Right now I think Bill Smith's grade as Twins General Manager is a C-. He just hasn't done anything to impress Twins fans.
Now, going into the outdoor ballpark, the Twins are looking to double their salary. They will have a better chance at signing the Type A and B free agents, instead of signing mostly veteran Type C and D players.
Everyone expects Smith to take advantage of the new ballpark. Fans are expecting him to sign bigger free agents, extend the contracts of stars that are already on the team, and become a good general manager that isn't afraid to spend money in the future.
I have come up with five things that I would do if I was Smith. They are moves that I believe they have to make, and moves that I would want to make.
1. Give Joe Mauer an extension
The hometown hero is someone that the Twins cannot afford to let go, and he would love to stay in Minnesota for his entire career.
As mentioned before, the Twins are going to double their salary and will have enough to re-sign Mauer. They have to make the deal before his last year of his contract, because otherwise it'll pressure him and the Twins organization the whole season about what they should do.
The Twins cannot let him slip away to Boston or any team that puts its money in front of him. Minnesota will give him the money he deserves and keep him for the prime of his career.
If the Twins let him slip away, it'll ruin the team, and Justin Morneau wouldn't want to be on the team without Mauer. So I'd sign him ASAP!
2. Trade for Freddy Sanchez
The Twins are desperate for an everyday second baseman. There aren't that many in the league, and Freddy Sanchez is one of those few.
If the Twins made a deal for Sanchez, he'd be starting in the new stadium from day one. I understand that Smith doesn't want to pay a huge contract, but if he wants to keep this organization going, he needs to show the fans that he's willing to give up money so they could enjoy a playoff team.
Another reason why I want Sanchez is because he fits right in with everyone. He can field, and he hits for a great average every year. I think this would also show Mauer that the Twins are willing to pay for him, and they would look to negotiate a contract extension soon.
Let's take a look at the lineup if Minnesota made this deal.
1. Denard Span LF
2. Freddy Sanchez 2B
3. Joe Mauer C
4. Justin Morneau 1B
5. Jason Kuebel DH
6. Michael Cuddyer RF
7. Joe Crede 3B
8. Brenden Harris SS
9. Carlos Gomez CF
3. Sign or trade for an eighth-inning reliever
Without Pat Neshek, the Twins don't have a true eighth-inning guy.
Most of the Twins' relievers are suited for the seventh inning, so they need to get a guy that could get them to Nathan whenever they have a one-run lead.
There have been a lot of names thrown out that I'm not going to talk about. All I'm going to say is that whoever can pitch well in the eighth inning is someone the Twins need.
This is a huge need, and the Twins can't lose games because of the bullpen anymore.
4. Find a way to trade one of the outfielders
The Twins' outfield is made up of Denerd Span, Carlos Gomez, Michael Cuddyer, Jason Kuebel, and Delmon Young.
That's way too many outfielders, so the Twins need to involve one of these players in a trade.
Span clearly earned his everyday job, leading off every game and getting on base. The two cycle hitters definitely showed they deserve to play every day. Carlos Gomez is the fastest player in baseball, shows his defensive skill in the outfield, and has shown flashes of a great bat.
That just leaves Young. He started out slow, having to deal with his mother's death, but he is starting to get the bat going again.
Young certainly hasn't shown any defensive presence, though, which makes me think that he needs to be the one to go.
I don't know if the Twins could do anything except sell low for Young. I don't see anyone really wanting Young to start on their team, so Minnesota's in a bit of a pickle right now.
Whichever outfielder it is, the Twins need to find a way to trade one of them to even this mess out.
5. Get rid of Nick Punto
In all respect to Nick Punto, he's one of the best at fielding in the MLB.
But you can't just play on an MLB team for that.
I get tired of watching out after out from Punto, and I don't think he's an MLB type of player. He should be playing in Rochester where he belongs.
The Twins should just keep Brenden Harris at shortstop. He isn't as great as a fielder as Punto, but the good thing about Harris is he gets a hit about every game.
Punto's just a fielder, and in my organization, if you can't hit, you can't play. It's fair enough in the MLB, and I'll stick with that.
It's clear that not all five of these things will happen, because it's just how Twins general managers work.
But if I were the GM, I'd be working my butt off to do anything to entertain the fans. That's what Smith should do for the rest of his time as GM.
There will be no excuse if he doesn't make a move going into the new stadium. Give the Twins fans what they deserve!