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The Twins can contend, as they’ve shown in the past, even if they might not look up to it on paper. The main concern is the porous rotation, “anchored” by the underachieving Carl Pavano. They’ve got good bats—hometown star Joe Mauer will surely bounce back after a sub-par season, and Justin Morneau, despite a very bad year, is as good a hitter as any. Ron Gardenhire has been around the block so many times that he knows what he’s getting into, and how to get the best out of the cards he’s been dealt. The Twins are cautious about spending money but not averse to spending it, as seen with the acquisition of RF Josh Willingham. They couldn’t retain scrapper Michael Cuddyer, who eventually went for an over-priced contract to Colorado. Ancient SS Jamey Caroll (38) can still hit, but at this point perhaps the Twins would be best served going for youth wherever they can, young players with a high upside, like 23 year-old Ben Revere? Look to the Twins to be surprisingly good, but it’s hard to imagine them contending this year.
In: Josh Willingham (free agent)
Out: Mike Cuddyer (free agent)
Strength: so much depends on the dynamic duo of Morneau and Mauer bouncing back after very ordinary seasons
Weakness: the rotation looks awfully vulnerable, with only Scott Baker boasting an acceptable ERA, and a lot of holding-ones-breath the rest of the way through
Manager: Ron Gardenhire
Projected Rotation: Carl Pavano, Scott Baker, Francesco Liriano, Jason Marquis, Nick Blackburn