Two more games left. 160 Twins games have been played in 2012 season. Itís been yet another frustrating, 90-loss season for the Twins and their fans. As the offseason fast approaches, it will soon be time for the Hot Stove League. That means 40 man roster decisions, winter meetings, trades, free agents, and most important, rumors. Rumors will, as always, be prevalent throughout the offseason. Twins Daily is the place for all of that!
One question that the Twins front office will have to ask themselves, and Twins fans will want to ask themselves (just for fun), will affect how the offseason plays out. Is the Twins' glass half full or half empty?
- Josh Willingham came to Target Field and in his first year with the Twins, he hit a career-high 35 home runs and drove in a career-high 110 runs in a career-high 145 games.
- Joe Mauer returned from a frustrating 2011 season to compete for the AL batting title and lead Major League Baseball in On-Base Percentage. Proving he can play a solid 1B, his 147 games played (assuming he plays the final two games in Toronto) will be a career high.
- Ryan Doumit was brought in on a one-year, $3 million deal and posted his career bests in doubles (34), home runs (18), RBI (75) and games played (134). He did a nice job behind the plate and showed enough versatility to play some left field. The Twins locked him up for two more years at just $7 million.
- Justin Morneau overcame wrist and brain injuries to have a monster second half.
- Denard Span and Ben Revere did a nice job instigating the lineup, helping the team to more an 0.5 more runs per game than a year ago. Both played very good defense as well.
- Lefty Scott Diamond came back from a difficult 2011 season to become the Twins best starting pitcher. With one start remaining, he is 12-8 with a 3.54 ERA (4-1 in Rochester, giving him 16 total wins in 2012 after losing 19 combined last year). He has already thrown 202.2 innings.
- Glen Perkins was signed to a long-term contract extension this spring and has proven to be worth every cent regardless of the role he has been in. Heís 3-1 with 16 saves. In 69.1 innings, he has walked just 16 and struck out 75.
- Jared Burton was signed as a minor league free agent after missing time the last couple of years with shoulder injuries. He became the Twins 8th inning stalwart. He was 3-2 with a 2.21 ERA and a 0.90 WHIP. In 61 innings, he walked just 15 and struckout 53.
Note that if nothing changes, each of these players is scheduled to be back with the Twins in 2012. However, at the same time, a few realities need to be front of mind:
- Despite the offensive performances listed above, the Twins offense ranked 10th out of 14 teams in the American League with 4.35 runs per game. They are 7th in batting average and 6th in on-base percentage. However, they are just 12th out of 14 in slugging percentage thanks to the second fewest home runs.
- The Twins pitchers gave up 5.16 runs per game which was better than only Cleveland (5.17 R/G). Of course, their ERA is 4.78 and Clevelandís is 4.77. What is staggering is that the Twins had just 924 strikeouts. The second-lowest total in the AL? Cleveland pitchers have struckout 1,058. Tampaís pitchers led with 1,348 strikeouts.
- Last year the Twins were the second-worst team in baseball. This year, despite relative health (at least compared to 2011) and strong performances by all of those listed above, the Twins will have another top five pick in the 2013 draft. Theyíre also competing over the final two games of the season with Cleveland for last place in baseballís worst division.
So again, the question for the Twins front office (and for all of you reading this, of course), how full is the Twins cup? Half Full? Or Half Empty?
- Half Full - The Twins could make one trade and sign two or three mid-level pitchers who will make Diamond the Twins #3 or #4 starter, instead of #1 starter. In doing so, the Twins could be competitive in the AL Central in 2013 or at least 2014. Meanwhile, Kyle Gibson, Aaron Hicks, Oswaldo Arcia, Chris Herrmann and a few other minor leaguers could be ready to contribute by midseason.
- Half Empty Ė The Twins need to blow this thing up. Trade Morneau. Trade Span. Trade Willingham. Acquire youth. Build for 2017 and hope that the rebuilding goes better than the Royals or Pirates plans have gone. The Pirates assured themselves of their 20th straight losing season. The Royals have one .500 season in the last 20.
So as the Twins finish out their season north of the border, Twins Daily will be great place for Twins fans to discuss what direction we would encourage the Twins front office to go.