Minnesota Twins off Season Report
- Updated: November 25, 2008
Baseball fans last saw the Twins in a one game playoff with the Chicago White Sox for the Central Division crown and a spot in the playoffs. Although they did not win that game, they still had an impressive season. After losing Torii Hunter to free agency and trading away Johan Santana, the Twins were picked by most to finish as low as fourth in the division. The Twins proved once again that a very strong farm system can overcome even the greatest of losses and even though general manager Bill Smith has some big shoes to fill, he seems to be making the right moves in regard to player development thus far. If a few decisions are made differently by manager Ron Gardenhire during the season, the Twins could have won 90 games and been the AL Central’s representative in the playoffs without the one game-sudden death-format coming into play.
Holes to Fill
With a deep, young, rotation and two formidable MVP candidates, the Twins have a good team in place already. One major problem for them is that while they do a good job of getting on base, they do not have a lot of pop. The obvious places to add some power to the line-up would be to find someone to fill the outfield positions. While the Twins don’t normally spend in free agency, they should be able to find some players on the market who could hit 20 home runs or more if given the chance to play everyday. Some other spots where they may need an upgrade are in the bullpen where they have one of the best closers in the game in Joe Nathan, but at times have trouble getting to him with the game still in a save situation. Smith no doubt knows that purchasing relievers on the open market is nothing more than a crap shoot and will probably attempt to fill these holes from some players who are nearly ready for a taste of the big leagues in the team’s farm system.The Twins may also look to tinker with their players at shortstop and third base as they have been unable to find a player who can produce at the plate as well as on the field in each of those positions.
The free agents for the Twins include left hander Dennys Reyes, infielder Nick Punto and shortstop Adam Everett.As stated earlier, the Twins are not accustomed to making big plays on free agents and if they get involved this off season it will probably be to add some pop to the line-up. They may offer some sort of deal to these players to see if they will bite, but the front office probably won’t lose sleep if none of these players are suiting up in the Baggy Dome next season. They are especially frugal when it comes to spending money on pitchers, so Reyes is most likely headed out the door for good.
The Twins will no doubt surprise the baseball world yet again and vie for the division title by bringing talent up to fill their holes and craft fully adding pieces through signing no-name free agents and perhaps a trade. They may not have enough to eclipse all of the other teams in their division, who seem to just keep getting stronger through the off season, but there is no reason to believe they won’t be competitive all season long. While the Twinkies do not have much to offer on the trade market besides some pieces from the bullpen at the big league level and in AAA, they could still pursue some sort of deal to add on. They have a lot of pitching talent throughout their system and any number of these players could be called up at some point in the season to help out the big league club.The highest they could probably finish is second in the division, but they could wind up holding down the third place spot as well.