A few glorious days spent on the North Shore resulted in a post-vacation afterglow of obliviousness, so help me out here: Are the Twins buyers or sellers this week?
What’s that? Check back tomorrow?
Goodness, unplug for four days and everything turns upside down. Or is it right-side up?
They’re buyers. No, sellers. No, buyers. No, wait.
The Twins should distribute Dramamine to fans because this season, with all its sudden drops and sharp ascent, has caused extreme motion sickness.
Left for dead after a miserable West Coast trip, the Twins have bounce in their step again. A 7-1 hot streak has them a half-game out in the wild-card race, setting up a significant three-game series against first-place Cleveland, which begins Tuesday night at Target Field.
Guess those white flags have been tucked into storage for the time being.
This season has played out like a cheesy horror movie with a character who just won’t die. You’re sitting there thinking, Yep, that ought to be the end of him, but no, the villain startlingly reappears. So who plays Bartolo Colon in this movie?
The organization’s new brain trust seems as bewildered by their team as everyone else. Based on their words and actions, Derek Falvey and Thad Levine can’t decide whether to buy, sell or put both options on a dart board and fire away.
In late July, beat writers asked Falvey about national reports that indicated an ugly slump had caused him and Levine to start listening to trade offers for their veterans, including freshly acquired starter Jaime Garcia, who hadn’t even made his Twins debut at the time.
Falvey chuckled but noted that the picture can change quickly. “There are dominoes that fall that lead to other dominoes falling,” he said.
A domino fell. So long, Jaime. We’ll miss our time together. They got rid of All-Star closer Brandon Kintzler a day later.
Levine on July 30 as sellers a day before the non-waiver trade deadline: “The unfortunate reality is that the landscape for us has changed meaningfully since we have made that [Garcia] deal.”
Levine on Aug. 12 as potential buyers in waiver claims: “We’ve already pivoted once in this process, and I think we demonstrated a willingness to respond to the way the team is performing.”
Good luck trying to sort that out. The Twins remain a flawed team surrounded by other flawed teams. They are overmatched against top-tier teams but fully capable of beating bad to average teams. And the league is filled to the brim in that category.
That’s both a reward and curse for organizations trying to determine how to proceed in this new era of a playoff format with two wild cards.
Major League Baseball achieved its desired result in expanding the postseason in 2012. Adding a second wild card to each league opened the door for more teams to stay relevant later into summer, thus presumably keeping interest high for more fans.
The average win total for the second wild-card team in the American League is 89.6. That tends to create hope for the masses. Some might call it false hope, but the possibility of the postseason keeps people from checking out.
Twins second baseman Brian Dozier put it perfectly in mid-July when stating the case for his team.
“[People] are talking about teams that are three or four games out thinking about selling — that doesn’t make sense to me,” he said.
The second wild card leaves mediocre teams in a weird limbo status: Do they go for it and add pieces, knowing it might — might — only lead to a one-game playoff at best, or do they recognize their flaws in a larger picture?
Context matters too. Falvey and Levine are focused on the future while managing the present with a restless fan base that has been beaten to a pulp by the recent past. The Twins preach patience. Their fans are out of patience. And the team plays like it has mood swings.
The initial decision to buy made perfect sense at the time. Then their decision to sell made sense. Now they are looking to buy again, which also makes sense.
Pass the Dramamine.