Off-season chat for the rest of us…

Ok, so Slowey & Cuddy are in Colorado now; Kubel is in Arizona (???) and Nathan is in Texas… oh yeah, but we’re keeping Capps so we should all feel better right? And so far we still have Span and we have a few new guys that we’re supposed to feel ok about signing.

I’m going to make a huge admission here… I don’t have a clue about where to expect the Twins to fall now on the team expectation spectrum.

I read all the experts/not-so-experts/think-they-are-experts and JC’s stuff and it all sounds entirely reasoned and plausible to me. I can even occasionally have a rational counter argument – at least in my own mind – to some of the proposals. But this is always the stage of the year when I give up trying to figure it all out. It’s always a list of names I really don’t know (I’m sorry but no matter how many years I have played fantasy baseball, I still just don’t pay that much attention) and a bunch of holes in the field that I can see but I have no clue how on earth the Twins are going to fill…  I go into Spring Training every year wondering who the hell is going to have to step up and do better than they have before to make them worth being on the big league team. I wonder which new guy – whatever his name is – is going to surprise or disappoint me when they hit the diamond.

I know I can’t be alone in this…

Don’t get me wrong. This doesn’t mean that I quit following every single rumor that comes out about our local 9 and I try to go look up the latest name and figure out if I think the poor guy has a chance. I still sigh every time one of my favorites moves on elsewhere and cheer everytime someone who I think has been holding us back is finally let go..  These are the Twins afterall. We fans are fairly used to VERY quiet off-seasons and Spring Training openings with less than confident expectations. I’m also used to us getting rated at the middle to bottom of the years’ performance expectations and being pleasantly surprised when we somehow manage to overcome the experts declarations.

I miss those days…

I knew last off-season that there were some MAJOR problems with the infield & pitching (and several of the experts thought so too) but there was always the justifications that the players we lost cost too much or were too close to the management and had outlived their usefulness to us… yeah, you know who I mean and you know that having them would have made a BIG difference to this team last year.. and those players turned out to be valuable to the teams they went to and were probably worth the money they were payed – by someone else. I’m not going to say the moves were WRONG because you can’t guarantee anything in this game but the results were pretty predictable.

I see a similar scenario happening this year…

We have what looks to be a fighting chance with the infield now – although I don’t really know the new guys – but now the outfield seems more than a little bare despite the fact that we picked up Willingham (another player that others are high on but I’m sorry, I just don’t KNOW him at all). Seriously? We’re now depending on the arms of Ben Revere and Denard Span in the OF because they are quick? I LOVE Revere on the bases and as a person but.. I always hold my breath when he makes a catch deep in the field because I’m looking to see where the baserunner is going to go… Don’t get me wrong, he’s made some spectacular catches and they are a lot of fun to see but still.. Where are they going to play these guys? Willingham has been a LF most of his career and they are talking about playing him in RF now. I think he’s going to be busy.

And they pitching still sucks…

With all the drama of last off-season, then the season and now THIS off-season, I haven’t seen any improvement to our general scenario – whether SP or RP – and I don’t know who the Twins could get that would relieve my mind. I’m sure that those who pay much more attention than I could offer a few names that would sound great  and plausible and maybe even make sense to my off-season muddled brain. 

But I’ll just end up where I always end up..

I’ll be looking forward to Spring Training and hoping someone steps up and surprises us, some kid will do better than he has any right to expect and some new guy will make himself a home by fitting in where bereft fans are looking for any sign of genuine personality.

Oh yeah, and given the results so far? the experts are probably going to pick the Twins to finish in the middle or worse in the Central division.. Is it too much optimism to say I almost relish the familiarity of that particular designation and hope that the Twins are able to meet and exceed those expectations in ways I have always enjoyed?

6 thoughts on “Off-season chat for the rest of us…

  1. Nice post.

    NOBODY can accurately predict what will happen next season. Until we see whether or not Mauer, Morneau and Span return to health and to playing with some semblance of the ability they’ve shown in the past, all predictions are pretty much wasted.

    The best thing I can say about this off-season is that they haven’t made a bunch of expensive long-term commitments. (Even Willingham isn’t that long or that expensive). Frankly, until we see whether Mauer, Morneau and Span can each get back on the field for at least 120-130 productive games next season, I see no reason to spend much more for position players. If, by some miracle, they are all healthy and productive, the team may be able to add talent at the trade deadline.

    They do need another starter and some BP help, though. But I’d prefer that they find pitchers who need one-year “redemption” deals who need to prove something on a short-term basis (don’t ask me who this would be).

    I will be optimistic in the spring because I’m ALWAYS optimistic in the spring (it is one of the best things about baseball). As for the results next season, I won’t be surprised if they win 90 but I won’t be surprised if they lose 100, either.

  2. The 2012 Twins will NOT win 90 games. They will be better than last year but I still see this team losing 85-90 games.

  3. I just think it’s impossible to make a statement at this time with any certainty regarding how competitive the team will be. The pitching staff isn’t even close to being finalized and, as JB pointed out, so much depends on the health of the returning players.

    One thing is clear… there will be significantly more turnover in the roster and regular line up than Twins fans are accustomed to. But when you lost 99 games, that’s not altogether a bad thing. Better start studying that new roster earlier this spring than you usually do, Babs!

  4. JC, I dont see the Twins signing any impact players before S.T. starts. If anything the Twins might trade a few current roster players. I have heard that they are shopping Span and Liriano. I think it is better than 50/50 that both will be traded in January for future draft picks.

  5. How many outfield spots can Willingham play at a time? He seems to have been picked up to replace both Cuddyer and Kubel. In my mind, that has him in both left and right field about 50% of the time, and the other 50% of the time, he’s in right and DH-ing. And the other person filling in that left-field/DH merry-go-round is Del…oh.

    I guess I can’t form any expectations about this team until I figure out where they’re going to get 25 guys to play the game.