Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Some Christmas reading

Yeah, it's been a while since I actively posted (the Sunday Funnies are set up well in advance, or at least most of them are). But here I am on this holiday with a couple of links that should be of interest to Twins fans.

First: Jonah Keri, writing for CBSsports.com. on why the Twins are positioned to take a big leap forward:

If both Sano and Buxton play to the best of their abilities and stay healthy for a full season, that alone could add 10 or more wins to the Twins' ledger. The good news is that the Twins have upside sprinkled all over their roster. Eight of the nine projected starters in the 2019 lineup are 29 or younger. The same goes for the rotation, which is topped by exciting 24-year-old righty Jose Berrios and features additional potential in the form of post-Tommy John surgery right-hander (and former strikeout fiend) Michael Pineda.

You know the old saying about "can't see the forest for the trees." I think we Twins fans have been too close to this team and too frustrated/impatient with the slow development of Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano. And maybe the fans are right and Keri wrong. Maybe Buxton and Sano will never manage to stick in the lineup. But for 2019, at the very least, the best option for the Twins is to build around those two talents.

There is one thing Keri says in that piece that I quarrel with: his assertion that Sano's power is his only useful tool. His arm is of quality also, and it is why the Twins aren't planning on him as a first baseman-DH, which is what Keri sees him as (at best).

The other piece I wanted to call to your attention is from Phil Rogers, writing for Forbes, on the value of payroll flexibility. 

No fan base figures to be in for a more interesting ride between now and Opening Day, 2020. We’re not saying Minnesota will be a postseason team — although it was as recently as 2017 — but the combination of young roster team and financial flexibility stokes the imagination. ...
(H)ere’s the unique part about the Twins’ situation: They have exactly zero dollars in guaranteed commitments for 2020 and beyond. 

These are two outside observers who are intrigued, and optimistic, about this team and its direction -- more so than most of us in Minnesota. 

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