Thursday, November 10, 2011

5 predictions for the Twins new direction

The shake up with the Twins front office means that the plan for creating next season's roster has changed a lot in the last week. Terry Ryan is going to find the best valued players to fit in to the holes the Twins have at different spots on the roster. There are a variety of ways to go about this but using minor league prospects or trading for pieces could be the path the Twins are looking to take in the coming months.

When a team compiles 99-losses over the course of a season, there are going to be plenty of issues that need to be addressed for the next season. The Twins suffered through injury after injury and some of the training staff might need to be reexamined. The pitching staff had plenty of issues on the mound during 2011. Some of those pitching issues came out of the lackluster defense that was trying to field behind the man on the mound. It is also hard to win games when a team is not getting runs across the plate. Add all of these issues together and Ryan has plenty of areas of concern when creating the 2012 version of the Twins.

Below you will find some of my predictions for some of the changes that could be on the horizon for next season:

1. Revere and Span will not be in the same outfield for all of 2012
The Twins are going to revisit trade talks with the Nationals, as that team tries to pursue a center fielder. Obviously, the health of Denard Span is going to play a large role in a trade situation. The Twins might have to sell low on him if they want to get him off of the roster. Ben Revere showed some promise last season but there are still flaws in his game. The Twins need a lot of help at the big league level and in the minor leagues so trading one of these players could help the team for the future. The year might start with both of these players in the Opening Day line-up but sometime before the trade deadline, one of these players will be gone.

2. Pavano, Slowey, Liriano will not all be part of the rotation next season.
It's easy to say that Kevin Slowey will most likely not be part of the Twins roster next year. The falling out between the organization and Mr. Slowey was well documented this year. Since both Carl Pavano and Francisco Liriano are essentially in the last year of control for the team, they present an interesting choice for the Twins. Liriano's age seems would tend to make a person think that he would be worth more in a trade situation. Otther teams could be looking for a veteran presence in their rotation and Pavano would provide that lift.

3. Perkins will get a chance to be the closer
The value that Glen Perkins provided the Twins was outstanding last season by being able to come into a variety of situations and look dominating at times. It would be a disadvantage to save him for save situations in the ninth inning when the team could easily use him for more important outs in the late innings of games. That being said, it seems that the free agent market for closers is a little steep this year and it could mean that Perkins gets the closer role for the Twins.

4. Hendriks will be the fifth starter coming out of Spring Training
As I mentioned above, the Twins could be shopping some of the members of their starting staff from last season. This could be the opening that will allow Liam Hendriks to sneak in as the fifth starter on the Opening Day roster. His four starts with the Twins in 2011 were not the best but he had already thrown a career high 139.1 innings in the minor leagues. Since Hendriks tends to be a ground ball pitcher, it will be crucial for the Twins to have a strong defense behind for him to succeed.

5. Morneau, Mauer and Parmelee will split time at first base and designated hitter
The Twins are not going to spend a lot of money to bring in someone to fill the designated hitter role. Ryan's history with finding veterans to fill the DH spot has not exactly been stellar (Craig Monroe, Tony Bautista, etc.). The injury concerns surrounding Morneau could mean he is spending more time in the DH role. The Twins will need someone to play first base and Parmelee showed some positive signs during 2011. There is a chance the Twins could set-up a rotation system with these players so they are in the line-up on a regular basis at first base and designated hitter.

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