This time next week, spring will be officially here. The calendar-makers won’t recognize that but Twins fans certainly notice it. That’s because the Twins are coming off a 101-win season and a productive offseason.

Last season was a magical season but that’s last season exclusively. Great teams try building off their previous year’s team. That’s definitely the path that the Twins took this offseason. Heading into the offseason, Derek Falvey, the Twins Chief of Baseball Operations, identified top-of-the-rotation starting pitching as their highest priority.

When that didn’t work out, though, Falvey and Twins GM Thad Levine switched priorities, signing superstar third baseman Josh Donaldson to a 4-year, $92,000,000 contract. Earlier in the offseason, the Twins extended Miguel Sano’s contract through 2023. When they signed Donaldson to play third, they announced that Sano would move to first base. That’s a pair of corner infielders who hit 71 HRs last season. That duo might hit 80 HRs this season. Sano hit 34 last year despite missing the first month of the season.

The Twins re-signed relief pitcher Sergio Romo, then signed Tyler Clippard to round out their versatile bullpen. Just when Twins fans thought that’s the roster that the Twins would go to spring training with, Falvine jumped into a blockbuster 3-team trade. In the deal that was just finalized, the Twins got starting pitcher Kenta Maeda from the Dodgers in exchange for Brusdar Graterol. The Twins also received minor league C Jair Camargo and cash considerations from the Dodgers organization. The Dodgers, in addition to Graterol from the Twins, got “minor league OF Luke Raley and the 67th overall pick in the 2020 draft” from the Twins.

Once the Twins get rolling, the Twins rotation will include Maeda, Jose Berrios, Michael Pineda, Jake Odorizzi and Rich Hill. The Twins bullpen will include closer Taylor Rogers, back-of-the-bullpen guys Tyler Duffey, Romo and Trevor May. Filling out the Twins’ bullpen will be Cody Stashak and Zack Littell.

I’ve saved the best for last, which is the Twins batting order. Luis Arraez will likely lead off, followed by Mr. Donaldson, Nelson Cruz, Eddie Rosario, Sano, Mitch Garver, Jorge Polanco, Max Kepler and Byron Buxton. Who knows where super-utility player Marwin Gonzalez fits into the batting order or lineup? It’s a nice headache to have. The backup catcher will be Alex Avila. The backup infielder will be Ehire Adrianza.

Rest assured that I’ll be watching the TV when the Twins play the Toronto Blue Jays at noon CT on Feb. 23. Jose Berrios is scheduled to start that game.

The expectations for this team will be high this season. The Twins payroll might exceed $150,000,000 for the first time ever. It’s time to scrap the ‘Jim Pohlad is cheap’ cliché. It won’t be enough to make the playoffs. This team has one of the deepest, if not the deepest, batting order in the game. The Twins won 101 games last year by beating up teams like Kansas City, Chicago, Seattle, Baltimore, etc.

This year, that isn’t good enough. This year, the expectation is to start beating the best teams regularly. The question isn’t whether the Twins should expect to win an ALDS series. The expectation should be to play in the World Series.

Last year, the Twins surprised some people. After winning 101 games last year, that isn’t possible this year. That’s ok because the Twins have a deep lineup, good-to-excellent position depth in the minors and the ability to add important playoff pieces at the trade deadline. That should excite Twins fans. They haven’t had a team this talented since 1991.

6 Responses to “Spring is officially here”

  • Chad Q says:

    Spending money to spend money is not smart. Signing a 34 yr old player with a history of injury might not have been the best thing to do but only time will tell. The chances of them leading the league in HR’s is probably not good and that was how they won a lot of games. The Twins may be better but so are the Yankees and unless they can solve the problem of losing to them, they will not move past the first round.

  • eric z says:

    Pitching wins.

  • Rex newman says:

    For me, the Daytona 500 is the first hope of spring, and the Masters with all that lovely green scenery says it’s all but here at least.

  • Gary Gross says:

    Remember that the Astros won’t be as good this year with all their turmoil and the loss of Gerrit Cole. There’s still a strong chance of the Twins meeting the Astros in the ALDS, with the Yankees meeting the winner of the Wild Card play-in.

  • Gary Gross says:

    Hitting wins but pitching wins championships. Let’s see how the season shapes up. If the Twins can get a stud pitcher at the deadline, they’ve got the chips to get that pitcher.

  • Gary Gross says:

    It’s your choice, my friend. It was cool today watching the Beast make its way around the track. Emily Compagno tweeted “22,000 lbs. of bad-ass.” Exactly right!

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