The bullpen has been buttressed. The starting rotation has been deepened. And the lineup has been lengthened.
After an offseason in which the front office saved its best for last — adding starters Jake Odorizzi and Lance Lynn and slugger Logan Morrison since camp opened in mid-February — the Twins enter the regular season as well prepared as they have since manager Paul Molitor took over in 2015.
Now there’s just one, big question left to be answered over the next 162 games: Did the Twins do enough to catch the Cleveland Indians in the American League Central Division?
“Yeah, I think they have,” said MLB Network analyst Harold Reynolds. “I look at the Twins. The pitching is the big difference. You look at the starting rotation, say it is more reliable.
“I just love that young talent. It is some of the best in baseball. Their young guys are phenomenal.”
If that is the case, the Twins have made up a lot of ground in the span of a few transactions.
The Indians had the best record in the American League (102-60) and finished 17 games ahead of the Twins.
How? Cleveland scored 818 runs last season, only three more than the Twins.
The big difference was in runs allowed, of which pitching is a big component. Cleveland allowed the fewest runs in baseball last season, 564. The Twins allowed 788. That’s a massive gap.
Are the additions of relievers Zach Duke, Addison Reed and Fernando Rodney, along with Odorizzi and Lynn, enough to catch up to Cleveland?
The Indians did lose key setup man Bryan Shaw, as well as reliever Joe Smith. They have to prove they can absorb those losses.
“When you look to Cleveland and look to close the gap,” Twins pitcher Kyle Gibson said, “you look to close the gap in pitching.”
But the Twins also hope that Morrison, whose .868 on-base-plus-slugging percentage last season would have led the Twins, plus the development of their 20-something-aged hitters, can take the offense to another level and close the gap with the Indians.
Both teams have a bevy of talented young position players, none better than Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor. But Cleveland manager Terry Francona probably is still mumbling to himself about the number of times Byron Buxton robbed his team of hits.
Cleveland won the season series 12-7 last year, taking nine of 10 games from the Twins at Target Field. The Twins were 6-3 at Progressive Field in Cleveland and are 17-12 there over the past three seasons.
Despite the roster buildup, the Twins are predicted to win 83 games this season, based on PECOTA projections, which is two fewer wins than a year ago. Cleveland is projected to win 96, and that 13-win gap represents just a four-game gain by the Twins over last season.
The projections have the Twins tying the Rays for the second wild-card spot — and the Rays spent the offseason trading Odorizzi, Corey Dickerson and Evan Longoria while watching Morrison sign with the Twins.
Any way you look at it, the Indians and Twins are clearly the class of the division.
The Royals watched Lorenzo Cain (Brewers) and Eric Hosmer (Padres) leave as free agents, and their once formidable bullpen has suffered several departures.
The White Sox pulled the plug after the 2016 season, trading ace lefthander Chris Sale and outfielder Adam Eaton, then moved Todd Frazier and others last season while assembling a posse of highly touted prospects who are just reaching the majors.
Their time is coming, just not this season.
The Tigers traded Justin Verlander, Justin Wilson, J.D. Martinez, Justin Upton and Alex Avila — all since July 31 — but have a healthy Miguel Cabrera and talented young starter Michael Fulmer playing for new manager Ron Gardenhire.
Things appear to be set up for the Twins and Indians to fatten up against Kansas City, Chicago and Detroit. But if there is a team that can be a spoiler among the three, Reynolds thinks it’s Detroit.
“The Tigers are that team I’m looking at to make a difference in the division,” he said. “They could hurt the other clubs that have a chance.”
The Twins want to prove they are more than a wild-card wonder, but toppling an extremely talented Indians team might be too much to expect.
Still, the Twins are coming off their first postseason appearance since 2010, so the season series against Cleveland will be more intense than in recent years.
“Let’s go,” second baseman Brian Dozier said. “We know how good we are. They, obviously, are the reigning champs. It’s about that time to knock them off.”