8 Fool-Proof Steps To a Minnesota Twins World Series Title This Year
Like federal agents in a shoot-em-up thriller, the "likeability" of general managers typically doesn't last long in the baseball universe.
Fans want things their way, and the front office of their favorite team never seems to get it right. It's funny, considering how both parties are aiming for the same goal: a World Series title.
Why, then, do journalists even bother making suggestions considering how they're almost always ignored? Simple: they think they're important. And I'm no different.
The following is a simple, step-by-step guide for Minnesota Twins' general manager Bill Smith to follow that will positively end with a World Series title—if done right.
Step 1 - Cut Nick Punto
The obsession manager Ron Gardenhire has with Nick Punto is long past the annoying mark.
It is clear to virtually every Twins fan that Punto simply doesn't help this team, even when his defensive versatility is taken into consideration.
Punto has hit .235/.315/.305 over the past three seasons, which would normally be viewed as completely unacceptable.
In Gardenhire's mind, though, his defensive prowess more than makes up for any struggles he has at the plate.
This used to be nearly true, as Punto truly was an outstanding defender at nearly any position.
Now, though, he has a RZR of .766 at shortstop, which would be good for dead-last in the American League were he qualified.
Punto has morphed from a mediocre utility player with a great glove to a horrendous offensive player with a poor glove.
There is no reason why he should still be in a Twins' uniform.
Step 2 - Trade for Freddy Sanchez
This move has gone from being recommended to being demanded by Twins fans across the country. They see this move as a necessity, and I'm not far from those sentiments.
The Twins have received absolutely atrocious offensive production from the second-base position this year: .190/.271/.241. At what point does "hitting" become aimlessly swinging?
Were the Twins able to add a player of Sanchez's caliber to solidify and protect the Mauer-Morneau-Kubel trio, their offense would receive a huge boost.
And Sanchez is no slouch defensively, either.
If the Twins were able to pull off a deal involving Alexi Casilla, Anthony Swarzak, and possibly Carlos Gutierrez, there should be no reason not to pull the trigger on this trade.
Step 3 - Demote Brian Duensing and Kevin Mulvey
Both Duensing and Mulvey are starting pitchers and have no right in the bullpen, especially with R.A. Dickey pitching long-relief.
Come to think of it, the Twins do not actually have a bullpen. They have a collection of starting pitchers.
Duensing and Mulvey didn't pitch in relief in the minors, and shouldn't be used in high-leverage situations in the majors.
It just doesn't make sense.
Step 4 - Trade for Matt Capps
Matt Capps hasn't been the best this year, but he is clearly on the trade block and wants out of Pittsburgh.
He wouldn't be the most expensive reliever to acquire, and that is exactly what the small-market Twins need.
Capps is just 25 years old, and would probably be willing to re-sign with the Twins after this season.
Besides solidifying a porous bullpen, this move would do wonders to the fan base in terms of showing them you are dedicated to bringing a World Series to Minnesota.
Step 5 - Promote Jesse Crain
Jesse Crain was banished to Rochester after an ERA over eight in his first 17 innings of the season.
It was his first stint in the minors in five years, and that undoubtedly shook some sense into him.
Crain will never be a great pitcher, but he has the ability to get major-league batters out. He has had success in the past, posting an ERA of 3.59 last year through 62.2 innings.
His performance during this stay in Rochester also warrants another chance with the major-league team.
Step 6 - Never pitch R.A. Dickey with runners on base
This will be simple to follow. Dickey has allowed 13 of the 21 runs he has inherited to score. That is third worst in baseball.
Dickey isn't half bad, though, in long-relief and spot starts. He has earned a place on the active roster.
Step 7 - Trade Joe Crede
Crede is an excellent defensive third-baseman. Easily one of the best in the league. His pitfall, though, is his inability to get on base at a steady clip.
He was signed for a reasonable contract chock-full of incentives, most of which Crede has reached. He also provides some great pop in his bat that quite a few teams would covet.
We wouldn't be able to get much in return for Crede, but he would clear the way for a certain top prospect waiting in the wings...
Step 8 - Call up Danny Valencia
Danny Valencia has been regarded as the third baseman of the future for quite some time. He possesses above-average defense, as well as some great pop in his bat.
The one thing he boasts that Crede cannot, though: a superb batting average. Through his first 24 games in Rochester Valencia has hit .362/.371/.617.
I'll be the first to admit the small sample size, but any hitter with a start like that in the International League can't be all bad.