It would appear that I missed something over the past couple of months. Apparently, there is an element of baseball observers and fans still disillusioned from the 2011-14 swoon who are very upset over the manner in which the Twins conducted the offseason in the area of player acquisition.
I’ll admit to being somewhat puzzled by the signing of Byung Ho Park, the 29-year-old from the Korea Baseball Organization.
More than anything, they wanted to move Miguel Sano from the DH role, so the Twins decided to bring in a DH option with power (at least in Korea).
I watched Park take batting practice a handful of times in Fort Myers in informal workouts earlier this month. He did not get one “wow’’ out of me, but we’ll see if that means anything.
Kennys Vargas got plenty of wows out of me a year ago in the same type of BP sessions in Fort Myers, and that didn’t turn into anything.
The Twins aren’t going admit it, but it’s my belief the No. 1 reason they want Sano in the field is his weight. He weighs between 265 and 270 pounds, and I think the Twins fear he could get heavier if he’s not playing in the field.
My solution would have been to have Sano and Joe Mauer share first base and DH, with Sano playing two-thirds of the games at first.
Go ahead, tell me again, that Joe doesn’t have the production needed at DH, and I’ll you this again: What difference does it make, first base or DH, Joe’s still going to be in the lineup.
The Twins had outfield options without adding Sano to mix: Rosario and Buxton for left and center, with Max Kepler and Oswaldo Arcia to compete for right field, and Danny Santana as an extra outfielder.
What if Buxton isn’t ready as a hitter? You bat him ninth and wait until he starts figuring it out. Buxton isn’t going back to minors, not as long as the manager and his coaches have anything to say about it.
So, if I saw a big controversy with the Twins, it was with the addition of a player – Park – and not that they didn’t add significantly to what now figures to be a $107 million payroll.
Aaron Hicks for a catcher, John Ryan Murphy. No controversy there, that I can see.
Keeping Trevor Plouffe? Hooray! I had him as the Twins’ most valuable player.
Failing to sign Antonio Bastardo as a lefthander for the bullpen? I would’ve been on board with Bastardo, but the Twins don’t think he’s that good. Period.
A team has to trust its opinion, whether the observers buy into it or not.
If the main crime the Twins committed was not signing a free agent lefty to replace Brian Duensing, it was a winter of petty misdemeanors in the roster department.
I found out last week that there’s a greater controversy than that. I was in Fort Myers, doing my afternoon radio show from the press box at Hammond Stadium. General Manager Terry Ryan did a 20-minute interview on Thursday.
Ryan was asked to again explain the move of Sano to right field, and also why it was right field rather than left. He was asked if he felt “bushwhacked’’ by Joe Mauer’s recent comments on “double vision’’ problems at the plate. He was asked what the solution might be for Ricky Nolasco, still owed $25 million and a complete flop in two seasons in Minnesota.
Ryan gave his answers. Next question.
Several complaints rolled in about Ryan not being grilled properly.
“About what?’’ I had to ask a radio colleague.
He said: “They are mad the Twins didn’t sign Zack Greinke.’’
Have to admit, I didn’t realize that was a controversy. I spend way too much time in the real world.
Further feedback indicated it was the old “if the Pohlads weren’t so cheap, the Twins would have a No. 1 starter’’ argument.
Hey, the Dodgers couldn’t beat Arizona’s offer, so did any non-idiot expect the Pohlads to do so? These gentlemen are great philanthropists, but baseball is not about philanthropy.
Everyone is worked up about the bullpen. I kind of like the bullpen. That will require the Molitor-Allen tandem to do a better job monitoring usage in Year 2 and not to wind up with almost the whole crew on the disabled list again.
Only Glen Perkins avoided the DL last season, and only because his shutdown came in September when the roster was expanded.
Perkins. Kevin Jepsen. Trevor May. Ryan Pressly (if healthy). Casey Fien. Even Alex Meyer. Those are good arms. And the spot lefty you’re worried about … there’s always one of those around. The rookie, Taylor Rogers, could be it this time.
As for not having a No. 1 starter … well, the Twins had a No. 1 in Phil Hughes in 2014. He went backwards in 2015, and now he looks fit and ready, and he’s got a chance to be back to what he was.
He’s in there with Erv Santana and Kyle Gibson, both good, and we’ll see if Tyler Duffey can be what he was down the stretch last season. The Twins will run out Tommy Milone as the lefty starter. He doesn’t do much for me but others in my occupation see him as serviceable.
Nolasco will probably end up in the pen, and Jose Berrios will be in the minors for a while, until an opening is created with the fivesome of Hughes, Santana, Gibson, Duffey and Milone.
The phrase “we’ll see’’ was used here two or three times. That’s the great thing about spring training and then the season – the we’ll see part.
To me, there’s nothing to be mad about with the Twins and this offseason. That's the danger of realism, I guess.