Posted by: gravessack | August 3, 2017

Deadline Redux and A Look Ahead

Just two weeks ago, the Twins looked to be on course to compete for a play-off spot. They became buyers, then went on an extended losing streak that left them clinging to respectability. Twins General Manager Thad Levine swiftly changed course and decided to have the Twins become sellers days before the trade deadline. Some have to wonder what was Levine’s thought process. Another issue that has come into play is Manager Paul Molitor’s job security as the season winds down.

When the trade deadline passed on July 31, the Twins picked up four pitchers and one catcher, all minor leaguers. The best deal, and probably a steal, was the third trade that came to fruition. Pitcher Gabriel Moya, currently a member of the Minnesota Twins organization, pitching in the minor leaguesThat brought pitcher Gabriel Moya to the Twins from Arizona. Moya, who is currently in Double-A, is a closer who won 4 games and has recorded 17 saves so far! The 22-year-old seems to have great movement on his pitches as he has an outstanding 0.78 ERA this year. His ERA actually went down since being traded. Moya, who has a great change-up, looks to be well on his way to the majors. He very well could be the Twins future closer.

The most telling situation was the Jaime Garcia dealings. At the time of acquiring the lefty on July 24, the Twins were wavering between first and second place. Garcia started only one game for the Twins, a July 28 winning effort, before being shipped to the Yankees for two prospects. Those two prospects were Zach Littell and Dietrich Enns, both promising pitchers. Littell has an excellent record and ERA in Double-A, while Enns has pitched decently. In the first Garcia swap, the Twins did pick up catcher Anthony Recker, a below average hitter, who replaced John Ryan Murphy at Triple-A. Enns and definitely Littell have the opportunity of making the team next year.

There was yet another transaction that would make the assumption that at least the front office has thrown in the towel. In their last move before time expired, the Twins dealt their All-Star closer to Washington. Brandon Kintzler, who took over for injured Glen Perkins last season, was pitching solid and was a reliable closer. The Twins got an average pitcher in return in Tyler Watson, a starter in Single-A, who has a 4.35 ERA. This trade all but signifies that the team is looking forward to 2018.

When all the wheeling and dealing concluded, the outcome did not sit well with some players, notably leadoff man Brian Dozier. He wanted Levine to add players as Dozier thinks the Twins still have a shot at something special. The second baseman said this despite hitting poorly most of the season. It seems as if he is unproductive, as he is striking out more lately, and complaining about strikes to the umpires this year. Dozier has to step up more and be a leader, and take his beef and prove them wrong.

Minnesota Twins manager Paul Molitor

This brings up the camaraderie issue in the clubhouse, and Molitor’s status as manager. During games recently, the bullpen has been bleak, the offense has disappeared, and Molitor is looking bored in the dugout chewing his gum. It has been reported that the locker room has been quiet and some players are angry. They need to regain composure and try to do everything they can to get back in contention. If they don’t, it will be a long two months and some coaches’ jobs may be in jeopardy.

Molitor, whose contract expires at year’s end, has to show that he is interested in his team during the last two months. He has left starters, who look to be falling apart, in games way too long. Molitor, who has a 193-237 managerial record, does not seem to communicate to his players during games, and rarely argues with umpires about obvious blown calls. Molitor has a tall task of helping his team win. If Molitor fails and shows little emotion as the season ends, there should be serious discussions about not renewing his contract, and a search should begin for a new energetic team leader.

Chief baseball officer Derek Falvey and Levine have a tough task ahead of them. Nobody should feel safe just because they have been on the team the longest. The bosses came here to fix the Twins, and should have free rein in deciding who stays and who should go. In my humble opinion, they need to have a knockout off-season to show fans that the Twins have a championship-caliber team!

Written by: Michael L. Sack

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