OH MY GOD WE'RE HAVING A FIRE... sale.
Breaking news! The Twins are currently in the midst of their fourth consecutive losing season! Of course you're already aware of that, but right now it seems like the team is taking a new direction. Every year since 2011, the Twins did swing some minor trades in July and August, but what was far more notable was the trades they didn't make. This year appears to be a little different, however. Below is a list of the midseason trades they did complete, along with a few players that were probably tradeable assets that the Twins kept.
Traded Delmon Young to Detroit Tigers for LHP Cole Nelson
Traded Jim Thome to Cleveland Indians for cash
Kept Jason Kubel, Michael Cuddyer, and Carl Pavano
Kubel and Cuddyer both ended up leaving the Twins for multi-year deals in the offseason, so they completely whiffed on getting something in return for them. A hot streak that left the Twins on the edge of playoff contention was to blame here, as the Twins fell apart after the trade deadline. Pavano was more of a "hindsight is 20/20" issue, where he was a solid starter in 2011 but then completely fell apart in 2012.
Traded Francisco Liriano to Chicago White Sox for IF Eduardo Escobar and LHP Pedro Hernandez
Traded Danny Valencia to Boston Red Sox for OF Jeremias Pineda
Kept Ryan Doumit and Justin Morneau
Doumit hit so well that the Twins gave him a 2-year contract extension, and Morneau, though still not 100% his old self, was hitting the best he ever had since his 2010 concussion. Since he was still hitting like a below-average first baseman, any return for him would have been minimal.
Traded Drew Butera to Los Angeles Dodgers for LHP Miguel Subaran
Traded Jamey Carroll to Kansas City Royals for cash
Traded Justin Morneau to Pittsburgh Pirates for RHP Duke Welker and OF Alex Presley
This was the first year I don't think the Twins kept anyone that could have been traded. Doumit hit poorly but ended up being traded to the Braves for LHP Sean Gilmartin in the offseason anyway. You could maybe toss in Kevin Correia here, but the Twins were so desperate for pitching that it's not really a surprise that they kept him for 2014.
Traded Kendrys Morales to Seattle Mariners for RHP Stephen Pryor
Traded Sam Fuld to Oakland Athletics for LHP Tommy Milone
Traded Kevin Correia to Los Angeles Dodgers for PTBNL or cash
Traded Josh Willingham to Kansas City Royals for RHP Jason Adam
Kept Kurt Suzuki
Suzuki is maybe the only player still on the roster that I think should have been traded but wasn't. However, as I wrote a while ago, the Twins don't have many other options at catcher and thus they figured Suzuki was worth more to them than any player that would return in a swap. I figure he'll come back down to earth next season, but it will still be better than watching Chris Herrmann bat.
Already this season, we've seen more trades than any other year during this era of mediocrity. While some of it is likely because the Twins accepted earlier than in the past that they weren't contending, I think there's another factor in play here. In addition to not making the playoffs, the Twins' farm system is coming to fruition. This year has already seen plenty of young players that are getting playing time not because there's no one else to rely upon, but because they actually appear to be part of the future. Before we were subjected to Rene Tosoni, Luke Hughes, Cole De Vries, Andrew Albers, Liam Hendriks, et al., players that were young but weren't regarded as difference-makers, either. This year we've already seen Danny Santana, Kenny Vargas, Oswaldo Arcia, and Trevor May, with Byron Buxton, Miguel Sano, and Alex Meyer knocking on the door as well.
Therefore, while I titled this post "Twins Are Learning From Their Mistakes... Or Are They?", I wasn't implying that the Twins are not learning from their mistakes of not trading away assets at the deadline. Rather, I'm trying to say that the cause of these trades also comes from the minor league talent looking to contribute in future seasons. In years past, why clear roster space for the Tosonis and Hendrikses? This year, at least May, Vargas, Santana, and others are deserving of playing time to see if they can be a part of the future Twins roster. Now you can't accuse me of headline clickbait if I address it myself, can you?!
Hopefully the Twins can avoid falling apart over these last two months of the season. Even if they do, at least it appears as though we're already getting an early glimpse of 2015.