Rocco Baldelli makes obvious choice for Twins Opening Day starter

Let's not pretend like there was ever even a doubt.

Wild Card Series - Toronto Blue Jays v Minnesota Twins - Game Two
Wild Card Series - Toronto Blue Jays v Minnesota Twins - Game Two / Brace Hemmelgarn/GettyImages
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Something, something, something, the Minnesota Twins haven't made an offseason move yet. That's been all we've been able to talk about so far this winter because there's been nothing else to talk about.

That's slowly starting to change.

While the Twins no doubt need to still make moves to improve the roster and build off the success of last season, we're inching closer to pitchers and catchers reporting -- and actual baseball things to debate. Derek Falvey has already hinted that moves are coming, so until that happens and as Spring Training approaches there are a ton of things to discuss about the guys already in the clubhouse.

One of those things has already been touched on by manager Rocco Baldelli.

Rocco Baldelli names Pablo Lopez as Twins Opening Day starter

On the latest episode of Inside Twins, Rocco sat down with Kris Atteberry and revealed who will be on the bump for Minnesota on Opening Day in Kanas City.

To the surprise of absolutely nobody, it's Pablo Lopez.

“Normally I don’t name anything, I don’t declare anything. He’ll be pitching the first game for us when the season starts up again,” Baldelli said. “And hopefully another really productive year and a better year. He’s not satisfied with having a great season, he wants to be better and he wants to win at the end of the year. When the playoffs arrive, he wants to be at his best.” 

Quick aside, but don't you love how you can read a Rocco quote in his exact cadence?

Pablo is the no-brainer choice to be the Opening Day starter for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that he's the team's ace. He was on the mound for Opening Day last season -- which was also in Kansas City -- and ended the year by pitching the Twins to their first postseason victory since 2004.

Winning that first AL Wild Card game wasn't even his most impressive start of the postseason. Lopez saved that for Game 2 of the ALDS in Houston, pitching seven shutout innings while seven strikeouts and walking exactly one batter. He didn't give up an actual base hit until the third inning (Jose Altuve reached on a bunt single, which is lame).

As if trading for Lopez hadn't already paid off by that point, his ALDS start was the cherry on top. He finished the year with career-bests in strikeouts, innings pitched, and K/9, and both went to the All-Star Game and finished seventh in Cy Young voting.

Lopez is everything the Twins needed him to be, and there's not a single other pitcher -- either in the Twins clubhouse or the AL Central as a whole -- that deserves to be on the mound over Pablo Lopez.

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