The Minnesota Twins have had their joy stolen a lot over the past several seasons by the New York Yankees, they may have finally returned the favor.
The Minnesota Twins have always seemed to be at least one if not several steps behind the New York Yankees organization. Not only do the Twins seem behind the Yankees but in my still somewhat young fandom the Yankees seem to always be stealing joy, players, and playoff wins away most often from the Twins.
That trend likely starts for me with the trade of a disgruntled Chuck Knoblauch. While the Twins received some notable players such as Cristian Guzman and Eric Milton in return, Knoblauch was still an iconic player that you just hate to see leave your teams clubhouse. Aaron Hicks is the most recent of players that have gone to the Yankees and blossomed and found success.
The Twins also have been dealt first round exit after first round exit from the playoffs at the hands of the Yankees. Last season was simply just another exit for the history books. The Twins front office of Derek Falvey and Thad Levine have started a trend that hopefully will continue between the Twins and Yankees. The front office has found a way to pillage some talent from the Yankees roster for a change.
Hitters Jake Cave and Tyler Austin have found for themselves a consistent place in the Twins lineup. Pitchers Deitrich Enns and Zack Littell are on the fringe of finding a spot in the major leagues. Not to mention the Twins also hired hitting coach James Rowson from the guys in Pinstripes.
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Cave has essentially had the tough task of trying to replace Byron Buxton in the lineup. He will never be able to replace Buxton as a centerfielder, but Cave has shown that he can swing the bat a little. With 72 games and 210 at-bats, Cave is slashing .257/.307/.476 and has 12 doubles and 10 home runs. Those numbers aren’t lighting the league of fire, but are also very respectable numbers for Cave’s role. It seems he may very well be the Twins fourth outfielder into 2019 and may even push for some time as a starter.
Austin, as he has alternated with Mauer between first base and designated hitter, has flexed his power muscle plenty in his 20 games with the Twins. Hitting .243/.308/.557 with seven home runs, Austin looks like someone who could easily at least continue to platoon with someone as the Twins first baseman or DH going forward.
Both of these players were players that the Yankees were running out of a roster spot for and the Twins were able to give them a home. As 2018 finishes, it seems possible that both Austin and Cave may have a role in 2019 with the Twins. Littell has been a bit shaky in his major league innings but could still figure things out as he should get some more run down the stretch.
It would be much better to have some of those first-round playoff victories, or maybe even Aaron Hicks, but these several moves under the leadership of the Falvey and Levine front office are at least a step in the right direction as the Twins are finally taking something from the Yankees. Not having all those things taken from the Twins and their fans. It is a small victory, but it is at least something we can celebrate as Twins fans.