5 Questions Left Unanswered After Minnesota Twins’ Spring Training

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5 Questions Left Unanswered After Minnesota Twins’ Spring Training

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

As opening day approaches and another spring training is put into the books, the Minnesota Twins are making their final preparation to begin the 2013 regular season. The spring training has been filled with roster battles, the World Baseball Classic and players who appear poised to have a breakout season or a disappointing year. Even though the end of spring training usually signals the end of the roster speculation until the trade deadline, this is not the case for this year’s Twins. Whether it was an injury to a pivotal player, a player left unsigned, a trade left unmade or a roster decision made hastily, there are still many questions left unanswered as the Twins—among other teams—entering the 2013 regular season. Many of these unanswered questions center around questions that begin with “what if”, but there are other questions that have popped up due to circumstance. Even though the questions may not be able to be answered before the start of the season, there still is time to identify possible solutions before the regular season gets underway on Monday for the Twins. As we search for solutions to these remaining questions, the people most likely to approach for answers will be general manager Terry Ryan and manager Ron Gardenhire. In most cases, Ryan should be the first person approached because his decisions normally affect Gardenhire’s ability to make decisions. However, Ryan is unlikely to answer any of the questions any differently than he already has throughout the off-season up to this point. So what are these questions that have been left unanswered for the Twins entering 2013? Read on to find out.

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5. Will Alex Meyer or Trevor May make their big league debut in 2013?

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Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

With so much uncertainty surrounding the Twins’ starting rotation entering the regular season, many fans will be clamoring for the promotion of either Meyer or May at some point this season. Many of the pitchers who are currently holding down roles within the rotation such as Mike Pelfrey, Kevin Correia and Liam Hendriks could possibly be gone or demoted at some point in the season. In addition, we have seen already how fragile many of the Twins’ pitchers are as the team has stumbled out of the gate with many injuries in spring training. My gut feeling on this one: May will make his debut in late August or early September for the Twins while Meyer will start in the rotation this time next year. Sorry to rain on your parade Meyer fans.

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4. Is Pedro Florimon the answer at shortstop?

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Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

He may not be able to hit above .250 during his time with the Twins, but Gardenhire believes Florimon’s defense will make up for the shortcomings he has with his bat. There is no doubting that Florimon has staying power because of his defense, but what if the lack of hitting ability eventually becomes too much to handle? What if Florimon begins to hit near the Juan Castro line of .180, then can the Twins justify keeping him around for his defense? In my opinion, the answer to that is no. I believe Florimon will be a one year wonder with the Twins and by season’s end, he will be relegated to a platoon role. The future at shortstop lies with Danny Santana who could be ready by next year. When that time comes, Florimon better get comfortable on the bench.

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3. What is the status of Rich Harden heading into 2013?

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Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

When Harden signed with the Twins this off-season, many fans believed this was a great low-risk, high-reward move that the team needed to make more of. I was also in this camp. However, little has been seen of Harden in the big league camp with the team and people are beginning to wonder if he will ever be seen in a Twins’ uniform. Fear not, this was the plan all along for Harden. He is still recovering from arm troubles and the Twins are taking a cautious approach with him as he makes his way back from injury. I believe Harden does have a role on this team—until he potentially hurts himself again—but we won’t know what the role is until sometime in May, in my opinion.

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2. Should fans be concerned about the progress of Kyle Gibson?

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

It shouldn’t take long for me to answer this question; the answer is no. Gibson is still recovering from surgery last season and it will take him a little bit to regain the form that made him such an effective pitching prospect for the Twins. What has been eluding Gibson this spring is his command, which used to be his hallmark. With plenty of time spent down in Triple-A to find his form once again, Gibson should be in the majors by July where he will stay from that point on.

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1. Has the plan changed for the futures of Justin Morneau or Josh Willingham with the club?

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Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

This question is a little more complicated to answer. In a perfect world, Morneau would have a breakout season—which I have predicted in my top 20 players to breakout in 2013 article—Willingham would continue the tear from 2012 and the Twins would play themselves into a playoff position. Unfortunately, the world and the game of baseball don’t work like that. If Morneau sees progress in the Twins and believes that they are only a year or two away from contending again, he may change his mind and sign an extension here. However, all of this hinges on how well he performs this season. Willingham’s situation is a little more mysterious because if he has another great year and teams show interest in him, it’d be hard pressed to imagine him back with the club after this season. At any rate, this question cannot be answered at this time and only time will tell what transpires with two of the Twins most talented players.

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