Coming into the free agent signing period, I am sure the Minnesota Twins didn't have a to-do checklist that read like this:
1. Lose the franchise all time saves leader.
2. Sign a 36 year old shortstop to shore up their middle infield.
3. Watch Cuddyer balk at every contract offer they've made.
4. Sign a career .262 hitting outfielder.
5. Not add a starting pitcher.
Yet those five things are exactly what they have done up to this point. Joe Nathan took off for greener pastures (Or maybe a chance to finally go somewhere in the playoffs), Jamey Carroll is projected to be the starting shortstop for a team that needs great interior defense for the ground ball producing pitchers to survive and Josh Willingham is apparently the heir to Cuddyer's spot in right field.
At this point in the offseason, the Minnesota Twins are certainly guaranteed a failing grade for what they have done, but there is still hope. There are still some free agents out there that could certainly be acquired for what the Twins are willing to spend, so instead of being filled with dread about the upcoming season, I will maintain hope that the Twins will attempt to sign at least one of the following free agents.
1. Roy Oswalt: While it is certainly true that Oswalt has struggled with injuries over the past few seasons and his ability to throw the ball past hitters is on the decline, he is still a viable ace for a club whose pitching staff had an embarrassingly bad 4.60 team ERA.
2. Kelly Johnson: Yes, Johnson does strike out a lot. Yes, Johnson has a career .260 batting average, but there is upside.
Johnson has power and his on-base percent is .083 points higher than his batting average. That's a career .343 on-base percentage. hat is .054 points higher than Luke Hughes, .057 points higher than Trevor Plouffe and .033 points higher than Alexi Casilla.
He also has the highest ratio of home runs to at-bats, coming in at one home run every 30.3 at-bats. Plouffe is the closest to him at 32.7. He also has a career fielding percentage of .982.
He is a solid second basemen that would certainly help the middle infield.
3. Kerry Wood: He has become a solid late-inning option as a relief pitcher and the Twins need as much bullpen help as possible.
4. Darren Oliver: He is the best left-handed reliever available and a much better option than any lefty in the Twins pen besides Glen Perkins.
5. Matt Murton: I know, not many people know who he is, so here's a quick lesson. He was drafted by the Red Sox, traded to the Cubs, traded to the A's, traded to the Rockies, then released by the Rockies and played a couple seasons in Japan. In his first season in Japan, he set the single season hit record, held by a guy named Ichiro.
In his second season he hit .311. Combined between both seasons, he had 30 home runs and 151 runs batted in. Oh, and he has a career .982 fielding percent in the MLB.
It's certainly not a perfect situation considering the age of the pitchers involved and the risk involved in the other two, but with the current state of the Twins roster, it certainly can't hurt any.