Thursday, May 26, 2011

In retrospect, the Twins offseason looks smart

I think most fans would admit that there is nothing realistically the Twins could have done in the off-season to prevent the current debacle. They would have needed to find a better catcher, first baseman, second baseman, shortstop, third baseman, DH and fourth outfielder. And that's just to repair the every day players. Between injuries and poor performance there they have really only had major league performance from two positions - center field and right field. No one believes this team would be contending if they just had Hudson and Hardy back in the middle infield. Of course, in addition to fixing the worst offense in baseball, they would have had to improve the pitching by adding three or four arms to the bullpen. 

The problem is that had they actually attempted to fill some of those spots with proven veterans, they would now be saddled with a much older lineup and a lot less flexibility for the future. Crain, Fuentes and Guerrier cost the teams that signed them over $30 million. If the Twins need to rebuild, that kind of salary commitment to aging relievers would be an albatross. Likewise, Hardy and Hudson are players whose best years are probably behind them. Which seems to be the consistent strategy the Twins follow every off-season. They try to replace older players with younger players while maintaining the team's competitiveness. That strategy may make even more sense in a year like this, which looks like a debacle, as it does in years when the Twins are contenders. Just imagine if the Twins had taken "a roll of the dice" on this year as some fans argued. They would have come up snake eyes with a likely devastating effect for the future, constrained by both budget and age to another decade of struggles like the late 90's.


Adam Krueger said...

You're wrong right from the get-go. They had two decent catchers, one named Wilson Ramos, the other named Jose Morales, one of which (Morales) they still had until they traded him away for a mediocre reliever in last December. I'll go with you that injuries have decimated the rest of the team, but I can almost guarantee you that Nishioka isn't going to light it up when he comes back (either at the plate or in the field) and that the conundrum the Twins have now would have been a lot less bad had they not traded away Ramos (ideally) and/or Morales.

Adam Krueger said...

Also, how can you write a piece about "the future" and not mention that between two players (Cuddyer and Nathan) the Twins have $20M coming off the books at the end of this season? Also, you failed to mention that the Twins let go of some rather cheap bullpen arms (Crain, Rauch, Guerrier) and instead opted to keep one of them, Capps, who is being paid in excess of $7M this year...I think that $7M could have been used more wisely somewhere else.

There is no way you can convince me that this past off-season was anything but a disaster for the Twins.

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