Thursday, November 20, 2008

What do I think needs to happen with Twins offseason

I have taken my time to think about why the Twins did not make the playoffs last year and what needs to happen for the Twins to make the playoffs this year. The Twins finished a game out of the playoffs after their 1-0 loss to Chicago in that 1 game playoff and unlike other people I think they need an addition. So i will break down every position and see if we need help at a position.

  • 1st base: Justin Mourneau- I think it is pretty obvious that we dont need help at the position, but what we need is a quality backup at this spot so Justin can take a day off every once in a while because I think he tired down the stretch from Playing too much.

  • 2nd base: Alexi Casilla- I think he did an outstanding job when he came up and I think he can improve as a basestealer and a bunter to get even better so im not worried about him. There is some talk about moving him to shortstop but i think him at second so I think they should leave him right there so he can get better and better.

  • Shortstop: Nick Punto- Nick Punto I know gets alot of gruff but he solidified the position last year. There are a lot of negatives to be said about him, but there are also alot of good things about him. Nick Punto is probably one of the best defensive infielders in baseball. Hitting wise its hard to know what kind of a hitter he is. Is he the .210 hitter of 07 or the .280 hitter of 08. I think he is somewhere in between. What to do with him this offseason is interesting being that he is a free agent. If im the Twins I would not give up prospects to acquire a JJ Hardy or Khalil Green. Instead I would pave the way for Trevor Plouffe, thats saying he shows improvement at AAA this year, by offering Nick Punto a 1 year deal with a option and if he takes it great and if not go with Matt Tolbert and Brenden Harris .

  • 3rd Base- I know there are people who disagree with me on this and think we should keep it as is with Buscher and Harris, But I think we need a little more power and experience at the position. There was nothing wrong with Buscher and Harris last year and I wouldnt be that dissapointed if they gave them the job this year, but i do think if your not going forward your going backward so thats why i think we need to make a move at third base. At first I was willing to give up starting pitching to get a Beltre, a Atkins and so on but i have changed my mind. It kind of shows you how far the Twins farm system has fallen when you have to give up major league players in trades. I think its back on the upswing but the 04-05 drafts were not very good and we are feeling it right now. I think the right guy for right now is Casey Blake. He has power averaging over 20 homeruns in Cleveland and will add the experience we need to help our young guys develop. I would not give him a long contract with the Danny Valencia's and Luke Hughes on the way but I would offer him a 2 year contract with an option year at between 8-10 per year. I think he would welcome a return to Minnesota and even though he is not a difference maker I think he would be a good contributer to the team.
  • Outfield- I know there are some out there who think we need to make a trade to thin out the outfield. I think that is a mistake because all our outfielder go with reckless abandon and one slide or one hit by pitch and we are looking at Jason Pridie starting for the Twins if we trade someone. Nothing against Jason Pridie but he is not in the class with the other outfielders. So what I suggest is keeping all 5 in Delmon Young, Carlos Gomez, Denard Span, Michael Cuddyer, and Jason Kubel. When I got to spring training i would explain to all of them they are going to have to give up playing time but that all 5 would play alot. Its pretty obvious to me atleast that Jason Kubel can not hit left handed pitching so i would sit him against leftys and put cuddyer at DH and put span in right. Each of them would theoreticaly play 4-5 games a week depending on the hot hand. They probably would not be happy but we are an injury away from needing them.
  • Starting Pitching- I think we are pretty set in our starting 5 going into the seasonunless the Twins decide to make a trade. Im pretty happy with a Scott Baker, Francisco Liriano, Kevin Slowey, Nick Blackburn, and Glen Perkins starting 5. In case of injury they still have Phil Humber, Boof Bonser, Kevin Mulvey, Anthony Swarzak, Brian Duensing in the wings ready to step up so starting pitching is not a concern for the Twins.
  • Relief Pitching on the other hand was dealt a very tough blow with the season ending injury to Pat Neshek. I havent wrote in a while so let me be one to say good luck Pat I know you will do great and look forward to seeing you at Target Field. I think with the starting rotation more steady it will mean less innings for the bullpen which will help. I think Matt Guerrier and Jesse Crain just basically wore down at the end of the season. They are good pitchers and there September numbers were not indicitive of that, but a winter of rest will reinvigerate them and allow them to show their true colors.
    You add them to Joe Nathan and you got a good 7th and 8th inning mix along with the emergence of Jose Mijares. I think he is for real and will be our top lefty along with last years surprise Craig Breslow. You add Boof Bonser and newcomer Phil Humber and I think the Twins will have an excellent bullpen once again.

I think the Twins will have most of the players back along with a couple tweaks to hopefully get the Twins back to the playoffs in 2009