Point – The Twins should push all their chips in and try to make the playoffs in 2013
Did you watch baseball in 2012? Baltimore and Oakland both made the playoffs. Did anyone think that would happen? These two teams came completely out of nowhere to make the playoffs. The Twins aren’t even coming out of nowhere. It is easy to forget that the Twins made the playoffs in 6 out of 9 seasons, prior to 2011. This team was wildly successful in the previous decade and still has a team that resembles those of the 2002-2010 glory years.
The offense was great in 2012. 2012 is not viewed as a successful season, but this team can hit. Josh Willingham and Ryan Doumit were excellent additions. Joe Mauer and Denard Span had very strong seasons. Justin Morneau bounced back, while Trevor Plouffe broke out. There are young players ready to contribute as well, in Chris Parmelee, Aaron Hicks and Oswaldo Arcia. If the team can use the 2012 off season to address the lack of starting pitching, there is no reason this team can’t ride a solid offense and an improved pitching staff to a 7th AL Central title.
2011 and 2012 were seasons filled with injuries and other bad luck. 2011 was a nightmare season for the Twins. Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau and Denard Span all missed significant time. In 2012, the pitching staff completely fell apart. How can a team contend with so many players injured? No one can predict what will happen in 2013. It is entirely possible that the Twins will have zero injuries. If they add the right pieces, they might even have some depth to cover for possible injuries.
There is no reason to take a step backward. The Twins should constantly be moving forward. No one wants to watch a team rebuild. Fans want to support a good, competitive team. There is no reason why the Twins can’t make a few key additions and contend in a weak AL Central. Sure, the AL Central is weak, but last I checked the AL Central Champion was just in the World Series. The Twins have a promising future, and there is no reason why the present can’t be surprisingly promising as well. I’d say, there is no reason why any team should not try to win in any given season.
Counterpoint – The Twins are not likely to contend in 2013 and should begin a rebuilding process
Many will point to Baltimore and Oakland’s 2012 success and assume the Twins can reach that same level. This is a very misguided assumption. Typically, teams perform as well as is expected. There are often surprise teams, but rarely do teams come completely out of nowhere. Two consecutive last place finishes would indicate that it would take some sort of magic to contend in 2013. I don’t believe in magic and I don’t think a professional baseball team should rely on magic. This team needs to rebuild and blow up the team.
This team needs a ton of pitching. Did you see the guys they trotted out to the mound last year? Realistically, the team needs 4 starting pitchers, and 5 if you think Scott Diamond‘s performance was a bit of a fluke. The Twins do not have a history of signing free agent starting pitching. Unless they completely shift gears and sign a few free agents, this team will be relying heavily on similar pitchers next year. If this is the case, all the offense in the world won’t make a difference. This does not even address injuries, as the Twins offense stayed relatively healthy all of last year, something that is very difficult to duplicate.
The Twins need to trade the assets they have to build a farm system filled with young pitching. Don’t waste a chip like Denard Span on some MLB ready pitcher that isn’t really great. Find some young A ball flamethrowers and see how they develop. There are no guarantees with young players, but isn’t the allure of a prospect more exciting than guaranteed mediocrity? Trade Span, Josh Willlingham, Justin Morneau and anyone else that a team will trade young pitching for. I’ll admit this isn’t an easy proposition, but that is why the decision makers are money makers.
Trying to win in 2013 will put this team in a hole going into 2014 and beyond. This team needs to rebuild while it has attractive assets. The continued lack of young, talented starting pitching has finally caught up to the Twins. You can’t just sign young pitching, so you have to trade for it, draft it and develop it. This takes time. Patience is virtue; the 2013 Twins might be bad again, but by 2015, this could be a monster team. Citing other teams’ success is not a good enough reason to mortgage the future. 2013 could be a disaster, but it could also be the season when things truly start to turn around.
Where do you stand?