January 20, 2020

Does Donaldson, plus Hill, plus Bailey, plus Clippard, equal a playoff win over the Yankees?

The Twins missed out on the top free agent pitchers this winter — and I’m still puzzled that the Toronto Blue Jays snagged Hyun-Jin Ryu — but the slugging, Twins-killing third baseman known as Josh Donaldson was still available, and after reports the club was “pessimistic” about landing the “bringer of rain,” the team finally brought him home with a four-year, $92 million deal.

The Twins were good without him, but now they just might be ready to run the table on the AL Central and finally win some postseason baseball after getting swept by those damn Yankees.

Get a load of this lineup, with 2019 home runs included: Max Kepler (36), Jorge Polanco (22), Nelson Cruz (41), Josh Donaldson (37), Eddie Rosario (32), Mitch Garver (31), Luis Arraez (4 home runs, but he hit .334), Miguel Sano (34) and the human flash, Byron Buxton (10). Wow. Is the American League ready for this? I don’t think so.

Hitting and scoring runs is not going to be a problem for the Twins, so it will come down to whether the starting rotation and bullpen, plus team fielding, can hold the line against the opposition this season. Not only do they get a huge upgrade in the middle of the order with Donaldson’s bat, he was also one of the best fielding third baseman with 15 defensive runs saved at the hot corner last season. And if Buxton can stay healthy, baseballs won’t be leaving the ballpark anytime soon.

So it will come down to pitching, and I also think it’s going to come down to how well Rocco Baldelli handles the staff. I have more confidence in Jose Berrios, Jake Odorizzi and Michael Pineda than I do Homer Bailey and Rich Hill, but if Baldelli can give them enough rest and rely on spot support from Lewis Thorpe, Randy Dobnak and Devin Smeltzer, plus a deep bullpen made even deeper with Tyler Clippard, the Twins will win postseason games. And there’s still a chance they trade for a starter to really bolster the staff.

But above all, the Twins got their man in Donaldson, and he’s going to be a huge help.

Some reaction to the Donaldson deal:


Extra innings…

-The Donaldson news was huge for Twins fans, but nothing rocked the baseball world as big as the decision major league baseball handed down to punish the Houston Astros for cheating in 2017 and 2018. The team’s manager and general manager were let go and so were the managers of the Boston Red Sox and New York Mets for their role in the scandal when they worked and played for Houston. The Astros also were fined and will lose draft picks.

The Twins were 1-5 against the ‘Stros in 2017. Surprisingly, their only win came in July at Minute Maid Park. Brian Dozier homered, Robbie Grossman and Eddie Rosario had extra-base hits and Ervin Santana did just enough for his 11th win and a 4-2 victory over Houston and its cheating ways.


Hi, I’m Rolf Boone, Twins fan.

I became a fan of the Minnesota Twins after a friendly wager in the early 1980s. I survived Ron Davis, the meltdown in Cleveland, Phil Bradley at the Kingdome and then marveled at a rising generation of stars and two World Series wins in 1987 and 1991. Brad Radke made the 1990s bearable, while Kirby Puckett’s eye injury, exit from the game and eventual death made it almost too much to bear. The new century ushered in more talent — Joe Mauer, Johan Santana, Joe Nathan, Torii Hunter, Justin Morneau — and consecutive seasons of playoff baseball, followed by consecutive seasons of losing baseball. A winning season returned in 2015. So here we are. Go Twins.