It’s hard to imagine expectations for the Twins being much lower than they are following the 99 loss season; the exits of Cuddyer, Kubel, and Nathan; and a bullpen that is about as solid as 9th grade woodshop birdhouse. The problem is we’re not completely in rebuilding mode, but we’re not a contender either. So what would qualify as a “good” season for the Twins?
A good season for the Twins would be 81-81, good for about 3rd place in the AL Central. Looking at April’s schedule though, the Twins would be lucky to be anywhere near .500 by the end of the first month. It’s probably going to be an ugly start, and it might be hard to recover from that.
Probably more importantly than how the team does is how some of their marquee players will do. Mauer is looking pretty good so far this spring, hitting over .300 and playing most games. This should translate into a pretty good year for him. If he hits .315 and plays 140 games, I think most Twins fans will forget about last year.
Morneau is scary. He’s not hitting the ball very well this spring (of course, as I wrote this he just hit a 2-run bomb against Tampa Bay). He’s not playing 1B very often, spending most of his time DHing so far this spring. Don’t get me wrong, Morneau would make a fine full time DH, but there must a reason he’s not playing defense and that makes me nervous that this might be a season of more of the same from the former MVP.
The bright spot for the Twins this Spring has been Fransico Liriano. His ERA is 2.00 and has 23 K’s in 18 innings. If he’s pitching well around the trade deadline, I would love to see the Twins move him for the long term benefit of the team.