Friday, May 11, 2007

Recap 5/11/2007 Twins 3, Motor City Kitties 7

Perhaps I'm alone, perhaps not, but my level of cynicism towards this teams offense seems to have plateaued. The first two weeks of this season were quite encouraging as the team was receiving good starting pitching and putting together enough runs to win ball games. But since then it's been a continuous downward spiral and the offense still hasn't seemed to have hit bottom yet. I started off as frustrated, progressed to angry, moved on to trying to think of solutions, came to the realization that there were no solutions, and have finally become apathetic.

Some nights it's infuriating, other nights its comical, but in the end the result is always the same. The Twins hitters invariably spend seven innings flailing away at mediocre to downright inferior starting pitchers, take very few balls, never extend their at bats by fouling off two strike pitches, and for the most part, hit exceptionally few balls hard. That is until the eighth and ninth innings when they usually seem to get many baserunners on and usually even plate one or two, but almost always come up one big hit short. Sure there have been exceptions, notably Torii Hunter, but beyond that this is a sad-sack group of hitters. What makes all of this sad is when you see mediocre career starting pitchers performing way beyond their talent levels as guys like Carlos Silva and Ramon Ortiz deliver quality start after quality start.

As far as solutions are concerned I've heard numerous people, fellow writers, who suggest that the team should trade some of their young starting pitchers for major league ready bats. I for one am neither optimistic that trades of that order either exist at this point in the season as precious few teams are reasonably out of contention yet, and rarely do teams move quality players around until that point, nor am I in any way in favor of a majority of trades that may be possible. For the most part the players teams would want to move are aging major leaguers who may still possess reasonable talent, but have reached a point where their diminishing talent levels means that they're more likely to be earning more than their performance warrants. As a team the Twins are philosopically against making such a move unless it is reasonably assured that it will put them over the top of their competition. That is certainly not the case this year as there are far more than one or two holes in this lineup.

To that end if trades are to be made I would prefer that they be to acquire minor league players who may be 2-3 years away from being major league ready. At the end of last season I came
conclusion that this team was more than likely one to two years from reaching a window where they could reasonably be expected to win championships for at least a year or two. My rationale was that with the maturation of numerous Twins pitching prospects and the ability to move talented yet aging veterans (Santana, Hunter, Nathan) for talented minor league bats, in conjunction with a solid core (Mauer, Cuddyer, Morneau) that wouldn't be eligible for free agency for 5 years, the Twins would be in their ideal situation. They'd have a team full of young, talented players, very few of who (if any) would be making 10 mil+. Granted the team could only keep this group together for a year or two, but it seems feasible that they'd have a legitimate window. My opinion hasn't changed and while I am disappointed by the team thus far, I think it may be best if we were to fall out of contention early and begin just the sort of building my mind and heart desire.

No comments: