As the four TwinsCentric guys sat down to work through our Blueprints for the TwinsCentric Offseason GM Handbook, I’m sure we each jotted down some “musts.” We “must” add at least one upper level starting pitcher. We “must” balance the batting lineup. Hopefully many of you will work through a blueprint of your own and e-mail it to to be entered into a random drawing where one winner will receive a copy of the TwinsCentric 2012 Twins Annual next spring.  
One of my “musts” was that the roster should be full of players that have the flexibility to play multiple positions and complement each other well. I figured that with physical question marks in Justin Morneau and Denard Span and with all of the injuries that the team experienced in 2011, it would be important to have players who can play a couple of roles. Here is how some of that could play out:
  • Michael Cuddyer – He can play RF, 1B, 2B, 3B and D. That isn’t saying that he plays any of them particularly well, but to know that he could fill in at any of those positions definitely helps. Cuddyer is a free agent, but versatility is one of his many traits that make him a top free agent this offseason.
  • Joe Mauer – Obviously he needs to continue catching, but it is great that he has now accumulated some innings at 1B as well, and played RF fairly well in the game he played there. This could become more important.
  • Backup Catcher – There are several options out there who hit right-handed, can catch 80+ game and spend time at 1B or at another position.
  • Luke Hughes/Trevor Plouffe – Both are out of options. Both could be used as trade chips. Both are right-handed with the ability to hit the ball out of the ballpark. Hughes can play 1B, 2B and 3B. Plouffe can play all four infield positions and the two corner outfield positions. (No, not particularly well, but in a pinch it helps.)
  • Alexi Casilla – The Twins seem poised to make him a starter at 2B or shortstop, but does he have more value to a team if he is a utility player, playing three infield positions? Is there a better option as a utility infielder?
  • Outfielders – Ben Revere and Denard Span can play LF and CF, and RF if needed. Rene Tosoni never played LF until he was up with the Twins last year. He had primarily played RF with some time in CF. Jason Repko was taken off the 40 man roster, but he can play all of the OF positions very well. Are there any free agents who can play several outfield positions? 
If you have enough flexibility on your roster, you could afford to keep Drew Butera (or Danny Lehmann, or name your own backup catcher) on the roster so that the backup catcher and Mauer can play most days in the same lineup. Or, you could have a big bopper to pinch hit, someone like Jim Thome or Vlad Guerrero, if that’s the direction that you choose.
Versatility and roster flexibility is always important but with so many question marks heading into the offseason, I think it’s particularly important for the Twins this year.
  • Parker posted some Quick Hits at Over the Baggy, discussing Joe Nathan, Ryan Madson and more.
  • Seth hosted last night’s Weekly Minnesota Twins Podcast. He was joined by Cody Christie (North Dakota Twins Fan) and they discussed their offseason blueprints and several other Twins topics.
  • Seth posted some thoughts on the Twins claims on LHP Matt Maloney and RHP Jeff Gray on Monday.
  • Brian Dozier was named yesterday to represent the Twins in the Arizona Fall League’s annual Rising Stars game which will be played on Saturday evening. On Monday, Dozier knocked in the go-ahead run for Mesa. Brett Jacobson got the win in the game, and Dakota Watts threw two scoreless innings for the save. On Tuesday, catcher Chris Herrmann went 1-3 with a walk.
  • The Winter Leagues in the Dominican Republic and Venezuela continue to run. The Puerto Rico League will get started on Friday. On Thursday, the Australian Baseball League will start their schedule. Here is a quick look at the Twins organization players in the ABL:
    • Sydney Blue Sox - Jacob Younis and Todd Van Steensel.
    • Melbourne Aces – Josh Hendricks
    • Brisbane Bandits – Rory Rhodes
    • Perth Heat – Luke Hughes, Liam Hendriks, Allan de San Miguel
    • Canberra Cavalry – Mark Trau and Tim Atherton.
  • If you are looking for a review of the TwinsCentric Offseason GM Handbook, we’ve got a couple for you. Check out the reviews by Puckett’s Pond and Twinkie Town.
  • It was disappointing to read yesterday that Ryan Lefebvre is no longer a candidate for the Twins radio job. Also, as someone who listened to a lot of Rochester Red Wings games the last couple of years, it was disappointing to hear that their play-by-play man, Josh Whetzel, was also told that he is not in the running.