1 The trade deadline: The Twins are listening to offers, and that could mean the end of Justin Morneau’s tenure with the team. Teams have asked about closer Glen Perkins, but the Twins are not likely to part with him. Veteran pitchers Mike Pelfrey, Kevin Correia and Vance Worley have attracted some interest. Josh Willingham needs to come back strong from knee surgery to make him a tradable commodity in August, if the Twins can sneak him through waivers, or in the offseason.
2 Kyle Gibson’s progress: The Twins still are touting the former No. 1 pick as a top-of-the-rotation starter. Everyone will know more by season’s end. So far he’s 2-2 with a 6.45 ERA.
3 Securing jobs: Trevor Plouffe, Brian Dozier, Aaron Hicks and Pedro Florimon need strong finishes to be future building blocks. Oswaldo Arcia and Chris Parmelee need to play well enough to be recalled from the minors. And recent call-ups Chris Colabello, Doug Bernier and Chris Herrmann at least are getting looks.
4 Who’s coming? GM Terry Ryan hasn’t ruled out giving prize prospect Miguel Sano a look in September. Sano is struggling to get over .200 since his promotion to Class AA, but he has six homers in 96 at-bats. Reliever Michael Tonkin, SS Danny Santana and C Josmil Pinto could get September looks since they’re already on the 40-man roster. Nick Blackburn, on the comeback trail, could get a September start.
5 Gardy’s fate: Whether the Twins can finish on a strong note, and provide some optimism for 2014, could determine the future of manager Ron Gardenhire, who has managed the team since 2002. Gardenhire led the team to six division titles in his first nine seasons but is headed toward his third consecutive 90-plus-loss season.