In their last 15 games the Twins are 4-11, and were outscored by Cleveland 24-8 in a three game practice in destruction.
The first two parts of this series focused on ways to improve the bench. It was apparent that no one in the farm system was ready to step into a starting role, and I made the case that bringing in a deeper bench could help solve Minnesota's lack of position player depth, since Terry Ryan insisted he didn't need to trade for a big bat. After watching an implosion which has momentarily climaxed in the best pitcher in baseball getting no run support in a seven inning, two run, eleven strikeout effort, the final installment of my male-induced search for a fix will take a different direction.
I still believe that adding some sort of offensive help is a necessity if the Twins are going to make a real run at the postseason. But even when Joe Mauer returns, we're still asking a lot for Rondell White to come back and be the producer the bottom third of the order desperately needs him to be. Even when both of these men are on the lineup card every day, there's still so much that would need to go right to veer the Twins back into the winning column.
Or maybe it just seems that way because there's so much that's wrong at the moment.
There were four more names I was going to present for your consideration: Shane Victorino, Kevin Mench, Ryan Klesko and Ryan Theriot. None of these players, except perhaps Mench, would have the ability to make the impact the offense requires. While the Twins need to make a move to make their 25-man roster better, the number one priority should be to upgrade the starting lineup. Over the last two weeks it's been painfully apparent that the makeup of the Twins offense changes dramatically when losing a starter. It's not as though this isn't the case for every team. Where the difference in depth becomes mortal is if Hunter, Morneau, Mauer or Cuddyer need to miss time; the dropoff from them to their replacement player is just enormous. By adding a player like Mench who could DH every day, losing a Cuddyer or a Hunter for a couple of weeks wouldn't hurt so much.
Of course, adding a hitter isn't the silver bullet. Picking up even one very good hitter isn't going to make the problems go away for the Twins. There's still the issue of bench depth, the question of how the rotation is going to shape up as spring turns to summer, and how the bullpen will adapt to an extended leave by Jesse Crain.
It's hard to not be down on the season prospects at this juncture. But to give it all a little perspective, the Twins are still just four games under par, at 18-22 (or would that be over par in this scenario?). Even at seven games out of first place it's disappointing, but it's a long way from season over. The answers aren't as easy as adding a couple of backups, or calling up Kevin Slowey or waiting for Mauer to get back, but at this point finding any solutions at all would mean that at the very least the Twins are ready to diagnose their club as incomplete. Maybe we should just start there.
Admitting there is a problem is the first step to recovery. Or so I've heard.