Twins fans might be a little nervous on today's opening day. After the last place, 99-loss debacle of a season last year, what can we expect this year?
We spoke with writers who cover other teams in the American League Central division and asked, "Do you fear the Twins?"
Mark Gonzales has covered baseball for 21 years. He covers the Chicago White Sox for the Chicago Tribune:
"I'm very shocked to see how things have slipped in the past year; this used to be one of the crown jewels of the American League in the way they played the game; they played it right," he said. "It was textbook baseball, but for various reasons, things fell through the cracks last year. It was almost the perfect storm where you had the injuries, which were understandable, but guys had subpar years. There were some kids they called up that didn't really hit the ground running like some of the kids in the past did. I'm not sure they can finish .500; they really have their work cut out."
With Terry Ryan in charge, they have a chance to be good again soon, but I still think they're a ways away. They don't have that true, true ace. Liriano, when he's healthy, can be that guy, but you just keep your fingers crossed that he's going to pitch well over the course of the season. As far as the other acquisitions go, I'm going to hold judgement on that because I don't see anyone that comes in with a wild factor.
They lost Kubel and Cuddyer, and I think that was a big blow to them, but I think they were prepared for that.
Everybody's got to go through a transition period, and they're not the only ones - the White Sox are going through it too. I'm going to wait and see on the Twins but I'm not overwhelmed with them at this point."
"The question I've got about the Twins is, 'Who gets on base?' I'm looking at the infield, for example. I like Chris Parmelee, in theory. Danny Valencia had an on base percentage under .300. You have the adorable Jamey Carroll as shortstop. Alexi Casilla has some skills, but he's not a very good hitter. I just don't understand how the twins score any runs.
If you like watching baseball, the Twins can be a fun team to watch. The guys go, they give everything they've got. The fact is, what they've got isn't very much.
Chicago is a profoundly bad baseball team now, so I don't see the Twins finishing last. The Royals, for whatever up-and-coming-ness they've got, are still a couple good-sized steps away from being a respectable .500 baseball team. Through the Indians' tinted glasses, we see the Indians finishing around .500 again; second in the division. And maybe, if Detroits' wheels fall off, the Indians could catch them. The Tigers are the prohibitive favorites and will probably win [the division] by double digits."