As the 2012 Winter Meetings approach for Major League Baseball, it’s time to begin the speculation and rumor mill that are sure to accompany the annual event. As the meetings approach, the scenario first on my mind is what the Minnesota Twins’ starting pitching situation looks like this year compared to last year at this time.
It is no secret that starting pitching is this offseason’s highest priority. Currently, only Scott Diamond is generally accepted as inked into the 2013 rotation, and the hope of most is that he will not be the ace, the #2, or (fingers crossed) the #3 starter. The other remaining spots, well, let’s just say the crickets have been selling out concerts.
If you have been kind enough to read my recent Puckett’s Pond posts, you will be familiar with my frustration with the Twins for (what appears to be) their utter lack of action at the major league level. However, because I love to play devil’s advocate with myself, I recently began to consider the fact that the starting rotation was practically set at this time in the offseason last year. Scott Baker, Francisco Liriano, and Carl Pavano were all but locked into the rotation, and Nick Blackburn was reasonably expected to be there as well. That left only one spot to be acquired via free agency or trade. The prevailing wisdom was that, if Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau were healthy, the Twins would be back in business.
None of those pitchers were in the rotation when 2012 ended, and the healthy and reasonably successful return of the M & M boys didn’t translate to a significantly improved record. 96 losses compared to 99 is hardly worth writing home over.
So, this year, the Twins have their fielding and hitting generally set, keeping in mind that a trade here or a too-good-to-pass-up free agent signing there may necessitate minor adjustments. The pitching, however, is almost completely non-determined, all of this adding up to the exact opposite of last offseason. And while so significant a void in the starting pitching may tempt one to panic, (and I admit, MY instinct is to panic), maybe the situation isn’t as dire as it seems, at least while it is still November.
During an interview with Darren Wolfson on 1500espn.com, Twins’ General Manager Terry Ryan said:
Well that’s what I don’t want it to develop in, is a situation where we, we don’t have any hope.
Alright Terry Ryan. This Twins’ fan will hold out hope, at least for a little while longer. But the closer those Winter Meetings get, the more proof will be needed to back up that hope.