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  • I'll Say It

    The Twins spring schedule kicks off tomorrow. I know many are looking forward to it, even without the belief that the Twins will be competing for an AL Central crown this fall. That doesn't make this spring any less interesting.

    So with that in mind, I'm going on record and making predictions... some bold, some not.

    TEAM

    *The Twins will finish in last place in the AL Central. They'll win between 69-72 games.
    *The Twins will be sellers at the deadline. Justin Morneau, Josh Willingham and Mike Pelfrey will bid farewell before the end of July.

    HITTERS

    *The battle to start in CF is already over. After trading Span and Revere, we've been led to believe Darrin Mastroianni, Aaron Hicks and Joe Benson are in a three-way battle to be the everyday centerfielder. Benson, who is far removed from a successful minor league year and not as far removed from microfracture surgery, has no shot at being the Opening Day centerfielder. Hicks, for both service reasons and having taken zero at-bats at AAA, will get sent down until a) he absolutely proves he's ready or b) Mastroianni proves he absolutely isn't the answer.

    *The opening-day 4th OF will be a guy not currently on the 40-man roster. Clete Thomas, who blew our mind for about two at-bats last year, before making us want to blow our brains out, is the likely frontrunner. (I think the bigger question is, when Thomas gets DFA'd and clears waivers, does he accept his assignment to Rochester or elect free agency?)

    *Chris Parmelee will be the everyday rightfielder... until it's Oswaldo Arcia. It's going to be an interesting first couple of months. Parmelee isn't best-suited to play the outfield. He's likely good enough to keep the seat warm for Arcia, and that's likely - hopefully, in the Twins mind - going to happen when Morneau is traded away and Parmelee moves to first base. But what happens if Parmelee can't get it done offensively or defensively? Who knows...

    *Oswaldo Arcia will have more impact on the 2013 Twins than Aaron Hicks. Arcia will hit and play serviceable D. Hicks will play a solid D but struggle to hit. Next year at this time, I see discussions being the same... is Hicks ready to be a leadoff hitter at the major league level? While the right field job is not up-for-grabs in spring training (because Arcia has a stranglehold on it).

    *Chris Colabello will be a major-league player this year. Another guy that just rakes. Sign him up.

    *Trevor Ploufee will be frustratingly hot-and-cold both offensively and defensively, but TwinsDaily readers will rejoice that he's not Danny Valencia.

    *Drew Butera will spend less time in the major leagues in 2013 than any season since debuting in 2010... and TwinsDaily readers will still complain!

    *Jamey Carroll's option will vest with 401 plate appearances despite the Twins making an effort to see that it doesn't happen.

    *Pedro Florimon and Brian Dozier will leave the fan base wishing for Luis Rivas and Cristian Guzman. Or Orlando Hudson and J.J. Hardy. Or basically any 2B/SS combination you can think of.

    *Joe Mauer will be Joe Mauer. Many will be unhappy.

    PITCHERS

    *The rotation will be better than last year.
    Hardly went out on a limb there...

    *One year from now we'll feel really good about the rotation. 2014 will include Kyle Gibson (who won't compete for ROY, but be solid amid a limited-innings year), Scott Diamond (who will regress, but still be a solid lefty), Vance Worley (who fans will love because he goes after hitters and works quick), Liam Hendriks (who will actually look like he belongs in the major leagues this year) and Kevin Correia (who was signed to be a #5 pitcher). This isn't mentioning any of the prospects who could be knocking on the door.

    *The bullpen will be good - again. Glen Perkins and Jared Burton will be fantastic in their late-inning roles.

    *Brian Duensing will continue to thrive and/or make strides as a left-handed reliever.

    *Tim Wood will absolutely be in the Opening Day bullpen. This isn't the second coming of Jeff Gray. Tim Wood signed a $675,000 contract with the Twins. He has less than a year of service. Anthony Swarzak, who has over 2 years of service, got $502,500. No Twin who had their contract renewed got over $530,000. That makes Tim Wood, who has had no MLB success - and almost as little experience - the 12th highest-paid Twins player this year. Crazy? Just a little bit.

    *Sam Deduno will figure something out this year. Either, "Hey, I do know how to throw it through the zone" or "You know what, this baseball thing isn't for me."

    *Trevor May makes his September debut coming out of the bullpen.

    *Ryan Pressly doesn't make the team... and the Red Sox will not be willing to work out a trade, unfortunately.

    Go ahead, be bold... or not bold.
    This article was originally published in blog: I'll Say It started by Jeremy Nygaard
    Comments 39 Comments
    1. rickyriolo's Avatar
      rickyriolo -
      Quote Originally Posted by DAM DC Twins Fans View Post
      Well, I wont go as far as shooting myself...but I agree Clete Thomas has NO PLACE on a MLB roster--neither does Butera. If Hicks doesnt start in CF and goes to minors--keep Benson as 4th OF until Hicks/Arcia is ready. As for Butera, we can do better,

      I keep hoping for a spring trade to get CF--maybe trade Morneau now and move Parmalee to 1B.

      I do think Twins will win between 75 and 79 games and finish above last in AL Central.
      i also believe Twins finish last in the Central Division but Houston Astros finish with worst record in the American league.. If most of Seth predictions come true Twins finish around 63-99...going to be a dreadful season but interested to see some of the young guys come up
    1. Jeremy Nygaard's Avatar
      Jeremy Nygaard -
      Quote Originally Posted by Mave View Post
      I have been wondering this for a while, realistically speaking... what can we expect from Chris Parmelee defensively? How will this bode for the overall team defense? Willingham on one side and a first baseman on the other side?
      The last time he appeared in BA's Prospect Handbook, here was the summary of his outfield defense:

      With a thick, unathletic body and below-average arm, Parmelee has moved down the defensive spectrum to first base, with occasional stops on the outfield corners.
      So not good...
    1. mnfanforlife's Avatar
      mnfanforlife -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jeremy Nygaard View Post
      The last time he appeared in BA's Prospect Handbook, here was the summary of his outfield defense:

      So not good...
      Yeah, we have two-DH's in the outfield. Can't wait for Arcia's arrival. But we gotta get something good in trade for Morneau first...
    1. mnfanforlife's Avatar
      mnfanforlife -
      Quote Originally Posted by mnfanforlife View Post
      Yeah, we have two-DH's in the outfield. Can't wait for Arcia's arrival. But we gotta get something good in trade for Morneau first...
      ...no reason to rush this trade. Maybe you trade Willingham too, and make a solid return for our rebuilding club?
    1. diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
      diehardtwinsfan -
      I'm strangely very bullish on Deduno. I think he cuts his walk rate to 3BB/9... and if he does...
    1. Kwak's Avatar
      Kwak -
      Quote Originally Posted by mnfanforlife View Post
      ...no reason to rush this trade. Maybe you trade Willingham too, and make a solid return for our rebuilding club?
      Willingham has far more value to the Twins in his natural position--DH. I have read at least hundred posts about: Trade Willingham (or Trade Morneau) and it's clear that the Twins FO has also considered those very same options--and rejected the results. Keep Willingham, re-sign him short-term, and provide a bona fide powerhitting run producer from the DH slot. The youth will takeover the OF providing the defense, speed, arms, and (hopefully) enough offense to make things interesting. Mauer catches, Doumit backs him up, (Buh-bye to Drew) because with Josh as full-time DH (spelled by Mauer and Doumit) there is no need for a third catcher. There will be a credible offense--likely well above average if the reports of the young OFs is close to accurate, a big increase in OF defense, and enough power-hitting to push the fast guys around the bases.
      Read the thread on "Bad teams Rebuilding" there is a big need for a few proven veterans--especially with one at DH so he doesn't hurt his team in the field.
    1. Halsey Hall's Avatar
      Halsey Hall -
      *The Twins will be sellers at the deadline. Justin Morneau, Josh Willingham and Mike Pelfrey will bid farewell before the end of July.

      I see none of the above. I may be new to the site, but old to posting. I can see no possible reason to trade Morneau. No way possible to get any kind of nearly equal return at all. And trading Willingham isn't going to happen. Both will have big years.
    1. Halsey Hall's Avatar
      Halsey Hall -
      Quote Originally Posted by diehardtwinsfan View Post
      I'm strangely very bullish on Deduno. I think he cuts his walk rate to 3BB/9... and if he does...
      I totally agree, diehard!
    1. raindog's Avatar
      raindog -
      If Morneau has a big year, he will absolutely have value.

      I really hope you are right about Arcia. I can't stomach watching Parmalee in RF for too long.
    1. PseudoSABR's Avatar
      PseudoSABR -
      Quote Originally Posted by Kwak View Post
      . Keep Willingham,
      I agree. Unless the Twins are blown away by offers for him, keep him. Willingham is likely worth more to the Twins over the next several years than any player they could fetch for him. He's fairly inexpensive, and still has two years on his contract. Morneau is the more palatable trade candidate from the Twins perspective, though I'm not sure what kind of value we can get for him. If Morneau produces this year, I wouldn't mind an extension either.

      I think we should temper our trade expectations for both these guys. Neither of them are necessarily blocking anyone coming up, and they'll help us compete in 2014 and beyond probably more than anything we'll get in return.

      Arcia/Hicks/Parm in the OF, and Morneau/Hammer at 1B/DH for the next several years sounds pretty good to me.
    1. TheLeviathan's Avatar
      TheLeviathan -
      Quote Originally Posted by PseudoSABR View Post
      I think we should temper our trade expectations for both these guys. Neither of them are necessarily blocking anyone coming up, and they'll help us compete in 2014 and beyond probably more than anything we'll get in return.
      It's highly unlikely Willingham is going to be a continuing positive force on the roster beyond 2014. His cost will more than likely increase if he continues to hit this well or his injury riddled past will come back to haunt him as his body ages. Morneau you could be right about, but his concussion history is always a ticking time-bomb that the club is going to have to consider before guaranteeing him anything.
    1. PseudoSABR's Avatar
      PseudoSABR -
      Quote Originally Posted by TheLeviathan View Post
      It's highly unlikely Willingham is going to be a continuing positive force on the roster beyond 2014. His cost will more than likely increase if he continues to hit this well or his injury riddled past will come back to haunt him as his body ages. Morneau you could be right about, but his concussion history is always a ticking time-bomb that the club is going to have to consider before guaranteeing him anything.
      I think it's likely that Willingham will be a positive force beyond 2014; maybe not to the same degree he was last year or will be this year. But I don't think he'll suddenly have negative value. Of course, I wouldn't think about extending until his contract expires, or he shows continued dominance. That said, Willingham's first full season was as 27 year old, and while he's had injuries he's collected at least 400 PAs every season since then.

      In both cases, the contract matters. I'd go short term deals with vesting thresholds for PAs.

      I just don't want the Twins to sell short on players now because they are losing, when those same players can help bridge the gap to the next core. We might be overpaying to keep them around, but we could also be looking at gaping holes at DH and 1B (esp. if Parm sticks in the OF or busts) as soon as next year. I also don't see them spending similar money on FAs; they are far more likely to spend on their own, imo.
    1. Kwak's Avatar
      Kwak -
      The Twins will have plenty of cap space when it comes time to negotiate a new contract for Willingham. As a DH, he's not hurting the team defensively and other teams can more easily evaluate his worth to them for purposes of a trade.
    1. stringer bell's Avatar
      stringer bell -
      A pretty good column. I think a lot of the predictions are spot on. Time will tell.
    1. TheLeviathan's Avatar
      TheLeviathan -
      Quote Originally Posted by PseudoSABR View Post
      I think it's likely that Willingham will be a positive force beyond 2014; maybe not to the same degree he was last year or will be this year. But I don't think he'll suddenly have negative value. Of course, I wouldn't think about extending until his contract expires, or he shows continued dominance. That said, Willingham's first full season was as 27 year old, and while he's had injuries he's collected at least 400 PAs every season since then.
      Here's the problem I see with that. First - he has had injuries, lots of them, even during his prime. He's coming up to that age threshold when professional players start to break down physically. If he's continuing to be a very productive offensive player, at that age, it's unlikely he's going to want to go year by year. And it's very unlikely he will continue to be "affordable". It's nothing personal with Willingham, I like him as a player a lot, but you're giving up a lot of potential value now (while he IS affordable and productive) in order to keep him around several seasons from now when the odds are far less likely he will be. Given that corner outfield/DH is the most easily replaced positions on the field I think you capitalize on high value now if the market presents that.

      I agree with not selling short, I wouldn't just dump him to dump him. But I think there is reason to believe that he would have trade value for exactly the same reasons you believe he has value to the Twins.
    1. diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
      diehardtwinsfan -
      I suspect both Willingham and Morneau will be hot commodities at the deadline, and I hope that the Twins pick up a solid middle infielder and another good pitcher as centerpieces for each of them. I also kind of hope that Morneau would resign next offseason and do a DH/1B rotation with Parmalee...
    1. Yossarian's Avatar
      Yossarian -
      Real.
    1. ashburyjohn's Avatar
      ashburyjohn -
      Quote Originally Posted by Mave View Post
      I have been wondering this for a while, realistically speaking... what can we expect from Chris Parmelee defensively?
      You will see the beat writer pull out his thesaurus to look up synonyms for "adequate".
    1. Oldgoat_MN's Avatar
      Oldgoat_MN -
      Quote Originally Posted by johnnydakota View Post
      Unless there is a player added during spring training , it seems to me that Joe Benson makes the team as the 4th outfielder as long as he is healthy.
      If it comes down to Clete or Benson why not take a chance on a guy who may have more upside?
      Joe already is on the outside looking in as far as Prospects are concerned, so lets give him a chance and see what he does with it?
      Very valid point. Makes sense.
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