The Twins entered the 2013-2014 offseason with a ton of questions and not many answers. The team was decimated by the 3 year run of Bill Smith, who isn't fit to run a Lemonade Stand.
Terry Ryan had taken back control of the team prior to the 2013 season and needed the season to assess the state of the franchise. He didn't make a lot of moves but spent the season evaluating talent or lack thereof.
His first move this offseason was to resign Ron Gardenhire and the coaching staff, which should be commended. Gardenhire has not been given the tools to be successful since 2010.
As the Winter Meetings approached, Ryan signed Ricky Nolasco away fron the Dodgers for 4 years/$49 million and Phil Hughes from the Bronx Bummers for 3 years/$24 million. Truly a great start for a team never very active in free agency, filling their greatest needs.
Terry Ryan promised he was not done and publicly stated he would be very aggressive at the Winter Meetings.
The Winter Meetings came and then they went, without a single transaction.
In the week since Terry Ryan signed Jason Kubel, who was in decline when he left the Twins a couple years ago, to a minor league contract. He has always been a below average defensive player and was never able to hit effectively at Target Field. Then, while playing for Arizona and Cleveland, he put up offensive numbers a career minor leaguer would be ashamed of, while he made $8 million.
Prior to that he did resign Mike Pelfrey, who was a starting picher for the Twins last year, to a 2 year/$12 million contract. This was not a bad move, as Pelfrey will be in his 2nd year removed from Tommy John Surgery, which is typically when pitchers return to form. In addition, it is a low risk move both in terms of dollars and years. If it turned out to be a bad fit , it would not be hard to move the contract.
The problem is, Ryan has not pulled the trigger on any other deals after promising to be aggressive. In fact, the Twins, other than being mentioned in the Brandon Arroyo conversation prior to the Pelfrey signing, have not even been mentioned as suitors in any significant player conversations.
The Twins NEED a power bat, a solid 3B (Plouffe is not the answer), SS, an offensive OF (we have enough 4th & 5th OF candidates), and a catcher. Not to mention other areas could always be upgraded.
Stephen Drew would be a good fit at SS and could probably be had for 4-5 years/$50-75 million. A lot of money but he would be a long term answer, not a project. Miguel Sano figures to be 3B in 2015 maybe late 2014 so all we need is a stop gap. Michael Young, formerly of Texas Rangers fame, would be a solid short term answer as well as future backup/DH. He would also fill the need for power. OF & Catcher could be filled through trade, however there has been zero trade talk involving Twins. Although Byron Buxton does figure to be the starting CF around the same time as Sano at 3B and Josmil Pinto has the potential to be a great catcher if he can improve his calling of a game & defensive ability behind the plate
Bottom line is Terry Ryan has his work cut out and has set the bar high with his early offseason rhetoric. Ron Gardenhire and Twins fans deserve a competitive roster.
The only players that should be off limits, I might miss one or two, are: Miguel Sano, Byron Buxton, Eddie Rosario, Kohl Stewart, and Max Kepler.
Guys that should be on the block: Trevor Plouffe, Ryan Doumit, Josh Willlingham, Aaron Hicks, Chris Parmalee, Alex Wimmers, Vance Worley, Scott Diamond, Sam Deduno, Brian Duensing and many others.
We built you Target Field, time to say thank you and at least try to be competitive. Two new players is too small of a bone, we deserve the whole steak. 1991......22 years....and counting......