Positive Spin on the Minnesota Twins
As the Twins are approaching the trade deadline, the cries for the Twins to "do something" are working their way through the Twins' blogosphere. The meme is that the Twins need a starter, a reliever, and a middle infielder, or else the team won't be competitive down the stretch.
This is despite the fact that the Twins are competitive right now. The team has consistently played at or above .500 baseball, and a little luck could throw the team the AL Division title.
There is plenty to be optimistic about when it comes to this team, and here's a short list:
1. The Twins Are Learning Who Can Play and Who Can't
By playing so many guys both in the bullpen and in the field, the Twins are learning who can play and who can't.
The Twins have given plenty of playing time to guys like Matt Tolbert and Alexi Casilla in the field and Brian Duensing and Bobby Keppel in the bullpen. And even though a lot of these players struggled, the Twins now have a good idea about the quality of play they can expect from their ample supply of replacement players.
This information will be invaluable down the stretch.
2. The Twins Have Bullpen Depth
They have guys like Jesse Crain, Juan Morillo, and Rob Delaney pitching out of the bullpen in Rochester right now.
Crain has had a lot of success with the Twins, and he's getting time to work out whatever problems he's having with his pitching.
Morillo can throw a ball 98 mph with more ease than it takes most of us to get off a couch. If he can find some level of control, he will make a great late-season arm option for Gardenhire.
Rob Delaney is a prospect who has had some incredible numbers in the minors. If he conquers AAA this year, he should get a shot at the majors.
3. The Twins Have Plenty of Starters
They're not dominant guys with unhittable stuff, but theoretically they should get stronger as the season goes on. Plus, with Anthony Swarzak, Kevin Mulvey, and R.A. Dickey able to start as well, the Twins have a collection of guys who can give the team a chance to win on a regular basis.
4. R.A. Dickey
Dickey is more than just a potential starter and mop-up guy; his worth extends well beyond these duties.
He can pitch on short rest and put a lot of innings on his arm, which spares the bullpen from wear and tear. He can start, and he can relieve. He's also good trade bait.
The Twins don't have a lot of resources invested in him, and other teams might be interested in his above average ERA. The Twins can turn a profit on him in a trade while not mortgaging the future.
5. The Twins Have a Lot of Infield Options
Casilla, Punto, and Matt Tolbert don't look like they're getting the job done, Joe Crede takes a lot of days off, Brendan Harris doesn't really have a good position, and Brian Buscher has struggled to get hits in limited playing time.
But Steve Tolleson and Danny Valencia are swinging good wood in the minors, and Trevor Plouffe can play well in the middle infield. The Twins just signed Mark Grudzielanek to a minor league deal, and with other options like Luke Hughes and Matt Macri in the infield or Jose Morales at catcher, the Twins have access to a lot of very functional players as the season progresses.
6. Then There Are the All Stars
Joe Nathan, Justin Morneau, Joe Mauer. There is no underestimating the impact these players will have on the team. Add in Jason Kubel, Denard Span, and Michael Cuddyer, and it's clear that the Twins have the star power to win big.
While I think the Twins should be open to some trades if the price is right, there is no reason to panic when it comes to this team.
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