I don't think it is a random guess to say the Twins are likely to win 70-75 games. Likely is a lot different than certain. It is also likely the earth will continue to rotate, that my water will work, that planes won't crash, that processes at my work will run about as efficiently as they did yesterday. Nick, you are almost arguing they should not add good players, because it is only a random guess that, say, Zack Grienke will be better than Kevin Correia, since we can't know with certainty what will happen. Odds are, Zack will be better.
The problem with the optimistic take around here is that it ignores the fact that other teams have a right to be optimists. Where you see the difference in roster talent is that if things go right for the Twins - we're relevant. If things go right for the Indians - they could be a playoff team and win the division.
It bugs me when people insist on looking on the rosy side of everything with our team, but don't even try an objective, similar take on another team. With the additions the Indians made and the past success some of their starters have had, they have MUCH more reason to hope than we do. It's really as simple as that.
They will bring back most of the batting order. The offense had a wRC+ of 97 last year.
Obviously, the 2013 bullpen and offense isn't a lock to be as good (or as bad) as the 2012 squad. If nothing changed year to year then you would be right, there would be no point trying to compete with the Angels and Tigers of the world. Some guys will regress, others will get hot. But, I think there is a reasonably strong basis to expect something like a repeat from those squads as a whole (bullpen and offense), since aside from Span and Revere, they will be losing almost no one (barring injury).
That leaves the starting pitching. Good for a 133 ERA- last year. Dead last.
If you bring that up to even average, to match the rest of the team, then you at least open the possibility for a little Pythagorean luck to take you over the top. 3 teams outperformed their Pythagorean record by 6 games or more last year. 4 teams in 2011. Likewise, as many teams underperformed their pythagorean record.
Then there are injuries and hot streaks, suspensions, whatever. All the other crazy things that happen over the course of a season that change the divisional races.
And, what did this free agent class have an abundance of? Starting pitching. What did the Twins have a lot of to spend? Money.
But they spent it on Kevin Correia, holder of a career 115 ERA-, and Mike Pelfrey, holder of a 109 ERA- when guys like McCarthy (ERA- 92), Baker (97), and Saunders (98) fell off the table for only a few dollars more than the Twins were willing to spend. Its maddening to me.
Now, instead of needing only a few breaks to go their way - breaks that happen for teams every year, they will need to play a perfect season to have a prayer - and still might come up short.
I would debate the point that the Twins have much of a chance to have an Orioles-like season. First of all, the Orioles basically tied math to a chair and beat it senseless last season leading to them finishing 11 games better than their pythag. Secondly, the Orioles are built around a bunch of young players entering their prime who were seen to have exceptional ceilings coming up. Guys like Adam Jones and Matt Wieters may have beat their pre-season projections but putting up 4+ win seasons at this age would have been expected of them a few seasons ago.The Twins, on the other hand, have a team that will be carried by players on the wrong side of 30.
The thing about watching a team without a lot of talent is it gives you the opportunity to root for the little things to go right. Mauer and Morneau might still be fun to watch. It'll be fun to see if Willingham can repeat his 2012 numbers. It'll be fun to see what happens if Hicks is brought up. There are plenty of interesting things to watch for in 2013, I just don't think the W-L column is going to be that great.
The '06 Cardinals had a Pythagorean record of 82-79 in the weakest division in baseball, finished first, and won the world series. The '03 Marlins had a Pythagorean record of 87-75. The 2000 Yankees were 85-76, all world series winners. You just have to be good enough to get to the postseason and the Twins have the luxury of playing in one of the weakest divisions in baseball.
Why is that a problem? From my perspective, relevance is the goal this year. My form of "optimism" is believing that the Twins can be a competitive team that keeps things interesting and provides some promising signs for the future along the way. It's a low and attainable standard that is appropriate after a 95-loss season. I'd be perfectly satisfied with that in a bridge year, and while I know some people have a "playoffs or nothing" attitude, there would be many positive ramifications from that type of season. I agree that Indians fans have "MUCH more reason for hope" as far as winning the division or contending for a championship. All four teams in the Central probably have a better team on paper, as I've said. That doesn't mean it's certain, or even likely, that they will all finish ahead of the Twins.Quote:
Originally Posted by TheLeviathan
I agree. It's an extreme and unlikely example. The Orioles improved by 24 wins from one season to the next. However, if the Twins even did HALF that they would be close to .500 which I'd view as a success.Quote:
Originally Posted by terencemann
I realize Nuke is a fictional character, so Bauer would actually be the first coming. And like many guys who go their own way, Bauer's not that similar to Nuke in terms of specific traits. Just that he seems to be a handful, for the wrong manager.
Bauer is 21...not sure what people are expecting in terms of maturity.
This probably has little to do with the philosophy of building a team, with regard to how much should be allotted to drafting, free agency, international, etc., and at what times the amounts should change. But comparing the Indians' offseason approach to the Twins, it's hard for me to see how they did as much better as some people here choose to believe they did. I'm not even seeing how you could say they did better at all.
Why is it dumb? If you never spend the money, because Every FA contract is an overpay, you never spend money. How is it bad for the Twins, this year and next and the following year, if they had "overspent" on 1 player for the next three years? They never spend the money, ever.
There is a limit to draft money and international money now, so FA and re-signing your own players are the only way to spend real money now.
So, why is it dumb to spend the money, rather than pocket it? What are you saving that money for, if you will never spend it?
The Indians tried to be better, they are mostly filled with young cheap players, so they added veterans that cost money around them. Had the Twins signed Jackson and Sanchez, how would that have hurt them the next 4 years? They have no where else to spend the money......they are getting $25MM more in revenue, every year, starting next year.....they will likely have 1 player on their roster next year making more than $5MM per year, one.
How is it dumb, if there is no where else to spend the money, and you make your team better?
How is Michael Bourn Chone Figgins version 2.0? Also Swisher is a good bet to stay pretty solid for the next 3-4 years.
You misunderstand. Being relevant is a good thing. In addition to what you said there is the issue of falling revenue as fans get apathetic which hamstrings the future. My beef was more with this obnoxious bent some are on here to dismiss the rest of the AL Central while at the same time imaging all goes right for us. Without some objectivity its hard to take an opinion serious.
The Indians discussion reflects that. They could be pretty damn good if things break right in even small ways.
Swap Correia for Marcum and add a remotely decent infielder and I give them a B. But I'd say D+ with what actually happened. The Revere trade went really well, but in hindsight I'm not as sure if I like the Span one. You give a young 3.5 WAR a season player for a likely bullpen arm?! They dropped a lot of dead weight, but not all of it. And of course, I'm pissed about the salary cap like everyone else. Craig Leopold, please buy the Twins too!