The Twins are part of a cluster of several teams with a reasonable chance of grabbing a postseason spot in the American League as a Wild Card team. They entered play Thursday just one game behind the Angels (and actually ahead of the Angels and everyone else they’re chasing in the loss column given how many rainouts they’ve had, resulting in fewer games played).
They are also scheduled to use their 32nd pitcher of the season Thursday night when Aaron Slegers makes his MLB debut against Cleveland in the second game of a doubleheader. That game will be part of a stretch of seven games in five days for the Twins thanks to two doubleheaders and no off days — and almost certainly will result in even more pitchers making their 2017 debuts, their MLB debuts, or both.
When the Twins were pretty much in this same position in the standings a week before the non-waiver trade deadline, bosses Derek Falvey and Thad Levine executed a deal to bring in veteran starter Jaime Garcia. Previously, they had bolstered the starting rotation by adding 44-year-old Bartolo Colon. One bad week later, the Twins suddenly became sellers. Garcia was dealt to the Yankees and All-Star closer Brandon Kintzler was dealt to the Nationals.
The new bosses showed the flexibility to be nimble once, changing the course from buyers (albeit modest deals without giving up much by way of prospects) to sellers when the team’s position in the standings dictated such a thing.
Could (should?) they now turn back into buy mode given the Twins’ sudden re-entry into the Wild Card chase — sparked by an offense that’s been on a tear — and given the predicament of this lack of pitching depth?
If Glen Perkins — activated Thursday — can provide quality innings, that’s an addition without a subtraction. Hector Santiago might have done the same for the rotation, but his injury rehab has stalled. Who knows how long Adalberto Mejia will be out. In two weeks, the Twins can call up as many reinforcements as they want as a means for trying to piece together games. But two weeks is a long time enough time for their tenuous position in the standings to collapse. Heck, it only took a week each — one bad, one good — for the Twins to fall out of the chase and then climb back in.
It becomes trickier to make deals in August because players must clear waivers, but it’s hardly impossible.
Our guy La Velle seemed to hint that a deal could be in the offing when he looked ahead to the Twins’ options for their next doubleheader Monday in Chicago and wrote, “Or the Twins might have something else up their sleeves. Stay tuned, because this could get really interesting.”
Minnesota has about a one in five chance of making the postseason — long odds, sure, but a reasonable chance. It’s hard to say who they could add with impact without giving up much — again, the type of move they should make given the need to keep at least one eye on the future — but if there’s a veteran starter available for rent in the next six weeks it sure might be worth it.
If nothing else, it would be pure entertainment to see a team go from buyers to sellers to buyers all in the span of a few weeks.