HIBBING — When Thad Levine and Derek Falvey took over the front office of the Minnesota Twins, fans thought things would be different.
They would go after talented free agents, and possibly, spend more money.
You have to give Falvey and Levine credit for what they picked up in the offseason.
They brought in Nelson Cruz, CJ Cron, Marwin Gonzalez and Johnathan Schoop, and right now, it looks like they made all the right moves.
They, and the Pohlad family, paid Max Kepler and Jorge Polanco, and look what those two have done. Kepler is well on his way to 40 home runs, while Polanco was one of the best hitters in the league. His average has dipped below .300, however.
They kept believing in Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano, and that trust has paid off as well, even though I know someone in town, who wouldn’t mind seeing one or both of them traded. That’s insane.
I know Sano strikes out a lot, but so does Giancarlo Stanton of the New York Yankees. I’m not saying Sano is at his level yet, but guys who hit home runs are prone to the strikeout.
Over the last month, Sano is hitting well over .300, which means he’s finally starting to get settled in at the major-league level.
But back to the point. How much has actually changed when it comes to picking over-the-top players?
The MLB trade deadline has come and gone, and Falvey and Levine didn’t do anything.
If you consider picking up Sergio Romo and Sam Dyson as big deals, then you’re happy with the moves that they made.
But I don’t think most Twins fans are happy at all.
Maybe they fixed the back end of their bullpen, but after Thursday afternoon against the Marlins, and Friday night against Kansas City, Dyson wasn’t exactly spectacular in his Twins’ debut.
We can cut Dyson some slack because he didn’t arrive to the game until the third inning against Florida, then Twins manager Rocco Baldelli thought it was a good idea to bring him into the game. How did that work out? He gave up the lead, then the Twins lost in 12 innings to a pear-shaped team in the Marlins.
Dyson might rebound nicely, so we’ll take a wait-and-see approach on that deal.
The Twins needed a starting pitcher and Noah Syndergaard was the name most often mentioned.
The New York Mets decided to play hardball (no pun intended). They wanted Buxton in return. There’s no way you take Buxton out of this lineup. Believe what you want, but he’s the straw that stirs the drink. When he’s not hurt, the Twins play well over .500 ball.
How hard did they look for an effective starting pitcher? There’s 28 other teams to deal with. OK, maybe less, because no team in the playoff chase is going to trade away a valuable player. Oh wait, the Cleveland Indians traded away Trevor Bauer.
There’s viable starters all over the league with big contracts. Arizona traded Zach Greinke to Houston, although the Diamondbacks are picking up some of that salary.
I heard a lot of disappointment on KFAN on Thursday, and some fans have sworn off of the team.
That’s their right. Can I blame them? Not at all because it’s the same-old-thing every year. The Twins never add payroll to put them over the top.
Falvey and Levine feel this team can make a run. They probably can, but another starting pitcher to go along with Jose Berrios would have been nice.
Houston is the odds-on favorite to get to the World Series because of that move.
That’s something that Twins fans have wanted to see for a long time.