By Brad Berreman @bradberreman24 on August 21, 2014
The Minnesota Twins are on track to lose more than 90 games for the fourth straight season, and surely there will be a managerial change before 2015 even if Ron Gardenhire is not the only person at fault.
Here are five things that stand out as what went wrong for the Twins this year.
Mauer made the full-time transition to first base this year, and he proceeded to hit .254 with 16 RBI through June 18. He has done better on each side of a five-week absence due to an oblique strain (.362 over 47-bats from June 19-July 1; .314 over 35 at-bats since his return August 11), but Mauer's overall numbers (.275, four home runs and 32 RBI) for the season remain dismal.
The Twins put all their eggs in Aaron Hicks' basket as their starting center fielder, only to watch him struggle again and be demoted to the minors. Danny Santana has lessened the impact of failing to have a true centerfielder on the roster for much of the season, but roster decisions dating back to spring training, when general manager Terry Ryan was going through cancer treatment, set the Twins up to be short-handed all season.
Hicks struggled for a second straight year during his time with the Twins (.198, one home run and nine RBI), which leaves his status as a future lineup fixture up in the air. Josmil Pinto showed promise offensively late in 2013, but his deficiencies as a defensive catcher were exposed and he was demoted in June. Add in Oswaldo Arcia's struggles until a recent power surge, and the Twins didn't get much out of a lot of young players this year.
Outside of Phil Hughes and some good moments from Kyle Gibson, the Twins' starting rotation has been a mix of disappointment and injury issues again this year. Any hope of a return to playoff contention in the future starts here.
Buxton and Sano are two of the top prospects in all of baseball. But Sano has missed the entire season after undergoing Tommy John surgery, and Buxton's progress was derailed by two separate wrist injuries before recently suffering a concussion in a scary outfield collision. Both have lost a year of development, which is obviously not ideal for a franchise that needs their help to turn things around.
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