Minnesota Twins have plenty of holes to fill on 2011 roster
#1 Dec 6, 2010
The team would be greatly weakened to have Casilla as a starter. Nishioka at 2nd and hitting #2 (or #1 if his obp is better than Span's) with Hardy at SS is a better infield IF the Twins want to win another AL central divisional crown. Both Detroit and Chisox are improved from last season. Crain or Guerrier need to be resigned and either Pavano or another SP is needed. The Twins minor league pitchers seem to be another season away from MLB ready. If Pavano can be signed one of the other SP's can become the long-relief man out of the pen.
#2 Dec 6, 2010
I'd like to see the Twins do everything they can to
bring back Carl Pavano and add another top starter
such as Grienke, even if they have to overpay to do
so. A rotation of Baker, Slowey, Blackburn, Liriano
and Duensing will not get the job done. They will
overtax the bullpen like they've done in the past.
They need a couple guys that will get them to the 7th and 8th innings consistently like Pavano did
last year. I see Toronto has offered a couple of
decent players for Grienke. The Twins can afford
to top that offer without damaging their depth. If
it takes Baker and/or Slowey, Hardy and Revere to
get an ace, let's pay the price, then sign Pavano
and Gurrier, too.
#3 Dec 6, 2010
The Twins need someone better than Pavano, but Pavano is a good pitcher who could continue to anchor the staff and eat up innings. Business is business, but maybe Pavano likes being a Twin enough to try to make it work in Minnesota.
It was wise to keep Hardy. He and Nishioka (if he's as good as advertised) would be a solid middle infield. Casilla could back both 2nd and short. The Twins need to get Nishioka signed.
Burnett and Slama should be ready for the majors. Slama was disappointing with the Twins but dominant in AAA. Burnett began well but came apart later. Crain wants to close so probably won't return. Guerrier is likely to be re-signed. Gardenhire has often praised Guerrier.
Neshek might be better this season. He could be a key contributor. Some don't like Capps, but he moved to a new league, a new team, and is still a young pitcher. He could improve.
#4 Dec 6, 2010
Hardy is the only viable option at SS in the Twins organization currently. Plouffe is not ready yet and Casilla is a utility guy at best (though not at 3rd).
The pitching is the most tenuous element in this off season. The bull pen could be decimated and the team has no ace - even Pavano doesn't quite fit that bill - though the team is better with him.
#5 Dec 6, 2010
"Plenty of holes" is probably an exageration. The out field is set, as is catcher, 1st base (assuming concussion is over) and 3rd base, all at a high level. A trio of Hardy, Nishioka and Casilla gives the middle infield quality, versatility and depth.
The pen is a legitimate concern at the moment, but expect 1-2 of Matt Guerrier, Jesse Crain, Brian Fuentes and Jon Rauch to be re-signed. That will make a huge difference. And one of Neshek/Nathan (the "N&N Boys?"), but not both, will perhaps prove serviceable again this year. If even one of Slama/Burnett/Perkins, et alia, performs at a mid-major league level, the relief corps will be fine.
The rotaion lacks an ace, but has since Santana was traded. Povano is a favoite of mine and an inning eater, but not an ace by any stretch. He is older than average. His 2010 numbers were OK, and a career season for him, but not top of the league by a long way. At $10-11 million/year, he is a bargain and should be re-signed. Someone like Grienke would be a welcome pickup, but don't count on it. Duensing and Liriano are the real deal, and lefties to boot. Baker/Slowey/Blackburn are serviceable but uninspiring mid-rotation starters--very useful for the regular season, but cannot close the deal in a short series situation against other playoff-caliber teams.
The reality is that there are roster uncertainties, as is to be expected, but actual holes are few, and the candidates to fill them are plentiful and reasonably strong (though not exceptional).
This will be a winning and playoff-contending team for sure. Whether they can rise to the level of regular season dominance and playoff victories is admittedly most uncertain. But isn't that the case for most teams in most years?
#6 Dec 7, 2010
"Plenty of holes" is pure fiction. This writer is delusional. She needs to take her "east coast" pessimism back where it belongs. Is there any way the Pioneer Press could trade her? The Twins and their fans deserve better.
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