This started as a response to sean's comment in the CoC, but I realized I had a game log to write, so I moved it over here. The response/question I began morphed into this: It is now July 19th, and after 93 games, the Twins are 47-46, two games back of the Indians in the Central and (now) a game-and-a-half behind the Yankees for the 2nd Wild Card spot. The Yankees, at 48-44, are in 3rd place in the AL East and currently hold the 2nd Wild Card spot. They're buying.*
[placeholder for a poll question ... to be inserted once I learn how to create a poll] Should the Twins:
A) Buy (starting pitching, relief pitching, pitching pitching)
B) Sell (Santana, Dozier, Kintzler .... uhm, yeah)
C) Neither (Play it out and see where the chips fall)
I keep reading all of these click-bait analysis (analyses?) of teams who should be sellers at the trade-deadline, who on their roster is/should be available, teams who are/might/should be interested, and what those teams might have to offer in return. Lots and lots of pitching being discussed, but I HAVE NOT SEEN ONE MENTION of the Twins as a team that should be involved in either end of the equations.
There was a graphic shown during the game last night which broke the season thus far into nine, 10-game blocks. Though it was late, I recall that in each of those 10-game blocks, the Twins were basically playing .500 baseball: lots of 5-5, 4-6, 6-4 blocks. They've never won more than 4 games in a row, and never lost more than 4 games in a row. They've never been more than 3 games up in the Central, nor have they been more than 3 games back. Also of note, with 422 RS and 488 RA, a -66 Run Differential, their Pythagorean W-L is currently 40-53...
After last season, if you'd told me this club would be an 82-win team, irrespective of where they finish in the standings, I'd have been pretty content (maybe even 'happy'). I've now seen half a season of these guys, and watched what's happening in the rest of the American League and the Twins' play against each of the front-runners: 1-5 vs. Houston, 2-5 vs. Boston, 5-8 vs. Cleveland, and 2-3 vs. the leading WC clubs - a combined 10-21 against the current field of playoff teams...ugh.
So, I hold no illusions that the team, as currently constructed, is a team that could win in the post season. According to multiple sources, during the last offseason, the Twins shopped (or took phone calls for) their admittedly limited assortment of players with value to other squads. In the end, they did not move Dozier or Santana and basically signed a few roster-filler arms for the bullpen, a utility-infielder and a couple of catchers. It did not appear that they were making moves to contend in 2017. Now that they are contending, what should they do?
One thing I believe they should continue to do is feed innings to José Berríos. He has allowed an average of 5 runs over has past four starts, but at this point in his first "full" year with the big club, I expect some bumps and think they'll only help him get better long term. He's currently sitting at 8-3, 120 ERA+, 1.151 WHIP and 4.01 FIP. He's been worth 1.1 WAR in 12 starts and could conceivably reach 200 IP and 200 K's for the season (though very unlikely - averaging ~ 6 IP/GS and 5.83 K/GS with maybe a dozen or so starts left this year). No matter the final outcome (either today, or in 2017) I'm happy to note that he's been their second best starter this year.