Wednesday, March 27, 2019

End of spring training

The Twins on Tuesday played their final Grapefruit League game. They open the 2019 season Thursday at home against Cleveland.

I decided weeks ago that I was not going to encourage March openers with my presence and cash. I'll work my usual Thursday shift rather than go to Target Field. It appears, however, that the weather is going to cooperate with the absurdly early date.

And I am optimistic about this year's outlook for the Twins. There are two teams in the Central who figure to contend. Chicago, Detroit and Kansas City are all somewhere in the rebuilding/talent gathering mode, while Cleveland and Minnesota are, or should be, in talent-shaping mode.

But the Indians are not the team they were in 2018, much less what they were in '17 or '16. Their outfield ... OK, I'm not necessarily being strictly objective here, but I suspect the Twins have a better major league outfield in Triple A and Double A than the Indians have in the majors. It's certainly not less talented.

And the Cleveland bullpen is nowhere near as deep as we've seen in the past few years, with Chad Allen gone to Anheim and Andrew Miller to St. Louis.

But that is still a very imposing starting rotation in Cleveland, and Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez are awesome, and the Cleveland front office generally knows what its doing. They think more of Tyler Naquin, Leonys Martin and Greg Allen than I do.

We'll see how it plays out, starting on Thursday.

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