I agree on 3B.
Of course, Byron could stumble a bit and Thrylos could be right as well.
But counting on him to be a significant contributor in 2014 is overly optimistic.
On the wider original topic, it is reasonable to expect better offense from several veterans, and certainly possible that Florimon might improve upon his first full season as a regular. I also expect a much different lineup at midseason compared to Opening Day and probably another change by season's end. I think Buxton gets a look this September (skipping AAA), but won't be a regular until well into 2015. Barring injury or sub-.200 BA, Sano will become the Twins 3B sometime this year. As soon as Hicks has shown that a) his LH hitting is acceptable and b) that he has "mastered" AAA, he'll be back in center to keep the spot warm for the phenom. It would be nice to spend to upgrade, but I suspect the Twins will spend only on a catcher (Buck, Suzuki, Arencebia) who won't help the offense much.
I would suggest that people who think internal improvements from poor seasons last year might want to consider a few things:
1). The team's biggest regression candidate plays second base and lead the team in HR.
2). Hammer's issues were injuries, there is plenty of reason to expect those issues continue.
3) Our gain at 1b is probably offset and more by our loss at catcher.
Longterm the offense has great potential but next year could be really ugly if even one or two things happen from that list. It's more than enough to offset anything Arcia or others could do to improve.
I guess with most of our top prospects being on the offensive side and many of them close to ML ready like Arcia, Hicks, Pinto, Sano, and Rosario I'm not as worried about offense. Plus I just don't see an obvious signing that will help the team that much. The big names I don't want to spend on like Choo or Cano plus they're not all that realistic for us anyhow. A couple one year deals might be nice to strengthen the team a bit though. A catcher and a middle infielder maybe. Just not sure who that would be.
If the teams gonna drop more money especially long term I'd rather it be on a starting pitcher.
Doumit and Willingham have to bounce back some don't they? Not necessarily to their 2012 level, but they can't be as awful as they both were in 2013. That said, with the absolute lack of offensive potential I don't see how the Twins can dump either one. I wouldn't go all in on either one of them (like give the catcher/RF job to Doumit), but I wouldn't trade them while their values are so incredibly low either. As recently as 2012, they were both good and neither guy is blocking any one.
I would love to see Aaron Hicks come to ST pissed off and ready to fight for the CF spot.
Everything we read after Hammer's knee surgery indicated that he felt much better. Would have been encouraging to see an uptick in production though. I'm hopeful for something between 2012 and 2013. 260/340/460 or so.
I don't think Dozier's a regression candidate necessarily. His BABIP was .278. HR/FB were under 10%. And most of his HRs cleared the fence by "plenty." Will be interesting to see if teams pitch him away more, and how he copes with that, because he established that inner-half is his wheelhouse.
Arcia hit .734 while swinging at bad pitches and missing good ones. If he improves a little bit in both areas, he can hit .800 next year I think. Talent's there.
Florimon didn't hit for average or OBP last year and he never has. The thing that kept his OPS above .600 were the 9 HRs but 5 of those were "just enough" to clear the fence. Take away a couple of those and he's a .5XX hitter. They tell us his RH side is his strong side but still waiting to see evidence of that. If true, maybe he's good for mid .600.
I have stopped hoping for better from Plouffe and Parmelee. Maybe a platoon is the answer but then Escobar or someone will bat against LHPs, I wouldn't expect much from him.
I really hope Hicks figures it out. If he can leadoff decently then we should have a pretty solid 1-5 but it could get dicey after that.
Doumit hit exactly like Fangraphs predicted he would, so no, he does not need to bounce back.
The Brewers just traded Aoki to the Royals for Will Smith. Aoki would have fit in nicely as a bridge to Hicks-Buxton-etc. and would allow for one of Willingham/Arcia to DH and push Doumit to the bench where he belongs.
I think what the Twins will do is find out once and for all whether Plouffe and Parmalee can play on a regular basis. If Plouffe fails early, Sano is up - provided hes hitting well in AAA. Otherwise hes a September call-up. If they both rake, its a nice problem to have.
Parmalee will be fighting for at bats with Arcia, Willingham, and Doumit but that should clear up once Willingham and/or Doumit are traded at the all star break. I'm sure Twins management and everybody on this board hope that they have good first halves to increase their value.
Hicks played himself into AAA to start the season regardless how good he plays in spring training. Pressly will play until he plays himself off the team. If Hicks and Pressly both play well, again its a nice problem to have. The trades of Willingham and Doumit will solve the problem.
The Twins aren't going to win in 2014, adding another veteran player or two just muddies up the water, by letting these guys play they either increase in value for a possible trade, show that they have a longterm role on the Twins, or they play themselves off the team.
Basically, the plan appears to be "hope".
Why would anyone think Pressly will play well, given his age and history?
Why can't they win in 2014? They just shaved a lot of runs off the defensive side, why can't they get a real DH/LF, call up Sano earlier rather than later, and get lucky with Hicks/Pinto?
So every minor leaguer is going to work out? And, ya, maybe, but not in 2014 or probably even a full year of 2105 given your names.....
The offensive potential here is dramatically better than the pessimistic view that's being described in part by extrapolating last year's horrible glut of individual performance deficiencies (Willingham, Doumit, Plouffe, Arcia, and Parmelee in particular). The organization can better predict the liklihood of a rebound in performance from these five players much better than we can of course. It's unrealistic for us to expect improvement from all five of these guys, but not a pollyanna view to think that maybe at least three, an maybe four of them perform better?
But even if they all perform better, this offense won't be that good until the stopgap group (four of them mentioned here) is supplanted by the likes of Polanco, Hicks, Arcia, Rosario, Pinto, Buxton, Kepler, Santana, and Sano. And even then, the new guys will need to spins their wheels for a year or so before figuring it all out at the highest level.
People seem to be missing the point. The future is certainly bright offensively, but the 2014 offense looks pretty god awful at this point. I don't see anything I want Ryan to do now about that, just bracing for the ugliness.
The problem I see is that the guys that might have come back years are all slow and poor in the field. Arcia and Pinto may become good players but now are slow footed and not good in the field so they have to hit well to be viable. Willingham, Doumit, Plouffe, Parmalee and Colabelo are all slow and sub par in the field.
Picking up Nate McLouth and Franklin Guetierrez to platoon in one outfiled spot would give us some speed and likely wouldn't cost a lot, of course, Guetierrez can't seem to stay healthy.
Even McLouth and Mastro platoon would help the D. An outfield with Willy, Doumit, Parmalee and or Arcia playing 2 of the spots can't make any pitcher happy.
Also Michael Young is a good low cost option for a player to sign for our offense as he can play a number of positions, doesn't strike out alot 15% of plate appearances, can be signed short term 1 year, won't cost alot 3-5 million, and hits for a decent average, and provides leadership the Twins are after.
Seriously which free agents on the offensive side to people want the Twins to sign? Cano? Haha, yeah right. Drew? Pass. Choo? Could fit but doesn't really fill a need. I just don't see many good fits from free agency. Maybe I'm forgetting someone.