We’re going to have some serious hitting power this year. And Jim Thome’s not even in the lineup.
I know that the big talk has been about Joe Mauer, the American League 2009 Most Valuable Player (who’s heard of that award?), and whether or not we’re going to offer him the kind of contractual monstrosity that would keep him in Minnesota for the rest of his natural life. I know that he’s maybe the best hitter in baseball, and that he’s not too bad a catcher, either. I know that the girls love him (I prefer Morneau, honestly, though I also have a soft spot for Cuddyer’s twinkly eyes), and I agree that it’s pretty neat that he grew up here and went to school at St. Paul’s Cretin Durham-Hall. But we still have another entire year to speculate about whether or not he’s going to get (and sign) that behemoth contract, so right now, I’m focusing on the upcoming season.
The latest: espn.com reports that just a few days ago, the Twins inked a one-year, five million dollar deal with second baseman Orlando Hudson. This is significant because it fills the gap in the lineup between lead-off batter Denard Span and our hometown boy (and MVP – I just like to say it) Mauer. Last year, both Nick Punto and Alexi Casilla proved nothing but this: despite Punto’s defensive brilliance, neither player is the man for the number two spot. By signing Hudson, Twins’ GM Bill Smith and manager Ron Gardenhire have plugged the just-over-.200-batting-average leaking hole in their lineup for the 2010 season. And according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, that lineup is as follows: Span, Hudson, Mauer, Morneau, Michael Cuddyer, Jason Kubel, Delmon Young, J.J. Hardy (at shortstop, also a newcomer to the Twins this year), and Brendan Harris. With the fantastic and supremely scary Jim Thome (he’s my favorite) to throw in there to shake up the pitcher whenever they please, it’s looking pretty good for the Twins next year. They’re formidable, to say the least.
As with any new acquisition (especially one that bumps up the payroll to a whopping $96 million), there is some concern about our new second baseman. His left wrist has undergone surgery, causing some to wonder if he may be prone to injury, and he’s 32 years old, leaving others to wonder whether or not he will continue to produce at the same level that he has in the past (never mind that he won a golden glove award with the Dodgers last year). And to those nay-sayers and worry-warts, I say the same thing that I said when they all piped up about Jim Thome (crazy-awesome-scary Jim Thome) being 39 years old and does he still have it and is he worth the money: Brett Favre.
Need I say more?