HJ-ED-DHJHerald Journal Columns
October 16, 2006

Two good moves away

By Aaron Schultz

It was an exciting season – one that I didn’t expect, especially after the first two months.

The Minnesota Twins started slow, and looked awful. So bad, that I could hardly watch them on the tube, more less attend a game at the horrible Metrodome.

But, the season turned around for any number of reasons, and the rest is history.

I’m not going to get into the reasons the season ended up turning around (it’s been done to death), or why I think they looked so pitiful in the playoffs against Oakland.

But, what I am going to do, which just might be my favorite part of professional sports, is look forward to next season.

That’s right, next season. I gave this past year the proper one week of morning, and now let the excitement of the offseason begin.

Okay, I know the offseason doesn’t officially begin until the World Series is over, but what’s the harm in looking ahead? There isn’t any.

The Twins of 2007 will look a lot like the Twins did in 2006, but with a few exceptions.

Long-time Twin Brad Radtke is expected to retire, and he will be missed.

Then you have a bunch of players leaving that I could care less if they left or not – now that Torii Hunter has been locked up for another year.

With that said, the Twins need to look different offensively, and hopefully for the good.

Looking at the everyday lineup, the Twins’ are set, and are in good shape, at catcher (Joe Mauer), first base (Justin Morneau), second base (Luis Castilla), center field (Torii Hunter), and right field (Michael Cuddyer).

That leaves shortstop and third base in the infield, along with left field and designated hitter.

It sounds as if the Twins are going to stick with Nick Punto at third and Jason Bartlett at shortstop.

That will be fine if a couple of things happen.

Those things are Bartlett’s confidence coming back after his horrible postseason, and Twins’ owner Carl Pohlad spending some money on one big bat.

That big hitter will need to man either left field or DH, either one is fine with me, but they need to find one.

If they do that, then I can live with the light hitting Punto at third base.

My preference would be for Jason Kubel to come into the 2007 season fully healthy, and starting in left, and the Twins finding a big bat at DH.

Okay, Rondell White did hit better late in the season, but if he is their answer in left field, and they move Kubel to DH full-time, I’ll be disappointed.

Just go out and spend the money on that one big hitter, and the lineup will be as tough as any west of the house that Ruth built.

Moving to the pitching staff – I am just giddy thinking about a staff that includes Johan Santana, Francisco Liriano, Matt Garza, and Boof Bonser.

That leaves just one spot, and it has to be filled by a proven veteran – hopefully one not named Carlos Silva.

But, if they have faith in Silva bouncing back, and spend the money on a hitter, that will work.

Doing neither is not an option this offseason, and would really suck.

However, Mr. Pohlad, if you make two good moves on a bit hitter, and an established, veteran pitcher, this club will be the favorite to win it all. Just two good moves!