8-3-09: Post-Trade Deadline Blues

Hello again everybody...

Welcome to the start of another week. Sometimes they talk about the "Monday Blues". I wish the funk that I'm in today was merely a product of those. At least then I'd know Tuesday was coming and a "case of the Mondays" would pass.

Instead, I think I've got what I'm calling the "Post-Trade Deadline Blues". Teams I like didn't get better. Teams I don't like did. It was a memorable deadline, but not for the right reasons.

Let's discuss...

"Man is the only animal that laughs and weeps, for he is the only animal that is struck with the difference between what things are and what they ought to be."
- William Hazlitt (1778 - 1830), English writer

"...what things are and what they ought to be."

That's a pretty apt description of my current malaise. In this case, "what things are" equals the Twins having a line-up that could contend, but not enough pitching. And "what things ought to be", would be the Twins having added some pitching at the deadline and given themselves a chance to contend.

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I don't want to be overly pessimistic. Every time I get down on the Twins, they seem to come back and prove me wrong.

But I can't help but feeling a little bummed out.

Those of you who read my pre-season predictions know that I picked the Twins to win the whole kit and caboodle.

(Aside: does anyone know what in the world a "caboodle" is?)

I know several of you noticed that pick, because I caught a decent amount of "homer" accusations out of it. And those are probably fair... to a point.

But with the addition of Joe Crede at third, if the pitching came through, I honestly thought this team had a shot to contend.

Unfortunately, the pitching hasn't come through. Minnesota's winningest pitcher, Kevin Slowey, developed a wrist problem and had surgery that will shut him down for the rest of the year. Nick Blackburn has been decent, but is probably no better than a 3 (5 starting pitchers, 1 being the ace, 5 being essentially a spot-starter).

Francisco Liriano has been nothing short of a disappointment. He's been utterly inconsistent, showing very few flashes of his former brilliance. Scott Baker was supposed to be the ace of the staff, but again, is probably better suited to be a 2 or a 3. He presses too much when he feels like he's got to be a stopper, and when he presses, his pitches get up in the strike zone, and he gets killed.

Anthony Swarzak has shown some promise in 2 call-ups, but he's still a rookie, and again, probably has a ceiling as a middle-of-the-rotation guy.

As far as the bullpen goes, Joe Nathan is the only outstanding reliever of the bunch. Outside of him, the only other "reliable" reliever would be Matt Guerrier. And he's shown that if he's overused, that "reliable" tag goes away in a hurry. That forces Gardenhire to turn to other guys late in the game, which turns leads into deficits, and single-run deficits into routs.

Jose Mijares, Jesse Crain, Sean Henn, Brian Duensing, R.A. Dickey, Craig Breslow, Bobby Keppel, Luis Ayala, Jose Morillo, Phil Humber and Kevin Mulvey have all had chances in the bullpen, and none of them have proven reliable on a regular basis.

Mijares and Dickey have had stretches of usefulness, but they've been fairly short-lived.

So given that lack of reliable depth in the pitching ranks, it's been seriously disappointing to me that the Twins were unable to procure any help at the deadline.

I wasn't in the room. I don't know what was on the table. But adding a shortstop wasn't going to help their biggest need.

And that was never more in evidence than over the weekend when the Angels hit double-digits in runs scored in all 3 games on their way to a sweep of the home nine.

35-15. That was the total run tally over the 3 games. 11.7 runs per game. Come on! Okay, the Angels are hot at the plate right now, but when you get 3 straight poor efforts out of your starters, and those efforts are followed by the bullpen not being able to stop the bleeding, that tells me the Twins might not have what it takes to contend.

Then when you add in the moves other teams made, it highlights the problem even more.

Detroit added starter Jarrod Washburn from Seattle. That gives them a starting rotation of: Justin Verlander, who's seen a return to form this year; Edwin Jackson, who's been a valuable addition since being traded from Tampa; and Washburn. That's formidable, even if the team is having trouble scoring. That's a lot of nights where 2 or 3 runs will likely win Detroit a baseball game. Not good news for the Twins.

Chicago's a less-worrisome case. They traded for San Diego Ace, Jake Peavy. Peavy's probably a better pitcher than Washburn in the big picture, but his acquisition is less worrisome because he's been hurt all year. There are rumblings that he'll be back for the last few weeks of the season, and whatever post-season berth the White Sox are able to manage. But that's not even close to guaranteed.

The bottom line is that both Detroit and Chicago were able to go out and procure pitching while Minnesota couldn't. Perhaps that can be blamed on not wanting to part with prized prospects. Or maybe the Twins just don't have enough prospects to part with in the first place.

Whatever the reason, I fear it's going to be the Achilles heel to my favorite ball club this year.

And that has me feeling blue.


That's it for today. I'll be back on Wednesday with more for you. Hopefully I'll be a little perkier!

Until then, thanks for reading!


  1. Ok, that we're past the waiver deadline, the Twins will either have to get a budget pitcher (a gamble) or bring someone up from the minors (a bigger gamble), is that right?

  2. Correct...

    Or they can just stand pat with what they have and hope those guys get better...

    not terribly likely