The final days of the Minnesota Twins 2013 season has arrived and for some fans, it may be a sigh of relief. The Twins will finish their third straight losing record this season. While not a complete surprise, it’s still hard for Twins fans—especially after the Twins finished the 2010 season with one of the top records in Major League Baseball. However, there were some bright spots this year, and there are reasons for fans to look towards the future.
Twins fans saw many old faces leave the team through trades or contract terminations. Outfielder Denard Span was the first big Twins name to be traded during the league meetings prior to the start of the season. Span was sent to the Washington Nationals in exchange for pitching prospect Alex Meyer. Shortly after Span was traded, Outfielder Ben Revere was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies in exchange for pitching prospects Vance Worley and Trevor May.
Worley started the season on the Twins Opening Day roster as the starting pitcher. Unfortunately, his inconsistency and poor pitching led to a loss that day and ultimately forced the Twins to send him down to the Minor Leagues. May was never called up this season to the Twins roster, but there are high hopes for him. Many within the organization believe he will be a future standout pitcher for the Twins.
The Twins made one more major move by trading First Baseman Justin Morneau to the Pittsburg Pirates in exchange for Outfielder Ryan Presley. The Pirates acquired Morneau in August in order to strengthen the middle of their lineup. This was done as a means to help the Pirates make their first playoff run.
Morneau was drafted in 1999 by the Twins and made his Major League debut in 2003. Morneau was a huge presence in the ball club during the ten years he spent in the Major Leagues as a Twin. In 2006, Morneau won the American League MVP award. Morneau is also a four time All-Star and a Home Run Derby champion. However, numerous injuries, including a season ending concussion, led to a decrease in Morneau’s productivity in the last three years. Nevertheless, Morneau will be deeply missed by the Twins organization and fans.
Despite the Twins’ big moves this offseason, there were still some bright spots within the ball club that made for a much more competitive season. Catcher Joe Mauer made the American League All-Star team this summer and has made a major impact on the team. Mauer has led the team all season in batting average. Mauer is currently on the disabled list with a concussion, but is hopeful to return to the team next week to play out the final week at home.
Pitcher Glen Perkins also made the All-Star team for the first time in his Major League career. Perkins was outstanding in his first year as the Twins full time closer. Perkins collected 35+ saves during the 2013 season and added much needed strength to the pitching staff.
Other surprises this season were the rises of Second Baseman Brian Dozier and Shortstop Eduardo Escobar. Escobar emerged as a defensive threat in the middle of the infield along with Dozier. Even more shocking was Dozier’s improvement in hitting, especially in hitting homeruns. Dozier hit 15+ homeruns this season, something that many fans did not expect from him. Both of these players show promise for the future of the Twins.
As the season comes to a close, it’s obvious that there are changes that need to be made in order to restore the greatness that was once present on this team. First, the Twins need to spend some money on pitching. The Twins are hopeful that their newest prospects acquired in the last few years will lead to great games in the future, but how much longer must fans wait? The Twins are in desperate need of a solid starting pitching staff. The bullpen has shown that they have the talent to get the job done, but they also have shown that they can’t carry the pitching load for the Twins.
Secondly, it’s time for the Twins to make a complete change in coaching. Current Manager Ron Gardenhire has spent 11 years as the Twins manager and has been a fan favorite ever since. Unfortunately, the team has now had three straight losing seasons, and it goes to show that the current clubhouse philosophy isn’t working. As sad as it would be to see “Gardy” leave the Twins, it may also serve as a necessary move that could take the Twins to new heights. The team is in serious need of change.
The Twins will finish their season with a weeklong home-stand. First, they will play a three game series against the Detroit Tigers. Finally, the Twins will play a four game series against the Cleveland Indians that will end their 162 game long season. Be sure to check out the last week of the season as the Twins attempt to end the season on a positive note.
On another Major League note, the MLB playoffs will begin on Oct. 1. This year’s MLB playoffs should be an interesting one as there will be some great teams competing for a chance to play in the World Series.