Sunday, March 13, 2011

Boring Spring Training

his has got to be one of the most boring Twins spring trainings in years. You can tell the bloggers and media are struggling to create something of interest out of it.

Is there really a battle for the utility position between Matt Tolbert, Trevor Plouffe and Luke Hughes? Probably not. Hughes can hit like Babe Ruth, but its still hard to imagine Gardy going with Nishioka as his only backup option at shortstop. Plouffe has as much chance at taking the starting shortstop position away from Casilla as he does the utility spot from Tolbert. In either case, he would need an outstanding spring training while his competition showed fatal flaws. Tolbert is the utility guy barring injuries.

There is some mild interest in the battle for the 5th starter position. There was an attempt by some in the media to put Gibson in that mix, but that has fallen flat. Everyone is excited by Gibson, no one thinks he is going to be on the roster to start the season. Whether he gets a callup will depend on his performance in Rochester and injuries/failures among the Twins starters. It is hard to get very excited about a competition between Slowey and Baker. Neither is an ace in the making and either is likely to be a solid starter. The loser of that competition will be in the Twins bullpen. Likely in a long reliever role.

Which brings us to the only interesting thing happening. There are four bullpen spots pretty much set. Nathan, Capps, Mijares and Slowey/Baker. It looks likely that Perkins is going to be in the mix as well barring a meltdown later in spring training. That leaves a bunch of guys competing for the 6th and 7th spots in the bullpen. A tough battle for mopup roles! HooHah, is that exciting or what!?

Of course Nathan, Morneau, Mauer, Cuddyer and Young's health have created a few stories. But most of those questions appear to be answered. There has been some effort at creating suspense over when Mauer will actually be ready to catch. But those appear to be media inspired as well with Mauer and Gardy insisting he is going to be ready for opening day. Morneau' concussion is really the only legitimate concern and even that seems to be disappearing.

Of course there is the curse "May you live in interesting times." Boring means things are going according to the off-season plan. Most of the questions that heated up the hot stove seem to be answered.

For now, opening day is still a couple weeks away. We are just going to have to wait 'til then for any meaningful news.

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