This time of year marks a couple of important dates, election night in America and the beginning of free agency for Major League Baseball. The Twins are tied with the Tampa Bay Rays for most free agents so there are a lot of decisions to make. In an election style format I will break-down my ballot for which free agents I would vote for and which ones I would vote against.
1. Jesse Crain- I believe that Crain is going to get a good offer from another team with a chance to be a closer. I also think a change of scenery would be very good for Crain. He can get focused and put together an entire season like his second half in 2010. That being said, the Twins won't match the offer from that team and my vote would be against Crain.
2. Randy Flores- Not much of an explanation needed here. He won't be back. My vote would be against Flores.
3. Brian Fuentes- I was a big fan of Fuentes in his time with the Twins. He was a great addition to the team and made an impact during his time here. The problem is that the Twins have a lot of money tied up in Joe Nathan's contract. Fuentes will be a closer for a team next season and he will be getting paid highly to complete that role. My vote would be against Fuentes.
4. Matt Guerrier- Guerrier continues to be an innings eater for the Twins. There were points during the 2010 season that Guerrier was the most reliable arm out of the bullpen. Out of all of the relief pitchers that I would like to have back, Guerrier is the one that doesn't have a bunch of saves attached to his name. By not having those save Guerrier will be a better deal for the Twins. My vote would be for Guerrier.
5. Orlando Hudson- As the season has ended there has been a lot of whispers that have come out that Hudson wasn't as popular with the team as he seemed to be with fans. He played a very decent job at 2nd base but the Twins have a variety of other options to fit in his place. Those other options (Casilla, Hughes, etc.) could put up close to the same numbers. My vote would be against Hudson.
6. Ron Mahay- Not much of an explanation needed here. He won't be back. My vote would be against Mahay.
7. Carl Pavano- Pavano had quite the comeback year in 2010. He proved that he wasn't the pitcher that he had seemed to be in recent years. The Twins relied on him to be a losing streak stopper during the middle of the season. It was also great to see that run of complete games that he put together this season. Pavano deserves to get a multi-year contract. I don't want to the Twins to invest money in an aging pitcher when the Twins have other options for their pitching staff. My vote would be against Pavano.
8. Nick Punto- Punto has been a staple for the Twins in their recent run of division titles. He struggled through an injury plagued 2010 season. In that season he saw a rookie take over his Opening Day position and Valencia never give it up. Punto would be a great defensive utility player on the bench. I feel the Twins might choose to go with a younger player instead of the veteran Punto. My vote would be against Punto.
9. Jon Rauch- Rauch did a very good job of filling in the closer role for the Twins in the first half of the 2010 season. The Twins weren't confident enough in him to let him be their closer for the entire season, so will that have an impact on his value as a free agent? As with Fuentes he did have a high save total so this might make other teams overpay for Rauch. My vote would be against Rauch.
10. Jim Thome- During last offseason there wasn't much of a market for aging slugger. Thome proved all of those skeptics wrong. He mashed homeruns for another team in the AL Central. Following the season that Thome had there will need to be a significant pay raise. For a player that can't play defense that doesn't seem like a very good vote. My vote would be against Thome.
A summary of my ballot
Votes for a candidate:
Votes against a candidate:
Ten free agents and I only voted for the Twins to keep one of them. To see the full break down of my blueprint for the 2011 roster look read my post from yesterday. (My Twins Offseason Blueprint)
As always I would love to hear your thoughts? Leave a comment below.