Another banner weekend on the Twin Cities sports landscape left us with an abundance of A-topic material to digest.
The Twins flopped. The Gophers flopped. The Lynx flopped. The Vikings flo… Wait, they didn't flop. They just accumulated too many mistakes in a winnable game.
That's a dump-truck load of phooey to cram into one column, but a few particular developments picked from the rubble deserve further examination.
The Twins had an encouraging season. Not a great season but a promising one in which the organization made progress.
As the offseason begins, the No.1 question that must be tackled is how to solve the Joe Mauer-Trevor Plouffe-Miguel Sano conundrum.
That's three players for two infield positions. Moving one to the outfield doesn't seem realistic because the Twins have a logjam there, too.
Everything starts with Mauer, of course. He had a disappointing season and, at age 32, there's a decent chance we might not see the old Joe Mauer again, or anything close to it.
Mauer's leverage includes a no-trade clause in a contract that will pay him $23 million a season through 2018. He's not going anywhere.
Sano is too young to be cast as a full-time designated hitter. He needs a position, and third base is his natural spot. But does it make sense to trade Plouffe, who led the team in RBI, tied for second in home runs and has drastically improved his defense?
If given a choice of two players in the lineup, Plouffe and Sano probably would get the nod at this point.
The Twins seem to have three options: 1. Attempt to trade Plouffe for a quality catcher or starting pitcher; 2. Keep the same arrangement going into next season and see if injuries settle the issue for them. (Don't like this idea); 3. Have a heart-to-heart with Mauer and tell him that they're using him in a platoon with Sano at first base and designated hitter.
A superstar challenge
Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve didn't mince words after a 75-69 loss to Indiana in Game 1 of the WNBA Finals. Reeve took direct aim at two of her veterans, Lindsay Whalen and Seimone Augustus.
Reeve's assessment of Whalen was particularly jarring for those of us who have followed Whalen's career.
"Lindsay hasn't found a way to help this team offensively in a long time," Reeve said.
Whalen made only one of three shots, finished with four points and played only 3 ½ minutes in the fourth quarter.
Whalen clearly is beat up physically. She's dealing with several injuries to her legs, and she's played a lot of basketball over the years. She didn't look like herself in Game 1.
Afterward, I asked Whalen if her body will allow her to give more.
"I feel good," she said. "I'll be ready to go."
Whalen possesses as much pride as any professional athlete. She would never use injuries or fatigue as an excuse. The guess here is that, despite her health limitations, her coach's blunt challenge will fuel her fire for Game 2.
Maybe not a vintage Lindsay Whalen performance, but we'll undoubtedly see a determined Whalen.
Gophers coach Jerry Kill holds his weekly news conference on Tuesday so hopefully he will shed more light on his plans at quarterback.
On Sunday, Kill hinted that Mitch Leidner will remain the starter, presumably giving freshman Demry Croft an occasional series.
Never been a fan of platoon systems at quarterback. They can have clunky or counterproductive consequences when a switch happens.
The quarterback position requires confidence and a belief that coaches and players trust the guy taking snaps. That position is hard enough to manage without the starter having to look over his shoulder, wondering when the next guy gets his turn.
Piling on Leidner has grown repetitive and tiresome. He's a major part of the offense's problems but certainly not the only part.
The idea of sprinkling in Croft for a series or two feels like a soft launch. If a change is inevitable, might as well see what the kid can do now.