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A Monday SORT from Upstate New York

  • Blog Post by: Jim Souhan
  • July 25, 2011 - 1:11 PM

Today's deep question: Should one game in July dramatically affect a big-league baseball front office's approach, or philosophy?

One baseball game in July shouldn't be so dramatic, but this one might have been.

Had the Twins beaten the Tigers on Sunday, they would have reduced the division lead to five games entering a tough stretch of schedule. With their roster getting healthier, their front office could have justified trading assets to help this group try to make a run.

A loss leaves the Twins seven games behind the Tigers, and in fourth place. The website Coolstandings.com gives the Twins a 2.1 percent chance of making the playoffs.

I completely disagree with the vocal fans who have argued that the Twins should sell rather than buy because this team might not be capable of making a run in the playoffs if it is able to qualify. That's defeatism. Baseball postseasons are too unpredictable for any franchise to sacrifice the opportunity to win it all.
 

But if the Twins continue to flail this week, as the July 31 trading deadline approaches, selling might be a nod to realism, not an act of defeatism.

I've been arguing for a month that the Twins owe it to the fans who fill their ballpark and the taxpayers of Hennepin County to try to win when they are positioned to do so. If they were five or fewer games out, that would continue to be my argument.

Buf if they're seven or more games out as the weekend approaches, should they really trade prospects when facing such long odds?

Probably not.

So I would recommend that the Twins make a deal something like the one they made for Matt Capps last year. No, I'm not advocating giving away another top prospect. I'm saying that the Twins' lack of bullpen depth will be a problem again next season, so if they can make an intelligent deal for a reliever who would remain under their control for next season, then I say make a deal.

But the team will have to close the gap on the division leaders to justify a win-it-this-year kind of trade. Sunday's loss makes that kind of a deal less likely, especially when we know that Detroit, the best team in the division, is likely to add help for the stretch run.

-So the Big Ten writers voted, and they rank the Gophers as the worst team in whatever their division is called these days. Does this mean that Sid didn't have a vote?

Honestly, the best thing that could happen to Jerry Kill would be the continuing downplaying of expectations.

At least Tim Brewster finally fulfilled his promise to Gophers fans. He filled TCF Bank Stadium. All it took for him to do that was the arrival of U2.

-Spoke with Twins broadcaster Dick Bremer after his partner, Bert Blyleven's, induction speech on Sunday in Cooperstown.

``I'm honored that he mentioned me,'' Bremer said. ``But I think he got the order wrong. He mentioned God and his family before me.''

Yes, Bremer was joking. He also said: ``I thought he did a wonderful job with that speech. I know how worked-up he was about it, and I know how nervous he was, and I thought he really pulled it off. I'm very happy for him.''

It will be interesting to see if Blyleven, with all of the earning opportunities available to Hall of Famers, will keep his gig as a full-time broadcaster after this season. With John Gordon retiring, I could see the Twins reconfiguring both their radio and TV booths, and there are all kinds of candidates positioning themselves for those gigs.

-The more I look at the Vikings roster, the more I see a team that will need Christian Ponder to be an instant star if it's going to be good. And there is so much we don't know about Ponder at this point.

We had him as a guest on Sunday Morning Sports Talk yesterday, and he sounded poised and bright, just as advertised. But he is facing a tough job here, trying to take over a veteran team without offseason workouts. I still think the Vikings are caught between being a veteran team that feels the need to win now, and a team that needs to work to fill holes and replace older veterans. If Leslie Frazier can win in his first year, he'll deserve some consideration for coach of the year. (At least, that's the way it looks to me before anyone puts on a pad.)

-I'll be on 1500espn at 2:40 today to speak with Mackey and Reusse.

 

 

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