Posted at 12:00 PM on March 30, 2008
by David Zingler
1. The Twins WILL regret trading Johan Santana.
I think trading Santana at the height of his career will go down as one of the biggest blunders in Twins history. It will compare to the Cubs letting Greg Maddux go to Atlanta in 1993 and the Red Sox jettisoning Roger Clemens in 1996. In light of the Joe Nathan signing, it even looks more absurd (see below).
I am even willing to take it one step further: this trade will go down with the Herschel Walker fleecing as the worst in Minnesota sports history. I hope I am wrong, but I doubt it.
2. Justin Morneau WILL hit 40 homeruns.
I made this same prediction last year and, in the first half anyway, it looked good as gold. Then Morneau faded faster than the Twins playoff hopes, hitting just 3 homeruns after July 30 to finish with 31. If the same thing happens this year, it will lead to some serious questions about the slugger's consistency. I got the feeling from him late last year that he won't let it happen again.
3. Carlos Gomez WILL do a stint at Rochester.
Denard Span outplayed Gomez in spring training, plain and simple. The only reason Gomez won the job is because he was a key piece to the Santana trade and not sending him north would make the deal look even worse than it already does.
Gomez is the classic anti-Sabrmetrics player. He's 6-4, athletic and runs like the wind. He looks great in his uniform, but has never really hit all that well at any level. His minor league line of .278/.339/.399 attests to that. The Twins aren't doing him any favors sticking him at the high profile lead-off spot either.
If the 22-year-old gets off to a slow start, he could end up in Rochester and centerfield could become this year's third base - who knows if Span is ready and Craig Monroe doesn't seem to have the range....stay tuned.
4. The Twins offense WILL be fun to watch.
Let's face it, for most of last year watching the Twins hit was about as enjoyable as watching Sid Hartman trim his nose hair. This year should be different. Delmon Young is one of the most exciting young players in the game, Brendan Harris can swing the bat, Mike Lamb is solid and Jason Kubel looks to have finally turned the corner. If Joe Mauer and Micheal Cuddyer can stay healthy, this could be an above-average offensive squad.
5. Joe Mauer WILL play with a (tiny) chip on his shoulder.
There is nothing to not like about Joe Mauer. He has the perfect image and it appears to be legit. The only rap on him may be that he's too nice and too passive. He had to hear the whispers of criticism after last year's injury-riddled season and I think he'll come back with a vengeance in '08. I look for more power from the 6-5 catcher and I think he'll become the all-round superstar everyone knows he can be.