The Minnesota Twins didn’t have everything go right in 2017. As we say Happy Festivus, let’s air some of our 2017 Twins grievances.
Even the Minnesota Twins may need a Festivus. If you are not familiar with the celebration that was made famous by the sitcom Seinfeld, part of it involves a time of airing grievances. The reality is that us as humans are probably all too good at airing grievances so we certainly can come up with a few specific to the Twins.
Souhan’s locker room access
To start this grievance I feel the need to first say, Jim Souhan has been a major, and most times, a good contributor to the Minnesota sports scene over the years. This year brought us two specific instances that made bloggers and fans cringe.
The first was shortly after Miguel Sano‘s leg injury, an injury caused by a major league pitch ricocheting off of his lower leg and damaging said leg. Souhan instead of putting the blame for said injury on the baseball impact chose to call Sano’s weight into question. That sent Twitter into a frenzy with many calling Souhan out for his misjudgment. That only caused Souhan to respond by throwing twitter jabs at the many bloggers that also write about the Twins with something about mother’s basements and kimonos.
The second came after the Twins chose to retain Paul Molitor as the Twins manager. That prompted an article from Souhan titled, “Twins almost had to explain why they let AL’s top manager go.” This just felt strange since from the minute the Twins season was over the Twins front office expressed the desire to find a way to bring Molitor back as the Twins manager. So while Souhan boasts his locker room access, maybe it is the time it is taken away.
Trading Brandon Kintzler at the trade deadline
After seeing how 2017 finished, it would certainly have been nice to have had Brandon Kintzler figuring into the Twins bullpen. Instead, the Twins traded him away for Tyler Watson and international signing money. We now know that the money ultimately has turned into the ability for the Twins to sign Taiwanese pitcher Kai-Wai Teng.
Instead of Kintzler in the bullpen, the Twins relied on Matt Belisle as the closer and rode Trevor Hildenberger hard down the stretch. It also bumped Alan Busenitz into some higher leverage situations. While all three performed well in those stretches, imagine how much deeper the bullpen would have been with Kintzler still in the fold.
There is always a small chance down the line that we as fans will celebrate Watson or Kai-Wai Teng as part of the Twins organization. On this Festivus, a better bullpen would have been greatly appreciated in the 2017 postseason.
The Wrong Side of making History
Speaking of bullpen blunders, we have May 29, 2017 a day the Twins played the Houston Astros. The Twins appeared to have the game in hand as they entered the 8th inning with an 8-2 lead. It looked like the Twins could continue to prove to the baseball world that they were real, but then they played the 8th inning. After 11 runs in the eighth and 3 more in the ninth, the Twins lost to the Astros 16-8.
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The turn around marked the first time in Astros history that the team had won a game after trailing in the 8th inning by more than 6 runs. A solid one-run outing by Ervin Santana, when turned over to the bullpen, disappeared. Each reliever to enter the game in the debacle allowed at least 3 runs each.
It is hard to put the blame on any one specific person in this game. Maybe we just hate May 29, 2017, and this game against the Astros for what it stood for. It did feel like a true Minnesota sports game as in one quick inning our hopes were dashed. Much like some missed field goals that Minnesota sports fans may recall.
Rule-5 Draft losses
Right from the announcement of who was and wasn’t protected for the Rule-5 draft, there were questions floating about who the Twins didn’t protect. On the Rule-5 draft morning, the Twins ended up losing two pitchers in Nick Burdi and Luke Bard.
Burdi made some sense to take a risk on losing. The flamethrower has been injured often and is currently recovering from Tommy John surgery. Burdi is known for his 100 mph fastball, but who knows when that will return to the mound. On the other side, Bard has been making himself into a very good reliever in his own right and may end up being the bigger loss of the two if both stick with their new teams. If nothing else, Bard is healthy and would be able to challenge for a major league tryout this season.
While the Twins did select Tyler Kinley from the Miami Marlins after a promising winter. It really looks like the Twins may have been better off holding onto one of the guys they already had in their system.
How did we do? Did we miss a grievance that you would add to the list? Let us know! Happy Festivus!