Those of us who had been fiercely critical of The Twins, whether through written or spoken opinions on the airwaves, podcasts, social media, blogs, or as obnoxious commentators on the Star Tribune stories, demanded significant action by Tuesday’s 5 p.m. session. deadline.
The belief here was that the Twins, with a sparse minor league system on top prospects, lacked the ammunition to meet the high demands paid to timeout sellers for established pitchers.
This turned out to be wrong. The Twins set up packages to bring in a proficient starter (Tyler Mahle), a proficient reliever (Michael Fulmer) and a star reliever (Jorge Lopez) to partner Jhoan Duran as late-game pitchers. part.
Minor league pundits will tell us the Twins overpaid for Mahle, made a solid deal for Lopez and gave up a suspect more than a prospect to acquire Fulmer from the Tigers.
More than anything, Derek Falvey’s front office has fulfilled its obligation to manager Rocco Baldelli and the athletes by offering a chance to be a division winner – and also to his frustrated fanbase.
The causes of this dissatisfaction were varied, from last place in 2021 to missed games in 2022, to 18 straight playoff losses, to the unavailability of games on non-cable TV, and they all added up. to a call to action. .
The Falveyians responded in style. If the result fails to retain the top spot in the low-octane US Central League, it cannot be attributed to a lack of effort on the part of ownership or management.
Owner Jim Pohlad signed a $100 million contract (guaranteed) for often-injured Byron Buxton late last November, beating the lockdown schedule.
When the lockout finally ended, Pohlad signed a $36 million 2022 salary for Carlos Correa, after agent Scott Boras put the formidable shortstop on the Twins’ table.
We’re a long way from the threat of contraction that was never going to happen, and the “Cheap Pohlads” label is more nonsense than reality for today’s family ownership.
There were bigger questions about the decision-making with Operation Falvey now in its sixth season.
Falvey and Co. put together a compelling season in 2019, with 101 wins before a three-game playoff sweep by the Yankees, and there was another division title in the 2020 miniseason.
Then came the disaster of 2021, and baseball’s owner and boss should be credited for trying to make it a year-long descent rather than the relentless nightmare of the early 2010s.
And when it appeared that the quick reset before this delayed season turned into a chore, Falvey passed the most active trading deadline of the 62-year-old Minnesota Twins.
A week ago, the Twins lost two games in Milwaukee, the first of which came when the Brewers brought out four quality relievers to cover the final four innings.
Baldelli suggested it was a good way to win ball games and hoped that one day the Twins might have a chance to adopt this method.
A week later, Baldelli did just that at Target Field in a 4-1 win over the admittedly punchless Tigers on Wednesday. Starter Joe Ryan made five, then Fulmer, Caleb Thielbar (back off the injured list), Duran and Lopez made three outs apiece.
There was a hit allowed by all four relievers, when third-string center fielder Nick Gordon failed to react on a Harold Castro pop fly and he went down for a single against Fulmer.
Lopez needed seven pitches to get his first Twins save, and three of them knocked out Eric Haase.
The Twins had faced Lopez in early 2021 when he was a struggling starter with Baltimore. He took a very lively arm in the Orioles bullpen this season and became an All-Star.
“Sometimes it’s as simple as a move to a bullpen, when you can shorten a field selection,” Baldelli said. “It can be the key to anything. It’s a real lead, and it’s 97 [miles per hour].”
Along with Duran and two newcomers, Thielbar was excellent: 1-2-3, 11 pitches, two strikeouts.
“Caleb threw well,” Baldelli said. “We were waiting to see this.”
Earlier, while talking about the revamped bullpen, Baldelli said, “We have what we need.”
And the Twins fandom appreciates it. Don’t you, Strib commentators?