Before we get started with the mailbag, I wanted to thank everyone that sent a question my way. We recorded a Touch ‘Em All podcast late Thursday night, using only the questions we got from you guys on Twitter and Facebook. Here’s a link to the podcast episode, if you’d rather hear my thoughts than read my thoughts. But after you hear my voice, if you decide you’d rather read than listen, well, I can’t say I’ll blame you.
To the questions…
You are Falvine. Do you trade or extend Brian Dozier this offseason? Or let him enter walk year?
— Danny (@dabrams85) September 8, 2017
I’d let him enter his walk year. The Twins will be competitive next year, so I don’t know that it makes sense to trade one of the best players for possible future help. At the same time, I don’t see a multi-year extension being the most logical path right now, either.
Honestly, I haven’t had this question on my brain very much the past few months, but my quick take is that I would have no problem having Dozier in the final year of his contract. And then if I decided I wanted to pay the big bucks to keep him in 2019 and beyond once he’s on the free agent market, then I’m comfortable with that scenario, too.
Which position player would win a pie eating contest?
— James B. Terry (@terryjt1) September 8, 2017
Very deliberate to emphasize “position player” here, because I just checked and Big Sexy hasn’t played in the field at all this year…
Can the Twins hang on if Sano is out another 2+ weeks?
— Andrew (@MNfanfromafar) September 8, 2017
The short answer is yes. If they can somehow get lucky and add him back – whether it’s as a DH or third baseman – and he’s able to seamlessly adapt to MLB pitching on the fly, it’s a substantial boost for the Twins. With that said, I believe that they’re capable of making the postseason without him, if it comes to that.
Why don’t the twins call up more players? Bench bats, bullpen arms, etc.
— Brandon P. (@BproHopJedi) September 8, 2017
I don’t know, I looked through the 40-man roster and I don’t see a glaring omission right now.
I think the Twins are pretty well covered for every contingency. In games they’re winning or that are tightly contested, they have at least a decent starter at every position, several backups, a couple speed and defense guys, three catchers and a small handful of relievers they trust. In lopsided games, they’ve got plenty of extra arms in the bullpen to shoulder the burden of innings.
Record the Twins need to make the playoffs, record need to host the WC game?
— Erik Santa (@ewsanta1) September 8, 2017
We included this question on a recent episode of the Touch ‘Em All podcast, and my co-host Phil Mackey said it’ll be 86 wins to get in, and 89 wins to host. He must have better predictive powers than I do, because I really don’t know.
Will Matt Belisle keep the closer role for the remainder of the season? Who takes it next year?
— Carson Schubert (@CarsonSchuby) September 8, 2017
Yeah, I think it’s mostly Belisle’s job, if he didn’t pitch the night before. He’s been great lately. I think Trevor Hildenberger is the better reliever between the two, and I’d rather go with the side-armer instead of having Belisle pitch back-to-back nights, but that’s just one specific example.
You can also play matchups with Ryan Pressly, Taylor Rogers and Alan Busenitz.
Next year? You might want to spend some money on the free agent market to supplement that group, now that you have legitimate postseason aspirations.
X-Factor to the Twins making the playoffs?
— Erik Santa (@ewsanta1) September 8, 2017
Kyle Gibson, Bartolo Colon, Byron Buxton and Jorge Polanco.
Do you think it’s possible Kyle Gibson has really finally “figured it out”?
— Dakota Hoyt (@dakotamauerhoyt) September 8, 2017
This is a hard question to answer because we’re still only dealing with a handful of starts. But put it this way: I’m higher on Gibson than some of my colleagues. And I believe there are real changes that are driving his recent run of success – not just good luck.
I guess I can’t claim to be as bullish on Gibson as La Velle Neal of the Star Tribune, who in spring training took Gibson as his “pick to click” this season. It looked like a shaky pick at first, but Gibson’s really turned his year around. Good eye, La Velle!
Twins won’t need a 5th starter on Monday’s off-day. Saturday vs TOR will be next. Go w/ Slegers ‘ya think or someone else?
— Terry Anderson (@nater79a) September 8, 2017
I think they could either use Monday’s off day to give each starter an extra day of rest, or they could use the day to skip that spot in the rotation and plug in Adalberto Mejia the next time that spot rolls around. They’ve got a couple options. Slegers impressed me in (and immediately after) his MLB debut, but I wouldn’t ask him to get big outs in a postseason race in his third MLB appearance. That’s a big ask.
Just how freaking great is Robbie Grossman?
— Mark Snyder (@snyde043) September 8, 2017
Second-best eye on the team behind only Joe Mauer. This might be my hottest take of the column.
Remember Phil Hughes?
— Theo Adam (@TheNamesNuwanda) September 8, 2017
I do, yes.
Mauer and Dozier have been the 2 best hitters. Who is 3rd?
— Grady Kruse (@GradysElectric) September 8, 2017
Well, I’d say Sano’s been their best hitter this year when he’s healthy. He leads the team in Weighted On-Base Average, and Mauer and Dozier are second and third, respectively. Fourth on that list would be – you guessed it – Eddie Rosario.
If we limit that to the second half only, I think you might be tempted to change your answer. Take Sano out of the top spot and replace him with Dozier. Then it’s been Byron Buxton, Jorge Polanco and Mauer. One of the impressive things about this offense right now is that the Twins are getting contributions from up and down the lineup card. Who’d have thought losing Sano would be just fine, in terms of runs scored?
Why does Paul Molitor give high-fives with the back of his hand after games please tell me in a tweet
— Mr. Sunshine (@alvintampa) September 8, 2017
I don’t know… I can’t say that I’ve noticed this before. Does anybody have an answer for this one? Tweet me, or post on my page on Facebook.
All right, that’s it for me today. I’ve gotta run. Hey, if you like the mailbags, let me know. Mackey and I can certainly do more of them down the stretch if you guys would like to see them.
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