Listening to Paul Allen on KFAN at the end of last week there was an interesting topic was brought up. The Super Bowl was fast approaching and PA obviously didn't want the Packers to succeed. The question was asked, "What single player on the Vikings roster when added to the Steelers roster would most benefit their chances?"
This topic made me ask myself the question, "What single player could the Twins add to their roster that would most benefit their chances in 2011?"
The obvious list could include a multitude of starting pitchers (Cliff Lee, Felix Hernandez, CC Sabathia, etc.). Since that list is rather excessive, I changed the focus of the question to be more specific to position players. Obviously money wouldn't be considered as part of the equation in this fictitious fantasy draft. What player would it be?
Projected 2011 Opening Day Line-Up
C: Joe Mauer
1B: Justin Morneau
2B: Tsuyoshi Nishioka
3B: Danny Valencia
SS: Alexi Casilla
LF: Delmon Young
CF: Denard Span
RF: Michael Cuddyer
The health of Mauer and Morneau is a factor for the Twins franchise as they look to the future but for this exercise I will assume that both of these former MVP's will be healthy in the future. For the Twins, the C and 1B positions are what they are building their franchise around.
The Twins are unsure of the production value that they will get from both of their middle infield positions. So adding a strong player that is a middle infielder would be a logical starting point on our search for a player to add to the Twins.
2B- Robinson Cano- New York Yankees
For a second baseman he combines power and average that are hard to come by at 2B. ESPN projects him to bat .317 with 28 HR and 112 RBI in 2011. It would be interesting to see how those power numbers would translate if he had to play his home games at Target Field. The one negative might be the fact that he would be another left-handed bat in the Twins line-up.
SS- Hanley Ramirez- Florida Marlins
One of the best young players in the game that could compliment many of the pieces that are already in the Twins line-up. He would be a right-handed power threat and he has a tremendous ability to steal bases. His attitude has caused some issues in the past and that could be a drawback. But an infield of Morneau, Nishioka, Ramirez, and Valencia sounds very good to me.
2B- Chase Utley- Philadelphia Phillies
At 32 years old, Utley is the elder statesman of these great middle infielders. His age might have caught-up to him last season as injuries took him out of a third of the season last year. A bounce-back year is expected from this All-Star 2B but like Cano he would be another lefty in left handed slanted line-up. He is also close to half a decade older than both of these other middle infielders.
If the Twins were going to make a mythical addition to their outfield, some of the players that would benefit the team are listed below.
OF- Ryan Braun- Milwaukee Brewers
An elite outfielder that is a rare commodity in the fact that he combines average and power. He can steal a few bases here and there but his real value is his offensive skills. For his career he has averaged 36 HR and 118 RBI. His right handed bat could be a force break up the lefties of the Twins. He is relatively young at only 26 years old so there are many years left in Braun's career.
OF- Carl Crawford- Boston Red Sox
One of the biggest free agent signings this offseason, Crawford is a five-tool player that has recreated the outfield position. He is a tremendous athlete and that athletic ability translates to fantastic defense and speed. Crawford is 29 and will no doubt see a decline in his athletic ability over the course of his contract with the Red Sox. He could fit nicely as a top of the order hitter for the Twins as they try to add more speed.
OF- Carlos Gonzalez- Colorado Rockies
Gonzalez burst onto the scene last season and contended for the Triple Crown in the NL. He wound up winning the batting title with a .336 average and showed that he is an everyday player. The Rockies gave him a contract extension to reward his outstanding season. It will be interesting to see if is able to continue to compile the numbers that he did in 2010. He will be 25 years old next season so he is in the prime of his career.
My pick to add to the Twins would be: Hanley Ramirez
The middle infield is the giant question mark for the Twins next season. If Ramirez were inserted as the SS, the Twins could have a dominate line-up. He would bring his offensive and defensive skills to the Twins. He would be a young addition to the team while locking down a major position on the field.
What single position player would you add to the Twins team? Leave a comment below.