Twins Will Not Seek Offensive Firepower at MLB Trade Deadline

Photo: Brace Hemmelgarn - Getty Images

The Minnesota Twins were swept by the Baltimore Orioles over the weekend, a series that ended in a 15-2 blowout loss on Sunday. They now find themselves below .500 (45-46) and in 2nd place (.5 games back) in the AL Central, entering the All-Star break and their World Series odds continue to fall, as a result.

Twins pitchers carry team to start the season

The Twins’ pitching staff may have taken yesterday’s first half finale off but that’s probably because their backs hurt so badly from carrying the hitters through the first 90 games of the season. If it weren’t for the Twins’ elite first half pitching — which has ranked at the top of the MLB in just about every important pitching category for much of that time — this team would be one of the worst in baseball.

Minnesota’s problem has been in the batters’ box, where a lineup featuring $35 million “hero”, Carlos Correa, and center fielder turned designated hitter, Byron Buxton, rank near the bottom of the league in the most important offensive categories.

  • Batting Average: 24th (.233)
  • On-Base + Slugging (OPS): 21st (.711)
  • Strikeouts: 30th – Most (904)
  • Runs: 24th (378)
Twins need offense at trade deadline, right…?

So with the MLB trade deadline looming on August 1, it makes sense that PoBO, Derek Falvey and GM, Thad Levine, would be looking to add offensive firepower sooner, rather than later. But that’s not the case. Falvey told media before Sunday’s blowout that the bats will have to be reinvigorated from within, that the Twins are not looking to add to their lineup in a big way at the deadline.

At first glance, these quotes do not make sense for an offense that’s struggled as much as the Twins’ has. But a deeper look offers a better explanation. Unlocking the Twins’ offense must come mostly from within, for a couple of reasons.

Offensive talent isn’t the problem.

Byron Buxton (.208/.300/.436) can’t move to the outfield because his body cannot handle it, as Rocco Baldelli has confirmed recently. So, as frustrating as it is, he is this team’s designated hitter until that changes (which isn’t expected to be this season). That eliminates any chance of adding a DH, meaning Buxton has to hit at a high level in order for this offense to be successful.

Jorge Polanco is set to start a rehab assignment next weekend. His return to 2nd base duties will improve the lineup, especially defensively, more than anything they’d be able to add before August 1. Royce Lewis should return at the end of August. He was one of the lone bright spots in the batting order prior to his injury.

Of course, the Twins could cut ties with Max Kepler (.207/.279/.409) and/or Joey Gallo (.186/.302/.462) but they already have Alex Kirilloff, Trevor Larnach and Matt Wallner ready to assume any duties at either corner, should the front office finally pull the plug on either Kepler or Gallo.

It all starts with Carlos Correa.

Carlos Correa (.225/.299/.401) was supposed to be the glue that held this team together. A bat that his teammates and coaching staff could always rely on in the middle of the lineup. Instead, he’s batting .225 with a .700 OPS and leads the MLB in the amount of double-plays he’s hit into (16).

So, let’s be real about what the Minnesota Twins’ offense REALLY needs, which is their superstar shortstop to produce like a superstar shortstop and their new DH to hit the way he did when he was healthy and playing center field.

Like it or not, Minnesota Twins fans, Carlos Correa is your middle-of-the-order shortstop, Byron Buxton is your DH and you have one of the best pitching staffs in baseball. If this team is going to make the playoffs and, god forbid, win a postseason game, those two players will have to produce.

That’s the only path to success for this team in 2023 and that’s the reality Derek Falvey was pointing out yesterday. Yes, they could and may add a veteran bat at the MLB trade deadline that can come off the bench or play 3B if Lewis’ recovery starts slow. But that type of addition isn’t going to save the Twins’ offense.

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Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan

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