Why the MLB lockout could be especially bad for the Minnesota Twins

The Minnesota Twins are heading into an extremely important season in 2022, with the team facing either a rebuild, a retool, or one last push to keep the contention window open longer. All three options make sense, but the team needs to decide which direction they’re leaning.

If the Twins opt for a rebuild, that would make sense. There’s several young Twins and enough young talent at the high levels of the minors to complete a rebuild around Byron Buxton that would only take a couple years. It would be unfortunate the contention window closed so fast, but all of the team’s veterans are easily moveable and could fetch strong prospects.

If the Twins opt for a retool, allowing one year for the prospects and young players to mature while signing stopgap guys and not blowing up the core, that would make sense as well. This year looks like a tough year to compete, and their best young players should grow into contributors by 2023.

If the Twins went for it all, they would have to make a few key signings when free agency opens back up, but that would make sense too. The team needs rotation help and a shortstop, but the rest of this lineup is ready to return to contention.

Unfortunately, that’s why this lockout is so damaging to them. Because the Minnesota Twins could go in three different directions, being forced to do nothing is costing them a key chance to pick a direction.

Most franchises know which way they’re going. The Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers are going for it all. The Texas Rangers, Detroit Tigers, and Los Angeles Angels are hopeful flashy signings and current player development will vault them forwards. The Pittsburgh Pirates, Kansas City Royals, and Baltimore Orioles continue their rebuilds.

The one thing the Twins couldn’t afford this offseason was to languish in one place. The team needs to pick a path and follow it, or risk heading for an ugly period of mediocrity, similar to the one the Cincinnati Reds and Cleveland Guardians seem to be bound for.

The labor talks continue to move at a glacial pace, and the Twins are stuck in place because of it. Are they going to be successful or will this lead to a long string of mediocrity? Let’s pause for a moment.

It’s foolish to believe Derek Falvey and Thad Levine don’t have a plan for when the lockout does end. If they are successful in picking a plan and sticking with it, the Minnesota Twins won’t be terribly affected by the lockout. Only time can tell how much they’ll be impacted.