Kevin Correia is the symbol for the Twins' failed off-season. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Point/Counterpoint - Minnesota Twins 2012 Off-Season


Alex Meyer is part of the future. A big part. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Point – The Twins have improved their team this off-season and the future is bright!

The Twins have made significant moves that will improve the team in the short and long-term.  The Twins went into the off-season with a clear need for starting pitching.  Since games ended in October, the Twins have added 3 quality starting pitchers in Kevin Correia, Mike Pelfrey, and Vance Worley, 2 good starting pitching prospects in Trevor May and Alex Meyer and a lottery ticket starting pitcher in Rich Harden.  You can’t possibly look at those names and come to any conclusion other than the Twins have improved their starting staff.

Beyond simply improving the team, the Twins made smart moves to remove the log-jam that was hindering the potential development of some of the more ready prospects in the farm system.  Denard Span and Ben Revere are great players, but the Twins have ready replacements in Aaron Hicks and Chris Parmelee.  These young players will provide good value and have upside to boot.  Trading these players not only helped bolster the starting rotation of the future, but also created opportunities for these talented and ready players.

Those young starting pitchers are worth mentioning once more.  Alex Meyer has crazy good stuff and a huge frame.  He has to refine his control to be elite, but his upside is too tantalizing to pass up.  Trevor May is more of a question mark, but is only one year removed from being a near top 50 prospect in all of baseball.  If he bounces back, the Revere trade will be on MLB Network countdowns for years to come.  All in all, the Twins have a better outlook than they did in October.  As a result, it is clear that they have significantly improved the team this off-season.  I am excited for the future of this franchise!

Counterpoint – The Twins have spun their wheels and 2013 will be a similar disaster to 2012!

How can a 96-loss team get worse during the off-season?  Simple, fail to address the two biggest holes in the organization:  starting pitching and middle infield.  The Twins went to the scrap heap to sign three starting pitchers:  Kevin Correia, Rich Harden and Mike Pelfrey.  Correia was so poor last season that he was relegated to the bullpen… in Pittsburgh!  Harden is constantly injured and Pelfrey is coming off of major elbow surgery, and was never all that great to begin with.  Oh joy!

In addition, in a desperate attempt to address the fact that the Twins cannot develop their own starting pitching, they traded away two of their best players in Ben Revere and Denard Span for magic beans that may never sprout.  TINSTAAPP!  Why would the Twins give away two of their best players for three pitchers who may never contribute to the team in a significant manner?  Vance Worley will be serviceable, but Meyer and May might both end up as relievers.  Is this the best return the organization could get for two borderline all-star outfielders?

I’m tired of following a team that is always building for the future.  Johan Santana said it best, and I’m paraphrasing, but maybe some of these guys won’t be around when the future arrives.  Trading established players for lottery tickets and magic beans is a great way to stay in the basement for a long period of time.  Just ask Royals fans.  None of these points even address the fact that the middle infield is in shambles and a 26-year-old, no-bat shortstop is going to get 500 plate appearances.  My frustrations with this franchise are boiling over.  If the Twins don’t show something this season, I hope that heads roll.

Which side of this argument do you agree with?  Do you feel the Twins are improved, or is it just more of the same from the past two seasons of losing?  Please respond in the comments.  If you fall in the middle (as I am sure most do), please share your feelings.  Thanks!

Also, I kept this short today, so if you are dying to read more from me, here is are a couple of “gems.”  I introduced the Gagne Threshold, intended to look at the lack of quality middle infielders in MLB.  I also did an analysis of Joe Mauer’s hatred for pop-ups.  Each is loaded with graphs and charts!

 

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  • http://www.facebook.com/ddtwitch David Twitchell

    I’m not sure the counterpoint goes far enough. The pitching staff is not improved at all and the lineup is considerably worse. This team could easily lose 105 games. The lineup will feature anywhere from 5 to 7 automatic outs (OPS under .700) on any given night (RF, CF, 2B, SS, 3B every night and DH/C/1B when Mauer or Morneau sit/get injured) and the pitching staff will feature 0 starting pitchers with an ERA under 4.5. They had Kevin Correia, Rich Harden and Mike Pelfrey last year. They were just going by the names Nick Blackburn, Joel Zumaya and Carl Pavano.

    • Brad Swanson

      You certainly could be right. I do think Pelfrey and Harden can be better than Zumaya and Pavano were last year, but there are still big holes on the team. I’m a little more high on Hicks and Plouffe than some, so I think the lineup can be pretty good. However, there are certainly a lot of questions that need to be answered.