If most of what you have paid attention to regarding the Twins and Timberwolves the past several years is a constant rebuilding project revolving around youth, the last few days might have caused a recalibration of expectations.
Between them, the two neighboring franchises added players with a combined age of 81. In more recent years, that number would have been good for three (possibly four) players.
In this case, there were just two: Jamal Crawford, a 37-year-old bench scorer for the Wolves and Bartolo Colon, the 44-year-old pitcher for the Twins.
Neither of the two figures to be a savior for their respective teams, but you could see each filling a surprisingly vital role: Colon as a fifth starter on a pitching-desperate team and Crawford as a dependable wing scorer who might keep Tom Thibodeau from playing Andrew Wiggins and Jimmy Butler 48 minutes a game.
The immediate reaction when news emerged that both players were Minnesota-bound — particularly with Colon — was some version of: “Wait, he’s how old? Can he still play?”
The second question is a valid one for any new acquisition, and I suppose it is rightfully linked to the first one. Athletic skills deteriorate with age at a swifter rate than, say, typing skills.
But it is also wise here to caution against ageism with these veteran athletes. Not only is it a cheap putdown — though one still practiced freely in society — but also it forgets the recent contributions of many local players in the twilight of their careers.
The best Vikings quarterback of the past decade? It doesn’t take long to arrive at Brett Favre, who turned 40 in the midst of the 2009 season.
There were plenty of memorable things about the Twins’ first season in Target Field in 2010, but 40-year-old Jim Thome smashing long home runs is right up there.
The Lynx are full of good examples past and present — including the 40-year-old-plus Taj McWilliams-Franklin from their first WNBA title team.
That’s not to say we should expect greatness from Crawford and/or Colon, just to say that if they added something positive to the mix we should hardly be surprised.
Crawford appeared in all 82 games for the Clippers last season. He’s a capable three-point shooter, an excellent free-throw shooter and a good enough defensive player.
Colon was so awful with Atlanta this season (8.14 ERA) that he was available to the Twins, but if you looked at anything other than his age the previous four years — when he won 62 games thanks to pinpoint control — you would be thrilled at giving him a try.
Young or old, good players are good players. The way these recent years have gone for the Twins and Wolves, they will taken any and all help they can get.