Won/Loss (place in division) & Playoffs: 90-72 (3rd & wild card), lost to Seattle in Round 1
Offense: 770 runs (8th)
Pitching: 4.01 ERA (7th)
FA Departures: OF Sterling Adams, SP Manuel Rodriguez, SP Duane Powell, OF Gus Turner, DH Felipe Baez
FA Signees: RP Rudy Scott, RP Claude SmithAcquired via trade: DH Cutter Nieman
Rule V: CF Lou Dydalewicz (#24), LR Delino Lecuona (#56), RP Apollo Verlander (#88)
Promoted: C Guy Simontacchi (Sea 15 #69 overall),
Season 21 Outlook
Minnesota builds teams strictly for the playoffs. Spend as much as you can for stars, and for the 8 guys who won't see daylight in the playoffs, who cares where you find 'em? And heaven forbid, don't bother with those pesky 4th and 5th starting pitchers (that you don't need for playoffs).
Actually, I think the Twinkies dug up the best bargain of the Rule V - CF Preston Dydalewicz. He could very well win the CF Gold Glove and steal 40-50 bases. He won't hit at all, but when you get a player for nothing who can win games with his glove, you've done something.
This will be the breakout year for LF Asdrubal Azocar. He missed 60 games with injuries last year, but hit pretty well when active. He's got one of the best power strokes in the AL - 45+ bombs this year. I also love the Cutter Nieman trade. Great eye, chews up lefties...got "batting title" written all over him. 1B Harry Rivera isn't a big power threat anymore, but he can still hit. And between their 3-headed catcher platoon, they have a 4th good hitter. RF Sean Goldstein's power is not worth the .276 OBP they have to tolerate to get it. Louis Turner (or someone else) will be in RF before long. As for the offensive potential at the other positions, well...
Can you win with 4 good hitters and those other guys? I don't know.
Minnesota's use of pitchers is...innovative. We all know about SP's Santiago, Smalley and Martin. It looks like they're gonna try Rule V pickup Lecuona as Starter 4 - that won't last long. The question is whether they have enough quality relief innings to effectively replace 2 starters (say, 400 innings). Chong can probably give 'em 170 innings if pressed. Brennaman 110. Perez, let's say 140. Mind you , these are all very high-quality pitchers. Rudy Scott, 100 if he had to. Pettitte has pitched 120 before. Claude Smith could start if needed (and he will be) - 150 innings. Throw in 600 for the 3 starters and you've got 1390 innings from quality pitchers.
The Twins are as good a bet as anyone to win the tournament...IF they make it. And they're battling the much more regular season-friendly Jays and White Sox for a ticket to it. I think they're going to be perilously close to missing the playoffs without another bat or 2.
"Innings? 1-2-3 of Santiago, Smalley, and Martin are decent (decent?), but who can pitch in the #4/5 slots? Big question mark, even for the Twins' owner. Pen should be good. On offense, how far can Asdrubal Azocar take us, and how much can Harry Rivera rebound from last year's **** season? Without Adams, they will have to produce more."