The Minnesota Twins have won five AL Central Division Titles in the last eight years, and most are confident they will repeat that success in the 2010 season. But while the Twins are already one of the top AL teams heading into the season, there are still several spots needing to be filled. Here is a look at what the Twins need to do with the rest of their offseason to make it back to the playoffs:
Re-sign Joe Mauer
The bottom line this offseason is to ink this guy. The Twins have hinted that they will continue to get the necessary pieces to build the team around Mauer, but they need him first and foremost. Coming off the best season of his career, the Twins would be smart to negotiate another multi-year contract with the league's best hitter.
Address the Third Base Issue
The Twins really don't have a concrete third baseman locked down yet. There continue to be names floating around like Miguel Tejada, and Joe Crede is always an option if he can stay healthy. I've heard a lot of talk about finding a "loaner" until Danny Valencia comes up, but we'll just have to see how it pans out.
Find Another Veteran Starter
The starting rotation looks pretty fine and dandy, with players like Carl Pavano, Scott Baker, Kevin Slowey and Nick Blackburn, but one more good arm would do wonders for the whole lot. Jarrod Washburn keeps coming up, but the fact is he already denied the Twins $5 million bid earlier this month. Other starters like Ben Sheets are also floating around.
It'll be interesting to see if they can hook a veteran starter, especially the likes of Washburn.
A couple more interesting things the Twins need to contemplate include finding a fit for Francisco Liriano, perhaps finding a veteran pinch-hitter, and possibly looking for a fourth outfielder or second baseman. It's my hope to see the Twins shop around this offseason—a few more pieces could make this team quite a bit better, and would make a division title in a weaker AL Central all the more probable.