As part of MLB Tonight’s annual 30 Clubs in 30 Days, Friday was all about the “Bomba Squad”. The reigning American League Central champs, who hit a record setting 307 home runs last year, brought the addition of 2015 AL MVP Josh Donaldson to an already potent lineup. Fran Charles and Cliff Floyd spoke to Josh Donaldson on why he chose to join Minnesota. “This is a spot for me where I felt not only could I have personal success but the team could have more success” said Donaldson. Last year Minnesota made more MLB history being the first team to have 5 “30 home run” hitters in a season, Miguel Sano, Nelson Cruz, Max Kepler, Eddie Rosario, and Mitch Garver. Donaldson adds another 37 homers to this team but he recognizes that it is “more than just hitting the ball over the fence”.
The biggest question for this team is how is their pitching going to back up this lineup? During the off season Minnesota lost Kyle Gibson to the Rangers and Martin Perez to Boston as well as others in the bullpen. That left the rotation to be Jose Berrios, Randy Dobnak, Michael Pineda, Pineda still having to serve the first 39 games of the season following a 60-game suspension from last season. Jake Odorizzi decided to accept a qualifying offer bringing him back to Minnesota for the 2020 season. Twins then signed Rich Hill, who will miss the start of the season with an elbow injury, and Homer Bailey each for 1 year. Twins later traded their number 5 top prospect RHP Brusdar Graterol to the Dodgers for Kenta Maeda in what was supposed to be a part of a trade with the Red Sox. While we didn’t get to hear from Maeda Friday, Twins “ace” Jose Berrios spoke about how camp is going for him so far:
While at times there were struggle, there were also positive outcomes with Minnesota’s bullpen last year. A bullpen that consists of former Giant Sergio Romo, Tyler Duffey, Zack Littell, Devin Smeltzer, Taylor Rogers, Trevor May, and others now including former Cleveland Indian Tyler Clippard. The Twins were tied with the Yankees for first in the AL in saves and tied for second with the Brewers as well as the Yankees in the Majors; 50. While their pitching isn’t extraordinary, they can still get the job done.
Got the Sauce? Twins catcher Mitch Garver does after having a breakout year at the plate last year winning a Silver Slugger award and setting the franchise record for most home runs at catcher passing Joe Mauer’s 28 home runs from 2009, his MVP year. It’s safe to say Garver is ready to get back to playing baseball that counts and continue working on improving his skills as a catcher and maybe someday becoming one of the best Twins catchers of all time.