It's difficult to be optimistic about their chances when they continue to make the same moves that have gotten them into the cellar in the first place. Picking up a couple back-of-the order starters in Kevin Correia and Vance Worley as well as using under-experienced position players such as Mastroianni and Dozier doesn't sound like a recipe for success to me. If fact, it sounds like more of the status quo.
One good thing is that Justin Morneau, Joe Mauer and Josh Willingham are all healthy and good to go but Mauer and Morneau will need to step up their offensive production, mainly homers and RBI's, if they are to have even a chance at scoring a lot of runs this season. Ryan Doumit could be a sleeper to hit 20/80 this year which would help Morneau and Willingham to have legitimate power behind them.
Darrin Mastroianni is literally being thrown into the starting center field position after the departure of Span and Revere. He has ability and range in the outfield but the biggest question mark will be his performance at the plate. Span and Revere were both marginally good at getting on base, stealing bases and setting the table for the RBI guys, but now they have a glaring need for a lead off and number 2 hitter. Mastroianni, Carrol?? Not so sure about that one.
Scott Diamond, after starting last season in the minors, will be the ace of the staff after being the most consistent pitcher last year. However, Diamond underwent minor surgery in December to remove bone fragments in his left (throwing) elbow. He still has some soreness and tenderness and is not throwing the best right now. The Twins are confident he will make a full recovery by opening day but it's a little discouraging to hear that he isn't recovering as well as he was hoping to this point.
Anthony Swarzak was messing around and broke a couple ribs last week which, for the Twins, could loom huge to start the season being that he's going to miss the first month and they need all the pitching they can get.
With all of these concerns facing the team this season, I think the biggest question mark that hasn't been addressed by Terry Ryan this off-season is the middle infield. It's going to be tough to pull out games in the late innings with an average second baseman and a minor league shortstop. Dozier will most likely get the start at short but he did nothing to impress last year as he was basically just a warm body. On any other team he would most likely find himself in the minors. Jamey Carrol is good but getting older and his range isn't what it used to be.
Trevor Plouffe could be solid at 3B and I think that a full season there would help him gain more confidence and consistency. His potential power is exciting as well and he could be another sleeper like Doumit to hit 20/80 this year.
Being a baseball fan, I am always excited with the beginning of new season as there is always hope that something magical could happen. Unfortunately, I'm not so sure this year is going to be that year for the Twins with so many question marks that still need answers.