Reinforcements Await Twins Back Home… But Time to Outsource Help is Fading Fast

Photo: Ted S. Warren / Associated Press

Earlier this week, the Minnesota Twins took an unscheduled day off on Thursday, before getting rained out on Friday. Because of the postponements at the end of this week, we got to watch the Twins play two 7-inning games on Saturday, vs the not-very-good Detroit Tigers.

The day didn’t go well. Luckily, the MLB season is a marathon, not a sprint.

The Twins haven’t been able to hit for weeks so there are people all over Twins nation who are panicking over the offense. The panic isn’t completely unjustified. The hitting has been bad. Nelson Cruz powered two home runs over the Comerica Park fence on Saturday and the four runs those bombas drove in, were the only that Minnesota scored on the day. That’s a far-cry from the record breaking offense we saw in 2019.

Meanwhile, the Twins pitching has kept the ship afloat, while the cannons have been holstered. Going into Saturday, the Minnesota Twins pitching arms haven’t been great… but they’ve been good enough. They ranked top-10 (MLB) in ERA (4th), ERA+ (5th), FIP (8th), WHIP (4th) and H/9 (6th).

Saturday though, they struggled.

….but here’s the thing.

I’m not concerned. The Twins are in the same spot I expected them, at trade deadline time. No, I’m not talking about their place in the AL Central standings (now 3rd).

What I expected at the end of August, was our favorite baseball team would be one ace pitcher away from being legitimate World Series contenders. As I get ready to post this at 10:00 AM CT on Sunday morning, nothing has changed.

Reinforcements Incoming

The Twins are still going to land a spot in the playoffs, now that everyone makes it, and I still expect them to compete for a top-3 seed (more on the importance of that in a moment). So while I’m all for a good panic session, now just isn’t the time.

After a 12:10 game on Sunday to close out the series in Detroit, the Twins will head home where they reportedly have reinforcements lying in wait. Josh Donaldson’s calf is rumored to be ready and Michael Pineda is scheduled to rejoin the team on Tuesday, after serving his 60-game PED suspension (both reported by The Athletic)

The Minnesota Twins DO NOT need more hitting at the deadline. I know this has become a point of consternation. Even Aaron Gleeman thinks the Twins need another right-handed bat… BUT, another right-handed bat isn’t going to be the difference between playing for a World Series or not

The bullpen is pretty damn good too, even after Trevor May and Tyler Duffey sucked on Saturday. That happens in baseball.

What the Minnesota Twins absolutely do need, before the trade deadline passes on Monday, is a bona-fide #1 starting pitcher. That’s the key to a deep playoff run for the Twins. Getting Pineda back will be nice… but we have no idea what we are getting, after an entire season off. The guy wasn’t a true ace when he left, no matter how well he was pitching.

Call Kenta Maeda a #1 if you want, but if we are throwing him vs Gerrit Cole, Shane Bieber or Zack Greinke… we might as well just look forward to 2021 right now.


The only report linking the Twins to a starting pitcher, so far, came earlier on Saturday, when they were rumored to be in the Dylan Bundy sweepstakes. Bundy is only 27-years-old and currently pitching for the last-place Angels. His numbers this season are really good (2.58 ERA | 0.887 WHIP).

Dylan Bundy is a bit of a risk, though, because you are definitely buying “high” on his stock. 2020 has been, by-far, Bundy’s best season. His career (all with Baltimore until 2020) WHIP is 1.3 and ERA is 4.55. Falvine will have to decide whether or not Bundy’s MLB trajectory has blossomed this season or peaked for his career.

Jack wrote a great piece on Dylan Bundy, and other starting pitchers the Twins can target before Monday’s deadline. Starting pitchers won’t be cheap and, while the organization is full of prospects worthy of dealing in a blockbuster move, 2020 is by far the riskiest season to make such a trade deadline deal.

But if Baldelli believes his own preseason speech, then the Twins are a World Series caliber team. If we’ve learned anything in 2020, it’s that you can’t trust what the future holds, no matter what you think your cards are. So Baldelli, Falvine and Co. shouldn’t think beyond October 2020… or even Monday’s trade deadline.

No excuses. Trade like a champion.

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan

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