With the Twins on pace to lose nearly 100 games for a second straight year, fans have to derive joy from the little things. In a season that was basically lost from the get-go, relative frivolities like the trade deadline, August waiver moves and September call-ups become focal points of interest.
Unfortunately, the Twins have been extremely passive on all these fronts, to a degree that is highly disappointing for a rebuilding club. Their deadline activity amounted to trading Francisco Liriano for a pair of marginal prospects. Their most notable move in August involved dumping Danny Valencia for a 21-year-old A-baller. And their final September call-ups, announced earlier this week, were Luis Perdomo and Eduardo Escobar.
In isolation, none of these things are necessarily inexcusable, but together they give the air of an organization that isn't very actively pushing toward the future, nor putting in much effort to provide entertainment to the fans who have stuck around through all this losing.
I mean, at the end of the day, that's the point, right? Giving the people who buy tickets and tune in their televisions something worth watching?
In a meaningless final month, would it really hurt the development of Aaron Hicks or Oswaldo Arcia to come up and take in the atmosphere of an MLB clubhouse, occasionally getting into a game and offering a glimpse of the promising future? Is there any legitimate reason not to take a look at Deolis Guerra, who will be out of options next year and still hasn't faced a major-league hitter?
And how can a club that has constantly emphasized a "no scholarships" meritocracy wherein those who earn their shot are rewarded possibly justify promoting Luis Perdomo – a 28-year-old journeyman signed during the offseason who issued seven walks in six innings with the Twins earlier this summer – over Anthony Slama, who has come up through Minnesota's system and dominated every level, including Triple-A this season where his 13.8 K/9 rate leads all of his International League peers?
Perhaps the Twins have their developmental reasons for holding off on the likes of Hicks, Arcia and Guerra, but leaving Slama buried despite his phenomenal success defies reason. The organization has to be aware that fans are clamoring for the right-hander, and yet here in this joke of a season they won't let him throw a single pitch. When reporters ask about him all they can get are vague, anonymous quotes about how Slama "does not have good enough stuff to dominate in the big leagues." (As opposed to guys like Jim Hoey, Dusty Hughes and Jeff Gray, who were given plenty of leash in the majors despite their predictable struggles.)
Unlike many fans, I'm not angry at the team for being in its current state. All franchises go through ups and downs, and the Twins were about due for a valley after a decade of winning and mostly favorable breaks.
What really bothers me is that this organization can't back up its own rhetoric about earned opportunities, continues to weigh the opinions of its scouts too heavily against objective results, and – worst of all – won't level with the fans about questionable decision-making.
We deserve better than that. Especially in a time like this.