In preparation of this weekend’s three game series, I reached out to Paul Pleiss from Puckett’s Pond to get his thoughts on the Twins, they’re 2013 season, and their outlook for the future. From what I can gather, it’s a tough time to be a fan of the Minnesota Twins right now. But, there does seem to be some hope for the future… Maybe. Anyways, you can check out Paul’s work over at Puckett’s Pond or follow him on Twitter @BaseballPirate.
Wahoo’s on First: With a little over a month left in the season, how do you feel about the way 2013 has gone for the Twins and have they lived up to your expectations?
Paul Pleiss: They’re terrible, this is where I would have projected them after 2012, without any offseason additions, which I guess is where they are, excepting Hicks and Arcia, but really everyone not named Dozier and Mauer have under performed. Really disappointed in Hendriks and Worley. This team needed pitching going into the start of the season, and 130ish games later, this team still needs pitching. I expected them to be bad, and they are. Expectations met.
Wahoo’s on First: There was a lot of talk about the possibility of Justin Morneau being dealt at the trade deadline and it never happened. The Twins could still move him in a waiver trade, but do you think that’s likely? More importantly, do you think they should try?
Paul Pleiss: They should try, and I think passing him through waivers was at least a minimal attempt, but he was ice-cold at the deadline and hasn’t really been good since before the concussion, hard to see anything even resembling Miguel Salbaran coming back unless Twins eat the remaining salary. Twins GM Terry Ryan had a couple of quotes about moving Morneau, mostly stating that it was a money issue leading me to believe the Twins were unwilling to pick up most/part of Morneau’s remaining 3 million or so left on his contract for the rest of the season. If the Twins have no intention of bringing him back next season, then it would be wise to move them now for whatever they can get, even if they have to eat some salary to get a somewhat decent prospect in return.
Wahoo’s on First: It’s been a rough couple of years for the Twins, but there does appear to be hope on the horizon with some of the recent acquisitions they’ve made in their farm system. How far away do you think the Twins are from being a legitimate playoff contender?
Paul Pleiss: Playoffs? 2015. Actual contender to do something once they get there? 2016 IF (GIGANTIC IF) anything resembling a pitching staff emerges. The Twins have a lot of talent in their system, but even after some great seasons for the teams top prospects, Sano, Rosario, Buxton, etc, there does not seem to be a wealth of pitching that is ready to step in and be front of the order guys. Guys like May and Meyer will need to develop to their potential for the Twins to be legitimate WS contenders. You can’t win in the playoffs with a rotation of fourth or fifth starters.
Wahoo’s on First: A lot is made about how Joe Mauer maybe isn’t worth his contract and the amount of money he’s being paid. People seem to get caught up on one bad injury plagued year and a lack of home runs. Set the record straight. How good is this guy and how much fun is he to watch on a daily basis?
Paul Pleiss: He’s awesome, he’s producing at continued historic levels and even if he never plays again he’s already one of the best catchers in the history of baseball. He isn’t a lock for the hall of fame yet, but he’s almost there. I think people are lulled to sleep by his consistent play and lack of flash, but he’s one of the best in baseball. In the AL (top 10s) WAR, Offensive WAR, BA, OPS, 2B, BB, IBB. He’s a machine and doing it all playing primarily catcher. Even if he moves to 1B in the next year or two, he’s still amazing. He isn’t really fun to watch, but he’s great, and if you never forget that, you’ll at least appreciate what he does a lot more. “What does he do…” “HE GETS ON BASE!” Joe Mauer is a generational talent. His ability to not make outs is supreme. People get upset because he signed this huge contract and he isn’t hitting dingers every other day; that’s not Joe Mauer. His value to the Twins cannot be overstated. He gets value for both being a catcher that can hit, and not just hit but hit well. And for those who really hate his power, he’s 14th in the league in OPS at .880, so he’s no slouch. I’ll take patented Joe Mauer doubles and opposite field singles all day long.
Wahoo’s on First: Who is pitching for the for the Twins this weekend and what is your prediction for this series?
Paul Pleiss: Friday: Deduno/Jiminez – Jiminez has a 4.0 ERA, but Deduno’s is lower. Deduno is nursing an injury but has passed test to still start, this might be Twins’ best chance to win, get the bats out.
Saturday: Hendriks/Kazmir – Twins against a LHP spells loss to me. Hendriks is getting another chance with the big league ball club. He hasn’t pitched very well in 2013, either in his brief MLB experience or down in AAA, but at 24 I’m no ready to give up on the young australian.
Sunday: Pelfrey/McAllister – Pelfrey has been cold McAllister has been hot, ugh, Twins lose the rubber match. I suspect Mike PeLOLfry will be on the mound.