American League Central Previews- Twins

Today’s Focus: Minnesota Twins

The Twins added speed to the lineup with the addition of Tsuyoshi Nishioka at SS. They will also be starting Alexi Casilla at 2B with the departure of Orlando Hudson. Other than that, it looks like the rest of the Minnesota’s offensive regulars will be returning in 2011.

In 2010, they had much more depth in the infield and bullpen which helped them tremendously down the stretch. Nick Punto played 2B, 3B, SS, and all 3 outfield spots in 2010 and he played them very well. He was arguably their best defender.

Morneau still has not begun baseball-related activities. Joe Nathan is making good progress from surgery last March. Nathan should be good to go to start the season but may be limited early. Michael Cuddyer (arthroscopic right knee surgery), Joe Mauer (left knee surgery), Scott Baker (right elbow surgery), Nick Blackburn (right elbow surgery) and Jason Repko (left thumb surgery), should all be ready to go by Spring Training.

The team was able to resign Carl Pavano, Jim Thome and Francisco Liriano. Liriano signed for a one year deal to avoid arbitration. Liriano is said to have wanted a 3 year $39 million contract. There is a possibility that Liriano will be traded. That leaves only Delmon Young left to sign. After Delmon Young signs, the Twins will be done this offseason putting their payroll around $110 million.

Notable Losses: J.J. Hardy, Orlando Hudson, Jon Rauch, Brian Fuentes, Matt Guerrier, Jesse Crain, Nick Punto

Notable Pick Ups: Tsuyoshi Nishioka, Dusty Hughes

If the Twins trade Francisco Liriano their rotation would look like, 1) Carl Pavano, 2) Scott Baker, 3) Brian Duensing, 4) Kevin Slowey, 5) Nick Blackburn. The White Sox are going to give them a run for their money even if they kept Liriano. Their reign at the top of the A.L. Central will come to an end this year.

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