The World Series is almost underway, which means that the official start of the offseason is rapidly approaching. When the free agent market opens up, one of the central figures will be Zack Greinke, who is the clear top dog in a deep pitching pack. The former Cy Young winner offers ace-level ability, youth and a durable track record.
Sure, there are a few question marks surrounding the right-hander, who turns 29 this weekend. He's had some anxiety issues
Given the vast number of tribulations that have surrounded seemingly every injury affecting a player on the Twins' roster over the past couple years, folks have understandably placed low expectations on Kyle Gibson's rehab process.
The young hurler is a member of the organization's sizable faction of Tommy John victims over the past several years, and with all the setbacks that we've grown accustomed to seeing, fans across Twins Territory have conditioned
Since they moved into Target Field, the Twins have seen payroll rise and fall, from $96 million in the opening season, up to $112 million the following year, down to $94 million in 2012.
The rise to $112 million last year was purportedly the result of a push to take the next step after falling short in the 2010 postseason. The subsequent scaling back by nearly $20 million was easy enough to figure; the Twins had lost 99 games which led to reduced revenue
Five spots in next year's rotation. One guy locked in.
It's hard to look at the daunting uncertainty in Minnesota's rotation as a good thing, but there are some fringe benefits to the situation. One is that it may be easier for Terry Ryan to lure in pitchers who are left without a seat and forced to sign minor-league contracts when the music stops on this offseason's free agent class.
There could be quite a few of those guys standing around
Each year in our Offseason Handbook, we put together a list of all the upcoming free agents at every position. Beyond the write-ups and statistical breakdowns for each player, we estimate the contract we expect them to get, so that armchair GMs can fit prospective acquisitions into their budgets.
This is an aspect of the publication that we take very seriously. In fact, every year, we set aside a day for the entire editorial staff to get together and reach
After approaching 100 losses in back-to-back seasons, the Twins clearly needed to make some changes. As we put it when introducing our Offseason Handbook yesterday, complacency was not going to be an option this winter.
They wasted little time shaking things up, parting with their entire coaching staff – save for pitching coach Rick Anderson and manager Ron Gardenhire – in the very first day after the season came to an end.
Bullpen coach Rick
In their second-to-last game of 2012, the Twins sent Anthony Swarzak to the hill. He turned in a sub par five-inning outing, and the Twins ended up losing by a run, their 95th loss of the season.
A pitcher who had no business starting a major-league game getting roughed up and putting his capable offense in a hole they couldn't dig out of. Minnesota's 2012 season in a nutshell.
Now, the above isn't intended as a slight toward Swarzak, whose overall
In assessing the Twins' payroll situation for next year, a depressing reality became clear. Between the contracts of Tsuyoshi Nishioka and Nick Blackburn, along with the $250,000 buyout that will be owed to Matt Capps, the club was set to be on the hook for about $9 million in what appeared to be totally sunk costs – all the results of clearly misguided decisions. That's a pretty significant chunk of money for a team with payroll restraints that needs to be putting all
It is easy to despair over Liam Hendriks after starts like the one he turned in on Monday night against the Yankees, when he coughed up four homers en route to his eighth loss in 15 tries for the Twins this year.
Certainly the right-hander has offered little cause for encouragement here in his first extended exposure to the majors, but we shouldn't let these rocky outings completely sour us on his long-term outlook.
Earlier this month, Aaron
During the first half of the season, Jamey Carroll seemed to be showing his age. By the All-Star break, he was hitting .234 with a brutal .597 OPS, and he had long since lost his job as the team's starting shortstop. He was certainly making his two-year, $6.5 million contract look like a poor investment.
Since the break, Carroll has looked more like the player the Twins thought they were getting. After finishing 2-for-5 in the nightcap of yesterday's doubleheader,
Denard Span stepped into the box to lead off Tuesday night's game and turned on the third pitch he saw from left-hander David Huff, driving it into right field for a double, sparking a three-hit night. In six games since returning from the disabled list, the center fielder is now 9-for-25 (.360) with two doubles, a triple and four runs scored.
His late-season success bodes well for Terry Ryan heading into an offseason where Span will likely be the club's
An updated glance at the Twins' starting pitching depth chart, with a couple weeks remaining in the season. Barring any major developments over the rest of the month, this is how we view the team's SP pecking order heading into the offseason:
1. Scott Diamond. He's gone through some struggles recently, with a 6.64 ERA over his past four starts, but that was to be expected. In addition to the fact that he was bound for some regression, he might be wearing
Many believe there's no way the Twins can possibly turn things around quickly enough to be a competitive team next season. They're on their way to a second straight 90-plus loss season, their starting rotation is an absolute mess and their best prospects are still probably a couple years away from making an impact.
To those people, I present the 2012 Baltimore Orioles.
A year ago, the O's finished last in the AL East for a fourth straight season,
Ron Gardenhire told reporters over the weekend that he would have "no problem" with Glen Perkins assuming closer duties for his club moving forward.
Well, you'd hope not.
Since Matt Capps was officially placed on the disabled list on July 17, Perkins has received the lion's share of save chances, converting all seven of his opportunities while registering a 1.74 ERA and holding opponents to a .136 batting average. In 20 2/3 innings during that