Hello Folks, The baseball season is over with the St. Louis Cardinals as the World Series champion. It’s now time to take a look at what the Twins will do this offseason.
The Twins enter this offseason with several roster spots to fill before Spring Training come February of 2012. Here are the issues they need to address.
Probably the no. 1 issue that the Twins should address is their bullpen. Last season, the Twins went to Fort Myers with several unproven minor league free agents to try and address the bullpen issue. The result was a bullpen that might as well have been batting practice pitchers. Therefore, they should bring several relievers to fill several bullpen spots. Here are some stats of several relievers from last season.
Joe Nathan: 48 appearances, 4.84 ERA, 44 2/3 innings, 14 walks, 43 strikeouts, 14 saves
Matt Capps: 69 appearances, 4.25 ERA, 65 2/3 innings, 13 walks, 34 strikeouts, 15 saves
Glen Perkins: 65 appearances, 2.48 ERA, 61 2/3 innings, 21 walks, 65 strikeouts, 2 saves
Alex Burnette: 66 appearances, 5.51 ERA, 50 2/3 innings, 21 walks, 33 strikeouts
Phil Dumatrait: 45 appearances, 3.92 ERA, 41 1/3 innings, 25 walks, 29 strikeouts
Chuck James: 8 appearances, 6.10 ERA, 10 1/3 innings, 4 walks, 8 strikeouts
Jim Hoey: 26 appearances, 5.47 ERA, 24 2/3 innings, 13 walks, 14 strikeouts
Lester Oliveros: 10 appearances, 4.05 ERA, 13 1/3 innings, 7 walks, 9 strikeouts
Kyle Waldrop: 7 appearances, 5.73 ERA, 11 innings, 6 walks, 5 strikeouts
There are a couple of things that I think I should note about the stats. First, Joe Nathan had most of his bad outings early in the season. A thing I didn’t mention was Matt Capps had 7 losses, the most of a Twins reliever. And oh yeah, Michael Cuddyer has an ERA of 0. Perhaps the Twins should convert him to a bullpen pitcher and also use him in the field.
This leads me to another important issue. The Twins should sign Cuddyer and or Jason Kubel. Cuddyer is valuable to the team both as a player and as a leader in the clubhouse. Kubel was leading the team in RBIs before suffering an injury to his left foot at the end of May. Also, Nathan is a free agent along with Capps. It is expected that the Twins will try and re-sign Nathan.
Another issue is the fact that the Twins weren’t the strongest team defensively in the middle of the infield. Tsuyoshi Nishioka only batted .226 in 221 at bats with 19 RBIs and 14 runs scored. In the field, he made 10 errors. Part of the reason why I think he didn’t do very well is the fact that he missed significant playing time due to injuries and the issue of culture shock.
Trevor Ploufe also played significant time in the field. However, the issue with him is his defense is like swiss cheese and might be better suited to play in the outfield. At the plate, he hit .238 with 8 home runs and 31 RBIs with 40 runs scored.
Alexi Cassilla was hitting well when he went down with a hamstring injury in late July. He came back for one game in August and went right back on the Dl. Early in the season, Cassilla was also a headache in the middle infield. Eventually, he improved and also started hitting. He would end up hitting .260 for the season with 52 runs scored. Cassilla’s injury made have been one of the key blows that led to the Twins playoff demise in August which leads me to my next point, injuries.
The Twins at various points in the season had several players on the Dl that they might as well have had their own hospital and also have started their own airline to shuttle the players back and forth from the minors. The Twins should make sure they have decent players that can contribute when players are injured.
As long we’re on the subject of making sure the Twins have players that can fill in for someone, I think it should be noted that the Twins should look into finding a decent back up catcher, one that can hit reasonably well. The reason is I don’t think Joe Mauer can catch as many games as he has in the past. Also, if Justin Morneau is not able to play first base with out suffering from a concussion, then Mauer could possibly share playing time with Cuddyer provided that the Twins are able to resign him. As for who I think the Twins should bring in as a catcher, I’ll talk about some possibilities in my next blog as well as other possible free agents the Twins can sign.
And, if it weren’t for the fact that the Twins have already picked Jon Gordon’s replacement, I’d also included that as well as part of the Twins offseason plans. However, they’ve beaten me to it in Announcing earlier today that Cory Provus who’s done games for the Milwaukee Brewers, has been hired as Gordo’s replacement. I think he’ll be a good fit here from what’ I’ve heard from him doing a few Brewers games.
All right, that should just about sum up the Twins offseason plans. In the next few days, I’ll post my ideas of some possible free agents.