Are The 2012 Minnesota Twins Buyers or Sellers?
The Twins have been flirting with us in June. Winning four-out-of-their-last-five series, yet history might be repeating itself again. Around this time last year the Twins won 15-out-of-17 to creep within seven games of first, and after that really impressive run the Twins fell apart, and already we can see this year’s team starting to do the same, by losing three of their last four games.
Unless the Twins can somehow put together a long winning streak, this team should start to think about July, 31st. Last year then General Manager Bill Smith shot this team in the foot, by not trading away anyone at the deadline. It came back to bite him in the off season when the Twins saw Jason Kubel, Michael Cuddyer, Joe Nathan all leave via free agency. If Smith could have traded just one of the three players last summer, Smith could have received a starting pitcher who could have really helped the team, but now this team is in desperate need of starting pitching.
Smith was shown the door last November, so now Terry Ryan is the Twins General Manager. Ryan gets most of the credit for Twins rise in the 2000′s, but one thing that most Twins fans hate about Ryan is that is his extremely conservative. The biggest trade Ryan has ever made was trading for Joe Nathan and Francisco Liriano.
Now is not the time to jump ship if you are the Twins, because you play in one of the weakest Divisions in baseball, and it is only the middle of June. I say wait till the All Star game on July 10th. If you are less than 10 games back then hold your ground and ride the ship, but if this team repeats the 2011 team, then trade! Trade! Trade!
We all know the Twins would be looking for starting pitching if they were to become buyers, but let’s look at who the Twins could sell if history repeats itself. Josh Willingham has been a big boost. Willingham leads the team in home runs with 13 and RBI with 44. Willingham’s market could heat up big time once July comes around, because Boston Red Sox need an outfielder, and so does every other American East team. Trevor Plouffe is second on the team with 12 home runs, but they have all came within the last 21 games. Plouffe is young enough that the Twins could look to build around him, but one problem is that all his production has come at third base, and third base belongs to Miguel Sano, and if the Twins move him back to outfield would he revert back to the old Plouffe?
Liriano is, and should be traded. Twins have been so patient with him, but time is just about out for the once nicknamed franchise. The only way Liriano stays with the Twins is to start pitching like the 2006 Liriano. We have seen some progress for Liriano; his last three starts have all been quality starts.
Also Justin Morneau is starting to turn the corner. Morneau could be a big boast for the Texas Rangers, but health questions will always be a problem for Justin. Also Justin is owed $14 million in 2013. Matt Capps has been a nice surprise for Minnesota. Capps has saved 14 games and has only one blown save on the year. Capps could be a nice piece for the New York Yankees who lost Mariano Rivera earlier this season. Denard Span was heavily pursued last July by the Washington Nationals, and those talks could heat up once again come this July. Span is playing a position that is deep in the Twins minor league system, but I would hate to lose Span, because since 1984 only three guys have called center field their home for the Twins and those names are Kirby Puckett, Torii Hunter and now Span.
I hope this team can turn it around, because I would hate to lose Morneau, Plouffe, Willingham, and Span; because those three guys are the backbone of this team. Plouffe is young enough to keep around, Willingham has a team friendly contract, and Morneau is starting to look like his old self. I can’t say what Ryan or the Twins will do, but if they can keep playing like they have been, then this team will go from sellers to buyers in a hurry, because as of right now they are only 8.5 games out of first place.