After another last-place finish, the Twins will start addressing their weaknesses. And there are many.
TORONTO - As the game between the Oakland Athletics and the Texas Rangers played on televisions in the visitors' clubhouse Wednesday, Twins players looked ahead -- despite the fact they had one more game to play in their season.
"Everyone has to get better at certain things," outfielder Denard Span said.
There were pitching problems, fielding problems, pitching problems, offensive droughts -- and more pitching problems. The Twins never spent a day at .500 and were 10 games out of first place by mid-May.
Wednesday, they ended the season the way it began -- by getting swept in a series, as Toronto edged them 2-1. The Twins lost three one-run games to the Blue Jays and finished 66-96 -- the first time they have had consecutive seasons of at least 96 losses. The season began with a road sweep by another AL East team, the Orioles.
After the loss, Twins players dressed quickly and filled out declaration forms to return to the United States. And there were vows to make the season last longer next year.
"A heck of a year by a few guys," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "[Joe] Mauer had a good year and [Josh] Willingham and guys like that. Plouffey [Trevor Plouffe] hit some home runs, Some good things happened but, as I told the guys in there, not enough good things.
"You keep working at it. Go home this winter and keep working on what we all need to improve on, the little things that each player is going to look back on and think about. We'll be better and get back to where we need to be. It's a long process, but it doesn't have to be a long process."
The Twins' busy offseason starts early Thursday morning, when General Manager Terry Ryan will hold the first of several meetings with members of the coaching staff.
After two last-place finishes in the AL Central, changes could be coming to the staff. The organization thinks highly of Class AAA Rochester manager Gene Glynn and hitting coach Tom Brunansky and might decide to mix in a couple of new perspectives to the big-league team.
Ryan is scheduled to join owner Jim Pohlad and President Dave St. Peter on Friday for media sessions. There's a chance that he will officially take the interim tag off his GM title and announce his commitment to turning things around, after replacing Bill Smith in the role a year ago.
"As soon as that is finalized, you will be the first to know," Ryan said.
Ryan acknowledged that the roster needs more than just tweaking. In addition to starting pitching, the Twins are unsure what their starting middle infield combination will be next season. If they trade Span for starting pitching, their range in the outfield will be affected negatively.
And the Twins aren't settled on Plouffe at third base. He belted 24 homers but batted .236 and wasn't consistent in the field.
"He's a work in progress," Ryan said.
The Twins have some quality players, but they also have many holes to fill. After watching them lose 96 games, everyone knows that.
What's unknown is how they will go about augmenting the roster to go with what is expected to be an altered coaching staff.
Mauer, heading into an offseason in which he doesn't have to worry about recovering from an injury or illness, said he believes that the Twins just need a few moves to turn things around.
"I think they have the right man for the job," Mauer said of Ryan. "He's been there and done it. He's put together some really good teams here in the past. I think they have the right man in charge."
Ryan was asked if the team was better off than it was a year ago.
"No," he said flatly. "We're in the same spot, last place. Just like we were last year. That's not good."
And that will likely lead to some new faces.
"We'll just see how the winter goes," said Gardenhire, who is expected to return as manager, "and go from there."
|NY Yankees - LP: M. Pineda||0||FINAL|
|Toronto - WP: D. Hutchison||2|
|Detroit - LP: M. Scherzer||3||FINAL|
|Chicago WSox - WP: C. Sale||6|
|Chicago Cubs||5||Top 7th Inning|
|Cincinnati||0||Top 1st Inning|
|Minnesota - K. Gibson||6:05 PM|
|Baltimore - C. Tillman|
|Philadelphia - J. Williams||6:10 PM|
|NY Mets - B. Colon|
|Miami - J. Cosart||6:10 PM|
|Atlanta - A. Harang|
|Boston - A. Webster||6:10 PM|
|Tampa Bay - J. Odorizzi|
|Cleveland - T. Bauer||6:10 PM|
|Kansas City - J. Shields|
|Detroit - K. Ryan||6:10 PM|
|Chicago WSox - C. Bassitt|
|Texas - R. Ross Jr.||6:10 PM|
|Houston - S. Feldman|
|Colorado - T. Matzek||7:10 PM|
|Arizona - V. Nuno|
|Chicago Cubs - T. Wada||7:15 PM|
|St. Louis - M. Gonzales|
|Los Angeles - Z. Greinke||7:40 PM|
|San Diego - I. Kennedy|
|Milwaukee - M. Fiers||8:05 PM|
|San Francisco - J. Peavy|
|Oakland - J. Samardzija||8:05 PM|
|LA Angels - C. Rasmus|
|Washington - S. Strasburg||8:10 PM|
|Seattle - R. Elias|
|Green Bay||9/4/14 7:30 PM|
|(6) Jacksonville St||7||FINAL|
|(8) Michigan State||45|
|(5) Ohio State||34||FINAL|
|Boston College||6||2nd Qtr 4:03|
|West Virginia||3||1st Qtr 3:47|
|Rice||0||1st Qtr 3:50|
|(17) Notre Dame||7|
|(10) South Dakota St||7||1st Qtr 6:15|
|Fla Atlantic||7||1st Qtr 4:15|
|California||7||1st Qtr 1:00|
|Marshall||7||1st Qtr 4:20|
|UC Davis||3:00 PM|
|Arkansas||0||1st Qtr 12:30|
|(16) Clemson||4:30 PM|
|(23) North Carolina|
|Ohio U||5:00 PM|
|Louisiana Tech||6:00 PM|
|Stephen F Austin||6:10 PM|
|(20) Kansas State|
|Fresno State||6:30 PM|
|Southern Miss||6:30 PM|
|Texas-El Paso||7:00 PM|
|North Texas||7:00 PM|
|(1) Florida State||7:00 PM|
|(14) Wisconsin||8:00 PM|
|South Dakota||9:30 PM|
|(25) Washington||9:30 PM|
|Utah State||8/31/14 6:00 PM|
|SMU||8/31/14 6:30 PM|
|Miami-Florida||9/1/14 7:00 PM|
|Arizona||9/4/14 7:00 PM|
|Pittsburgh||9/5/14 6:00 PM|
|Washington St||9/5/14 9:30 PM|
|SMU||9/6/14 11:00 AM|
|Fla Atlantic||9/6/14 11:00 AM|
|Buffalo||9/6/14 11:00 AM|
|(24) Missouri||9/6/14 11:00 AM|
|Arkansas State||9/6/14 11:00 AM|
|(8) McNeese State||9/6/14 11:00 AM|
|Central Mich||9/6/14 11:00 AM|
|Akron||9/6/14 11:00 AM|
|Western Ill||9/6/14 11:00 AM|
|(20) Kansas State||9/6/14 11:00 AM|
|(4) Oklahoma||9/6/14 11:00 AM|
|Western Ky||9/6/14 11:00 AM|
|SC State||9/6/14 11:30 AM|
|Navy||9/6/14 12:00 PM|
|UAB||9/6/14 1:00 PM|
|South Alabama||9/6/14 1:00 PM|
|New Mexico St||9/6/14 1:00 PM|
|Colorado||9/6/14 2:00 PM|
|Fresno State||9/6/14 2:00 PM|
|(1) Eastern Wash||9/6/14 2:00 PM|
|(15) USC||9/6/14 2:30 PM|
|Ohio U||9/6/14 2:30 PM|
|Middle Tennessee||9/6/14 2:30 PM|
|Northern Ill||9/6/14 2:30 PM|
|Missouri State||9/6/14 2:30 PM|
|Ball State||9/6/14 2:30 PM|
|Maryland||9/6/14 2:30 PM|
|Eastern Mich||9/6/14 3:00 PM|
|Georgia Tech||9/6/14 3:00 PM|
|(18) Ole Miss||9/6/14 3:30 PM|
|Old Dominion||9/6/14 5:00 PM|
|(8) Michigan State||9/6/14 5:30 PM|
|(19) Arizona State||9/6/14 6:00 PM|
|Louisiana Tech||9/6/14 6:00 PM|
|San Jose St||9/6/14 6:00 PM|
|East Carolina||9/6/14 6:00 PM|
|(9) So Carolina|
|Duke||9/6/14 6:00 PM|
|Idaho||9/6/14 6:00 PM|
|(17) Sam Houston St||9/6/14 6:30 PM|
|Michigan||9/6/14 6:30 PM|
|(17) Notre Dame|
|Lamar||9/6/14 6:30 PM|
|(21) Texas A&M|
|Northwestern St||9/6/14 6:30 PM|
|BYU||9/6/14 6:30 PM|
|Citadel||9/6/14 6:30 PM|
|(1) Florida State|
|San Diego St||9/6/14 7:00 PM|
|(23) North Carolina|
|Virginia Tech||9/6/14 7:00 PM|
|(5) Ohio State|
|Memphis||9/6/14 9:00 PM|
|Colorado State||9/6/14 9:15 PM|
|Air Force||9/6/14 9:15 PM|
|Oregon State||9/6/14 9:30 PM|
|Texas Tech||9/6/14 10:00 PM|
|Colorado||0||1st Half 44:55|
|New England||4:00 PM|
|FC Dallas||7:30 PM|
|Real Salt Lake||9:30 PM|
|Winnipeg||8/31/14 3:00 PM|
|Toronto||9/1/14 12:00 PM|
|Edmonton||9/1/14 3:30 PM|
|Brt Columbia||9/5/14 6:30 PM|
|Calgary||9/6/14 6:00 PM|
|Hamilton||9/7/14 12:00 PM|
|Saskatchewan||9/7/14 3:00 PM|
Poll: How sure are you that the Twins are on the road to improving?