New Year’s Resolutions For The Twins

Some of us have probably come up with some resolutions for 2011. I’ve never been a fan of doing this, but I suppose it won’t hurt to make some up for the Twins. Although most resolutions are never fully accomplished, I hope that these goals will get past the preliminary stages. Plus, I hope that these are much better than Jon Heyman’s “resolutions” that he posted earlier today (#17 is rather noteworthy).

In no particular order of importance…

1. Get another catcher onto the 40-man roster.

I complained last season when the Twins opened with 4 outfielders on the 40-man roster, and all 4 were also on the active roster. While there weren’t any major ramifications from this decision, the lack of an adequate backup for Denard Span surely stripped him of some much-needed off days during the season.

In a way, this move is important and not important at the same time. It’s not important because the Twins are already set with their starter and backup in Joe Mauer and Drew Butera. However, it becomes important if one of these guys becomes hurt, because the third stringer would instantly be put into the backup role barring any other roster moves. When Jason Repko was called up, the Twins outrighted Brendan Harris which was an easy move based on his cheap contract and poor performance. As of right now, a similar move would not occur since the Twins only have 38 players on the 40-man roster. However, while the decision likely comes down to the recently signed Steve Holm and Rene Rivera, the Twins probably won’t make their choice until sometime during or after spring training.

2. Get a bat for the bench.

Jim Thome would be the obvious decision, but there are now rumors that he may want a larger contract after seeing Lance Berkman signed for 1-year and $8 million with the St. Louis Cardinals and after swatting 25 home runs in 2010. The Twins were probably only interested in him for $4 million or less, so they may have to move on to someone else. Why is a bench bat so important to me? Because currently, the Twins would have a bench of Drew Butera, Jason Repko, and some combination of Matt Tolbert, Trevor Plouffe, and Luke Hughes. Out of that group, Hughes is likely the best hitter, but I don’t see anyone wanting to rely on a rookie in late game situations.

Right now, the best fit for adding a player to the bench would be a righthanded infielder. Some names that may be useful are Troy Glaus, Jorge Cantu, and Mike Sweeney, as they all represent some cheaper options that still have a little pop in their bats.

3. Find someone for the bullpen.

In other news, the earth is round. While there have been some hints that the Twins may just fill the bullpen with their internal options and Jim Hoey, I have to think that signing at least one veteran will be in the mix. Grant Balfour is likely out of the question (his Type-A status probably prevented him from ever being in the question in the first place), but there are news that the Twins are considering re-signing Brian Fuentes. I could also see bringing back Ron Mahay for a second straight year. Although he did have his season ended by shoulder surgery, it’s important to note that it was on his non-throwing shoulder and he was still effective against lefties. Plus, while he probably wouldn’t be as dominant as Fuentes, he would be significantly cheaper.

4. No more dubious contracts.

Well, there haven’t been any contracts handed out that have hurt the team yet, but many of us were frustrated with last year’s contracts given to Brendan Harris and Nick Blackburn. Fortunately, Harris’ was relatively small and the Twins were able to pawn off the second year onto the Baltimore Orioles. As for Blackburn’s, unless his $8 million option is picked up for the 2014 season (relax, that shouldn’t happen until the offseason prior to ’14), the most he’ll ever be paid is $5.5 million. That’s not that bad, to be honest, but if he starts putting up a couple more 5+ ERA seasons…

What is bad though is the contract for Michael Cuddyer. After his 2007 season where he hit .276/.356/.433 with 16 home runs, he was given a 3-year, $24 million extension with an option for 2011 worth $10.5 million. Not only was the option expensive, it also had to be picked up after the 2009 season, which for the Twins was a no-brainer after Cuddyer slugged 32 homers in the ’09 season. If the decision had to be made this offseason, I’m sure the Twins would have considered declining it instead. I know he’s a fan favorite, but Cuddyer is a bit overrated and there is no way that his arm makes up for his poor range in the outfield. If you’re complaining about the Twins being cheap, you may want to complain about Cuddy sucking up a significant amount of money that could have been placed in the Carl Pavano Fund.

————

By the way, earlier today I was emailed this link by Chris Jaffe of The Hardball Times. It’s his annual predictions for the Hall of Fame, and count him in the group of people that believe that Bert Blyleven will be part of the 2011 class. This is not just him thinking “Player X belongs, Player Y does not,” but rather he uses eight guidelines and history to determine not only the players that will be inducted, but also to predict what percentage of votes each player will receive. I found it to be a fascinating article, and I think you would like it as well.

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One Response to “New Year’s Resolutions For The Twins”

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