I asked all of you on Twitter to come up with "measured hot takes" with "logic and thought" behind them — and allow me to either agree or disagree. Here is the next batter up:
This certainly qualifies as measured — with the assertion essentially being that the Twins shouldn't take for granted that their window of opportunity ensures a lengthy run of postseason berths, and that the two back-to-back AL Central titles the last two seasons have yielded wasted opportunities.
I generally think this is a good take. Teams that occupy midsize markets and field teams with payrolls far lower than the biggest spenders — whether by necessity or self-imposed choice is an argument for another day — have a reduced margin for error.
They need to get major production from their big-money players, unearth low-cost, high-productivity free agents and continuously cycle through young players playing on modest deals before they can cash in on free agency. The Twins have done that the last two regular seasons.
Where the Twins have squandered a real opportunity — and indeed face an even threat in the not-too-distant-future — is in not having greater postseason success and perhaps in not adding higher payroll proven players to bolster playoff rosters when a lot of their core was still young and cheap.
Going forward, the likes of Byron Buxton, Taylor Rogers and Jose Berrios will see their salaries increase via arbitration before each is eligible for free agency in 2023. Even if the Twins sign them to long-term deals that buy out some of their arbitration/free agency years, they will still be far more expensive than in previous seasons.
They also failed to capitalize — at least in the postseason — on two extraordinary seasons from Nelson Cruz, a very prudent investment. Cruz remains unsigned as of now, and even if he does return in 2021 there's no guarantee his production will remain at such a high level.
The good news for the Twins is they have high-end talent ready to step in — Alex Kirilloff is perhaps at the front of this list, with Royce Lewis close behind — and they have made shrewd trades such acquiring Kenta Maeda (last year's Cy Young runner-up).
Bottom line: The Twins should be set up for at least a couple more trips to the postseason. Beyond that: They need to keep being right about their personnel. And no matter what: Nobody should be satisfied merely with making the postseason after 18 consecutive losses in playoff games.
Here are three other things I'm thinking about:
*The NFL simulcast Sunday's Bears/Saints playoff game on Nickelodeon, promising a kid-friendly broadcast. The end zone slime and other wrinkles were a huge hit. There was just, um, one problem. A microphone caught Cordarrelle Patterson using a VERY non-kid-friendly word. Here it is, cleaned up:
*The NBA is learning early on the challenge of playing without a bubble. A game on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday has already been postponed due to COVID-19 related-issues. That said, both MLB and the NFL struggled mightily early on in their seasons before at least improving as things went along. Perhaps the NBA will learn the same lesson.
*Doug Pederson was fired as Eagles head coach — a little less than three years after he led Philadelphia to a Super Bowl in at U.S. Bank Stadium, which followed a 38-7 win over the Vikings in the NFC title game. Philadelphia made the playoffs each of the two years after that but stumbled to a 4-11-1 mark this year.