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  • A (Twins) Territory Divided


    John Bonnes

    A pair of very non-scientific twitter surveys taken this week confirmed what the Twins Daily forums have demonstrated for some time: Twins Territory is split on what the Twins trade deadline strategy should be.

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    Sunday’s @TwinsDaily survey results surprised me. That night, after posting the latest Gleeman and the Geek podcast titled Buyers or Sellers, I posted a @TwinsDaily survey asking followers if the Twins should buy (trade prospects for players), sell (trade players for prospects) or stand pat.

    If you listen to the podcast, you’ll hear very little debate about the strategy; both Aaron and I were in wait-and-see mode until the Twins get through a difficult stretch facing the Yankees and Dodgers. But for now, with the Twins within 1.5 games of Cleveland, both of us were leaning towards “buy”.

    The Twins Daily community that replied - a whopping 2099 of them - were not:

    https://twitter.com/twinsdaily/status/886742794366316546

    Were Twins Daily followers mindful of the Twins true quality level? Wary that Cleveland would eventually run away with the division? Enamored by the prospects that could be acquired in a deal trading away Ervin Santana or Brian Dozier? Convinced that any postseason placement would likely end with a first round exit to Houston? Leery of giving up too much future value so soon into a competitive window? I don’t know, but the results ran counter to the media narrative.

    The perception in the media is that Twins fans want the team to go all in, but this survey suggested that Twins faithful, even after the last seven years, were content to be patient. Was it possible that this view was unique to the Twins Daily community?

    So Tuesday morning I asked AJ Mansour to post the same survey on the @KFAN1003 twitter account. They have a much larger following, and they’re certainly sports fans, but likely more passionate about the Vikings and more casual when it comes to the Twins.

    They might be more casual. They are not more patient:

    https://twitter.com/KFAN1003/status/887279472499724292

    Perhaps the media perception that sport fans (or perhaps more accurately, Vikings fans) want the Twins to go for it this year is correct after all. But there is at least some evidence that the pressure to make a deal at the trade deadline is overstated, at least in regard to Twins fans. Or at least that Twins fans see both sides and, even with only 11 days until the trade deadline remaining, are willing to wait a bit longer.

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    They should absolutely be buying! Though, they should be buying with caution. People here are way more passionate about the team than elsewhere. We also know more about the system and the prospects than others. I think we might have more of a personal relationship thing going on with the prospects too. One thing I see people seem to overlook though is the steep learning curve of the majors. Even if one of the young guys lights it up as a rookie, he might find himself in a sophmore slump or lack the abilities to adjust as the league figures him out. If the upper level prospects flame out, The Twins are even further away from the window. The Twins are never going to have a perfect team. No team is perfect right now, every team has wholes that need filling. 

     

    Anyways, when you have a change to pull something amazing off, you take it. If you keep waiting another opportunity might not come for a long time. 

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    They should start by jettisoning any deadweight on the 25 man and 40-man roster. DO the housecleaning now. If you can, replace the deadweight with guys in the system that are hungrier than some of those taking up space.

     

    Then look at what you have left in the system. Who NEEDS to be added to the 40-man, who won't find room at the inn.

     

    And fill all those released minor-league free agent holes with more released minor league free agents that JUST MIGHT be betere than the ones you passed to pasture.

     

    Except for Santana, Kintzler and maybe, just maybe Dozier...you have no one of real worth to trade. You have no one of really any worth to spin for some prospects (sadly).

     

    You do have a wealth of prospects you might able to spin as being a year away to other folks, but it won't bring you much in return.

     

    If you can afford it, grab a contract or three NOT named Colon or Sandoval. There's a reason they look too good to be true. They aren't good, and that is true.

     

    Really, the Twins don't have MORE to offer than other teams at this point in time. All they have is money, and lots of roster space.

     

    It is a miracle that they have been playing and producing as they have. I am glad for that and love listening to the games when I drive around, but can't understand why the station cuts out when I'm out in Lakeville.

     

    Really. Really. I would say be buyers. But to trade, you need to have pieces you can afford to giveaway, and the Twins just don't have those.

     

    They can sell, but no one is lining up and knocking on the door wanting you to open early.

     

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    I'd love to see them sell. Boost up the farm with returns from Santana and Kintzler and go from there. They're a first round playoff exit at best.

    It's tough for the suits and the team though. Athletes always think they're in it and selling would be hard on them. The suits have to consider Joe blow ticket buyer and season tickets etc. tough call for the people that matter.

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    I wonder if some fans are leaning towards sell, largely because of how they feel about our veteran players.  Many Twins fans are eager to dump the likes of Dozier, Mauer, and Kintzler because they don't bring a whole lot of excitement.  And, Ervin Santana will probably never be worth more.  

     

    But overall, I think the point is that if we dump one or several of these players, that might be enough to push the Twins over the cliff and drop out of the playoff race, which is not worth it.  I'm also a 'stand pat or slight lean towards buy.'

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    It has been widely reported about the Twins clubhouse being upset 2 years ago when they got very little help. Evidently Tori was the one to keep them together. I am not sure who if anyone would do that this year. IMHO stand pat or sell ruins the chances of signing any of these young guys to a long term extension.

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    I'm firmly in the "stand pat" crowd. At best they should make a small move for a reliever. 

     

    Thing is, they've played 90+ games at this point. They are playing .500 baseball, roughly, over the course of the season. That would not be a prescription for buying, except there is no other team running away with either the AL Wild Card or the AL Central.

     

    Selling at this point would be horrible and I think the Twins know it. 

     

    But buying wouldn't be smart, either. Look at what the Yankees just paid to get a couple of relievers and Todd Frazier. Look at what the White Sox got from the Cubs to get Jose Quintana. The Twins would largely empty their farm system to get those types of assets.

     

    And doing so would hurt the team's long-term ability to content because this is still a rebuilding team that is playing over their heads.

     

    Frankly, I'd rather they sell. I'm still not personally convinced they will remain in contention. But the longer they keep winning and the longer Cleveland keeps messing around, the better the chance the Twins have of making the playoffs and selling when they are in the thick of a playoff race would be a terrible message to send to the fans.

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    3-3 vs. Houston and the Yankees?  The Houston series was a huge improvement over the first 4 games with them, and the Yankees series was a huge improvement over the last decade with them. Sano just out-valued Judge in a head to head, and Rogers-Kintzler is as lethal as anyone. They could use help though, on the mound and in their heads.

     

    The Yankees kind of threw the whole buying thing right in the Twins face, and to the teams credit, they pulled out a good win, despite fielding an "interesting" lineup...

    So, the Twins should trade 2 of YOUR favorite prospects, along with Tonkin and Pressly, for Sonny Gray right now, while not touching any of my favorite prospects.

     

    I don't know much about the Yankee prospects really, but it doesn't seem like they gave up a ransom necessarily to get their deal done.  And, while pitching is the need, it seems like a Shannon Stewart/Cabrera/Hudson type pickup would help.  Speaking of Hudson, remember how angry Johan got when they "sold" him off?  Am I remembering right?

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    The Twins are a half game out.  They've been hanging in all season.  They don't need much to hang in there, one would thing a solid acquisition along with another small deal would get them into the playoffs.  Why would anyone want to sell? 

     

    Twins fans have got to stop having such a low opinion of themselves and this team.  Stop being a self-loathing Minnesotan and friggin' GO FOR IT!  We can do this guys!

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    I'm glad to read posts so far to buy... I couldn't disagree more with the sell argument. After watching 6 years of brutal baseball, some want to continue selling off veterans and miss the playoffs again?

     

    This team is 1-2 average to good pitchers away from being dangerous... Santana and Berrios continue to pitch well. Mejia is starting to gel over his last 6 starts. The starting 9 has been (minus Buxton recently) healthy all season long. 

     

    My view as a fan may be different than yours... Whenever a team I like is within striking distance of the playoffs, I want them to go for it. I'll never blame an organization for selling off some of the future if they feel they have a good enough team to compete. Sam Bradford for a 1st round pick comes to mind for Vikings fans... There's plenty of time to rebuild the future in the future. 

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    I said at the break if they would go 500 over the next month they should stand pat.  Santana and Dozier can be traded in the off season as well as the deadline.  I think it is too dangerous for the front office to sell while we are around 500 and in the race for the division and a wild card spot.  

     

    I think we have young arms that can come up and solidify the pen.  Our starting pitching isn't great but has held their own this last week.  They have Colon and Gee to plug in for now and could maybe use Gonsalves and Romero yet later on as well.  I think they need to just keep going with the team they have.

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    Stand pat as an organization but give Gonsalves  a chance instead of the likes of Colon.    We don't need Cy Young in that 5th spot but some one capable of a 5 ERA instead of a 9 can make the difference.   Gonsalves WHIP is below 1.00 and his SO/BB ratio is 5.86.     Those are wonderful stats and should be able to translate into better than a 9 ERA in the majors.    If nothing else it gets his feet wet.   At a very base minimum I would like to hear from the Twins what it is he needs to work on.    

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    I voted sell in the poll, based on logic. This Twins team wasn't built to win. It would make sense to squeeze some value out of the veterans by selling them off to further build for the future. Compare the Twins roster objectively to the other teams in the race and you find some serious deficiencies. 

     

    BUT

     

    Baseball doesn't make sense. It's frequently completely illogical. There's only 68 games left and the Twins are only a half game out. There are a lot of teams that were built to win this season that would kill to be in their spot. If the Twins can win the division, the only thing standing between them and World Series glory is needing to win 3 of 5, 4 of 7 and 4 of 7 again. We all know this, we know how the postseason works. But when I really take a step back and look at it I think "man, any team can beat any team 3 of 5 or 4 of 7."

     

    So I'm changing my vote to buy, just so long it doesn't mean completely draining the system. We'll just have to trust that the front office can correctly value our prospects better than the teams were trading them to.

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    I would probably be in the stand Pat group, it seems to me that for the Twins to get better they need a starting pitcher, a la Gray. Their everyday lineup is young and talented, so I don't see where they would waist thier time trading for a position players. The big issue with getting that solid starter is after the Quintana deal, do they have enough to actually get a guy like that?? If not then get a small piece for the bull pen and go with what you have.

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    If I voted I'd be in the stand pat group with a proviso: Listen to all offers and sell if it improves the organization as a whole. This team has overachieved and it's obvious (to me, anyway) that we don't have any major-league-ready help in the minors, especially pitching. Buying is very unlikely to get us to the WS, and we need more depth.

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    I am all for conservative buying of a starting pitcher, bullpen I think we have enough inhouse options at AA and AAA but we could use a solid starting pitcher, nothin fancy but able to eat some innings

     

    this team cannot sell, it would ruin the already slim fan base and also the young core of this team.  I think they can sneak into the playoffs and who knows where it could go from there!

    Edited by FunnyPenguin
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    The Twins would be absolutely blasted by local media, national media, players (especially important) and by fans if they sold as some suggested. And they would deserve it. 

     

    People keep talking about 'we should get prospects for next year' but these trades look nothing like last year's Yankees trades. They had premium players in free agent seasons that brought back a HAUL of prospects. The Twins have a few alright players (controlled for next year) that would bring back one top 50ish prospect and several borderline top 100 guys. There is no way I make those moves for a mediocre haul like that.

    It might be possible to trade someone like Escobar and make it very clear that it was done to add a pitcher that could help out this year or at the very least next season. Everyone can see that the Twins need a lot of help in the bullpen and the rotation. That could be defensible. But I actually think they should keep Escobar as a super utility guy.

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    The Twins would be absolutely blasted by local media, national media, players (especially important) and by fans if they sold as some suggested. And they would deserve it. 

     

    People keep talking about 'we should get prospects for next year' but these trades look nothing like last year's Yankees trades. They had premium players in free agent seasons that brought back a HAUL of prospects. The Twins have a few alright players (controlled for next year) that would bring back one top 50ish prospect and several borderline top 100 guys. There is no way I make those moves for a mediocre haul like that.

    It might be possible to trade someone like Escobar and make it very clear that it was done to add a pitcher that could help out this year or at the very least next season. Everyone can see that the Twins need a lot of help in the bullpen and the rotation. That could be defensible. But I actually think they should keep Escobar as a super utility guy.

    Couldn't agree more!

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    I think they can sneak into the playoffs and who knows where it could go from there!

    I can make an educated guess where it could go. The name of the game in baseball is, always has been, and always will be pitching. That is especially true in the postseason. It's very rare that offense overcomes good pitching. In this day and age you need four good starters and a solid bullpen to make a serious run at a World Championship. We have neither.

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    Casual baseball fans, like Vikings' fans, maybe do not understand the subtleties of the sport, like guaranteed contracts, non-tradeable draft picks etc.   One of those subtleties is that a team can compete by "selling" older declining assets at their peak and replacing them by long term assets.  

     

    Kintzler, Santana, Dozier should all go to greener pastures with the sum of their return making the Twins more competitive in 2017 and beyond.

     

    That's "selling" and "buying"; an option not on that poll and bit foreign to football...

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    I voted Stand Pat when the TD poll came out last weekend. At the time, I wanted to see how the Astros and Yankees and Dodgers series went.

     

    The Twins went 3-3 against the Astros and Yankees and are now 1/2 game out of the division lead and the 2nd wild card, so as of today, I'm good with Buying... But that could change against after playing Detroit this weekend... and against after playing in Los Angeles... 

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    I voted Stand Pat when the TD poll came out last weekend. At the time, I wanted to see how the Astros and Yankees and Dodgers series went.

     

    The Twins went 3-3 against the Astros and Yankees and are now 1/2 game out of the division lead and the 2nd wild card, so as of today, I'm good with Buying... But that could change against after playing Detroit this weekend... and against after playing in Los Angeles... 

     

    what does "buy" mean to you, Seth?

     

    Gordon and another top piece for Gray?

    Marginal prospect for a RP?

    something between?

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    I can make an educated guess where it could go. The name of the game in baseball is, always has been, and always will be pitching. That is especially true in the postseason. It's very rare that offense overcomes good pitching. In this day and age you need four good starters and a solid bullpen to make a serious run at a World Championship. We have neither.

     

    When you're living in the world of SSS during the postseason, who's to say an unexpected player couldn't step up to be a solid bullpen piece or a good starter? Last season Brandon Guyer, a waiver wire pickup, made clutch hits and was one of Cleveland's best hitters during the postseason. This season he can't hit the broad side of a barn. Kyle Hendricks for the Cubs was the best pitcher in the postseason.... This year he's mediocre. 

    Anybody and everybody has the potential to look good in a ~40-50 AB sample size. Or a 15-20 inning sample size for pitchers. 

    Edited by Vanimal46
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    Sell if you get the right offer, stand pat if you don't. I'm not interested in shortening the length of our window just to try to open it a couple inches more for a team that is not as good as it's record. Especially when you consider that it's not a guarantee whomever we trade for works out. If the kids can drag us to a playoff berth on their own, great. But this offseason is the time to make your moves, in an attempt to legitimately compete in 2018.

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    When you're living in the world of SSS during the postseason, who's to say an unexpected player couldn't step up to be a solid bullpen piece or a good starter? Last season Brandon Guyer, a waiver wire pickup, made clutch hits and was one of Cleveland's best hitters during the postseason. This season he can't hit the broad side of a barn. Kyle Hendricks for the Cubs was the best pitcher in the postseason.... This year he's mediocre. 

    Anybody and everybody has the potential to look good in a ~40-50 AB sample size. Or a 15-20 inning sample size for pitchers. 

    That could be the case for our players, but it's equally likely for other teams' players. And the postseason is a larger sample size than it used to be. A team has to win 11 or 12 games against 3 or 4 opponents to be World Champions. Outlier performances are less likely to make a difference compared with, say, 1987. Hoping for flukes is not the way to approach the postseason. Build your organization well and you are much more likely to succeed. 

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    The Twins would be absolutely blasted by local media, national media, players (especially important) and by fans if they sold as some suggested. And they would deserve it.

     

    People keep talking about 'we should get prospects for next year' but these trades look nothing like last year's Yankees trades. They had premium players in free agent seasons that brought back a HAUL of prospects. The Twins have a few alright players (controlled for next year) that would bring back one top 50ish prospect and several borderline top 100 guys. There is no way I make those moves for a mediocre haul like that.

     

    It might be possible to trade someone like Escobar and make it very clear that it was done to add a pitcher that could help out this year or at the very least next season. Everyone can see that the Twins need a lot of help in the bullpen and the rotation. That could be defensible. But I actually think they should keep Escobar as a super utility guy.

    Who cares if they get blasted by the media? 5-6 years ago the media blasted the Astros for openly trying to lose games. Now they're one of the two best teams in the league, and the envy of 25ish organizations. The goal should be to build a team that has a sustained window of opportunity, not dump chips at queen jack suited, simply because you've been getting a lot of deuce seven.

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