So while commenting with the White Sux fans I was commenting on the money they have coming off the books. Then I looked at our own team and realized holy crap, we have a lot of money coming off the books next year as well.
Nathan (11.25 M)
Cuddyer (10.5 M)
Kubel (5.25 M)
Capps (6 M) estimate
Hardy (6 M) estimate
Harris (1.75 M)
Punto (.5 M) payout for not taking his option this year, every little bit counts.
40.75 34.75 million coming off the books following 2011. Baker will get a 1.75 million raise, Baker a 2 million raise, along with arbitrations raises for multiple players like Young and Liriano. I would think at most the arbitration raises and buyouts come to maybe 15 million.
So what I'm proposing is that the Twins just ride this year out with the current roster basically and possibly add some one year contracts such as Thome. I would consider a two year deal for Pavano but I'd rather just skip it and see what we've got.
The way I see it we can go with a current everyday lineup of
Thome (or other DH option, preferably right handed one year contract)
So the lineup is pretty much the same one that was very good last season, right?
Waiting in the wings we'd have Manship, Swarzak, Bromberg, and Gibson in no particular order. Not exciting and even a bit scary if an injury occurs early but good enough. Late in the year hopefully Gibson could show up but there is more to this plan.
The Bullpen Options
So we have a lot of options in the bullpen. Bullock and Gutierrez probably need a bit more time but the others should be ready for their shot. I think the Twins need to see what they have with Slama, Burnett, and Waldrop especially need to just get their shot and see if they're worth it. We can see if Neshek can come back to form and if Mijares can be a bit more consistent.
This will give the Twins a chance to really know what they have to work with for the future and can hopefully set themselves up well. I'm not suggesting throwing away this coming season as offensively we'll be the same lineup. Pitching we will only miss out on Pavano and our bullpen has a lot of decent options. I realize this is risky but we've seen before that a bullpen can be worked on mid season pretty easily.
As far as the rotation goes, we saw this past season that the Twins were willing to bid on Cliff Lee halfway through the season. I suggest we start out with the guys we have and then be prepared to upgrade mid season if needed. I wouldn't mind one of those one year signings being a guy like Brandon Webb, or Harden which would add yet another option to the bullpen.
In closing this could set the Twins up to be major players in next years free agent market or to pull a blockbuster trade where money is not an issue. The Twins could likely afford to get some luxury items to fill out the bench rather than spending over 20 million on a mediocre outfielder (Cuddy) and an injured closer. So as boring as it might be, I'm suggesting the Twins just play it cool and wait til mid season. If the team is healthy and appears capable of a run then see what's available for trade and make our move.