A lot has been said about what the Minnesota Twins might do heading into the MLB trade deadline. Many were originally speculating that the team could be sellers because of their disappointing first half of the season. However, after heading into the All-Star break with a 9-2 homestand, it is plausible that the Twins could attempt to turn things around in the second half of the season.
So much has been said about what Minnesota might or might not do at the deadline that it seems as if there is nothing left to be said. With this in mind, I think it is appropriate to ask two questions about the Minnesota Twins. These questions do not necessarily have right or wrong answers but instead simply provide food for thought about the Twins. Without further ado, here are two questions that any fan in “Twins Territory” should consider moving forward.
1. Would you want the Twins to essentially “give up” on this season and shift focus to next year?
I would not criticize anyone who felt that it is in the Twins’ best interest to focus on next year and trading away players like Kyle Gibson, Eduardo Escobar, or Brian Dozier for different assets. Trading away any or all of these players might not even be giving up on the season even though it would be perceived as such. But if Minnesota wanted to make a run at the postseason, then they would need these players on their roster. They would need them to be productive throughout the rest of the season as well rather than playing below average. If these players are not on the roster by the end of July, then the Twins will not have enough to overcome the Cleveland Indians to win the AL Central.
But if the Twins’ front office does in fact trade away players to acquire other assets does not mean that Minnesota would be shifting their focus to next season. Dozier’s slump for most of this season has lowered his value, and it would be difficult to acquire players that could help the team win as early as next season by trading him. And while Gibson and Escobar have higher values than Dozier does not mean that it would be in Minnesota’s best interest heading into next year.
Gibson has been the Twins’ second most reliable pitcher this season and besides Jose Berrios, it might be challenging for Minnesota to find a dependable second starter behind Berrios in Gibson’s absence. Ervin Santana and Michael Pineda are both coming back from injuries and might not be as good as they once were. Lance Lynn and Jake Odorizzi are both struggling this season and have not been reliable. If they trade Gibson, Minnesota has to be confident that they will have a solid second pitcher behind Berrios in the rotation.
Escobar has stepped in at third base in the absence of Miguel Sano and has been a pleasant surprise this year. While he does not bring as much power to the plate as Sano, Escobar has been hitting well and has been successful at third base. It is important to the long-term success of the Twins that Miguel Sano is able to get out of his slump and help the team win games but keeping Escobar might be a good safety net in case Sano is unable to do so.
2. Despite the disappointing first half, how do you feel about this team moving forward?
It is very easy to get caught up in the present rather than look ahead to the future of this team. In the short-term, the fact of the matter is that the Minnesota Twins still have a chance to make the playoffs this year. It is a small chance and it will not be easy, but it is a chance nonetheless. They have an easy stretch of games to start the second half of the season, but one bad week could screw up their chances of a great comeback.
Looking ahead at the long-term future of this team, I really like the direction the Minnesota Twins are heading. Yes, this season has been disappointing, but considering that two years ago they were the worst team in baseball, this is where people should expect them to be. If anything, the Twins were ahead of schedule last season. When they have all their pieces together, it looks as if this could be a pretty good baseball team for many years to come. And most importantly, the front office showed this offseason that they are willing to make moves to try to improve the roster.
Overall, I think the moral of the story is twofold. It is easy to think that trading away players is the best answer for a team that is struggling. If the Twins do trade away players, it very could work out in their favor. But there are also legitimate reasons why it might fail instead. And it is important to not get disappointed too easily. Watch to see what will happen in the second half of the season and remember that the future for the Minnesota Twins could be very bright.