As Christmas Day nears to only a week away, don’t expect any great new Twins players under Bill Smith’s tree. This year, Smith is that guy who goes into his basement finds an old gift someone gave him about five years ago called Nick Punto, wraps it up again in some shiny $8.5 million paper, and gives it to one of his family members. I guess it’s better than coal, right?
It’s disappointing, as the Twins came out this offseason with a clear agenda and specific laundry list of holes they were looking to fill, yet it appears the team that flies to Florida in February is going to look an awful lot like the team that stalked off the field with their heads hung low in the brisk Chicago air late last September.
Now, I must quickly say I am not a proponent of making an offseason move just for the sake of making a move.
I also am sick of the Twins taking cheap veterans that they actually expect to rejuvenate their career: Livan Hernandez, Tony Batista, Sidney Ponson, Ramon Ortiz, Mike Lamb, Craig Monroe, etc. etc. etc.
Maybe I shouldn’t have been so naive and known that the Twins weren’t really going to make any big moves. But something seemed different about this year. The team came so close to the playoffs and has so many great things to look forward to in 2009 that it appeared it may only take one great move to put them over the top.
The conditions seemed perfect. The Twins had payroll space after losing Torii Hunter, Johan Santana, and Carlos Silva in 2008 and after team payroll slipped down into the $50 millions management claimed to be willing to bring it back up to $70 million.
The silver lining in all of this is that the Twins do already have a great team set up for 2009. In theory, players like Michael Cuddyer, Delmon Young, and the bullpen should rebound next year while our entire pitching staff along with Carlos Gomez, Alexi Casilla, and Denard Span should continue to improve.
If Bill Smith feels confident with the hand he is holding, I’m ready to sit at the table and see how our boys fare next year. I just feel like with the way last season ended and with the new ballpark on the horizon it was the right time for the Twins to make a statement.
Now Christmas hasn’t passed us yet and there is still time until the 25th and lots of time before Spring Training in February so maybe, just maybe, Smith still has a surprise up his sleeve to sneak under the Christmas tree or perhaps a Valentine's Day gift. I’m just not expecting it!