Minnesota Twins: To have patience or to win now?

lhodgin
DETROIT, MI - JUNE 7: Nelson Cruz #23 of the Minnesota Twins celebrates his solo home run that broke a 3-3 tie against the Detroit Tigers with Eddie Rosario #20 of the Minnesota Twins during the eighth inning at Comerica Park on June 7, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. The Twins defeated the Tigers 6-3. (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - JUNE 7: Nelson Cruz #23 of the Minnesota Twins celebrates his solo home run that broke a 3-3 tie against the Detroit Tigers with Eddie Rosario #20 of the Minnesota Twins during the eighth inning at Comerica Park on June 7, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. The Twins defeated the Tigers 6-3. (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images) /
facebooktwitterreddit

The Minnesota Twins have long had a reputation for being a patient ball club when it comes to developing players. But is this the right approach?

It’s hard to argue that the Minnesota Twins aren’t having one of their best years ever. At one time they held the best record in baseball. Despite a few hiccups from the bullpen, they’ve managed to maintain their divisional lead over the Cleveland Indians all season. Through this, the Twins have been known as a club who doesn’t “buy” championships. They grow guys from the minors, they’re patient and they trust their process. But is that the best way to build a championship team?

Joe Mauer is the best example of the Twins’ approach to player development. He was a hometown kid, drafted by the Twins, they developed him and it paid off. Mauer is arguably one of the best to ever wear a Twins uniform. Despite years when he was injured and playing well below his value, he remained on their roster. That patience has been both celebrated and criticized.

More recently, the Twins have shown great patience with Byron Buxton. Buxton has been known as a slow starter and his style of play has led to him being injured more often than the Twins would like. There have been opportunities to trade him but the Twins have stuck with him and he has turned in the best season of his young career this year.

Despite recently landing on the injured list with a shoulder injury, Buxton has played an important role in the Twins’ success this season.

This year’s Opening Day roster looked a bit different in Minnesota.

The offseason in Minnesota was a busy one. Mauer retired and the front office made some major roster moves. The Twins went to work rebuilding the roster that was largely traded away last year. Probably the most impactful signing of the offseason was designated hitter Nelson Cruz.

The Twins signed Cruz to a one-year deal with a team option for the 2020 season. Not a bad idea considering Cruz is 39 years old, but his contract in 2019 is worth $14 million. That’s a pretty big gamble. Thankfully, it’s paid off and then some. Cruz is having one of the best years of his career. His batting average is right at .300 and he’s belted 32 home runs. Not bad for an old guy.

Both Buxton and Cruz have been critical to the Twins’ phenomenal season so far. So which is the better way to build a team? Patience with the farm system, developing players over years before bringing them up or making big signings to fill a need now? Farm system players are often used as trade bait at the deadline or down the stretch and if Cruz is non-productive or spends most of the season hurt, general manager Thad Levine looks like he has no idea what he’s doing.

Maybe the way to build a team is a little bit of both. Not blowing the top off of the luxury tax to sign every big-name player you can (looking at you, Yankees) but also not relying on the young, up and coming talent to carry your club.

Next. 4 moves that can help the Twins' postseason push. dark

When you play small market ball, you have to be smart about how and where you spend that money. Whether the Twins spent enough this year is debatable, but we’ll have plenty of time to discuss that later. What say you, readers? How does the Pond think the Twins should be built?

facebooktwitterreddit