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  • Why We Should be Worried About the Twins


    Matt Braun

    The esteemed Matthew brother, the one with the surname “Taylor,” decided to write about why people should not be worried about the Twins. In Fairness (™), we at Twinsdaily thought it would be fun to pull a Richard Nixon; reaping the benefits of reactionary negativity by presenting a counter-article proclaiming that we should, indeed, be worried about these Twins. 

    Image courtesy of Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

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    The Twins are currently 4.5 games up on the Cleveland Guardians; the White Sox are stinky, and the Tigers and Royals remembered that they are, in fact, the Tigers and Royals. Every other team in the Twins' division is dreadfully below .500 and has little recourse for their sins. Given the AL Comedy Central context, what could the Twins possibly worry about?

    A few things! Actually. Let’s talk about the bullpen, that terrible bullpen. Twins relievers moonlighted as an adequate group for a handful of games, perhaps fooling some into believing that Jhoan Duran, Joe Smith, and their Merry Group of Men could hold their own at least until the trade deadline. That came down in a crashing, painful fashion. Cody Stashak is injured, Smith is now mortal, Tyler Duffey forgot that he’s supposed to be good, Caleb Thielbar is walking a small village, and Emilio Pagán… let’s just leave that name undescribed. If not for Duran and his magical right arm, the bullpen would require an NC-17 rating every time Rocco Baldelli called for “support.” Stretching back to when Houston systematically crushed the Twins starting on May 10th, the unit has put up the 6th worst FIP in MLB (4.45).

    There is little in the form of inspirational reinforcements as well. Yennier Cano has excellent stuff but wrestles with bouts of lost command; Trevor Megill also has great stuff, but, and you’ll be shocked to read this, he too struggles with command at times. Maybe Ian Hamilton or Austin Schulfer could provide a jolt, but it would be foolish to bet on that happening. One could snarkily mention Taylor Rogers, but the Brewers jumped all over him on Thursday, so that punchline is no longer as funny.

    How about the starting rotation, now. Outside of the one time a week Joe Ryan descends from above to bless us with a great start (or at least when that used to happen before he got COVID), the rotation is more inconsistent than Florida in an election year. Sonny Gray is great but has now suffered multiple injuries; Chris Archer finally hit the five-inning threshold in a start the other day (it’s June), Dylan Bundy is Dylan Bundy-ing, and, honestly, who knows after that. Chris Paddack was a joy to watch until he tore his UCL again, and Josh Winder flashed potential… until he aggravated his right shoulder… again. The rotation is now Bailey Ober and whatever magic Devin Smeltzer has left in his stirrups. Chi Chi González is now starting. The case rests.

    “But the team is severely injured,” you might say. The Twins these days are indeed the baseball equivalent of the Ship of Theseus, but there’s no promise that the injuries will let up, and what matters is what the team does on the field, not what the team could be doing on the field. There are no awards for potential. 

    To combat an article full of negativity, Ryan and Carlos Correa will return from COVID soon, as will Gilberto Celestino. This very well could be just one of those streaks in a baseball season, the kind that scares everyone into claiming the sky is falling before laughing off the notion after a month of great play; the team did win 18 games in May.

    Perhaps none of this matters—the Al Central is currently a handful of teams that look more like fronts for tax fraud than actual baseball franchises—but this team is not in great shape. The two-month slog until the trade deadline will be crucial; key pieces need to get healthy and stay healthy for this team to have hope against the better squads in the AL. The house of cards was wobbly to begin with, and they may be slipping with each day.

     

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    Isn't it fun to pile on?  Well written and inspiring.  Just think what we could do with another good BP piece (Alcala?) and a rotation of more than three? Should we take the Ship of Theseus question to the end point of Twins history then the Twins stopped being the Twins with their first cut or trade in 1961.  But perhaps the Phoenix is our Greek philosophy - we go to the cellar, but we reappear on top of the ashes again and again. 

     

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    We have heard a lot of negativity recently, do you think we need anymore? Especially now with this big upset. Yeah the Twins have warts, every team does. We have an excellent core with the best defensive depth that we haven't had for a very long time. Recently that core has been down or sputtering but our secondary players are beginning to step up.

    The team is heading in the right direction. Hopefully mindsets will be changed, the core will get hot again, the young players will continue to develop, necessary trades will be made, hurt players will get 100% and everything will gel together by the time the season ends, going into the post season with a lot of momentum.

    I criticize the team but it's a positive criticism usually offering a solution. Because I want the team to succeed.

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    I’m not inclined to believe the full-on negative spin, but your thesis statement at the top convinces me you aren’t either. 
    The points are well-made and most ring true. There is reason for concern. This could turn bad.

    I believe it is just a bad stretch and they’ll keep finding some mojo. This group has already had a lot of different contributors pick them up for spells. It’ll happen again.

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    34 minutes ago, PopRiveter said:

    I’m not inclined to believe the full-on negative spin, but your thesis statement at the top convinces me you aren’t either. 
    The points are well-made and most ring true. There is reason for concern. This could turn bad.

    I believe it is just a bad stretch and they’ll keep finding some mojo. This group has already had a lot of different contributors pick them up for spells. It’ll happen again.

    You are correct, I would say I personally only believe like two things I said here. This was created on a whim, really, and I'm never one to pass up a chance to be snarky for an entire piece.

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    Fun read and yes it was obviously tongue in cheek.

    Baseball has fewer teams tank than football, hockey , or basketball and even the dynasty teams like The Big Red Machine, Oakland's 3-Peat, the several Yankee runs, or the current Dodgers lose a third of their games.

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    27 minutes ago, Matt Braun said:

    You are correct, I would say I personally only believe like two things I said here. This was created on a whim, really, and I'm never one to pass up a chance to be snarky for an entire piece.

    Loved it - well written.

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    29 minutes ago, Matt Braun said:

    You are correct, I would say I personally only believe like two things I said here. This was created on a whim, really, and I'm never one to pass up a chance to be snarky for an entire piece.

    Reading both articles are illustrations of Good Attitude vs Crappy Attitude. We got BUXTON! vs. Yeah Millions for a guy who can't stay on the field.  Those extremes exist in the posters on this very website.

    Between the two attitudes. I know which one I will invite over for Thanksgiving dinner. I'm not sure where you will be spending yours. 😄  

    Positivity GIFs | Tenor

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    I believe the team can stay competitive with good defense and good pitching. However, after you get through Ryan, Gray, and Ober the good gets to "lets hope its a lucky day. Bundy is very hittable, the geniuses in management are convinced we need to save Archers arm, and Winder (who I think is the best option) has been deemed "long reliever" by those same geniuses. In the pen we have a guy that should be our closer that the Swammi prefers in a setup role, a "closer" (Pagan) that should be middle reliever, and other than Smith either has been or re-treads or minor league starters trying to relieve in the majors. Yes, I think this team has the ability to win a weak division but without some real help especially in the pen, I would say advancing in the playoffs would be an extremely long shot.

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    Pitching was always going to be a question mark coming into this season... even the Twins knew this. What's troublesome is every aspect of the offense, These guys still rely far too heavily on the HR and have zero reliable run producers. Half the teams in the league have at least one guy they expect to get the job done with men on base in a tight game. Last I checked, the Twins were near bottom of the league stranding RISP. The Dodgers and Houston series were a glimpse of what to expect once we clear one of the easiest first half schedules in baseball and play some studs. Bottom line: We should have a 9+ game lead over Cleveland but this team lacks an RBI machine, base stealer, walk specialist, and only 1 player with any sort of plate discipline. I said back in 2018 the Twins overvalued their "big 5", including Buxton (some still think he's MVP material)  and this coaching staff doesn't have a track record of fixing offensive issues, like bad tendencies players develop, getting the most out of the least, or furthering the development of expected stars. So many young PROVEN stars in baseball and we have diddley at the moment. 

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    18 minutes ago, Craig Arko said:

    I figure since worrying will change nothing I will not worry about whether I should worry or not worry about the Twins. 

    ha ... close to my mantra ... 'It's just a game'. I've often stated I have no control over what anyone does, so I just can't get too worked up about. Sure, during a particular game, I'm either cheering or swearing ... but then it's over, until the next game, and it's a new day, new game, new possibilities :) 

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    The only way you get better, is to constantly be identifying deficiencies and trying to come up with ways to improve. If all you did was "stay positive" and compliment the weaklinks, you will likely end up losing playoff games (maybe even 18 in a row) even if you slip in with the now ridiculously expanded playoff field. Critical thinking is a venture in reality. Hope and Dreams rarely win championships, if ever. Realists are not negative, regardless of the false claims of negativity by the self appointed tunnel visioned optimist.

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    The Bullpen is nothing but horrible and Falvey & company knew this going in.

    Then to make matters worse they traded one of their best guys, a Lefty at that, for Injured mediocrity.

    Frankly, the front office should be fired for this clown show.

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    Pitching is the name of the game. Always has been. They are too thin in both the rotation and the bullpen so yea that’s something to be worried about. 

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    I think the tantalizing and strange thing about the '22 Twins is that they show flashes of greatness without actually being great ... yet,

    They could win this division handily. Or they could faceplant into 3rd in the AL Central and miss the playoffs. Both scenarios seem completely plausible at this point, Not many division leaders have that kind of uncertainty in their trajectory.

    I also think it would help them if the fans were more enthusiastic and would pack Target Field. But, understandably, the fans won't step up until the team shows some grit and fight against the top teams. So it's probably on the team's shoulders to win back hearts and wallets.

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    Dobnak and Alcala are on their way back to beef up the bullpen. Maeda will be in the rotation by 9/15.  We are gonna have a pitching staff that can get us deep into the playoffs. Pass me another Hard Smeltzer 🤣

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    You’re right. The Twins should look to trade for some stronger starting pitching and another 2-3 relievers. Look for teams willing to off-load pitching for prospects, like the Cubs, Reds, and Athletics. The Twins can let up a couple prospects for short-end success, and should address these needs now rather than later. Maybe trade for a high-end starter later in the year but smaller moves should happen now. 

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