The Minnesota Twins had an awful season last year — they finished with a record of 59-103 — the worst in Twins franchise history and the worst record in the majors last year. This performance by the club prompted a front office overhaul with Derek Falvey hired from the Cleveland Indians as the Chief Baseball Officer and Phad Levine hired from the Texas Rangers as General Manager.
Rewind time 17 months. End of March. 2015.
It’d been a rough four year stretch at 1 Twins Way entering the 2015 campaign. Since finishing 94-68 and making the playoffs in 2010, the Twins had lost 90+ games in each of the next four years, becoming all too familiar with the cellar in the AL Central Division — they finished in last three out of those four seasons.
Enter Hall of Famer (and former Twin/Gopher great) Paul Molitor, who took over as the Twins’ manager for the 2015 season.
As unbelievable as it sounds, our hometown ball club has proven the so-called experts wrong thus far in the 2015 season.
Many of those experts believe the Twins are going to have another bad season and finish in last place in the American League Central Division. And many of those experts believe this was the most competitive division in baseball given the fact that all five teams made various moves to improve their clubs this past offseason.
One of the big storylines of the season so far for the Minnesota Twins has been the offense. Ranked near the bottom in the American League in almost every category, the offense has sputtered like a motor running out of gas for the duration of this short season. There have been signs of the offense waking up, but then when you think that it was going to last, the offense then seemingly takes a step back.
This is how it should be for a big league club in the month of June — a big road series against the division leader in June and a young pitcher on the mound for the Minnesota Twins. This describes the setting the Minnesota Twins found themselves on Friday the 13th. After three years and nearly 300 losses, Friday’s Twins game was noteworthy simply because it mattered.
Joe Mauer isn’t playing well. There I said it and it’s permissible to say so. Joe Mauer should not be beyond reproach, but some fans and members of the media would disagree — now there is a heated debate whether Joe Mauer can be criticized.
When Joe Mauer was declared the starting first baseman this offseason, the next step seemed to be inserting Josmil Pinto into the starting catcher role. That notion took a serious hit when the Twins signed veteran free agent catcher Kurt Suzuki lauding his experience behind the plate. Now Josmil Pinto and the phrase “He’s a work in progress” are mentioned together by the Twins. This is disappointing since in 2013 the Twins averaged 3.8 runs a game, second worst in the American League (White Sox were at 3.7), and Pinto’s potent bat would be a welcome addition in 2014.
Sure the Twins most likely will not be competing for the AL Central Crown in 2014 — the Tigers seem to have that on lock down with their mighty roster — but that doesn’t mean Minnesota Twins fans have nothing to cheer about. Aside from the revamped pitching staff, Mauer moving to first base, and some other fresh faces, the Twins are using creative video ideas to get fans excited for the team and summer baseball.
The Minnesota Twins have been quite active in the free agent market to improve their 2014 roster — while none of the additions have been splashy, say, a ludicrous $240 million for Robinson Cano, the Twins have made some quality additions to the team. Aside from some much needed pitching help in Ricky Nolasco and Phil Hughes (some would argue neither will offer much help), the Twins most recent acquisition is former Washington Nationals catcher Kurt Suzuki.
Wrapping up a disappointing weekend series with the Division leading Detroit Tigers, the Minnesota Twins sit timidly at 30-36, fourth place in the American League Central. Not immune to the speculation of the direction of the club is none other than Twins manager, Ron Gardenhire. Gardenhire has in 11 seasons mismanaged a club capable of making a serious run at the World Series into a group of men unable to win a midweek series all season, with exception being the Twins’ sweep of the Milwaukee Brewers May 27-30. Although Gardy still has 3 and half more months to turn the season around, if a step in the right direction is not made soon, the Twins’ front office may be posting a “help wanted” sign for the managerial position for the 2014 season.