Are You Watching Closely?
Man, it’s been awhile since I’ve written on this blog. I guess this year, I’m taking the annual loss to the Yankees in the playoffs a bit harder than usual.
To be honest, I’m not even going to comment on that ALDS. If you are curious as to some analysis about why we were beaten by the Yankees again, just look at two older posts from this blog:
Just change around a few of the names and faces, and that (once again) perfectly explains why the Twins can’t quite topple the mighty Yanks (even though a team like Texas doesn’t seem to have much trouble with them).
What I want to look at right now, instead, is a huge missed opportunity. After seeing Cliff Lee (Game 1 WS start aside) pretty much buzz-saw his way through the playoffs once again, I can’t help but wondering if Twins execs shouldn’t be “watching closely” as to the difference one ace pitcher can make.
Throughout the regular season, the Twins were the far superior team than Texas. In those final months of the year, we practically ran away with the #2 seed in the American League. The ultimate turning point, though, came at the All-Star break, when we had a chance at acquiring Mr. Lee…
However, it seemed as if Wilson Ramos…
…was the stumbling block (at least as reported in the papers) as to why the deal fell through.
Basically, the way I understand it, the Twins didn’t want to give up such a touted prospect for a guy who they knew they would only be renting, especially at a time when a playoff spot was not a given at that point.
Here’s what boggles my mind, though. Ramos eventually did get shipped out of town, but for the services of one Matt Capps, who did relatively nothing to lock down a solid closing role and was a non-factor in the playoffs.
Now, on one hand, I get what the mid-market (with the new stadium) Twins were trying to do, and that is not tie up too much money in a short-term player when our own talent will need to be paid again soon. I just wish that Twins execs would have taken a page out of the 2009 Vikings handbook. The Vikes gambled on Brett Favre, and it took them to the NFC Championship game with a magical season. Why couldn’t the Twins have done the same?!
I truly believe that we were a much better team than the one that lost to the Yankees in a short three games. We could hit, field, and pitch (despite a lack of a star bullpen) quite well, but we were just missing that one ace who could give us that confidence-building lead in the series. Cisco and Pavano did their best, but once it got to Duensing it was all but over.
As much as I hate to say it, the window may have just closed a bit. Thome’s status is uncertain, Hardy/Hudson might both be gone (leading the old faithful Punto/Casilla middle infield that inspires little confidence both on the field and in the box), and who knows if Pavano can put together another inspired season again (if he even does return). As evidenced by Texas bouncing the Yanks rather easily, they were ripe for the picking this year. It just would have taken one ace…the one ace we didn’t gamble on.
Twins execs…are you watching closely?