2015 Minnesota Twins: Winning On The Horizon
2011 Minnesota Twins (63-99, last in the AL Central)
The offseason preceding 2011 was highlighted by one big splash. A foreign acquisition from Japan, Tsuyoshi Nishioka, was destined to be the first strong Twins shortstop since Cristian Guzman. Unfortunately, he didn’t.
Your 2011 Twins Opening Day roster looked like this:
Rotation: Carl Pavano, Francisco Liriano, Brian Duensing, and Nick Blackburn
Bullpen: Kevin Slowey, Joe Nathan, Matt Capps, Jose Mijares, Dusty Hughes, Glen Perkins, and Jeff Manship
Starters: Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, Nishioka, Alexi Casilla, Danny Valencia, Michael Cuddyer, Denard Span, Delmon Young, and Jason Kubel.
Bench: Matt Tolbert, Drew Butera, Jason Repko, and Jim Thome
A resounding notion that remains to be proven true each October is that winning teams have a 25th player that is better than your 25th player. Forget the absolute atrocity that Nishioka was, Tolbert, Repko, Hughes, and Mijares had little right to be on a major league roster.
The Twins were coming off of a season in 2010 in which they secured yet another AL Central division title, and the roster they went into 2011 with was doomed from the get go. Despite some big name highlights, the guys being relied upon to be role players were overmatched before they stepped on the field.