Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
Colleges and universities across Twins Territory are winding down the semester with the lovely concept of finals. Finals are a fun concept of practically legalized torture and the most beautiful part of it is that this one test, typically, counts for the largest percentage of your grade. Tim Brewster loved finals because he loved scoring last.
Calculating grade points and percentages made me realize that now is a good time to give out my mid-offseason grade to the Minnesota Twins. Let’s quickly reflect on what they have done:
- Signed shortstop Jason Bartlett to a minor league deal
- Moved Joe Mauer from catcher to first base
- Signed starting pitcher Ricky Nolasco
- Signed starting pitcher Phil Hughes
- Signed outfielder/DH Jason Kubel to a minor league deal
- Signed starting pitcher Mike Pelfrey
Let’s break it down.
The signings of the Jasons (Bartlett and Kubel) are low-risk high gain. If the two make the major league roster and produce it’s gravy. If they don’t, well, there’s a reason that those two had to settle for a minor league deal. These moves are fun and talked about because they’re names we know and once loved, so we talk about them and the Twins stay in the news. Grade: Irrelevant (it can only be possibly a positive)
We can debate if the Twins moved Mauer to first or if he truly decided it for himself. Frankly, it doesn’t matter. Mauer’s over there now to stay and that’s a good thing. The best player on the team is no longer in the most injury prone position on the field. Keeping Mauer healthy is key for any success the Twins hope to have in 2014. It’s really a no-brainer and finally Justin Morneau is out of the way for Mauer to slide on over. Grade: A
The pitching signings are good. The Twins rotation at least is no respectable in its current state. Nolasco and Hughes are huge upgrades. I’m willing to give two-years to Mike Pelfrey. I’m downgrading the Twins pitching moves because they have not (most likely will not) get a big name pitcher, such as Ervin Santana or Matt Garza. Those type of names would have drawn more fans to Target Field and made this offseason even more interesting. Grade: B
The Twins have not addressed two areas of need: catcher and the left side of the infield. When Mauer left for first base, it left a hole or at least an uncertainty behind the dish. The Twins showed interest in both A.J. Pierzynski and Jarrod Saltalamacchia, but lost out on both of those free agents. I believe that Josmil Pinto should be the everyday catcher, but I also believe another catcher should be signed (Kurt Suzuki, John Buck?) to help him out. Ryan Doumit shouldn’t be catching and personally I want to see what Chris Herrmann can do in the outfield. This catching situation is fluid. Grade: C+
Left side of the infield, more specifically third base, needs to be adjusted. I’ve seen enough of Trevor Plouffe to know that he shouldn’t be at third. I think it was on 1500ESPN, someone (Judd Zulgad?) made the point that Trevor Plouffe can play any position on the field, he just doesn’t play any of them well. I want someone to push or even take the job from Trevor Plouffe to either light a fire under him or just had to have a better third baseman on the team. Then I calm myself down and tell myself that Miguel Sano will be here sooner than later… but I’m an instant gratification kind of guy. Grade: C
Equaling a mid-offseason grade of: B
What grade would you give the Twins?