Baseball isn’t played in a vacuum, and we here at MCB try not to write in one either. At the beginning of the 2012 season, it wasn’t foreseen that the Tigers would be battling the White Sox to the very end for the division crown. That’s the great thing about the off-season. Every team’s record is the same, and they all go into the off-season with the optimism for the following year. Teams are working on making those magical moves that will get them to the top.
With that in mind, I always like to keep up with the competition. So not only will we talk about the Tigers off-season (and significantly so), if any of their A.L. Central opponents do something noteworthy, we will talk about that as well.
Today, I am just going to take a quick look at where the Minnesota Twins stand, and what they might need to accomplish this off-season to improve themselves.
September 16, 2012; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Twins outfielder Chris Parmelee (27) during the game against the Chicago White Sox at Target Field. The White Sox defeated the Twins 9-2. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-US PRESSWIRE
The Twins of course struggled in 2012. Their rotation was hit by the injury bug and general ineffectiveness. In today’s day and age, where hard throwers are not only desired, but almost required, the Twins philosophy of strike throwing soft-tossers appears to be backfiring. The Twins were 13th in the American League in pitching with an ERA of 4.77 as a staff. Contrast that to the Tigers who posted an ERA of 3.75 as a staff, and you can see part of the reason for the gap. Frankly, it’s the major reason.
Things don’t look especially good for the Twins starting rotation heading into 2013 either. The only lock in that rotation at this point is lefty Scott Diamond. Scott Baker is coming off of injury and isn’t a sure thing to return to form. The uncertainty with their pitching staff puts the pressure on GM Terry Ryan to have to find some viable starters if the Twins want to be a factor in 2013.
The difficulty is getting quality starters considering the Twins aren’t the most attractive of free agent destinations out there. With the losing piling up and some heavy salaries for Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer, who account for 37M dollars, the Twins aren’t in an envious position. Add another 12M for Josh Willingham (who is a bargain) and Denard Span, and we can see the Twins money is sunk into it’s offense. The offense still has good potential considering the gaping offensive holes at SS and 2B for the Twins, but it’s main players have had trouble staying healthy. Ben Revere is a pest, and Brian Dozier and Trevor Plouffe have some tools to contribute.
But man that starting rotation…
With not lot available on the free agent market, the Twins might have to make an overpay pass at some of the top free agent pitchers out there. Edwin Jackson, Zack Greinke, and maybe even Anibal Sanchez would help the Twins greatly. At this point, there aren’t too many guys that couldn’t help the Twins. Is Nick Blackburn and P.J. Walters that hard to replace?
The Twinkies do have a talented farm system from which to deal from, and putting Denard Span and/or Josh Willingham and Justin Morneau on the trading block to get pitching I think would be a start. Ryan will have his work cut out for him for sure. If the Twins are going to make a splash in 2013, they are going to have to make a splash this off-season in the pitching department. Otherwise, 2013 might be more of the same for the Twins.
And from where I sit, I kind of like that…