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Showing content with the highest reputation on 10/05/2021 in all areas

  1. The Twins aren't going to non-tender Buxton, so it really isn't a comparison. The lone comparison is that Ortiz missed a lot of time with knee issues. Simply, he would not have lasted playing on the Metrodome's artificial turf.
    7 points
  2. The above are you minor league filler. Thielbar will be here, the rest may find opportunities with other or rebuilding clubs. You must protect the future. I know the Twins have several prospects injured, that is a bummer, but you have to deal with it and not give the future away.
    7 points
  3. Over the summer we analyzed the Twins' 40 man roster and what moves would have to be made to protect the right prospects and which fringe players to keep. Now that the season is nearly over, let's have a look at the updated 40 man roster (which is now at 49 with all the guys on the 60 day IL!), sorted by category. Some topics worth discussing: Where does Arraez end up? Playing LF and 3B seems to be harming his value, and Polanco should have 2B locked down. Would it make sense to trade him? John Gant, from what I've seen, will be maximized as a reliever rather than a starter. After a disastrous start, the Twins' bullpen has covered the middle innings well, so is Gant superfluous? Speaking of 'middle' relief, I am hesitant to give up on Stashak after he was a strong cog in the system in 2019 and 2020. I also think Edwar Colina is too talented to try and sneak through waivers. Griffin Jax's only path to being a MLB pitcher might be through the pen. How many middling relievers should be retained on the 40 man to pitch the middle innings? Here's what I will be rolling with for my 40 man roster in preparation for free agency and the Rule 5 draft: #1-26: All the Locks #27: Cody Stashak - I can't give up on him yet, and his peripherals in 2021 suggested he was prime for positive regression. He won't have a lot of rope in 2022, however. #28: Nick Gordon - He has shown enough as a bench bat and utility player to be worth a roster spot. It's nice to finally have base-stealing speed on the bench. But many questions loom - will he ever be able to handle SS and will he develop any power? #29 - 34: Rule 5 protections in Lewis, Miranda, Winder, Enlow, Sands, and Palacios. IMO Enlow is too good to expose to R5, unlike Nick Burdi was several years back. He won't be placed on the 60 day IL as he would receive MLB pay and service time, so he will just take up a 40 man roster spot all season. Palacios is the one borderline guy I will keep, as from what I've read he can handle SS and he's hit well at AA. With Gordon unlikely to be trusted as the backup SS, I wonder if Palacios could fill that role further down the road. As for the other prospects, I simply don't value Severino as highly as others. He likely lands at 2B, and while he's had a breakout year with the bat, his power still hasn't developed. If someone claims a 22 year old from A+ with a nondescript track record... well, I can live with that. Vallimont has not been good at AA and should be moved to the bullpen. Javier just can't hit. Funderburk intrigues me, but probably ends up as a reliever if he makes it to the majors. Rijo has been hurt most the year, like most of our pitching prospects. The rest of these spots are placeholders for trade targets/free agents/wavier claims: #35: Brent Rooker - I don't think Rooker has a long future in the majors, though there is reason to believe that there is something more diving into the numbers - see bean5301's article on that here. #36: Griffin Jax - I like that the Twins gave Jax a chance, but he has failed to show promise. Just maybe he can work as a long reliever, but I wouldn't save him a spot on the 40 man for that. #37: Juan Minaya - He's pitched far better than expected, but I see regression coming. I think the Twins could DFA him and bring him back on a minor league deal instead of going through arbitration. #38: Devin Smeltzer - He was only hitting 87/88 MPH before having a UCL tear. We need starting pitching depth, but I am unsure whether Smezlter will still be up to the task. #39: Ralph Garza - The waiver claim hasn't been half bad, but there's also little upside here. He could sneak through waivers. #40: Kyle Garlick - His ability to rake against lefties is nice, but he's been awful against righties and is already turning 30. He will be the first to be DFA'd. Other Notes: Pineda is a candidate to re-sign, but that probably won't happen until later, probably past the Rule 5 draft. Maeda can be placed on the 60 day IL to save a spot when Spring Training starts, or sometime around then (if I remember right). MLB is probably going to have a lockout in 2022, making this all moot. Let me know who you'd keep on your 40 man roster!
    6 points
  4. In honor of my recently passed grandfather, I believe it was 2011, Kent Hrbek took a chunk out of Target Field… it was the last time i went to a game with him. He was 80 then. We chose this game because of the throwback exhibition before the game. It was meaningless in the Twins history but meant everything to me.
    6 points
  5. There's a weird emphasis in this thread on whether or not minor leaguers can afford to live on what they make when there is no controversy whatsoever over whether MLB teams can easily afford to pay them well. If the proposed 3-4 million were to get added to the minor league payroll, is there some corresponding person elsewhere in the organization who then needs to sleep on an air mattress? Is the guy who walks down the aisles selling beer going to be put out on the street? Does it mean the Twins have four million less to spend on free agents next year? Or are we merely depriving Jim Pohlad of his hypothetical third Porsche? How come minor leaguers have to make a case for more money, while MLB's case against paying them more money is taken for granted? If MLB can't find any more money for minor league players, maybe they need to learn how to budget.
    6 points
  6. I'm pretty high on Jax as a reliever. He has been very good the first time through the order, and if only asked to pitch an inning at a time, I think his stuff would benefit from being dialed up a few degrees. I'd definitely keep him as a bullpen arm.
    6 points
  7. I'm not sure why you didn't use the board, and not minor league leader board, when looking at the hitters? I mean, Lewis and Martin are number 1 and 3 on the list of team prospects......and there are three others in the top 12. That's five of the top 12 prospects as hitters, and Miranda isn't even in that part of the list (yet). Agreed on the pitching depth, this isn't the old Twins at all.
    5 points
  8. 1. Pitching Depth is the Strength... For years, the Twins were known for producing soft-tossing pitchers and preaching a pitch-to-contact approach. However, if one needs an example to display that is no longer the case, it would be challenging to produce a more blatant example than the 2021 season. Partially due to the natural evolution of the game as well as the Derek Falvey and Thad Levine regime's propensity to select hard-throwing high schoolers and college arms with solid reputations, the Twins farm system is currently replete with pitching talent. Jhoan Duran and Chase Petty are among those who sit in the upper 90s and touch 100 mph with regularity. Sawyer Gipson-Long, Matt Canterino, and Louie Varland all boasted K% north of 30%. There's so much talent in the system that top prospects Jordan Balazovic, Josh Winder, Cole Sands, and Simeon Woods Richardson couldn't even be bothered to pop up until the fifth paragraph of this article! And the talent doesn't stop at the backend of the starting rotation. While Jovani Moran and his 42% strikeout rate earned a promotion to the big league club by the end of the season, he was only one of a handful of genuine bullpen arms that excelled over the summer. Zach Featherstone, Jordan Gore, Osiris German, Aaron Rozek, Yennier Cano, and Denny Bentley put up huge strikeout numbers across various levels, and all boasted ERAs below 3.40. Ian Hamilton, a former top prospect in the White Sox system, put together a strong season at Triple-A, and it could be argued that he deserved a call-up at multiple points this season. In short, this is no longer your Dad's Twins farm system. Their approach to acquiring and developing pitching is night and day from 5-10 years ago. In short order, the team will be reaping the benefits of what they sowed, whether by advancing critical pieces to the majors or by swapping prospects for MLB-ready talent. 2. …, However, Offensive Depth is Lacking It's well known at this point that infield prospect Jose Miranda had one of the best seasons in all of MiLB this past summer. The 23-year-old slashed .344/.401/.572 to go along with 30 home runs, 32 doubles, and a 158 wRC+ across Double- and Triple-A en route to garnering numerous awards. Besides Miranda, who could play a prominent role on the Twins as early as next spring, the system lacks definite MLB-caliber offensive talent, particularly up the middle. Top prospects Royce Lewis and Austin Martin possess the raw talent to succeed at the MLB level for years to come. However, Lewis has not played organized baseball for nearly two years due to COVID and injury, and neither are guaranteed to stick at shortstop. (In fact, Martin played the majority of his innings in centerfield after coming over from the Toronto Blue Jays in the Jose Berrios trade.) Utility guy Edouard Julien put together arguably the most potent offensive season besides Miranda — he posted a 154 wRC+ due largely to his absurd 21.4% walk rate. He also showed more pop (18 home runs, 28 doubles) and base stealing ability (34 in 39 attempts) at Low- and High-A than he did while at Auburn University. However, he lacks a true defensive home, having appeared all over the diamond this past summer, though he is most robust at second base. Beyond the two, the Twins top offensive performers, according to FanGraphs, were a who’s-who of borderline top 30 prospects and minor league veterans. Luckily for the Twins, the majority of their offense at the big league level comprises established athletes who are under contract, so the need for prospects to reach the majors next summer is at a minimum. However, beyond the summer of 2022, the lack of offensive depth in the system may begin to rear its head unless key pieces are retained or a few of the borderline prospects breakout. 3. Watching Minor League Ball was a Good Distraction Perhaps distraction isn't the correct term here. The Twins were terrible this year and, at many points, virtually unwatchable. But their minor league teams all performed well this year and served as an excellent alternative for the baseball hungry. There are many issues with minor league baseball — the players are poorly compensated, the life is a grind, the production value of non-Twins streams was often pretty bad, etc. — but baseball is baseball at the end of the day. Few teams across MLB put forth a better minor league product than the Twins, which made the summer much more enjoyable. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook, or email
    5 points
  9. October: in a rather weird twist, Twins and Vikings seasons end on the same day.
    5 points
  10. Not going to blow smoke, but I'm pleased the team didn't throw in the towel and give up. I'm pleased I saw the initial development of several young players that should only get better with their ML experience. I am bummed a handful of guys like Kirilloff and Larnach weren't able to finish the season healthy and strong. I am, of course, very bummed about how disappointing this season turned out. I am excited for the off-season as I think it will be interesting and maybe even exciting with FA and trades. I am just really bummed the season is over, no matter how disappointing it was. Having baseball just makes the world a better place. I can't wait until ST!
    5 points
  11. Not to bag on Rooker, but what he brings to the table is exactly what the Twins already have too much of--a bat-first corner guy whose biggest strength is plus power. What the Twins need from their position players is more guys who can run and make contact and also play defense. I was thinking that combining the strengths or Arraez and Gordon would make a wonderful tenth starter--Gordon's speed and ability to play some shortstop and center field combined with Arraez' OBP and bat-to-ball skills (plus some defensive versatility) make for a fine player who could fill in at several positions. Rooker hit nine homers in 213 plate appearances and somehow only drove in 16 runs. I know that RBI is an opportunity stat, but that number seems incredibly inefficient. There is probably some market for him and I would urge the team to trade him.
    5 points
  12. The main reason I used the leaderboard is two-fold, though I understand your argument against doing so and concede it holds water. 1. I value performance more than I value projection; that's just a bias of mine. 2. I don't want my evaluations to be influenced too greatly by other sources; I want to judge for myself as much as possible. 2b. FanGraphs' prospect rankings are a little outdated. I think you could easily argue that Lewis, Martin, and Miranda are the only hitters in the system that should rank in the top 10. Most of the other hitting prospects displayed significant weaknesses this year that limits their potential in my mind. The most consistent shortstop this past summer was Jermaine Palacios, a borderline prospect who's probably more likely a third or even first baseman. As mentioned in the article, Lewis hasn't played in two years and many considered him to be more of an outfielder before the pandemic. In short, I guess I just don't see a ton of future pros like I do with the pitchers.
    4 points
  13. Or....they thought they didn't need him as much as a possible starter, likely RP, and a possible starting OF. Sure, they could be wrong about that.....but if you can get a good RP and good OF for 1.5 years of a good RP, why not? Why not do that? Sure, Houston unlocked things the Twins did not. Not every team is good at every thing, especially given they'd just begun changing the systems and processes in 2018. Is this part of a pattern? Possibly. But to call this one a bad trade at this point seems off to me. YMMV, of course.
    4 points
  14. He has 1.05 years service time. Does that give us 5 more years of control? 2018 was a lost year so was it worth it to give up having Pressly in 2019 for 5 years of Alcala? There certainly was a lot of complaining over that move but the Twins won 100 games in 2019 and has presence in the BP would not have changed what happened in the 2019 playoffs so YES it looks like a very good trade right now without Celestino. Whatever value Celestino brings is a bonus. If Alcala performs at the level we saw at the end of the season and Celestino is a league average player this deal could be end up being extremely good for the Twins. Let's hope that's how it goes.
    4 points
  15. Just curious....but if the pay is fair, how about we make them all free agents every year, and see what they are paid......
    4 points
  16. Pretty hard to make the case they've used their top picks efficiently on these guys, that's for sure. On the other hand, there's Cavaco... Yikes.
    4 points
  17. Same. I'm pretty disappointed that I think the Twins should release Rooker, I think he can be a competent maybe even good player, but I simply don't see him as a fit to fix the Twins unless they manage to move Sano or another corner guy. If this team wants to improve, they can't field 3+ players like Rooker, which is what they have on the roster right now. Despite his flaws, I could even make a case to give Rooker another chance if he wasn't such a damned butcher in the field but the lack of contact and significant offensive flaws coupled with his atrocious defense means I pass on him for 2022.
    4 points
  18. Is Buxton going to go somewhere and load up on PEDS? Also, isn't it great how ownership has completely persuaded the fan base that low payrolls were so natural that no one blames the Pohlads for not paying to keep Ortiz and are willing to accept payroll as a reason to not pay Berrios or Buxton?
    4 points
  19. That's interesting. 8 of Rooker's 9 HR were of the solo variety. Here's the RBI breakdown from his B-Ref game log: RBIs in 213 PAs 16 Actual Runners on Base 110 (66-32-12) Avg. MLBer w/ 213 PAs 25 Avg. Runners on Base 128 (65-42-21) FWIW, the "average MLBer" (non-pitcher) also hit 7 HR per 213 PA, not far off from Rooker's 9. Looks like Rooker didn't see quite as many runners in scoring position as the average hitter, but a .152/.263/.242 line (.506 OPS) with RISP didn't help either! Additionally, .133/220/.200 for a .420 OPS with runners on first.
    4 points
  20. Stotman is already on the 40-man.
    4 points
  21. The rubric of one game for each month imposes some difficulty, but if the focus is on season-defining moments, for me the April category has to at least consider the April Fools Day game where Josh Donaldson hits a double in his very first plate appearance and then has to come out due to a leg injury. "Season Over," we joked. Yeah, kinda was. Could have said, "Season Defined."
    4 points
  22. But I think this is part of the pattern. Ynoa for Garcia? Gil for Cave? Baddoo, Wells, Goodman, Chargois (and others) for nothing? The Escobar and Dozier trades don't look great. 3 lottery tickets for Dyson? Kintzler for Watson? Dumping Hughes and a comp pick to save payroll? Harper for McMahon? Even the Graterol and the comp for Maeda is looking bad. Each of these moves are, individually, defensible. But, man, they aren't great moves. For me, it's a sign that the Twins FO doesn't evaluate talent correctly and, worse, fails to understand the talent it has.
    3 points
  23. Sell Rooker to Japan. There are good hit, no field players available every offseason. There is so much loss aversion in this thread. This is a 90 loss team. They SHOULD be replacing most of these guys with better players. If someone acquires competency 3 years from now, good for them.
    3 points
  24. This might be some slight repackaging of the trade to the fanbase in that Alaca was supposed to be a starter and now we're resigned ourselves to hoping he's a 60-70 inning relief pitcher. He did look good at the end of the year. He'll be 26 next year so he's pretty much what he is. Celestino's failures at the majors were expected but he's been impressive at AAA. Looks like a worst case scenario is 4th outfielder. It's a solid return. But the problem with the trade goes a bit more than that. It was clear that the Twins didn't know what they had in Pressly, he took off in Houston and then he signed a team friendly extension to stay there. He made two all-star teams and closed out a world series. In four years with Houston he's managed over 5 WAR in about 160 innings (not counting 22 post-season games), In 85 innings, Alaca hasn't reached 1 WAR. The problem was, once again, this FO failed to value the talent they had in the system.
    3 points
  25. His best asset is his contact skill and ability to get on base, not his ability to play multiple positions at a slightly below average clip. I agree that .5 WAR from a DH isn't what you'd traditionally want, but in this lineup the Twins don't need a "masher," at the DH position. Arraez as a part time DH, which was the argument, is the best way to utilize the position for the Twins.
    3 points
  26. I made sure to note on my 40 man that the final 6 spots were open for FAs and other additions, but you don’t need to axe those guys before the acquisition happens.
    3 points
  27. Miranda really isn't blocked by Donaldson, though. If he's blocked by anyone it's Astudillo and/or Arraez. Most prospects need time to adjust to the majors, no matter how good they were in the minors. The time to have gotten Miranda playing time this past year was when Donaldson needed a break or was injured. Who got that time? That's who blocked him. Then we could have seen how well he would be ... or not. And, he wasn't on the 40-man ... he was not going to be added when there wasn't absolute need. This idea that he would come up and immediately replace Donaldson's production and abilities, or come close, just because he had a tremendous year at AAA ... well ... that's just fantasy. If he breaks with the team next year out of ST it will be because we traded Arraez and re-assigned Astudillo to AAA. If he shows he can truly be a full-time replacement for Donaldson at 3rd, then you look to trade Donaldson mid-season or next year off-season. But I don't see that happening immediately; and if it does at all, it will be in 2023. Just my opinion.
    3 points
  28. Vallimont should have already been moved to the pen. So should have Jax, Barnes and probably even Sands. All the non-prospect pitchers who might profile as solid relievers should be relievers. They wasted that chance with Thorpe, they needlessly dabbled with Dobnak, It's a waste of time and a waste of talent. The ceiling for these guys is a #5 starter, just stop already. These are the types of guys who often DO become excellent bullpen arms; position them there ASAP. This team has NO #1. 2 or 3 starters for next year. Knock on wood Ryan can be a #4. Trying to identify the back of the rotation first and making it seem like it's remotely consequential seems like a slap in the face to the fans who had to sit through this season. But this team will keep desperately trying to make a spot starter out of these guys even though that job can easily be filled by a free agent for 5M. Then when their service time becomes an issue, we get to sit back and see if they make something out of themselves in the pen for another team.
    3 points
  29. I don't want to derail the topic but the Twins said back when payroll was lower than it had to be that they weren't going to spend money just to push payroll up when they had the young guys they wanted to play anyway. They've also said that there wasn't any reason to spend big when we were rebuilding or retooling and we could plug those holes from inside. So we have decades of the team admitting they kept payroll lower than it had to be, even when we were making the playoffs. We've never had a corresponding era of ownership pushing payroll above where it "should" be because it was time to move all in. Right now, we have an MVP-type player in his prime and a strong offensive nucleus around him. This was the time for ownership to step up and say, "pitching sucked this year, we'll figure it out next year and bring in the arms this team needs to compete." But they didn't. They traded the one good pitcher we had. So payroll should be high enough to keep the window of opportunity open and if FO and ownership mistakes mean that number is raised even higher, so be it. I've spent 30 years listening to this small payroll crap. Until MLB opens their books to the union, cries of poverty are BS. Next years payroll should be big enough to sign at least two of Rodon, Gausman, Thor, Stroman, Ray, Scherzer. Plus a guy like Matz and Dylan Bundy. They can go overbudget for a few years, if that's even over budget.
    3 points
  30. To compare the two is a poor comparison. Ortiz was not a top prospect that played elite defense and at times was possible MVP if could just stay healthy. Health was something that kept Ortiz back, but Buxton will be snatched up in a heart beat if he is not resigned. Ortiz was a bench player when the Red Sox signed him to a low paying contract. It took an injury to their starter to give him a shot and he ran with that. I did not read the article, but the only comparison I can see is that if Buxton leaves he could have a few great seasons with another team if he can stay on the field, but what led to the non-signing is not the same. Yes, Twins made huge mistake of letting Ortiz go, but he may not have become what he did in Boston if he stayed with Twins as well. Buxton if he stays healthy can be a top player in this league for a few years. Everyone knows that. I think Buck will continue to turn down offers unless the bank is broken for him. He will test FA to see if a team will bet on him staying healthy. There may be some teams willing to take that bet knowing he is a bonus and not some to count on. Mid to small market teams cannot plan to pay huge sums to someone that may not play much. Teams like Dodgers, Yankees, Red Sox can pay him large sums and if he only plays 50% of games they are not hurt by it.
    3 points
  31. Maybe they should stop using high picks on these guys. Is there a dead horse meme out there
    3 points
  32. Jax wouldn't be subject to the Rule 5 draft unless he cleared waivers and was outrighted off the 40-man roster. (But I agree, he'd almost certainly get claimed on waivers right now, if only to be waived again shortly thereafter by the claiming team.)
    3 points
  33. Always an interesting time of year. I suspect the Twins are higher, much higher, on Jax than most of you here. I also suspect that there is almost no likelihood that he would pass thru the Rule 5 draft. A starting pitcher with big league experience and minimal experience leading up to this year. That is the pitcher many clubs would be drooling over. I suspect the only prospects that are added are the top 5 preferred prospects. To open spots for them and the three or four free agent signings, several names are going to find themselves on the outside looking in. I will be surprised if either Thorpe or Smeltzer are on the Twins 40-man come December 1.
    3 points
  34. April and May were putrid, but June and July were pretty sad too. There were times where one would just go WTF watching some lifeless displays of mediocre baseball. I mentioned earlier that August and September seemed much more competitive. In sum, the Twins have major work to do this offseason. Tweaking the roster with two or three little changes won't work. The roster needs definition and focus, both defensively and offensively. Perhaps we can get Ober and Ryan can fill in the back end of the rotation, but that leaves three open slots to fill via trades and free agency. Perhaps two or three young relievers will fill bullpen roles successfully, but the Twins need at least one strong addition among their relief squad. Perhaps Miranda, Martin, Celestino, and/or Lewis successfully make the jump to the big team next season, but there better be another idea or two to fill holes other than rookies. Falvey has stated that the Twins are not rebuilding but plan on a return to fighting for a division title. In that event some free agents will need to be signed and the Twins may need to overpay to push teams into a trade. The CBA looms but I'm wondering if it might be a good idea to make a big push from now to December. Three trades and three free agent signings could reinvigorate the roster and fit beneath a $150 million budget. I'm not too enamored of waiting until late February and March for waiver wire additions and other surprise signings, but will admit that there are times that the waiting strategy can work as well. It just feels like the 2021 season left a bad taste that needs to be cleansed sooner rather than later.
    3 points
  35. Why do people believe in unproven player like Strotman? I would rather believe in Thielbar, Garza, Gant, Vincent and even Coulombe.
    3 points
  36. What scares me is that the Twins could into spring training with Maeda, Balazovic, Colina, Duran, Enlow open the 40-man roster, and be hard-pressed that any of them will be up with the team for even 50% of the season. Throw in names like Winder, Gore...and will Moran rally step forward and break camp with the Twins...that's seven pitchers that you want to keep in the organization, one other go on the 60-day IL. None you would jettison for a minor league free agent signing. Throw in Ryan Mason as another consideration for a 40-man spot. Do you really see any of Barraclough, Hamilton, Farrell, Garza, Gant, Jax, Stashak, Thielbar, Smeltzer, Thorpe, Gibaut, Albers, Vincent, even Coulombe being grabbed by ANY team and given a 40-man roster spot? Sure, most of them will sign as minor league depth somewhere, and probably all of them would get a callup to the majors next season with someone, somewhere. But I'm sure the Twins can find similar names that other teams jettison to fill replacement value ranks on any or all of these guys. But back to the first paragraphs...alot of young arms the Twins need to protect who DO have a chance to pitch for them in the future with better than average results. Would you rather see Enlow or Barnes or Strotman end up on another team, or any of the fringe min or league free agent signings that the Twins now have as roster placesetters?
    3 points
  37. His best asset is clearly his versatility in the field. Take that away and he's mostly useless as a DH. He would have been worth less than 0.5 WAR this season as the DH. You really want to put Arraez at DH and keep Sano in the field? You think the Twins could get that lucky?
    3 points
  38. I think the Twins should consider Arraez as the DH. He does not bring DH type stats, but this allow him to play everyday where he uses his best asset, hitting. I think with the roaming around the field and inconsistent batting appearances, he suffers a little. He can still player other positions, but DH can be one of those positions. Let hit hit and get on base and let the others display their power. Too many solo HR's out there we need more 2 and 3 run homers.
    3 points
  39. April: That Loss in Oakland (4/21) In Twins lore, this was a game that will forever live in infamy. In fact, it probably needs a nickname for eternal reference. Bayside Blunderfest? Catastrophe in the Coliseum? The Oaktown Meltdown? Whatever you want to call it, this was the clear low point in a gut-punch of a first month for the Twins. I don't say so lightly, because there was no shortage of brutal blows from which to choose, but this game was the cream of the crap. It wasn't just the dire implications of that 13-12 result itself, sealing a sweep for the A's and marking Minnesota's ninth loss in 10 games. No, what made this one an L for the ages – to the extent you knew exactly which game I was talking about when you read "that loss in Oakland" – was the almost comically painful way in which it all unfolded. I won't torture you with a full recap, but the gist is this: With the team playing short-handed due to a COVID outbreak, Kenta Maeda digs a deep hole by allowing seven runs (an early sign something is amiss for the reigning Cy Young runner-up); the offense mounts a big rally; Byron Buxton attempts to will the team to victory single-handed with a huge catch and home run; and then ... Alex Colomé happens. As these Twins stumbled out of the gates and fell flat on their faces, Colomé was a deserving figurehead for the failure. The front office's big-ticket bullpen pickup was an incomprehensible disaster, repeatedly giving away games that were in hand. On this special occasion, he did so twice in a two-inning span! Minnesota led 9-8 heading into the bottom of the ninth when Colomé entered. He gave up a run. The game went to extras. Buxton launched a dramatic two-run homer in the 10th. Then Colomé promptly walked the bases loaded in the bottom half, and watched the infield defense implode behind him as the A's rallied to score three runs on back-to-back errors and walk it off. *chef's kiss* May: Twins Drop 12th Out of 15 Games (5/20) Damaging to our collective psyches as it may have been, the above game was not fatal to the team's hopes of contending. While a 6-11 start wasn't ideal, the Twins were padded by a strong first week. This was just a good team going through an ugly April funk ... right? Nah. Turns out they were just bad. From May 8th through May 20th they went 3-12, turning in lifeless outing after lifeless outing as their season crumbled into nothingness, a mere seven weeks after getting started. Prior to this stretch the Twins were modestly climbing toward .500; by the end they were 14-28, and 11 ½ games out of first place. The last of the dozen losses during this 16-day stretch – a 7-1 doubleheader matinee against the Angels – was not especially noteworthy, save for how typical it was. Lewis Thorpe made a spot start and got lit up. The bullpen was bad. The offense did nothing. It was obvious from early on the Twins were going nowhere in this one, which is a suitable summarization of their season as a whole. June: Buxton Breaks His Hand (6/21) As things devolved in the early weeks, there was one redeeming storyline for Twins fans. Buxton was playing out of his mind. In April he became the first Twins player to earn Player of the Month honors in more than a decade. Unlocking his long-simmering potential at last, the center fielder was a must-watch attraction on a team that was otherwise hard to stomach. In early May, a hip injury shut Buxton down, leading to more than a month on the Injured List. He returned in mid-June, fighting through obvious pain and physical limitation, but was nonetheless productive for three games. Then, a freaking fastball hit his hand and fractured it. The team's fate was already more or less sealed by this point, but seeing their most likable player suffer another unthinkable setback was almost too much to take. I'll never forget Rocco Baldelli's somber postgame press conference, which conveyed empathy for his snakebit center fielder, as well as a general sense of dazed bewilderment at the state of his club's shattered season. This was going to be the year Buxton pulled it all together. Instead, it'll go down as yet another fleeting glimmer of greatness. And perhaps his final hurrah in a Twins uniform. July: Berríos Dealt on Deadline Day (7/30) We've already seen that final hurrah from José Berríos, who was drafted the same year as Buxton and rose to similarly impressive heights. The blockbuster deal that sent Berríos to Toronto for two top prospects was among the most significant deadline trades in franchise history, and a bellwether moment. Trading Berríos affirmed a full-on changing of the guard, following the less surprising Nelson Cruz trade a week earlier. Factor in coinciding reports of fruitless extension negotiations with Buxton, and this year's deadline openly signaled an oncoming identity shift for the Twins. This changing identity was evident in the final two months, during which we'd see these Twins play some of their very best ball. August: Ober Blanks Boston at Fenway (8/25) No Berríos. No Cruz. No Maeda. No Taylor Rogers. And yet the Twins were a .500 team after the trade deadline. That's not anything to write home about but, all things considered, it's kind of eyebrow-raising. How'd they do it? Bailey Ober played a big part (figuratively and literally) in the quality results, and the long-term implications of his sudden ascent from organization filler to rotation fixture are difficult to overstate. The month of August saw Ober pitch to a 2.30 ERA and 27-to-3 K/BB ratio in 27 ⅓ innings. The Twins went 4-1 in his five starts. While veteran pitchers around him got injured, got traded, and got blown up, Ober remained steady, with his newfound velocity boost and 6-foot-9 frame proving a sustainable formula. His most memorable outing in an excellent month came in Boston on the 25th. One year prior, no one would've realistically expected Ober to be pitching in the big leagues, so the rookie must've been feeling some nerves as he took the mound against a powerhouse at legendary Fenway Park for his 15th MLB start. You would've never known it from the way he pitched. Ober tossed a leisurely five shutout innings, striking out seven and walking one. At this moment he's the presumed Opening Day starter in 2022. September: Polanco Tallies 4 Extra-Base Hits (9/6) While Ober's emergence as a rotation staple was the most consequential unexpected development of the 2021 season, Jorge Polanco's rejuvenated slugging prowess may be a close second. For better or worse, the Twins are contractually tied to Polanco through at least 2023, and that was tilting in the "or worse" direction when his punchless 2020 production spilled over to April. But as he became more comfortable on his twice-surgically-repaired ankle, and began to find his stride once again, Polanco's long-absent power came rushing back. Suddenly, the switch-slugging All-Star from early 2019 was back and better than ever. And this was no flash in the pan. Polanco consistently kept pounding baseballs for the rest of the season – reflected by the fact that his most memorable highlight arrived in September. On this day in Cleveland, Polanco tallied a season-high four of his 70 extra-base hits, doubling three times and homering in a 5-2 win. During the previous series in Tampa, he launched two home runs and two doubles. Five days later against the Royals, he'd go deep twice. Polanco relentlessly slugged and produced all the way through to the end, playing at an MVP level while the team around him acquiesced to sub-mediocrity. It's reminiscent, in some ways, of Brian Dozier in 2016. One year later, Dozier was the veteran star and leader on a team that shocked everyone, improving by 26 wins and reaching the postseason. A precedent that is perhaps worth carrying forward. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Preorder the Offseason Handbook — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
    3 points
  40. Wouldn't that count as a year of service time for Enlow, then? That's fair, but I'd like this team to gain more depth at the position and I don't want to lose him in the Rule 5 draft. Yes, they will certainly sign a SS who will be the opening day starter in 2022, but I'd like to retain Palacios just in case. With as many injuries we had in 2021, you never know what'll happen next year.
    3 points
  41. The Giants won, partially, because they played matchups better than anyone....in other words, not consistent lineups.
    3 points
  42. Bullpen options: Minaya was very good. He throws 95-96 with the fastball and has developed trust in his changeup. I think he might have earned a spot on the 40-man. Garza's last outing was perhaps his worst as a Twin, but in his audition, he was pretty good, as well. He's under 30, but out of options. I guess I'd like to see if the Twins can sign him to a minor league contract. As noted, there will be guys added to the 60-day IL as soon as eligible, so a couple of guys on minor league contracts will be able to be added by Opening Day 2022.
    3 points
  43. I think the Yankees and Dodgers win the Wild Card games. Rays over Yankees in four games. White Sox over Astros in five games. Brewers over Atlanta in four games. Giants over Dodgers in five games. Rays over White Sox in six games. Giants over Brewers in seven games. Rays over Giants in six games.
    3 points
  44. A team option is a huge perk for a team, and is not agreed to lightly. If 2/$22 plus incentives is about fair, then probably the agent would ask at least for those incentives to be turned into guaranteed money, in exchange for including the option - e.g. $13M guaranteed plus an option on the second year for $13M with a $2M buyout. That works out to $15M actually guaranteed, which is still less than the $22M guarantee in the other plan, but some chance for Mike to sign with someone else that second year that make up the $7M difference or could be greater or could be smaller. Basically more risk borne by him than by the team, so I might be a little light on what the agent would ask for - maybe some innings incentives added back into one or both years, after all. There may be tax implications for the player, doing it one way versus the other, too.
    3 points
  45. I am a big Mike fan. It is a little worrisome all the minor injuries this year and I am like worried about how much weight he is carrying. But would be in favor of signing him to a two year contract with the second year being a team option.
    3 points
  46. There were many awful moments, but "That Loss in Oakland" was honestly the death knell. Buxton seemingly slammed the door in the 10th with an extra innings HR - a moment that would galvanize most teams - but through sheer dysfunction, the Twins still somehow still blew that game. I don't think any realistic Twins fan OR player thought the Twins stood a chance the rest of the season when the A's crossed the plate with the winning run. And somehow, it only got worse from there!
    2 points
  47. There's nothing knee-jerk about releasing a no-position 27 year old player that hasn't hit well in 250 career MLB plate appearances. Can Rooker turn out to be a decent player? Sure, of course, but I struggle to see a competitive Twins team with him on the roster unless the front office dedicates themselves to clearing out other corner players. And if they clear out other corner players, good for them, then there's probably room for Rooker in Minnesota.
    2 points
  48. 2 points
  49. I could see a team turn Vallimont into a good reliever, but I just don't see starting in his future. Could be like losing Tyler Wells last year, though his numbers were significantly better.
    2 points
  50. Each year has two seasons: baseball season and waiting for baseball season.
    2 points
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