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Are the Twins in danger of entering a cycle of mediocrity?

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As I read posts about the decisions the Twins have made and predictions about their roster, I wonder if they are in danger of entering a cycle of mediocrity. They have been there before, signing older players on the down side of their careers with the thought they would be the necessary difference in the coming season. Ultimately they were not and the Twins entered the following season with the same holes and questions.

Of course there are many motivators for signing the veterans. Sometimes they are signed to appease the fans and increase season ticket sales. If the Twins had not made any moves this winter, ticket sales would be down even further. It seems that the Royals were in this cycle for many years, but now are coming out of it. The Mariners may still be in the cycle as they continue to pour at bats into Chone Figgins.

As I look at this roster, I wonder if they have a reasonable chance of 90+ wins and a playoff spot. If so, signing veterans like Carroll, Marquis, Doumit and Willingham will have been money well spent. Is that season really reasonable? It would certainly be one historic turn around from 63 wins. Is it more reasonable to think these players were signed to give us a chance at 84 wins while appeasing some fans and increasing ticket sales? Will any of these players be on the next Twins team that wins a playoff game?

I, for one, do not need to be appeased. Given the likelihood of mediocrity this year, I would prefer they search for the next Jamey Carroll or Nick Punto rather than sign one on the down side. I appreciate that they are looking for the next Todd Coffey or Matt Guerrier rather than sign a mid 30's version. Doumit? He is signed for one year. Would we have been better off finding out if Parmelee is a major leaguer? Should we see if we Towles is an answer as a reserve catcher? Marquis? I guess if he finds success, we have a chip to trade midseason. What if these signings are just enough to wonder if we are buyers or sellers? Even last year in a 63 win season, we were potential buyers mid July.

Following a blue print of going with youth has risks. Fans will be angered when the it appears the only motivation is the budget. Ticket sales would be down further as signing veterans generates interest even though those veterans are on the down side. This blue print also has benefits. Moving up to the major leagues requires adjustment through struggles for most players. The Royals will benefit from the major league time given to Moustakis and Duffy. The Twins could invest time into Dozier, Parmelee and Benson. You will argue they are not ready. I concede they are not ready to contribute significantly to a 90 win team. I do think they will be more ready in 2013 with significant major league at bats this year.

What do you think? Are the Twins making decisions that will lead to a cycle of mediocrity? Is it reasonable that the players they signed this off season will be part of the next Twin team that wins a playoff game?
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  1. Teflon's Avatar
    Two things are in the Twins favor. The AL Central offers 19 games each against KC, Cleveland, and Chicago as opposed to Boston, New York, or Tampa Bay if we played in the East. The other is the introduction of the 2nd wild card - as the Twins have shown an affinity for game #163.
    Updated 03-10-2012 at 05:29 PM by Teflon
  2. Thrylos's Avatar
    The core of this team is pretty much the same as it was in 2010 with Doumit replacing Kubel (and Thome), Willingham replacing Cuddyer, Carroll replacing Hardy and Revere/Plouffe replacing Young. If Morneau stays healthy and performs (he did not in 2010) then this team might actually be better, with Casilla and Span a year closer to their primes than before their primes.

    The only change from the 2010 team as far as the rotation goes is that they have a full year of Pavano instead of a combination of Pavano/Perkins and that Marquis replaced Slowey.

    In the pen, the changes from 2010 is that Perkins replaced Rauch (Duensing and Capps were there), Swarzak replaced Mahay and still looking for the replacements to Guerrier, Crain and Mijares. If 2-3 pitchers step up, this can be a good pen

    And the 2010 team was a 94 win team. They just need to be and stay healthy
  3. whydidnt's Avatar
    In the vain of this article - are the Twins approaching a cycle of mediocrity, I fear that may be the case. I don't think it's been pre-destined that will happen, but I think ownership with their tight budget may force it to happen. They lowered the budget this year because they project lower revenue as a result of how horrible they were last year. The key word is PROJECT. In my mind it kind of becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy when you don't spend the necessary dollars to compete. If they Twins had invested another $10 million this year to make the bullpen better and provide another quality bat or SP we would all be rightfully excited about where this team was headed. However, cutting the payroll makes the team worse, meaning less fans show up this year, they cut again next year and we are back to the dome days, despite "investing" hundreds of millions of taxes so the Twins didn't cry poverty every year. The fact that this is happening just 2 years after the new stadium has opened really angers me.
  4. John Bonnes's Avatar
    I think they'll put their best foot forward into July, but if things fall apart, I wouldn't be shocked if you see a lot of those veterans traded and a lot of the youngsters with a lot more time, especially Parmelee, Benson, Dozier and some of the pitchers.
  5. jorgenswest's Avatar
    I just don't see the competitive team this year. I don't think they are 10 million away. I would have not signed some that they did, cutting the budget further. I wouldn't have done it for the purpose of cutting he budget. I would have done it for the development of younger players with an eye on the next playoff win. The signed the players they did to appease fans. They couldn't justify cutting the budget further as a means of development. John is right. We can trade players in the summer. Trades are not that easy, though. Little can be expected in return for our investment. Look at the bounty we received for Delmon Young and Jim Thome.
  6. ScrapTheNickname's Avatar
    Being a bad team has its upside, kind of. I used to like to going to the hateful Dome during those lean years in the 90s where I could be alone among the blue seats with no one blocking my view. (I live in California now, have never been to the new park.)
  7. Fanatic Jack's Avatar

    Don't worry my friend soon Target Field will be deserted like a ghost town. This team will lose 90 plus games easily and trying to sell a winning product to fans has been tough for the front office after 2011. I love Terry Ryan but just bringing him back is not enough. Give him a decent payroll to work with so he can get some pitching help. The Twins were 4th in MLB in ticket sales and attendance. This will soon change after 2012. There is nothing wrong with being optimistic but also be realistic.
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