Heavens to Betsy, it does not look good for the Twinkies. A proud franchise who made the playoffs over and over during the first decade of the new millennium, the Twins won 63 games last year, easily the least amount of wins in the AL. For the first time in the history of the world, people thanked the good lord for Houston. Without the Astros, the Twins would have the least wins in all of MLB
The Twins seem to be going for some sort of youth/veteran movement, unclear as it may be. They have Joe Mauer at catcher , Denard Span in CF, and their usual stable of completely average, over-30-year-old starters in Scotty B. Baker, Carl Pavano, and perennial underachiever Francisco Liriano. They lost closer Joe Nathan to the Rangers, and their pen is a trash heap. It's hard to discern the direction of the team, as they're playing youngsters with fairly limited upside at 2B (Lucas Hughes and Alexi Casilla), DH (Big Rene Tosoni), and the corner outfield spots (Ben Revere and Trevor Plouffe). My motto is, "when you cant figure out the direction of the team, then the team is stinky."
Time for Kings, Crumbums, and Codgers, arguably the most popular segment of all segments on the internet:
Catcher: Joe Mauer, health permitting (which is a big statement, I am aware), will bounce back. He will hit 320+, he will hit 15+ jacks, and he will, hopefully, get plenty of days off from catching, be it 1B or DH.
3B: Danny Valencia had a nice little sophomore season in 2011. He hit 15 jacks, albeit with a sub-.250 average. Balls Deep expects an improvement in both departments.
Closer: Matt Capps. Seems like a nice guy. To my knowledge he has no tattoos and he is friendly when he speaks on the XM Radio MLB Channel, but he can't beat anyone with his heater. Much like Joe Borowski for the Indians a few years back, Cappsy gets the job done on guts and moxie. However, the rumor on the streets is he lost some of his moxie and about 50 percent of his guts this offseason. I expect him to lose the closer job to Glen Perkins at some point. I'm not even sure Perkins can close, but I know Capps will blow like five games in a row and totally deflate the team.
Jamey Carroll at shortstop? Seriously? He hits no homers, no doubles, doesn't steal bases, has no range. But I guess it's better than just putting a goat there and letting him eat grass? It's also funny because my old roommate, Tommy, had a blowup doll named Carroll. He actually spelled her name with 2 Rs and 2 Ls. Frankly, I am not unsure that his blowup doll is a better hitter than Jamey. But since I am not the GM of the Twins, I cannot in good faith assume she could turn the double play. So Jamey will have to do.
Will the Twins win 70 games?
This pains me to say because he is one of my favorite players, but it seems painfully obvious that Justin Morneau is not going to go back to the .280-.300 hitter who raked 30 dongs and had 110 ribbies every year. Concussions are tricky, and the webs could shake off at any moment, and I hope they do. But until that happens, it really seems like his career is about over. It sucks because he is awesome, or was.
Joel Zumaya needs to retire. He obviously is incapable of staying healthy, as he hasn't since his rookie year in Detroit in 2006. He is already out for the year, and I think the Twins had to pay like half a milly for him to tear his arm up and release him. Unreal.
It's going to be a long year in Minne. They should win more than 63 because frankly, nobody is that bad (except Houston). But 70 wins may be a stretch with this lineup, pen, and average starters. The division is a lot deeper than it has been in a long time. I think it's 50/50 the Twins can reach 70 wins. I'll peg them at 69, in honor of Jared Allen, the Vikings All-Pro DE.
Ball Deep or do not ball.