It’s still early in free agency, but come this time next week it’s likely that the market will have picked up, if just a little bit. As teams start to identify the talent they desire, they’ll start positioning themselves to strike, either setting the market or acclimating to it.
If we take a look at the Twins roster at is presently stands, I think it’d go something like this, with the offense first:
C- Joe Mauer
1B- Justin Morneau
2B- Jamey Carroll
3B- Trevor Plouffe
SS- Pedro Florimon
LF- Josh Willingham
CF- Denard Span
RF- Ben Revere
DH- Ryan Doumit
C- Drew Butera
IF- Brian Dozier
IF- Eduardo Escobar
OF- Darin Mastroianni
(Possibly Chris Parmelee as IF-OF, and for sure if an OF is traded)
I think the Twins would probably open up the season with 13 hitters and 12 pitchers, though I wouldn’t sign an affidavit to that effect. I remain highly skeptical that the Twins will add any offensive talent, but rather subtract it via a trade of Span, Willingham, or maybe even Morneau or Revere. Right now I’m about 55/45 on the prospect of the Twins trading someone (aka I am only slightly more convinced than not).
The bench is lousy, and the only real move I could see is maybe the Twins adding Travis Hafner as a bench thumper. I’d probably be on board with this.
Presently, the rotation looks like this:
SP- Scott Diamond
SP- Cole DeVries?
…and it’s sort of scary. Diamond is a low-end 3 or probably a 4 on a team with division title aspirations. I fully expect the Twins to nab a trio of arms this offseason, and I’m not sure yet if that would include Scott Baker or not. I think a best-case scenario for next season’s rotation would be something like:
SP – FA/Trade acquisition 1 (Joe Blanton, Shaun Marcum, Randall Delgado)
SP – FA/Trade acquisition 2 (preferably one of the two not taking up slot 1)
SP – Scott Diamond
SP – FA/Trade acquision 3 (Don’t expect too much here, maybe Joel Pineiro)
SP – Scott Baker/Kyle Gibson/Samuel Deduno/Liam Hendriks
As we saw this past season, the Twins offense was probably nearly good enough to take a decent starting staff to the postseason. To that end, the club would probably have to shave nearly an entire run off its ERA over the course of the season; it’s truly hard to say if that’ll be difficult or not, based on the sheer number of runs that’d require to be shaved — ostensibly, 162 — but also the fact that the rotation was just that bad in 2012.
I’m pretty much all-in on Blanton or Marcum, but I could be coaxed to come around on Scott Feldman, Bretty Myers, Carlos Villanueva, and probably a handful of other starters. Anibal Sanchez would be the true prize here, but it sounds as though his financial delusions have reached a fevered pitch. Rest assured Twins fans, I think Terry Ryan strongly believes he needs to upgrade this rotation in a huge way.
The bullpen is a little bit more difficult to gauge. The following guys are locks:
CL- Glen Perkins
SU- Jared Burton
I would label the following near-locks:
MR- Alex Burnett
MR- Brian Duensing
MR- Casey Fien
Which leaves the following guys left to clean up:
MR- Tyler Robertson
MR- Anthony Swarzak (probably more of a lock than I’ll give credit for)
MR- Josh Roenicke
And there are certainly a few minor league guys that could get a look:
MR- Deolis Guerra
MR- Pedro Hernandez
About a billion arms in the lower minors
Still, strangely Ryan said that he’d probably look to add another arm or two in the offseason as well. It’s hard to tell if Roenicke and Tim Wood were the caliber of arms he was suggesting — I would lean towards no — but nonetheless, it was a bit odd to hear TR suggest that he still needed to add arms. “You can never have too many pitchers,” Ryan said late in the season when pressed on his offseason plans.
Among the lower-cost, higher-ceiling arms Ryan could look to add, I would look towards guys such as Jose Veras, Juan Carlos Oviedo, Todd Coffey, Jason Frasor, Alex Hinshaw, and probably countless others.
So that’s my Grand Casino side of the story….what do you think?