|Twins fans, can you picture |
Bryce Harper wearing the TC logo?
**Full disclosure: this post is full of hypotheticals, and is not grounded in reality**
The 2010 season produced some great memories for Twins fans. Jim Thome proved that you could be old (in baseball terms) and still destroy a baseball. Joe Mauer had a solid season. Justin Morneau played the first half of the season at an MVP pace. Even Delmon Young had a career-best season and, honestly, led the Twins in offense down the stretch. The Twins cruised to an easy AL Central title, and it almost felt like 2010 was going to be different than all the other seasons. Yes, we were playing the Yankees again, but this team was better than the 2009 version -- it had more confidence, better talent, and was playing in a brand new, shiny stadium. Yea, it almost felt different (cut to graphic of Charlie Brown believing that, this time, Lucy is indeed going to hold the football in place while he kicks it).
Of course, that's not how it played out. The Twins lost 3 in a row to the Yankees, the first 2 at Target Field, and that was it for the playoffs. The Twins haven't been remotely close to a .500 team since then, and there is very little to indicate that next year will be considerably better, unless major moves are made to acquire starting pitching.
But let's imagine, just for a second, that 2010 didn't go nearly as well. We'll say, for instance, that it basically went like 2011 did: Mauer injured, half the Rochester Red Wings on daily shuttles to the MSP airport; Jim Thome not as impressive; and a rash of other injuries that made the Twins simply awful. Let's say, in fact, that the Twins finished with the worst record in baseball in 2010. That would have given them the #1 pick in MLB's 2011 amateur draft. The Nationals, of course, selected Bryce Harper, and he has been a mainstay in their major league lineup for a few months now. Yes, he has struggled recently, but there is every indication to believe that Harper -- who could have a 20-year career -- will live up to his potential.
So here is my question for the day: What's "just another" division title worth to you? What if, instead of having a great 2010 and fading yet again in the playoffs, the Twins could have drafted Harper in 2011 by absolutely tanking the 2010 season? Or, perhaps, Stephen Strasburg in 2009? Would you, as a fan, rather have that extra pennant hanging at Target Field, or would you be willing to exchange all those great 2010 memories for a Harper or Strasburg level of talent?