Posted at 10:28 AM on October 2, 2008
by Steve Rudolph
In April, I didn't think the Twins would win 75 games. They showed me by winning 88 and came within a coin flip of the division title.
So why do I feel so disappointed about the way the season ended?
Maybe it's because once it became apparent that the Twins had a legitimate shot to make the playoffs, the front office did nothing to address their weaknesses and help the team win more games down the stretch. Could be that MVP-candidate Justin Morneau slumped in the final 10 days and the team lost two of three to the lowly Royals to end the year. Or perhaps it was because the bullpen melted down over and over and Ron Gardenhire didn't adjust his managing until the season's final week. (Gardy, why again wasn't Mijares pitching in early September!?)
The Twins will enter the 2009 season with far fewer questions than they had at the beginning of this season. Their rotation is set and their key everyday players are all under contract. They also have a minor league system full of prospects. Add in the revenues from the new ballpark and general manager Bill Smith should be able to improve the team this winter.
He needs to. The American League Central is going to be more competitive next year. I wouldn't be surprised if it takes 95 wins to capture the division. Also, the Twins were very fortunate with regards to injuries this season and can't be assured their luck will continue.
When you look back on 2008, what do you think? Was this a successful season or avwasted opportunity?