All Things 2020 Minnesota Twins In-Season Thread

BleedGopher

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Twins players report for spring training this week. Time to turn the page from the off-season to the in-season.

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BleedGopher

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Charley Walters: These Twins will win another hundred in 2020

The signing of slugger Josh Donaldson two weeks ago probably made the Minnesota Twins the second-best club in the American League, behind only the New York Yankees, heading into spring training this week.

Then, last week’s proposed trade for starter Kenta Maeda from the Los Angeles Dodgers probably sealed the Twins’ status as superior to the league’s other 13 teams. At least on paper.

Barring injuries, the reigning AL Central champion Twins, who won 101 games last season, are set to win another 100.


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https://www.twincities.com/2020/02/08/charley-walters-these-twins-will-win-another-hundred-in-2020/?share=facebook&nb=1
 

BleedGopher

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STrib: Twins manager Rocco Baldelli deals with new expectations and fresh faces in the 2020 season

aldelli will supervise the Twins' first workout of the spring on Wednesday, opening his second season as a big-league manager with most of the same players, many of the same intentions, and one large burden that instantly raises the degree of difficulty: expectations.

He claims to welcome the challenge.

"I like that people expect us to win. I do, too," Baldelli said. "I don't know what the year will bring, but that part hasn't changed. We have a large number of extremely talented people, and our expectations are that we will display that talent again."

Yet Baldelli goes out of his way to decouple last year's Twins, who hit more home runs than any team in baseball history and scored more frequently than any previous Twins squad, from the version that reports to Fort Myers this week. Maybe they will be better, maybe worse, Baldelli said, but they will definitely be different.

"Our goal is not to re-create what we did last year. It's a different team. We want to have our own personality," he said. "We have a lot of returning faces, but some things have changed, too. We'll have a different identity, and we have to create that. If you try to be the 2019 Twins, that's not going to work for the 2020 Twins."


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BleedGopher

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Sid: Twins' anticipation runs high with addition of Josh Donaldson

Twins pitchers and catchers report to spring training Tuesday, and the fact is that this is going to be one of the most anticipated baseball seasons in the Twin Cities in some time after the team won 101 games last season, the second most in franchise history, and added former AL MVP Josh Donaldson to the roster.

Twins owner Jim Pohlad explained how the front-office team of Derek Falvey and Thad Levine approached him with the plan to sign a player like Donaldson to a four-year, $92 million deal, the richest in club history.

“From my standpoint, you hear all of these names right after the season ends. You hear all the names of potential marquee free agents, and of course he is clearly one of them,” Pohlad said. “Then you just see how the process goes. I would say they were interested in all of the marquee free agents, but as discussions go along, some stick and some don’t. We were really lucky to get Josh.”

Was there ever a thought of turning down the front office for the kind of contract needed to sign Donaldson?

“No,” Pohlad said. “I mean, it comes with the recommendation of Derek, so that’s my main judgment point, if they recommend it. I know what his discipline is and all of that, so if he feels good about it, we feel good about it.”


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BleedGopher

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per Sid:

• Twins President Dave St. Peter said a big reason the Twins are opening the season on the West Coast is because they will face the National League West in interleague play. “We thought it made some sense to open out there and get good weather,” St. Peter said.


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BleedGopher

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Souhan: Twins look even more like a World Series team, Red Sox even less

The Twins and Red Sox train a few miles apart in Fort Myers, Fla. The teams will face each other for the first time on Feb. 24, and will be able to avoid any on-field awkwardness with Graterol removed from the scene.

Twins fans should look forward to another date: May 26 in the Bronx, when the Twins and Yankees play for the first time.

Baseball is fickle. Injuries and unexpected slumps can alter the best of plans. But I believe the teams playing at Yankee Stadium on that date are the two AL teams most likely to finish the regular season with 100 victories.


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The Twins were bad for so many recent years, I forgot they were decent last year. Then got crushed by the Yankees, again. I can't begin to be a fan until they own the Yankees.
 

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Byron Buxton cleared to swing, but Twins not rushing him after shoulder surgery

Byron Buxton has been working out at the CenturyLink Sports Complex in recent weeks as he continues his recovery from left shoulder surgery. He has been cleared to start swinging a bat, but has not yet joined teammates in on-field batting cage sessions.

The Twins are in no rush to press their fleet-footed center fielder into service. Buxton still has a fair chance of making the Opening Day roster, but likely won't appear in spring training games until mid-March.

"I mean, just in my own mind, I had expectations. He's probably above that level," manager Rocco Baldelli said. "I think he feels great, so he's ramping things up. We're going to keep him at a good, steady pace because the goal is to get Buck ready so he's ready to play Opening Day and that's really what our focus is going to be on."

Buxton injured his shoulder Aug. 1 while running into a wall in Miami. He had surgery Sept. 10 in Los Angeles. The Twins were 53-25 with Buxton in the lineup and 48-36 without him. Injuries have limited him to 28 games in 2018 and 87 last season. So, yes, they will be careful with him.


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BleedGopher

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STrib: Twins manager Rocco Baldelli: 'Come in expecting to win a lot of games this year'

In case the Twins hadn’t made their intentions for the 2020 season clear enough, manager Rocco Baldelli erased any doubts on Wednesday as he spoke on the first day of workouts for pitchers and catchers.

“Come in expecting to win a lot of games this year,” Baldelli told the group.

Some might have needed more than nonverbal communication to be convinced. Others could have just followed the Twins’ transaction timeline during the offseason and understood that the stakes have been raised.


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BleedGopher

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per Sid:

Sano, Buxton still key

While a lot of focus has fallen on the Twins' new additions, Morneau says Buxton and Sano are the key to truly making this team a contender.

"Sano has the potential to hit 50 home runs," Morneau said. "I don't like doing that to guys, but he has so much power. I remember the first time I saw him swing, he reminded me of Miguel Cabrera, the way he can drive the ball to any part of the ballpark.

"If he can stay [healthy] and get 550 at-bats, you might be looking at the American League home run leader. He has that much potential, that much power. He's starting to figure out his approach at the plate and starting to look like a guy who has an understanding of who he is and what he can do in the batter's box."

Buxton's defense, like Sano's power, could be the best in the game, according to Morneau.

"I think [Buxton] is probably the most important defensive player maybe in the American League," Morneau said. "He makes our pitchers better, he makes our pitchers more confident that they can throw the ball over the plate because he is going to catch it. Whatever he does offensively is icing on the cake, but to have him out there for 150 or 155 games playing center field would really be a difference-maker."


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BleedGopher

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Reusse: Byron Buxton has belief, now needs health

On Saturday, Twins center fielder Byron Buxton was answering a few questions from reporters, informal enough for him to be asked:

“That Hicks catch … you wouldn’t have had to dive, right?’’

Buxton smiled and said: “I don’t know. It was a good catch. I’m not out there, so I can’t really judge it. He went and got it.’’

Two years ago, Buxton came to spring training after batting .309 with power in his final 47 games of the Twins’ wild-card 2017 season. He had turned 24, and there was optimism he had been guided into a hitting approach that was going to work.

Exhibition games aren’t a time to reach conclusions, but there was some flailing going on from Buxton in March 2018 that was familiar. This was followed by a lost, injury- and illness-plagued season that gave more strength to doubts over future excellence for Buxton.

He went home for the winter, got off the leg-kick, no-leg-kick merry-go-round and he stated this again Saturday:

“I went back to what I was doing in high school … I took a step back last offseason and kind of found myself.’’


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BleedGopher

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Twins third baseman Josh Donaldson arrives, holds court with prospects

One of the very first things Josh Donaldson, the Twins’ $92 million man, said at the beginning of his introductory press conference last month, was how much he was looking forward to helping develop younger players in the organization.

Day one? Check.

Donaldson made his first appearance at Twins camp on Saturday and went right to work following through on that promise.

The third baseman arrived a couple days ahead of the position player report date, which is Monday, and was in the batting cages holding court with a group of the team’s prospects that included top prospect Royce Lewis, catcher Ryan Jeffers and second baseman Travis Blankenhorn.

As Donaldson talked hitting, he had a captive audience. After all, there are worse people to listen to than a former American League MVP.

“There’s plenty of information out there for younger guys, but what it takes is guys that understand the information to help get the message across to them and continue to help these guys develop through their tenure as a Minnesota Twin,” Donaldson said in January. “I’m looking forward to being a guy that can continue to establish other people, help other people.”


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https://www.twincities.com/2020/02/15/twins-third-baseman-josh-donaldson-arrives-holds-court-with-prospects/?share=facebook&nb=1
 

short ornery norwegian

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May be the kiss of death, but I've heard/read about 3 different media people say that Sano is in.......wait for it......"The best shape of his life.!" Somebody said he was taking BP and hit a ball that went completely out of the park and hit the roof of a house that was 40-feet past the fence.

Caught a segment on MLB network the other night. They interviewed Nelson Cruz. The talking heads in the studio basically all agreed that the Twins' lineup will be one of the best in the AL. Talked about how Buxton could make a big difference by staying healthy and playing CF every day. Also liked their bullpen. big question was starting pitching. Noted that Pineda and Hill will be returning to rotation at some point. One of the studio guys (no idea who it was) said he thought Berrios could be the key to the season, if he can pitch more like a #2 level starter.

General mood was optimistic. John Smoltz said one issue for MN is dealing with poor weather in the early part of the season. Said that makes it harder for pitchers and batters to get in a groove when you're dealing with bad weather - especially with the earlier start to the season.
 

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Twins' season of promise shut down, remains in jeopardy

Exactly one week before the 2020 baseball season was to begin, the Twins' top executives on Thursday reluctantly considered the possibility that Opening Day is actually one year away.

"The reality of it is, we don't know," Twins President Dave St. Peter said of a season disrupted for weeks, months or perhaps even longer by the spreading coronavirus pandemic. "We're hopeful that at the right time, sports will return.

"Baseball will return. Our job is to be ready for that, assuming it happens. But do we know that's going to happen [in 2020]? No, we don't."

St. Peter and President of Baseball Operations Derek Falvey are trying to keep the organization functioning amid the uncertainty that has enveloped daily life around the world, keeping in touch with rehabbing players and out-of-work concession attendants and amateur scouts with nothing to scout.

They are working out ticket-refund plans, finishing Target Field upgrades, and setting up all-staff conference calls.

No Twins employee to their knowledge — player, staff, front office or ballpark operations — has been tested for the coronavirus, St. Peter and Falvey said. But they are preparing in case someone becomes symptomatic.


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Twins say Byron Buxton would have been ready had season started on time

The answer to the Twins' most pressing question of spring training was answered Thursday: Turns out, Byron Buxton was ready to start the season by Opening Day.

Minnesota at Oakland, the first game of the 2020 season, didn't happen as scheduled, but had it been played, Buxton probably would have been in the lineup, Twins manager Rocco Baldelli and President of Baseball Operations Derek Falvey confirmed during a conference call Thursday. Instead, the Twins center fielder is at his home in Baxley, Ga., his left shoulder now completely healed from labrum surgery last September.

"Buck's rehab could not have gone smoother," Baldelli said. "Physically, mentally, he's in a tremendous spot."


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short ornery norwegian

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Obviously, at this point, no one knows what is going to happen with Covid-19.

The MLB owners and players union have an agreement. basically, it states that MLB will not play games unless medical experts proclaim it is safe, and there can be fans in the stands.

They also stated that the goal is to play as many regular-season games as possible.

Talking about more double-headers.

Lot of questions about post-season. Some people are talking about a scenario where the playoffs would extend into December! In that case, games could be moved to domes or neutral warm-weather sites.
 

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Obviously, at this point, no one knows what is going to happen with Covid-19.

The MLB owners and players union have an agreement. basically, it states that MLB will not play games unless medical experts proclaim it is safe, and there can be fans in the stands.

They also stated that the goal is to play as many regular-season games as possible.

Talking about more double-headers.

Lot of questions about post-season. Some people are talking about a scenario where the playoffs would extend into December! In that case, games could be moved to domes or neutral warm-weather sites.
I've said all along, for a long time, that if you're going to play baseball games at night in late October, they should be indoors or in a warm climate. When it's too cold, it's not baseball any more. Games in November and especially December are a no-brainer in my opinion.
 

howeda7

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Obviously, at this point, no one knows what is going to happen with Covid-19.

The MLB owners and players union have an agreement. basically, it states that MLB will not play games unless medical experts proclaim it is safe, and there can be fans in the stands.

They also stated that the goal is to play as many regular-season games as possible.

Talking about more double-headers.

Lot of questions about post-season. Some people are talking about a scenario where the playoffs would extend into December! In that case, games could be moved to domes or neutral warm-weather sites.
I think all sports are going to come back before there are fans in the stands. If the world series goes into November, it's likely to end up played at a neutral site in Miami or something.
 

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God I miss baseball 😭.

Summer will be a drag without it; may be as bad when my Twins lost the T-ball championship to the Yankees. The umpbkew the call and I had to watch my nemesis/nextdoor neighbor/perfect kid, Mike, celebrate in front of me as I wept into my Freddie Lynn mitt.

Not that I'm bitter about it, lol.
 

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I think all sports are going to come back before there are fans in the stands. If the world series goes into November, it's likely to end up played at a neutral site in Miami or something.
I think so too. The country is behind on testing....but we'll get up to speed. Once testing becomes a speedier process and teams can get players and staff tested in a day or so....they'll get games going. Who knows when spectators will be allowed back.
 

howeda7

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I think so too. The country is behind on testing....but we'll get up to speed. Once testing becomes a speedier process and teams can get players and staff tested in a day or so....they'll get games going. Who knows when spectators will be allowed back.
I still think we're looking at July 1st before anything comes back though. They'll re-start training camps around June 1. Maybe the NBA can get back faster around mid-June if they don't take a long ramp up. MLB basically has to re-start Spring Training or you'll have pitchers go down left and right.
 

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I've said all along, for a long time, that if you're going to play baseball games at night in late October, they should be indoors or in a warm climate. When it's too cold, it's not baseball any more. Games in November and especially December are a no-brainer in my opinion.
The baseball season (like the NBA and NHL) is too long. Especially if they expand the number of playoff teams, they’re going to have to reduce the regular season. Playing in a WS in Mpls could be downright miserable. Drop it to maybe 154 or 148 or something. Schedule a couple double headers in the season. That could lop a couple weeks off the end of the season, which would make a big difference.
 

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The baseball season (like the NBA and NHL) is too long. Especially if they expand the number of playoff teams, they’re going to have to reduce the regular season. Playing in a WS in Mpls could be downright miserable. Drop it to maybe 154 or 148 or something. Schedule a couple double headers in the season. That could lop a couple weeks off the end of the season, which would make a big difference.
Just my opinion, but I will be very surprised if they get in more than 81 games this season.
 

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I'm thinking 90 games beginning around the 4th of July.
I really hope you are correct. I was actually being overly positive with my 81 games post. Deep down I don't think there will be a season.
 

howeda7

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I really hope you are correct. I was actually being overly positive with my 81 games post. Deep down I don't think there will be a season.
I think they will play if they can start by August 1st. Past that date they will cancel. People are going to be restless for sports to resume, even if only on TV. Once one league jumps the others will follow quickly. Just as they did in postponing.
 

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I think they will play if they can start by August 1st. Past that date they will cancel. People are going to be restless for sports to resume, even if only on TV. Once one league jumps the others will follow quickly. Just as they did in postponing.
Honestly, Gopher Football is my main sports concern. I won't like it, but I can deal with no baseball for a summer. Gopher hoops should be fine on the other hand since there won't be enough fans there anyways to endanger the six feet rule. :whistle:
 

howeda7

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Honestly, Gopher Football is my main sports concern. I won't like it, but I can deal with no baseball for a summer. Gopher hoops should be fine on the other hand since there won't be enough fans there anyways to endanger the six feet rule. :whistle:
You mean we're not getting Mathew Hurt? 😢
 

forever a gopher

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Just my opinion, but I will be very surprised if they get in more than 81 games this season.
Yes, I would agree. Outside of the pandemic situation, the season is to long. I would be surprised if they’re able to get in more than a half season this year.

The real question is, will there be games this year in front of fans?
 

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You mean we're not getting Mathew Hurt? 😢
We’ll get him, but since it’s Minnesota, he won’t get an immediately eligible waiver, and he’ll have to redshirt. So he’ll instead go to OSU where he’ll get immediate eligibility.
 
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