First to start off it has been a long time since I blogged, but with school and stuff it has been very difficult to find the time to blog. However, make no mistake I am a blogger it is what I enjoy doing and will continue to be a blogger. I don't know how frequent I will blog, but hopefully it will be atleast a couple times a week during the offseason and more during the season. So if you stopped following my blog I really hope you will tune back in as I try to get back at it and for those who are reading this thanks for sticking with me.
Withe the 2010 season over it is time to start looking ahead to the 2011 season. The Twins had another good season winning 94 games and claiming their sixth central division championship in the last nine years. However, they ran into the New York Yankees once again and once again they came on the short hand of it. However you can't forget the great seasons by Delmon Young, Joe Mauer, Jim Thome and the reemergence of Francisco Liriano. It was another gutty performance by do it all Michael Cuddyer who once again filled in admirabely for Justin Morneau who missed a chunk of the season due to a concussion. Gotta give some credit to Jon Rauch who filled in admirably for Joe Nathan who missed the season due to Tommy John surgery. Danny Valencia clearly established himself as the Twins starting 3rd baseman and most importantly Target Field turned into a true home field advantage as the Twins drew over three million people into the beautiful stadium. So to look at the 2011 season there will be many challenges as the Twins have a lot of free agents and not much money. So the Twins will have to make some difficult challenges and get help from guys on the farm once again. So without further adeiu here is my 2011 Minnesota Twins Offseason Blueprint.
1). Add Steve Singleton, David Bromberg, Joe Benson, Chris Parmelee, Rene Tosoni, Kyle Waldrop, and Tyler Robertson to the 40 man roster.
2.) Reinstate Joe Nathan and Justin Morneau from the 60 day D.L. and remove Esterlin De Los Santos from the 40 man roster.
3.) Let free agents Orlando Hudson, Nick Punto, Clay Condrey, Ron Mahey, Brian Fuentes, Matt Guerrier, Jon Rauch, and Randy Flores leave as free agents.
4.) Sign J.J. Hardy to a 3 year 18 million dollar contract with a vesting option for a 4th year based on plate appearances. The Breakdown is 6-6-6-9.
J.J. Hardy is only 28 years old and is very good defensively and will be much better offensively in 2011 and by signing him you develop cost control to let a guy like James Beresford develop slowly to take over in 2014.
5.) Reach Arbitrations agreements with Matt Capps(7.5) Delmon Young(5.25) Kevin Slowey(2.75), Alexi Casilla(800,000), Pat Neshek(800,000), and Jason Repko(750,000)
6.) Don't offer Carl Pavano arbitration
I would love to offer Pavano arbitration to get that extra two draft picks, but I can't take the chance that he would accept and be on the hook for 10 million bucks. So I politely thank him for his service and wish him luck.
7.) Sign Francisco Liriano to a 4 year 42 million extension with the breakdown being 4/8/15/15
Francisco Liriano really developed into a very good number two pitcher on a good team and even though he is not an ace he will be excellent in the role that is given to him. He might never be The Franchise again, but he has the ability to be a horse for the Twins and get every penny of this contract out of him.
8.) Resign Jesse Crain to a 4 year 16 million dollar deal.
Jesse Crain has developed into one of the best set-up men in the American League and that is what top setup men are getting on the free agent market. You put him, Matt Capps, and Joe Nathan at the back of the bullpen and you are looking at a six inning game.
9.) Trade Jason Kubel, Kevin Slowey, Aaron Hicks, and Anthony Slama to the Royals for Zack Greinke.
Now this is the big trade and before you laugh me out of the building I know Greinke got lit up like a Christmas tree last year by the Twins, but his era against teams other than the Twins was a very respectable 3.73. He is a young guy who in 2009 put up unbelievable numbers to win the Cy Young award. Just think of a 1-2-3 of Zack Greinke, Francisco Liriano, and a motivated Scott Baker. Can you say Championship.
2011 Projected Lineup
C- Joe Mauer
ss- J.J. Hardy
3b. Danny Valencia
Lf- Denard Span
cf- Ben Revere
Rf- Michael Cuddyer
Dh- Delmon Young
Projected lineup payroll(appr-61.38)
(Brenden Harris' 1.75 million dollar contract included)
Projected bench payroll(appr-3.72)
1. Zack Greinke
2. Francisco Liriano
3. Scott Baker
4. Nick Blackburn
5. Brian Duensing
Projected Starting Rotation payroll(appr-26.0)
Projected Bullpen payroll(appr-24.9)
Total Payroll-116 million
I feel like I have improved the pitching staff immensely and their is room for manuevering if it becomes obvious that Joe Nathan is back as Matt Capps is basically an insurance policy in case he is not ready. If Nathan is ready you can move Capps for prospects that you lost when you acquired him last season. The big key in the lineup is what can you get out of Justin Morneau who was on pace for another mvp this year before getting kneed in the head. If the Twins can get a big year out of Morneau and like seasons from Delmon Young, Joe Mauer, and Michael Cuddyer with the improved speed in the outfield the Twins will be pretty good. Add the better pitching they will get and I like the Twins chances running this team out on opening day 2011. Let me know what you think of this down in the comment box. Thanks.