2013 Twins Recap, Part Deux – Well What Did You Expect?

As I predicted, (along with everyone else), the Twins did not have a very good season in 2013. While we might be disappointed by their final win-loss totals, we are not surprised. Terry Ryan came in facing a long rebuilding process, and, as the Twins have always done, they are rebuilding from the farm system, looking to develop tomorrow’s stars “the old fashioned way,” drafting talent and bringing it along.

And yet… still… that new stadium… all that new revenue…

No.

No, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Sure you could go out and buy the best talent available, just throw great heaps of money at the problem, buying up all the most talented free agents on the market in some sort of sad, desperate attempt to “build” a winning club. Where is the joy in that sad mercantile endeavor? Oh, sure, you may win a few more games, maybe even a World Series, if everything goes right. Big deal. Given the financial wherewithal and the proper amount of desperation, anybody could do that. Such as the Yankees or the Red Sox. There’s no thrill in that. You are hardly overcoming great odds in that scenario. You’re stacking the deck, the cards are in your favor, and given even a modicum of luck, the outcome is predictable. What a sad, hollow, pathetic existence that would be.

No, much better to study the youthful prospects, comb the waiver wires, and carefully appraise the unproven talent available to your limited budget. Much more interesting that way.

I just hope I live long enough to see it all come to fruition.

(That being said, It’s nice to see the Twins spend some money on some pitching!)

The pitching in 2013 was not entirely bad. Just the starting rotation. The bullpen was in fact a respectable bunch. Led by Glenn Perkins (2-0, 2.30 ERA, 36/40 saves), most of the relievers had not-bad seasons: Caleb Thielbar (3-2, 1.76 ERA), Anthony Swarzak (3-2, 2.91 ERA), Jared Burton (2-9, 3.82 ERA), Brian Duensing (6-2, 3.98), Ryan Pressly (3-3, 3.87), and Casey Fien (5-2, 3.92) – all were fairly reliable. The starters, though. The starters. What can be said about the starters? They lack confidence, I would say. As well they should. It will be interesting to see what rises from the ashes of the rotation next season. Kevin Correia, who performed better than all expected, probalby has earned one spot. Sam Deduno, the lone bright spot in the 2013 rotation, certainly has to be in the second spot, if healthy. And now, it turns out that free agent acquisitions Ricky Nolasco and Phil Hughes will be in the next two spots. That leaves Diamond, Albers, Worley, Hendriks and Gibson vying for the last spot. I’d also like to see them sign Mike Pelfry again as well, he had some good stretches last season, but with the addition of Hughes and Nolasco, I suspect we won’t be seeing any more of Mr. Pelfry. I’d bring him back though; I think he could have a good year ahead of him. It’s probably too soon to be expecting young Meyers to make the club, but that would be nice. They talk about him as though he’s a top of the rotation talent, so perhaps he’ll push his way onto the scene.

Was it surprising that the Twins signed Hughes and Nolasco? Nolasco, perhaps. Hughes is the sort of questionable talent that the Twins have taken chances on in the past. Such as Pavano, Corriea, and Pelfry.

The hitting in 2013 was also not entirely bad. There’s Joe Honeyswing Mauer, of course. And Bull Dozier surprised, swatting 18 round-trippers. There were some youngsters – Arcia and Pinto in particular,  that impressed towards the end of the year, and there was some promise to be seen in Hicks and Collabello. But, overall, the offense was pretty much a mess. We can hope for improvement next year, as we always do.

Looking ahead…

Joe Mauer Portrait c fr sm

Mauer’s move to first base is a good move, but not for Mr. Collabello, who needs a chance to play. It would be a shame to see him languish at AAA, but backing up Mauer he doesn’t look to get many at bats. Perhaps as DH?  I think we need to get Mr. Collabello a month of every day play, and see what happens.

The catching position is a big question mark. Doumit? Pinto? Pierzynski? Collabello? I’ve always liked Pierzynski. He’s about 100 years old, though, and defense was never his strong suit. Plus, he’s “in demand” as a free agent. (Plus I just read that he signed elsewhere.) Plus, we should be playing younger guys, not plugging the lineup with senior citizens. Perhaps Mr. Herrmann? The door to the catcher’s spot is wide open, and there’s no telling who’s going to walk in there.

Bull Dozier looks set at second.

Florimon at short. I must admit I’d like to see Bartlett come up here as back up, but we’ll see how he fares in training camp.

Plouffe at third.

The Alabama Hamma, Josh Willingham will patrol left field in 2014, and rebound from his injury-ridden 2013 campaign.

In centerlield we’d all love to see young Aaron Hicks turn into another Kirby Puckett.

And in right, Arcia, perhaps?

Time to post this, before something else happens and I need to rewrite again.

More later.

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