General managers across the American League have been relatively busy reconfiguring their teams for the 2010 season. Of particular note are Brian Cashman and Jack Zduriencik, the respective GMs of the Yankees and Mariners, who have both been quite impressive up to this point in the offseason. Cashman has reinforced the roster of the defending World Series champs by bringing in Curtis Granderson and Javier Vazquez in trades that most analysts viewed as lopsided in favor of the Yankees. Meanwhile, Zduriencik has seeked to build on his team's 24-win improvement during his first year as GM by adding Cliff Lee and Chone Figgins. Earlier this week, the M's dealt underperforming former top prospect Brandon Morrow to the Blue Jays for Brandon League in a deal that puzzled many but that I liked given that I've long coveted League.
Meanwhile, Bill Smith and the Twins have been awfully silent. Since making a big early splash by trading Carlos Gomez for J.J. Hardy just a couple days after the World Series, the Twins have been relatively inactive, with the only noteworthy moves coming in the form of an arbitration offer to Carl Pavano (which was accepted) and a minor trade that sent Boof Bonser to the Red Sox for a low-level pitching prospect.
Seeing rival GMs wheel and deal while Smith has remained in the shadows has irked a number of Twins fans, but the reality is that the Twins are probably playing this the right way. Despite the number of significant trades that have gone down, the free agent market has remained stagnant. Several options at positions of need -- including Felipe Lopez, Mark DeRosa and Adrian Beltre -- are still out there, and it seems like agents and teams are waiting for a few early contracts to set the tone before they start hammering out deals. The Twins probably don't have a lot of financial flexibility left to sign additional players, and they almost certainly can't afford to meet the current demands of guys like DeRosa and Beltre. Yet, as time goes by, the prices will only drop. The same is true for potential trades.
I'm not suggesting that the Twins once again wait until late February when the only remaining option is a hobbled and desperate Joe Crede before they start seriously investigating solutions to their infield holes, but fans should show a bit more patience with the front office. Waiting is the right strategy for the time being.