Over at www.TwinsCentric.com a group of bloggers has created a handbook for amateur GM's to use in their hot stove league discussions. They also have a contest for people to put together a roster to start next season. The blogs are alive with the argument that the Twins have to DO SOMETHING in order to be competitive next year.
"Doing nothing" is never really an option in the off-season because there are players' contracts to negotiate, options to be picked up, free agents to re-sign and other decisions to make. But the SOMETHING demanded by bloggers and fans is usually a trade, free agent signing or other action that will result in significant changes to the Twins roster for next year. But this year, just avoiding significant changes would leave the Twins a very strong contender. The Twins roster at the end of the season was very solid, as they demonstrated with their winning streak even with several key players injured. It is hard to see how they improve on that roster if all their injured players are healthy.
Of course just "standing pat" is going to require some activity. Pavano, Cabrera and Crede are all free agents and probably hoping to get a multi-year contract from someone. With a solid core of young players, I don't think the Twins should hand out a lot of multi-year contracts to players in the downside of their career. But the Twins ought to do their best to sign any, or all, of that trio for the 2010 season.
With those three signed you have, a bevy of potential starters competing for one or two open spots in the rotation with others filling out an already deep bullpen. In the infield, you have several players competing for time at second base and providing depth for the inevitable injuries elsewhere. And the outfield returns with the same mixture as last year. In short, you have a team that is much stronger than the team that is starting the year much stronger than the team that won the division last year.
The Twins off-season ought to be focused on keeping what they have, including getting a long term deal done with Joe Mauer.