Phil Miller covered three seasons of Twins baseball, but that was at a different ballpark for a different newspaper. Now Miller returns to the baseball beat after joining the Star Tribune as the Gopher football writer in 2010, and he won't miss the dingy dome for a minute. In addition to the Twins and Gophers, Miller covered the Utah Jazz and the NBA for six years at The Salt Lake Tribune.
The Twins are in a good position, as free agents Orlando Hudson and Jarrod Washburn finalize their decisions on where they want to spend 2010.
The Twins don't need either player. Sure, Hudson would be a natural fit in the No. 2 spot of the batting order between Denard Span and Joe Mauer. And sure, Washburn would give them another proven veteran for the rotation.
But the Twins already have two switch-hitting second base options in Nick Punto and Alexi Casilla. Both have been maddeningly inconsistent, but at their best, they've shown an ability to handle 2-hole duties. And the Twins already have a bevy of starting pitching choices that includes lefthanders Brian Duensing, Francisco Liriano and Glen Perkins.
Hudson is reportedly trying to choose between the Nationals and Twins. The Nats went 59-103 last season, so if Hudson wants to contend in 2010, that's an easy choice. From what we've gathered, the Nats have offered more money, though not enough for Hudson to accept, at least not yet.
So the Twins can set their price for Hudson and walk away if he won't accept. Same goes for Washburn, who already turned down a one-year, $5 million offer from the Twins. They made that offer before Carl Pavano accepted arbitration, and there's a sense they wouldn't offer that same amount now, with their projected Opening Day payroll already at $91.5 million.
If the Twins signed Washburn, it would almost force them to trade Perkins or Liriano in spring training. And if they signed Hudson, it would almost force them to trade Casilla. To make decisions like this, you can't just dwell on what these players did in 2009, you have to project for 2010 and beyond (in some cases), and then decide what these players are worth.
Let's take a closer look with statistical projections for next season from "The Bill James Handbook 2010."
Alexi Casilla (age 25, estimated salary $450,000): .258 AVG/.324 OBP/.330 SLG
Orlando Hudson (age 32, estimated salary $5 million with incentives): .280/.353/.409
Nick Punto (age 32, salary $4 million): .244/.330/.308
Glen Perkins (age 27, estimated salary $450,000): 4.82 ERA
Francisco Liriano (age 26, salary $1.6 million): 3.67 ERA
Jarrod Washburn (age 35, estimated salary $5 m with incentives): 4.09 ERA
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