Transforming the Twins into a Contender

St. Scholastica's Student Newspaper
The Cable
By: Alex Hennesey - Student Journalist -
There are high hopes for the Minnesota Twins this seasons. Photo credit to vimm.com

There are high hopes for the Minnesota Twins this seasons. Photo credit to vimm.com

Being a fan of the Minnesota Twins over the past three seasons has been pretty brutal. Since winning the Central Division in 2010, the Twins have put up three consecutive seasons with 90 or more losses. Not a very good streak. In their existence, the Twins have been known as a notoriously low budget organization, refusing to spend the big dollars in free agency, and instead relying on drafting and developing in-house players. This upcoming off-season however, the Minnesota Twins management have promised to spend in order to put together a competitive roster.

Some might think trying to salvage a competitive team out of the Twins roster would be impossible, but one would just have to look at the quick turnarounds that have occurred in Cleveland, Baltimore, and Pittsburgh as proof that the idea is not impossible. In that spirit, here are five off-season acquisitions that I believe could turn the Minnesota Twins into a playoff contender in 2014.

1. Sign Ervin Santana, SP 5yrs/75mil. It's no secret that the biggest weakness in the Twins organization is top end starting pitching. Ervin Santana would immediately help address that need. At just 30 years old, Santana has plenty more baseball left in him and has also managed to throw 200 plus innings in three of the last four seasons while also maintaining an ERA below 4.00. Santana would instantly become the ace of the staff the Twins have been lacking since Johan Santana left.

2. Sign Josh Johnson, SP 1yrs/10mil Josh Johnson was once of the most coveted young pitchers in all of Major League Baseball. After being dealt from Florida to the Toronto Blue Jays last off-season, Johnson was expected to have a break out season on a talented Toronto team. Things didn't work out very well for the Minneapolis native as he posted an ERA over six while only managing two wins. This is a perfect scenario for the Twins who can offer Johnson a short deal to re-establish himself and a guaranteed front of the rotation spot. If Johnson returns to form, he will be the steal of the off-season.

3. Sign Corey Hart, 1B/RF 1yr/8mil. After trading away Justin Morneau last August, the Twins opened up a huge need at 1B for the first time in a while. Morneau had manned that position for the Twins since 2004, providing quality defense and middle of lineup power. With the position now vacant and no heir in waiting, Corey Hart makes perfect sense. A right-handed hitter with power; Hart would slide perfectly into the Twins lineup and add a power bat the Twins desperately need with Josh Willingham's production in question.

4. Sign Scott Kazmir, SP 2yrs/16mil. Kazmir is a perfect fit for the Twins going along with the theme of a serious lack of starting pitching. While Kazmir does come with a good deal of risk, mainly durability issues, he posted quality numbers last season with Cleveland resurrecting his career. Adding to the intrigue of Kazmir is that he is only 29 and possesses strike out quality pitches. The Twins have not had a true strike out pitcher since Liriano/Santana and Kazmir would fit the bill nicely.

5. Sign Jhonny Peralta, SS/3B 1yr/6mil. Another issue yet to be addressed for the Minnesota Twins is the left side of the infield. Currently the positions of SS and 3B belong to Pedro Florimon and Trevor Plouffe, but neither player has established themselves as a starter of the future. Plouffe possesses above average power at the hot corner, but continues to struggle to hit for average. Florimon plays stellar defense at SS, but hits well below average. Peralta then becomes very valuable because he can play both positions well. Peralta provides above average power for an infielder and hits for a good average while being serviceable defensively. An upgrade at either position undoubtedly.