Well, here we are. Torii Hunter re-upped. Radke finished. Choices to make about various players. Improvements hopefully to be made. Some of my ruminations after the flip...
I would not have picked up Hunter's option, but that's done now. Under the circumstances, and given how risk averse Ryan is, I understand it.
Problem #1: offense. The Twins managed to get to 8th in the league in runs scored, largely with a batting average driven offense. I like singles as much as the next guy, but have little faith that this is repeatable. In addition to batting average being notoriously unreliable, virtually all the Twins who played significantly were at the high end of what is possible for them batting average wise. This applies to stars like Mauer and Morneau--I'd be shocked if either were within 20 points of their BA next year--as well as Punto, Tyner, Bartlett, et al, who are likely to see declines in BA.
The Twins were last in the AL in isolated power. (SLG-BA). That has to improve. They need another bat. More to the point, I don't think they can go into next season with all of Castillo, Punto, and Bartlett in the lineup (to say nothing of Tyner, who I hope nobody views as more than the 5th OF--AAA commodity he actually is), unless there is a huge, seismic upgrade at LF/DH.
Here's my hope: Kubel takes half of the DH/LF role, and a RH bat (Pat Burrell?) takes the other half. They invest in a real 3B (Morgan Ensberg via trade? A-Rod--j/k), and either use Punto or Castillo in trade, with the other manning 2B. I just think an IF that includes all 3 of Bartlett, Punto, and Castillo is TOO punchless).
Obviously, in my scenario, White is gone.
Among the players I would be willing to move to acquire a bat at 3rd or LF (or an SP--more on that later) are Castillo, Punto, Nathan, Rincon, Crain, Neshek, Slowey, Baker, Perkins, and any number of other minor leaguers.
Yes, I would trade Nathan. I would have traded him last year too. The guy is a stud, but he has just massive trade value, probably beyond his actual value on the field.
I think I'll leave it there for now, and address other areas in another diary.