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April Twins Reflection

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Who is ready for some baseball, or at least regular season ball? Tell you what, I am. The Twins seem to be ready for it too. They are down to 27 on the roster with Baker going to the 15-day DL and Marquis hitting the bereavement list. The entire roster as listed on MLB right now is as follows:

SP: Pavano, Liriano, Hendricks, Blackburn (Baker and Marquis will be here shortly)
RP: Capps (closer), Duensing(L), Maloney(L), Perkins(L), Burnett, Grey, Swarzak, Burton (who still has to be added to the official roster until Baker and Marquis are back)

Jared Burton and at least one other RP are more than likely going back to AAA when Baker and Marquis come back with Hendricks going to the Bullpen

C: Mauer and Doumit

Doumit is going to spend time at 1B and in RF throughout the year also as well as spell Mauer at C. Here is one quick change based on the Spring. Even though Gardenhire really wanted to go with 3 catchers, Mauer as DH to start the season didn’t allow it.
1B: Morneau and Parmelee: Parmelee’s better than expected Spring Training has made it possible to move Morneau over to mostly DH duties, but I don’t expect Justin to stay there all year. Parmelee will also be expected to play some in RF.

2B & SS: Casilla and Carroll

Here is one of my biggest sticking point of the spring. Casilla is still dealing with some inflammation of the knee, Carroll has spent most of his time in the Majors at 2B, Hughes has been on fire all Spring but will start on the bench unless Casilla cant go, and Plouffe is getting moved to the OF. Also one of the best prospects in our system, Dozier, was just sent down because he “needs to play everyday”.

3B: Valencia and Burroughs
Burroughs is still not on the official roster but will be added as a formality with the move of Baker and Marquis. Burroughs is being looked at as another option at 1B as well as mostly a Jim Thome type from last year as a late game PH. Lastly, he is also viewed to keep pressure on Valencia to continue to develop

OF: Willingham, Span, Revere, Plouffe

Willingham was brought in to play RF, but has since been moved back to LF where he has more experience. Plouffe is being moved from IF to RF, where he will be sharing time with Doumit and Parmelee. Revere is being talked about spending time in RF too, but I don’t expect to see him anywhere other than a backup at CF and LF unless in emergency duty.

This has been a trying spring though, from a fan’s perspective. Where a majority of the contending teams have lineups that are going to look close to the same on Opening Day as the last day, the Twins are yet again going to lead the majors in different lineups and that is without serious injuries. Without any problems you have 2 1Bs, 2 2Bs, 2 3Bs, 2 Cs, 2 CFs, and a RF that was a SS last year. You have 5 players at minimum that will make starts at different positions this year. I admit that having good players that can play multiple positions is nice for tailoring the lineup based on matchups with who you are facing,  but I would still rather have a good core of players that are everyday players.

With what I have seen this spring, I will list the changes that I would make. Dozier at SS. Carroll at 2B. That alone would be nice. I also don’t think that we need 5 6 different people that can play 1st in Morneau, Mauer, Doumit, Parmelee, Burroughs, and Hughes. Burroughs is being kept for the Thome position last year, but he doesn’t have the history of proven success. Doumit is going to be a catch all backup and Hughes is also. Burroughs is a great story, but do great stories to give you the best chance to win? I hope for the best with him and hope he continues his comeback story, but as a GM that is the exact type of decision that you get paid to make.

On a positive note, I have been listening to the games and the offense has really started to mesh on the field, and the fielding doesn’t seem to be as bad as last year. Now the big question is the pitching. I like Liriano as the #1, but he hasn’t been consistent enough to earn it. Hendricks seems to be making some waves and could do very well in his extended tryout. Pavano is not a #1 to build around in my mind, but would make a good #2 or #3 starter. Blackburn seems to have bounced back in a good way this spring with some great innings and numbers. Baker was doing better before elbow tendinitis set back in. Marquis did not get enough innings in to give a good sample size, but what I saw and know about him as a player in the past is that he is a great hitting pitcher that is an end of the rotation thrower, which would be great if we were in the NL; but we aren’t. Now I wish nothing but the best for him and his young daughter that had the accident. I just don’t believe he is ready yet.

I really hope that as a fan, and someone that is now writing about this team, that all of the season predictions that I have read and that most people are feeling will happen this year are wrong. Most are saying the Twins are being picked 4th or 5th in the AL Central this year, fighting not to be last with the White Sox. I just can’t fathom being beat again by KC and Cleveland, with how good we just were 2 years ago. Yes KC has some great young power in their lineup, and Cleveland seems to have a nice balance between pitching, defense, and offense, but we are not that far behind them. I guess the main thing to remember is that I am just a fan and can really do nothing better than support your team and voice your frustrations to anyone that will listen. Here is to hoping I get to cheer and laud their actions more than I come here to air my grievances.

Lets Go Twins!!!!

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