In the This Is My Nightmare series, we'll take a look at what the absolute worst case scenario for each team would be in 2013. Think of it as the negative complement to our You May Say I'm A Dreamer series that we'll be running during our preview series.
I think the last two seasons were enough of a nightmare for the Minnesota Twins. The team lost 96 games in 2012 and 99 games in 2011, their first back to back 90 loss seasons since four straight from 1997 to 2000. Despite that futility 15 years ago, the last two seasons put the franchise where it's never been before in Minnesota: back to back 95 loss seasons.
I imagine that a nightmare in 2013 would look like more of the same compared to the last two years. Justin Morneau hasn't been healthy since the first half of 2010, and despite an awesome performance so far this spring in the WBC and Spring Training, there's always the thought in the back of your head when dealing with a concussed player that the effects could continue to linger. You can't take that possibility lightly going into 2013 considering all the time that he's missed in recent years.
The Twins also suffered another nightmare that could pop up again in 2011, when franchise catcher Joe Mauer missed half of the season with leg problems. Leg injuries for a catcher? That's not a good sign at all going forward. Considering the amount of money that the Twins have sunk into Mauer, and their relatively low payroll, he needs to be healthy and productive going forth for the team to be able to breath easier in 2013 and beyond. I'm sure the absolute worst case scenario for Terry Ryan and Ron Gardenhire would be to see a runner take out Mauer at the plate, and see his leg snap in half.
Minnesota's pitching staff also has some very real nightmare potential. The staff is made up largely of soft tossers that pitch to contact, and that's a combination that can end quite badly simply based on things out of a pitcher's control like the weather, the field conditions, or the defense behind them. The Twins defense was excellent a year ago, but their three best defenders in Denard Span, Ben Revere, and Alexi Casilla have new homes for the 2013 season. There could be a lot of faces meeting palms when a ball is hit to the left side of the field, where the iron gloved Josh Willingham is in left and Trevor Plouffe mans third.
A nightmare for the Twins is probably another 95 loss season, and more importantly, the realization that help isn't right around the corner. Miguel Sano and Byron Buxton are two awesome prospects, but neither will be ready for the majors for awhile. The organization is weak on impact pitchers, and the mess in the rotation that was created may linger for awhile. Things have the distinct possibility of getting ugly in Minnesota before they get even better.