Last week I wrote that I was “mad as hell, but that I’d continue to take it.” This week, I feel somewhat better. I cannot decide if my own emotional state mirrors that of Twins Territory, or if, in the alternative, this season has beaten me down so badly, that I simply can’t feel anything any more, and I’m too worn down to be angry. But, whatever, this week I’m less angry and more hopeful.
Being hopeful, at least this week, I shall move forward with the belief that the future of the Twins will be brighter. I have decided to believe that all (or mostly all) the right moves were made at the trading deadline. Cruz brought two triple A pitchers with some upside. Berrios brought us Austin Martin, who, hopefully, will be every bit as cool as James Bond’s Aston Martin, and like Bond, will survive and thrive for decades.
Perhaps the biggest surprise for me personally, was that the Twins didn’t deal Simmons, and I’m willing to believe that was because the asking price (which had to be stunningly low) wasn’t low enough to attract a renter. While, I have to imagine (based on no evidence beyond my imagination) that almost everyone, if not literally everyone was made available, in the end, their value was deemed higher than what was offered.
So, ok, fine, we move forward. Will the Twins sign Buxton? There’s always a chance (I doubt it personally, but I’ve been wrong many times before). Will the Twins sign a high-end free-agent pitcher in the off-season to replace Berrios in the rotation? I think that is a solid “maybe.” I can’t say that I’ll be surprised if they do not, and instead stick to their tried and true “what’s available for relatively cheap” well after the season ends and well into the free-agency frenzy, but maybe this year will be different, maybe the disappointment of this season will truly shake some foundations and change some traditional courses.
The Twins, of course, don’t traditionally participate in frenzies, they participate in “bargain shopping.” Even when they were the piranhas, the front-office didn’t seem to share in that aggression. It’s like there was a “Black Friday” shopping frenzy for the “big boys” and mostly “Silent Saturday” when the Twins front office begins looking at what is left on the shelves. So, as usual, the Red Sox, Yankees, Dodgers, et al., will be active in the frenzy, and the majority of MLB, including our beloved Twins, will watch and see how that goes…for them. But, maybe this off-season will be different.
But if it’s the same, then it’s ok, it’s who we are. We’re used to it. Maybe this year is a total outlier and the Polanco of late will carry over into 2022 and Sano will get it back (he’s been a bit better…how couldn’t he be?). Maybe Max will figure it out…seemingly….again. Maybe Arraez and Donaldson will stay healthy (and not kill each other in the off-season…assuming Donaldson isn’t traded during the off-season). Maybe the bullpen will actually be improved and lessons from last off-season will be learned. Maybe Maeda will be lights out again. Maybe Ryan and/or Strotman, acquired from the Rays for Cruz, will pan out as early as next season. Lots and lots of maybes….but that’s ok, that’s what every off-season is. We can handle the unknown…we really can.
Last week I really thought Donaldson would be traded, and I have to believe it was tried, but the return was deemed insufficient. The “failure” to trade Donaldson, and even Simmons, to a massively lesser extent, allows some hope that the front office had standards, below which they wouldn’t fall. That’s hopeful. Having standards is important, and given the off-season bullpen moves made last season, it wasn’t entirely clear that the front office had standards.
At least there’s the hope that accompanies that belief….that ONLY if the return was sufficient would players be traded. For Cruz and Berrios, the return was deemed sufficient. For Buxton, Donaldson, and Simmons, and maybe many others, it wasn’t. That belief is much more comforting than a total fire sale, which would have had us fans believing that the Twins front office was willing to take whatever they could get, rather than thinking that they had player assets that were worth keeping.
So, there’s hope. Of course, there’s hope. Who knows what the off-season will bring? Who knows if the front office might actually join the frenzy for some big-name free agent pitching? Who knows if Buxton will be ultimately be traded and bring some high-end value? Or, in the alternative, who knows if he’ll be extended and be a part of the future?
I certainly don’t know, but I’ve decided to approach the trades made, and those that weren’t, with the belief that the front office has this figured out, and we should be comforted that the proof lies in the reality that some trades were made, and others were not. There wasn’t a fire sale of everyone, nor was there such passivity that no moves were made. Imagine our chagrin, either way. If nobody had been traded, wouldn’t the fans be outraged that the front office wasn’t even “trying?” Conversely, if everyone had been traded, wouldn’t the fans be outraged that all towels and all homer hankies were simply being thrown in and a total reboot was under way…again?
So, the front office managed to strike the right chords. They’ve satisfied the masses. Some lament the loss of Berrios, but they are calmed by the retention of Buxton. Others lament the inability to deal Donaldson, but they are calmed by the trades of Cruz and Berrios, which, seemingly, at least, brought back high value.
Did the Twins “win” the trade deadline? Who knows? Time will tell. The future of Berrios and the futures of Martin, Strotman, and Ryan, will ultimately determine that. For now, it all seems ok to me. Then again, it’s been a season of denial, so I could just be adjusting to that mindset. Maybe the Twins didn’t win the trade deadline, but for some reason, at least at the moment, it feels like they didn’t lose it, and truthfully, I’m not sure I felt that way when Escobar was unloaded or when others were pretty much given away for low-level prospects and hope was in short supply. I’m ok, I hope you’re ok, we all may be ok.