What’s the outlook for our pro sports franchises?
Been way to long since we’ve chatted. While I’ve been gone one of the questions I’ve gotten asked is what do I think of the directon of some of our pro sports franchises. I know if I write this article one year ago, my list is pretty different. For arguments sake, I’ll keep my list to the four major sports in the state. (Besides, it might make the other four teams feel bad when I put the Lynx at #1, 2, and 3 on my list.)
1. Minnesota Timberwolves. This team would’ve been last on my list a year ago but now ‘ol David Kahn doesn’t look like too much of an idiot. He’s got three starting caliber players (Love, Rubio, Williams) that I can see starting on a championship contender. He’s also got a few players that I can see playing major roles on a contender (Ridnour, Barea, Pekovic). That’s 6 good quality players…more than some of the other teams on this list can boast. They’ll have money to spend in the offseason, hopefully they can upgrade at shooting guard. That position would be my #1 priority. I’m happy to go into the season with Pek at Center, but also wouldn’t mind an upgrade…if there is a clear upgrade. Another year of maturity, plus hopefully a healthy year and I can see the Wolves in the playoffs next year, maybe even winning a game or two in it. Championship Contender in 2 seasons is not a pipe dream anymore.
2. Minnesota Wild. This one admittedly can go either way, but that’s the way it is with prospects. I don’t see a whole lot of keepers on the current roster. I like Heatley, Koivu, and Setiguchi. I think Hackett could be a good goaltender, and Backstrom has some value. But after that…the rest of the veterans can go as far as I’m concerned. Give the kids some time on the ice. They’ve each been tearing up their leagues, and need a place in the big leagues. I’d go after some free agents like Suter and Parise in the offseason but be choosy. Don’t give up a spot for the young kids unless your getting an elite player like those two. I can see playoffs next year…but if the kids flop I can also see the #1 overall draft pick. That’s what you get with kids.
3. Minnesota Vikings. On the sole fact that turning around a football team can happen in one or two seasons. Besides this roster’s not terrible…just not really good. Peterson, Harvin, Carlson, Ponder, and Rudolph can be the core of a good offense. Allen, Greenway and K-Williams are ok on defense. Problem is after those positions there is no one of substance for the future. Holes must be filled along the Offensive Line, Defensive Backfield, the other two linebacker positions, Defensive Line depth, Wide Recievers, and Chief Waterboy. Ok maybe I went to far there but you get the picture. The cupboard isn’t bare…it’s just not full. Use your high draft picks this year to plug 3 or 4 holes…then go win 6 to 8 games next year. I’d be happy with that progress. Then next offseason you better plug the remaining holes or your in trouble. Playoffs in 2 years…maybe? Championship Contender…still probably never, we are the Vikings after all. It’s our job to choke in big games.
4. Minnesota Twins. Oh how the mighty have fallen. They would’ve topped my list last year. Pitching staff has broken down badly. Of the current pitchers I see only one…ONE of them I would want on my roster in 2 years (Glen Perkins). That’s bad. Kyle Gibson will help if he can come back and be effective. But the rest of the staff has to be overhauled. We need to find an ace…I’ve preached for a while…take a chance on greatness. Yeah, sometimes you strike out…but sometimes you find Johan Santana. Quit signing the mediocre guys to plug holes. The lineup isn’t awful but it’s not good either. Mauer, Morneau, Valencia, Span…all decent player but will they be in their positions in 2 or 3 years? I don’t know. Way to many questions for this team and not enough answers. Or too many answers…too many people having an opinion. And when that happens it’s usually not a good thing for a franchise.