It was a good year for the Minnesota Twins, an amazing 26 game improvement from their 103 loss season in 2016 and they even made an abbreviated one game trek to the playoffs, their first taste of postseason action since 2010. The much improved play of the players on the field made the team fun to watch again and the attendance increased from the previous season for the first time since the team started calling Target Field home in 2010.
All those good things happening over in Twins Territory makes it difficult to come up with a Twins Turkey of the Year but the job must get done. Just as sure as there is snow and cold in Minnesota we need to have a Twins Turkey of the Year.
The number of possible candidates for the 2017 award are few, sure we have some of the usual suspects like starter Kyle Gibson who first debuted as a Twin back in 2013 but found himself pitching in AAA Rochester after a horrible start. He finished the season with a 12-10 record but his 5.07 ERA for the second year in a row is more than disappointing.
Pitcher Phil Hughes earned $13.2 million this year and pitched less than 54 innings and had a 6.37 ERA. However; Hughes spent most of his time on the DL in 2017 visiting that list twice for a total of 105 days.
Pitcher Glen Perkins spent 117 days on the Twins DL in 2017 while recovering from shoulder surgery back in 2016. Perkins has pitched 7.2 innings in two years and banked $12.8 million.
Utility player Danny Santana appeared in just 13 games and hit .200 before the Twins traded him to the Atlanta Braves for a minor league pitcher named Kevin Chapman. Santana has appeared in 69 games and hit .203 for the Braves.
When I have to list Danny Santana on my Twins Turkey of the Year candidate list I am really scraping the bottom of the barrel. Heck, even Joe Mauer bounced back in 2017 and had a decent year at the plate, certainly not a $23 million a year player but what is done is done. One of my favorite TTOY candidates the last few years, hitting coach Tom Brunansky was fired after 2016.
So you can see it has been a lean year for turkeys in Twins territory this season, but, since the role has to be filled I have selected not one but two Twins organization members for the award this year, for the first time ever we have a two-headed Twins Turkey of the year.
Both of these gentlemen have been on the job for just over one year and their team made the playoffs in their first season at the helm after the team had finished with 103 losses in 2016, the worst record in baseball. It seems like we should be giving them Executive of the Year awards and not the TTOY award. Yes, they did sign Jason Castro, Chris Gimenez, Bartolo Colon (seems strange to put him on the plus side of the ledger), but they also signed a bunch of pitching stiffs and thought they could construct a bullpen while bottom-feeding.
With the Twins in need of starting help these two guys went out on July 24 and they made a deal with Atlanta and acquired Jaime Garcia and Anthony Recker for Huascar Ynoa. Garcia started and beat the Oakland A’s on July 28 and Twins fans were delighted, that is until these two guys turned around and flipped the 31 year-old Jaime Garcia to the Yankees for pitchers Zack Littell and Dietrich Enns just two days later. Then on July 31 they traded their closer Brandon Kintzler to the Washington Nationals for pitcher Tyler Watson and cash.
On July 31 the Twins had a 50-53 record and seven teams in the AL had better records than the Twins did. It was obvious that the Twins organization felt that the Twins had run out of steam so they started trading off pieces in hopes of landing some young pitching prospects. But who was to know that the Twins would go 35-20 during the rest of the season and score 346 runs in that stretch, more than any team in MLB while out-scoring their opposition by almost 100 runs. Only the Indians had a better record (45-13) and they had that crazy 22 game winning streak from mid-August to mid-September. When the season ended the Twins were one of the AL wild card playoff participants, who would have guessed that would happen?
No one in their right mind, right? After all, no MLB team has ever lost 103 one season and taken part in post-season action the next. I didn’t see it coming, but I am not making a ton of money leading the Twins baseball operation either. These guys are supposed to be experts in their field and yet at the end of July they raised the white flag and not only didn’t improve the team for the stretch run but they made it weaker by trading Jaime Garcia and Brandon Kintzler. The way I see it, these two committed the cardinal sin, they gave up on their team.
That is why the winners of the Twins Trivia 2017 Turkey of the Year award are Twins Head of Baseball Operations Derek Falvey and General Manager Thad Levine. I wish I had a picture of these two sitting in the backyard with their wine glasses in their hand pondering “what just happened?” Let’s hope that Falvey and Levine show their worth this off-season, maybe they are just slow starters.
Previous Twins Turkey of Year award winners
2016 – The entire 2016 Minnesota Twins team
2015 – Pitcher Ricky Nolasco
2014 – Outfielder Aaron Hicks
2013 – President Dave St. Peter
2012 – Owner Jim Pohlad
2011 – Catcher Joe Mauer
2010 – 3B Brendan Harris
2009 – Pitcher Glen Perkins