Is There A Magic Bullet?
I probably don't have to tell you that the Twins are looking good. After today's weird come-from-behind 7-6 victory over the woeful White Sox (Torii Hunter took four straight balls to walk in the winning run in the ninth, for Christ's sake--one of eight free passes the Sox gave up), we've won four straight series in a row, and handed the Sox their first sweep of the season (which is itself difficult to fathom). The cynic in me says, well, we ran a gauntlet of mediocre teams and one division-leader facing growing pains; the optimist sez that we beat four clubs who are still pretty damn strong (the Blue Jays and White Sox aren't necessarily slouches). So, despite injuries, are we starting to fire on all cylinders?
After all, the Twins went on this tear while dealing with injuries to Mauer and their bullpen. Rondell White's bound to return soon. The pitching staff is holding its own and the piranhas are beginning to hit. A little bit. We still need a big bat, a run-producer who's more effective than the top and bottom of the order.
The tandem of John Gordon and Dan Gladden are beginning to understand that it increases one's enjoyment of the game of bat and ball on the wireless when discussions focus on the game of bat and ball... as opposed to barbecued beef at Dan's favorite Harley-Davidson dealer. Today, Dan mentioned the Twins inability to glean adequate production from the DH, the third baseman, and the left fielder. Especially, Gladden noticed, the DH. Which begs the question: if we pull the trigger--a trade I mean--then who's the magic bullet?
An intriguing choice: Sammy Sosa. This isn't my idea, mind you, it was either Gordon's or Gladden's. But it's not bad. The Twins have an abundance of young arms in the minors and the Rangers are quickly watching their season fall into agonizing futility. Gordon observed that the Twins didn't make any overtures toward glomming some of the bargain-basement power that was out there (this year it's Sosa; last year it was Frank Thomas). Granted, this has not been our strength in the past, either in pitching or power--Rondell White and Shannon Stewart were not giving us tremendous power year-round. But we could make some noise in the next few weeks toward making this a team who'll give the division a run for its money.
There's a number of teams out there who might want what the Twins have to offer, trade-wise. I think the most obvious of these might be the New York Yankees. If they're in the dumps come late July, well, they might be in a dealing mood. Jerry Bell grumbles that good hitters cost money, which is true, and whomever we're thinking from the Yanks--personally, I'm thinking of Jorge Posada, who would help for just this season, as he's a free agent at the close of the year--is going to require the Twins to cough up the clams. Granted, that's a risky attempt to win something this year, as opposed to over the long haul. But it costs money to pay Ponson, Silva, and Ortiz over the youth in Rochester.
The Central Division is the toughest in baseball. Are we going to wait until it's weak again to make our play? Or are we waiting until 2010, and the stadium comes to open the pocketbook? But I would venture to guess that by then the Twins will have to come with new and creative excuses not to spend the money they make. Pohlad's a good pal of Allan "Bud" Selig, who rammed through a stadium and then claimed poverty well after the damn thing was built. Which would be a God-damned shame.