Perhaps no team in all of baseball has more questions going into their first Spring Training exhibition game than the Minnesota Twins. While most fans focus their attention on Opening Day, this Spring Training may be more indicative of the team’s long-term success.
The front office’s handling of the 2012 offseason shows us that they are focusing their attention towards putting a competitive product on the field in 2014/2015. The Twins bode farewell to some fan favorites, trading away outfielders Denard Span and Ben Revere. In the process, the team re-stocked their farm system, which is now considered one of the best in MLB.
The Twins present a very polarizing lineup right now. They have former MVPs in Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau, and they have power potential in Josh Willingham and Ryan Doumit. While these four surely will provide a formidable heart of the order, the lineup completely falls off after that point. In fact, no one else in the projected opening day lineup hit over .235 last year, so if anyone can show manager Ron Gardenhire this spring that they can provide an offensive spark, he will likely find a spot on the roster for them.
The starting rotation will likely only consist of one player returning from last year’s staff–Scott Diamond. Offseason acquisitions Vance Worley and Kevin Correia appear to be locks, leaving two spots open. If Mike Pelfrey can get healthy, he will likely commandeer one of those spots, leaving a race for the back end starter position. Some names being thrown out there are long time prospect Kyle Gibson and journeyman Rich Harden. However, there are also a few other hopefuls vying for the final spot in the rotation.
In conclusion, the Twins have plenty of question marks on their pitching staff as they attempt to rebuild a rotation that sported the second-worst ERA in the majors last year. Five players in their projected opening day lineup hit under .235 last year, and if they get our to a slow start, sluggers Morneau and Willingham could be on the move.
With so many spots open, the Twins should have an exceptionally competitive and entertaining camp in 2013.
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