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Hayden Goethe, Published July 31 2011

Goethe: Twins should be sellers, but I bet they won't be

You have to know when to hold them and know when to fold them.

I know, I know. The World Series of Poker’s main event just wrapped up until it resumes again in November, and I got cards on the brain.

But Kenny Rogers’ famous lyrics apply to more than just the WSOP. With Major League Baseball’s trade deadline arriving today, folding is the strategy that I think the Minnesota Twins should employ.

The Twins are seven games under .500. That should trigger automatic seller’s mode, but in the AL Central, it’s not that easy.

That’s because, despite their disappointing record, the Twins are just six games behind first-place Detroit. That can be a mountain to make up for a below-.500 team, but as we all learned from the Twins’ stunning 2009 rally to a division title, it’s certainly possible.

But we all often overlook how 2009 ended, with the Twins on the receiving end of another three-game beatdown by the New York Yankees. Considering all of the team’s injuries and it’s woeful relief pitching, it’s hard to imagine the end result this year being any different if the Twins were able to secure the AL Central crown.

Accept 2009 as a magical run to a division title, along with a very predictable playoff finish. Is that really worth chasing again?

I’m sure a lot of you are thinking: Once the Twins get healthy, they will make a run. Well, I hate to break it to you, but the Twins haven’t been healthy all season. At any given time, everyday players like Denard Span, Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, Tsuyoshi Nishioka, and Jason Kubel have spent lengthy stints on the disabled list. Just last week, surprisingly dependable infielder Alexi Casilla was placed on the DL.

Mauer, Nishioka and Kubel are back, and it appears Span’s return is right around the corner. Maybe the Twins’ key players will manage to avert major injury for the rest of the season, but I doubt it. And it’s not like the Twins offense has been on fire when these guys were in the lineup together at the start of the season.

I think the best thing the Twins could do is to try and start building for 2012 and beyond. I’m not talking about gutting the roster, but I see no reason not to trade players who will be free agents at the end of the season like Kubel or Matt Capps or Joe Nathan (Twins would have to absorb some money with those last two).

Do I think the Twins will be sellers? Definitely not. I imagine they’ll add a bullpen arm to bolster their chances.

The Twins don’t need to fold all hope and rebuild, but I see no harm in a team with a .467 winning percentage raising the white flag for this season anyway.

Readers can reach Forum Assistant Sports Editor Hayden Goethe at (701) 241-5558

or hgoethe@forumcomm.com