2010 Record: 94-71
788 RS, 688 RA, Pythagorean Record: 94-71
Manager: Ron Gardenhire
GM: Bill Smith
Jason Kubel, OF ($5.25MM Club Option); Tsuyoshi Niskioka, SS (3, $9MM); Carl Pavano, SP (2, $16.5MM); Jim Thome, DH (1, $3MM).
Minor League FA:
Jeff Bailey, 1B; Andy Baldwin, P; Yourman Bazardo, P; Matt Brown, 3B; Ray Chang, 2B; Joe Dickerson, OF; Phil Dumatrait, P; Jair Fernandez, C; Erick Hacker, P; Michael Hollimon, 3B; Steve Holm, C; Justin Huber, 1B; Chuck James, P; Felix Jorge, P; Chase Lambin, 2B; Javier Pimentel, SS; Juan Portes, OF; Rene Rivera, C; Jake Stevens, P; Kyle Waldrop, P.
Rule V Pick:
Scott Diamond, P (Braves)
Received Paul Bargas (P) from the Rockies for Jose Morales (C); Received Jim Hoey (P) and Brett Jacobson (P) from the Orioles for J.J. Hardy (SS) and Brendan Harris (3B).
Dusty Hughes, P (from the Royals).
Jesse Crain, P; Randy Flores, P; Yancarlo Franco, 2B; Brian Fuentes, P; Matt Guerrier, P; Frederic Hanci, C; Michael Harrington, OF; Orlando Hudson, 2B; D’Angelo Jimenez, SS; Jacque Jones, OF; In Kyun Kang, 1B; Tim Lahey, P; Jose Lugo, P; Matt Macri, 3B; Ron Mahay, P; Mike Maroth, P; Yorby Martinez, 3B; Yancarlos Ortiz, SS; Brock Peterson, 1B; Nick Punto, 3B; Jon Rauch, P; Drew Thompson, 2B; Matt Williams, P; Charlie Zink, P.
Top 15 Prospects
1. Kyle Gibson, RHP
2. Aaron Hicks, OF
3. Miguel Sano, 3B
4. Alex Wimmers, RHP
5. Ben Revere, OF
6. Oswaldo Arcia, OF
7. Adrian Salcedo, RHP
8. Liam Hendriks, RHP
9. Joe Benson, OF
10. Max Kepler-Rozycki, OF
11. David Bromberg, RHP
12. Billy Bullock, RHP
13. Carlos Gutierrez, RHP
14. Angel Morales, OF
15. Eddie Rosario, OF
The Twins have a pretty deep system. Kyle Gibson should be a front end starter; he might not be a #1, but definitely a 2-3 at worst. Alex Wimmers will be a nice complement to Gibson. Aaron Hicks will probably be an All Star a few times over. Miguel Sano is young and raw, but he’ll be in the Twins infield for a quite a few years. Ben Revere hasn’t developed like the team has hoped, but he’s still young enough to hit his potential. I could see anyone else on the list having MLB careers.
Almost everything went right for the Twins in ’10; ALMOST everything. The concussion to Justin Morneau was one of the main set backs for the team. As a result of the concussion, Morneau missed half the season including the playoffs. The other set back for the team was the continued problems in the post-season; the Twins were bounced in the first round.
The good news was Francisco Liriano returned to form. He pitched amazing all season. As a result, Carl Pavano was able to settle in as the #2 pitcher and also had a good season.
Delmon Young finally lived up to his potential; a year ago I was asking Twin Bloggers if the trade that brought him to Minnesota should be considered a bust.
Joining Young’s great season was a rebound performance from Jim Thome. Thome was the player who saw the most benefits Morneau’s absence; Jason Kubel moved from DH to the outfield and Michael Cuddyer played first. Thome slid into the DH spot and played like he was 10 years younger.
While the White Sox and Tigers improved, the Twins didn’t add much. First off, they lost a majority of their bullpen. Jesse Crain, Brian Fuentes, Matt Guerrier, and Jon Rauch all found new teams; Crain even joined the rival White Sox. The Twins didn’t sign anyone to replace them hoping to rebuild the bullpen from within (they will get Joe Nathan back this season, so that’s a help).
They switched J.J. Hardy with Japanese import Tsuyoshi Nishioka; it’s hard to judge how well Japanese player translate to the majors, so we’ll call this a wash as of right now.
All other guys they signed were either already with the Twins or to minor league deals.
From the Bloggers:
Nate, 85% Sports: The 2010 AL Central Champions lost a number of contributors over the offseason; however they appear poised to be the favorites to defend the crown in 2011. Although they made only 3 notable signings in bringing back SP Carl Pavano and DH Jim Thome and signing Japanese IF Tsuyoshi Nishioka; the Twins will likely enter the 2011 season getting back All Stars Justin Morneau and Joe Nathan from injury.
The Twins will look to their farm system to fill the shoes of departed RP veterans Jesse Crain (White Sox), Matt Guierrer (Dodgers) and Jon Rauch (Blue Jays) who collectively contributed as one of the AL’s best bullpens. The Twins are also taking a large gamble on a relatively inexperienced infield with projected starters of Nishioka at 2B, Alexi Casilla at SS and 2010 stand out Danny Valencia at 3B. Letting long time super utility IF Nick Punto (St. Louis Cardinals) might prove to be a costly move if one of the 3 starters gets off to a slow start or is injured; new utility IF Matt Tolbert has a similar bat to Punto with half the defensive ability.
Fortunately the starting pitching and outfield units bring some continuity and stability to the team, with all 2010 starters remaining on the club (Pavano, Liriano, Baker, Slowey,Blackburn) and Young, Span and Cuddyer patrolling the OF. Beyond the starers, the Twins will have depth with on again/off again starter Brian Deunsing and top prospect Kyle Gibson waiting in the wings.
The key to the success of the 2011 season will be the health of former MVP Justin Morneau. Before going down with a concussion on July 7th that sidelined him for the remainder of the season, Morneau was off to an MVP caliber start. Getting his bat back in the lineup would be a tremendous boost for a team that was still able to win 94 games. With the increased speed added up and down the line up, a healthy Mauer and Morneau should be able to carry their own driving in runs on their way to another division title.
Wally Fish, Puckett’s Pond: When it comes to the 2011 season, I expect nothing less than another AL Central division crown for the Minnesota Twins. While the White Sox and Tigers made some noise in free agency to upgrade their respective rosters, both teams still have significant warts and flaws. The Twins on the other hand were able to improve through the passage of time as several key players were able to “get healthy” and recover from some minor procedures during the offseason. Many are quick to dismiss Minnesota’s signing of Tsuyoshi Nishioka, but there is a good chance he will wind up being the biggest offseason acquisition – within the division – by season’s end.
Minnesota lost Crain, Guerrier, Rauch and late season acquisition Brian Fuentes from their bullpen. However they will have a healthy Joe Nathan and Pat Neshek returning. Jose Mijares will also be back after he was limited to 32.2 innings last season. The team will also benefit from a having Matt Capps – who was acquired at the trade deadline last year – on the roster for the entire year. The rotation isn’t flashy but it is solid and deep. Francisco Liriano fronts a group of 6 legit major league starters and the team also has prospect Kyle Gibson waiting in the wings.
The Twins, despite all the injuries, still won 94 games and the AL Central by 6.0 over the 2nd place White Sox. Heading into this season they remain the class of the division in terms of the projected 25 and 40-man rosters and have shown the ability to react to injuries and adversity better than any of their division rivals.