Once the final out of the Minnesota Twins season was recorded, the season had already been lost for a few months and could not have ended soon enough. As the team, organization, and fans watched the post season for a third straight season without the Twins in it, reality set in for many. This team is just not competitive. Something needed to change this offseason. Something big. And now that 2013 is over, we can switch our focus to the 2014 season.
The 2013 season, as a whole, was extremely tough to battle through and watch day after day, but this offseason has helped wash out some of the bad taste left in our mouths. Now, as Collin alluded to about 2014, the season does not need to end in a World Series Championship. With many new faces to the team, we just need to have a successful season and take a step in the upwards direction. While the division is getting stronger and stronger, the Twins need to take a few strides to be much more successful than they have been the last 3 seasons, which in hindsight should not be too difficult. After losing 96+ games in back-to-back-to-back seasons, if the Twins can hover near .500 all season long, I would consider it a successful season. Now, I know success can be a very relative definition as what I consider “successful” is completely different than what Terry Ryan, Dave St. Peter, and Ron Gardenhire would consider “successful.”
Optimism has been something I have referred to numerous times this offseason, and hoping for a season of near .500 may be pushing the limit of optimism. The moves made this offseason could be what the Twins needed to turn the ship around and start the rise to being competitive again. Of all the moves made this offseason, the move of Joe Mauer to first and the free agent signings of Ricky Nolasco and Phil Hughes are, in my opinion, the three biggest moves that will have the most influence on the upcoming 2014 season.
Revamping our starting rotation was an absolute must to fix and the Twins went out and did just that. Outside of the signings of Nolasco and Hughes, we have traded for Sean Gilmartin and Kris Johnson, and resigned Mike Pelfrey. Not all of those moves will result in a new starting five for our rotation, but it at least adds two new faces to the Twins that they vastly needed. In terms of Mauer playing first, the club has opened the door for Josmil Pinto, a younger looking “Pudge” Rodriguez, to gain some much needed to experience alongside of veteran Kurt Suzuki. This will also allow for Joe “Baby Jesus” Mauer to stay healthy, less beat up, and likely be an even better player than he has been the last few seasons.(Hard to believe, but is very possible)
Mauer’s health and the starting rotation will be the backbone to this upcoming season as we turn over the leaf of 2013 and can now look solely on the 2014 season. Even though 2013 was unsuccessful and painful to watch at times, this offseason has provided us with a positive outlook as we prepare for the upcoming 2014 season. Even if the upcoming season is not as successful as I may be hoping, I would like to think the fans as a whole in Twins Territory can be somewhat optimistic about this season.
In the words of the Dalai Lama, “Choose to be optimistic, it feels better.”