There is no one in the Twins farm system to replace these valuable veterans, who are free agents at the end of the year and should be re-signed.
While the media keeps encouraging General Manager Terry Ryan to add a third baseman or a designated hitter so the Twins can contend for the division title, I wonder what the future of this team will be when it moves into a new ballpark in 2010.
There is so much talk of signing young players Justin Morneau, Michael Cuddyer, Joe Nathan and Johan Santana to longterm contracts or extensions.
But how good will this team be next year if center fielder Torii Hunter and second baseman Luis Castillo, both free agents, are not back?
The Twins have nobody in the minor leagues who can come close to replacing Hunter or Castillo.
Castillo continues to perform as well as any second baseman in the league, even though he is playing on two bad knees.
He has made it clear he'd like to come back next year, but the money likely will not be available to sign him.
In the case of Hunter, he is every bit as important to this team as Kirby Puckett was when he sparked the Twins to World Series victories in 1987 and 1991.
A Twins lineup without Hunter and a clubhouse without his leadership will be a big negative for the 2008 season.
You wonder if somehow the Pohlads, owners of 26 companies, could arrange something whereby Hunter could work for the Twins, as Puckett did, or as a consultant for one of their companies once his career is over, a plan that could give him some pretty good security for life.
Hunter, a person with great intelligence and a super personality, could be a great asset to a Pohlad company.
Kent Hrbek and Puckett took less money to stay with the Twins. Maybe Hunter would consider that, too.
And while I'm spending money for the Pohlads, I have one other thought.
Wouldn't a contribution to building a new Gophers baseball stadium called "Eloise and Carl Pohlad Stadium" be something the charitable Pohlad Foundation, which does so much for this community, might consider?
Many years ago, when I suggested Pohlad spend some money to make a deal for a player, he had a bottle of red ink and a pen delivered to me with the message that if he listened to me, he would be in the red.
Carl, you don't have to do that this time.
Yes, some people will still bring up contraction, but if it weren't for the Pohlads, we wouldn't have major league baseball in Minnesota today.
And furthermore, before that new ballpark is built, they probably will have invested as much of their own money as any other baseball owners in the country.
|Minnesota - LP: V. Worley||3||FINAL|
|Atlanta - WP: P. Maholm||8|
|Cincinnati - WP: A. Simon||7||FINAL|
|NY Mets - LP: B. Parnell||4|
|Los Angeles - WP: H. Ryu||9||FINAL|
|Milwaukee - LP: W. Peralta||2|
|Oakland - LP: J. Parker||1||FINAL|
|Texas - WP: R. Wolf||3|
|Arizona - LP: T. Cahill||1||FINAL|
|Colorado - WP: J. De La Rosa||4|
|Washington||1||Bottom 8th Inning|
|Tampa Bay||2||Bottom 6th Inning|
|Chicago Cubs - J. Samardzija||6:05 PM|
|Pittsburgh - F. Liriano|
|Detroit - J. Verlander||6:05 PM|
|Cleveland - U. Jimenez|
|NY Yankees - H. Kuroda||6:05 PM|
|Baltimore - J. Hammel|
|Seattle - B. Maurer||6:05 PM|
|LA Angels - J. Williams|
|Philadelphia - C. Lee||6:10 PM|
|Miami - K. Slowey|
|Boston - C. Buchholz||7:10 PM|
|Chicago WSox - H. Santiago|
|Kansas City - J. Shields||7:10 PM|
|Houston - J. Lyles|
|St. Louis - T. Lyons||9:10 PM|
|San Diego - B. Smith|