As the Twins season draws to a close with the proverbial whimper, literally hundreds of questions surround the team's offseason. While the brass decides who stays and who goes, the fans have been left with a terrible taste in their mouth. Finger pointing season has officially opened.
Any fan keeping close tabs on the year has seen and heard the comments about certain players and decision makers and the sportswriters (including myself) are just reaping the benefits.
One particular target has been pitcher Kevin Slowey. Squeezed out of the starting rotation at the tail end of spring training, Slowey was sent to the bullpen, a role he wasn't shy about being uncomfortable with.
After a long stint on the DL, where he was almost certainly shopped to other teams, Slowey was handed the ball in the wake of the injury bug that terrorized the team.
In 4 starts, Slowey has failed to blow everyone away with a 5.31 ERA (not terrible in comparison with those who beat him out at spring training) and is again under unwarranted scrutiny.
The Minneapolis Star Tribune's Jim Souhan went out of his way to bash Slowey after his 7 inning, 2 run performance against the Angels this weekend. Really? It would be important to note that the night before Brian Duensing pitched one and one third innings before leaving with an oblique strain and that Slowey left after 95 pitches due to a hamstring issue.
Players like Slowey 9who undoubtedly has his issues to atone for this season) and Mauer who has failed to reach ridiculous expectations are quickly becoming unworthy pariahs within and around the organization.
While it isn't the Twins' duty to protect players from criticism (nor should they) the collective ganging up on certain players shows a team on the edge of implosion and management should be taking a good hard look at how to mend fences within this offseason.
No one really knows for sure how the Slowey-bullpen situation went down, and before the end of September it'll be clear if the right or wrong decision was made.
It's my opinion that both the Twins and Slowey will sit down and discuss what transpires the rest of the month, formulate a plan and effectively mend their relationship. Obviously Slowey's trade value is far below where it should be, and the potential upside to the young pitcher is more than enough to have another look.
Like almost everything about this season, the Twins need to put the issue behind them and figure out what is best for the team, then stand behind it.