The Lynx have been one of the WNBA’s elite teams for the past five seasons, including this one, while the Twins were dreadful for the four preceding this one.
The Lynx play in a league with just 12 teams, where salaries are not really a factor in trades. The Twins are in a more competitive 30-team league where salaries do make a difference.
And, specifically in the case of the Lynx’s acquisition Monday of star center Sylvia Fowles, they were dealing with a player who specifically wanted to play here — which can help facilitate a deal. On the flip side, while plenty of players wouldn’t mind coming here to play for the Twins, there are other markets and teams that might be more attractive.
As such, in some ways it’s really fair to look at the events of recent weeks — when the Lynx have added Fowles and guard Renee Montgomery to a win-now mix of players while the Twins have yet to make an outside move to bolster their roster — and wonder why the Twins can’t be more like the Lynx.
The Twins have to think about more than the near-term when they consider trades, whereas the Lynx are built for this season and perhaps one or two more at the top. The Twins have to contend with other teams who have similar holes (shortstop and relief pitcher) when trying to make deals.
That said, there is also this: even though the Twins are contending for a playoff spot a year or two early, here they are. In a mediocre American League, they would be in the postseason if the playoffs started today, and anyone who gets in is just a hot streak away from winning it all.
It sounds as though they are working on making a deal, particularly for a relief pitcher. That’s good. But it also sounds like they might be stopping short of going after a major impact player. They’ve watched division-leading Kansas City nab Johnny Cueto, and now the Wild Card-contending Blue Jays have acquired shortstop Troy Tulowitzki.
The Twins need reinforcements — and they need to be more than token acquisitions. That doesn’t mean sacrificing the future, but it does mean recognizing the opportunity in the present.
The Lynx have made the kinds of trades a team of their stature and expectations needs to make; and now the Twins, relative to their position, must do the same.