It has been awhile since my last post but web site hosting issues have caused me a lot of extra work and taken me away from more fun activities like keeping up with the MLB Winter meetings and the changing Twins roster.
With the recent trades of former first round pick (2002) outfielder Denard Span to the Washington Nationals for 2011 Nats first round pick RHP Alex Meyer and just a few days later sending another former Twins first round pick (2007) outfielder Ben Revere to the Phillies for RHP’s Vance Worley and Trevor May the Twins and GM Terry Ryan have held true to their word that changes were coming and that they were going to snag as many pitchers as they could. These trades should also clear up any confusion that some Twins fans may still have had that the Twins were going to be “reload” and try to become a playoff team once again after suffering through two dismal seasons. The Twins are in a full-scale rebuilding mode but not the kind of rebuilding mode that we may have seen from the Twins in the past. In the past they would get rid of all their high salaried players and start from scratch but that is a much harder sell now days with the Twins just having moved into their new digs at Target Field in 2010. The Twins aren’t stupid, they know they can’t afford to totally alienate their fan base that they have built up with a with a new ballpark and a nice run since 2002 but they also know that they let their starting pitching fall into disrepair the last few years and in the process have lost 90+ games two years in a row. The team grew stale, changes were few and far between on the player, coaching and management sides and their “smoke and mirrors” approach to their pitching staff caught up with the team so quickly it seemed to catch the entire Twins organization off guard.
The Twins are not a huge market team but they can not plead poverty as they have in the past. The team has a decent fan base, a relatively new ballpark and ownership that has money to spend but I am not sure that they are willing to spend it. The Twins like to brag that they are one of the top organizations in baseball but when it comes to taking out their wallet to bring in some high-priced talent the team claims it is not all about the money. I understand if they can’t put Zack Greinke in a Twins uniform but I can’t get a handle on why you can’t get Joe Blanton for example if the Angels can get him for 2 years for $15 million. This team has just two starting pitchers going into 2013 and I surely don’t grasp why the team would supposedly make an offer to Francisco Liriano after his history with the team between 2005-2012. I think Terry Ryan is a very good GM but I sure don’t know what his logic is for this move. At least throw us a bone Mr. Pohlad, give us some new blood and something to at least give us some hope instead of having us pay to watch that same old crap. I understand loyalty but you can only keep hitting your head against the same old wall for so long before someone shows up to haul you away in a white coat. Show us some loyalty and a reason why we should pay big league prices to watch the Twins in 2013.
This Twins team has more holes than my fishing net but I still love baseball and every year teams come for nowhere to play winning baseball and I can only hope that the Twins will do so sooner than later. There are still serviceable pitchers out there on the FA market and I hope that Jim Pohlad lets Dave St. Peter and Terry Ryan know that his checkbook is there and he is willing to carack it open long enough to sign at least one if not two more starting pitchers. It all starts at the top. The recent splash the Twins have made in the trade market should be just the beginning of what the Twins need to do to become competitive again and not the final chapter.
Josh Hamilton is still a free agent and if Texas doesn’t resign him they could use a power hitting outfielder and if I were the Twins I would be happy to send Josh Willingham to Texas for a shortstop like Jurickson Barthelomeus Profar that could fill that shortstop hole at Target Field for many years to come. The Twins recently announced that they had signed 35-year-old pitcher Jason Lane who played the outfield for the Astros and Padres from 2002-2007 and turned to pitching in 2009. The team also signed 1B/C Jeff Clement who has played in the big leagues with the Mariner and the Pirates for parts of 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2012 and hit .218 in 385 at bats. Why in %#@* do you spend the money on players like this? You don’t win with quantity, you win with quality, I am not sure the Twins look at it that way.
In the recent major league portion of the Rule 5 draft the Twins selected 23 year-old RHP Ryan Pressly from the Boston Red Sox. After starting since 2008 Pressly was turned into a reliever late in 2012 and pitched well in that role in the AFL over the last month or so.
It is still early in December and the 2013 season is several months away but the Twins brain trust needs to keep their nose to the grindstone if this team is going to break their two-year death grip on last place. If I was Ron Gardenhire, the way things looks right now, I would be signing on to the PC and updating my resume.