No, not David Wells wasted.
Having been on both sides of a sweep, it's been one hell of a week. Seven games into the second half the Twins took four from Oakland before refusing to win a single game against Detroit, and the one common thread through all of those games is the pitching. In spite of Ron Gardenhire's desire to add a veteran arm to the rotation, Minnesota has turned out seven quality starts in seven games.
After allowing a total of 19 runs in that stretch, the offense hasn't been able to hold their end of the bargain. Each of the wins against the Athletics included just enough offense to get the win, as the Twins averaged nearly five runs a game. In the three defeats the loss came by one each time, and the offense scored five runs total.
Pitching Since the All-Star Break
Role IP H K BB HR R ERA
Starters 47.1 34 34 10 2 15 2.66
Relievers 16.2 13 17 8 1 4 2.16
It's hard to beat that. Certainly there were hard breaks involved, evidenced by Nick Punto booting two consecutive plays on Wednesday afternoon, but it all boils down to an inconsistent and unreliable offense. In the final loss to Detroit neither Hunter or Cuddyer started, but it isn't an excuse. Even in that game the chances were there, but with the hitting options with this roster it's difficult to decide whether you blame the players or the organization.
As frustrating as it is to watch, ultimately the blame lies with the organization. Not for being patient with young pitchers, not for trying to get some help on the cheap, but for the ultimate sin of not taking advantage of the gifts they have. The Minnesota Twins have an extremely talented young core that, while not necessarily drafted by the Twins, was groomed by them. Instead of holding out for the intelligent large move or taking a chance, a chance which needs to be taken when you have this core (this AMAZING core), the organization has done what they've always done. They've bided their time, clung tightly to a plethora of minor league talent, spent unwisely in free agency and as a result are stuck using back-ups and role players in the everyday lineup.
You could argue that the Twins haven't been unwise in the free agent market. While it's true they haven't tossed millions of dollars at mid-level performers, it isn't any better to throw a wallet full of Woodrow Wilsons at veterans at the bottom of the talent pool. Sure, it's slightly better philosophically, but the philosophy has stagnated the progress that the pitching has made and thusly, the team. Minnesota has hit a plateau, the proverbial "wall", and the organization's inability or unwillingness to supplement the offense is the culprit.
Ultimately every organization is ruled by the dollar. Certainly the Twins do very well for their payroll, but with the few free millions available every year better decisions need to made in regards to the free agents being signed. When you have as many pitching prospects as the Twins, something can be packaged to help the team win in the present without drying up the farm. Minnesota is on a dangerous edge and ironically, because no move has been made, the chances of a move being made now have declined precipitously. Trading at three games over .500 is less adviseable now than it was three weeks ago, but at the same time they're still good enough where it's too early to sell.
We've asked the Twins to show their teeth, and 95 games into 2007 we've seen those results. The Twins are rapidly playing themselves into no-man's land. It's time for the organization to flash their teeth, before it's too late.