With the Winter Meetings long gone and the Exhibition Spring Training schedule set to get underway February 22- Are the Minnesota Twins going to make any huge moves?
Pitching. Pitching. Pitching and YOU GUESSED IT! MORE PITCHING! Seems to be the area of question every year for the Twins.
This offseason they’ve already offloaded Trevor Plouffe, and Kurt Suzuki to Free-Agency. Meanwhile, pitchers like Tommy Milone and Andrew Albers refused minor-league contract to become Free Agents as well. So what does this mean for the Minnesota Twins starting lineup this season?
Well, they’ve already made a small splash by signing Jason Castro from Free Agency as they’re new hope for an everydaycatcher. They’ve also avoided losing key pitching pieces by avoiding arbitration with Kyle Gibson, last year’s acquisition Hector Santiago, Ryan Pressly and Brandon Kintzler.
With the loss of Trevor Plouffe to FA, a spot at 3B and 1B opens the door for Sano to once again become the everyday 3B. This also opens up first base a little more for Mauer to play more full time, with Byung-Ho Park possibly getting some part-time duties as well.
This leaves only two real questions for the upcoming season- What will they do with Brian Dozier? And who will make up the starting rotation at pitcher?
José Berríos had a frustrating start to his career after the long-awaited call up, going 3-7 with an 8.02 ERA in a very short 14 game stint. So, hoping he bounces back with a stellar sophomore season- we may only need a solid mid rotation pitcher to go along as the rest of the starting pitching talent finds its way.
After Dozier had a career-high in HR, RBI, batting avg. AND slugging percentage- retaining him is a must. Although, we are in dire need of starting pitching behind Ervin Santana and Kyle Gibson, and sending Dozier to a team for pitching potential is very intriguing. However trade talks have seemed to die down. But with pitchers like Jason Hammel, Doug Fister, Colby Lewis and C.J. Wilson viable options in free agency- the Minnesota Twins may want to pull the trigger instead of trading away valuable assets.
Essentially, Rosario, Buxton and Kepler round out an outfield that’s young, but full of potential. Sano is assumed to be anchored at 3B. Polanco will undoubtedly get the nod at short. Unless the Twins send Dozier away for pitching talent, he will tie down the middle of the infield. Mauer is Minnesota’s “golden boy” at first base. And with the addition of Castro, the catching duties are all but accounted for. DH is possibly a small question. Will Minnesota give a second chance to Park? Will they make a splash and sign a free agent like Mike Napoli or Justin Morneau? Or will they continue down easy-choice street and let Vargas roam free as a mildly under-performing young gun.
Either way, doing better than last year’s 59-103 record should be pretty easy for the Twins new Front Office staff headed by Thad Levine.
Minnesota’s first Spring Training game is against the Tampa Bay Rays, February 24th, at CenturyLink Sports Complex in Fort Myers, FL.