Minnesota Twins fans look forward to promising season
March 10, 2010
Spring is in the air and in about a month, Minnesota Twins fans will get to experience outdoor baseball with the grand opening of Target Field scheduled for April 12. But Twins fans have much more to be excited about.
The Twins are coming off their thrilling run to a Central Division Title in which they beat the Detroit Tigers in a one game playoff.
The game lasted for 12 innings and sent the Twins to New York to play the eventual World Series champion Yankees. But with an increased payroll jumping from around $65 million to about $90 million, the expectations may be even greater for my beloved Twins.
The Twins of course return reigning American League MVP and St. Paul native Joe Mauer, who hit an outstanding .365 on his way to a third batting title, and became the fifth player in Twins history to be named MVP (joining current teammate Justin Morneau who was the 2006 MVP).
Morneau missed the last month of the season due to back injuries, and many would argue that with him and Mauer both healthy, they could be one of the deadliest combinations in the game.
Add in right fielder Michael Cuddyer, who had a tremendous seasoning filling in for Morneau at first base, the breakout season on outfielder Denard Span fitting comfortably in the leadoff role, the new look of Delmon Young (who lost 29 pounds this offseason) and the Twins have the potential to tear up the baseball realm.
Although shortstop Orlando Cabrera will be missed, the Twins traded for J.J. Hardy from the Milwaukee Brewers who will provide the defensive swagger that the Twins rely on.
The Twins will look to Hardy near the top of the lineup to provide potential RBIs for the M &M boys (Mauer and Morneau). The Twins were in dire need of a consistent second basemen, so they acquired the veteran Orlando Hudson from the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Although Hudson is known primarily for his defense, he will also provide quality at-bats to complement an already impressive Twins lineup. As for the pitching staff, the Twins are looking for break-out seasons for the likes of Kevin Slowey who was the top pitcher for the team before season-ending surgery early last year.
He will be joined by opening day starter Scott Baker, who has been one of the most consistent and strongest pitchers for the Twins. Carl Pavano will also be looked to for another impressive season and Francisco Liriano will be looking to be more consistent throughout the year.
The one main concern I have for the Twins is their bullpen. Although we have one of the best closers in baseball with Joe Nathan, Matt Guerrier was the only reliable set-up man to connect the bridge to Nathan.
This year should be an exciting year for the Twins. With a new ballpark, new additions with Hardy and Hudson, and veteran sluggers Mauer and Morneau, the Twins will undoubtedly be a force to be reckoned with.
Ashley Goettl is an alumna of UW-River Falls. She was editor of the Student Voice from fall semester 2011 to spring semester 2013.