Friday, February 13, 2009

Gearing Up For Spring

Twins players are sprinkling into Ft. Myers for voluntary workouts, and pitchers and catchers begin official workouts on Monday. After a dreadfully slow offseason, spring training is almost upon us. The lack of activity from the Twins this winter has unfortunately led to a relative lack of updates on this blog, but now that we’re on the verge of some actual baseball being played I can finally start to get back into the groove.

I’ll have a Spring Training Preview up sometime next week, and I’m also pretty eagerly anticipating the World Baseball Classic. A lot of baseball fans I’ve spoken with seem pretty ho-hum about the WBC, but I’ve never really understood this sentiment. It’s an opportunity to watch baseball earlier than we usually do… what could be wrong with that? And while the actual meaningfulness of the tournament is debatable due to a lack of history and legacy, I think we can pretty safely say that the games carry more significance than your typical spring training exhibition affair. Plus, prospect buffs will potentially get a chance to see prospects like Luke Hughes and Carlos Gutierrez in action, which can otherwise be tough unless you live in Florida or New York.

Getting back to the subject of spring training exhibitions, I’ll be tripping down to Ft. Myers in mid-March to catch a Twins game or two. The last time I ventured down to Florida to experience some spring baseball was in 2004, where I was able to catch a glimpse of Joe Mauer in action sooner than most. It was a great experience and I’m looking forward to getting down there again next month. I’ll be sure to snap some photos and report anything interesting. If anyone else is planning on heading down there, feel free drop me a note.

Barring a Joe Crede signing, it appears that the Twins are pretty much done with their offseason moving and shaking, and will roll into the Lee County Sports Complex in Ft. Myers with a group that is largely the same as the one they finished with last year. I’m feeling considerably more positive about the team’s chances than I did one year ago, and this season should feature some interesting storylines, such as: young players working to grow as hitters, a bullpen looking to bounce back from a miserable second half, youthful pitchers fighting to fend off regression, and an overcrowded outfield with more starting-caliber players than spots available. And, of course, it’ll all go down in the very last year of the Metrodome’s existence as a major-league ballpark.

Spring has sprung once again, and it’s an exciting time of year for baseball fans. Let’s get down to business.

9 comments:

Twins said...

What's your take on this Delmon Young restructuring of the deal?

I understand the logistics, but is there a deeper meaning?

Nick N. said...

Doesn't mean much. Young's contract is kind of weird because he signed a major-league deal out of high school. Basically, the Twins payed him the lowest possible amount this year, in his final pre-arbitration season. That seems about right, as Young was not very good last year.

RPM said...

Nick I'm wondering -- how do you afford to do all this traveling that you are doing, so fresh out of college and (seemingly) w/out a real job? Haven't you been like jet-setting all over the world of late and now you're off to Fla. for spring training?

I'm not begrudging you your travels or anything; I'm just curious! Sounds like a great lifestyle

Adam Peterson said...

I'm not too concerned about the Young contract restructuring. Yes, the Twins gave him the maximum 20% pay cut, but that was relative to his 2008 salary ($0.7M) plus bonus ($0.74M). His salary actually jumped from $0.7M up to $1.152M. A "pay cut" in name only.

Nick N. said...

Nick I'm wondering -- how do you afford to do all this traveling that you are doing, so fresh out of college and (seemingly) w/out a real job? Haven't you been like jet-setting all over the world of late and now you're off to Fla. for spring training?

I don't know that I travel as much as you might think. I went to San Francisco in late January for my cousin's wedding (parents covered that), and my last trip prior was when me and a friend went to go stay with another friend Boston for a long weekend last September.

The trip down to Ft. Myers is a family deal. I'm also driving down to Chicago to see a Twins/Cubs game this summer and staying with my sister, who goes to college at DePaul and lives in Wriggleyville.

So, to answer your question, I have nice parents and some connections around the country. My travels are certainly not the result of an immense income.

Matt P said...

I'll definitely be at the Cubs series this year. I made it out there in the past for some games at US Cellular, but Wrigley will be a different story. Nothings but Oldstyle and Ivy. I'm definitely on the same page with you about the WBC though. It's a bit inconvenient that its during spring training, which could be worked out in the future, but the idea is fantastic. With the current dynamic of the MLB it's very interesting to see the U.S. take on the Latin American countries, not to mention Japan and Canada. But for now, we wait.

Jeff said...

This has been an amazingly slow offseason, even for the Twins. I've decided to take it as a sign that we've got a good core.

That said, I really wish the Twins would take a chance on Crede already. We have the money and the back-up talent in place to comfortably take a risk on him.

Also, amen on the WBC shout-out. I love the WBC something FIERCE.

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