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Dark Days in Minnesota

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ID:	882Well, I never expected it would be this bad.

Sure, I had plenty of doubts about these 2012 Twins. I realized I was being somewhat optimistic when I projected them to finish around .500, and I also realized that there was a chance injuries could pile up and send the club into the same sort of spiral that engulfed it last summer.

The thing is, the roster has remained relatively healthy. Outside of Scott Baker, the Twins have largely been playing with the group that they hoped to have this season. And yet, they've still been almost every bit as bad as they were in the final two months of the 2011 season, when under-qualified minor-leaguers filled the lineup and apathy seemed to take hold of a team that dropped 41 of its final 54 games.

It's getting worse, not better. What is going on?

A sense of hopelessness currently permeates this organization from top to bottom. Players and coaches are despondent in their quotes. The front office appears totally clueless, cycling through Quad-A players like Clete Thomas and Erik Komatsu while making the same kind of blunders handling injured players as they did last year. The lineup, which figured to be Minnesota's greatest strength, just went through the worst offensive slump in modern major-league history.

And then of course there's the starting pitching. It's been outrageously awful, and there's little hope on the horizon. Just take a look at the organization's top three pitching prospects:

1) Liam Hendriks opened the season with the big-league club after a good spring and has been utterly over-matched by MLB hitters, posting a 9.00 ERA, 1.89 WHIP and 9-to-4 strikeout-to-walk ratio while coughing up five homers in 18 innings. He's now been replaced in the rotation by Scott Diamond, who will probably fare better but not by a lot.

2) Kyle Gibson is recovering from Tommy John. He's expected back next year, but Twins fans know all too well that the process of returning to full strength after elbow surgery can drag on and ding a pitcher's upside.

3) Alex Wimmers, whom the Twins were also counting on to be knocking on the door next year, is currently on the shelf indefinitely with what else? an elbow tear. The medical staff has opted to avoid surgery for now, but we know how that goes.

Aside from Diamond, Nick Blackburn is the only current member of the rotation under contract beyond this year. The Twins don't have quality pitching prospects coming up on the farm, they don't have many assets that they can trade for impact arms, and with attendance dropping precipitously it seems highly unlikely that they'll come up with the money it takes to bring in legitimate help through free agency.

This organization is in dire shape. Here in Year 3 of a beautiful new stadium, the current situation is downright depressing. Strong leadership is required to bring the Twins out of this miserable funk, and frankly the front office's bumbling desperation hardly inspires confidence.

It's time to make something happen. This is beyond unacceptable, and the fans deserve a whole lot better. I'm not calling for anyone to lose their job, I'm calling for some people to step the hell up.
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