After an up-and-down 2009 season that included an AL Central title and a farewell to the Metrodome, the Twins and their fans are anticipating a successful 2010 campaign.
Just as soon as last year's season ended -- with a three-game sweep at the hands of the New York Yankees in the ALDS -- the new season has quickly approached. With pitchers and catchers, including AL MVP catcher Joe Mauer, set to start camp in Fort Meyers, Florida next week, many faces and personalities have left the Twins.
But every player who leaves must be replaced by a new one. Here is a recap of the moves the Twins have made this offseason.
Boof Bonser missed the entire 2009 season with labrum and rotator cuff surgery. The Twins designated him for assignment on December 8th, and was traded to the Boston Red Sox on December 10th for a player to be named later.
The Red Sox sent 24-year-old right-hander Chris Province to complete the trade. Province spent last season at AA-Portland where he went 2-4 with a 2.60 ERA in 43 relief appearances.
Bonser, who was acquired by the Twins in 2003, went 18-25 with 5.12 ERA during his three seasons in Minnesota.
Carlos Gomez was a headline player that the Twins acquired from the the New York Mets in exchange for Johan Santana in 2008. But Gomez couldn't harness his raw-talent in Minnesota, and he was dealt after only two seasons with the Twins.
Gomez went from batting lead-off, to batting ninth, to coming in during the late innings as a defensive replacement. Gomez hit .248 with 214 strikeouts, and will be remembered in Minnesota for his free-swinging style, speed in the outfield, and being hit by a revolving door at the Metrodome.
The Twins traded Carlos Gomez to the Brewers during the New York Yankees championship parade. Neither the Twins nor the Brewers were wasting any time in revamping their teams for the upcoming season.
Minnesota, who already had a crowded outfield with Gomez, Denard Span, Delmon Young, Michael Cuddyer, and Jason Kubel, traded for shortstop JJ Hardy to fill an open spot in their infield.
Hardy, an All-Star in 2007, hit .280 with 51 home runs from 2007-08. However, he struggled in 2009 and was sent to the minors.
Hardy finished 2009 hitting just .229 with 11 home runs in 115 games.
He is slated as the starting shortstop for the Twins, who hope he can regain his hitting stroke of two seasons ago.
Carl Pavano came to the Twins in August 2009 through a trade with the Cleveland Indians for a player-to-be-named (Yohan Pino).
When the Twins acquired Pavano, he was 9-8 with a 5.37 ERA and were in third place in the AL Central, six games behind the division-leading Detroit Tigers.
The Twins rallied behind the much-needed veteran pitcher and won the AL Cental in a tie-breaking game with the Detroit Tigers.
Pavano was 5-4 with a 4.64 ERA in 12 starts for the Twins.
Pavano was a free agent following the 2009 season, and accepted arbitration from the Twins and should get a place in the 2010 starting rotation.
The Twins sent pitcher Mike Maroth an invitation for spring training to try and make their squad.
That move surprised me.
Maroth is infamously known for losing 21 games for the 2003 Tigers.
Maroth, who last pitched in the majors in 2007, was 0-5 with a 10.10 ERA with the St. Louis Cardinals after being traded from Detroit during the '07 season.
The Twins have also invited right-handed pitchers Anthony Slama (their 2008 Minor League Pitcher of the Year), and Kyle Waldrop (their third pick in the first round (25th overall) of the 2004 First-Year Player Draft) to spring training.
Three position players that the Twins have invited to spring training:
Outfielders Ben Revere (the Twins' '08 and '09 Minor League Player of the Year), Rene Tosoni ( the Most Valuable Player in the '09 Futures Game), and infielder Chris Parmelee (their first round pick (20th overall) in the 2006 First-Year Player Draft).
Clay Condery won a World Series with the Philadelphia Phillies in 2008, and helped them win the NL Pennant in 2009.
Condery was 6-2 with a 3.00 ERA in 45 relief appearances for the Phillies last season.
Condrey comes in to help the Twins' pitching staff, who's 4.50 ERA was 24th in the major league.
Mike Redmond joined the Twins in 2005 after playing for the Florida Marlins from 1998 through 2004.
Redmond will be remembered by Twins fans for having coined the term "Smell Those RBIs." Whenever a Twins player is credited with an RBI, the player gives a tap on the nose and a look to the dugout.
He will also be remembered for being a very durable catcher.
During the second game of a doubleheader in 2007, Redmond was hit in the head by the bat of Jim Thome, who accidentally let go of his bat after his swing. Redmond received seven stitches and played the very next day.
Redmond's .996 career fielding percentage is highest among active catchers who have caught at least 600 games.
During "Red"'s five seasons in Minnesota he batted .297 while recording 256 hits in 257 games played.
Jason Pridie was acquired by the Twins along with Delmon Young and Brendan Harris in exchange for Matt Garza and Jason Bartlett.
Pridie was in position to be the fifth outfielder and a defensive replacement for the Twins. But, after the Twins signed Orlando Hudson, they needed to make room for him on the 40-man roster and placed Pridie on waivers.
Pridie was quickly claimed by the New York Mets.
Pridie appeared in 11 games for the Twins from 2008-09, but failed to record a hit in his six plate appearances.
After Pridie was claimed off waivers by the New York Mets, the Twins were in need of an extra outfielder.
Jacque Jones, who played for the Twins from 1999-2005, was waiting for the call.
Jones, who turns 35 in April, hasn't played in the majors since 2007, when he hit a combined .147 (17 for 134) for the Detroit Tigers and Florida Marlins.
Jones signed a minor league deal with the Cincinnati Reds in 2009, but was cut after he failed to make the team out of spring training.
Jones, who hit .279 with 132 home runs and 476 RBI during his first stint as a Twin, helped the Twins win three consecutive AL Central titles from 2002-2004. He signed with the Chicago Cubs as a free agent in 2005.
Jones isn't expected to make the team out of spring training, but said he is willing to play for AAA-Rochester until his services are needed.
The ultimate "Twin killer" has been converted.
Jim Thome, who has a record 58 home runs against the Minnesota Twins, signed a one year contract to play in Minnesota in January.
Thome has done a lot of damage against the Twins, whether it was with the Cleveland Indians (1991-2002) or the Chicago White Sox (2006-2009). One painful Jim Thome moment Twins fans should remember came during the 2008 AL Central tie-breaker. Jim Thome hit a solo homerun, leading the White Sox to a 1-0 victory and the 2008 AL Central crown.
Thome, whose 564 career home runs rank him 12th all-time, was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers by the Chicago White Sox midway through last season.
Thome hit 23 home runs and 74 RBI for the Chicago White Sox as the regular DH, but wasn't used much in Los Angeles. He had only four hits in his 17 at-bats for the non-DH using NL Club.
Thome, who was anxious to get back to the AL, will be used as a primary DH and an emergency first baseman this season.
Thome has 2313 career strikeouts, and needs 285 to pass Reggie Jackson for the all-time lead.
Thome also needs only 10 home runs to pass Twins Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew for 10th all-time.
Ten years ago, Killebrew was number five on the all-time list.
Last year, the Twins' infield batted just .233 (with the exception of Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau and Orlando Cabrera).
One of the major needs to address was the need for an productive infielder. With Orlando Cabrera leaving the Twins via free agency, the Twins filled the shortstop hole with JJ Hardy.
And they've also signed Orlando Hudson to play second base.
Hudson hit .283 and earned a Gold Glove for the Dodgers last year.
He will likely bat second in Twins' lineup.
The Twins released P Bobby Keppel and 1B Justin Huber.
Now both Keppel and Huber play professional baseball in Japan; Keppel for the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters, and Huber for the Hiroshima Toyo Carp.
The Dutch pitcher Loek Van Mil is on the Twins' 40-man roster.
He is 7-foot-1: two inches taller than the great Randy Johnson, who retired last month.
This excites me.
3B Brian Buscher left the Twins via free agency and signed with the Cleveland Indians.
Buscher played sparingly for the Twins in 2009, appearing in only 61 games and recording just 134 at-bats. His batting average was just .233.
Buscher failed to make the 2009 postseason roster.
In December, Buscher signed a minor league deal with Cleveland with an invitation to spring training
Perhaps one of the biggest turn-arounds for the Twins was the acquisition of Orlando Cabrera, whom they acquired from Oakland at last year's trade deadline.
Cabrera, 35, was criticized for his decreasing range and arm strength. However, he hit .289 in 49 games for the Twins and became a leader in their clubhouse.
Fans wanted Twins management to bring back Cabrera, but after the trade for JJ Hardy, it seemed very unlikely.
Cabrera eventually signed a contract with the Cincinnati Reds.
The Twins had eignt players eligible for arbitration:
Right-handed pitchers Jesse Crain, Matt Guerrier, Pat Neshek, and Carl Pavano.
Left-handed pitcher Francisco Liriano, infielder J.J. Hardy, and outfielder Delmon Young all agreed to one-year contracts.
In addition, the Twins also agreed to terms on a two-year contract with infielder Brendan Harris.
Contrary to reports by WCCO-TV's Mark Rosen, a deal is still not done between the Twins and AL MVP Joe Mauer.
Rosen originally reported that the two sides had agreed, in principal, to a 10-year contract, but both parties have denied that claim.
Mauer is entering the final year of his contract. The Twins are desperate to sign the three-time batting champion to an extension before he hits the open market in the winter of 2011.
Twins' fans certainly hope Mauer remains in Minnesota for the next decade.
Delmon Young weighed almost 240 pounds when the Twins lost Game 3 to the Yankees in the ALDS.
He showed up to TwinsFest a lean 210.
Young hasn't shown the same potential he showed in Tampa Bay, and is basically playing to stay with the Twins.
His re-commitment is a step in the right direction.