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Fire Sale

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Summer is grinding to an end. At least the summer that is represented by a break in school, the hot, lazy days of baseball and TV reruns and the like. The State Fair is right around the corner, my kids are almost completely ready for school to start, and the Twins find themselves in a position they haven’t been in for several years: sellers.

Yes, the fire sale has begun at Target Field. By this time on Friday, Jim Thome and Jason Kubel could very well be with other teams. Delmon Young has already been cut, and the rumors are hot that Michael Cuddyer is next on the list to go.

All of this is a shame, because Thome joined the 600 HR club as a Twin, and his two seasons here have been memorable. The problem is, they didn’t give him the World Series ring he wants before he retires. Unfortunately, I don’t think he’ll get it wherever he’s going, because the rumor is he’ll end up in Cleveland or with the White Sox, who took him as a defensive move to keep the other team from taking him.

Kubel is still young and would be a big loss: he’s been our best hitter this season, and even he’s been injured for a while. Cuddyer is, in my opinion, one of the best players the Twins have because he can and will play almost every position without question or error, and to back it up, in a good year, he can even hit in the .290 range.

The Young trade really irritated me because he’s only 26, and in baseball, guys don’t hit their peak until they’re 28 or 29. He had a great year last year and a down year this year…Playing for a down ball club. But he’s slated to get $7 million next year, so we had to make room, I guess.

Of course, the team can’t really move any pitchers, who all probably need to be swapped out for something much better. But that’s why they’re stuck here and not anywhere else.

I know what’s so frustrating about this team and this season: they aren’t consistent. Last year, they could do no wrong–errors were low, pitching was great, and the hitting was almost always there. But this year, nothing has worked consistently. And it almost looks like the players aren’t trying. They had a little run right before the All-Star Break, but then came out of the break flat, and never got better. It’s so disappointing, because we all know these are great players: we’ve seen them play very well. And now they’re not.

I suppose the fire sale has been coming for a while. I’d pretty well assumed that Thome’s gone after the season anyway, either to retirement or to one more team for him to try to win a ring (honestly, I was picturing a free-agent signing with the Yankees during the off-season). And we have a few players who have been here long enough where maybe they’re making more money than they’re worth (Kubel and Mauer). But this is the time of year where the also-rans of the season turn more to concentrate on the business of the game, and that’s the part that leaves the extra bitter taste in our mouths: we’ve already lost and crushed hopes of playoffs, and now we’re practically giving away players who we’ve invested ourselves in for years.

Oh well. The good news is that February will come around again and I’ll be as hopeful as ever for this team, because I’ll be able to see that, on paper, they could be the best team ever.

I was just wrong about this season, I guess.

See you tomorrow.