Posted at 2:27 PM on July 9, 2008
by Steve Rudolph
According to Twins officials and the certain Star Tribune writers, the Twins are virtually without weakness. Having watched the last couple games, I beg to differ.
Bill Smith has shown his not afraid to make trades and he needs to pull off another one or two if the Twins have any chance of playing meaningful baseball come September.
That's not to say I expect a move will be forthcoming. I don't think the Twins expected they would be as good as they are this year. I certainly didn't think it possible. But here they are midpoint of the season, playing good baseball and realistically in the wild card race if not the hunt for the A.L. Central crown.
I'm not suggesting the Twins mortgage their future as I think this team is only going to improve in years to come. However an injury or other unforeseen event could change all that and thus management should give this year's team every chance to win that it can.
What can they use most? Another arm in the bullpen would be a good start. I disagree with Joe Christensen that the Twins have absorbed the loss of Pat Neshek. As we've seen the last two nights, the bullpen isn't what it's been in year's past.
When the starting pitchers faltered in Chicago a few weeks back, the pen couldn't stop the bleeding. The last two nights when the starter took the game to the late innings, the bullpen couldn't shut the door on the Red Sox. Bonser can't be used in meaningful games and Bass and Breslow aren't proven. That leaves Ron Gardenhire with limited options when the game is on the line. (He might try leaving the starters in once and a while, but that's for another posting.)
Just one more reliable arm to help Crain, Guerrier and Reyes get the game to Nathan will result in more wins than the addition of any position players.
What say ye Twins fans? Am I right in my assessment that relief pitching is the biggest need for this season or would you rather see the club add a veteran starter or even a third baseman?
We just lost three straight because of our middle relief. The three B's are getting F's of late: Bass, Breslow and Bonser are shaky at best, and downright outmatched against the likes of Manny and Youkilis. Without a better relief corps, this is the rebuilding year we all thought it would be.
We know its going to be an up and down year with some of these guys. But if I remember correctly the team was on an 18-3 run prior to the issues in Boston. Also wasn't it Guerrier that gave up the game winner on Tuesday? The relief corps has not been as "lights out" as in years past but I suspect that if you look at the numbers they are still better then a lot of bullpens out there and most of the "sellers" in this market are in that position because they have lousy relief pitching.
The best scenario is to see if they can trade one or more of the "out of options" pitchers for something (anything at this point) and then replace with talent from Rochester.
Will it happen? Can it happen? I really don't know.
JackU, you make a good point on the "out of options" guys. There's such a shortage of pitching in the game that someone is bound to offer a prospect or two for Bonser based on the success he had last year. I don't see him having a future as a Twin so why not get something for him and free up a roster spot for someone that can help him.