In case you missed my post yesterday, I introduced my friends Paul and Peter. They are twin pumas who happen to be Twins fans. Each submitted their own summary of the Twins' 2013 season and I posted Peter's yesterday. I should warn you, he's kind of a drag. He's a nice enough puma, but he gets really emotional about the team. I'd say he means about 10% of what he says, but then I am also slightly terrified of him so don't tell him I said that. If you missed it or just want to know what on Earth I am talking about, click here.
Paul and I are a bit closer. He's a gentler soul, although a part of me is still really anxious when we hang out in the dark. Paul loves the Twins as much as any human I know. Not only that, but he loves Minor League baseball. He bought MiLB.tv to go with MLB.tv. Peter thinks it's stupid to blindly hope for the future, but Paul believes that good teams are build and not bought. When Paul expressed interest in writing something for The Slow (that's what I'm calling it now, what do you think?), I was excited to see what positive spin he would put on this relatively dreadful season. He didn't disappoint.
Here's Paul the Positive Puma's Postmortem:
I love Twins baseball. I've been a fan since I was just a cub. I grew up in the glory days of Joe Mauer's MVP season, Carl Pavano's mustache and Joe Nathan's dominance at the end of games (editor's note: pumas only live about 12-13 years, which is making me terribly sad). I've been with this team from the highs of Game 163 to the lows of 2013. I have loved every minute of it! Even though the last few years have been tough, I feel that 2013 was a successful season for the organization and I have high hopes for the near future.
There was plenty to get excited about on the field. Brian Dozier! Who gave up on Brian Dozier after last year? I didn't, but I'm sure many did. He was outstanding. He really adjusted to the move to second base. After a rough couple months, he was one of the best second basemen in baseball! Oswaldo Arcia and Josmil Pinto both look like future stars as well. Arcia can be streaky, but his hot streaks are really exciting. Pinto looks like a masher and another great offensive catcher. I also enjoyed Andrew Albers' mini-breakout, even if my head tells me that it won't last. Also, Joe Mauer was excellent until his brain injury. I am hopeful that he will come back next season as good as ever.
Early in the season, it seemed you couldn't go a day without reading some excellent news about a player in the Twins' Minor Leagues. Byron Buxton broke out and became the best prospect in baseball. He showed what a real five-tool player looks like and the promise of Buxton on a future Twins team is too exciting to bear. Miguel Sano had a minor hiccup when he broke an unwritten baseball rule, but other than that one instance, he was fantastic as always. His power is immense and I can't wait to see him launch bombs out of Target Field. Beyond the two big names, the Twins have exciting prospects at just about every position, including Kohl Stewart, Eddie Rosario, Jorge Polanco, Max Kepler, and Alex Meyer, just to name a few. What a windfall!
Off the field, I actually like the strategy the Twins' front office used with their money this season. They knew the team wasn't quite ready to compete, so they saved some money for down the road. I foresee a major jump in payroll in the coming seasons and I think that saving some money while the team is down is a very good strategy. While the team on the 2013 field was not great, the team on the 2015 season could be that much better. It's a worthwhile trade-off. Pumas have learned to be very patient.
I have high hopes for this coming off-season. The Twins made a couple of very smart trades last off-season, and I think a couple more are coming. The Twins have some trade chips in Josh Willingham, Ryan Doumit and potentially a couple of the relief pitchers. If the Twins can land even more young, promising talent, the future will only get brighter. I trust the front office to make smart trades and add a couple of veteran pieces along the lines of Kevin Correia to supplement the on-field product. Maybe Correia isn't an exciting player, but he really helped the team this season. He was the best starter on the team!
I'm definitely an optimist when it comes to Twins' baseball. I tend to look at the bright side of things. This has been more difficult in the past few seasons, but I have enjoyed watching the vast majority of the games. If the team can just get a bit better next year, they will keep my attention. I'm not looking for a World Series in 2014 or even in 2015, but I feel that the Twins will be in that discussion within the next five years. For some, that's not enough. I'll take my chances. I enjoy watching the team through the good and bad, so a couple of lean seasons won't turn me away anytime soon.