Just a few random jottings from things that surprised and/or interested me this spring:
1) I’m pleased that Jim Thome has started his Twins career strong by putting together a nifty spring, including a .364 batting average and 3 homers. I’m still a bit skeptical about how he will perform as a pinch hitter, but so far he’s showing that he can still hit and is looking like a key addition to the roster.
2) I’m not terribly surprised that Alexi Casilla and Matt Tolbert raced to the bottom this spring. I have very little faith in either as big league players (especially Casilla, who I have virtually given up on). I’m also not suprised that Casilla nonetheless made the roster — when the Twins decided to place other players on waivers this off-season instead of Casilla, it was fairly clear that Alexi wasn’t going anywhere barring a trade. Obviously, the trade wasn’t going to happen with him playing so poorly, so voila, the Twins are saddled with a player who is unlikely to help much. Dare I hope they give up the experiment before too long?
3) Is it possible Jacque Jones will get back to the big leagues? I thought Jones would have a miserable spring, because I thought he was washed up. He proved he still has a bit left, so perhaps we will see him again. It really was neat to see the reaction of the fans, wasn’t it?
4) I was also wrong in predicting that Ron Mahay would make the opening day roster. Even with Clay Condrey heading to the DL, the Twins have decided to go with Alex Burnett because there just hasn’t been enough time for Mahay to get ML ready. I would be very surprised if Mahay was not with the Twins by mid-May, however. I won’t say (for now) whose spot I think he’ll be filling, but I think there will be an opening.
5) I love the lineup overall, and I love the rotation. I think the Twins will handily win the division, even without Joe Nathan.
More posts to come in the next few days, including some thoughts on Jon Rauch being named the teams new closer.