The Minnesota Twins Rebuild: Which Players Will Fuel a Rebirth?

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The Minnesota Twins Rebuild: Which Players Will Fuel a Rebirth?
Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

For the Minnesota Twins, to say the 2011 season did not go as planned would be an extreme understatement. 

The last time the Twins were this bad, it took them five years to rebound from the worst record in the American League to winning the World Series.

In 1982, the Twins lost 102 games under the direction of manager Billy Gardner.

That season was also the beginning of the careers for five players that would become the nucleus that led the Twins to their first world championship.

Catcher Tim Laudner, first baseman Kent Hrbek, third baseman Gary Gaetti and outfielder Tom Brunansky all broke into the Twins starting lineup that year. They hit a combined 75 home runs that season and accounted for 255 RBIs.

(Of course they played in the Metrodome, where home runs came easier for the Twins than Target Field.)

Pitcher Frank Viola also debuted in 1982. He would start 22 games for Minnesota, finishing with a 4-10 record and a 5.21 ERA—the highest in the rotation.

Within five seasons, however, he would become the staff ace and the World Series Most Valuable Player. 

The 2012 Twins might head into the season without three of their top four home run hitters from 2011.

Michael Cuddyer, who led the team with 20 home runs, has signed with the Colorado Rockies.

Jim Thome, traded late last season to the Indians has signed with Phillies.

Jason Kubel remains on the free agent market but after the signing of Josh Willingham it is unlikely he will return.

Here's a look at several youngsters who made their debut with the Twins in 2011 and some veterans who could be a part of the rebuilding for the Minnesota Twins in 2012 and beyond.

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