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Twins still average, but we'll take it
August 1, 2008 - Per Peterson
The Minnesota Twins were an average team heading into their series against the White Sox earlier this week. Now, after the trading deadline has passed, they’re still an average team — a few All-Star players surrounded by a bunch of average ones. And that’s just the way we like it. First of all, it would go against Twins protocol to start flinging money around and/or giving up a prospect or two to rent a player who may or may not get them over the hump. It’s just not something they do. Secondly, who needs to be great to get the playoffs? Not in the division they play in. The Twins just got done schooling Chicago, taking 3-of-4 from the division leaders to cut their lead to one-half game in the division. They didn’t pitch all that well, but proved that they can hit when they need to — they still lead the league in hitting with the bases loaded. Thirdly, they eventually will call up Francisco Liriano to fill a spot in the rotation. Liriano is destroying Triple-A hitters right now and bringing him back up is essentially like make a trade for a great pitcher — only we won’t be giving anything up for him. Will he shine and dominate like he once did for the Twins? Maybe, maybe not. But he will be good enough to help the Twins’ pitching staff, a staff full of youngsters who could be wearing down as the season goes on. The team the Twins are chasing, the White Sox, pulled off another huge trade and acquired Ken Griffey Jr. They apparently have no problem with spending oodles of money on an old-timer who they don’t even know can play centerfield, which is where they’re planning on putting him for the remainder of the season. Now the Sox have one more home run hitter in their lineup, but they also now have THREE outfielders who can’t run — not good for a team that has troubles with playing sound, fundamental defense to begin with. This is why it’s so easy to cheer for the Twins — they don’t spend, spend, spend just because they can. They spend wisely at times, foolishly at others, but at least they don’t sell out and break the bank for a player who won’t even be on the roster next year. Why do the White Sox make these big deals? Because they know they’re not as good as the media makes them out to be. They’re flashy, sure, with all that power in the lineup, and they like making headlines by plucking big-name players from other teams for a truck full of money, but will that keep the Twins away? Not even close. This race will go down to the wire; the Sox still don’t have enough to pull away from the Twins. By getting Griffey Jr., all the White Sox did was get older. By doing nothing, all the Twins did was stay average. Which will be just good enough to get into the playoffs this year. Not bad for a team picked to finish fourth in the division.
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