Monday, December 14, 2009

Reviewing the priorities

The busiest (or at least the loudest) week of baseball's offseason — the one with the Winter Meetings and the non-tender deadline — is now behind us.

Where do the Twins stand on what would appear to be their offseason priorities?

1) Resolve Joe Mauer's contract status. Unfinished, with no public display of urgency. The metro coverage suggests this will move to the front burner in January.

2) Rebuild the infield. The addition of J.J. Hardy clears up shortstop. It's clear that Nick Punto will hold down either second or third, and it appears that the Twins are going to look for a late bargain for the other position. My current prediction is that we'll see a reprise of Joe Crede (above) with the hope that his back will hold out long enough for the organization to decide that Danny Valencia is ready.

3) Stabilize the rotation. The retention of Carl Pavano probably satisfies the decision makers. The view here is that he's just one of many back-of-the-rotation guys on the roster; the Twins need somebody to emerge as a true ace.

4) Fourth outfielder. I know — it's a bench job, and as such probably not a true priority. But the departure of Carlos Gomez means the Twins need somebody capable of filling in for Denard Span in center field without embarrassing a pitching staff prone to the fly ball. The leading in-house candidate is Jason Pridie, and I doubt that excites anybody.

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