The current Twins team has almost no relationship to last year's team. Of the 8 everyday players, only three players are back from last year. Mauer, Morneau and Cuddyer will be the recognizable faces when the Twins take the field opening day. None of the other players will have played a single game in a Twins uniform before. Harris, Everett, Lamb, Young and Gomez are all new to the franchise. Kubel may add one more Twins "veteran" to the batting order as DH, unless Monroe grabs the opening day spot.
Pitching will be little different. Hernandez, the opening day starter, is new to the organization. Liriano didn't pitch at all last year and the other starters, Baker, Bonser and Slowey, combined for only 64 of the team's 162 starts. So while not as great as the turnover on the field, the pitching staff has little resemblance to last year's.
What this means in practical terms is that this is an entirely new team and last year's record is irrelevant. How good a team is an open question that you can try to answer looking player by player. But good teams are more than the sum of their parts. Players over time learn how to make use of their teammates skills to best effect.
Gomez speed brings a new dimension to the offense that the "veteran" Twins have not really seen on their team before. But that may not be true of players like Young, Monroe or Everett for whom everything is new. Young adds a second right hand bat may make some Twins less vulnerable to lefties. Moving Cuddyer between Mauer and Morneau will give him opportunities to see a lot more lefties. But while those changes may benefit those three players, we don't really know what impact they may have on Young, Lamb, Harris etc.
It will be interesting to watch how the Twins style of play adjusts to the skills of the new players. Not only on offense, but also in the field. The statement "we put it in play and let our fielders do their job" has become a cliche of the Twins pitching staff. As I expressed yesterday, its not so clear that approach makes sense when you second baseman is Brendan Harris and your third baseman is Mike Lamb. That is something we will all find out as the year progresses.