ASK BW (6/22): MPR Raccoon, Free Agents & All Stars

Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

You guys really killed it this time around with questions, so I’m not going to waste too much time on an intro.

Try me.

Alright, so…just for context in case someone is somehow reading this outside of the Twin Cities market, the world stopped sometime last week as a raccoon scaled an office building in downtown St. Paul.

You can brush up on it here if you want:

I think the problem was that the Twins were on the road when this happened, and were thus unable to capitalize on the craze. Now it would just be far too late, like picking up Bret Boone in 2005.

Anyway, no. I don’t think he’s a better defender than Grossman. He has great hands but doesn’t move that quickly. It took him like what, a full day to climb 25 stories? I’d compare him more to like a late-career Torii Hunter.

If it didn’t happen a month ago when Miguel Sano got hurt — *checks notes* it did not — then there isn’t much of a reason to do it now until September. Jorge Polanco returning in a couple weeks is going to make the middle infield situation a bit muddier, while Ehire Adrianza has played a fair amount better of late and the Twins still probably want to get a good look at Taylor Motter, who has intriguing tools if nothing else.

His throw home on Tuesday night was off the mark, but impressive from right field.

Anyway, it’s more than just the middle infield. The Twins also have a full 40-man roster with Ervin Santana still needing to be added off the 60-day disabled list at some point. While that may not mean a ton to the casual fan, what it means to front office types is that they’re going to have to move some pieces around on the 40-man roster. Adding guys earlier than they need to be added — in this case, Gordon has to be added after this season to be protected from the Rule 5 draft — just muddies things up, especially if he won’t have a significant role.

Since the Twins are playing with a three-man bench lately, that would also mean moving on from both Motter and Adrianza, or making Motter the fourth outfielder and moving on from Grossman. No matter what your feelings are toward those players, the Twins aren’t going to do that.

So I think he’ll be a September call-up, unless for some reason the Twins fall completely out of it and someone calls up and offers a nice price for Brian Dozier. Neither of those feels likely to me.

They’ve already moved him down in the order. I’d say if he doesn’t heat up in the next couple weeks, he could see a few more days off as the Twins mix and match with Adrianza, Polanco, Eduardo Escobar and the eventual return of Sano. But as far as making a change, I don’t think there’s really much that can be done here.

This is basically impossible to know for sure — I mean, maybe the outfield is something like Kirilloff-Buxton-Larnach, but who really knows? — so why don’t we look at how much the team has changed over the last five years?

This was the lineup when the Twins played on June 22, 2013:

As we can see, a lot can change in five years! Only Mauer, Ryan Pressly and Dozier are still around from the players who played that day.

With that said, I’ll still indulge you with who I think might be around in 2023:

  • C – Not currently in the organization
  • 1B – Rooker
  • 2B – Polanco
  • 3B – Not currently in the organization
  • SS – Lewis
  • LF – Kirilloff
  • CF – Buxton
  • RF – Larnach/Kepler
  • DH – Diaz

Even still, it’s hard to leave guys like Akil Baddoo and others out.

As far as the rotation is concerned, how about something like Berrios/Romero/Gonsalves/Graterol/Enlow?

I won’t bother with a bullpen because that will be fluid, but as you can see, I think a lot can happen between now and then.

I think it’s hanging in the balance, honestly. He can recapture the narrative with hard work down at Fort Myers, and come back up here and get his career back on track. But I also do think the discontent in the building is growing to the point where he’d be a reclamation project for someone that the Twins would wash their hands of if the right offer came along.

So yeah, I think what he’s doing right now is really, really important.

In a perfect world? Hmm…..

I’d try to figure out a deal for Wilson Ramos and Chris Archer, and I’d trade pretty much anyone not named Royce Lewis to get it done.

The offense has really, really been slow to develop this year, and as a result a fairly decent pitching staff has seen its mistakes amplified. It’s not ideal to give up as many home runs as the Twins bullpen has, but those are far, far less catastrophic when the team is scoring runs at a decent clip.

Ultimately, it just feels like the offense and pitching have not been in sync much this year. Getting back Ervin Santana, Buxton, Polanco and Sano all at some point will only help. But at some point, you have to figure Cleveland has the potential to take off.

But I still believe this team — across the entire 40-man roster — has the talent to win 90 games. I won’t back down from that.

I think Rosario is likely, Escobar is maybe and probably not on Hildenberger and Gibson.

Every team needs a representative, and Rosario is having the best season on the Twins. Also, he’s the only one showing up on the ballots right now. Escobar is facing an absolute gauntlet at shortstop — Lindor/Correa/Machado especially — and third base isn’t too much easier with Jose Ramirez and Alex Bregman sandwiched around Miguel Andujar.

As for pitching, both of those guys have been good — Jose Berrios has a better chance than Gibson, I’d say — but you have to be absolutely incredible to make it to the All-Star Game. I just don’t know if anyone of those guys can meet that standard.

A long time just because the rest of the division is so bad. Now with that said, it’s not like Cleveland isn’t playing the exact same schedule, so that has to play into it.

But you also have to consider which players would get a qualifying offer at this point. I mean I think you can justify making that offer to all three, but if Dozier’s final numbers look like they do now at the end of the year, does the thought process there change? Especially with Nick Gordon looming at Rochester?

But at the same time, clearin a spot for Gordon late this year — contention or otherwise, assuming he picks it up at Rochester where he’s struggled of late — could come into play, too.

Ultimately though, I don’t see much adding or subtracting. Go get a catcher and see what happens.

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