But can the same be said for the Twins front office?
Let’s consider third base. The Twins have been mixing and matching Nick Punto, Brendan Harris, Matt Tolbert and Brian Buscher at the hot corner for the last month. Baseball geeks like to debate (or criticize manager Ron Gardenhire) about which one should be there, but that really misses the point. They’re ALL backup infielders being asked to play one of the premium offensive and defensive positions on the field. There isn't a right choice.
Meanwhile the Twins have their third baseman of the future, Danny Valencia, sitting at – well, where is he sitting exactly? It’s not AAA-Rochester, where he finished the season batting .286, because Rochester’s season has been over for several weeks.
Wherever he's spending the offseason, it’s not perfectly clear he’s ready for the majors, though he certainly is supposed to be by the middle of next year. But it is perfectly clear that he’s more likely to be a starting third baseman than the four-headed monster the Twins are trotting out there will ever be. So why isn’t he called up? If for no other reason than to give him a taste of the big leagues? Of a pennant race?
The cynical answer is financial. Calling him up now starts his service clock ticking. That means he hits free agency a year earlier, and it likely means he starts becoming expensive a year earlier than a midseason callup. Some might call that long-term thinking. I’ll go with penny-wise and pound-foolish. It also pays too much attention to a distant tomorrow, while demanding the team plays like there isn’t one.
The above was broadcast as the GameDay Chatter segment during the Twins Extra Innings radio broadcast following last Sunday's Twins game. Tune in this Sunday to hear Will Young talk about the 1969 Twins.
The above post was pretty short, and you're likely not filled up. Then head on over to The Hardball Times and read The 10 Greatest Games in Metrodome History. It is an incredibly well-researched story from a guy who isn't "one of us", but sure did his homework. Enjoy, and we'll see you on Monday.