I group individuals into two categories: Those who get it and those who don't. Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak falls into the former. His quote to ESPN.com following the acquisition of OF Matt Holliday on Friday: "You're not always going to be in contention."
Paging Twins GM Bill Smith: DO YOU COMPREHEND? He should have just two untouchables in his minor league system: 3B Danny Valencia and OF Aaron Hicks. Everyone else should be in play until next Friday at 3 pm CST when the non-waiver trade deadline arrives. Don't be fooled into assuming a lot of deals will happen in August because guys will get through waivers. Maybe they will, but the idea is to have someone help you for 55-plus games, not 30. If Pittsburgh wants Alexi Casilla, Brian Duensing, and a low-level pitcher who has a chance for 2B Freddy Sanchez -- do it.
Reasons why Smith should make a deal or two and go for it this year:
- Show soon-to-be free agent Joe Mauer and your other two superstars -- Justin Morneau and Joe Nathan -- that you're willing to take a chance midseason.
- The Twins have the payroll flexibility to make a move...and adding a guy like Sanchez, or a reliever like Mike Wuertz (A's) or George Sherrill (Orioles), helps you in future years as well.
- There is no guarantee that the Twins will enjoy an enormous homefield advantage at Target Field like they do at the Metrodome.
- Entering Monday's game, despite being one game under .500, the division is still very winnable, but only with a tweak or two.
Twins (Entering Sunday night, six back in the loss column of 1st place Detroit with 63 games to go...two back in the loss column of the White Sox)
30 games vs. bottom rung of league: K.C., Cle., Balt., and Oakland
NO games vs. the top-three in the A.L. (NY, Bos, TB)
Nine games vs. the White Sox, with six at home
10 games vs. the Tigers, although seven come at Comerica Park
Remaining games vs. Toronto (who might be without Roy Halladay who owns the Twins), Texas, and LAA (who will be without Torii Hunter and the games are at home).
Tigers (prospectus playoff odds = 50%)
25 games vs. bottom rung of league
11 games vs. the top-three in the A.L.
6 games vs. the White Sox
Twins games are noted above
Remaining games vs. Toronto, Seattle, and playoff contenders Texas and LAA
White Sox (toughest remaining schedule in the league, playoff odds = 23%)
20 games vs. bottom rung of the league
15 games. vs. the top-three in the A.L.
6 games at Seattle, who are 4 games over .500 and who may still have a shot at the postseason
Tigers and Twins games noted above
Remaining games vs. playoff contenders LAA (6) and the Cubs (1)
Above is why I can't write the Twins' obituary -- yet. Even with the news that starter Kevin Slowey could be lost for the season, a rotation that hasn't exceeded or even met expectations and arguably is the team's No. 1 issue right now, and a 3B in Joe Crede who will probably miss three games this week with a paper cut, they play in the worst division in all of baseball. Yes, it's worse than the N.L. East. A playoff spot is still there for the taking. Your presumed comeback: So what, even if they make the playoffs, they won't win anyway. Maybe so, but too many variables go into postseason success -- health, being able to set your rotation, specific match-ups, how well you're playing in mid-to-late September (although that has proven to go both ways) etc...
This week will go a long way in determining how we should view Smith. Personally, he's as nice as it gets, but professionally, he has more negatives on his record than positives. That can start to change this week.