Election Day 2012 marks one of the most important elections in our young country’s history. In my 24 years of existence, I have never seen our country so split on ideals that pertain to everyone. Whoever is elected to run our country for the next four years will not be welcomed into office without much resistance from opposing view points. ‘Merica, can’t we all just get along?
The fun of special days like this for writers everywhere are all the comparisons we can make relevant to the topics we discuss daily or weekly. My topic of interest is the Minnesota Twins, and since the people vote for our country’s leader today, let us have a vote of our own pertaining to the Twins and their Opening Day roster concerns.
Topics on this year’s ballot are as followed: position battles, starting rotation, overall lineup, and policies.
- Starting Rotation: Throughout the past few weeks, Twins-related writers across the inter-web have speculated on who the Twins should pursue as far as starting pitching is concerned. Free agent names like Brandon McCarthy, Shaun Marcum, Scott Baker, and even Dan Haren have all been thrown around as potential options for Minnesota. Other rumblings of trading one or more outfielders to free up the log-jam and obtain starting pitching in return has been focused primarily around teams like the Atlanta Braves and Tampa Bay Rays, considering these teams have an abundant of starting pitchers who are or are close to being Major League-ready. For the sake of the ballot and competition, let us say the Twins obtain the services of either Brandon McCarthy or Shaun Marcum, and retain the contract of Scott Baker. This portion of the ballot is only completed once five slots have been completely filled out:
- Shaun Marcum OR Brandon McCarthy
- Scott Baker
- Scott Diamond
- P.J. Walters
- Samuel Deduno
- Liam Hendriks
- Nick Blackburn
- Cole De Vries
- Kyle Gibson
- Anthony Swarzak
- Position Battles: Most of the Twins every day positions have already been assumed for the upcoming season, but a few question marks still remain. Terry Ryan has mentioned that he plans on pursuing pitching this offseason aggressively as long as the players of interest fit into the team’s scheme, but he has not ruled out bringing in some help in other positions to create competition within the organization. In an interview with John Bonnes of twinsdaily.com, Ryan answers questions about looking outside the organization to challenge Trevor Plouffe, for instance, making him earn the everyday 3rd baseman job. But 3rd base is only one of many choices the coaching staff and ownership are going to have to make for next season. This portion of the ballot is not completed until all nine positions have been circled:
- Catcher: Joe Mauer/Ryan Doumit/ Chris Herrmann
- First Base: Justin Morneau/ Chris Parmelee
- Second Base: Jamey Carroll/ Eduardo Escobar/ Pedro Florimon/ Brian Dozier
- Shortstop: Brian Dozier/ Pedro Florimon/ Eduardo Escobar/ Tommy Field
- Third Base: Trevor Plouffe/ Eduardo Escobar/ Jamey Carroll/ Other (player outside current organization)
- Left Field: Josh Willingham/ Ben Revere/ Ryan Doumit
- Center Field: Denard Span/ Ben Revere
- Right Field: Ryan Doumit/ Chris Parmelee/ Ben Revere
- Designated Hitter: Ryan Doumit/ Chris Parmelee/ Justin Morneau
- Fill-in (position, name):
My Ballot: (things to consider: this is an Opening Day vote of realistic proportions, I am sure we would all love to see Miguel Sano tearing it up for the Twins this season.) Joe Mauer (C), Justin Morneau (1B), Jamey Carroll (2B), Pedro Florimon (SS), Trevor Plouffe (3B), Josh Willingham (LF), Denard Span (CF), Ben Revere (RF), Ryan Doumit (DH).
- Overall Lineup: For years, Twins fans have speculated where Joe Mauer should be hitting in the lineup. Some believe he belongs hitting third in the order, others think batting second would be wiser because of his annually exceptional on-base percentage. People believe if Mauer were to bat second, it would alleviate the lack of pop in the 3-6 spots of the lineup as well as provide a higher opportunity of scoring with Mauer on base 40% of the time or higher ahead of the big bats. So here is your opportunity to let your voice be heard and opinion shared on this year’s ballot. To eliminate confusion on the ballot, I will be posting my predictions for Opening Day lineup. On your ballot, an empty space would be provided where you can fill in your candidate for each position in the lineup.
- Denard Span
- Ben Revere
- Joe Mauer
- Josh Willingham
- Justin Morneau
- Ryan Doumit
- Trevor Plouffe
- Pedro Florimon
- Jamey Carroll
- Policies: This was an interesting topic to put on the ballot. The concern here is about what to do with Ron Gardenhire if the Twins start the season off and finish the same as last year. Instead of a “Opening Day” option, this proposition will serve as a “what should the Twins do if…” portion of the ballot. A scenario will take place and you, as the fan, have the opportunity to cast your vote of what you would like to see done from the Twins front office:
- The Minnesota Twins begin the season poorly, starting off with a dismal 18-32 record through their first 50 games of the season. No moves have been made, no injuries have taken place, the team is simply playing exceptionally below average. What do you do:
- Fire Gardenhire. He has been riding the roller-coaster on the downward slope for some time now and is gaining momentum before he hits rock-bottom.
- Let it ride. Gardenhire has proven himself capable of taking teams that “were not supposed to win” and won with them in the past. He is a player-friendly coach that the staff and fan base has enjoyed since he became the manager in 2002.
- The Minnesota Twins begin the season very well, starting off with an impressive 32-18 record through their first 50 games of the season. No moves have been made, a couple day-to-day injuries have taken place but nothing major, the team is simply playing exceptionally well. What do you do:
- Let it ride. Gardenhire is bouncing back from his past two seasons of failure and the team is making major strides in becoming a contender for the playoffs this season. However, do not get too excited because of his struggles the last two seasons.
- Extension. If Gardenhire is interested, sign him on for another 3-5 seasons and cross fingers that this is the man to keep the Twins relevant for the next half-decade, with hopes of winning a World Series in that time.
My Ballot: Scenario 1: Let it ride. I have always had a soft spot for Gardy. I like him as a man, a manager, in the media, and it helps that he looks exactly like my dad. Scenario 2: Extension. For the above reasons as well as his history as a manger. While being in the top-5 in American League Manager of the Year voting more than anyone else since he has become a manager, Gardy is the man for Minnesota. He has some edge to him, but for the most part remains constant while perched on the top step over-looking the field.
This concludes the 2012 ballot for the Minnesota Twins. In order to submit your ballot, please comment in the feed below to make your voice heard. There is an “other opinions” area located at the bottom of your ballot where you can offer suggestions to be on next year’s ballot. Thank you for participating this election, and we are looking forward to your participation in the next election as well.