Skip to main content

What could MLB's two-month delay mean for the Twins?

The season won't start until at least mid-May, which is good and bad news for the Twins.
Rocco Baldelli

Major League Baseball announced on Monday that due to the coronavirus pandemic, the beginning of the 2020 season will be suspended at least two months.

For all teams, a significant delay that could stretch even further into the summer will have shockwaves. For the Twins, who currently have intentions of competing for an American League pennant, that delay could have even greater ramifications.

Byron Buxton will be ready for opening day

When the Twins were shut down for the foreseeable future, Buxton was starting to ramp things up by taking batting practice. With his availability for the original opening day in limbo, Buxton looked good and didn't report any setbacks.

The Twins have left Fort Myers after the season delay was announced, but this gives Buxton an extra couple months to get back to 100 percent. This was the Twins' original goal and other players, such as Marwin Gonzalez (knee surgery), also have extra time.

The pitching situation will be much different

As the Twins were ramping up for the regular season, they knew they would have two temporary holes with Rich Hill (elbow surgery) and Michael Pineda (suspension).

Although the battle for the fifth starting spot seemed to be Randy Dobnak's to lose, there's a chance that the fill-in duty may not be needed if Hill continues to recover without setbacks.

A rotation of Jose Berrios, Jake Odorizzi, Kenta Maeda, Homer Bailey, and Rich Hill is what the Twins have been banking on all along, but they may also have to wait later to add Pineda to that list with 39 games remaining on his PED violation stemming from last season.

Such a situation would give the Twins less time to evaluate their rotation at full strength. If the trade deadline isn't pushed back, that could also lead to Minnesota making a decision to add or not add a starter much sooner than they had hoped.

The Twins may have to go back for more "spring training"

Just as the opening day announcement came down, the Twins were just about ready for the season to begin. Pitchers were starting to increase their workload, position players were in shape and all that needed to be done was for the first pitch to be thrown.

Instead, most teams were sent home from their facility as the coronavirus spread. Without a facility or certain plan, ESPN's Buster Olney mentioned that going back for additional spring training may be required if the delay is long enough.

"There are folks at the team level who think that a return in June might be possible but, in the end, may be an optimistic projection," Olney said. "Players would need at least two to three weeks after that to prepare for the start of a truncated season, which backs us up into June. And, of course, the rapidly changing circumstances will continue to dictate the context for any decision."

In other words, when the Twins do gather to officially start the season, they'll be back to square one.

The Twins' championship window got shorter

Obviously, the coronavirus pandemic is bigger than baseball. However, the Twins finally made moves to "go for it" this offseason and as a result, have a team with several key players on the wrong side of 30.

Josh Donaldson (34 years old) signed the largest free-agent contract in franchise history and home run leader Nelson Cruz (40) also isn't getting younger. With Kenta Maeda (32) and Hill (40) getting up there on the mound, the Twins are built to win right now.

If baseball isn't played until June, the Twins won't have the luxury of having ups and downs like they did last year. That could increase the pressure on a team expected to make a playoff run and could bring a much different result in 2020.

Next Up

image

Hospital chiefs say nursing strike will come at 'worst possible time'

A nurses union announced an almost three-week strike to take place in the Twin Cities.

snow

Sven Sundgaard: What's in store for MN's weather in December?

Sundgaard recaps Minnesota's fall and looks ahead to December.

work-g674ba1702_1280

Manure spill in Wisconsin leads to hours-long main street disruption

The spill was first reported just before 7:30 a.m. Tuesday morning.

IceCube

Ice Cube to perform 2 nights at Mystic Lake Casino

The rapper hasn't performed in Minnesota since 2018.

image

Nicollet Mall's new Ties Lounge & Rooftop closes 'indefinitely'

The establishment aimed to reconnect the downtown community.

Screen Shot 2022-12-01 at 9.15.44 AM

Chinese restaurant closing after 50 years in Columbia Heights

The beloved family-owned restaurant will close Dec. 24.

Screen Shot 2022-12-01 at 9.43.40 AM

Kris Laudien leaving KARE 11 after four years on 'Sunrise'

KARE 11 announced the appointment of Jason Hackett to the morning show this week.

Related

Rocco Baldelli

5 questions for the 2021 Minnesota Twins

The Twins open the season in Milwaukee on Thursday.

Jose Berrios

Latest Twins rumors: Berríos, Buxton, Maeda all landing in trade talks

The Twins are reportedly "extremely active as sellers" ahead of Friday's deadline.

Rocco Baldelli

It's time for the Twins to make a splash in the American League

The Twins are part of baseball's problem in avoiding the hot stove.

Byron Buxton

Here are the latest Twins trade rumors ahead of the deadline

Byron Buxton, José Berríos and Nelson Cruz could all be on the way out.

Byron Buxton

Extending Byron Buxton is an investment worth the risk

Buxton's value to the Twins exceeds some of their previous big contracts.

Alexander Colomé

Expecting different result, Twins turn to Colomé again

The Twins embattled reliever had another miserable night.

Byron Buxton

Byron Buxton leaves early in Twins' victory over Brewers

The Twins outfielder is day-to-day with a non-COVID related illness.

Rocco Baldelli

Twins' bullpen falters in loss to Royals

The Royals used a six-run fourth inning to hand the Twins their third straight loss.