Opening Day is finally here, and with it comes high hopes and lofty expectations for ball clubs across the MLB.
For the Minnesota Twins, the spectrum of possible outcomes is wide but the number of acceptable ways the season can go is pretty narrow. After signing Carlos Correa to a franchise-record deal and trading away the team's only All-Star for a potential ace, it's not outrageous to expect the Twins to be a playoff team this year.
It's not even outside the realm of possibility that the team can win 90-plus games. If all goes well, and injuries don't derail things again this year, Minnesota should be a good team very much in competition for the postseason.
Once there, the expectations get very simple: win a playoff game.
Winning a series would be ideal, but the Twins haven't won a postseason game since 2004. Johan Santana was the winning pitcher and Shannon Stewart and Jacque Jones batted in the only runs of the game -- that's how long it's been.
Of course, the Twins need to get to the postseason before the miserable losing streak can end. Fans in Minnesota are confident such a thing can happen, but ESPN is tremendously less enthused about how things will go this season.
Twins fans aren't going to like how ESPN is predicting the season will go
Here's a quick rundown of what ESPN is predicting for the Minnesota Twins this season:
- Finish third in AL Central
- Miss postseason
- Zero MVP or Cy Young votes for anyone on the roster
If this is what ends up happening, it could trigger a domino effect that significantly changes the makeup at the front office. While it hasn't been outright telegraphed as such, this feels like a make-or-break season for everyone at the top.
Both Derek Falvey and Thad Levine are entering their seventh year running things, and another losing season could mean they're out of a job. The same can be said for Rocco Baldelli, who isn't quite a lame-duck manager but is entering this season without any years left on his contract.
If ESPN's nightmare scenario for the Twins plays out, Rocco is likely gone and the Pohlad's could turn to someone other than Levine and Falvey to try and turn the team into a winner. The future is built around Correa, Byron Buxton, and the young up-and-comers in the farm system like Brooks Lee and not the guys in charge right now.
It's impossible for the Twins to fly any lower under the radar without hitting the ground, although from the sounds of it they're expected to crater hard. Then again, there's no reason for anyone to buy stock in the Twins now, which is all the more reason for the team to prove everyone wrong.
This could end up being accurate and the Twins don't make any forward movement this year; it could also be the sort of preseason prediction that ends up aging poorly once a team surprises everyone.
Only one way to find out.