Jul 15, 2014; Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
Since the team finished the first half on a high note, the Minnesota Twins record currently stands at 44-50. Fangraphs, though, still puts their percentage chance of making the playoffs at 0.5%. With such low current odds of making the playoffs, the Twins look very suited to be sellers before the July 31st Trade Deadline.
However, the Twins begin the second half with a ten game homestand, and in terms of make or break moments for the rest of 2014, this is it.
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The question then becomes, how well do the Twins have to do to decide that there might be new hope? The Twins need to blast out of the gates with an 8-2 record just to make it to .500 and that would require a sustained stretch of good baseball that hasn’t often materialized this season.
Sitting at .500 certainly wouldn’t turn the Twins immediately into buyers, pushing for the playoffs, but the second wildcard spot comes closer within reach from there.
The Twins have some obvious trade pieces that they could move before the deadline. Some are obvious because the team has players ready or able to step into a new role (Kevin Correia and Josh Willingham), and some are obvious because they carry a bunch of value (Kurt Suzuki). With all three players becoming free agents at the end of the year, the Twins would do very well to get something in return for them.
If the right deal comes around the Twins should absolutely pull the trigger on trading them, though replacing Suzuki would be a serious pain for management and the fans, since the Twins are short on big league ready catchers.
So, not only is this homestand a proving ground for the entire team, it will also be a showcase for any trade-able assets.
However, this creates an inherent contradiction because the better Willingham, Correia and Suzuki play in the next ten days, the better chance the Twins have of winning. Then even if they look really appealing to other teams, the Twins might want to hang onto them because they helped fuel a winning streak.
A surging player that looks really trade-able also looks really keep-able to a Twins team that might start believing it could make a run at the Wildcard.
In my perfect world the Twins will come out of the break playing really well but will also make some smart trades. It just makes too much sense to trade Correia and Willingham. They likely won’t net an eventual impact player in return but with the crapshoot nature of prospects, the more you have the better chance there is that one of them will pan out.
Suzuki could bring a higher rated prospect but the Twins would have to balance out the effects of losing their now everyday catcher without much in the way of a replacement.
If the Twins lose a handful of the next couple of games it will make it easier to trade those pieces but they don’t have to go into fire-sale mode and trade just to trade. Finding the perfect trade is nearly impossible but you have to hope the Twins won’t pass up a chance to make 2015 or 2016 better because they are clinging to making 2014 more relevant.
Minnesota fans had an exciting week with the All-Star festivities held at Target Field, but the second half of the season might not be as rewarding for Twins fans.