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If this was April 1st, we could use this with tongue in cheek: “For the rest of this season, Minnesota Twins home-field tickets have been reduced, from $35-$40 to $5.”
But it is not April Fool’s Day. It is the start of August, when the Minnesota Twins should be mobilizing for a run at contention with a rebuilding team that has been hit with injuries but finally seems healthy.
Instead, the Twins new front office tandem of chief baseball officer Derek Falvey and general manager Thad Levine decided that despite the Twins winning four straight games, affirming the gap is decreasing between them and first-place Cleveland, this season had become disposable. Flush it down the drain.
They didn’t come right out and announce it, nor did they say anything about a reduction in the lofty prices of single game tickets for the rest of this now-disposable season.Except for Joe Mauer and Eddie Rosario and a couple of pitchers, the Twins resemble a minor league team trying to gouge us for major league prices.
A week ago, I pointed out that the Twins finally appear to be ready to roll, with an infield of Joe Mauer at first, Brian Dozier at second, Eduardo Escobar at third, and Jorge Polanco at shortstop, with Ehire Adrianza as a utility backup.
Then, wham! Escobar was traded to Arizona for a couple of low-minor league prospects, and pitcher Ryan Presley was traded to Houston for a couple more deep-minor young prospects.”I don’t know a better way to say it than ‘disappointing.’ It’ll sink in later tonight,” Dozier told the Minneapolis Star Tribune.Escobar, popular in the clubhouse as well as a top threat with the bat and with his glove at third base, was also Dozier’s closest buddy on the team.
A day later, pitcher Lance Lynn was sent to the Yankees, and reliever Zach Duke was traded to Seattle.
And then Tuesday, a half-hour before the non-waiver trading deadline, the Twins traded Dozier to the Los Angeles Dodgers for a backup infielder named Logon Forsythe and two minor leaguers.
Shorn of their regular second baseman in Dozier and third baseman Escobar, as well as pitchers Ryan Pressley, Lancy Lynn and Zach Duke, the Twins did not acquire a single player in any of those deals who can be considered a regular starter.Forsythe is the only Major Leaguer in the group of new prospects, but he’s been a back-up with the Dodgers, hitting .247. He also is the same age as Dozier, without the potential to be an all-star and certainly a long way from the Golden Glove/42 home-run capability Dozier already has achieved.
As if to compensate for giving up Escobar — a developing star who can also play shortstop and second base — the Twins brought a lighter, more svelte Miguel Sano back from his banishment to the low minors. Sano stepped in at third base and went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts, and then 0-for-3 with two strikeouts, before coming to life Monday night with two hits (and only one strikeout) and igniting a ninth-inning rally ended by catcher Matt Garvey, who socked a double that brought in the winning run for a 5-4 victory over Cleveland.
Escobar, by the way, joined Arizona and went 2-for-4 with his league-leading 39th double.He then moved up to the No. 2 slot in the Diamondbacks batting order and got a couple more hits and drove in two runs, even though they lost 9-5.
“We took matters into our own hands and decided to build for 2019 and beyond,” said Thad Levine.
We can only hope the prospects now playing in Class A — which is one small notch above the college-age summer league that the Duluth Huskies are in — and even as high as AA or AAA can develop into legitimate major leaguers. But pardon us if we have our doubts.
It may take three years or more for any of them to even make the Major League roster, and from there, do we anticipate that any of them will stir the excitement and anticipation that Eduardo Escobar commands right now? No.
As someone who has been close and inside to numerous major league teams, mostly in the NHL, I have witnessed the importance that a charismatic player can impart on a team. If you listen to Brian Dozier, who tried to be that type of player, the player on this Twins team that has that characteristic was Escobar.
I enjoy watching the Twins play when they play competitively, and the team I watched last week, focused on Joe Mauer, Eddie Rosario, Eduardo Escobar and occasionally Brian Dozier, was worth the ticket price. We can like and appreciate some of the pitchers, now that Ervin Santana has rejoined Jose Berrios and Kyle Gibson for a Big Three, and I really like catcher Mitch Garver, who socked the game-winning double in the last of the ninth to beat the Indians 5-4.
As for the future? My guess is that by the time any of the prospects acquired by the Twins this week makes it to regular status with the Twins, Escobar will be an all-star and team leader with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
And just in case I miss it, let me know if you see a release that says the Twins are cutting their ticket prices by half.