The Rochester Red Wings finished the 2012 season with a 72-72 record. That might not seem impressive, but the team hadn't reached that mark since 2008 and suffered back to back 90-loss seasons in 2010 and ’11. It’s a step in the right direction.
There was a buzz around Frontier Field on Friday. General Manager Dan Mason said that he was “very excited” about the 2013 season, and why shouldn't he be? The team is heading in the right direction, and manager Gene Glynn made the team relevant again.
There were many challenges last season, including 56 different players on the roster, 23 of whom played for the Minnesota Twins at some point. Along with the changes in position players, there was a constant turnstile of starting pitching as well. Last year Rochester had a mind-blowing 19 different starters take the mound.
The Wings manager was asked about guys like Aaron Hicks and Kyle Gibson, who may end up in Rochester or with the Twins to start the year, Glynn responded by saying “You hope they make the big league club, but if not they’ll probably be here to start with. Right now they’re really planning on Hicks being in the big leagues. With Joe Benson, [Clete] Thomas, Wilkin Ramirez, [Josh] Willingham, [Darin] Mastroianni, [Ryan] Doumit, there’s a bunch of veterans and young guys that want to get one of those two spots that might be open.”
Glynn also touched on the importance of not only winning at the Triple-A level, but also continuing to develop talent for the big league team. “One great thing about Minnesota is, if you’re the best player at the time they need somebody they’re going to take you. It helps motivate the players they bring in, give them an opportunity to not only play here but at the big leagues.”
As some may know, last season was an interesting season when it came to the organization for another reason. The Red Wings played their home games at Frontier Field; but hosted 40 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees home games as well. Dan Mason spoke of how he thinks fan support will change with only one team versus two in Rochester this year. “I think it’ll be more like a normal season, with only 72 games as oppose to 112 that we had last year. The fans will know there will only be one team. For the Yankee fans that come here, they’ll have to circle the dates for the eight games the Yankees come to town.”
Mason also discussed the current minor leaguers in the system, and potential players coming to Rochester this summer. “All the guys the Twins have signed and brought to minor league camp are very encouraging, because there is going to be great competition. There’s only a few spots open between the rotation and the bullpen up in Minnesota. Whoever doesn’t make it has a great chance of being here. We could have five guys with Major League experience pitching here on Opening Day, that’s always a great thing to have at the Triple-A level.”
Spring training begins in 16 days, when pitchers and catchers report to the Twins complex in Fort Myers, Florida. The Red Wings season begins April 4th
in Buffalo against the Bisons.