The good news is that the Twins have two very good relievers to finish games with in Matt Capps and Joe Nathan. The Twins just re-signed the former to a 1-year, $7.15 million contract after arbitration, and it's yet to be seen how the latter is going to come back from Tommy John surgery this past off-season, but as it stands now, the Twins would appear to have a very good closer situation.
Who's going to get the ball to Capps and Nathan for the eighth and ninth innings? Well. . .that's a different matter entirely.
The following is a list of players that were members of the Minnesota bullpen when the 2010 season ended that have moved on to different locales.
-Jesse Crain - Signed with the Chicago White Sox
-Matt Guerrier - Signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers
-Jon Rauch - Signed with the Toronto Blue Jays
-Brian Fuentes - Signed with the Oakland Athletics
With the Twins' off-season being as quiet as its been thus far, you'd have to wonder if they're going to bring anybody in through free agency to fill these holes, or if they're going to try to fill everything with in-house options. Currently, outside of Nathan, Capps, and Jose Mijares, the Twins don't have any other major league relief pitchers under contract.
The folks over at Twinkie Town seem to think that the Twins will go the route of filling the bullpen slots with what they already have available to them in-house, a move that they've lovingly dubbed. . .er, DisasterPen '11.
So Pat Neshek gets $800K, and we hope that he's as good as he once was. Glen Perkins is lefthanded, so he gets $800K. Alex Burnett, Anthony Slama - eh, why not. Half a million each! Kyle Waldrop! Rob Delaney! It's a veritable hurricane of unproven relief arms!
They don't appear to be big fans of the move, but they also point out that Capps and Fuentes were mid-season acquisitions, and that the Twins could probably do something similar again if they find themselves in contention.
The Minnesota Twins stand to be a pretty good team again in 2011. . .the return of Justin Morneau should boost the offense to even greater levels than they achieved in 2010, and the starting rotation should be pretty good. If anything holds this team back, it will probably be the middle relief. . .we'll see if they do anything about that.