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  • Risky Business: The 2023 Twins Will Be a Medical Science Experiment


    Nicholas Nelson

    It's no secret: The top imperative for 2023 is a healthier season that enables the Twins to keep their best players on the field more often.

    Unfortunately, several of this year's injury concerns will spill over into the next thanks to a series of ambiguous, challenging situations afflicting key fixtures in the team's planning. 

    Image courtesy of Bruce Kluckhohn, USA Today

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    Usually, the end of a season like this one – promising but sabotaged to the core by an outrageous abundance of injuries – brings sweet relief. The offseason, theoretically, provides an opportunity for banged-up players to get right and return in the spring at 100% physically.

    In the cases of many Twins, it's difficult to envision things going so smoothly. 

    Here's a look at seven players – all varying levels of vital to the 2023 outlook – who will have their unusual injury concerns and uncertainties ripple forward into next year.

    Tyler Mahle, SP

    No one could seem to figure out what was wrong with Mahle's shoulder this year. Not the Reds, not the Twins, not the pitcher himself ... certainly not any outside observer. His issue was described in different ways at different points – strain, soreness, fatigue, inflammation – but throughout out it all, repeated exams showed no structural damage.

    So, we don't know what's going on. What we do know is that Mahle's final two attempts to pitch this season saw him induce three swinging strikes on 74 pitches while flashing significantly reduced velocity, getting removed after two innings in each.

    Now he's got an offseason to rest up and get right. But, what does "getting right" mean when no one could pinpoint what was wrong to begin with? 

    This is one scenario where I feel like the Twins front office and medical staff are getting a bit of an unfair shake. They gambled on Mahle because his scans were clean and he was pitching well at the time. He kept pitching well for a bit. Then the shoulder troubles resurfaced, yet the scans remained clean. 

    Pointing fingers at team doctors is easy but misguided. It's not like they aren't consulting outside specialists at the top of their field. The reality is that for all of our advances, sports medicine remains an inexact and often mysterious science. Mahle is a good example. He's hardly the only one.

    Byron Buxton, CF

    I'm not going to act like this is anything new. Buxton, obviously, has to be viewed as an availability question mark heading into every season. But at least last year he didn't carry any blatant health burdens directly into the offseason.

    In 2021, Buxton played through the end of the schedule and flat-out mashed down the stretch, posting a 1.001 OPS with nine homers after September 1st. His broken hand had healed, and he was seemingly past the hip strain that earlier cost him six weeks. This year, that same hip forced him back to the injured list. That's in addition to a persistent right knee tendinitis, with both trending toward the dreaded "chronic" category of classification.

    These dark clouds will hover over Buxton, recipient of a new $100 million contract, for the foreseeable future. Outside of an ostensibly minor procedure conducted last week to clean up scar tissue and frayed ligaments in his knee, there's nothing but hope to guide us toward a significantly better outcome for Buxton next year. 

    "What ends up typically happening is the scar tissue and otherwise creates more of that inflammation when you pound on it. So, now let's clear out some of that and hopefully that'll alleviate some of that stress going forward," said chief baseball officer Derek Falvey. 

    Hopefully.

    Alex Kirilloff, OF/1B

    Perhaps the most perplexing and inscrutable health situation among many faced by the Twins franchise. 

    In August of 2021, Kirilloff underwent season-ending surgery to address a torn wrist ligament, with the hope that creating more spacing would alleviate the pain experienced while engaging his elite swing.

    It didn't work. Or at least not for long. Kiriloff battled more pain in spring training and the early season, took a short break, went to Triple-A, dominated for a month, returned to the majors, and then it all came roaring back. The pain, the warped swing mechanics, the endless ground balls. Cortisone injections offered only brief respite from his performance-draining affliction. 

    Thus, Kirilloff and the Twins turned to a last-ditch option: a more invasive surgery that involves "breaking the ulna and shortening it before the insertion of a metal plate and screws," another effort to create space in his wrist. 

    "I really hope it doesn’t get to that," the 24-year-old had lamented earlier in the season. 

    While relatively common for the general population, this procedure is rare for professional athletes and there aren't many past examples to reference. 

    In a recent update to the media, Falvey mentioned that Kirilloff "hasn't ramped up his hitting progression yet," adding that there have been no setbacks or delays but "we just don't want him to hit yet." Kirilloff had undergone the surgery six weeks prior, for whatever that's worth.

    I want so badly to feel optimistic about Kirilloff because his talent level and upside can be game-changing for this franchise – if only he could tap them for a prolonged period on the field. But it's getting really difficult to find that optimism, and his wayward status creates all sorts of planning headaches for the front office.

    Royce Lewis, SS

    Speaking of planning headaches, we have the shortstop position. Lewis showed the makings of a long-term fixture during his brief audition this year, but unfortunately that concluded in late May when he re-tore the very same knee ligament he'd just spent a year rehabbing from reconstructive surgery.

    In somewhat positive news, he only partially tore the ACL this time, and surgeons put a novel twist on his second knee operation; mentions of a "brace" being involved in this variation led Lucas Seehafer to conclude they employed a technique called lateral tenodesis

    While promising in its potential to prevent another injury, Lucas framed this technique as somewhat experimental, adding that "the long-term outcomes for this procedure in the athletic population, and specifically the MLB population, [are] unknown."

    Even if he's able to come back with a structurally sound, twice-repaired knee ligament, it remains to be seen whether Lewis will be able to maintain the full speed, quickness, and lateral agility that were on display even after his first surgery. 

    Like Kirilloff, Lewis brings much to the table as a building block for this franchise, which makes his uncertainty all the more unfortunate, surfarcing some difficult short-term decisions for the front office with regards to the future at shortstop.

    Chris Paddack, SP

    The Twins knew they were taking on risk when they acquired Paddack as the centerpiece of the Taylor Rogers trade, but even in that context, they've pretty much stumbled into a worst-case scenario. Paddack made it through five starts before the partial tear in his UCL, already once repaired via Tommy John surgery, gave way and necessitated to a second TJ procedure. 

    The history of pitchers who have undergone this ligament replacement surgery twice is not the most encouraging. Mike Clevinger, one of the most accomplished pitchers to undergo a Tommy John revision surgery (in November 2020), returned to action this year and while he's managed to throw more than 100 innings, Clevinger is nowhere near his pre-surgery form. There are complicated realities at play with getting this repair a second time that have diminished the rate of success.

    "On average, the typical TJ revision isn’t as successful as the typical primary TJ,” said Dr. Andrew Cosgarea, an orthopedic surgeon and professor, in a story for the San Diego Union-Tribune. "The first time you drill a hole in the bone it is fresh and clean, but if it happens again you already have a hole there and that hole is filled with scar tissue. … Scar tissue isn’t as healthy as original tissue. It doesn’t have the same blood supply; (it is) not as durable.”

    Paddack has already acknowledged that he's realistically targeting an August return next year, setting expectations for a 14-month recovery time and reducing the likelihood he'll be able to make a significant impact in 2023. We probably should collectively drop the notion of Paddack pitching in the Twins rotation again before his team control expires after 2024.

    Kenta Maeda, SP 

    Relatively speaking, Maeda's outlook is less complicated than Paddack's since he's coming off his first Tommy John surgery. However, the veteran righty still hasn't taken the mound 13 months after his own procedure "with a twist" – an internal brace designed to shorten the recovery timetable from the typical 12-16 months down to 9-12. 

    Alas, he'll be nearly 18 months removed by the time he hits the mound again next spring in Ft. Myers. That Maeda didn't make it back this year isn't a big deal – the timing of his surgery late last year was always going to make it tough, and the Twins being out of contention in September rendered it a moot point. The bigger concern here is that he'll be a 35-year-old coming back from significant elbow surgery and a very long layoff, with 173 total innings pitched over the past three seasons.

    It's hard to foresee him successfully taking on a full starter's workload in his final year under contract, so I'll be curious to see how he fits into the 2022 plan.

    Josh Winder, SP

    Winder was limited to 72 innings last year, and will finish near the same total this year, because of recurring "shoulder impingement" issues that he and the club appear unable to fully diagnose or solve.

    “He’s felt good for periods of time. He’s thrown the ball well for periods of time. There’s no singular reason why we’re looking at this and thinking, ‘Well, this is why this is happening,’ to be honest,” manager Rocco Baldelli said in late July, shortly after Winder had been placed on IL for a second time with what was by then being termed impingement syndrome. “It’s just soreness that keeps creeping back in there.”

    Winder wouldn't make it back to the big-league mound for another seven weeks after that, and while he was able to return for four starts in September, he wasn't very effective, posting a 5.59 ERA in 19 ⅓ innings. 

    Much like with Mahle, it's difficult to feel confident in an injury clearing up when nobody can get to the bottom of it. Winder, for his part, has suggested he "might just be at a predisposition for this type of injury." Which makes him pretty challenging to plan around, and that's a big hit because he showed the makings of a signature product of this front office's pitching pipeline. 

    The Twins liked him so much they went out of their way to keep him on the Opening Day pitching staff this year. They were envisioning him as an integral part of their rotation mix this year. I don't see how they can keep doing so going forward.

    An Uncertain Future

    In the recent media scrum where he updated a litany of injury situations, Falvey remarked on the avalanche of IL stints that buried the team this year, reasoning that – to some extent – you're at the mercy of fate. Like all things in baseball, injuries ebb and flow. 

    "I'm hopeful, for a lot of reasons that this is our spike-up year and that there's some regression built in going forward," Falvey said. A reasonable mindset, from a basic analytical standpoint.

    And yet, as these seven examples show, many of the dismal developments in the spike-up year that was 2022 could prove thorny going forward.

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    Seven long and brutal examples that don't even touch the availability issues of Sano, which are about to culminate in the end of his Twins career with nothing but brief flashes of brilliance.

    And then there's the significant injury history of Polanco, Arraez, Larnach, and Jeffers. Of home-grown core players, only our banjo-hitting right fielder is a source of confident availability.

    The word "experiment" implies that we will learn something from the outcome. I hope so.

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    That these games do not have meaning actually makes it an ever better reason for Mahle to “be out there” as Wolfson says. The throwaway line in the Tweet about extending Mahle is what I will interpret as a bad joke meant to disrespect the fans, but the fans are used to it by now. I don’t check on Wolfson at all anymore so maybe it is sarcasm or a sideways comment on the original trade for Mahle, and if so I apologize.

    Anyway, bottom line is, if Mahle says he is feeling fine, if he wants to pitch, and the front office knows this, then the front office should have scheduled a start for Mahle this week against Chicago. 

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    Sober, careful assessment of the main injury concerns for this club. And there are still issues for Polanco, Kepler, Jeffers, Arraez, Ober and Gray that aren't even addressed here. And the really big concern going forward? All of these injuries make the next IL stints more likely.

    After Dave St. Peter's comments about Jim Pohlad "overspending" the last few years, I think the writing is on the wall for this club. There will be no big free agents signed in the offseason. The club is about to embark on a payroll-slashing rebuild. The window of contention closed after 2020.

    And looking at all of these injury question marks on the roster, they probably should rebuild. This team needs a new core for 2025 and beyond, and they need to keep them healthy. 2023 will likely be used to rehabilitate current players and then trade them for whatever can be gotten in return.

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    Good write up. To expect all seven of these cases to continue is pessimistic, but to expect most or all to resolve favorably for the player and the team is unrealistic optimism. I guess the team has to plan for continuing injury problems for those listed (I’d also add Trevor Larnach), but give them a chance to return.  
     

    My guesses on a return to health are 1) Lewis 2) Maeda, who will be 35 shortly after Opening Day 3) Buxton, but it’s always something 4) Mahle 5) Winder 6) Kirilloff 7) Paddack. 
     

    I, too, am most disappointed about Kirilloff’s continuing wrist problems. He could be an elite hitter, with good power, but he has to be to swing the bat without significant pain. 

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    1 hour ago, LastOnePicked said:

    Sober, careful assessment of the main injury concerns for this club. And there are still issues for Polanco, Kepler, Jeffers, Arraez, Ober and Gray that aren't even addressed here. And the really big concern going forward? All of these injuries make the next IL stints more likely.

    After Dave St. Peter's comments about Jim Pohlad "overspending" the last few years, I think the writing is on the wall for this club. There will be no big free agents signed in the offseason. The club is about to embark on a payroll-slashing rebuild. The window of contention closed after 2020.

    And looking at all of these injury question marks on the roster, they probably should rebuild. This team needs a new core for 2025 and beyond, and they need to keep them healthy. 2023 will likely be used to rehabilitate current players and then trade them for whatever can be gotten in return.

    Last week I posted that maybe a more complete rebuild is the smart way to go.  This article truly points out why that probably makes the most sense.

    But in reality it will not happen. Instead, the internal strategy (btw, never to be publicly announced) will be a “reactive” or “wait and see” rebuild. The FO, seemingly with the Pohlads’ approval, will hope that most, if not all of these players, will return to health and try to convince all of us that this will result in a contending team. After all, attendance is in the tank and there is currently little evidence that a rebound is on the horizon (the economy is getting worse and a lot of fans - individual and corporate - either are or will be cutting back, people still don’t want to go downtown, and this poor fundamentals, antiseptic team is not much fun to watch). They could never announce a rebuild, particularly with the same manager - they’d be looking at a sub 1.5MM ticket year if they did.

    So they will not spend big in FA, run out the same manager, and pray that everyone gets healthy.  Other than the manager part, it’s not a stupid strategy. If it works, then maybe the team can contend for a while in the middling central and on the margin the attendance is ok.  If it doesn’t and several or many of these (and other) players don’t return to form, then the rebuild alternative is there and they can switch to the “look at all these exciting young prospects” advertising strategy (i.e. look for several Eddie Bane type promotions starting in early summer once school is out).

    Again, other than the manager and his staff, it’s probably the right strategic move. If it works, great.  If not, then we start the “rebuild” mid year and a lot of those players who are part of the rebuild probably need another 1/2 year in the minors anyway.

    Expectations for 2023 should be tempered. 

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    Great summary, Nick, thanks.

    Wanted to comment on Kirilloff, especially after the deluge of comments several days ago about the chance that his career is over. 

    Heard something on the telecast this weekend, at least I think it was tv and not the radio, about his surgery.  Most of us are not aware of anyone who had this type of surgery, thus the speculation that his career is over.  What was said, however, is that Kirk Gibson had a similar surgery early in his career back when he was playing.  If that is accurate, he is one example of a player who followed his surgery with an excellent career.

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    A much needed assessment heading into the offseason. A lot of this is not ideal - especially Mahle and Winder where they can’t find anything wrong structurally in MRI scans. 

    A couple of these players will bounce back next year and contribute. A couple of these players won’t truly bounce back for the rest of their careers. I am very concerned that Kirilloff’s injury is career ending. In football, tearing your ACL twice means your days are over playing professionally. We’ll see if it’s different in baseball. 

    As others mentioned, this article could have listed another 6-7 players who have had recurring injuries in the last couple of years. 

    I think @LastOnePickedis spot on. 2023 is going to be the year to rehab these players and ship them off to start a rebuild. Given the horrid attendance numbers and uncertainty about the local TV contract, odds are slim we will see a ~$150 million payroll in 2023. 

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    24 minutes ago, Nashvilletwin said:

    After all, attendance is in the tank and there is currently little evidence that a rebound is on the horizon (the economy is getting worse and a lot of fans - individual and corporate - either are or will be cutting back, people still don’t want to go downtown, and this poor fundamentals, antiseptic team is not much fun to watch).

    Excellent points. And it's not just that people don't want to go downtown, it's that they don't want to go downtown (if they don't live nearby), pay for parking/transit, tickets and food all to watch a totally gutless, lifeless team where you've got maybe a 20% chance of seeing your favorite player play baseball.

    Yes, roster management is important and yes, injuries have been tragic for this club, but if you're an innovative organization, you've got to learn how to pivot much more quickly. You've got to put an entertaining experience on the field.

    It's a vicious cycle now, but the Twins have to break it themselves. The fans aren't going to jump up and pick up the pieces anymore. 

     

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    This article accurately points to the dilemma facing the Twins. Does one consider it possible to reap success from such a bundle of broken bodies? From the pitching staff all through the position players, the Twins have possibilities that include fair talent. The idea of rebooting so many brings the odds of success way down.

    We won't know what Falvey has in mind for several months but it is probably less perilous to count on Ryan, Ober, Varley, Winder, and Woods Richardson than to imagine decent contributions from Maeda, Mahle, Gray, Dobnak, and Paddack. As stated in the post Paddack is not a good gamble to return as an effective pitcher and baseball has shown repeatedly that shoulder problems are the beginning of the end (Mahle) even when there seems to be difficulty in isolating the specific issue. Thus, if the Twins do hope to be competitive in 2023 as opposed to rebuilding, the team will need to add one or two (better) starting pitchers via trades/free agency. I'm less concerned about the bullpen because the arms are available if the strategy on usage improves.

    The position side has similar question marks and the goal should be to reduce the risk of a return of the long IL list. My preference is for fielders who use their gloves. Jeffers has shown that he is capable of a roster spot but improvement is necessary. He is better as a backup. Kirilloff should play 1B. Can he return? If not, the Twins may be forced to use others again. Looking at each position brings pause to how 2023 can be salvaged. There are so many health, performance, and defensive questions. Buxton, if healthy, is the only certainty. That is a pretty big gamble. The others - Polanco, Arraez, Miranda, Lewis, Urshela, Kepler, Larnach, Wallner, Gordon, Celestino, etc. - are all question marks considering one (or more) of health, performance, or defensive utility. The rule that eliminates drastic shifts will hurt the Twins more than most teams due to our infielder's range. The team needs improved athleticism. Gordon and Lewis can help if and when they are ready. November might be a good time to make some trades for healthy athletic players. It is totally unclear to me if there are any Twins players that are seen as particularly desirable by other teams. 

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    55 minutes ago, Vanimal46 said:

    In football, tearing your ACL twice means your days are over playing professionally. We’ll see if it’s different in baseball. 

    If I'm remembering correctly, Megan Rapinoe had two ACL ruptures early in her career. (I vividly remember watching from the stands as she limped off after the first.) She went on to be an international superstar in a sport that is much more physically demanding than baseball. It's probably all about how the individual heals, but there is hope.

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    2 hours ago, Nashvilletwin said:

    Last week I posted that maybe a more complete rebuild is the smart way to go.

    It's possible Twins may try to try win the Central next year but that it turns into a rebuild. They lower payroll by not signing any significant players. You end up with Jeffers, Miranda, Lewis, Arraez, Kirilloff, Larnach, Buxton, Kepler, Gordon and Urshela as your starting lineup plus main utility guy. You roll with Gray, Mahle, Ryan, Ober, Winder and Maeda as your starting rotation and Duran, Lopez, Thielbar, Jax, Alcala, Fulmer, Moran, and Sands or one free agent reliever in the pen (maybe one too many pitchers but someone will be on the IL for a short stay). If everyone stays healthy, this group is good enough to be leading the Central by the end of July. Then, you go for it and make better trades than this year. Don't trade away top minor league players until we get to that point though because..........

    If injuries occur, which odds are they will with this group, you move into a rebuild and evaluate if it is to compete in 2024 or 2025. Trade expiring contracts and get guys who can help in 2024 or 2025.

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    3 hours ago, Nashvilletwin said:

    Last week I posted that maybe a more complete rebuild is the smart way to go.  This article truly points out why that probably makes the most sense.

    But in reality it will not happen. Instead, the internal strategy (btw, never to be publicly announced) will be a “reactive” or “wait and see” rebuild. The FO, seemingly with the Pohlads’ approval, will hope that most, if not all of these players, will return to health and try to convince all of us that this will result in a contending team. After all, attendance is in the tank and there is currently little evidence that a rebound is on the horizon (the economy is getting worse and a lot of fans - individual and corporate - either are or will be cutting back, people still don’t want to go downtown, and this poor fundamentals, antiseptic team is not much fun to watch). They could never announce a rebuild, particularly with the same manager - they’d be looking at a sub 1.5MM ticket year if they did.

    So they will not spend big in FA, run out the same manager, and pray that everyone gets healthy.  Other than the manager part, it’s not a stupid strategy. If it works, then maybe the team can contend for a while in the middling central and on the margin the attendance is ok.  If it doesn’t and several or many of these (and other) players don’t return to form, then the rebuild alternative is there and they can switch to the “look at all these exciting young prospects” advertising strategy (i.e. look for several Eddie Bane type promotions starting in early summer once school is out).

    Again, other than the manager and his staff, it’s probably the right strategic move. If it works, great.  If not, then we start the “rebuild” mid year and a lot of those players who are part of the rebuild probably need another 1/2 year in the minors anyway.

    Expectations for 2023 should be tempered. 

    This sounds right to me. I see 2023 as running out the same guys and seeing if we get better health and thus a better result. IF we have better health, this team could "contend" if that means being in contention for the division title or a playoff berth but not really having much hope of a deep playoff run. With the guys you have if they are all healthy we have a solid rotation missing a number one starter, about two thirds of a good bullpen with quality at the top end but lacking depth, and a pretty good lineup missing one quality middle of the order bat if we keep Correa, two if he goes. That probably is good enough to contend in that division and, if it isn't, we'll probably know about midseason and can make trades and embark on a rebuild. While I would love to see the Twins sign Correa, plus a true number one starter and a middle of the order bat, I think that is a fantasy.

    My prediction is that they actually sign Correa to a 5-7 year deal and do basically nothing else other than maybe signing Sonny Gray for another two or three years, both with at most limited no – trade protection. The pitch is then "look at us, we re-signed Buxton and now re-signed Correa, we are on our way to contention". They then see how it plays out and make the decision on where to go midseason with both trying to contend and a tear down and rebuild on the table. If it works, great, if not they trade most of the veterans they have including Correa and Gray and start a full rebuild. 

     

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    56 minutes ago, FlyingFinn said:

    It's possible Twins may try to try win the Central next year but that it turns into a rebuild. They lower payroll by not signing any significant players. You end up with Jeffers, Miranda, Lewis, Arraez, Kirilloff, Larnach, Buxton, Kepler, Gordon and Urshela as your starting lineup plus main utility guy. You roll with Gray, Mahle, Ryan, Ober, Winder and Maeda as your starting rotation and Duran, Lopez, Thielbar, Jax, Alcala, Fulmer, Moran, and Sands or one free agent reliever in the pen (maybe one too many pitchers but someone will be on the IL for a short stay). If everyone stays healthy, this group is good enough to be leading the Central by the end of July. Then, you go for it and make better trades than this year. Don't trade away top minor league players until we get to that point though because..........

    If injuries occur, which odds are they will with this group, you move into a rebuild and evaluate if it is to compete in 2024 or 2025. Trade expiring contracts and get guys who can help in 2024 or 2025.

    I think that’s more or less the plan and the one they will try to sell to the fans. You nailed it. 

    The only part with which I partly disagree is “this group is good enough to be leading the Central by the end of July”.  Even if everyone is healthy - which we all dearly hope, but know is not likely - the true goal for this team has to be a realistic contender for the Pennant and this team is not that. It could be if the players were a) much better at the fundamentals (you know, running, hitting, catching, and throwing); b) the manager was capable of winning more games than losing based on his in-game decisions; and c) the team could get over the mental block of competing against the better teams, notably, the Yankees, Astros and now the Guardians.  But we will have none of those things in 2023 as the team leadership is currently constructed and avowed by senior management to remain in place.

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    13 minutes ago, LA VIkes Fan said:

    This sounds right to me. I see 2023 as running out the same guys and seeing if we get better health and thus a better result. IF we have better health, this team could "contend" if that means being in contention for the division title or a playoff berth but not really having much hope of a deep playoff run. With the guys you have if they are all healthy we have a solid rotation missing a number one starter, about two thirds of a good bullpen with quality at the top end but lacking depth, and a pretty good lineup missing one quality middle of the order bat if we keep Correa, two if he goes. That probably is good enough to contend in that division and, if it isn't, we'll probably know about midseason and can make trades and embark on a rebuild. While I would love to see the Twins sign Correa, plus a true number one starter and a middle of the order bat, I think that is a fantasy.

    My prediction is that they actually sign Correa to a 5-7 year deal and do basically nothing else other than maybe signing Sonny Gray for another two or three years, both with at most limited no – trade protection. The pitch is then "look at us, we re-signed Buxton and now re-signed Correa, we are on our way to contention". They then see how it plays out and make the decision on where to go midseason with both trying to contend and a tear down and rebuild on the table. If it works, great, if not they trade most of the veterans they have including Correa and Gray and start a full rebuild. 

     

    Very well could be and a reasonable plan. Nice going.

    I’d love to see Correa back, but I’ve got the under on that. Re Gray, my spidey senses are telling me he’s none to happy about being pulled so early all the time. 

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    Baseball seasons are wars of attrition, but it seems like the Twins have been stockpiling talent to the point where even bad luck may get overwhelmed. The tipping point may come from three or four top prospects that may start the season in AAA or AA. Varland, Balasovic, SWR, and Lee could see significant time in '23. Might also say that about Martin, who seems to be rebounding from a bad year. 

    Biggest problems seem to be Kirilloff and Paddack, followed by Mahle. Well, you spin the wheel and hope that one will hit, the other two pitch. 

    Keep Gordon and Bundy around. A super-sub and a veteran that survives without a big heater are great examples for everybody. I would part ways with Jake Cave, however. His ceiling is now well known, and with a guy like Martin coming up, we might as well see if he's a better 4th outfielder. 

    One intriguing factor could be Miranda, if he comes back lean and mean and ready to play good 3B. Working out for six months with Carlos Correa could get just about anybody into great shape. Maybe the Twins could ask for a package deal. Send everybody to work out with Carlos. That might be the best move this organization ever made. 

     

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    I don’t get the talk about starting a rebuild…. Most of the team has less than 3 years experience.  They are still learning up here.  We are in a rebuild.  
     

    at least we have 8 or 9 starting pitching options going into next season with a few more on the way.  
     

    Winder may have to try his luck in the pen to give his shoulder a better chance at staying in one piece.  
     

    Killeroff injury is disheartening.  I really wanted to see him become the hitter Jason Kubel was meant to be.  
     

    I hope Buxton can play half seasons for the next 5 years at a good clip.  He can be the worlds most expensive bench player the last season if his issues are now chronic.  
     

    while I get the logic of the trade and didn’t hate it at the time as I do now but trading Rogers was a real bad idea. I mean real bad.  I hope the front office learns from this one.

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    8 minutes ago, Brandon said:

    Killeroff injury is disheartening.  I really wanted to see him become the hitter Jason Kubel was meant to be.  

    This is actually an interesting comparison. As many will recall, Kubel was somewhat of a Kirilloff-esque hitting prospect (lefty slugger with rare combo of contact and power) before suffering that horrible knee injury in the 2006 AFL. He never ended up fulfilling his initial upside but he did carve out a very solid MLB career, playing more than 1,000 games with a 108 OPS+. Hopefully with this surgery Kirilloff can find a way. 

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    1 hour ago, jimbo92107 said:

    Baseball seasons are wars of attrition, but it seems like the Twins have been stockpiling talent to the point where even bad luck may get overwhelmed. The tipping point may come from three or four top prospects that may start the season in AAA or AA. Varland, Balasovic, SWR, and Lee could see significant time in '23. Might also say that about Martin, who seems to be rebounding from a bad year. 

    Biggest problems seem to be Kirilloff and Paddack, followed by Mahle. Well, you spin the wheel and hope that one will hit, the other two pitch. 

    Keep Gordon and Bundy around. A super-sub and a veteran that survives without a big heater are great examples for everybody. I would part ways with Jake Cave, however. His ceiling is now well known, and with a guy like Martin coming up, we might as well see if he's a better 4th outfielder. 

    One intriguing factor could be Miranda, if he comes back lean and mean and ready to play good 3B. Working out for six months with Carlos Correa could get just about anybody into great shape. Maybe the Twins could ask for a package deal. Send everybody to work out with Carlos. That might be the best move this organization ever made. 

     

    Agree with a lot, but keeping Bundy at 11M and cutting loose Cave at 1M or so isn't the kind of financial move this FO is likely to make.  

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    First off, don't base your assessment of the coming year(s) by what this FO or above says; they have never been straight forward with us in their entire existence.  Second, don't try to assume a payroll number going into the season.  The 3 years combined of '20-'22 have produced a total of just under 3.2M tickets sold.  In other words, the last 3 years put together have produced a net loss that JP is not going to take lightly.  So, assume a payroll cut back, while hoping for better.  We will very likely go with the contracts we are bound to pay no matter what, and pull back on new ones, other than low salary deals for existing or new players.  The one exception just might be Correa, since he has publicly declared he would like to stay, but only if a long term deal can be made for market price.  JP might want to invest long term in a player he can point to, ala Mauer, that helps the team and gives good PR when it comes to fan interest.  If not, get used to hoping we can put together a healthy roster that produces above and beyond expectations.

    And, just as an aside, we also have to remember we do not get 57 games against Detroit, KC, and Chicago next year, as it is a balanced schedule.  That has helped keep us afloat for years now, and will be gone from now on.  Can we compete with the whole league from now on?  Just a thought.  

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    4 hours ago, Nick Nelson said:

    This is actually an interesting comparison. As many will recall, Kubel was somewhat of a Kirilloff-esque hitting prospect (lefty slugger with rare combo of contact and power) before suffering that horrible knee injury in the 2006 AFL. He never ended up fulfilling his initial upside but he did carve out a very solid MLB career, playing more than 1,000 games with a 108 OPS+. Hopefully with this surgery Kirilloff can find a way. 

    Kubel / Kirilloff comp is only partial. You can hit with a patched together knee, but not if your wrist gives you stabbing pain with every swing. I feel bad for the kid. Kirilloff clearly has dreamed of being a great baseball player since he was a child, and now that dream is threatened by a body part smaller than a dime. It's just not fair...but that's life - not fair. We're all pulling for him, very carefully.

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    6 hours ago, Mark G said:

    First off, don't base your assessment of the coming year(s) by what this FO or above says; they have never been straight forward with us in their entire existence.  Second, don't try to assume a payroll number going into the season.  The 3 years combined of '20-'22 have produced a total of just under 3.2M tickets sold.  In other words, the last 3 years put together have produced a net loss that JP is not going to take lightly.  So, assume a payroll cut back, while hoping for better.  We will very likely go with the contracts we are bound to pay no matter what, and pull back on new ones, other than low salary deals for existing or new players.  The one exception just might be Correa, since he has publicly declared he would like to stay, but only if a long term deal can be made for market price.  JP might want to invest long term in a player he can point to, ala Mauer, that helps the team and gives good PR when it comes to fan interest.  If not, get used to hoping we can put together a healthy roster that produces above and beyond expectations.

    And, just as an aside, we also have to remember we do not get 57 games against Detroit, KC, and Chicago next year, as it is a balanced schedule.  That has helped keep us afloat for years now, and will be gone from now on.  Can we compete with the whole league from now on?  Just a thought.  

    Another great comment.  The answer to your last question is probably not.  The balanced schedule on the margin is most likely a negative for us.

    The conundrum is trying to rationalise pairing what I think you rightly predict to be a youngish, less expensive team (sorry, but CC will not be back after the great last month he’s put together) with a manager who cannot develop them on the field or in their minds. Why have a team filled with essentially 1-3 year players on rookie type deals who never really learn the fundamentals of the game or how to not cower at the Yankees or Guardians (now)? It just doesn’t make sense. If the Twins go the youngish route, at least get a manager who will turn them into complete ballplayers. But, alas, it won’t come to pass….

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    This year was a experience. Instead of placing players on IL or needed rest they played them at much less than 100%. Buxton, Polanco & Arreaz playing hurt & at much less than 100%, really has hurt this team especially going down the stretch. Plus placing a recovering Lewis in CF,  is taking an unnecessary risk. 

    I hope they have seen these '22 experiments as failures, & start to think long range.

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    On 10/3/2022 at 8:36 AM, Blyleven2011 said:

    To many injuries , some mysterious  and some not ...

    FO will never take responsibility for the poor season  just like our politicians  in government  ...

    How about sticking to baseball.

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