July is upon us at last! And now begins the race to the trade deadline. This year, for the first time in a long time, the Twins could be sellers. While I, like most of the Minnesota faithful, remain hopeful that the in the month of July the Twins will continue their winning ways. With another push of good luck and GREAT starting pitching (Scott Baker is UN-HITTABLE at home), the Twins can optimistically hope to finally climb back to .500.
With the state of the AL Central being what it is, if the Twins can get back to .5oo they should be well within the striking range for a late season push, as the division leaders are currently sit only 6 games over. But what is it going to take to get our beloved Twins back into the top spot in the division?
The trade deadline is now only 30 days away and if the Twins play well enough to climb back into the race they will need to be buyers and not sellers as the deadline approaches. The Twins will need to look for some help in their bullpen. Anyone else notice the lack of RHP in the pen? Can Joe Nathan come back and join Matt Capps at the back of the pen? Bringing in an arm from outside the organization could be our best bet. There is, however, another approach to repair the struggling pen, and it all has to do with the starting rotation.
Brian Duensing has pitched well for the Twinkies this season at the back of the rotation, but a healthy Kevin Slowey or Kyle Gibson could pitch just as well, if not better. Duensing could then head to the bullpen where his services could be called on in more favorable situations. And so with a tweak of the rotation the Twins could not only bring more reliability to our rotation but all shoreup our bullpen. But better pitching from start to finish will not be enough to bring the Twins to the top of the AL Central.
While it may be painfully obvious, there is no way the Twins can bring home another division title is to get healthy. The Twins have been unable to get and stay healthy this season. As soon as someone returns from the DL it seems that two more take his place. Morneau is gone until August, and Kubel fresh off a rehab start may be gone for longer than expected. Even if the Twins can pitch lights out this month, if the team cannot get healthy then those of us cheering on the Twins will be forced to watch our team dismantled.
Here’s to hoping that Michael Cuddyer, Jason Kubel, Francisco Liriano, Kevin Slowey and the likes remain in Minnesota, at least through the end of the year. A healthy Twins team can make the push as we approach the trade deadline, and once again we can go out and try to find the piece to get us into the post-season where hopefully the results will be better than year’s past.