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Jim Souhan

Jim Souhan analyzes the local sports scene

Souhan: Twins should have kept Dozier; signing Diggs vs. signing Barr

My view of the latest big moves:

-Trading Brian Dozier

What the Twins did: Traded their best established player for two prospects and a lesser second baseman.

Why they did it: Modern analytics indicated that aging middle infielders are a poor bet. They felt that signing Dozier to a lucrative long-term contract would be rewarding what he has done, not properly projecting what he will do. He'll turn 32 next year and is having a poor season. Unless he has a resurgence, his career will show that he peaked in 2016 and 2017.

What I would have done: I would have kept Dozier and given him a qualifying offer. If he rejected it and signed elsewhere, the Twins would receive a draft pick. If he accepted the one-year contract, the Twins would have a useful and perhaps very good second baseman for one more season while Nick Gordon develops.

-Signing Stefon Diggs

Why they did it: Vikings GM Rick Spielman loves athletic upside and continuity. Diggs has the former and keeping him ensures the latter for an offense that remains in flux. Now Kirk Cousins, Diggs, Adam Thielen, Dalvin Cook and Reilly Reiff are all signed for at least the next three seasons.

What I would have done: I've debated whether the Vikings should have prioritized Diggs or linebacker Anthony Barr. As Star Tribune beat writer Ben Goessling wrote today, now Barr may have competition for the next big deal from Sheldon Richardson, if Richardson plays as well as he is capable this season.

I've leaned toward Barr over Diggs because Barr has been more durable. But it's hard to argue with Diggs' production when he plays, and the Vikings' misses on Cordarrelle Patterson and, so far, Laquon Treadwell make Diggs even more vital to this team. And Barr could still get his deal if he demonstrates that he can improve as a pass rusher.

-Other Twins trades

Why they did it: They are rational. This Twins front office has been in place for two seasons, and twice has traded away key players at the trading deadline. That makes them look like uncaring pessimists to fans, but they're just being rational. Last year's team was a failure that miraculously caught fire after the deadline, as a handful of players performed like superstars for the first time in their careers.

This year's team is a failure that has a very small chance of contending. Derek Falvey and Thad Levine weren't hired to win a World Series in their first three seasons. They were hired to build a new organization from the ground up and replenish the farm system. They're playing the percentages by trading away players that aren't part of the long-term future.

Andy MacPhail, Terry Ryan and Falvey-Levine come from completely different backgrounds and have completely different personalities. This is what they have in common: When they don't think they have a winner, they strip the big-league team and try to build for the future. This is not an unusual, radical or evil approach.

They'll trade Logan Morrison if they can get anything for him.

You can find my podcasts at TalkNorth.com.

Souhan: Best news about Buxton is that he's still hurting

The best news the Twins have heard lately: That Byron Buxton's toe is in bad shape.

Buxton went on the disabled list after admitting that he can't push off on his broken toe. Why is this relatively good news?

Because the way Buxton was swinging, if there wasn't a physical problem holding him back, the only other conclusion we could reach would be that he had regressed as a hitter by two years.

What we know now is that Buxton couldn't land properly on his left foot, leading to his unconventional swing becoming even less conventional.

Buxton has had two spurts in the majors during which he looked like an All-Star: September of 2016 and the second half of 2017. If he takes an approach that gives him a chance to make contact, the ball will jump off of his bat. If he can land properly on his left foot.

More good news amid the Twins' wreckage? Miguel Sano has come back looking more like his old self. He hit a home run to centerfield in Kansas City with the kind of swing that could yet make him a superstar, and he has produced with runners in scoring position of late.

Whether it's Roy Smalley, Tom Kelly, Justin Morneau or Paul Molitor, what you hear from the Twins' best hitting gurus is that a hitter like Sano needs to let the ball travel and be willing to drive it to center or right. If he does that, he will still hit home runs to leftfield because of his bat speed, but he will stop striking out at a near-historic rate.

As for Ervin Santana's setback, there is no way to paint that as good news, except that for all of their problems the Twins don't currently have anyone begging to leave the rotation. Lance Lynn has pitched well in his last two starts, Kyle Gibson continues to reinvent himself and revive his career, and Fernando Romero is too good to take out of the rotation even after his implosion on Wednesday night.


You can find my podcasts at TalkNorth.com