What A Delayed MLB Season Does For The Twins
Take me out to the god damn ballgame. Please. I am begging you. I'll even buy the super expensive Target Field beer. With the start of the Major League Baseball season delayed to the coronavirus I am completely losing my mind. But I can't be the only one who is going insane not seeing baseball on TV and the radio waves. This was supposed to be the Twins year. Josh Donaldson is joining the team (and hopefully bringing the rain), Buxton is healthy (maybe...), we actually spent some money and made trades. It may take a few more weeks but once the season is underway I believe the Twins chances of winning the Central Division have actually improved. Heres how the delayed and possibly shortend season will impact the Minnesota Twins.
The first thing that comes to mind for me is the starting rotation. Rich Hill was a cheap signing this off season. He can be spectacular at times but he needs to be healthy. When Hill signed his 1 year deal it was known he would be out until mid summer. With the start of the MLB season looking to be sometime late spring/early summer Hill could be ready to play right away. This could be a huge jolt for the Twins starting staff. Hill would have a shorter season and be ready to prepare for October (possibly November baseball) which he has been spectacular in.
Another impact on the starting staff is Michael Pineda. Big Mike is currently sitting out while serving a suspension for (possible) PED use. The rumor is that the suspension will not start until a regular season MLB game has been played. This means after sitting out 39 games, resuming baseball activities, and going on a conditioning assignment to AAA Rochester to be ready, it could potentially be late summer. I'm hoping for an early summer return for Pineda. But this is if we play baseball by early May. If he doesn't return until late July he will have less time to get ready for a postseason run. Maybe at that point Randy Dobnak and Devin Smeltzer will have already become reliable MLB pitchers. The Twins could have a good looking rotation or a complete mess come September.
Injuries always hurt the Twins. Now with more off time Jorge Polanco and Byron Buxton can return healthy and ready to play. Jorge Polanco just had minor surgery to repair his ankle from a nagging injury last year. Byron Buxton on the other hand is always finding a way to get hurt by smashing into that damn center field wall. In the off season he had his torn labrum worked on and will be ready to go. The extra time off is huge to help some of the core members of the lineup.
Last but not least what if the season is only 80 games or never happens at all? Contract situations will become a must watch. Have we watched the last bomba from Nelson Cruz or will he want to return to baseball for another season at the age of 40 (and 41 later in the season). Trevor May could become a free agent and demand a big salary for his set up work out of the bullpen. Our one year deals like Homer Bailey, Rich Hill, and Alex Avila could never play a meaningful game in the Twins powder blue uniforms. The Twins well spent money could end up going down the drain. Enough of the negative, I'm looking forward to hot dogs, over priced beer, and another central division crown. Here's to seeing you out at the ballgame very soon.