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mike8791

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  1. Like
    mike8791 got a reaction from Murph for a blog entry, Just Dreamin'   
    Woke up in a sweat last nite.  Dreamt that Jim Pohlad called and offered me the Twins GM job the day after the 2021 season ended.  While I was overcome with excitement, before accepting the position, I had 3 demands:
    1.  I would be able to fire Rocco and his staff.  Would look for a veteran, old school manager like Buck Showalter or Bruce Boche. Maybe even James Rowson or (gasp!!) Ozzie Guillen??
    2. JP had to agree to resign BB to the 7 year/$80MM contract agreed on plus whatever game-played incentives Bux's agent wanted(within reason of course)
    3.  JP reiterated to return team to relevancy in 2022 and thus, would expand next year's payroll budget to $150MM.
    We agreed on all of the above with one caveat : I had to provide him with a specific action plan for the offseason.  Here's my outline:
    1. Sign a potential #1 starter.  First choice - Noah  Syndergaard.  Backup : Carlos Rodon(this add would not only likely fill our #1 spot, but also weaken our chief competitor)
    2. Trade with Miami for a potential #2 starter, e.g., Sandy Alcantara or Pablo Lopez.  The Marlins in desperate need for offensive help could pick 2 out of Arraez, Jeffers/Garver, Kepler, Larnach. 
    3. If Maeda was healthy, he would slot in as #3.  If not, resign Pineda or a comparable veteran pitcher with a successful track record.
    4.  The #4/5 spots in the rotation would be open competition among Ober/Ryan/ Strotman/ Balozavic/ Winder/Dobnak .  Two of these should be no worse than Happ/Shoe with the likelihood that one or two would at least be league average.
    5.  I would sign a real closer.  First choice - Craig Kimbrel.  He has arguably been one of the three best relievers this year with a nice bonus that his absence would weaken the Sox.
    6.  A second proven late-inning pen arm would be signed, mainly one of the following:  Rosenthal/Hand/ Yates,  If not feasible then Taylor Rogers, followed by one of Duffy/Thielbar/ Alcala, would round out the top 3.  I think guys like Gant, Albers, Minaya, and Garza might do well in lower pressure situations.
    7. Recognizing we have a big hole at SS, I would try to resign Simmons for less money.  If he signs elsewhere, then Polanco would be shifted, with one of Arraez/Miranda/ Martin taking his place at 2B.  Sorry, no money for one of the top FA SSs.  Let's cross our fingers Lewis is ready in 2023.
    8.  Not sure yet of all my  deletions from the 40 man, but I would begin with Rooker, Thorpe, Smeltzer, Cave, Colome, Gordon.  My bench would include Turtle(assuming Garver or Jeffers moved) Rorvedt,, Refsnyder, Celestino and Miranda.
    Assuming we've started with an $85-90MM payroll,  we have added #20MM for Thor or Rodon, $10MM for Pineda of #3 veteran, approx. $10MM in extra incentives for Buxton, $15MM for Kimbrel, and $10MM for a second bullpen arm,  Tight but doable thanks to the open wallet of Mr. P.
    So is this plan realistic?  Would this revised team be expected to compete as soon as next year?  Help me out here, guys!!  I'm new to all this.
  2. Like
    mike8791 got a reaction from ToddlerHarmon for a blog entry, The Dust Has Settled - What's Next, Part 2   
    Before we look into our crystal balls post-deadline, a quick review of what's just transpired might be in order.  First, we lost our best hitter and best pitcher.  For this very reason, chances are this season is going to get even worse.  Three of our new starters will likely be Ober, Jax and Barnes, none of whom figures to be better than a #5 starter.  The bullpen has arguably gotten worse without Rogers and Robles.  And the offense will likely continue to be erratic -  some big run production outings against below average pitching, but more likely low run production against even average pitching.  And with a very difficult August schedule, the likelihood of the Twins climbing out of the cellar looks mighty slim.
    But let's look at the bright side.  The Twins prospect depth greatly improved.  We've added at least 3 top 10 prospects, probably catapulting our depleted, injury-stricken minor league system into the top ten in MLB, at least on paper anyway.  And just as importantly, we kept several players who can be building blocks going forward.  You cannot underestimate the importance of Maeda and Pineda, solid #2 and #3 starters in leading a reenergized rotation in 2021.  Nor can you ignore the importance of having a Donaldson and hopefully healthy Buxton leading the offense next year.  Which brings me to my first point :  they need to resign both Pineda and Buxton if this team has any chance of jumping into contention in 2023.   This team will likely not be a playoff contender next year but for them to bounce back to at least a .500 record and set the stage for contention in 2023, these 4 players must be kept..
    Continuing on the bright side, this FO did a great job in the trade department.  They received at least 3-4 players who should be playing in the big leagues as soon as next year, but most likely by 2023.  The rotation's future looks much brighter with guys like Joe Ryan and SWR, not to mention our top prospects, Winder and Balozavic, should yield one or two rotation mainstays by 2023.  Which brings me to point#2:  Sign a FA with ace potential this offseason.  My first choice is Syndergaard who should be more affordable due to injury but still young enough to lead a contending staff.  He should be an offseason priority.  This is a risk but one well worth taking if the team is committed to rebounding quickly.  The new additions will also mitigate against rushing some of our younger prospects and perhaps switching some to relievers.
    Which brings me to the bullpen.  We added some middling prospects, one of whom might prove valuable in the pen.  We still have Rogers, Duffy and Thielbar, with a few minor leaguers on the verge.  Let;s bring up guys like Cano, Hamilton, and Moran and see how they do.  Coulombe has looked decent.  Point #3:  they must spend the $ for a top FA reliever.  Any suggestions?  I'm at a loss here.  And let's try to get Alcala straightened out at AAA now, as well as transitioning Duran to the pen.  This is still a dumpster fire but at least it can't get much worse than it is now.
    So count me as positive for the retool.  It sure beats a long rebuild!!
  3. Like
    mike8791 got a reaction from Squirrel for a blog entry, The Dust Has Settled - What's Next, Part 2   
    Before we look into our crystal balls post-deadline, a quick review of what's just transpired might be in order.  First, we lost our best hitter and best pitcher.  For this very reason, chances are this season is going to get even worse.  Three of our new starters will likely be Ober, Jax and Barnes, none of whom figures to be better than a #5 starter.  The bullpen has arguably gotten worse without Rogers and Robles.  And the offense will likely continue to be erratic -  some big run production outings against below average pitching, but more likely low run production against even average pitching.  And with a very difficult August schedule, the likelihood of the Twins climbing out of the cellar looks mighty slim.
    But let's look at the bright side.  The Twins prospect depth greatly improved.  We've added at least 3 top 10 prospects, probably catapulting our depleted, injury-stricken minor league system into the top ten in MLB, at least on paper anyway.  And just as importantly, we kept several players who can be building blocks going forward.  You cannot underestimate the importance of Maeda and Pineda, solid #2 and #3 starters in leading a reenergized rotation in 2021.  Nor can you ignore the importance of having a Donaldson and hopefully healthy Buxton leading the offense next year.  Which brings me to my first point :  they need to resign both Pineda and Buxton if this team has any chance of jumping into contention in 2023.   This team will likely not be a playoff contender next year but for them to bounce back to at least a .500 record and set the stage for contention in 2023, these 4 players must be kept..
    Continuing on the bright side, this FO did a great job in the trade department.  They received at least 3-4 players who should be playing in the big leagues as soon as next year, but most likely by 2023.  The rotation's future looks much brighter with guys like Joe Ryan and SWR, not to mention our top prospects, Winder and Balozavic, should yield one or two rotation mainstays by 2023.  Which brings me to point#2:  Sign a FA with ace potential this offseason.  My first choice is Syndergaard who should be more affordable due to injury but still young enough to lead a contending staff.  He should be an offseason priority.  This is a risk but one well worth taking if the team is committed to rebounding quickly.  The new additions will also mitigate against rushing some of our younger prospects and perhaps switching some to relievers.
    Which brings me to the bullpen.  We added some middling prospects, one of whom might prove valuable in the pen.  We still have Rogers, Duffy and Thielbar, with a few minor leaguers on the verge.  Let;s bring up guys like Cano, Hamilton, and Moran and see how they do.  Coulombe has looked decent.  Point #3:  they must spend the $ for a top FA reliever.  Any suggestions?  I'm at a loss here.  And let's try to get Alcala straightened out at AAA now, as well as transitioning Duran to the pen.  This is still a dumpster fire but at least it can't get much worse than it is now.
    So count me as positive for the retool.  It sure beats a long rebuild!!
  4. Like
    mike8791 got a reaction from Tim for a blog entry, Going Forward - Retool or Rebuild?   
    Now that it is clear Twins must be sellers, the most pressing issue to the FO must be: Retool or Rebuild?  With the trade deadline in just 4 weeks, many big decisions must be made this month.  Just to restate the obvious: retooling can be defined as fielding a 2022 squad that can be a legitimate contender at least for a playoff spot.  A rebuild means tearing down the core and hoping to contend by 2024/5 at the earliest.
    For starters, let's list the key factors that would allow for a retool:
    1. Build around the existing core of Berrios, Buxton, Donaldson, Rogers, Arraez, Kirillof and Larnach.  I would also add Pineda and Maeda to this "core", as expecting to contend next season without at least three set rotation pieces would be comparable to entering 2021 with only question marks for the bullpen.  One might argue that guys like Sano, Kepler, Polanco, Jeffers/Garver, could also be considered core players, but at best, these are either fringe players going forward with probably more value as trade pieces.  Despite all the chatter about trading, the Twins need this core in place to have any real chance of contending next year.  This doesn't necessarily mean resigning Buxton, Berrios, and Rogers, but their absence would likely severely limit contention chances next year.
    2.  To get higher impact prospects who could expect to contribute to the major league team in 2022,  trade from strength.  This means guys like Garver and Polanco should be available this month(alternatively, Jeffers and Arraez could be substituted but they are much more likely to contribute to squads beyond next year so should only be traded for very high end prospects).   Guys like Sano and Kepler who have obviously fallen short of early promise, should also be marketed but they are not likely to bring back major-league-ready prospects.  Expiring contracts should not be renewed(except for Pineda),  although if Cruz does not bring back at least a medium level pitching prospect for next year, perhaps he should be retained as a player/hitting coach.  He's that remarkable.
    3.  Push the best available pitching prospects up by Aug. 1st.  Not a lot to choose from here, with injuries, limited or poor performances from guys like Duran, Enlow, Balozovic, but certainly Winder and Cano, if they both can establish their AA success has translated to AAA in July) should be promoted.  Duran and/or Balozovis could be brought up after Sept. 1st if healthy and if they can turnaround some control issues that have emerged.  They can continue to run out guys like Jax and Ober but they have shown little to warrant optimism for being keys to a pitching rebound. 
    With one or two high end pitchers acquired by the trade deadline plus hopefully, one or two minor leaguers who show more promise than the retreads used to date in 2021, the FO should have a clearer idea what the basic needs are in the offseason.  At best,  the Twins could find themselves entering the offseason with the need for one strong starter and one or two late inning relievers rather than a major bullpen overhaul.  At that point it is incumbent upon ownership to step up and declare money is available for signing current stars and adding the necessary high end talent rather than nibbling around for bargains - a strategy that has obviously contributed to our record-setting playoff losing streak, as well as this year's collapse.  And one more thing for the offseason.  Rocco must go and replaced with an old-school, experienced disciplinarian.  It's worked for the Sox.  Why not the Twins?  So give Falvine until June 30th 2022 to see if they're on the right track.  If not, time for a midseason change.  After this year's colossal failure, the rope should be short.
    If ownership is unwilling to spend for high level talent and keep the core together for at least one more year, then rebuilding is the only alternative.  Trading Berrios and Buxton would be necessary before 2022 and a 3 year minimum rebuilding program should be instituted.  This rebuild has to be conducted by new FO personnel, ones who are not so risk averse as Falvine and have had experience in successfully rebuilding other franchises.  What about Theo??  Of course, the ultimate solution is new ownership- one who is agressive about wanting a winner and willing to invest in the future.  Mark Cuban, are you listening?  But that's just wishful thinking.   Conservative banking mentality will probably be our albatross for years to come.
    So what do you all think?  Is contention likely for this franchise in 2022 or is rebuild under new management the way to go?
  5. Like
    mike8791 got a reaction from SkyBlueWaters for a blog entry, Going Forward - Retool or Rebuild?   
    Now that it is clear Twins must be sellers, the most pressing issue to the FO must be: Retool or Rebuild?  With the trade deadline in just 4 weeks, many big decisions must be made this month.  Just to restate the obvious: retooling can be defined as fielding a 2022 squad that can be a legitimate contender at least for a playoff spot.  A rebuild means tearing down the core and hoping to contend by 2024/5 at the earliest.
    For starters, let's list the key factors that would allow for a retool:
    1. Build around the existing core of Berrios, Buxton, Donaldson, Rogers, Arraez, Kirillof and Larnach.  I would also add Pineda and Maeda to this "core", as expecting to contend next season without at least three set rotation pieces would be comparable to entering 2021 with only question marks for the bullpen.  One might argue that guys like Sano, Kepler, Polanco, Jeffers/Garver, could also be considered core players, but at best, these are either fringe players going forward with probably more value as trade pieces.  Despite all the chatter about trading, the Twins need this core in place to have any real chance of contending next year.  This doesn't necessarily mean resigning Buxton, Berrios, and Rogers, but their absence would likely severely limit contention chances next year.
    2.  To get higher impact prospects who could expect to contribute to the major league team in 2022,  trade from strength.  This means guys like Garver and Polanco should be available this month(alternatively, Jeffers and Arraez could be substituted but they are much more likely to contribute to squads beyond next year so should only be traded for very high end prospects).   Guys like Sano and Kepler who have obviously fallen short of early promise, should also be marketed but they are not likely to bring back major-league-ready prospects.  Expiring contracts should not be renewed(except for Pineda),  although if Cruz does not bring back at least a medium level pitching prospect for next year, perhaps he should be retained as a player/hitting coach.  He's that remarkable.
    3.  Push the best available pitching prospects up by Aug. 1st.  Not a lot to choose from here, with injuries, limited or poor performances from guys like Duran, Enlow, Balozovic, but certainly Winder and Cano, if they both can establish their AA success has translated to AAA in July) should be promoted.  Duran and/or Balozovis could be brought up after Sept. 1st if healthy and if they can turnaround some control issues that have emerged.  They can continue to run out guys like Jax and Ober but they have shown little to warrant optimism for being keys to a pitching rebound. 
    With one or two high end pitchers acquired by the trade deadline plus hopefully, one or two minor leaguers who show more promise than the retreads used to date in 2021, the FO should have a clearer idea what the basic needs are in the offseason.  At best,  the Twins could find themselves entering the offseason with the need for one strong starter and one or two late inning relievers rather than a major bullpen overhaul.  At that point it is incumbent upon ownership to step up and declare money is available for signing current stars and adding the necessary high end talent rather than nibbling around for bargains - a strategy that has obviously contributed to our record-setting playoff losing streak, as well as this year's collapse.  And one more thing for the offseason.  Rocco must go and replaced with an old-school, experienced disciplinarian.  It's worked for the Sox.  Why not the Twins?  So give Falvine until June 30th 2022 to see if they're on the right track.  If not, time for a midseason change.  After this year's colossal failure, the rope should be short.
    If ownership is unwilling to spend for high level talent and keep the core together for at least one more year, then rebuilding is the only alternative.  Trading Berrios and Buxton would be necessary before 2022 and a 3 year minimum rebuilding program should be instituted.  This rebuild has to be conducted by new FO personnel, ones who are not so risk averse as Falvine and have had experience in successfully rebuilding other franchises.  What about Theo??  Of course, the ultimate solution is new ownership- one who is agressive about wanting a winner and willing to invest in the future.  Mark Cuban, are you listening?  But that's just wishful thinking.   Conservative banking mentality will probably be our albatross for years to come.
    So what do you all think?  Is contention likely for this franchise in 2022 or is rebuild under new management the way to go?
  6. Like
    mike8791 got a reaction from mrkarbo for a blog entry, When Is it Time to be Concerned?   
    Spring training is slightly more than half over. While most of us tend to dismiss results, both from the Twins W/L record and individual performances, I admit to a growing concern about last year's greatest weakness - the offense. Looking at team stats the Twins rank 23rd(out of 30) in BA, 27th in Runs, 29th in OBP, and 25th in Slugging. These figures are even more depressing if we subtract the very robust stats from guys like Lin, Astudillo, Broxton, and Garlick, none of whom are given much of a shot to make the 26 man roster(more on that later).
     
    Among the almost certain starters, Sano, Buxton, Simmons(very SSS) are all hitting below the Mendoza line and Kepler is below .100. Even our two most heralded rookies, Kirillof and Larnach fall below .200BA and Jeffers is near the line. Is this a continuation of 2020's offensive malais? Well, we obviously won't know much until the season starts, but after 2+ weeks of ST, one has to wonder what offense can we expect from these designated starters in 2021?
     
    On paper, this looks like a solid lineup. Barring injuries, it could be one of the more productive ones in the majors. Guys like Cruz and Donaldson should be expected to produce and others like Buxton and Arraez have exhibited enough offensive prowess to supplement the big two. Simmon's defensive chops at SS earns him a pass on offensive production. But there are still holes in this lineup. namely Sano, Kepler, LF, Garver. The streakiness of this lineup, so apparent in the playoffs, could loom large over a full season. All we have to fall back on in forecasting is past performance, which among these last group named, is, to say the least, highly erratic.
     
    Suffice it to say that despite rosy predictions for the 2021 Twins, the FO cannot afford to wait all season for some of these hitters to perform. The Cubs have made the mistake of waiting too long for guys like Bryant, Baez, Rizzo, Schwarber, and Contreras to live up to their earlier potential, with the result they have steadily declined since their 2016WC and now border on irrelevance. Patience should not be endless. If Sano, Kepler, et. al., don't pick up in April and May, then guys like Astudillo, Broxton, Garlick, and any of our high minor league prospects should be given the opportunity. This is not pushing the panic button. It's part of good managment to separate the wheat from the chaff. The window is wide open for this team to advance deep into the playoffs so long as complacency does not remain the org's managing philosophy.
  7. Like
    mike8791 got a reaction from Aichiman for a blog entry, When Is it Time to be Concerned?   
    Spring training is slightly more than half over. While most of us tend to dismiss results, both from the Twins W/L record and individual performances, I admit to a growing concern about last year's greatest weakness - the offense. Looking at team stats the Twins rank 23rd(out of 30) in BA, 27th in Runs, 29th in OBP, and 25th in Slugging. These figures are even more depressing if we subtract the very robust stats from guys like Lin, Astudillo, Broxton, and Garlick, none of whom are given much of a shot to make the 26 man roster(more on that later).
     
    Among the almost certain starters, Sano, Buxton, Simmons(very SSS) are all hitting below the Mendoza line and Kepler is below .100. Even our two most heralded rookies, Kirillof and Larnach fall below .200BA and Jeffers is near the line. Is this a continuation of 2020's offensive malais? Well, we obviously won't know much until the season starts, but after 2+ weeks of ST, one has to wonder what offense can we expect from these designated starters in 2021?
     
    On paper, this looks like a solid lineup. Barring injuries, it could be one of the more productive ones in the majors. Guys like Cruz and Donaldson should be expected to produce and others like Buxton and Arraez have exhibited enough offensive prowess to supplement the big two. Simmon's defensive chops at SS earns him a pass on offensive production. But there are still holes in this lineup. namely Sano, Kepler, LF, Garver. The streakiness of this lineup, so apparent in the playoffs, could loom large over a full season. All we have to fall back on in forecasting is past performance, which among these last group named, is, to say the least, highly erratic.
     
    Suffice it to say that despite rosy predictions for the 2021 Twins, the FO cannot afford to wait all season for some of these hitters to perform. The Cubs have made the mistake of waiting too long for guys like Bryant, Baez, Rizzo, Schwarber, and Contreras to live up to their earlier potential, with the result they have steadily declined since their 2016WC and now border on irrelevance. Patience should not be endless. If Sano, Kepler, et. al., don't pick up in April and May, then guys like Astudillo, Broxton, Garlick, and any of our high minor league prospects should be given the opportunity. This is not pushing the panic button. It's part of good managment to separate the wheat from the chaff. The window is wide open for this team to advance deep into the playoffs so long as complacency does not remain the org's managing philosophy.
  8. Like
    mike8791 got a reaction from Huskertwin for a blog entry, A Tale of Two Organizations   
    Well, we're down to nail-biting time. This weekend's series can likely determine both Cleveland's and the Twins' fate for the season. A sweep by either team likely spells the end for the losing team. Pretty obvious for Cleveland if they're on the losing end, but almost as obvious for a reeling Twins team headed in the wrong direction. That's just reality. Even if the Twins manage to sneak in to a WC game, their chances against the A's or Rays, both of whom are headed in the right direction lately, would appear dim indeed.
     
    But this article in today's NYT : https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/13/sports/baseball/shane-bieber-indians-pitchers.html really gets to the difference in the two organizations' prospects. Despite trading Bauer, losing Kluber, Carrasco, and Salazar to injuries/illness, Cleveland has been able to maintain one of the best rotations in the league, certainly far stronger at present than the Twins. Bauer has emerged as an ace, far better than Berrios now, Clevinger is close behind, and Plesac and Civale have performed far better than any of our #3,4 or 5 starters(now that Pineda has taken himself out of the equation. Even Plutko has provided stability as a #5 starter. And now even though Hand is down, their newest arrival, James Karinchak, has been looked at as his replacement as soon as next year.
     
    And what have the Twins come up with for reinforcements? One can say, a big fat zero, at least compared to the Indians' newcomers. The failed list is distressingly long: Romero, Gonzales, Stewart, et. al. - none of whom can be relied on to pitch even one inning down the stretch. As we enter today's doubleheader, perhaps the best we could hope for are Thorpe and Smeltzer, neither of whom having given much indication of success in big games like today. Part of the problem is that Rocco and company have not given them much opportunity to start, but the far bigger problem is this organizations' utter failure to draft/develop major league starters, especially when compared to Cleveland. And today we hear that Alcala may be called up. Belatedly, the org. switched him to the bullpen after failing miserably as a starter. So now with 7 relief innings under his belt at AAA, he is being brought up in the biggest series of the year. Haven't we seen what happens when someone(read Graterol) is thrust into a critical game without any prior major league experience: a crushing extra inning loss to the Indians at home to start a critical three game series.
     
    I'm not going to predict the standings come Monday morning, but must confess to be a doubter as of now. The FO cannot be blamed for the long-standing weakness in Minnesota's pitching development and the loss of Pineda, but they passed on an opportunity at the trade deadline to be agressive in acquiring much needed help. Wouldn't Stroman or Minor have made all the difference? And after three drafts under Falvine, do any pitching prospects look ready to emerge next year to supplement our offensive prowess? Yes, the bullpen looks a bit stronger (no thanks to damaged goods Dyson) but that's because the re-emergence of May and Duffy has counterbalanced Rocco's shockingly poor bullpen (mis)managment.
     
    We should all be distraught if this record-setting offensive team fails to make the playoffs. It would be a crushing blow to the fan base and even more so, because all the stars aligned this year for surprising success. Can we expect a repeat next year?
  9. Like
    mike8791 got a reaction from DannySD for a blog entry, Is the Window Closing?   
    2019 has been an exhilarating ride. This is easily the best Twins team since 2010(and arguably, since 2006). While success is by no means assured this year, suffice it to say that 2019 has brought us to the cusp of serious playoff contention. While recent erratic play, particularly in the rotation and in the field, has tempered our chances for advancement , most of us still feel pretty comfortable about seeing playoff games in Target Field this year. We have a whole month to go, but as of today, I believe our chances of making the playoffs are better than 50%.
     
    With that said, my concerns are for the future. Is this success sustainable? Right now, I have my doubts, for several reasons:
     
    1. In a way 2019 is a fluke in the AL Central. The Indians have been beset by horrific injuries: Kluber, Carrasco, Lindos, now Ramirez. They traded away Bauer, easily their #1 or 2 starter this year, and yet still have enough minor league pitching depth to take 3 of 4 from the Twins in Minnesota and are hanging in there despite 7 straight games against the NY teams. They lost Brantley to FA and yet they have managed to have one of the major's top offenses post All Star. Kudos to Francona and the Indians' player development staff for surviving such hits and still be a solid contender for the playoffs. Next year, with better health, this is still a formidable team!
     
    2. The remainder of the AL Central is woeful, but this is not likely next year. The Sox, with some great young hitters(Roberts could be the best of them all), some solid holdovers(Abreu, Anderson, McCann), and an emerging rotation with a bonafide ace in Giolito, a rapidly improving Lopez, a solid veteran in Nova and two potential stars in Kopech and Cease, are bound to be more competitive next year. They are no longer pushovers and will be a contender at least for a WC in 2020. You heard it here first.
     
    3. The Twins historic offense year is just not sustainable. Too many players are having career years. Is it likely this will reoccur next year? Sure, the Twins have rising stars in Buxton, Sano and Kepler, but who else do we consider future stars? Is Garver really this good? Is Polanco's first half as good as it's going to get. Nelson Cruz will be 40 next year, etc., etc. Yes, we will likely have a solid lineup next year, but hardly the overpowering one that showed up in 2019. This type of home run surge is just unsustainable. I would feel much better if we had more consistent hitting rather than an all or nothing attack. Arraez has been a great new addition, but he's already sliding a bit. Has the league started figuring him out? Are there any other minor leaguers who figure to have the same impact next year as Arraez has?
     
    4. As most TD readers have noted, the Twins' rotation looks very shaky for 2020. Berrios is showing his true colors as a good but inconsistent starter. He is nowhere near an ace, which is why I and others pleaded with the FO to pull out all the stops to acquire a top starter at the trade deadline. Does anyone expect the Twins rotation to hold up to the Yankees or Astros' lineups in October? Next year is far shakier without Odorizzi and Pineda, arguably our two best starters now. Heaven help us if the FO decides not to re-sign both these guys. Gibson doesn't deserve an extension and the jury is still out on Perez. Has anyone stood out in the upper minors this year? The Ryan regime was a colossal failure in developing pitching and while Falvine hasn't been around long enough, their decision to sacrifice a #1 pitcher for Lewis was a real leap of faith to an organization with a lack of big-time pitching prospects. Sure we have some promising position-player prospects in the minors now but pitching wins championships - a fact proven over and over again. This organization's lack of success in developing either rotation stalwarts or lights-out stoppers must give even the most optimistic doubt they can do it in the future. Too bad spending money on a free agent or two is just not in this franchise's DNA!
     
    All this is not to say that the Twins will not be competitive next year, but do you really think their chances will be better than the present? The window was wide open this year, but Falvey decided to be cautious at the trade deadline despite having sizable payroll space and a nice surplus of prospects to trade. You don't have many chances in this game for the brass ring - a fact that Falvey and company might rue in future years.
  10. Like
    mike8791 got a reaction from blindeke for a blog entry, Grading the Offseason   
    Now that Marwin is on board, thought it would be a good idea to review the Twins' grade for the 18/19 offseason. Prior to this latest move, I would have given the FO a solid C for their efforts to date. A very positive step was taken by the Cruz signing, estimably their biggest FA signing of the winter. Finally, the team has a bona fide DH. When is the last time we can say that?
     
    Their signing of 2B Schoop also was a positive one, given his age and previous ML success, at least up until 2018. Who can object to a medium risk/high reward guy, especially when the Twins' 2018 2B production was so putrid. The fact that it was only a one year contract was also wise in that it doesn't block a Gordon or Lewis from making the 25 man roster should their minor league efforts demand it.
     
    The Gonzalez signing is also a plus, given his versatility and offensive advantages over Adrianza. More importantly, he provides much needed insurance against another subpar season by Sano or Schoop. Plaudits to the FO on this one.
     
    So why just a "C" grade? Good question. We can look at Cron and Parker's signings as positives but in reality they don't move the needle much, at least for me. Cron is nothing more than a journeyman who had one above average offensive year; likewise with Parker who at best is a middle inning filler in the bullpen, not the shutdown reliever needed.
     
    But the real reason for a meh "C" Grade is that the FO has not filled the team's two biggest needs - a proven shutdown closer and a #1 0r 2 starter who would give the team a reasonable chance of winning a playoff game. The bullpen need is the most glaring in that everyone currently on the roster is either inexperienced or coming off a shaky 2018 season. As currently constructed, this is a high risk collection that gives no assurance of any improvement over last year's mediocre group. Yes, it seems a no-brainer would be the addition of Craig Kimbel to fill the closer role. Such an addition would move the offseason grade up to a "B". That's how critical the gap is now. Bewilderingly, the FO is playing coy, again waiting for the price to fall to a bargain bin level. The Twins are fortunate one dominant reliever remains unsigned. It would be a dereliction of duties not to get this done!
     
    And yes, even in the unlikely event that Kimbrel signs with the Twins(and let's be clear, he is the only one left who would move the needle), the Twins offseason grade would still be no higher than a B. Why? Because their rotation is average at best - loaded with question marks. Berrios has not proven to be an ace, Gibson is a #3 at best, Odorizzi and Pineda are big question marks, and the #5 spot is a crap shoot. With Romero slated for the bullpen(perhaps the offseason's biggest disappointment) the team has no promising pitcher in the high minors who might be considered a future ace.
     
    Falvey/Lavine indicated earlier in the fall that, with the improvement in their minor league system, they would be inclined to look to the trade market rather than FA to fill some holes. Well, that ship seems to have sailed! No, free agency did not offer much(I'm looking at you Dallas) but there were some possible trade candidates who might have been pried loose given an attractive package of prospects. True, this is all speculation for now, but the FO if really intending to be playoff-bound needed to take some bold moves here and didn't. We can only hope the team will somehow rebound, be in contention at the trade deadline and be unafraid to pull the trigger to acquire a top-of-the rotation starter, like Greinke, Baumgartner, Thor, Wheeler, even Snell, if these teams are noncontenders.
     
    I am not too hopeful that this FO will take these two necessary steps but, like with the Marwin signing, here's hoping they have a few surprises in store. If so, it would be a refreshing break from the mediocrity we have come to expect from the Twins' organization over the past 27 years!
  11. Like
    mike8791 got a reaction from howieramone2 for a blog entry, How Do You Spell R-E-L-I-E-F?   
    So now that the home town nine have apparently filled their glaring lineup holes, our thoughts (and hopefully Flavines') should be turning to the 2019 bullpen. Let's examine the team's options:
     
    1. Stand pat and hope there are enough internal options to build a reasonably effective pen. This is not as far fetched as one might think, given the performance of Rogers in 2018, the re-emergence of May after two injury-plagued years, a healthy Addison Reed, and a well-rested Hildenberger who hopefully can snap back from a woeful second half performance last year. Add in some other potential dependable arms like Magill, Moya, and Vasquez and on paper this could be an improved pen in 2019. Throw Romero into a late inning role and the possibilities for a much improved bullpen are enhanced.
     
    2. Go for the best proven closer on the FA market and call it a day. Any of the three top candidates - Kimbrel, Britton, or Robertson - would immediately step in as the closer. Although not risk free, each would represent a sizable upgrade over last season's opening day closer, Rodney, and give all Twins fans the confidence that the FO has taken a significant step forward towards contention. Looking at each of these three, Kimbrel seems to be out of reach given his six year contract demands. As good as he is, investing big sums in a reliever does not make a lot of sense for a team with as many question marks as this one still has. Robertson would represent the best investment assuming a maximum 3 year contract. Britton with his injury history would probably represent the highest risk, but has a huge upside. The Twins can afford to splurge here if they have to. The question is : will they?
     
    3. The Twins can set their sights lower and go for one or two lower-priced FAs who while not proven closers would still likely be a significant upgrade. Ottavino, Allen, and Herrera are the cream of the crop in this second tier. Chad Allen is a risk after a poor 2018 stint, but this falloff would lower the price enough for the Twins to afford another of his caliber. Herrera and/or Ottavino would appear light years ahead of any current Twins bullpen denizen. Signing any two of this group would send a clear signal to ther team and fans that this organization is serious about contending in 2019 at a cost not much more than $20MM/year for two.
     
    So which of these three categories would you select? The Twins have certainly strengthened their offense in the offseason. A rebound season by either Buxton or Sano would be another big step towards competing in the Central, at the very least. The rotation, while not spectacular, looks like it could be pretty solid if things break right. Only the bullpen is shaky and the pieces are there in free agency to fix this hole. Just a matter of FO resolve. If they just nibble at the edges here, it would be a sure indicator they are not serious about contention in 2019.
  12. Like
    mike8791 got a reaction from nclahammer for a blog entry, How Do You Spell R-E-L-I-E-F?   
    So now that the home town nine have apparently filled their glaring lineup holes, our thoughts (and hopefully Flavines') should be turning to the 2019 bullpen. Let's examine the team's options:
     
    1. Stand pat and hope there are enough internal options to build a reasonably effective pen. This is not as far fetched as one might think, given the performance of Rogers in 2018, the re-emergence of May after two injury-plagued years, a healthy Addison Reed, and a well-rested Hildenberger who hopefully can snap back from a woeful second half performance last year. Add in some other potential dependable arms like Magill, Moya, and Vasquez and on paper this could be an improved pen in 2019. Throw Romero into a late inning role and the possibilities for a much improved bullpen are enhanced.
     
    2. Go for the best proven closer on the FA market and call it a day. Any of the three top candidates - Kimbrel, Britton, or Robertson - would immediately step in as the closer. Although not risk free, each would represent a sizable upgrade over last season's opening day closer, Rodney, and give all Twins fans the confidence that the FO has taken a significant step forward towards contention. Looking at each of these three, Kimbrel seems to be out of reach given his six year contract demands. As good as he is, investing big sums in a reliever does not make a lot of sense for a team with as many question marks as this one still has. Robertson would represent the best investment assuming a maximum 3 year contract. Britton with his injury history would probably represent the highest risk, but has a huge upside. The Twins can afford to splurge here if they have to. The question is : will they?
     
    3. The Twins can set their sights lower and go for one or two lower-priced FAs who while not proven closers would still likely be a significant upgrade. Ottavino, Allen, and Herrera are the cream of the crop in this second tier. Chad Allen is a risk after a poor 2018 stint, but this falloff would lower the price enough for the Twins to afford another of his caliber. Herrera and/or Ottavino would appear light years ahead of any current Twins bullpen denizen. Signing any two of this group would send a clear signal to ther team and fans that this organization is serious about contending in 2019 at a cost not much more than $20MM/year for two.
     
    So which of these three categories would you select? The Twins have certainly strengthened their offense in the offseason. A rebound season by either Buxton or Sano would be another big step towards competing in the Central, at the very least. The rotation, while not spectacular, looks like it could be pretty solid if things break right. Only the bullpen is shaky and the pieces are there in free agency to fix this hole. Just a matter of FO resolve. If they just nibble at the edges here, it would be a sure indicator they are not serious about contention in 2019.
  13. Like
    mike8791 got a reaction from 3balls2strikes for a blog entry, Pretenders or Contenders?   
    Thought I might add my two cents as to what is needed in the offseason to vault the Twins into playoff contention. It should be clear by now that there are simply too many holes on this current group to seriously believe they would be strong contenders next year without significant additions(we'll leave the Manager position to others for now).
     
    Here are my top three priorities for the FO to consider in the off season:
     
    1. A #1 Starter
     
    -Yes, I know the starting rotation has been one of the stronger points of the team this year, which tells you all you need to know about the quality of the roster. While Berrios has taken a step forward, he simply is not the stopper you're looking for. Perhaps he'll develop into one but for now he is far too erratic to be counted on in big game situations,e.g., starting a playoff series. I've seen him against a full house here in Wrigley Field - he was awful! He has also been spotty against other top teams especially in the second half of the season. Gibson/Odorizzi are possibly adequate #3/#4 starters but again, on a playoff team, they have to rev it up a notch to give this team a more competitive rotation. While Romero gave us cause for optimism early, he simply was unable to sustain his run for long periods, either in the AL or AAA, and thus, while a favorite for next year's staff, is hardly a sure thing.
     
    -So easy to say we need a #1 starter but how to add one is a much more difficult proposition. First, Free Agency has to be viewed as far-fetched. Maybe a couple of big names available but what are the chances the Twins would land one of the few? Much better chance of trading for one, say Baumgartner, de Grom, Snydergaard, or Snell. It will be difficult, no doubt, but if the FO feels this team should be ready to compete in 2019, they must use their newly found minor league depth to trade for one. No, Gordon or Gonzales is not going to do it, but Rooker, Romero and one or two of our better single A players might get it done. The point is: the FO must be bold and sacrifice some of this accumulated minor league depth to roll the dice to get a #1 starter. Unlike Ryan, who could never bring himself to give up his prized prospects, I think Falvey is made of sterner stuff and will seize the opportunity(at least he should!).
     
    2. A cleanup hitter - one good for 30-40HRs/100+ rbis. Counting on Sano to fill this position is a fool's errand at this point. If he regains his batting touch, great, but to count on such a recovery would doom us to a repeat of 2018. Just as hoping one of Rosario, Kepler, Austin, Cave will step up and fill the big bopper role is a sure bet to wreck contending chances for next year. Finding a free agent cleanup hitter in the AL is made easier with the DH and the cost would not be nearly as prohibitive as finding a #1 starter. There must be some veterans who will be available at a reasonable cost who can fill the DH/1B position and provide far more punch than our 2018 "cleanup" hitters have done.
     
    3. A true Closer. Our bullpen is a mess right now and to count on any reliever on the current roster to fill the closer role, not to mention the 7th or 8th inning roles, would represent a clear dereliction of duties. But a true closer, not 41 year old, must be added. The Twins will have plenty of money to go out and buy a legitimate closer without another dumpster dive. A second top reliever should also be signed, thereby relieving the pressure on those lower down on the totem pole, e.g., Rodgers, Hildenberg and May - who all belong on a major league roster so long as they are not relied upon for late inning work. The rest of the current bullpen is highly suspect, as are the farm's AAAA relievers. Let's just chalk up the previous FO's attempts to expend high draft choices on relievers as an abject failure and move on under the new regime.
     
    All of these moves can and should be done. All it takes is money, courage and persistence. This offseason is the ultimate test for Falvey and Company. Their end of July dump was a very good start but it must be continued in the offseason, starting with Mauer, Santana, Morrison, Belisle, Grossman, and even next spring, Buxton and Sano if they haven't turned things around yet. Canning Molitor would be icing on the cake, but that can await next year's early season performance, assuming the FO has made the recommended moves.
     
    If the new FO is capable of building a championship, this offseason will be critical. The old regime's mistakes must now be recognized and moved away from. No more free rides!!
  14. Like
    mike8791 got a reaction from iremember91 for a blog entry, Pretenders or Contenders?   
    Thought I might add my two cents as to what is needed in the offseason to vault the Twins into playoff contention. It should be clear by now that there are simply too many holes on this current group to seriously believe they would be strong contenders next year without significant additions(we'll leave the Manager position to others for now).
     
    Here are my top three priorities for the FO to consider in the off season:
     
    1. A #1 Starter
     
    -Yes, I know the starting rotation has been one of the stronger points of the team this year, which tells you all you need to know about the quality of the roster. While Berrios has taken a step forward, he simply is not the stopper you're looking for. Perhaps he'll develop into one but for now he is far too erratic to be counted on in big game situations,e.g., starting a playoff series. I've seen him against a full house here in Wrigley Field - he was awful! He has also been spotty against other top teams especially in the second half of the season. Gibson/Odorizzi are possibly adequate #3/#4 starters but again, on a playoff team, they have to rev it up a notch to give this team a more competitive rotation. While Romero gave us cause for optimism early, he simply was unable to sustain his run for long periods, either in the AL or AAA, and thus, while a favorite for next year's staff, is hardly a sure thing.
     
    -So easy to say we need a #1 starter but how to add one is a much more difficult proposition. First, Free Agency has to be viewed as far-fetched. Maybe a couple of big names available but what are the chances the Twins would land one of the few? Much better chance of trading for one, say Baumgartner, de Grom, Snydergaard, or Snell. It will be difficult, no doubt, but if the FO feels this team should be ready to compete in 2019, they must use their newly found minor league depth to trade for one. No, Gordon or Gonzales is not going to do it, but Rooker, Romero and one or two of our better single A players might get it done. The point is: the FO must be bold and sacrifice some of this accumulated minor league depth to roll the dice to get a #1 starter. Unlike Ryan, who could never bring himself to give up his prized prospects, I think Falvey is made of sterner stuff and will seize the opportunity(at least he should!).
     
    2. A cleanup hitter - one good for 30-40HRs/100+ rbis. Counting on Sano to fill this position is a fool's errand at this point. If he regains his batting touch, great, but to count on such a recovery would doom us to a repeat of 2018. Just as hoping one of Rosario, Kepler, Austin, Cave will step up and fill the big bopper role is a sure bet to wreck contending chances for next year. Finding a free agent cleanup hitter in the AL is made easier with the DH and the cost would not be nearly as prohibitive as finding a #1 starter. There must be some veterans who will be available at a reasonable cost who can fill the DH/1B position and provide far more punch than our 2018 "cleanup" hitters have done.
     
    3. A true Closer. Our bullpen is a mess right now and to count on any reliever on the current roster to fill the closer role, not to mention the 7th or 8th inning roles, would represent a clear dereliction of duties. But a true closer, not 41 year old, must be added. The Twins will have plenty of money to go out and buy a legitimate closer without another dumpster dive. A second top reliever should also be signed, thereby relieving the pressure on those lower down on the totem pole, e.g., Rodgers, Hildenberg and May - who all belong on a major league roster so long as they are not relied upon for late inning work. The rest of the current bullpen is highly suspect, as are the farm's AAAA relievers. Let's just chalk up the previous FO's attempts to expend high draft choices on relievers as an abject failure and move on under the new regime.
     
    All of these moves can and should be done. All it takes is money, courage and persistence. This offseason is the ultimate test for Falvey and Company. Their end of July dump was a very good start but it must be continued in the offseason, starting with Mauer, Santana, Morrison, Belisle, Grossman, and even next spring, Buxton and Sano if they haven't turned things around yet. Canning Molitor would be icing on the cake, but that can await next year's early season performance, assuming the FO has made the recommended moves.
     
    If the new FO is capable of building a championship, this offseason will be critical. The old regime's mistakes must now be recognized and moved away from. No more free rides!!
  15. Like
    mike8791 got a reaction from h2oface for a blog entry, Crushing or Flushing?   
    The MLB meetings are officially over and many more questions remain than have been answered for most organizations. While the lack of activity, especially among the top player categories, has been surprising, there are some tentative conclusions that can be drawn about Falvine and their impact on the Twins. We recognize the jury is still out until the dust settles, but let's stop for a moment to look at the state of the Twins as of now, at least.
     
    There has been much talk about the opening of the Twins' window for contention. Last year, coming off a 103 loss season, there was little chatter on these pages about the Twins emerging as contenders. Essentially, the Falvines were given a pass on their lack of roster additions a year ago because of the improbability of making a great leap forward in 2017.
     
    Well lo and behold, a miracle occurred, the Twins won 26 more games, made the playoffs and Molitor was MOY. No doubt Falvine was as surprised as the rest of us, even at the trade deadline when they sold off rather than added. While they were subject to much criticism at the time, their moves were generally looked at as positive in adding longer term depth to a very shaky pitching staff.
     
    Now there is much talk on TD about how close the Twins really are to contention, not just for a wild card berth again but for a real strong run deep into the post season. Should the Twins bide their time, see how sustainable their 2017 season was, and make bolder moves next offseason or even 2012 or should they go all in now?
     
    This is really a chicken and egg question. If managment does little more than they've done to date, they are basically treading water for 2018, hoping on a wing and prayer that the young hitting core continues to improve, the few veterans at least match 2017 results, and a fair number of one year vets or rookies surprise and become larger contributors to a winning team. But isn't it just as likely some backsliding will occur(as it did in 2016 vs. 2015) if certain holes aren't filled?
     
    The simple fact is that it is up to the boy wonders to make sure the window not only stays open but widens. This is what Epstein and company did as the core of position players was rounding into shape in 2014, resulting in them taking major steps in free agency by signing FA's like Lester and Lackey to bolster a thin starting staff. It should be emphasized that the Cubs also opened the window wider by making so many astute trades to land the likes of Hendriks, Rizzo, Russell and Arrietta - without ransacking their farm system. Brilliant trading and drafting, combined with astute FA signings, catapulted the Cubs to a World Championsip in 2016.
     
    Some on this board might dismiss this comparison to the Cubs as stretching the point, saying that the Cubs operate in a much bigger market than the Twins. When it comes to media dollars, this is true to a point but let us remember the Twins have greater attendance capabilities than the Cubs and an owner reportedly the richest in baseball. The big difference really in the two organizations is new Cubs' ownership committment to bringing a championship to Chicago and went right out to hire a front office and field manager to accomplish just that. Has anyone seen Twins' managment making similar pronouncements?
     
    Everything we've heard from Twins' ownership indicates they wil;l support Falvine in their efforts and that money is not the overriding concern. There are some promising hints that this offseason might represent a departure in that the Twins FO is making a concerted play fort Yu Darvish, probably the top FA pitcher on the market. If, indeed, they accomplish such a signing it will be long-needed signal to Twin fans accustomed to a reactionary FO that things really are changing and that Falvine is pro active in actually sending a strong message to the existing roster that they are going to do whatever is necessary to bring a winner to the twin cities.
     
    Not that the signing o Darvish alone would assure a widening of the window to the extent enough to compete with the Indians, Astros, Yankees, etc. in a playoff series. The signing of Rodney as closer is a step forward but by no means turns the bullpen into a position of strength. A shutdown 8th inning(or 9th) reliever is almost a must to jump to the next level. A real RH DH is critical to helping sustain and possibly improve the lineup. And most importantly, one more solid starter must be added to shore up a woeful back end of the rotation. Relying on Gibson and Mejia to be part of a playoff bound starting rotation is more in the category of a hope and prayer. With Mauer's contract coming off the books after 2018, this is the time to spend the dollars and take the risk of trading top minor leaguers to land one additional mid to top rotation starter.
     
    So opening the window further is strictly on Falvey at this time. If they fail to add Darvish, all this talk about "crushing it" will be just words. Yes, they have done some clever things regarding roster managment but it's all window dressing for now. They must realize that the core who outperformed so remarkably in 2017 needs help - lots of it. If they don't act in the next few weeks(most major moves are normally made before the holidays) to fill these very real holes, then they will have Failvined in their responsibilities. They will have flushed it, not crushed it. There can be no excuses any more. The opportunity is there for the taking if they have the b...s to go for it.
  16. Like
    mike8791 got a reaction from tarheeltwinsfan for a blog entry, The New Management Team - How are they doing?   
    The one year anniversary of the new Falvine Team has come and gone. We have a year's activity to judge this duo and like any new management there are some pluses and minuses, as follows:
     
    PLUSES:
     
    1. The Twins improved by 26 wins over 2016. In truth, even F&L's biggest supporters would be hard pressed to attribute this improvement to their actions, as the only FA signing was Juan Castro and while he was a noted improvement defensively, he didn't come close to Suzuki's offensive contribution with Atlanta in 2017. The improvement came primarily from Ryan's young nucleus that started to emerge in 2017, especially Buxton, Berrios, Rosario and to a lesser extent, Polanco. Good years from veteran holdovers Santana, Mauer and Dozier played a significant role, as well.
     
    2. Hiring James Rowson as hitting coach. He has been given credit for working with young players like Buxton and Polanco for their second half surges. How much of this improvement is due to Rowson's tutelage and how much due to the individual's natural maturation is a relevant question, but there is little doubt that the Twins' were a much improved hitting team in 2017 and for this, Rowson should be given some credit, at the very least.
     
    3.The double trade of Jamie Garcia. While steeped in controversy, Falvine's move to acquire a solid mid-rotation starter for a low level prospect was a refreshing change from the previous regime who rarely dipped into the trade mart in midseason, except for adding several veterans at the deadline when the Twins were very much in the race in the 2002-2010 seasons. More shocking was their dumping of Garcia at the deadline for two prospects. While ccriticized at the time for waving the white flag, year end results affirmed that this was the right move, adding two good prospects without losing much in the way of rotation depth.
     
    4. The pickup of Colon, while pretty much derided at the time, proved important in stabilizing the rotation in August when the Twins surged back into the playoff race. While Bartolo showed his age in September, his contributions in August provided a huge lift to a team struggling to stay above water.
     
    MINUSES
     
    1. Failure to significantly improve the bullpen. This was the most glaring omission in Falvine's 2016-2017 offseason. Bringing in Craig Breslow and Matt Belisle as the only two outside relievers was a mistake from day one of the 2017 season. The bullpen was a glaring weakness in 2016, yet despite a good number of FA's available, the duo was surprisingly passive in trying to improve the situation. One can fairly ask : what were they thinking?
     
    2. Failure to agressively go after a right handed bat that could be the primary DH and provide some backup at 1B. With the large number of DH-types available, failing to improve upon Robby Grossman should be looked at as a glaring omission in last offseason.
     
    3. The trade of Kinsler at the deadline failed to bring sufficient return(at least based on Wheeler's MILB record). Giving a talented closer up for peanuts made little sense at the time and less so as we go into the offseason still looking for 2-3 late inning shutdown relievers. It was fortuitous that Belisle managed to fill the hole adequately and that Busenitz and Hildenberger provided a surprising bridge to the closer.
     
    4. The hiring of Garvin Alston as pitching coach. I know, I know - it is much too soon to damn this move before he even steps on the field, but there are two reasons to doubt the veracity of this move. First, he has a very undistinguished coaching career, having not been a pitching coach above the Single A Minor League Level, having more experience as a pitching rehab coordinator than pitching coordinator, having been fired after a couple months as San Diego's pitching rehab coordinator, and never having any major league pitching success. And yet our wonder boards went out on a limb and hired him because they thought he was a good communicator. And this decision was made in an offseason when such worthies as Mike Maddox, Carl Willis, Chris Bosio and Jim Hickey were all available. Are F&L so arrogant to think they know better than all the top baseball minds who went with proven pitching coaches because they see something no one else has?? I hope I am sorely mistaken about this choice but with an open window to improve the team, the risk/reward ratio seems perilous, at least as of now.
     
    We are now entering the most significant part of the offseason - the GM Mtgs this week and the Owner mtgs next month. It's too early to tell what our new team will do. After years of torpidity under Terry Ryan, we are all hoping that Falvine will be up to the task. This means not waiting until all the quality free agents have signed elsewhere; no more Ricky Nolasco-type signings; no more dumpster diving for washed up relievers; willingness to trade top prospects for bonafide major leaguers who can fill gaping voids at the head of the rotation and shutdown relievers.
     
    Early reports(and yes they are in the infancy stage as of now) indicate the Twins will be significant players for top end starters like Darvish or Arrietta. As most Twins Daily readers acknowledge, with no #1 or #2 starter types in their minor league system, if the Twins are going to make the big jump to compete with the Indians and Astros, they need to find at least one potential ace. Will they spend the money to do this. Pohlad has always been quoted as saying he will authorize the money when asked by his GM for the right player(s). Well, this is the time to do that! And while the FA pickings seem slim, Ohtani should be high on their radar(by which we mean more than just sniffing around). They have factors in their favor to make an all out pitch for this guy. If they wind up settling for their usual average pitcher then mark down this offseason as a failure. The need is clear, but is the will and determination there?
     
    Reports that they are seeking the Red's closer by trade do little to add to our confidence. Even us amateurs know that there are enough quality FA relievers available to significantly bolster the bullpen. Why give up 2 or 3 of their limited number of prospects for a reliever when their needs in the rotation are so much more glaring. I would hope that the Twins would consider trading said prospects for a stud starter than for a reliever.
     
    In any case, the duo will now have to produce - in a big way. Their creativity and moxie will be tested to the max in an offseason that is a seller's market for pitching. How they do will go a long way to see whether the Falvey/LaVine team will turn around our 26 years of futility and bring a championship back to the Twin Cities. The clock is ticking!
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