Blog Entry

Homegrown Team: Minnesota Twins

Posted on: November 25, 2011 3:09 pm
Edited on: November 26, 2011 1:38 pm
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By C. Trent Rosecrans


What if players were only permitted to stay with the team that originally made them a professional? No trades, no Rule-5 Draft, no waivers, no minor- or major-league free agency ... once you are a professional baseball player, you stay in that organization. This series shows how all 30 teams would look. We give you: Homegrown teams. 

For years, the Minnesota Twins were the model of how to build a consistent winner in a small market. From 2001-2010, the Twins appeared in the playoffs six times and recorded just one losing season. But the wheels fell off in 2011, with a mixture of bad fortune and bad pitching. The Twins have two former MVPs in their lineup, but it would be tough to find two former MVPs who did less in 2011 than Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer. Those two homegrown players were supposed to be cornerstones for the franchise, but their performance last season was more fitting a tombstone. The team's fortunes, for better or worse, will be tied to those two for the next few years.

Lineup

1. Denard Span, CF
2. Michael Cuddyer, 3B
3. Joe Mauer, 1B
4. Justin Morneau, DH
5. Torii Hunter, RF
6. Jason Kubel, LF
7. Wilson Ramos, C
8. Danny Valencia, 2B
9. Tsuyoshi Nishioka, SS

Starting Rotation

1. Matt Garza
2. Nick Blackburn
3. Kevin Slowey
4. Brian Duensing
5. Anthony Swarzak

Bullpen

Closer - Jesse Crain
Set up - LaTroy Hawkins, J.C. Romero, Pat Neshek, Glen Perkins, Grant Balfour, Peter Moylan

Notable Bench Players

A.J. Pierzynski, Ben Revere, Luke Hughes, Trevor Plouffe.

What's Good?

With Ramos and Pierzynski on the roster, there's zero reason for Mauer to get anywhere near catching gear -- unless it's for another commercial. With Mauer freed of pitching duties, he can concentrate on first base and Justin Morneau doesn't have to worry about playing in the field. Even though Morneau is a very good defensive first baseman, keeping him off the field could keep him on the field. Last year he suffered concussion-like symptoms after merely diving for a ball. Limiting his risks for a recurrence of head injuries should be a top priority for the Twins, and the easiest way to do that solves the team's other big problem, getting the most out of their long-term deal with Mauer. While the Twins don't have anyone on this list with a large number of saves on their resume, there are a ton of good relievers.

What's Not?

It's a good thing the team has good relievers, because they're going to need them -- and even more than the seven listed above. The rotation, after Garza, is shaky. That rotation isn't going to get much help from its defense, either. The roster makeup requires several position shuffles, including Cuddyer to third, a position he's played, but is not too keen on playing. The Twins also have to put Nishioka at shortstop. Although he played there some in 2011, the team signed Jamey Carroll to play shortstop every day in 2012 for a reason.

Comparison to real 2011

Well, if you thought it couldn't get much worse in Minnesota than it did in 2011, it may with this lineup and rotation. Minnesota went 63-99 in 2011, and it probably breaks the 100-loss barrier with this squad, but don't expect them to be historically bad, so it'd probably only cost four-to-eight wins in my unscientific research. Either way, it's an ugly summer in Minneapolis.

Up next: Pittsburgh Pirates

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Comments

Since: Aug 27, 2008
Posted on: December 1, 2011 4:28 pm
 

Homegrown Team: Minnesota Twins

Well, if you thought it couldn't get much worse in Minnesota than it did in 2011, it may with this lineup and rotation. Minnesota went 63-99 in 2011, and it probably breaks the 100-loss barrier with this squad, but don't expect them to be historically bad, so it'd probably only cost four-to-eight wins in my unscientific research. Either way, it's an ugly summer in Minneapolis.

I can't argue with the research, but disagree with the conclusion. Sure the Twins lost 99 games last year, but their two MVPs hardly played. What team could stand to have two MVPs out so much and still be competitive?

Remember, this is the same team that since 2002 has qualified for the playoffs six times and won at least 90 games the majority of those times. Just because they have one year when they stunk doesn't mean they are that close to the 100-loss barrier.

Bottom line: I am enjoying these discussions. Until the winter meetings, it is about the most interesting baseball stuff out there to read.




Since: Mar 22, 2007
Posted on: November 28, 2011 11:03 am
 

Homegrown Team: Minnesota Twins

ezmover: one losing season and now the team is at risk of moving?  Ridiculous.  As far as what the team paid Mauer, the Yanks or your saux would have paid the same if not more to sign him when he was a FA.  The deal looks bad now but baby Jesus has a chance to get back to his stats of old.  Morneau at $15m is appropriate if he can get over the concussion issues.

I'd add that the Twins did develop Santana, he was essentially given up on being allowed to go Rule 5.  He turned into a Cy Young winner.  I understand the criteria doesn't allow for that (and swinging deals like AJ for Nathan/Liriano) but shrewd moves like that are what gets teams like the Twins and A's into contention with the big markets.  Still a good article, don't waste your time with the idiots who will criticize for no good reason, those folks will always be there.  Just goes to show ya that Terry Ryan is the man most responsible for the Twins' success.



Since: Sep 17, 2006
Posted on: November 28, 2011 8:52 am
 

Homegrown Team: Minnesota Twins

"Maybe they will be content watching real teams come to town & get used to losing 100 games a year, but I doubt it.Without fan support the Twins will not stay in Minnesota."

@ ezmover...Surprise! An east-coast idiot idiot that can't think outside their time-zone. You need to do a little homework, son, before you spout off. First, the Twins have 6 division championships since 2002. They HAVE underachived in the playoffs, however. Second, the team has a new stadium with significant cash flow. They still don't have the deep pockets of your beloved Sox, but will be competitive. Finally, without fan support EVERY TEAM WILL LEAVE IT'S HOME CITY YOU MORON. Oh, and since you are so astute, you probably noticed the sun also came up today.



Since: Nov 27, 2011
Posted on: November 27, 2011 12:27 pm
 

Homegrown Team: Minnesota Twins

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Since: Feb 22, 2008
Posted on: November 26, 2011 8:56 pm
 

Homegrown Team: Minnesota Twins

  --- Morneau's concussion wasn't caused by being hit by pitch,  rather he suffered the concussion after getting kneed in the head sliding into 2nd base.  And as far as the Twins leaving Minnesota, you should do some homework, they just started playing in their new stadium in 2010.  Won't be going anywhere for a long, long, time.



Since: Jul 13, 2010
Posted on: November 26, 2011 5:43 pm
 

Homegrown Team: Minnesota Twins

stevie the criteris is on the team that drafted/signed that certain player into majors. and majors means any level of baseball. the platyer had to be drafted or signed as an undrafted FA for them to be on this team. this unrealistic obviously since no teams have all homegrown players but hes doing this since nothing else is going on right now.

I like this piece matt and commend you on it. dont listen to all these little whiners cause they are probably one of the people in here talking crap on the yankees when you did your first piece. bunch of whiny little girls when it comes to their teams. this is all fiction people get over it. if you dont like it then dont read it!!

good article matt!!



Since: Dec 28, 2006
Posted on: November 26, 2011 4:02 pm
 

Homegrown Team: Minnesota Twins

im not sure i understand. on what criteria is a player placed with one oganization or another? is it with what team he debuted, spent the majority of his minor league, was originally drafted/signed by? 



Since: Aug 24, 2006
Posted on: November 26, 2011 2:33 pm
 

Homegrown Team: Minnesota Twins

This article is not fiction.The small market Twins are actually paying Morneau & Mauer a combined 38M$.My guess is they handed out those contracts because they were tired of losing their stars to the large markey teams.The problem with that is they over-paid in a big way.Mauer is worth no more than 12M$ a year especially considering all the time he's on the DL.Morneau isn't worth 15 M$ a year considering he's never fully recovered from being hit by a pitchThat doesn't leave much cash for quality players.How long will Twins fan's tolerate losing year after year.Maybe they will be content watching real teams come to town & get used to losing 100 games a year, but I doubt it.Without fan support the Twins will not stay in Minnesota.


mzracing76
Since: Dec 24, 2006
Posted on: November 26, 2011 1:34 pm
This comment has been removed.

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Since: Jun 3, 2010
Posted on: November 26, 2011 1:22 pm
 

Homegrown Team: Minnesota Twins

mzracing76:

Yes, it is fiction. If you hate fun, this series isn't for you. It's most certainly not "news." There's a difference between news and other blogs. If you don't know that difference, we can't help you.

As far as "bored" or "need a life outside sports," we have to keep things moving in the offseason, so it's time for fun little features.

Obviously, you don't like fun, so it's not for you. And that's OK. Some people don't like fun. Sorry, no offense.

- Matt Snyder


The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com