The Jays start a three game series against the Twins at beautiful Target Field in Minnesota. Last year I drove to Minneapolis for a series there. I had thoughts of doing it again, for this series, when I figured these games might be important for a team in a playoff race. Now? Well, it's a long drive and, well, you know.
The Twins are 61-77 (just a little worse than our 64-76), fourth in the AL West, 5 games ahead of the last place White Sox.
I sent off some questions to Jesse Lund (@TwinkieTown) manager of SB Nation's Twinkie Town.
How are you feeling about the Justin Moureau trade? Must be some sadness to see him go?
It was the right time for him to go, but I think most fans are experiencing different levels of sadness about the whole thing. It's about seeing him go after 11 seasons, it's about what could have been, it's about what the future held when he, Joe Mauer, and Johan Santana were leaders of the team when they were all 25 or younger. He's one of the best and most productive hitters in the history of the organization. So yeah, it was time for him to go and I think most of us expected something might happen, but that doesn't make his departure that much more palatable.
What's the news on Joe Mauer (he is out with concussion-like symptoms, why can't they just say concussion?)? Will he be back this season?
He's started swinging and he says he's not shutting down for the year, so I do think he'll make the effort to get back. In some sense it's easy to wonder why he'd even bother, but Joe's always been a leadership-by-example guy - he's notoriously too quiet vocally for some fans - so he'll come back if he can. I just want him healthy going forward. If that means shutting down for September then so be it.
Who is your favorite Twin to watch?
Casey Fien is surprisingly filthy out of the bullpen. He's had a rougher patch lately, but for the vast majority of the season he was clearly catching hitters by surprise. It's fun watching the league slowly catch on to a player you've known was good for a while.
Who's been the most disappointing Twin this year?
Can I give you a list of the Twins who haven't been disappointing? Joe Mauer, Glen Perkins, Casey Fien...actually the bullpen in general...and Brian Dozier. Pretty much everybody else has been different levels off disappointing, from Aaron Hicks and Josh Willingham in the outfield, to Trevor Plouffe and Chris Parmelee in the infield. I won't even tough the rotation.
Are there any interesting September call ups?
Josmil Pinto is doing the catching for the Twins with Mauer on the shelf. Pinto has the potential to be an above average bat as a catcher, but he can hit for average and get on base (309/400/482 between AA and AAA this season), so I'm sure he'll get plate appearances next season whether he's catching or not.
Most of the other intriguing callups are still in AAA since Rochester has made the post-season. The big prospects like Miguel Sano, Byron Buxton, Eddie Rosario, and Alex Meyer are still a year away from making their MLB impacts.
Since both teams are in ‘next year' territory, what are your hopes for next year? When do you expect the Twins to be competitive again?
Like I just mentioned, the big Twins prospects are due to hit the Majors in the next year or so. If the Twins can surround them with some MLB talent via trades or free agency, Minnesota should be competitive again in 2015. Better decisions over the last three or four years would have expedited the process, but there's no use re-hashing the mess that terrible mid-2000s drafting and four years of general management by Bill Smith caused.
Anything else we should know about the Twins?
They're en route to their third 90+ loss season in a row. It has to be tough for a team to stay motivated when the season is winding down, under those circumstances. Sometimes they look a bit listless, but other times they're surprisingly tenacious. After taking two of three from the Astros this week, here's hoping that tenacity carries over a bit.
Thanks for this Jesse.