For the Twins to be competitive, let alone a contender. The following things need to happen:
1. Twins sign a Shaun Marcum type and he blossoms winning 20 games, with very good peripherals, taking advantage of the pitching friendly environment of Target Field.
2. Liriano Misses Anderson and Gardenhire and he signs a team friendly contract. Reaching deep within himself, he is able to harness his enigmatic pitching abilities. Winning 17 games, Striking Out 230, with very good all around peripherals.
3. Scott Diamond has a comparable season to the one he is having with 200 innings pitched.
4. The 4-5 Starters (Baker, Gibson, Deduno. John Doe 1, 2, or 3) are able to pitch to the level of a contending teams 4 and 5 starters
1. Perkins and Burton continue their progression as successful late inning relievers.
2. The Twins leave Duensing alone and let him establish himself in the bullpen and he rewards them by being the shut down left handed specialist.
3. 2 more relievers emerge from the woodwork and do an above acceptable job.
C - Mauer has an elite BA season. .340+BA, 90RBI, 550+PA's
1B - Morneau. He reclaims the ability to hit .300+, 30HR+, 100+RBI
2B - Someone who plays good defense and hits over .250 (not holding out too much hope)
SS - See 2B
3B - Mr. June spreads his wealth around the other months playing serviceable defense, hitting .250+ with 25+ HR's
LF - Willingham repeats this season.
CF - Revere (I hate speculating on trades, but I will go with the overall concensus that Span is traded for a few decent prospects who won't be able to help immediately). Revere bats .300+, 100+ Runs Scored, 50 stolen bases.
RF - Parmelee: .280+ Average, 20+HR's, 85+RBI's
DH - Doumit repeats this season
Bench: Mastroianni, Carroll, Herrmann, Some Joe Cool bench player who can hit a HR off the bench once in a while.
This is within the realm possibility, Right?
That's "best team in baseball", not "contending".
My sense of imagination got away from me.