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  • January Mailbag? !!!!!

    My one resolution for 2014 is to answer more fake questions. If someone (me) is going to go to the trouble of asking a question, the least I can do is answer it. In addition, I'm going to answer the really tough questions that others are too scared to tackle.

    In fact, 2014 is the year of answering the tough questions. I won't be afraid of what the answers reveal. I intend to get to know myself better through this exercise. It's going to be quite cathartic and important, really. Most important, we need to get off on the right foot with a really important question.

    What type of food is each Twins player?
    ~ Brad S., St. Paul, MN

    We're off! I'll flesh this out in more detail in the future. I might even devote a full post to it and possibly create some stupid photoshops. That said, I'll provide some of the easier answers:

    • Joe Mauer: Wonder Bread. Kind of goes without saying.
    • Brian Dozier: Penne Arrabiata. Spicy, good-looking, complex, yet traditional and non-threatening.
    • Glen Perkins: Tremendous Twelve. Just outstanding, lots of variety, affordable, very filling.
    • Mike Pelfrey: Burnt Popcorn. Some people actually like it; the result of taking too much time.
    • Sam Deduno: McRib. Bounces between available and not available, saucy, incites excitement, makes some people crazy, not really very good.

    Hi-yo. What do you think the lineup will look like at the beginning of next season? How about 2015? Thanks, I'm a huge fan.

    ~ Brad S., St. Paul, MN

    That's a very excellent and timely question. It's possible that the Twins could still add one more position player who could weasel his way into the starting lineup. Of course, I'm not sure the Opening Day lineup will change much, as our current skipper tends to err on the side of sentimentality/tradition. Therefore, here is what I expect in 2014:

    Alex Presley, CF
    Brian Dozier, 2B
    Joe Mauer, 1B (still looks weird)
    Josh Willingham, LF
    Oswaldo Arcia, RF
    Trevor Plouffe, 3B
    Josmil Pinto, DH
    Kurt Suzuki, C
    Pedro Florimon, SS

    Nothing shocking, and I could see Plouffe hitting ahead of Arcia for those sentimental reasons. Pinto and Suzuki are in the lineup because I think the Twins like Pinto's bat, but won't trust his defense initially. Florimon's there, but I don't think he'll be there for long (more on that later). Presley should hold off Aaron Hicks for a couple months, but I expect Hicks to tear up AAA because I am very irrational about him. As for 2015, I foresee a couple of changes:

    Aaron Hicks, CF
    Brian Dozier, 2B
    Joe Mauer, 1B
    Oswaldo Arcia, LF
    Miguel Sano, 3B
    Josmil Pinto, C
    Trevor Plouffe, DH
    Alex Presley, RF
    Eduardo Escobar, SS

    Obviously, I prefer Escobar to Florimon, Hicks to Presley and Sano to Plouffe. Unless the Twins sign some free agents, these are the guys who should be on the Opening Day roster in 2015. I believe Sano will be ready but Byron Buxton will be a midseason entry. Sano is a better defender than Plouffe and Hicks has better range than Presley (Hicks has a vastly superior RF arm too, but range > arm). If Eddie Rosario plays like gangbusters upon return from his suspension (and plays in the outfield), he could supplant Presley, but I don't see that happening.

    Originally posted at Kevin Slowey was Framed!

    Which player do you want to see more of in '14?
    ~ Brad S., St. Paul, MN

    Take a look at my starting shortstop in 2015. I want to see much more of Eduardo Escobar next season. In fact, I'm starting "The Eddie 400" and I won't stop writing/talking about it until it is apparent that Escobar has no chance of getting 400 at-bats. I'm not really sure that he's good, but I am quite certain he can hit at least as well as Pedro Florimon. Plus, he's two years younger and might be an even better defender. Even if the Twins are happy with Florimon, I'd love to see Escobar get some starts at 3rd and enhance the team defense.

    Next week, I plan to fully outline "The Eddie 400." I'll outline all of the reasons why I'm smitten with Mr. Escobar. I just really hope that someone calls him "Eddie" or this whole thing is quite loony.

    There are rumors that the Twins are interested in Johan Santana. How does that make you feel?
    ~ Brad S., St. Paul, MN

    Don't ruin my New Year, Twins. Make this happen.

    What is the core of the Twins team?

    ~ Brad S., St. Paul, MN

    The core has to contain the players who will lead the team to glory. Guys like Brian Dozier and Glen Perkins are great and nice and super, but they aren't really core players. Dozier is good, but not great. Perkins is great, but fills a role that can be filled much more easily than other roles. So, the Twins core is Joe Mauer, Oswaldo Arcia, Miguel Sano, Bryon Buxton and Alex Meyer.

    Obviously, only two of those players have MLB experience. There is a lot riding on Buxton, Sano and Meyer. If all three reach their ceilings, the Twins will have an insane core. If two of three pan out, the core will still be great. Perish the thought, but if all three crap out, well...let's just not think that way. That core is excellent, but one more pitcher would be nice. I'm actively wooing Masahiro Tanaka in my weekly POWER RANKINGS. Check out my Ranking's here. Tanaka would be a nice sixth in that core.

    What's your Pelfrey problem?

    ~ Brad S., St. Paul, MN

    Ah, nothing really. He seems very nice and he'll be great at the back of the rotation. Calling him burnt popcorn will be my final jab at Pelfrey. At least until he starts pitching. Then, I might have to start in on him, just to pass the time between pitches.

    Have a great weekend, everyone!
    This article was originally published in blog: January Mailbag? !!!!! started by Brad Swanson
    Comments 26 Comments
    1. cmathewson's Avatar
      cmathewson -
      I think Hicks ends up in RF when Buxton comes up, with Arcia moving to LF.
    1. Brad Swanson's Avatar
      Brad Swanson -
      Quote Originally Posted by cmathewson View Post
      I think Hicks ends up in RF when Buxton comes up, with Arcia moving to LF.
      I'm with you on this. I love Hicks' arm in right. Nothing would fall between center and right either.
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      I love Hicks' arm in RF, but I also like his range for LF. Especially given this claim about Arcia being more comfortable, and better, in RF. I don't know.
    1. Lazarus's Avatar
      Lazarus -
      Quote Originally Posted by Brad Swanson View Post
      Obviously, I like Dozier. I did call him penne arrabiata, didn't I? Overall, he had a good 2013 season. He had two excellent months, two good months and two bad months. The order of when the bad and excellent months occurred is encouraging. I'm not ready to say he can be a core member of a championship team just yet. If he improves in 2014, I'll admit that I'm wrong.

      As for who is a white castle cheeseburger - I'd say Ryan Doumit is a pretty good fit. Simple, pretty good, you'd like to have more than one, but it's no one's favorite and sometimes it makes you really sick. It's just too bad the Twins traded him away.
      The White Castle Cheeseburger (aka Slider) would have to be Nick "Why does he always slide head-first into first base?" Punto. Seems like a good idea at the end of an evening after over-indulging, but you seriously question his worth the next morning. And the rest of the day too.
    1. Lazarus's Avatar
      Lazarus -
      Quote Originally Posted by Shane Wahl View Post
      I love Hicks' arm in RF, but I also like his range for LF. Especially given this claim about Arcia being more comfortable, and better, in RF. I don't know.
      When factoring both Rosario and Arcia into the equation, I think one of these outfielders becomes a tradable asset - hopefully for more starting pitching (correct me if I'm wrong, but we'll have some expiring contracts at the end of 2015 that we'll be looking to upgrade). The one who remains becomes your leftfielder.

      I think a bigger key for this team is to make sure they are at least 3-deep with high-quality starters by '16/no later than '17 if this team is going to constructed for a playoff run for the end of the Mauer era and moving towards the prime of Sano/Buxton. None of those three will be in the rotation in '14 (unless we are surprised by a career resurrection by Hughes) - and I only see (with high probability) two of them in the system currently with Meyer and Stewart. You can make arguments for others to have that potential but they are longer shots, so we'll need to make an intelligent trade or two to complete the rotation as getting true value through FA is getting more difficult by the year due to teams locking up their good young players through their twenties.
    1. Paul Pleiss's Avatar
      Paul Pleiss -
      If Mike Pelfrey comes to Twins Fest this year I would actually pay to have my picture taken with him. Last season I had him sign a random add from the Twins magazine, wasted opportunity. I'm smitten with Big Pelf and I don't know why. I'm considering making a legitimate post about why he'll have a sub 4 ERA this season and will lead the team in wins.
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