So Cliff Lee has found his way to his fourth team in two years, and it's not the Twins. The Rangers nabbed Lee for a package featuring Justin Smoak (after reportedly turning down a deal with the Yankees that would have included Jesus Montero), and one of the most talked-about free-agent targets for the Twins is now off the table. It certainly would have been nice to have Lee, but it was hard to see the the Twins realistically landing him. If the rumors about Minnesota offering both Ramos and Hicks were true, I probably wouldn't have liked that scenario anyway, even if, as Gleeman noted, the minor league seasons for both thus far have at least temporarily taken some of the luster out of their upside projections.
In other news, the Twins now sit two games back of Detroit and only five games over .500, and it appears that the All-Star break can't arrive soon enough. Baker got shelled early and often last night (the latest chapter in the saga of awful road outings for Twins starters), Alex Burnett continues to look lost after a strong start to the season, and the bats went quiet. Justin Morneau sat out another game after suffering a concussion, and Denard Span was out of the lineup after his collision with Delmon Young on Wednesday. This team seems beat up in all facets of the game right now, and could use a boost heading into Detroit for three games before the break. I'm trying to resist the "sky is falling" impulses, but it's frustrating to watch things unravel. The good news is that the Twins host the White Sox and Indians at Target Field after hopefully getting a chance to rest and regroup, and then head on a very manageable road trip to Baltimore and Kansas City.
For now, I'm still sticking with my opinion that this is still a very good team that has been severely underachieving, but I'm only going to be able to hold onto that for so long if things don't improve. I hope the Twins are still going to be buyers at the trade deadline, but with Lee now off the table they're obviously going to have to look elsewhere for pitching help.