Twins General Manager Terry Ryan wants to contend for the AL Central crown, but he's also realistic about what his club can do in the coming year. This offseason, Ryan positioned the club for the future by trading from an outfield surplus to acquire talented young pitching. Denard Span and Ben Revere are gone, but 25-year-old Vance Worley, 23-year-old Alex Meyer, and 23-year-old Trevor May are now in the mix. "I think we've fortified the pitching staff," Ryan told 1500 ESPN's Talkin' Twins show. "You look at this team and I think we scored enough runs. We have enough defense, even with the loss of Revere and Span. So we're getting somewhat close to the point where we're ready to go and sort this out a little bit (at spring training)." Here's more out of Minnesota, courtesy of 1500 ESPN's Phil Mackey..
- There are free agent options available at the third base position, such as Brandon Inge, but it appears that the Twins are content with using in-house options to push Trevor Plouffe. Rule 5 acquisition Mark Sobolewski, who posted a .249/.286/.432 slash line with 20 home runs in Double-A and Triple-A last season, was among the candidates mentioned by Ryan.
- The Twins would prefer to use offseason acquisition Rich Harden as a starter, but Ryan said that they may instead opt to make him a reliever. "He has done both," Ryan said. "And I would tell you starter if the health issue was not a part of this thing, but he's not been healthy. So we have to keep that option open." Harden, who has made ten big league relief appearances in his career, signed a minor league deal with Minnesota after missing the entire 2012 season.
- Minnesota wasn't among the first clubs to use statistical analysis in their decision making, but it's now a significant part of their process. Ryan now runs personnel moves by the team's manager of baseball research, Jack Goin. In fact, the GM said that he likely wouldn't make a trade or sign a player without first consulting him.