Q The Twins made a couple 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. I’m not sure those guys are going to be ready for the start of the 2016 season, but it’s more important what your roster looks like as the season evolves than what it is on opening day.
You go back to last year’s opening day roster compared to the core that really led us through the end of September and the hunt for a postseason spot, and my message is that rosters evolve. I believe we have the ability over time to improve our team. Our first options will be guys we’re bringing in to camp but in the longer term I believe it’s going to be those in-house options that make us even better in our bullpen.
Q It’s been reported that Target Field, among other venues, is in discussions to be the temporary home for Minnesota United in Major League Soccer if play begins here in 2017. What kind of update can you provide on that?
A We’ve said all along we want to be supportive of Minnesota United and their pursuit of MLS. They have expressed an interest in understanding what soccer could look like at Target Field in 2017. We’ve met with United and MLS and discussed that possibility. There’s a model there, the Yankee Stadium model where they’re hosting an MLS team now, so there are lessons to be learned from that. One reason I’m positive about this is because our groundskeeper, Larry DiVito, worked in an MLS/MLB combination at RFK Stadium as a groundskeeper for the Nationals. He’s lived through the soccer/baseball experiment and has given me comfort.