Tuesday, December 20, 2016

What's Santa Gifting The Twins?

In the midst of the offseason, the snow has flown and Target Field has gone into its winter slumber. With warm thoughts of Spring Training on our minds, surpassing the benchmark of Christmas helps us barrel towards Opening Day 2017. For a Minnesota Twins team coming off of a franchise worst season, what is Santa Claus gifting the club this year?

It's probably pretty hard to categorize whether or not the organization was naughty or nice. I mean, it was anything but a strong year, but maybe the Twins applied for the lovable losers moniker. No matter what designation on the worthiness scale they are given, Santa is a compassionate chap and wants to dole out one gift to the club for 2017.

Sure, it'd be great if the Twins turned out to have their own version of a staff ace. The reality is, the ghost of Clayton Kershaw isn't walking into the clubhouse any time soon. We could also ask St. Nick for a big bopper, but Brian Dozier launched 40 plus homers a year ago and is likely on his way out the door. Heck, going straight to the top and begging for a shiny World Series ring would even be fun, but even in make-believe land, that's a feat too drastic to pull off.

So, what is it that the Twins organization is gifted for 2017? What if I told you the answer is nothing, and they already had everything they needed?

Right now, the best thing to happen to the Twins was an infusion of perspective. Derek Falvey and Thad Levine both bring ideals and principles that have otherwise not been adopted by the organization. They come from outside and haven't been brought up along the same line of thinking as those that have recently failed in their posts ahead of them.

In choosing to revitalize the front office with two new thinkers, Minnesota gives themselves an opportunity that they have passed up in recent years. With a roster that was mainly treading water, the organization can fully commit to a rebuild utilizing pieces they've obtained, and figure out where their true deficiencies lie. At this point, it appears Minnesota has some intriguing talent on the farm, but many of them haven't been positioned well enough to understand how they fit going forward.

At the top, Paul Molitor's club remains a few key areas leveling off away from a much different year. Rather than being league worst in pitching, a jump to somewhere near the middle would make a significant difference. The offense is there, if not consistent, and the pieces to at least show up on a nightly basis remain in tact. Whether or not Molitor remains the most capable leader is still up for debate, but both Falvey and Levine will now have a front row seat in making that decision.

Really what it boils down to is that there's no Golden Ticket for this Twins club. They aren't one piece away from being a serious contender, but they aren't void of assets either. The gift they needed was an individual (or duo in this case) committed to a turnaround. Rather than placing band-aids on bullet holes, it's an opportunity to act, make difficult decisions, and take the long term route towards moving forward.

If free agency and the offseason has been any indication of this gift, it's that the Twins too know they aren't one shiny present away. Enjoy what they have been given, stay the course, and commit to it. Right now Minnesota is making the long play, and given the pieces that can be moved around the blueprint, living in the present with the gift we've been given is something we can all embrace.

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