On the positive side the Twins did finish the season on a winning note. Their 1-0 victory over the Kansas City Royals kept them from being only the second team in baseball to be an over 100-loss, $100 million payroll team.
This was a season that saw almost every Twins starter taking a turn on the disabled list; only Danny Valencia, Michael Cuddyer and Ben Revere played in more than 100 games in the season. Pulling every available arm and bat from the minor leagues, we got a glimpse of the future—and it wasn't that bright.
In an attempt to fill a hole at either shortstop or second base, Minnesota took a chance on Tsuyoshi Nishioka, a veteran Japanese player with seven-plus professional seasons with Chiba Lotte Marines. the switch-hitting Nishioka struggled adapting to major league pitching, batting only .226 in 68 games.
The Twins' winning formula has been solid pitching, stellar defense and hitting for average. In 2011 the Twins pitching staff had a 4.68 ERA—only the Baltimore Orioles finished the season with a higher ERA.
The offensive struggles of a .247 batting average, good for only 21st in baseball, and their defense was atrocious, committing the third-most errors in baseball.
With the trade of Delmon Young to the Tigers, and outfielders Cuddyer, Jason Kubel set to test the free-agent market, the Twins could find themselves thin at outfield. They also need to shore up the middle infield, find a capable backup for Joe Mauer behind the plate, and acquire a power-hitting designated hitter, as well a couple of starters and a new closer.
The Twins have needs at just about every position except third base and center field.
The Twins should have some money to spend in 2012. Opening their second season at Target Field, the Twins were able draw over three million fans; add to that the fact they will be removing over $41 million from the salaries of Cuddyer, Kubel, Young, Matt Capps, Joe Nathan and Jim Thome.
Here are 10 free agents Twins general manager Bill Smith should consider making a bid for this offseason.