And it's not necessarily a bad thing.
Boof Bonser is still in the bullpen, Livan Hernandez is still in the rotation, Mike Lamb is still taking up a bench spot and Craig Monroe is still this team's fifth outfielder. The Twins, quite predictably, have done nothing at the trade deadline, but that's not to say it's a horrible thing to have done.
There were no easy, clear-cut deals to make. Rumors of Rich Aurilia or Jose Castillo, should they have come to fruition, wouldn't help this team. The one, single move this team needs to focus on is finding a way to get Francisco Liriano into the rotation. And, no matter how frustrating things may look after another silent trade deadline, the Minnesota Twins will get Liriano into the rotation.
A guy like Hernandez could clear waivers. Could Boof? Maybe. But it doesn't really matter, because no matter what happens the organization should (and does) have a backup plan. They know which pitcher(s) they're willing to part with in order to find a spot for the 24-year old southpaw, and one way or another, we'll see it happen with in the next three or four days. We know whose numbers could be up: Livan's, Boof's...Brian Bass. The move will be made. Now it's just waiting for the other shoe to drop.
Minnesota has taken a conservative gamble, and I'm not going to argue with it. They're counting on Nick Punto to be effective in the field and hitting second. They're counting on Michael Cuddyer to return and be the offensive force they need him to be. They're counting on Delmon Young to hit for more power, for Denard Span to continue to be the presence he's been on both sides of the ball, and on Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau to lead this team into the post-season. It's a ploy we've seen before, and the crazy thing is...
...it's worked before.
I'm not asking anyone to go on blind faith, because this is frustrating as hell. But one thing is for certain: the season will go on, whether we cheer for this team or not. So we sit in the seats at the Dome, and we grab a beer and sit on the couch, or we order up another plate of buffalo wings at the bar...and we cringe every time Brian Buscher has to prove himself again, or every time Jesse Crain makes an appearance for the third time in four days. But there's nothing we can do. And that is the worst feeling there is.
Adam Everett and Lamb could still get their walking papers. They can be replaced. At least one pitcher will lose his job in the next few days. Or hours. It's tough to sit here on July 31st and put faith into a team that has denied itself the opportunity to make an obvious improvement, but it will come.
And in the end, who expected the Twins to be in this good of a position when the year started? Not this guy. Make no mistake: this team is on a road for 2010. So while Trade Deadline '08 may have come and gone like one of those fake holidays you never remember (Columbus Day, Flag Day, Boxing Day, Easter), it's not like this is The End for our beloved Minnesota Twins. There are better days coming.
In the mean time, 2008 is still here. And we're still in the pennant race. And we didn't trade for Ken Griffey Jr., who isn't performing as well as Jason Kubel on some levels.
Minnesota didn't make a big splash. But they didn't complicate matters, either. This organization knows what it has to do going into the last two months of the season, and it's going to be a lot of fun to watch.