With a day off on their current west coast swing, it is a decent time for an early season assessment. Having completed 24 games with a record of 6-18 and on now on a three game losing streak following the sweep by the Angels, the Twins are the worst team in the majors by far. To add insult to injury, the Twins were no-hit by Jered Weaver.
Is this team really that bad?
Short answer: yes.
While the dearth of hitting the last couple of games has been obvious, that is not the primary problem. Starting pitching is the real culprit and it is very difficult to believe it is going to get any better soon. Francisco Liriano showed a few signs of improvement in his start against the Angels, but he is going to have to continue to improve and demonstrate some kind of consistency to remain in the rotation. Carl Pavano may improve some as the weather warms up, but he is not a top of the rotation pitcher anymore. Nick Blackburn is also not a top of rotation guy, and if he cannot get his sinker working consistently, he should be moved to the bullpen as the long-man/mop guy. Liam Hendricks may have some potential to be decent, but he is likely to take a few more lumps as he learns. He would definitely have benefited from some more time at Rochester, but for various reasons he has been needed. Jason Marquis looks to be a Pavano clone – ok for the back of the rotation, but not reliable enough to be a stopper. And there you have it. By far the worst rotation in the major leagues.
That being the case, the question that comes to mind is: how long will it be before Terry Ryan declares the season lost and starts the rebuilding effort in earnest.
My best guess is he has already started working on it, testing other GM’s to determine what interest there may be in which players, but not much will actually happen until June when contending teams start to seriously explore to fill their needs for the stretch run.