Perusing the Twins official website, we come across a few tidbits regarding the past season. Any surprises here among the Twins team leaders for the season?
Batting Average: Joe Mauer (.294)
Home Runs: Jacque Jones (23)
Runs Batted In: Justin Morneau (79)
ERA: Johan Santana (2.87)
Wins: Johan Santana (16)
Strikeouts: Johan Santana (238)
Nothing very surprising there, except for the unimpressive nature of the offensive numbers. If you would've told me at the beginning of the season that our leading RBI man wouldn't even top 80, I would've called you crazy.
The end of this disappointing season brought some quick changes, which is good, although they aren't necessarily the changes one would like to see. The cutting of underperformers Joe Mays and Luis Rivas were pretty obviously going to happen, but still it was good to see it. Matt LeCroy being cut was a bit more surprising, and the team might miss his lefty-mashing big bat, but I stand by the opinion that I've had all along the a player who can't run, can't field, and can't hit right-handed pitchers simply doesn't have enough value to deserve a roster spot on a contending ballclub. Therefore, I wasn't too unhappy to see him go. His agent is Scott Boras, which should lead to an interesting market search.
Despite all the changes that the Twins SHOULD make this offseason, I don't think it's too terribly likely that they will be making any major ones, knowing the history of Terry Ryan and Carl Pohlad. Instead, we will have to remain content with overanalyzing any small free agency pickups they make to fill holes and track the performance of our young prospects in the Arizona Fall League. First baseman Garret Jones has already hit 4 dingers and Travis Bowyer and Glen Perkins have both looked dominant. And while I don't suspect the Twins will add the reliable veteran bat they need this winter, there is some hope for improvement in this offense in that Jason Kubel will be returning and the Twins do have 2 minor league hitters among Baseball America's top 25 prospects in Matt Moses and Denard Span.
I will be very disappointed if the team resigns Jacque Jones. I think that his style of play epitomizes what is wrong with this offense. He swings at too many bad pitches, he has worthless at bats, and he constantly hits weak grounders to the right side of the infield. Despite the fact that he was statistically the best power hitter on the team last year (and for the last few years, for that matter), and he has been known to come through with the occasional dramatic clutch hit, I am sick and tired of his inconsistency.
That's about all for today. More later.