Tuesday, June 9, 2015
When Do The Twins Make Their Move?
A season ago, the Minnesota Twins made the surprising move of signing free agent Kendrys Morales. The slugger had sat out all of spring training and was looked past due to having a draft pick tied to his signing. The Twins agreed to a deal with Morales on June 8, signifying their desire to stay relevant. At that point in the season, Minnesota owned a 29-32 record.
The decision to bring Morales into the fold blew up in all sorts of ways for the Twins. He slashed .234/.259/.325 in 39 games while hitting just a single home run for Minnesota. On July 24, just over a month after being signed, the Twins dealt Morales to the Mariners for reliever Stephen Pryor.
Fast forward to 2015, and the Twins find themselves in a similar position, but one that seemingly has so much more control linked to it. In 2014, the organization made the reactive move to go after Morales only after they had begun to slip having hovered around the .500 mark for the first few months. Rather than deciding Morales' bat could help them early on, they brought him in after it was too late (not to mention his lack of production helped to sink the ship). This time around, the Twins can choose to handle the situation proactively, and maybe even from within.
As of this writing, Minnesota is tied for first atop the AL Central with the Kansas City Royals. At 33-24, the club has played above their heads, but have continued to get the job done. With a pitching staff that has been improved, the offense has actually been the detrimental factor of late. Currently, the big league club is offering up positions to lackluster bats such as Chris Herrmann, Eduardo Escobar, and Eduardo Nunez. Rectifying those areas prior to the eventual fall would signify the Twins staying ahead of the proverbial game.
Last season Minnesota felt the need to go outside of the organization for their difference maker. The prospect bats were deemed not ready for the big leagues, and it's hard to blame them for that strategy. This season however, there's no doubt that the narrative is different. Miguel Sano is currently batting .253 for Double-A Chattanooga, but his 10 home runs would rank near the top of the Twins leaders. Byron Buxton has slashed .318/.376/.541 since May 16, and Jorge Polanco owns a .315 average at Double-A. Oswaldo Arcia still remains on the farm (and maybe for good reason) as does Josmil Pinto. While not all of the mentioned names should be considered, it's apparent that the Twins have options.
Going forward, the Twins have some difficult decisions to make, as well as a skinny tightrope to walk. Without sacrificing future development, there's little reason for them not to make the most of their current opportunity. While they don't need to deplete or rush the farm system, they should be supplementing the big league group with realistic internal talent. Promoting Buxton or Polanco in August after the dust has settled is going to be little more than a consolation of what could have been.
If nothing else, the Twins have shown a decent job at being more aggressive this season. Under Paul Molitor, the big league club has ran the bases differently, Terry Ryan has made notable promotions, and this club is fun to watch again. It's getting to be decision time though at the major league level; the Twins need to capitalize on the position they have put themselves in.