The Twins did an excellent job of filling the holes left by the players that decided to leave. Today we’ll take a more in-depth look at the players filling those hole as we start to piece together the Opening Day lineup.
Old Team: Los Angeles Dodgers
Jamey Carroll comes to Minnesota from the Dodgers. The Twins added him for a reasonable price (2 years, $6.5 million dollars) to replace Tsuyoshi Nishioka, who struggled in his first year in Minnesota. Last season, Carroll hit .290 in 510 plate appearances, with only twenty extra-base hits. I think Carroll could thrive in Minnesota if Joe Mauer, Denard Span and Justin Morneau are healthy and can bring some power to this lineup. If not, we’ll see not just Carroll, but all the Twins hitting into double plays and leaving runners on base.
Old Team: Pittsburgh Pirates
Ryan Doumit is a great fit for the Twins. While technically listed as a catcher, I doubt he’ll see much time there. He was signed by the Twins to be a designated hitter. His fielding skills are suspect. He’s 16th amongst active catchers in errors and 24th in stolen bases allowed. Thankfully, Drew Butera is also expected to be on the opening day roster, so we will probably only see Doumit behind the plate in an emergency situation. Last year, Doumit hit .303 with 21 extra-base hits in only 218 at-bats. I’m excited to see what he can do with a full season and how he adjusts to being a designated hitter.
Old Team: Oakland Athletics
Josh Willingham was brought to the Twins to replace Michael Cuddyer. Commanding a nice salary, (three years, $21 million) Willingham will be a great fit in this lineup. Last season, Willingham hit .246 with 29 home-runs and 98 RBIs. Willingham will bring some much needed power to this lineup. If Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau remain healthy, Willingham will make this a tough lineup for even the most skilled of pitchers. His fielding is solid. Willingham, Span, and Revere will be the best defensive outfield in recent memory.
Old Team: Arizona Diamondbacks
Jason Marquis gives the Twins a much needed starter after last year, when no Twins pitcher reached double digit wins for the first time in team history. Jason Marquis is not going to blow anyone away, but he’s a solid starter. He was 8-6 last year with a 4.43 ERA, which would be second amongst Twins starters (Only Baker’s 3.14 was better). Marquis is definitely a journeyman, but the Twins only committed to him for one year and his expertise could be valuable in the younger pitcher’s progression.
Old Team: Detroit Tigers
Joel Zumaya was signed by the Twins as a reliever, but sadly the injury-plagued relief man tore his UCL in Spring Training and is considering retirement. Zumaya could elect to undergo Tommy John surgery and attempt another comeback. Either way, we wish Zumaya the best of luck and are disappointed we couldn’t share the season. My favorite Zumaya memory is in the 2006, when he was just 21 years old. Zumaya went and punched out the Yankees in the ALDS.