When Twins President Dave St. Peter picked up his phone Friday and was asked how his offseason was going, his one-word reply, with a chuckle, was “short.” With TwinsFest on the horizon next weekend, there’s no rest. But St. Peter did take time to chat with the Star Tribune’s Michael Rand:
Q You made a couple of moves early with the Byung Ho Park signing and the Aaron Hicks trade, but it’s been quiet lately. Do you anticipate that changing at all before the start of spring training?
A We went into the offseason relatively vocal about wanting to improve in a few areas. We wanted a bat to replace the offense we lost with Torii [Hunter], and we believe Park has the ability to do that short-term and maybe even be a bigger bat long-term. The catching situation, we feel good about the move to get [John Ryan Murphy] We gave up a player in Hicks who we think is going to be a very good player to get someone who can be part of our franchise going forward. We’ve been unable to this point to bring in those higher-profile bullpen guys. … I’m not sure Terry Ryan and our evaluators had a tremendous amount of conviction toward [relievers] out on the market. We’ve seen the relievers market explode to a certain extent. You weigh that compared to in-house options. The one thing I feel really good about is within our minor league system we have tremendous depth with power arms. I’m optimistic those guys ultimately are going to be the answer over time.
Q Attendance has fallen every season at Target Field. What is the season ticket base now, and how important is 2016 to start to push the attendance up again?
AThere’s no doubt the market is much more optimistic about our club and excited about the young core of players. … The season ticket base is growing once again, the first time I’ve probably said that since 2009. Last year we were around 13,000 full-season equivalents, and this year we expect to be north of 14,000 FSEs, which is good. Getting off to a reasonable start would put us in a position to grow our overall attendance and hopefully push closer to that 2.5 million mark, which is where we’d like to be.
Q I saw a projection the other day that said the Twins would have the fewest wins in the American League this year. Internally, what are realistic hopes and dreams for 2016?
A We have to get better. We took a significant step forward in 2015. Maybe it was a year premature, I don’t know. But certainly we have hopes to take that next step and ultimately qualify for postseason play. That’s the goal internally, and that’s the expectation as we go to spring training.
Q Are you going to be battling with U.S. Bank Stadium for the top country music concerts every summer now?
A Certainly the addition of U.S. Bank Stadium in the market will only make the competition for big touring acts more fierce. We’re happy with the reputation that Target Field has earned as a great concert venue. … U.S. Bank Stadium might be that destination because it’s brand-new. There are acts that are going to want to play there, and that’s good for music fans that there’s great competition. I’m not sure it’s great for the venues, but it’s great for the fans.