14 August 2017: Buy? Sell?

Thad Levine told a Twins beat writer the club is pursuing players on the waiver wire with an eye toward adding talent for this season and beyond:

We've already pivoted once in this process, and I think we demonstrated a willingness to respond to the way the team's performing," Levine said. "The team's obviously performing extremely well right now...

That's fine and all, but I hope the front office isn't deluded by a 9-4 start to August, particularly when only one opponent in four had a record above .500. This week's series against Cleveland might force the issue.

53 thoughts on “14 August 2017: Buy? Sell?”

  1. I know I threw together the post in a hurry - but don't let that stop you from getting your picks in this week for the EPL Prediction Contest. Will we have a new champion join the ranks?

    2016 - MagUidhir
    2015 - Philo
    2014 - Philo
    2013 - Philo
    2012 - MagUidhir
    2011 - Homer Dome

    1. I intend to join again, but just coming back from vacation and putting any effort into this sort of thing seems unlikely today. Alright to join later this week?

  2. I need to slip across the lake for lunch before the semester begins. I've had the rib tips (which are very tender) & chopped pork sandwich (best I've had this side of Memphis) already. "Pa'pa" was telling me he's hoping to smoke bologna loaves for a weekly sandwich special. The portion sizes are very generous, so I might need to take the rest of the afternoon for a nap.

  3. August 14th is the birthday of the girl responsible for my biggest heartbreak. I used to think I'd forget the date over time, but the damn thing sticks for some reason.

    There's a regular customer at my store who looks so much like her, I was sweating bullets when I was asked over the headset to ask if she needed help. Not her. Relief.

      1. Odd, but I didn't remember Milkman ever mentioning this before. It looks like Philos & Rhu_Rhu pinch-hit on this day's CoC in 2016 & 2015, respectively. Milkman referred to his game in his CoC post on 14/8/14, so we'd have to go back to 2013 for the last mention of that anniversary.

        1. Interesting. I do vividly remember this, but perhaps it used to be a more regular thing many moons ago. Or we've had side conversations about it.

    1. It is reasonable to look at a 24% chance of postseason differently than 7%. Not that I want them to go "all in."

  4. On the CoC: it's disheartening to see such indecision on the part of the brass. The team should either be a buyer or a seller, and a 13-game stretch (or fewer, in the case of the first pivot) shouldn't change that. From the quote, it sounds like the Twins want to pat themselves on the back for their willingness to respond to a sample size of under 10% of the season to decide what they should do for the rest; this doesn't instill people with as much confidence as they'd like.

    1. I'd be more concerned if the moves themselves reflected wholesale commitment, change, and then change back. I mean, they flipped Garcia and traded Kintzler. Not exactly going all in or having a fire sale. And that moderate, small approach is probably appropriate for where they are.

      I wouldn't be surprised if this is more about messaging to both players and fans than it is about actual front office approach.

      1. I agree. When I look at what they've actually done, rather than what they've said, I'm pretty satisfied so far. The one move I really didn't like was signing Bartolo Colon, and I have to admit that so far, it looks like I was wrong and they were right.

      2. Yeah, I agree. If you look at teams in contention right now, players are bitching and moaning if they view their front office didn't "do enough" to compete. Astros are especially salty right now. And if you want to keep your players happy and inspire other players to come, you want to at least give the impression that you're at least trying behind the scenes to improve the team. I think if the front office said they're punting on a season in where they're within a game of the wild card slot it would be suicide.

      3. My sincere hope is that it's precisely that – a public statement for a small audience of current players & potential future players. One of the broadcasters mentioned that the clubhouse was not too happy about the implications of trading away Kinzler & García, so this might be an attempt to mollify some of that and compliment them on their resurgence against inferior opponents.

        Then again, if the clubhouse is unhappy with those trades, they might as well turn their fingers to point at the people responsible for dropping 7 of 9 games leading up to the break.

  5. Went to the Fringe Festival yesterday for the first time since 2010. I really should get out there more often as it's always a blast. My favorite was an improv musical by the Shrieking Harpies. Hannah Wydeven is brilliant and had me in stitches for an hour; I'd recommend seeing them at HUGE Theater if you like this sort of thing.

  6. I know that we're supposed to avoid the forbidden zone and all, but I'm truely saddened by this weekend's events. I've lost faith that we're ever going to be able to be a polite society again.

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      1. I appreciate the point, and I don't disagree. Maybe my initial statement is poorly phrased, but what I'm driving at is a lack of civil discourse and disagreement. There have been times that we've come together in national unity to solve large problems, I just don't see that happening anytime soon. It would also seem that we've given up holding ourselves to a higher standard. Coupled with that is a perception that reaching for the ideal is a fools errand, and that we should be satisfied with the okay.

        1. This became more forbidden-zoney as I went along. Clearly, you're not the only one upset...

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    3. That crazy racist friend* of my in-laws I mentioned a while back just shared on the Book of Face a political cartoon comparing the Antifa with Nazis because they are both wielding clubs to hit at "free speech" as it cowers to their bullying. Bizarre.

      *I say friend, but he keeps saying such godawful stupid things that I have no idea how much longer that will be the case.

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        1. Not coincidentally, I watched Best of Enemies over the weekend and have had the Buckley vs. Vidal exchange over NLF flag-waving-protestors at the '68 DNC/free speech/crypto-Nazi Buckley playing over & over in my head all day.

  7. I haven't taken a real vacation, where I was leaving work for an extended period, in a long time. Just trying to remember what I was working on before I left is itself a whole lot of work. And I made good notes!

    1. A scouting report for a recent Twins prospect, with identifying details redacted:

      [H]e has the speed/strength combination you might expect given his background. Scouts have always loved his tools: he has above-average speed, an above-average throwing arm, and well-above-average home power.

      His biggest problem has been simple rawness: ... it has taken him time to develop a modicum of plate discipline and pick up the nuances of the game. He handles fastballs well, but still struggles at times against breaking pitches. [He] is a skilled defensive outfielder with enough arm for right field and enough range for center.

      The general expectation is that [he] will hit for considerable power (20+ homers), provide occasional stolen bases (15-20 per year, until his speed starts to decline, depending on how aggressive with him Ron Gardenhire is), and show off a good glove, but that his batting average and OBP could be erratic.

      Who was the prospect?

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      1. I remember watching him play at a Rock Cats game. He looked more polished than most of the other players on the field, and I was excited for his progress. Really unfortunate.

        1. he's still playing at age 29. 248/299/350 for Sugar Land in the independent Atlantic League.

          He was a second-round pick in 2006. Since 2005 (Kevin Slowey), the Twins have had very little success with 2nd round picks. Only Benson, Ladendorf and Chargois have even had a cuppa. In contrast, the 2nd rounders picked 2001-2005 (including Crain, Baker, Swizzlesnot, and Slowey) accumulated a collective 36.5 rWAR.

    2. I do feel like I have less and less problems with him missing the cutoff man as his OPS goes up.

      1. He tries for the hero play way too often. It's like when I'm wedged up against a tree with no shot at the green. Instead of cutting my losses and not making a bad play worse, I flail away and compound the issue.

        But man, he can Vlad some ridiculous pitches sometimes, and his laughably low walk totals from the first couple of years (a walk every 31 plate appearances! He literally had as many triples as walks in his first season!) has become merely very bad (a walk every 17 plate appearances).

        1. It didn't help that in 2015 Rosario was successful with a majority of those hero plays. 15 triples and 16 outfield assists.

      2. Fangraphs does show his WAR improving on last year, but his defense is still way down. His UZR/150 was 9.3 as a rookie, 0.9 last year and now -7.7 this year. That's worse than Sano's UZR/150 in right field of -7.1.

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