02-21-2012, 01:05 PM #1
Why are expectations so low?
So we lost Kubel and Cuddyer. Be we gained Willingham. If Joe and Justin can be/stay healthy. Zumaya, Perkins, and a healthy Capps holding down the bullpen, and name a single starter who you think won't do better than they did last year? Valencia should rebound from his sophomore slump, Span is reporting with good health.
I see a team this year that should be much much better than last if we can stay reasonably healthy.
Who knows, if we are within striking distance of the Tigers in July maybe Terry Ryan will fill a need or two at the deadline and we can make a run at the division!
I prefer to look at things a bit more optimistically.
I dunno maybe its just that Spring Training feeling that every fan has about his team this time of year, but I see a chance at a good year.
The Crazy, Fanatical Fan!
02-21-2012, 01:20 PM #2
I hate to say it, I think Mourneau's career as someone who can carry a lineup is probably over. Zumaya probably won't give you much for any length of time. The starters should all do better, but they all have a track record (beyond last year) of being very inconsistent. Valencia MIGHT rebound from his sophomore slump, but his rookie season was the odd year on his resume. Capps should be better. Perkins I think has turned a corner. I have high hopes for Span, but he kind of falls into the same boat as Valencia: his minor league track record doesn't lend itself to predicting the success he has had in the majors. Ryan won't make a major move at the deadline, that's just not his MO.
02-21-2012, 01:21 PM #3
I love this time of year because you can dream that all of the "ifs" work out in your favor. But realistically, the "ifs" don't all fall in your favor. If you have pocket 6-10 you can hope the flop is 7-8-9 but it probably won't be.
I'm optimistic too, there is reason to believe this team could be a poor man's 2010 team and they won 94 games. But I'm not betting on it.
02-21-2012, 01:27 PM #4
starting pitching. hasn't been good for years and they do nothing to improve. Marquis? please... also losing all of your sluggers in one offseason (don't forget Thome end of last year) and going out and getting injury prone 'ok' players. Twins won't finish last, but they won't compete for the division either.
02-21-2012, 01:31 PM #5
Even if Morneau can stay healthy, the odds that he returns to his MVP level production are very slim. Also, Zumaya is just as questionable, especially since he hasn't pitched in the majors since 2010. Capps also isn't exactly the best of options at closer, especially with all of the free agent options there were for relievers this season. I understand having Capps in the bullpen, but there were plenty of other new options that they could have signed.
I see no reason why the Twins can't do better, but I don't think they can perform much better than .500.
Even with those expectations, though, I am a little disappointed that this is just two seasons removed from where we had JJ Hardy and Jim Thome in the lineup. I just can't get too excited for a team that has Jamey Carroll as starting SS and Ben Revere starting in the outfield.
02-21-2012, 01:41 PM #6
2 years ago, they had a really good bullpen. Jesse Crain and Matt Guerrier left then.
Last year's was atrocious.
02-21-2012, 02:21 PM #7
I'll be the rainbow-barfing unicorn.
I think you're right - almost the entire rotation should be better. So should the defense. The bullpen can't be much worse than it was. And the lineup is going to be a ton better. Even if Morneau is only an average 1B, that's a pretty good top of the lineup, and don't forget that he wasn't exactly critical to the 2010 division run.
Finally, I'll point out that Gardy's teams have been at their best when they came into a season as underdogs. For whatever reason, they've struggled with success, but he's got enough "F U" to him to motivate a team that feels like they're being underestimated.
I'd be a lot happier with another bench bat and rhed bullpen arm, and I consider it borderline criminal they didn't pick those up, but that's precisely because I believe this team could have a chance. I wouldn't care otherwise.
02-21-2012, 02:31 PM #8-----
Blogging Twins since 2007 at The Tenth Inning Stretch
02-21-2012, 02:37 PM #9
I can understand why the expectations are so low, but then again, you have to think at how incredibly bad this team was last year. They lost 99 games while having so many injuries to key players and that.
The bullpen was terrible besides Perkins. One would have to think that will be improved this year simply because how can it possibly get much worse? I don't think the philosophy they have going into this year was a good one with Capps, and we'll need to have some very good performances from those guys if we want to contend.
As far as the lineup goes, I think we'll be alright. The real problem right now is the pitching. We are relying on some guys that are not consistent at all. Baker can't seem to stay healthy for a full season. Pavano is Pavano, a solid #3-#4 on a good team? Marquis, I know nearly nothing about the guy, but isn't consistency something he doesn't possess? Blackburn just simply shouldn't be in the majors in my opinion, he's only here really because of that contract that we gave him. The last guy is Liriano. Great in 2010, but a disaster in 2011. Maybe he turns it around, but there's a lot of inconsistency there too. Who knows, maybe we come out and win 95 games and all of the pitchers pitch great, but it's definitely not something to count on.
Summing this up, it's likely that we will have a better year this year than last year, but to compete with Detroit when they have a superior lineup, starting rotation, and bullpen, it's just not likely that we win 90 games and take the division, but crazier things have happened.
02-21-2012, 02:41 PM #10
I'm cautiously optimistic as I'm a glass half full guy. However, there are so many "ifs" and question marks. However, I think if the defensive play is better, especially at the shortstop position, that this drastically changes things. The starting pitching will look better and go deeper in to games with better defense. There will be far less extra outs given up due to errors and get the team off the field quicker. It should also keep the bullpen a bit fresher by not having to pitch 4 and 5 innings a game.
02-21-2012, 02:42 PM #11
I agree in that I wish we would have picked up an arm or two on the cheap (they were so available), but don't rule out Burroughs/Bates as bench bats and Bulger/Burton/anyone else. I'm worse than John in that I actually beleive our Triple A team will have a high talent load this year (presuming the players not making the team out of Spring Training stay in Triple A instead of walking). My own optimism is making me sick.....must go to Fort Myers......see the truth in person. 13 more days.
02-21-2012, 03:28 PM #12
Not saying we should've traded Hardy for Hoey. That was still stupid. But the JJ Hardy glory days were pretty bland.
02-21-2012, 03:40 PM #13
02-21-2012, 09:47 PM #14
As a side note, looking at baseball-reference and speaking of lineup depth, in 2010, the Twins had 3 lineup spots with OPS+ above 100 compared to other teams performance from the same lineup spot. Those were leadoff (92), #2 (87), and #5 (98). In 2011, they had 3 spots at 90 or above, #3 (90), #6 (113), and #9 (95). Not that any of this should surprise anyone, but it is just another way of rehashing how far the team fell in one year.
02-22-2012, 10:24 AM #15
I can honestly say that this is the lowest expectations that I have ever had going into a season in a decade. Something is hanging over this team and organization right now and I don't like it.
I'm worried about the future with Joe Mauer as the "leader."
Here's hoping that we see a different outlook and team this season. I'm really hoping Joe "gets it."
02-22-2012, 11:52 AM #16
Any time a team comes off of a 99 loss season, you can't expect much optimism. The success this team has this season rests squarely on the M&M boys. I'm a little more optimistic than most (I think they can be the 2nd best team in the division behind Detroit), but there are way too many questions surrounding this team to be 100% confident in anything.
02-22-2012, 12:20 PM #17
If all of the health issues break our way, and all of our hitters have solid seasons, we still have a pitching staff that's going to make us underdogs in 3 out of every 5 games.
02-22-2012, 03:21 PM #18
I'm an optimist by nature, but honestly, things really can't go much worse than last year, so by that thought alone, this season will be much better. Some new faces are always exciting, even if it is an aging SS and an end of the rotation starter (and remember the last such starter the Twins picked up turned into a beloved member of the organization--Pavano). It's easy to say that a staring outfield with Revere is hard to get excited about, but I was at Comerica when he almost hit an in-the-parker, and I'm excited to see that energy. Bottom line is it's new and exciting, and Detroit could lose one, or two, or three stars and be finished. It happens.... Like with the Twinks last year.
02-23-2012, 01:39 PM #19
Why not, they have done it in other yrs we were picked to do poorly.
02-23-2012, 02:54 PM #20
The ifs for this team will be answered in spring training. Morneau hit like crap last year in ST. He only was able hit minor leaguers well. If he's hitting major leaguers in ST, then I (for one) would feel much more comfortable. Liriano is another big one... if he's walking guys a ton, then we know what we will get. I agree that expectations should be low after losing 99 games, but let us also remember that the Twins were a bit of an aberation last year as they expected to contend but had just about everyone on the DL for long stints... kind of hard to contend when less than 2/3s of the starting linup failed to get enough plate appearances to qualify for any titles. I agree with others when they say the pitching was bad, but some of that was due to atrocious defense, which will hopefully be much improved.