Twins Insider Logo


Twins Insider

La Velle E. Neal III and Phil Miller report on the Twins from wherever they make news

Observations on a Twins team done at home for the season

This ends my 19th year on the beat. Before that, I covered the Royals for three years. Until today, I had never covered a team that had lost 100 games before.

That means this is the worst baseball team I have ever covered.

They can't sustain offense. They make baserunning mistakes. The pitching staff is a shambles. And they need serious upgrades defensively.

Here are some observations:

The Twins can't have a left side of the infield with Jorge Polanco and Migue Sano. There will be too many mistakes between the both of them.

Polanco doesn't have the arm to play shortstop.

Robbie Grossman's defense makes him, at best, a fourth outfielder or a DH candidate. But the fourth outfielder usually is a defensive player. So I don't know of there's a role for Grossman.

The Twins need a catcher who is defense first. It's too vital of a position not to have someone who can call games, frame pitches and prevent stolen bases. If the guy hits .235 but can run a staff, go for him.

Byron Buxton could become a Gold Glove center fielder who hits 30-plus home runs a year. 

Turning around a franchise takes as much time as it does to fix a pitching staff. As soon as the Twins can sort their pitching out, they can compete.

After Ervin Santana, I'm not sure how capable the rest of the rotation is right now. Tyler Duffey and Jose Berrios need to be fixed. Kyle Gibson's career is at a crossroads, to me. Which Phil Hughes are they getting next year?

Stephen Gonsalves will be the next starting prospect to get a shot.

Kohl Stewart and Tyler Jay both were top ten overall picks. If they don't come through, the Twins have to look at how they are developing pitchers.

What did I just write? They need to do that anyway. Matt Garza and Brad Radke are their last two homegrown starters. Wow.

It's painful to watch No. 7 these days. He's not running well. He doesn't have his legs under him when he swings. He should shut it down the rest of the season.

I don't expect a few coaches to return next season. I'm guessing at least three new faces.

The Twins need to cut the cord with Kennys Vargas, Byung Ho Park or both. The DH spot needs to be available for Mauer and Sano.

The free agent pitching market is not expected to be strong this offseason. Teams will be looking to trade for pitching. That means it will be a seller's market. Keep this in mind as some of you wonder about trading Brian Dozier for pitching.

I'm on the fence about trading Dozier. Guess it depends on the deal. That's a lot of production to take out of a lineup.

I do think Sano is sincere about wanting to lose weight and stay on the field. His challenge is to keep the big picture in focus.

Enjoy the last week of the season.

Twins saddened by death of Marlins pitcher Fernandez

The Twins will observe a moment of silence before the game following the tragic death of Florida Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez early Sunday morning.

Fernandez was one of three men who were killed when the boat they were riding in crashed into  jetty off of Miami Beach. 

``All of Baseball is shocked and saddened by the sudden passing of Miami Marlins pitcher José Fernández,'' MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement.  ``He was one of our game’s great young stars who made a dramatic impact on and off the field since his debut in 2013.  Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, the Miami Marlins organization and all of the people he touched in his life.''

Twins players were stunned as they learned about Fernandez's death.

``I had to read it over and over just to make sure I was reading it right,'' Twins second baseman Brian Dozer said. ``It's a sad thing.''

Dozier said he spoke with Fernandez whenever the Twins played the Marlins and during the 2015 All-Star Game in Cincinnati and thought he was a great guy with a lot of energy.

I've never had a chance to interview him, but it's a sad day for baseball.

This is the Twins final home game of the season. Hector Santiago will start but manager Paul Molitor indicated that he limit his pitches since it's late in the season.

Dozier will address the crowd at 12:55.


Guillermo Heredia, LF
Franklin Gutierrez, RF
Robinson Cano, 2B
Nelson Cruz, DH
Kyle Seager, 3B
Dae-Ho Lee, 1B
Leonys Martin, CF
Jesus Sucre, C
Shawn O'Malley, SS

Taijuan Walker, RGP


Brian Dozier, 2B
Jorge Polanco, SS
Joe Mauer, DH
Miguel Sano, 3B
Max Kepler, RF
Kennys Vargas, 1B
Robbie Grossman, LF
Juan Centeno, C
Byron Buxton, CF

Hector Santiago, LHP

Final, 9/25 R H E
Seattle 82-73 4 6 0
Minnesota 56-100 3 9 3