not have the payroll capacity to go out and buy enough pitching.  What would Tampa do MIke?  Sure as hell not trade away top prospects or sign expensive free agents.  

    Target 2023.  They can put an exciting young team on the field in 2022 that will be entertaining and competitive.  They will still have the core guys + Kirilloff and Larnach.  If the young guys adapt to the ML level right away they might even be quite good.  The only thing I am suggesting is they sacrifice Berrios and Buxton in 2022 if a trade nets an impact player(s) that will be part of the next 6-20 years of twins baseball.  That's how Tampa stays good despite a huge revenue disadvantage.  Everyone said they are just giving up when they traded Snell and lost Morton.  Well, here we are and they have the best record in the league.  Perhaps we should take note.

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    9 minutes ago, Major League Ready said:

    Who is suggesting they blow it up?  I would view blowing it up as what Chicago did trading top players with multiple years of control.  I am suggesting they are very unlikely to contend next year.  Could they go out and make one last push next year in the last year of Berrios and Buxton.  Sure, how is that going to be different than the last few years?  

    IMO, becoming a true contender is going to require the crop of SPs that are nearing MLB ready become established.  That does not happen over night.  Again, my opinion is that process is going to take the rest of 21 through 22.  They do not have the payroll capacity to go out and buy enough pitching.  What would Tampa do MIke?  Sure as hell not trade away top prospects or sign expensive free agents.  

    Target 2023.  They can put an exciting young team on the field in 2022 that will be entertaining and competitive.  They will still have the core guys + Kirilloff and Larnach.  If the young guys adapt to the ML level right away they might even be quite good.  The only thing I am suggesting is they sacrifice Berrios and Buxton in 2022 if a trade nets an impact player(s) that will be part of the next 6-20 years of twins baseball.  That's how Tampa stays good despite a huge revenue disadvantage.  Everyone said they are just giving up when they traded Snell and lost Morton.  Well, here we are and they have the best record in the league.  Perhaps we should take note.

    I wish I had confidence they were close to what Tampa is in terms of scouting and development (in fairness, few if any are). I have posted several times I'd "do what Tampa would do"....and agree that if they can't / won't sign Berrios or Buxton, they should deal them. My point was, they clearly thought this year they were contenders (I think), so I'm wondering if they now feel (you have no way of knowing) they were wrong. And if so, how wrong do they think they were? I guess I read you wrong, I thought you were saying blow it up.

    As for signing BOTH Happ and Shoemaker, that was inexcusable if you think you are a legit WS contender, IMO. So, maybe they didn't really think they were one....

    I remain baffled at the Dobnak extension. Utterly. 

    Frankly, looking at the starting pitching, and their willingness to spend on pitching so far, I have my doubts about 2023 at this point.

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    25 minutes ago, Hosken Bombo Disco said:

    Well, if it was me, the Twins would still be on Year 4 of the Darvish contract.

    Do you want to continue? :) 

    1) That's completely irrelevant to the discussion of decisions made this year. 

    2) They still would not be contending

    3) We would have been without some key additions in 2019 when Darish was out all year.  They could not have afforded him and all the other additions including Cruz.  Therefore, that decision would have hurt the team in the best year they have had in quite sometime in order to be a little bit better in a year we are very bad.

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    27 minutes ago, Mike Sixel said:

    I wish I had confidence they were close to what Tampa is in terms of scouting and development (in fairness, few if any are). I have posted several times I'd "do what Tampa would do"....and agree that if they can't / won't sign Berrios or Buxton, they should deal them. My point was, they clearly thought this year they were contenders (I think), so I'm wondering if they now feel (you have no way of knowing) they were wrong. And if so, how wrong do they think they were? I guess I read you wrong, I thought you were saying blow it up.

    As for signing BOTH Happ and Shoemaker, that was inexcusable if you think you are a legit WS contender, IMO. So, maybe they didn't really think they were one....

    I remain baffled at the Dobnak extension. Utterly. 

    Frankly, looking at the starting pitching, and their willingness to spend on pitching so far, I have my doubts about 2023 at this point.

    I agree with all of this except I see great potential the long-term outlook IF the pitching prospects pan out reasonably well.  We will be positioned extremely well If 2 or 3 SP prospects do well.  We have been spending plenty of free agents pitchers but its been multiple pitchers.  Prospects panning out means they can sign 1 very good $25M guy instead of 2 or 3 decent guys.

    Yes, prospects fail.  I am optimistic because they have a much better group of SP prospects than they have in a longtime IMO.  Ober looks like a good bet to be a solid SP.  Is he an Ace?  No but he could be as good as Pineda for $10M less than can be invested elsewhere.  Balazovic / Duran / Winder look like guys that could be top of the rotation SPs.  I am less optimistic about  Canterino but he looks like a back of the BP guy worst case scenario.  They have a few other guys that also look like they could be MLB SPs.  I don't think it's at all a stretch we get 3 MLB pitchers out of the group over the next 2 years.  A couple of the other guys probably become BP arnms.

    Add to this some combination of Polanco / Arraez / Kepler / Kirilloff / Larnach / Garver / Jeffers and that's a nice group of young players at a modest cost.  They could afford to add a very good position player and SP in free agency, especially when Donaldson is gone.  I would envision something like this ....

    Balazovic / Duran / Winder / Ober / Maeda or perhaps a FA in the mix

    1B? / 2B Polanco / SS Lewis or FA / 3B Miranda / OF Kepler / Kirilloff / Larnach + CF to be determined (perhaps Lewis) and Kirilloff at 1B)  Gordon and Refsnyder as bench players

    BTW ... as long as we are wishing, I hope Javier stuns us all and continues to break out in a big way.  Send Lewis to CF.  And, if we do trade Buxton or Berrios, let's get a AA guy that is contributing in a significant way by 2022

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    4 minutes ago, Major League Ready said:

    I agree with all of this except I see great potential the long-term outlook IF the pitching prospects pan out reasonably well.  ................

    BTW ... as long as we are wishing, I hope Javier stuns us all and continues to break out in a big way.

    The need to sign 1-2 good (not filler) new SP every year is a big part of the problem. It's why I preferred Darvish on a long deal, rather than trying to correctly sign a guy every year or two (plus another guy, plus trade for a guy on a short term deal). It is hard, imo, to do that over and over and be right.....I understand you don't agree on Darvish, no need to re-visit that.

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    6 hours ago, Vanimal46 said:

    3.5 months to figure out whether to re-tool for 2022 or rebuild for 2023 and beyond. I have a hard time believing they’ll trade either of Buxton or Berrios until the offseason. $50 million comes off the books after the season. Potentially more than that if we can find teams willing to take on part of Sano and Donaldson’s contracts. 

    If Buxton is healthy: trade him.  This team burned the extension bridge with him and, even if they didn't, I want no part of it.

    If he could play 120 games I'd give him the farm, but he can't.  Get what you can and start making sure Gordon or Lewis or someone else is the CFer of the future for this team.  Disclaimer: I do not love this conclusion, it's just the only reasonable one left.

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    4 minutes ago, TheLeviathan said:

    If Buxton is healthy: trade him.  This team burned the extension bridge with him and, even if they didn't, I want no part of it.

    If he could play 120 games I'd give him the farm, but he can't.  Get what you can and start making sure Gordon or Lewis or someone else is the CFer of the future for this team.  Disclaimer: I do not love this conclusion, it's just the only reasonable one left.

    Makes me sad, but I agree......I'd put Gordon out there every day Kepler can't be, and some when he can. I'd even consider putting him in center and Kepler back in right (or Lanarch in right, whatever is best)......when Buxton is back, he's clearly the CF until they deal him. Which won't happen this year, no way. That's what TB would do.....so I would.

    And, while I don't agree with much of the Sano thoughts here, Kiriloff looks like a legit 1B and I'd deal him also. Also not happy with that idea. Assuming they think AK will be healthy, that is. 

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    1 minute ago, Mike Sixel said:

    Makes me sad, but I agree......I'd put Gordon out there every day Kepler can't be, and some when he can. I'd even consider putting him in center and Kepler back in right (or Lanarch in right, whatever is best)......when Buxton is back, he's clearly the CF until they deal him. Which won't happen this year, no way. That's what TB would do.....so I would.

    And, while I don't agree with much of the Sano thoughts here, Kiriloff looks like a legit 1B and I'd deal him also. Also not happy with that idea. Assuming they think AK will be healthy, that is. 

    I've defended Sano for awhile, but this team's best future is probably not going to include him.  Not at 1B or DH and that's all I think he can play.

    They need to decide what Gordon's best future position is and play him there every day.  Every day, I don't care who has to sit.

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    34 minutes ago, Mike Sixel said:

    Makes me sad, but I agree......I'd put Gordon out there every day Kepler can't be, and some when he can. I'd even consider putting him in center and Kepler back in right (or Lanarch in right, whatever is best)......when Buxton is back, he's clearly the CF until they deal him. Which won't happen this year, no way. That's what TB would do.....so I would.

    And, while I don't agree with much of the Sano thoughts here, Kiriloff looks like a legit 1B and I'd deal him also. Also not happy with that idea. Assuming they think AK will be healthy, that is. 

    Gleeman has mentioned on their podcast the last couple of weeks if anyone would be willing to take on Sano’s contract he’d be gone. I tend to believe that, considering before everyone got hurt, he was demoted to a platoon role vs LH pitching. I like the idea of Kirilloff settling in at 1B for his controllable years. Having him and Larnach in the corners would be doing a disservice to the CF covering the rest of the OF. 

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    1 hour ago, Vanimal46 said:

    Gleeman has mentioned on their podcast the last couple of weeks if anyone would be willing to take on Sano’s contract he’d be gone. I tend to believe that, considering before everyone got hurt, he was demoted to a platoon role vs LH pitching. I like the idea of Kirilloff settling in at 1B for his controllable years. Having him and Larnach in the corners would be doing a disservice to the CF covering the rest of the OF. 

    I am praying for Sano to catch fire between now and the break.  He has always been a guy that goes cold for significant periods and I stated at the time he should not be extended.  Have to agree it is not ideal to have AK in the OF with Larnach.  The fact he can play out there when needed is good but most days at 1B would be ideal.  Worst case scenario Sano can be the DH next year and we pray he is good enough to move next year or we decline the option in 2023.

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    3 hours ago, Mike Sixel said:

    The need to sign 1-2 good (not filler) new SP every year is a big part of the problem. It's why I preferred Darvish on a long deal, rather than trying to correctly sign a guy every year or two (plus another guy, plus trade for a guy on a short term deal). It is hard, imo, to do that over and over and be right.....I understand you don't agree on Darvish, no need to re-visit that.

    I was on the fence with Darvish so I understand the attraction.  The really top free agent pitchers have had a pretty good track record.  The guys a notch below (IE Jordan Zimmer) have failed at a high rate.  With Darvish his age and length of contract made me nervous.  So many fail but then you have guys like Grienke and Verlander who have been fantastic.  You need a crystal ball with pitchers.

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    10 hours ago, Seansy said:

    I have no idea how you can berate the Pressly trade NOW after already seeing Alcala succeeding and with Celestino close to being MLB ready at AA. Alcala is really "nothing" to you but hope? We traded 1.5 years of Pressley on a non contending team in 2018 for 6-7 years of Celestino and Alcala. I'd do that trade again in a heartbeat.

    I'd agree that it is easy to reload for 2022 by ditching Happ, Shoe, Colome, etc. but if you CANNOT reasonably extend Berrios or Buck by the trade deadline it makes sense to shop them around for difference making level prospects like Pache, Pearson, etc to see if you can do the Pressly trade AGAIN by trading 1.5 years of a player for 6-7 years of one or more other guys that can improve this team long term.

     

    Please. This sport is about World Series Champions. I would have much rather kept Pressly for 2019 and the playoffs. Absolutely. Alcala is mediocre compared to what Pressly has dealt. And he could be TJ and out anyday. Yes. Still a hope. And Celestino and his bonehead defense and no offense. He has only contributed to losing at the big league level, and may always.  6-7 years is your hope. And those could be trash. I want a team to go for it. Now this "window is looking like 2 years... or 1 year and 2 months, and people calling for selling our best players for minor league stardom. Not a fan. At all.

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