Long-Term Team Projections
I put this together in a couple minutes earlier today. I'm sure some of the minute details are off. I'm sure some of you have some additional prospects that you feel should be in the picture. However, I think it's a nice snapshot of this team over the next four years.
Basically, for all of the worries about this team and for the low ranking of our farm system, I think we'll actually be pretty solid into 2015 with this likely being our worst season. I think we have some pretty solid depth emerging.
Looking at this, the keys to long-term success in my mind would be:
-Acquiring a long-term ace or signing Liriano long-term if he happens to emerge as that person
-Exchanging excessive wealth of OF talent in the next year or two for SP depth. I'm particularly happy we have Ryan in charge to do this verses Billy Smith. We're going to have to take some risks here, and I hope we realize it. 2013-2015 is going to create a massive cluster in the OF. We'll have Span, Revere, Benson, Hicks, Willingham, Morales, Plouffe and Arcia all at the MLB or knocking at the door. All 8 guys have varying degrees of upside and serious moves are going to need to be made here. It's a position of strength to hopefully help strengthen the corners and starting pitching, but Ryan is going to be forced to make some serious long-term bets here.
-Mauer needs to play at least at 75% of his contract level for the next four years because he's really preventing us from acquiring a true impact player at 1B/3B/DH as would be optimal. As a result, we're going to have to heavily lean on Valencia and Parmelee to be solid players over the next couple years. They have the talent, and I hope they get there. However, I'm not convinced.
-We're going to have to have Levi Michael live up to the hype or for Luke Hughes or Alexi Casilla to become solid MLB starters to pair with Dozier and shore up that long-term middle infield.