It’s getting harder and harder as a baseball fan in Minnesota to be excited about the game. The Twins needed to make some drastic moves, and they didn’t make any. They hired the safe, fan-friendly Paul Molitor to be their manager. They topped it off by bringing back or promoting almost every position of his coaching staff from within the organization, which does not give me a single shred of hope for the foreseeable future.
The team needed to upgrade its pitching staff dramatically and to improve the outfield defense. They did upgrade the pitching staff, though not likely enough to make a real difference in this division. Ervin Santana’s non-traditional stats prove that he was better than his numbers showed last season, but he was on a much better team than the 2015 Twins are looking to be. They also brought in Tim Stauffer from the Padres to replace Anthony Swarzak, which is going to be a slight upgrade in talent, but it’s going to be difficult to imagine he’s going to sacrifice himself like Swarzy (ode to Gardy) did for this team. Tommy Millone should be healthy, and a strong competition between him and the two big dogs barking for the major leagues in Trevor May and Alex Meyer will be competing for the 5th spot in the rotation and maybe a bullpen spot. This is hardly breaking news.
The team also needed to upgrade its outfield defense, and it’s very likely that they didn’t do that because now questionable outfielder Oswaldo (all bat and no glove) Arcia has to learn a new position. Replacing him is Torii Hunter, who at age 39-40 showed to have the worst defensive metrics in all of baseball in Detroit last season. So while Arcia is likely an upgrade over Josh Willingham in LF, is Hunter an upgrade from Arcia, who is already below average?
This is all hardly breaking news… this, however, is all we have in Minnesota.
As for my ideal offseason overhaul: I would have put 4 years and $84 million into James Shields, put 1 year and looked at a 2 year, $20 million dollar deal with Nori Aoki (formerly of the KC Royals as well). Granted, this is more money than what the Twins have shelled out so far, but these players are proven and the contracts would have been productive contracts. I would also have put a contract together for starting pitchers Brandon Morrow and Kris Medlen. As for what I’d do away with, I’d be shopping Trevor Plouffe, Eduardo Escobar, and Ricky Nolasco. Plouffe would have been a much cheaper addition to the Yankees than Chase Headley was, and the Giants were in need of a 3rd baseman pretty badly as well following the departure of Pablo Sandoval. Escobar came out of nowhere and had a slightly better than average year and a much better season than anyone expected. He might have brought us a Stauffer-style pitcher and saved us the free agent.
Why would I go for so many veteran pitchers especially with injury concerns? Because every staff goes through injuries and needs depth and I would rather overpay for too many pitchers than continue to have the worst rotation in baseball.
Oh well, I’m just a writer and a fan. What do I know?
On that note… the Padres still have Cameron Maybin collecting mothballs in San Diego. He would likely be an upgrade at CF over Hicks (who can’t hit) and Scott Schaeffer, who caught lightning in a bottle last year here to become an average 4th outfielder.
My hope is that Molitor is more than just another Terry Ryan stooge, and someone who will accept the Twins Way of losing is winning as long as the owners keep making $100,000,000.00 a year in take home.