It’s not always wise to judge fan morale from social media. If we did, though, it’d be easy to see that Twins Territory is unhappy with the current product. Why wouldn’t they be? The Twins haven’t won a playoff game since I was four years old. They haven’t won a playoff series since I was two.
After a long and grueling rebuild post-2010, it looked as though the Twins were emerging from the pits. The 2019 team won 101 games behind – yes, Nelson Cruz – but also the core Twins fans had heard about for so long. Miguel Sanó was a monster in the second half, Max Kepler was Twins Daily’s team MVP, and Jorge Polanco was an All-Star. Byron Buxton and José Berrios also shined, furthering excitement for the future.
To call the next page a letdown would be an understatement. The Twins won the Central again in the shortened 2020 season but once again bowed out early in a playoff sweep to the Astros. They haven’t recovered. In back-to-back seasons, the Twins have missed the playoffs and won less than 80 games.
The picture of a treacherous 2021 is the faces of Alexander Colomé, J.A. Happ, Matt Shoemaker and Andrelton Simmons, all half measure additions who flopped beyond belief. It was similar in 2022, with Emilio Pagán, Joe Smith, Chris Archer and Dylan Bundy failing to make a positive impact. The short-term, marginal moves have exploded violently.
It’s true that the Twins lost quite a few players to long-term injuries in both of those seasons. It’s also undeniable that the team’s rotation is the deepest it has been on paper under the Derek Falvey regime. The club does have some exciting young talent, including Jhoan Durán, José Miranda, Joe Ryan, Royce Lewis and a 25-year-old Luis Arraez. Brooks Lee is on his way and Louie Varland and Simeon Woods Richardson showed they are ready to help the cause.
For all of those reasons, it’s imperative the Twins add impact talent this offseason. It’s time to find an identity and preferably one built around the star-studded pair of Carlos Correa and Byron Buxton. The Twins need winning ballplayers to lead the hopeful Buxton-Lewis-Lee-Miranda era. No more half measures.
It’s difficult to feel much optimism about the oft-injured 2023 roster. It’s not hard to see it going well, though, if the team has a productive offseason and better health. The 2022 Twins, with Bundy and Archer stapled in the rotation, were tied for first place in the Central on September 4th. They led the division for much of the summer. This division is quite the opposite of intimidating, even with Cleveland’s special season and the addition of Josh Bell.
The longer the Twins fail to win in the playoffs, the more fans doubt they ever will. It has to happen now. With Sonny Gray, Tyler Mahle and Kenta Maeda all entering free agency after the season, the Twins’ urgency to add long-term, impact solutions should be busting at the seams.
The type of winter the Twins need requires them to get out of their comfort zone, both in ownership and in the front office. This is not a “desperate times call for desperate measures” situation but more of an opportunity to grow in the face of extreme uncertainty and doubt.
The Twins need to fully commit to winning in 2023. No more half measures.