Minnesota Twins Offseason Has to be Considered a Failure

Share

Ron Gardenhire

Fresh off a series loss to the Cleveland Indians, the Minnesota Twins have to be staring into the mirror asking themselves some serious questions about the last nine months.  

The first and most serious question they should be asking themselves is have they gotten better since they were swept out of the ALDS by the Yankees last October.

Coming out of the offseason that featured numerous additions to the offensive side of the ball, the general consensus was yes, and that anything but improvement off of last year’s playoff drubbing would be a disappointment.

The Orlando Hudson and Jim Thome signings had fans excited that they were shoring up two areas of need, and the trade for J.J. Hardy looked to be a low risk, high reward deal with the Twins already stacked to the brim in the outfield department, thus not needing Carlos Gomez.

Looking back, none of the moves the Twins made have majorly backfired, and you could safely say that two of the three have worked out exactly as planned if not better (Thome, Hudson).

But flash forward four months and it’s clear that it’s not the moves the Twins made in the offseason that has them sitting 2.5 games out of first with two and a half months to play, it’s the ones they didn’t make.

In 2009, seven pitchers started ten or more games for the Twins, and none of them finished with an ERA below four.

Carl Pavano

That was good for a combined ERA of 4.5 on the season, ranking 23rd in the majors, and an even more ghastly 4.84 starters ERA, ranking 26th in the bigs, on the 2009 season.

And their big pitching move last winter?

Re-signing Carl Pavano, who posted a 4.64 ERA with the team last year.

While that signing has worked out, as Pavano has arguably been the team’s best pitcher this year, he is no better than a third starter on a championship team.

This now leaves the Twins in the predicament they face today.

The season, while not lost, is in dyer straights.

Their best hitter, Justin Morneau, is out with a concussion and saw a specialist Wednesday, with no timetable for his return.

Their $184 million dollar man is still mired in a down year by his standards, and rumors have been swirling about a possible drop in the batting order from his usual perch as the three hitter.

Their one bright spot, Delmon Young, who is crushing the ball and driving in more runs than the likes of Evan Longoria, Mark Teixeira, and Ryan Braun in 50 less at bats than the aforementioned superstars, is being talked about as trade bait for a pitcher because of the desperate spot Minnesota is in.

Delmon Young

On the pitching side, Minnesota had two security nets for their rotation coming into the year, Glen Perkins and Brian Duensing.

Perkins, although he has been better lately at AAA Rochester, has a season ERA of 6.59 and has given up a monstrous 131 hits in 98 1/3 innings.

Duensing has been great in relief this year for the Twins, but has now been used to fill a hole left in the Twins rotation.

The man that left that hole just happens to be the man we discussed earlier, last year’s ERA leader among qualifying Twins starters, Nick Blackburn.

That now leaves the Twins with nowhere to turn when it comes to Scott Baker and Kevin Slowey, who have been nearly as bad as Blackburn this year.

This means a trade is a must for the Minnesota Twins at the deadline to even think about making the playoffs.

But can last offseason and this season as a whole really be considered a success if the Twins just get into the playoffs?

The goal coming into this season, as we detailed earlier, was for the Twins to, at the very least, improve on the finish they had to last year, with many thinking that anything but a World Series appearance was a failure.

Now the Minnesota may have to give away prospects for a rent-a-player to even be in contention to get into the playoffs, let alone be the last team standing.

This situation the Twins face can be directly attributed to the lack of attention paid to the areas that really needed to be improved in the offseason, and at some point the front office has to stop grasping onto hope that their former elite pitching prospects are going to figure it out.  After all, none of them have had a full season of being a true number two, let alone number one pitcher, and you have to have a proven number one in this playoff format in order to contend.

Until pitching is at the forefront of the Minnesota Twins thinking and is therefore addressed properly, Minnesota will be at best no more than a first round walkover in the American League.

-Mike Gallagher

Powered by

Comments

  1. Patrick Herbert says

    The collective age of the starters is young; therefore they didn’t feel the need to address the starting pitching situation. A big reason that they are a couple of games back is the loss of Nathan. Good point about Delmon Young. They should trade him while he’s hot. We all know that he’s going to implode sooner or later!

  2. paulmbanks says

    Seeing you guys express your genuine nervousness about your team, your insecurity in your chances to make the postseason makes me think, “hey, we’re not so different after all, maybe I should think more detente in this cold war.” we’re not all that different, at the core.

    Like Rocky and Ivan Drago figured it out

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9UQ1hw2bkdA&feature=fvst

  3. Patrick Herbert says

    Nice Rocky IV reference. I have Survivor music in my head now. Thanks a lot!

Speak Your Mind