Before I fill you in on my blueprint, here are a couple of spoiler alerts. First of all I have two trades that are part of the plan. I feel that either one of the trades has the possibility of being made. Bill Smith has shown some initiative when it comes to making trades but both of the trades that I suggest could be seen as make-or- break deals. The Twins usually hang-on to their prospects but as part of both of these deals there would need to be some younger players involved. The Twins usually take a very quiet approach to the offseason so this approach might be a little proactive.
After saying all of that here is a look at my blueprint and what my 2011 Opening Day Roster would look like.
1. Reach arbitration agreements with JJ Hardy, Delmon Young, Kevin Slowey, Alexi Casilla, Pat Neshek and Jason Repko. This solves the middle infield positions that are open, adds a starter that can be solid at times, a relief pitcher that should be coming back to form, brings back the best right handed bat in the line-up, and a relatively cheap fourth outfielder.
2. Say goodbye to Nick Punto, Orlando Hudson, Brian Fuentes, Jesse Crain, Jon Rauch, Ron Mahay and Randy Flores. Thanks for your services guys but we are going in another direction.
3. Sign Matt Guerrier and offer arbitration to Matt Capps. No one knows what Joe Nathan is going to look like in his first year back from Tommy John surgery. Capps can be the Twins insurance policy for Nathan. Guerrier has been Gardenhire's workhorse over the past three seasons. Gardenhire will want him back and the Twins will agree to that request.
4. Trade Jason Kubel, an outfield prospect, and a pitching prospect to the Royals for Zach Greinke. There has been a lot of rumors in recent weeks over the possibility of the Royals parting ways with their former Cy Young winner. (Read this post to see my thoughts on the deal) I think this package would work for both teams. The Royals would get some young talent to help in their on-going rebuilding process and the Twins would get their ace.
5. Trade Kevin Slowey and a prospect to the Reds for Yonder Alonso. The Twins need an insurance policy for Justin Morneau. They also need someone that can fill-in at the DH spot since Kubel was traded (see trade mentioned in #4). Alonso can fit both of those roles.
2011 Opening Day Roster
C: Joe Mauer ($23M)
1B: Justin Morneau ($14M)
2B: Alexi Casilla ($0.8M)
3B: Danny Valencia ($0.5M)
SS: JJ Hardy ($6.5M)
LF: Delmon Young ($5.25M)
CF: Denard Span ($1M)
RF: Michael Cuddyer ($10.5M)
DH: Yonder Alonso ($0.6M)
Starting Line-up Total: ($62.15M)
C: Drew Buetera ($0.45M)
IF: Matt Tolbert ($0.45M)
IF: Luke Hughes ($0.42M)
OF: Jason Repko ($0.75M)
Side note: Also paying Brendan Harris ($1.75M) to not be a part of this team.
Bench Total: ($3.82 M)
SP: Zach Greinke ($13.5 M)
SP: Fransisco Liriano ($4M)
SP: Brian Duensing ($0.45M)
SP: Scott Baker ($5M)
SP: Nick Blackburn ($3M)
Rotation Total: ($25.95M)
CL: Matt Capps ($7.5M)
RP: Joe Nathan ($12.5M)
RP: Matt Guerrier ($2.5M)
RP: Pat Neshek ($0.8M)
RP: Jose Mijares ($0.45M)
RP: Jeff Manship ($0.45M)
Bullpen Total: ($24.2M)
Total 2011 Payroll: Approximately $116M
Line-up: The line-up that I have developed for the 2011 season looks very similar to the 2010 season but there are a few significant changes. The addition of Alexi Casilla is one that will add more speed to a team that was largely lacking in that category a season ago. A healthy Justin Morneau would be a great addition. By adding Yonder Alonso the Twins will have added an insurance policy for Morneau and a prospect that could really flourish with a change of scenery.
Starting Rotation: Fans will be excited for the addition of Greinke. Having his arm at the front of the rotation, along with Liriano, will give the Twins two aces to make another playoff push. It will be very interesting to see how Duensing reacts to being in the rotation for an entire season. Baker and Blackburn will get their spots out of spring training but don't be surprised to see Kyle Gibson getting the call-up if either one of these starters isn't up-to-par.
Bullpen: Nathan won't be ready to be the closer on Opening Day. That is why the Twins need to keep Matt Capps around. I also don't think that the team wants to get rid of the player that they got in return for Wilson Ramos. There might be a massacre by the fans. Neshek will hopefully be back to form after his surgery. The rest of the bullpen is role players that should be able to get outs when they need to.
There you have it. The team that I created as the GM of the Minnesota Twins.
Any thoughts on what you see? Leave a comment below. There are a lot of ideas to discuss.