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What about the offense?

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#1 mike wants wins

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 04:17 PM

The Twins have now "fixed" 40% of their rotation. Last year, they were as far from being top 5 in runs allowed as they were runs scored. In other words, it wasn't just the pitching that held them back....and even TR has said this several times.

Right now, you have no CF or LF (assuming Willingham is the DH, if he's the LF, good luck with your new fly ball pitching staff....) that appears to be able to hit at all. Can you even name the OFers other than Willingham and Arcia at this point? The SS can't hit. The 3B can't be counted on to hit (Sano won't be up right away, imo, and even is he is, do you think he'll be great right away). The catcher, not sure we can name him for sure yet. Doumit isn't good. Basically, they are average or better at 1B and 2B (assuming Dozier is 2nd half Dozier) and maybe RF. That's it on offense. That doesn't take into account defense.

Some have said, well, just wait until Buxton is up. I doubt he's up in 2014. Some have said Hicks will hit this time. I'm not sure he'll ever hit righties, even his good AA year was driven by his ability to walk, an ability he wont' have in the majors if he can't even make contact. And who is the other OF, because if Willingham is the DH, I shudder to think about the O produced with Hicks and Pressley as your OF.

Me? I think the next signing should be an OF that can hit some. I'd settle for a DH, frankly, since Willingham won't be here past 2014 probably. I don't see a SS they can sign, and I'm not sure how they'd trade for a good SS prospect right now.

They have options at SP now, but they have almost no good options at OF/DH/SS/C/3B that we can feel confident in their ability to hit and field.

thoughts?
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#2 lee_the_twins_fan

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 04:57 PM

The Twins signed Jason Bartlett to a minor league deal, with an invite to Spring Training. I think he'll be the starting SS.

If Sano is ready, I'd say promote him and solve the 3B issue. i would trade Plouffe at this point.

Willingham and Arcia should be the DH and LF – somewhat interchangeably.

The Twins' weakest spot, IMO is at CA. Josmil Pinto may yet get the nod as starting CA, but he'll have to work a lot with Mauer and the coaches on his defensive and offensive skills. I think he can do it.

As for CF, either Hicks or Presley will get the nod; at RF, Parmelee and Colabello will battle it out. If Sano is not ready at 3B, I'd see what Colabello can do there. He has played the position a little in the minor leagues.

It's a scary outfield group, and an unsure group at many other positions, too. But I think it could still succeed.

As for the last poster - Ellsbury has signed with the Yankees.

#3 Brandon

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 05:16 PM

Improve the offense:

1. Promote Sano when he is ready
2. return to health for Willingham
3. Presely or Hicks in CF Buxton up at either allstar break or September
4. Arcia's continued development
5. Pinto and I guess Buck at C so we'll need to sign Buck to a 1 or 2 year deal.
6. that leaves Doumit at DH. we could/ should sign someone like Michael Young who can DH and play multiple positions to a 1 year deal and either trade Doumit or move to the bench.

CF Presely
2B Dozier
1B Mauer
LF Willingham
RF Arcia
3b Plouffe/ Sano
DH Young
C Pinto/ Buck
SS Florimon

This should be a solid lineup pending health and improvement of some of the younger guys.

#4 twinscowboysbulls

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 05:46 PM

1. Trade Doumit packaged with whatever for Brett Anderson.
2. Sign Rajai Davis for 1-2 Year Contract.
3. Sign John Buck for 1 year deal.

Opening Day
LF Rajai Davis
2B Brian Dozier
1B Joe Mauer
DH Josh Willingham
RF Oswaldo Arcia
C Josmil Pinto/ John Buck
3B Trevor Plouffe
CF Aaron Hicks
SS Pedro Florimon/Jason Bartlett

4. Trade a healthy and rebounded Willingham in July for whatever you can get.
5. Promote a mashing Sano from AA/AAA.

July 20 Lineup:
CF Aaron Hicks
2B Brian Dozier
1B Joe Mauer
3B Miguel Sano
DH Oswaldo Arcia
LF Rajai Davis
RF Trevor Plouffe/Pressley
C Pinto/Buck
SS Florimon/Bartlett

6. Promote the next big thing.

September Lineup:
CF Byron Buxton
2B Brian Dozier
1B Joe Mauer
3B Miguel Sano
DH Oswaldo Arcia
RF Rajai Davis/Trevor Plouffe
C Pinto/Buck
LF Aaron Hicks
SS Florimon/Bartlett

7. Fill in the spots where youngsters don't produce. Guessing a SS and an Outfielder + sign a good pitcher if Meyer doesn't show something in 2014.

#5 Thrylos

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 06:02 PM

Reality check: .212/.288/.404 Buxton's numbers against mostly high A and AA competition in the AFL this fall.

He is at least 2 years away. September of 2015 the earliest if he crashes AA pitching (like Pinto and Arcia and Sano did.)


Gotta love the people who think that Hicks is not ready and the Twins promoted him too early and at the same time are asking for Buxton :)
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#6 DAM DC Twins Fans

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 06:11 PM

I agree now the Twins need help in the field if they are gonna get past 72 (or so) wins. Our OF defense at this point is horrid and yes we strike out too much.

I am sure help is on the way by 2015--even though not all will be stars--but Sano, Buxton, Hicks, Pinto should all be here by then. Maybe even Rosario (after he serves the 50 games). Ditch Willingham or Doumit for what little you can get ASAP and ditch the other at the AS break. Until Buxton and Hicks are ready go with Arcia, Parmalee and Pressly in the OF and pray for the pitchers. Willingham and Doumit DH till they are gone. When Sano is ready move either Plouffe or Sano to RF and Arcia to DH. Hope Dozier is for real (serious doubts) and that Rosario can be ready in 2015...

Yup lots of wishing and hoping...if half of Pinto, Sano, Hicks and Buxton live up to potential maybe we can get to 500...

#7 Riverbrian

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 06:16 PM

Ahh yes... Offense.

We we clearly needed Starting Pitching but yes... The Twins Offense has to improve.

As mentioned before... the K totals were historically bad. The team had no speed and it had no power.

2013 was a combination of bad things. 2013 was nearly every player under performing expectation.

2014... has to return to normal expectation.

Improve Power!!! The Horses are already there. They just gotta be... You know... Powerful.

Willingham has OPS'ed over .800 since 2006. Average .830... Get him back to average and you got a bat for the middle of your lineup.

Arcia has the potential to be a power bat. Expectation should be over .800 OPS

Plouffe needs better pitch selection. 1,226 MLB at bats... No more messing around. If he fails. Sano comes in.

That's a combination of 3 power bats. We will need one more to replace what Morneau should have done but didn't. I don't know who that is. Arencebia strikes out way too much and we don't need more strikeouts.

Parmelee... Doumit?

Is is it too much to think that Mauer could hit 20 as a 1B?

Improve Speed!!!

Speed isn't just stolen bases... It's extra bases... It's pressure put on the defense. It can produce runs when the power is shut down. It gives you another way to win a game. We had no speed in 2013 and we need some in 2014. Florimon, Dozier, Presley can run a little. That's it.

Mastro has speed. Hicks has Speed... Will either of these guys be on the roster at the start of the year?

I dont know... As GM... I'd be tempted to be looking for some fast guys. Buxton will be here eventually but any time in 2014 is a long shot.

Edited by Riverbrian, 04 December 2013 - 06:21 PM.

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#8 iastfan112

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 06:20 PM

Reality check: .212/.288/.404 Buxton's numbers against mostly high A and AA competition in the AFL this fall.

He is at least 2 years away. September of 2015 the earliest if he crashes AA pitching (like Pinto and Arcia and Sano did.)


Gotta love the people who think that Hicks is not ready and the Twins promoted him too early and at the same time are asking for Buxton :)


While those expecting him to be up next year might be a bit optimistic, drawing huge conclusions from 50 AB at the end of his first full season of ball is mostly pointless. 2015 May/June is a reasonable time frame, that gives him a full year at AA and a taste of AAA in 2015.

#9 TheLeviathan

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 06:23 PM

I've been on the speed thing for awhile, but (for whatever reason) Gardys teams have always stifled their players use of speed.

my guess is our lineup is this out of ST:

CF - Pressly
2B - Dozier
1B - Mauer
LF - Willingham
DH - Doumit
RF - Arcia
3B - Plouffe
C - Pinto
SS - Florimon

And that is very discouraging. Hopefully by July we see Hicks and Sano productive and a part but right now that is a bad lineup.

#10 iastfan112

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 06:28 PM

More to the original point some of the struggles should equal out due to regression to the mean. The only 2 players who put up stat lines at or above what their minor league trendlines or historical MLB averages are were Mauer and Dozier, perhaps Florimon as well. Its not hard to imagine at least one guywith solid minor league pedigrees like Hicks, Arcia and Parmelee putting together a better year next year. Doumit and Willingham both struggled mightly and while some of that is probably age based decline it was much steeper then you would typically expect, probably some room for improvement there.

#11 tmerrickkeller

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 06:34 PM

Still, the reality right now is:
CF Hicks/Pressly
2B Dozier
1B Mauer
LF Willingham
RF Arcia
DH Doumit
3B Plouffe
C Pinto
SS Florimon

with Escobar/Parmelee or Colabello/Mastro or Hicks or Pressly/Fryer or Hermann as your bench. That is not pretty, even with improvements from some.

I did like the September lineup that was posted earlier - but that assumes quick progression from Sano/Buxton/Rosario plus the addition of some others (Rajai Davis, John Buck) PLUS the progression of Hicks and the revival of Willingham, Plouffe, Parmelee, etc. That's asking a lot.

#12 cmb0252

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 06:37 PM

Reality check: .212/.288/.404 Buxton's numbers against mostly high A and AA competition in the AFL this fall.

He is at least 2 years away. September of 2015 the earliest if he crashes AA pitching (like Pinto and Arcia and Sano did.)


Gotta love the people who think that Hicks is not ready and the Twins promoted him too early and at the same time are asking for Buxton :)


AFL numbers mean nothing. Just like spring training numbers. I don't understand why people get worked up about either. Buxton killed low A and high A as a teenager during his first full season of pro ball. He did it so impressively he became the unanimous #1 overall prospect in baseball. While suggesting he will be up by the ASG might be optimistic saying he won't be ready till late 2015 is wildly pessimistic. Outside of a major injury I see no reason why he won't get a cup of Joe in September.

#13 cmb0252

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 06:42 PM

It would be great to add at least one offensive piece but I don't see a good match. I like the idea of Juan Uribe on a one year deal to man third till Sano is ready and once Sano comes up to mentor him. Rumors are he might want a two year deal and if so I don't see the fit. Most likely they will sign Buck to catch with Pinto and call it a day.

#14 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 09:00 PM

I think the reality here though is that not much can be done. Locked in: Mauer, Dozier, Hammer, Arcia, and Pinto. Dozier needs to show that the second half was the real Dozier. Arcia is likely going to improve for no other reason than that he's young and he consistently has done that. You have open spots at SS, 3B, CF, and DH. At 3B, Plouffe is getting another chance... Period. He's shown flashes that he can be good, and the Twins would be silly not to give him one more year. At this point, he's a place holder to Sano, but I don't see the Twins signing a 1 year stop gap solution when anyone signing a 1 year deal is going to be more expensive and probably just as risky as Plouffe. Parmelee is in the same boat on the other side, though he will likely be doing the DH/OF/1B thing to get his at bats. His defense will keep him around a bit longer, but again, the Twins need to figure out if one of these guys can stick. Not all young guys hit like Trout right away. If one does manage to hit well in 2014, that's the DH for the next wave. CF also has options in the near term in Hicks and Buxton. I expect Presley to get the nod opening day and have most of the year to be in the same situation as Plouffe, and Parmelee, but if not, he's going to have Hicks and Buxton pressing him for PT by 2015.

The only real gap that they need to do something about is SS. Problem that I see is that there aren't any good options there other than potentially moving Dozier back if Rosario comes back strong from his suspension.

#15 JP3700

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 09:13 PM

I agree with cmb, there aren't really any good matches in free agency left. I'd look for a couple of guys with upside on minor league deals. Guys like Grady Sizemore and Wilson Betemit come to mind.

I think they can also get creative and use some of their pitching depth in trades. The bullpen has some good arms and guys like Worley and Diamond should still have some value.

Last year the Indians traded Esmil Rogers (spot starter, reliever) for Yan Gomes and Mike Aviles. They also got Ryan Raburn on a minor league deal.

#16 Jim Crikket

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 09:20 PM

No CF or 3B free agent worth a crap is going to sign with the Twins when 2 of the top 3 prospects in all of baseball are knocking on the Twins' door at those positions.

Thrylos is right about peoples' expectations of Buxton being a bit ambitious, though I disagree with him on the use of AFL stats as a basis. Still, at best, he'd be a September call-up in 2014 and even that is contingent on him having a second straight season where he exceeds expectations... and given the level of expectations, I'm not sure that's possible. But by June/July 2015, I think he'll be in Minnesota.

Anyway, point is, if you were a free agent CF or 3B good enough to sign at least a 2 year deal, would you sign with the Twins? Not me.

I'd take my chances with Hicks (who I do think will bounce back and have a productive season) in CF and Plouffe at 3B (unless/until Sano forces his way on to the field).

If you eliminate those two positions, as well as catcher (where I just don't see OFFENSIVE options better than Pinto available at this point), the number of positions where you could reasonably expect to upgrade are almost exhausted.

As I've written elsewhere, I think the offense will be a bit better in 2014 even without personnel changes from the outside.
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#17 Trevor0333

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 09:47 PM

With the lack of offense defense will be even more crucial. Willingham needs to be the full time DH with Pressly & Mastrioanni in LF/CF & Arica in RF.


I was hopeful of catching lighning in a bottle with Calabello but he looked very over matched at the MLB level. I don't expect Hicks to be up unless he is really doing well at AAA to start with.

Dozier
Pressley
Mauer
Willingham
Arcia
Plouffe
Pinto
Mastrioanni
Florimon

#18 TKGuy

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 10:02 PM

I would love to see Hicks in CF and Hammer DHing a bunch. Helps our pitchers immensely and keeps Hammer's body in better shape to hopefully increase his trade value.

#19 nytwinsfan

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 10:08 PM

For Shortstop, one option is Cuban shortstop Aledmys Diaz, who becomes available in February, and was on the Twins radar as recently as October, 2013. It sounds like Diaz is at least a decent defender, but with a much better bat than Florimon. http://www.1500espn....rsue_more102213

#20 Trevor0333

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 10:09 PM

Too bad we can't trade with Bill Smith & get power hitters for 27 year old AAAA relievers

#21 mike wants wins

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Posted 05 December 2013 - 08:35 AM

No CF or 3B free agent worth a crap is going to sign with the Twins when 2 of the top 3 prospects in all of baseball are knocking on the Twins' door at those positions.

Thrylos is right about peoples' expectations of Buxton being a bit ambitious, though I disagree with him on the use of AFL stats as a basis. Still, at best, he'd be a September call-up in 2014 and even that is contingent on him having a second straight season where he exceeds expectations... and given the level of expectations, I'm not sure that's possible. But by June/July 2015, I think he'll be in Minnesota.

Anyway, point is, if you were a free agent CF or 3B good enough to sign at least a 2 year deal, would you sign with the Twins? Not me.

I'd take my chances with Hicks (who I do think will bounce back and have a productive season) in CF and Plouffe at 3B (unless/until Sano forces his way on to the field).

If you eliminate those two positions, as well as catcher (where I just don't see OFFENSIVE options better than Pinto available at this point), the number of positions where you could reasonably expect to upgrade are almost exhausted.

As I've written elsewhere, I think the offense will be a bit better in 2014 even without personnel changes from the outside.


LF and DH are wide open after this year. And I'm not as high on Hicks as you. He did well in AA by waiting for strikes. Well, he got strikes in the majors, and couldn't come close to making contact.

I agree on 3B.
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#22 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 05 December 2013 - 08:37 AM

While those expecting him to be up next year might be a bit optimistic, drawing huge conclusions from 50 AB at the end of his first full season of ball is mostly pointless. 2015 May/June is a reasonable time frame, that gives him a full year at AA and a taste of AAA in 2015.


Yep. People are way too bullish on Buxton being in the Majors in 2014 but I think early 2015 is a pretty reasonable timeframe.

Of course, Byron could stumble a bit and Thrylos could be right as well.

But counting on him to be a significant contributor in 2014 is overly optimistic.

#23 stringer bell

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Posted 05 December 2013 - 08:47 AM

On the wider original topic, it is reasonable to expect better offense from several veterans, and certainly possible that Florimon might improve upon his first full season as a regular. I also expect a much different lineup at midseason compared to Opening Day and probably another change by season's end. I think Buxton gets a look this September (skipping AAA), but won't be a regular until well into 2015. Barring injury or sub-.200 BA, Sano will become the Twins 3B sometime this year. As soon as Hicks has shown that a) his LH hitting is acceptable and B) that he has "mastered" AAA, he'll be back in center to keep the spot warm for the phenom. It would be nice to spend to upgrade, but I suspect the Twins will spend only on a catcher (Buck, Suzuki, Arencebia) who won't help the offense much.

#24 TheLeviathan

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Posted 05 December 2013 - 08:53 AM

I would suggest that people who think internal improvements from poor seasons last year might want to consider a few things:

1). The team's biggest regression candidate plays second base and lead the team in HR.
2). Hammer's issues were injuries, there is plenty of reason to expect those issues continue.
3) Our gain at 1b is probably offset and more by our loss at catcher.

Longterm the offense has great potential but next year could be really ugly if even one or two things happen from that list. It's more than enough to offset anything Arcia or others could do to improve.

#25 halfchest

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Posted 05 December 2013 - 09:08 AM

I guess with most of our top prospects being on the offensive side and many of them close to ML ready like Arcia, Hicks, Pinto, Sano, and Rosario I'm not as worried about offense. Plus I just don't see an obvious signing that will help the team that much. The big names I don't want to spend on like Choo or Cano plus they're not all that realistic for us anyhow. A couple one year deals might be nice to strengthen the team a bit though. A catcher and a middle infielder maybe. Just not sure who that would be.

If the teams gonna drop more money especially long term I'd rather it be on a starting pitcher.

#26 Siehbiscuit

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Posted 05 December 2013 - 09:25 AM

Doumit and Willingham have to bounce back some don't they? Not necessarily to their 2012 level, but they can't be as awful as they both were in 2013. That said, with the absolute lack of offensive potential I don't see how the Twins can dump either one. I wouldn't go all in on either one of them (like give the catcher/RF job to Doumit), but I wouldn't trade them while their values are so incredibly low either. As recently as 2012, they were both good and neither guy is blocking any one.

I would love to see Aaron Hicks come to ST pissed off and ready to fight for the CF spot.

#27 Willihammer

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Posted 05 December 2013 - 09:41 AM

Everything we read after Hammer's knee surgery indicated that he felt much better. Would have been encouraging to see an uptick in production though. I'm hopeful for something between 2012 and 2013. 260/340/460 or so.

I don't think Dozier's a regression candidate necessarily. His BABIP was .278. HR/FB were under 10%. And most of his HRs cleared the fence by "plenty." Will be interesting to see if teams pitch him away more, and how he copes with that, because he established that inner-half is his wheelhouse.

Arcia hit .734 while swinging at bad pitches and missing good ones. If he improves a little bit in both areas, he can hit .800 next year I think. Talent's there.

Florimon didn't hit for average or OBP last year and he never has. The thing that kept his OPS above .600 were the 9 HRs but 5 of those were "just enough" to clear the fence. Take away a couple of those and he's a .5XX hitter. They tell us his RH side is his strong side but still waiting to see evidence of that. If true, maybe he's good for mid .600.

I have stopped hoping for better from Plouffe and Parmelee. Maybe a platoon is the answer but then Escobar or someone will bat against LHPs, I wouldn't expect much from him.

I really hope Hicks figures it out. If he can leadoff decently then we should have a pretty solid 1-5 but it could get dicey after that.

#28 mike wants wins

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Posted 05 December 2013 - 09:42 AM

Doumit hit exactly like Fangraphs predicted he would, so no, he does not need to bounce back.
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#29 matthew0211

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Posted 05 December 2013 - 10:20 AM

The Brewers just traded Aoki to the Royals for Will Smith. Aoki would have fit in nicely as a bridge to Hicks-Buxton-etc. and would allow for one of Willingham/Arcia to DH and push Doumit to the bench where he belongs.

#30 Blackjack

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Posted 05 December 2013 - 10:38 AM

I think what the Twins will do is find out once and for all whether Plouffe and Parmalee can play on a regular basis. If Plouffe fails early, Sano is up - provided hes hitting well in AAA. Otherwise hes a September call-up. If they both rake, its a nice problem to have.

Parmalee will be fighting for at bats with Arcia, Willingham, and Doumit but that should clear up once Willingham and/or Doumit are traded at the all star break. I'm sure Twins management and everybody on this board hope that they have good first halves to increase their value.

Hicks played himself into AAA to start the season regardless how good he plays in spring training. Pressly will play until he plays himself off the team. If Hicks and Pressly both play well, again its a nice problem to have. The trades of Willingham and Doumit will solve the problem.

The Twins aren't going to win in 2014, adding another veteran player or two just muddies up the water, by letting these guys play they either increase in value for a possible trade, show that they have a longterm role on the Twins, or they play themselves off the team.