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Top offseason priorities for Twins? Smith lists pitching, backup catcher and shortstop

  • Blog Post by: Phil Miller
  • October 4, 2011 - 8:48 PM

Twins president Dave St. Peter and general manager Bill Smith took questions from their season ticket holders in a conference call tonight and there were several interesting answers.

Smith said he expects the big league coaching staff to return and that it's unlikely the Twins will try to re-sign Jim Thome. St. Peter said the dimensions at Target Field will not change heading into 2012.

Smith said even if the Twins don't pick up Joe Nathan's club option for 2012, they're interested in keeping him.

Asked about some of the fundamental lapses, Smith said it might be time for the team's minor-league managers to start pulling players from games if they throw to the wrong base or don't run out a ground ball.

Asked about the top offseason priority, Smith said it's tough to pick one because there's a long list.

"We need a [starting pitcher]," Smith said. "We’re looking for that starting pitcher because we might have a starting pitcher or two that we want to put in the bullpen.

"We need to upgrade the bullpen, there’s no question. We’re looking for that backup catcher that can provide a little bit more offense. We’ve gotta figure out shortstop, and that may involve going out and getting another shortstop. We’ve got [Alexi] Casilla, we’ve got [Trevor] Plouffe, we’ve got [Tsuyoshi] Nishioka, we’ve gotta find somebody that can be a stable, starting everyday shortstop."

My favorite part came when a caller named Ann from Eagan asked, "I want to invest in a new jersey? Would it be safe to buy a Michael Cuddyer jersey?"

Smith said, "It will always be safe to buy a Michael Cuddyer jersey because whether he is with the Twins or any other club, Michael Cuddyer’s one of the great representatives, certainly, in my 30 years in baseball and my 26 years with the Twins. He’s one of my favorite players that I’ve ever been around, so a Michael Cuddyer jersey for me is always going to have value.

"We hope to re-sign him. We’ve had some talks, but again, he’s a free agent, and players earn that right, and he has that right to listen to us and listen to the other 29 clubs. And again, our hope is that Michael Cuddyer finishes his career in the Twins organization."

I'll have more on this for tonight's first editions.

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