Monday, February 18, 2008
Spring Stream of Consciousness
Hey everyone! I am happy to report that I am back in the great state of Minnesota after five days in Orlando. I do wish that I could be in Ft. Myers right about now. For direct reports from Twins training camp, be sure to check out La Velle's Twins Insider and Joe's Around the Majors blogs at the Star Tribune. David Dorsey of the News Press (in Ft. Myers) also will be down there. Last week, he wrote a great article on Johan Santana. I think Rochester's Jim Mandelaro will be up there at some point too.
I have to be honest, I am exhausted. I have Monday off of work and right now, don't have a lot of will to write. But I thought that it would be good to write something. So, I am just going to let my mind race while my fingers type out the thoughts. Here are just some stream of consciousness thoughts and ramblings for your Monday.
By the way, I have Monday off of work because of President's Day. Before my flight back to Minnesota, I bought the book American Creation: Triumphs and Tragedies at the Founding of the Republic (by Joseph J. Ellis). I know, that is probably too deep a book for me, but even after reading only about a chapter and a half, I have taken a lot out of it. First, the creativity of those founding fathers was pretty remarkable. They created a government structure that, at the time, did not exist anywhere. It has not only sustained itself for the past 220 or more years, but it is now the government of successful countries around the globe. We hear the names of George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Paine, and others and they are held in such esteem in this country. And there is nothing wrong with that necessarily. They obviously had some foresight. But I think that it is also important to remember that they were not perfect (Would have been nice if they had truly meant freedom and liberty for ALL when they wrote it in the Constitution). But at the same time, it is also crucial to remember that these people were just common folks. In fact, had they remained in Britain, they would not have been able to reach this type of status. Even at the time, they didn't fully know what they were doing. They only really wanted to set up a system whereby vocally expressing opposition is OK. Sure, time and history books have made them all heroes. But at the time, they were just men. There are a lot of great men and women who are doing great work today in government, in the education field, in science, in sports and in every job classification of work and daily life that there is. They simply don't have the historical setting to "go down in history" the way the founding fathers have. I don't mean that in any way to lessen what those people did, but every generation has had leaders and people who help make things better. I think in our daily lives, we just have to remember that.
Now, I'm sure that isn't the purpose of the book and that I am rabbit trailing off of its intent, but I am looking forward to reading the rest of the book when I am able.
Before we get started, I do want to encourage each of you to go to the left side of this screen and check out the other Twins blogs. Do yourself a favor and just check all of them out as spring training starts. Give them each a few days and decide if you want to bookmark them. There are a lot of Twins blogs and many of them are very good. For today, I want to highlight one very new one. In fact, it started on Sunday night, but I know that the author is a very passionate baseball fan, has been for years! I am certain that it will be very good. So please head over to Travis Talks, the newest Twins blog. (Seth Speaks... Travis Talks) Check it out!
Alright, here we go... what are the questions that you have for the Twins as spring training approaches and the 2007 season begins. Here are a bunch of mine, be sure to agree, disagree and add many more.
How will Justin Morneau respond to having the security of an $80 million contract? Will he be able to hit for power in the season's second half?
What will happen at 2B? I really, really hope that Brendan Harris and his bat get the starting nod at least 5 out of 7 games.
My fear is Ron Gardenhire... how will he use Nick Punto? How many at bats will we have to watch? How many times will we hear people talk about his vastly overrated defense?
Speaking of guys that traditionally haven't hit, Adam Everett can at least really, really play great defense. But can he do enough with the bat for us to not get too frustrated?
On the opposite end of the spectrum, will Mike Lamb be able to play enough defense to keep his valuable bat in the lineup?
Can Joe Mauer play 125 games behind the plate? Will he be used at 1B potentially, or only as a DH?
Is Mike Redmond the team leader? Which other players will step it up in the leadership department?
Who will play LF? Delmon Young or Michael Cuddyer?
Who will play RF? Michael Cuddyer or Delmon Young?
The big one for most Twins fans... who will play CF?
Will the Super-2 situation keep Carlos Gomez in Rochester until June no matter how good his spring is?
Would the Twins keep Jason Pridie up in a reserve role? That would tell us a lot about the Twins plans for him?
Will Denard Span really be given a legitimate shot at the starting CF spot?
Depending on the big league CF situation, how will it play out in Rochester?
Who will be the opening night starter? Will it be Scott Baker, Boof Bonser of the grizzled veteran, Livan Hernandez?
Did Baker turn a corner last year that he will be able to sustain?
Did the weight loss of Boof Bonser really make him a better pitcher?
Can Hernandez be even close to league average for over 200 innings?
How will the Twins deal with the Francisco Liriano return? Will he be put in the bullpen? Will he be in the rotation all season? How many innings would they want him to pitch at most?
Kevin Slowey had an unbelievable AAA season and September with the Twins. Is he fully ready for the big leagues?
Who will be the #5 starter? Options certainly include (but are not limited to) Philip Humber, Glen Perkins, Brian Duensing, Brian Bass, Kevin Mulvey, Zach Day and Casey Daigle.
Should Glen Perkins be a starter or reliever?
Will the Joe Nathan situation resolve itself? Last week, rumors swirled that the Twins offered a more than fair (although not full market value) offer of five years and $60 million. Will he sign? If not, will they deal him in spring? In July? Or will they just take the two extra draft picks in 2009?
Will Gardy and Rick Anderson find a way to protect the arms of Pat Neshek and Matt Guerrier in 2008?
Can Juan Rincon return to the incredible level of performance he had a couple of years ago?
Will Jesse Crain be able to return right away from his surgery, and will he be at his same high level?
Will the Dennys Reyes of 2006 resurface, or will the Dennys Reyes of every other season in his dozen year career be back?
Will the Twins pay Craig Monroe $3.8 million in 2008 to be a backup, or will they pay him just $800,000 and release him in spring? Could he be an adequate CF?
11 or 12 pitchers? 12 might be a way to save on the bullpen, although health of the top guys would also help.
Two utility infielders or just Nick Punto and someone like Brian Buscher or Garrett Jones who would just be a pinch hitter?
What to do with Garrett Jones? He is out of options and if he doesn't make the team, he would have to pass through waivers. He wouldn't. Would we care?
Who will be the prospect that goes up two or three levels in 2008? Armando Gabino was in 2007.
Will there be incredible stories of call-ups in 2008 like the 2007 stories of Tommy Watkins and Jason Miller?
Bill Smith was put in a horrible situation this offseason, and I for one think that he came out of it quite well. How will he do during his first regular season? Will there be more trades and acquisitions, maybe a long-term signing or two?
What will the relationship between Smith and Ron Gardenhire be?
Any other thoughts or questions heading into spring? Send me an e-mail, or let's talk about it in the Comments here.