At 1pm today, Joe C. was good enough to host a live chat and answer question after question about the Twins. Here are a few of the more news-worthy highlights.
- Joe believes there's a decent chance that the Twins will come away with negotiation rights for Tsuyoshi Nishioka, but isn't too sure about him batting second in the lineup while he adjusts to the level of competition in MLB.
- Kyle Gibson has a good chance of being the first starter called up from Rochester next year.
- Best guess at the middle infield in 2011: Hardy at short, Casilla at second.
- This is big: he believes payroll could be in the $120 to $125 million range. That's another massive jump, if accurate.
- Joe thinks there's a good chance Jim Thome comes back to the Twins for one more year.
- Justin Morneau continues to make slow, steady progress.
- He believes that both Delmon Young and Francisco Liriano will leave the Twins as free agents after 2012.
- Joe answered my question: Does Hardy's future with the Twins depend on Hudson's arbitration decision, and the results of the Nishioka posting? His answer: To some extent, yes. I don't think the Twins will non-tender Hardy, but if they get Nishioka, I think there's a good chance they'd trade Hardy.
- Joe Nathan's rehab is on schedule, even if he hasn't been scheduled to throw off the mound quite yet.