I had the good fortune to be able to visit my family in Fargo over Christmas. I took a couple of days off prior to my flight to get ready, I made a conscious decision not to write about any baseball whatsoever while I was in Fargo, and since my return over the weekend I've gotten over my jetlag and slowly adjusted back to life 4,000 miles from home. I've been pretty far out of the baseball loop for about two weeks.
And I've missed absolutely nothing. How the hell does that happen?
There was a lot of disappointment in Twins Territory following a quiet Winter Meetings in early December. It could be seen as a hangover following the party the night before - trading for a decent, team controlled catcher and signing the best international hitter on the market for an exceptionally team-friendly contract.
Those first couple weeks of the 2015-2016 off-season were pretty great, right? Remember those? Having that conversation is like reliving glory days with an ex who really doesn't want to see you but couldn't avoid you in the supermarket cereal aisle without coming off as totally rude and so is stuck nodding along awkwardly even though you both know that one of you is delusional.
Those great times were a long time ago now. Judging by the abundance of time we've traversed since, something else should have happened. The White Sox have acquired Todd Frazier, Dioner Navarro, and Brett Lawrie. The Tigers have added Jordan Zimmermann, Mark Lowe, and Francisco Rodriguez. (And Mike Pelfrey!) The Indians have added Mike Napoli and Rajai Davis. (And Shane Robinson!) And the division-leading Royals are added Joakim Soria, Dillon Gee, and now they've re-signed Alex Gordon.
Nobody in the American League Central Division is actively getting worse. Passively getting worse is another matter altogether, although that will also depend on how optimistic you're feeling. Frustration, which is what I'm experiencing, tilts me pessimistic.
Even as I type, I know that Minnesota's situation isn't necessarily all that bad. Apart from maybe a bullpen arm or two, there wasn't much the Twins could add to this roster without some significant wheeling and dealing. Yet that may not be as serious as could be construed, either; Nick Burdi and Jake Reed looked great in the Arizona Fall League and should be ready to contribute in 2016, Trevor May looks likely to be destined for the bullpen again (Hey let's finally develop a starting pitcher that can accrue strikeouts and then make him a reliever! Right? Ah never mind, that's something else.), Mason Melotakis and J.T. Chargois could be looking for bullpen roles this year, and nobody really knows what's going to happen to Alex Meyer.
If you have faith in Minnesota's relief prospects, and undeniably there's a good deal of upside that exists in that group, then perhaps the bullpen situation isn't as dire as we've been making it out to be. So...maybe it's okay that nothing has been happening?
At any rate it's good to be back. I've missed this. We've got another podcast coming up later today, I have a few minor league features I want to get through before next week, and starting on Monday we'll kick off our Minnesota Twins 2016 community prospect vote!