I think it's safe to say that most of us are more optimistic for the 2010 Twins season than we have been in a long time. I'm known as an overly pessimistic soul, and even I'm a bit caught up in the swell of cheerfulness; our own Adam Peterson can testify that I predicted a 142-20 season for the Twins a week ago. (The new park went to my head.)
Given the positive feelings, I started wondering what could go wrong, and so I started looking for problems. We all know about the closer situation, but I think there's more to be concerned about. Below, a not-nearly comprehensive list of worries I have about this season.
- Delmon Young has lost a bunch of weight, but all spring evidence shows that he didn't lose the part of him that's responsible for his awful pitch recognition. With the paucity of outfield options for the team this year, we may be treated to a lot of bad swings.
- Everybody loves J.J. Hardy already, but he did hit .229 last year. I want him to rebound too, but just wanting it does not necessarily make it so.
- Nick Punto is 32 years old, and had an even worse season than Hardy last year, and is still going to get 400 at-bats this year. Commence rending of garments.
- As for the other third-base option, here's the best way to put it: Brendan Harris has been with the Twins two seasons. In both of those seasons, he posted an on-base percentage worse than Punto. Yes, he hits for more power, but is ten doubles and four homers more per year worth the drop-off in defense? Punto may be our best option at third. Now see #3. Ay chihuahua.
- Like everyone, I'm thrilled about the acquisition of Jim Thome. But the guy does turn 40 in August of this year, which is enough to make you worry about any hitter.
- Yes, I'm worried about Justin Morneau's back. Not to mention pretty much all of Joe Mauer. GET THE BUBBLE WRAP!
- And we're one outfield injury away from Jason Kubel having to play in the field every day - or seeing the highly confusing return of Jacque Jones.
- We're all high on Francisco Liriano right now, but just to recap, that's based on winter ball and spring training, which don't necessarily prove anything. Given that Liriano struggled with his composure as much as anything, I think it's fair to worry about whether the guy who once earned the nickname "Franchise" can keep up his hot streak.
- Carl Pavano is the #2 starter. We realize he had a 5.10 ERA last season, right? Just want to make sure that this is clear.
- I think it's safe now to assume that Alexi Casilla will be on the team. It's always fun to have a guy on the roster that the manager does not want to play in any situation, isn't it? And it's especially nice when your 25th guy can safely play only one defensive position, and that not especially well.
I'm not trying to be a downer here, and I'm still optimistic about this season. If you're looking to worry, though, I think there's plenty to think about.