The Twins, at 8-25, have the worst record in the major leagues. If that wasn’t bad enough — and it is — the division rival White Sox, at 23-12, have the best record in the American League. Combined those two things and the Twins are a nearly unfathomable 14 games out of first place already on May 12.
FanGraphs, which gave the Twins a 15 percent chance of making the postseason when the year started, now pegs Minnesota’s chances of reaching the playoffs at 0.4 percent. This is the very definition of a lost season, even though there are 129 games left.
There is no upside in this, but there is an opportunity: the Twins quite possibly should treat the next 4.5 months as a full-scale audition for their best young prospects. They’ve tried this to a degree, but they still have a roster that doesn’t really make sense. They have four regulars — Miguel Sano, Joe Mauer, Byung Ho Park and Oswaldo Arcia — who probably should be either playing first base or DH. But instead two of them are in the outfield. They are committed to Park and Mauer long-term. As long as that’s the case, those two will share first base and DH. There’s no room for anyone else.
One could argue that the Twins should begin — if they aren’t already — listening to any and all reasonable trade offers for Trevor Plouffe and Arcia. They probably don’t need to trade both of them, but they do need to trade one of them to give them a better chance at playing reasonable outfield defense (via Sano moving to third to replace Plouffe or Arcia being gone).
And given the circumstances they have created — with the full knowledge that some of the young players mentioned below have contributed to the 8-25 start — it could be argued they should be rolling out a lineup a lot of nights that looks something like this:
1) Byron Buxton, CF
2) Joe Mauer, 1B
3) Brian Dozier, 2B
4) Miguel Sano, 3B
5) Eddie Rosario, LF
6) Byung Ho Park, DH
7) Max Kepler, RF
8) John Ryan Murphy, C
9) Jorge Polanco, SS
For a longer discussion of the merits of this lineup — with some very good counterpoints from Twins beat writer Phil Miller — please have a listen to this week’s Twins Insider podcast.