A year in which almost anything that could go wrong has gone wrong for the Twins is now, unfortunately, extending to their minor league system as well.
The Saints will make their St. Paul home debut as the Class AAA affiliate of the Twins on Tuesday, just as the big league club opens an important early three-game series at the White Sox. A sweep either way in that series would be the difference between the Twins pulling within four games or falling 10 back. That feels pretty significant.
But as Patrick Reusse and I talked about on Monday's Daily Delivery podcast, the sense that this just isn't the Twins' year has already extended, at least so far, to St. Paul. The Saints went 2-4 on their season-opening road trip and on Sunday injuries and other factors made it so that they had just eight position players available by the end of a doubleheader.
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A quick glance at St. Paul's roster shows that the Twins shouldn't expect much more immediate help from Class AAA. They already called up Alex Kirilloff, who had one great weekend before sidelined with an injured wrist. They've also recently called up Nick Gordon and Trevor Larnach — helpful players but probably not game-changers for a lineup that is No. 6 in the majors in OPS but has struggled in clutch situations.
Pitching is where the greater need exists — with the Twins No. 21 in overall MLB era and No. 24 in bullpen ERA — but not much has worked with the very active Minneapolis-St. Paul shuttle.
The latest attempt was Derek Law, a 30-year-old called up and thrown into a bases loaded situation with the Twins down 3-2 in the seventh inning against Detroit on Saturday.
Law gave up three hits and three walks in between mustering four outs in his outing as Detroit broke the game open.
But listen: While Law could have pitched better, the desperation is the point. Throwing him in that situation, and putting Brandon Waddell into the 10th inning of another recent loss is a sign of perilous pitching depth. Rocco Baldelli is down to one reliever (Taylor Rogers) that he really trusts, a familiar problem from recent seasons.
And if you look at St. Paul's roster now, it's hard to imagine much more help is on the way in the near-term unless Randy Dobnak and Cody Stashak restore the faith that made them a part of the plan going into the season.
Early May isn't normally the time of year trades are made, particularly for solid bullpen arms. Teams are still trying to win with rosters they freshly built.
Presumably, any Twins resurgence will need to come from within — and in a hurry, at that.