Did the Twins just execute a "perfect" offseason?
JJ Hardy. Carl Pavano. Clay Condrey. Jim Thome. Orlando Hudson. (Joe Mauer?) Talk about a study in a wise allocation of resources.
After the 2009 regular season, the Twins had several clear and crucial needs, most notably their nearly empty infield. Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau were the only two guaranteed starters, while Nick Punto’s versatility would allow him to start at any one of the 2B/SS/3B holes in the Minnesota infield.
Needing to fill two of 2B/SS/3B, the Twins immediately got into action, trading away center fielder Carlos Gomez for shortstop JJ Hardy shortly after the conclusion of the World Series. While a starting staff extremely prone to the fly ball will miss Gomez’s defense, the young outfielder likely wouldn’t have received any regular playing time. Hardy played miserably last year, but the Twins feel confident that they will be able to help him return to his previous status.
The Twins also awarded a contract to veteran starting pitcher Carl Pavano, who posted a 4.00 FIP last season in just under 200 innings. His durability will be crucial for the Twins, as will—though it pains a stats geek like myself to say—his “veteran presence.” Clay Condrey was the next free agent brought aboard by the Twins. The bullpen wasn't a primary area of concern, but Condrey will fill a useful (albeit minimal) role in the 2010 bullpen. Condrey is a sinker-ball pitcher who will be very welcome in Minnesota.
Jim Thome was then signed to a very cheap one-year deal. He won't play every day, but the future hall-of-famer doesn't seem to have a problem with that. Thome gives the Twins some non-Cuddyer depth at first base, and is also available to slide into the full-time designated hitter position should Jason Kubel need to replace an injured outfielder for an extended period of time. Most importantly, though, Thome will provide the Twins with a legitimate power threat off the bench, something they have been bereft of for quite some time.
Minnesota then shocked their fanbase by signing another part of the 2B/SS/3B hole in Orlando Hudson. Excluding the (hopefully) inevitable Joe Mauer extension, this move was perhaps the most significant of the entire offseason for the Twins. Not only does Hudson provide the Twins with an above-average option at second base, but the switch-hitting 32-year-old gives the Twins a legitimate No. 2 hitter to bat before Mauer, and breaks up the long streak of left-handed batters in the lineup.
A significant increase in revenue was received as a result of the opening of Target Field, and most of that was pumped right back into the team. The Twins are tip-toeing the line between small- and large-market, with their payroll inching closer to the $100 million mark. They spent a lot of money this offseason, and several holes were filled.
Obviously, some center field depth would be nice to have, as would an ace to head up the rotation, though neither of these were priorities. Assuming the Twins spent as much money as they had available, did they spread their resources wisely?
What would you have done differently? Who would you have targeted before Orlando Hudson or Carl Pavano? Did the Twins have a "successful" offseason in your eyes? Be sure to leave you thoughts in the comment section below!