Twins may make deadline additions but don’t expect an overhaul

12 July 2023

Shortly after watching his team get drubbed to cap off the first half of the season, Twins manager Rocco Baldelli professed his faith in the group of players within the Twins clubhouse.

“I couldn’t believe in our team any more. I don’t know any other way to say that,” Baldelli said. “That’s pretty straightforward. We have a lot of not just ability, but character and leadership. And all the things we want as a staff, as a manager, that you have in a roster, we have it.”

What they don’t have is an offense that has performed consistently, nor a winning record.

The Twins (45-46) entered this week’s all-star break in second place, one game under .500 as a result, with a pitching staff that has been among the best in the major leagues, and an offense that is on the other end of the spectrum.

But while the Twins may be on the lookout for a bat ahead of the Aug. 1 trade deadline, president of baseball operations Derek Falvey made it clear that most of the contributors are already in that clubhouse, meaning that group will need to pick it up if the Twins are to make the playoffs.

“We’ve wanted more offense out of the group that we have and I still believe the vast majority of the offense we’ll get the remainder of the season is going to come from the guys in that room,” Falvey said. “It’s not going to be via acquisition that’s going to make the primary difference.”

Simply put, that means more production from the veterans whom the Twins have been relying on to carry them.

That means Carlos Correa, who entered the all-star break hitting .225 with a 92 OPS+ (100 is league average), both numbers that signify his worst. That means Byron Buxton, whose numbers don’t reflect the hitter the Twins have seen over the course of the past handful of seasons. That means Max Kepler. That means Joey Gallo. That means Christian Vázquez. And the list goes on.

It also means Jorge Polanco, whose issue hasn’t been underperformance but rather difficulty staying on the field. Polanco, who began the season rehabbing a knee injury, has suffered two hamstring strains and has played in just 30 games this season. The Twins hope to get him back later this month.

Jose Miranda and Trevor Larnach, both of whom were in the Twins’ Opening Day lineup, have spent much of the season at Triple-A. Larnach is still there now; Miranda would be, if not for an oblique injury suffered by Royce Lewis, who, along with fellow rookie Edouard Julien, has been among the team’s top offensive performers.

Among position players, utilityman Willi Castro and journeyman Donovan Solano lead the team in bWAR (Wins Above Replacement, per Baseball Reference), which, on a team with Correa, Buxton, etc. is not ideal.

At the break, the Twins are hitting .232 (25th in the majors), have a team .709 OPS (22nd in the majors) and have struck out 916 times, which is first in the majors and on pace to set a new record. And while the Twins may make some roster additions, it’s that group, the one that they have expressed their confidence in repeatedly, that they’ll need to see more from.

“When I look at the top of our lineup and I look at the key cogs of our offense and the guys that we expect to perform better for us, those guys are going to need to carry us,” Falvey said. “We’ve seen it at different junctures even in the last couple of weeks, when they have. For us. I’m just saying that the reality is, we always talk about deadline and potential ways to add, but I think the crux of it is the vast majority of the production is going to come from most of the 26 (players) you already have in that room.”

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