Obviously the starting pitching this year has not been good enough for the Twins to contend. But the offense has been just as bad. And since we knew coming in that the starting pitching was questionable, the offense is truly the larger disappointment.
The Twins expected more from Trevor Plouffe, Josh Willingham, Ryan Doumit and even the unestablished Chris Parmelee and Aaron Hicks than they got. To a lesser extent, that's also true of Justin Morneau. (I don't think anybody expected much from Pedro Florimon as a hitter, and that's what he's provided.)
They just don't have enough Joe Mauers to make this lineup work. Right now, of course, they don't have any Joe Mauers. And it shows.
|Jason Kubel has had a lost season in Arizona, with just|
five home runs. Last year he bopped 30 long balls.
But Kubel's production really started its sudden dissolution last season. He entered last August hitting .290 with 22 home runs; in August he hit .159, in September he hit .186. And he never got going at any point this year.
He's 31. There ought to be some juice left in his bat. But if he's physically not able to show it in what remains of the 2013 season -- and that the D-backs are willing to dump him now suggests he's not -- it may be difficult for him to find a major league contract for 2014.
The reports late Wednesday had the Baltimore Orioles winning the waiver claim on Josh Willingham. The Twins and O's have until Friday to work out a deal; if they fail, Willingham stays with Minnesota the rest of the season.
My guess is no deal. The Twins have no obvious need to move Willingham now; he's under contract for next season, and his value is probably at a low point, since he, like Kubel, has had a injury-plagued season that hasn't been up to his established standard.
The Twins this week released minor league veteran relievers Luis Perdomo and Tim Wood. Perdomo got some major league action with the Twins last year, showing velocity without command. Which is pretty much what he's always had.
Wood was signed as a minor league free agent after an impressive season in Triple A with the Pirates organization, despite which the Pirates never called him up. Wood spent most of the year on the shelf with arm troubles. He occupied a 40-man roster spot all year and never really came close to landing a 25-man slot.
Releasing him opens a 40-man roster spot if the Twins want to give a September call-up to somebody not now on the 40.