American League fans in Chicago and Minneapolis have experienced tremendous disappointment so far this season. The lackluster play of their clubs has had many sitting on their hands at US Cellular and Target Fields. There are actually tremendous parallels between the two situations. It starts with a list of three disappointing players on each roster.
Jake Peavy came to the windy city with high expectations after all of his past success in San Diego. Unfortunately, his health has taken a turn for the worse and he is now not in his twenties anymore. His record is under five hundred so far this season after twelve starts and he is giving up more than five runs a game.
Adam Dunn is not hitting near his potential. The average at .166 is unthinkable considering his track record in the National League. Does this scenario sound familiar? With under forty runs batted in thus far, he leaves Paul Konerko high and dry in the order. Dunn is listed as the designated hitter, but he has mostly provided strikeouts.
Alex Rios is hitting around two hundred after over one hundred games played. His six home runs and twenty four runs batted in are also anemic. The aforementioned lack of punch in the order has been a major strain on the win totals of the starting pitchers in the rotation. They have done their jobs by and large without support offensively. Rios is obviously not responsible for how much teams want to pay him, but he should feel guilty about his lack of production.
Justin Morneau has been out for around a year due to a concussion and neck issues. I have compared him in the past to Mark Teixeira of the Yankees. He is actually more valuable to the team though because he doesn’t have the likes of Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson around him. This void has been catastrophic for the Twins.
Joe Mauer will probably take home about three quarters of a million dollars for every run that he drives in this season. His bilateral leg weakness put him on the shelf for an extended portion of the schedule. Ironically, he is still a good value for the organization because of all the revenue he generates through jersey sales, ticket revenue, and a higher asking price for broadcast rights. Nobody loves a hometown hero more than a Minnesotan.
Joe Nathan has not only voluntary taken himself out of the closer role earlier in the season, but he also has missed considerable action. He has only garnered eight saves in eleven opportunities. This doesn’t tell the entire story though, because his walks and hits per innings pitched is only slightly over one. A closer that didn’t close is just one of many issues that Ron Gardenhire has had to sift through.
Front office leaders Ken Williams and Bill Smith have a tremendous amount on their plates as they head into the stretch run. The decisions that they make in the offseason will have ramifications for years to come.