The Franchise 1993 (Part 1)

1993 Minnesota Twins

Manager: Tom Kelly 8th Season (8th with Minnesota 598-559)
71 W 91 L 693 RS 830 RA 5th AL West 23 GB (Chicago White Sox 94-68)
4.28 RPG (AL = 4.71) 4.71 ERA (AL = 4.32)
.679 DER (14th AL)

All Stars (2) Rick Aguilera, Kirby Puckett

Franchise (1901-1993) 6878-7475-110; 27-29 Post Season; 19-21 WS
Washington (1901-1960) 4214-4864-104; 8-11 WS
Minnesota (1961-1993) 2660-2611-6; 19-18 Post Season; 11-10 WS

The Sporting News ran mid-season report on the Twins in July:

What went wrong? The Twins played poorly in all phases of the game during the horrific first half. They set a major league record by going 85 games into a season without a complete game and had the worst ERA in the AL from late April to the All-Star Break…

Scott Erickson and Kevin Tapani, the two starters the Twins were counting on, were 8-20…

Though the fielding has been statistically solid, there has been numerous miscommunications among rookies who have filled in because of so many injuries. Even veterans have made basic mistakes in the field.

In retrospect 1993 signaled the beginning of the dark ages at Metrodome. While the Twins expected to contend based on past performance of their main players, age was catching up to many of the stars who had helped the team win two World Series in the previous seven seasons. The rookies who came in to replace them, however, were not quite up to the task.

C Brian Harper .304/.347/.425 12 HR 107 OPS+ 2.3 WAR
1993 Proved to be Harper’s last season in a Twins uniform. The Twins, in what was described by Andy MacPhail as a financial decision as opposed to a baseball decision, decided not to pick up Harper’s option year. He landed in Milwaukee as a part time option in 1994, and returned for two appearances with the A’s after the strike. In six years with the Twins, Harper batted .306/.342/.431 with a 110 OPS+, not to mention a World Series ring.

1B Kent Hrbek .242/.357/.467 25 HR 120 OPS+ 1.8 WAR
OF-1B Dave McCarty .214/.257/.286 2 HR 46 OPS+ -3.2 WAR
Hrbek’s numbers were up a bit from 1992, but his body suffered through another injury-plagued season. Though the signs of physical breakdown were evident, there did not seem to be a clear successor for Hrbek in the organization. The Twins had hoped that McCarty could step in, but the numbers from his first season weren’t promising.

2B Chuck Knoblauch .277/.354/.346 2 HR 90 OPS+ 2.8 WAR
Knoblauch’s numbers in 1993 looked almost identical to his Rookie-of-the-Year numbers from two years prior, but expectations had been adjusted and it was considered a disappointing season.

SS Pat Meares .251/.266/.309 2 HR 55 OPS+ -0.7 WAR
The Twins initially let Greg Gagne go thinking that Scott Leuis would take over, but a torn rotator-cuff suffered by Leuis in May meant that rookie Pat Meares would be the very day shortstop by default. Meares got off to a good start, but appeared over matched in his first major league season.

3B Mike Pagliarulo .292/.350/.423 3 HR 108 OPS+ 1.4 WAR
The Twins unloaded Pagliarulo in August for a player to be named later. Pagliarulo got to finish the season with a team that was in contention, and the Twins ended up getting Erik Schullstrom who would hang around in the bullpen for the Twins in 1994 and 1995. Pagliarulo finished his career in 1995 with the Texas Rangers.

LF Shane Mack .276/.335/.412 10 HR 100 OPS+ 1.1 WAR
Mack’s production was down a but due in part to injuries. Though there was a lot of speculation that the Twins might want to unload him in the offseason for financial reasons. Mack ended up signing a one-year deal to play in 1994, with an extra quarter-million promised by the Twins if he was traded mid-season in 1994.

CF Kirby Puckett .296/.349/.474 22 HR 120 OPS+ 0.5 WAR
With all of the contract speculation out of the way, the new discussion surrounding Minnesota institution Kirby Puckett was how long he would remain in center field. The WAR numbers tell the story: according to B-R, Puckett was worth 3.5 wins with his bat, but worth -3.0 in the field. He played 47 games in right field in 1993, but by 1994 Puckett was a full time right fielder.

RF Pedro Munoz .233/.294/.393 13 HR 83 OPS+ -2.3 WAR
Munoz was one of the many Twins  plagued by injury throughout the 1993 season. He would rebound in 1994.

DH Dave Winfield .271/.325/.442 21 HR 105 OPS+ -0.2 WAR
The Twins acquired 41-year-old Minnesota native Dave Winfield in an attempt to replace Chili Davis as the team’s power-hitting designated hitter. Winfield had an very good season considering his age, and his pursuit of 3,000 hits was probably the highlight of the season.

UT Jeff Reboulet .258/.356/.304 1 HR 80 OPS+ 1.8 WAR
IF Chip Hale .333/.408/.425 3 HR 125 OPS+ 1.5 WAR
UT Gene Larkin .264/.357/.347 1 HR 91 OPS+ 0.0 WAR

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