The Twins had a foundation when the 2017 season ended with a wild-card loss at Yankee Stadium. Assuming the return of Miguel Sano, the infield was deep enough to have the excellent Eduardo Escobar as an extra piece. The outfield was young and often described on FSN telecasts as having “three center fielders.’’
There were three notable starters in Ervin Santana, Jose Berrios and Kyle Gibson, and the threesome of Trevor Hildenberger, Taylor Rogers and Ryan Pressly to lead the bullpen.
The Twins added a half-dozen veterans — relievers Fernando Rodney, Addison Reed and Zach Duke, starters Jake Odorizzi and Lance Lynn and designated hitter Logan Morrison — to supplement that foundation.
This pushed the Twins to an all-time-high payroll of $130 million in the second year of Derek Falvey’s baseball operation. Lynn was the last of those signings, and it became official March 13.
Twenty weeks later, the nonwaiver trade deadline was reached in major league baseball and the result was in on the Twins’ 2018 roster manipulation:
Escobar and Brian Dozier were foundation infielders and traded — Escobar for three suspects in the low minors and Dozier in a complete giveaway. Joe Mauer might retire, and Sano could again decide over the winter that the low 270s is too lean.
Eddie Rosario is the only foundation outfielder remaining, with Max Kepler unable to hit in the big leagues, and Byron Buxton unable to hit or stay healthy at any level.
Berrios is good and so is Gibson, and Big Erv soon will be gone after a wasted season, and Pressly is gone for a couple more suspects.
There has been bad luck and, more so, wretched roster decisions. Escobar would have signed for $10-$11 million per on a multiyear deal, and Dozier would have been worth more if the Twins hadn’t overplayed their hand earlier, and Sano should not have left spring training in that shape.
There’s also a bullpen that now includes 31-year-old Oliver Drake, when J.T. Chargois (Dodgers) and Randy Rosario (a lefthander with a 1.97 ERA when pitching for the Cubs) were waived for no good reason.
Ninety losses are back in the picture, and a foundation remains that wouldn’t support a mud hut.
Nice work, fellas.
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