Thursday, March 29, 2007

Five Good Questions with . . . Jim Souhan of the Minneapolis-Star Tribune

This is the first installment of a new segment on Stiles Points called "Five Good Questions with . . . .".....the purpose of the segment is to get an in-depth opinion of people who are involved with sports.....today’s segment is with Jim Souhan, sports columnist of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune....Souhan began writing for the Star-Tribune in 1990 and has covered the Vikings and Twins....we asked Souhan five questions about this year’s Minnesota Twins....

Q1. There is talk that this may be Torii Hunter's last season with the Twins, if he should go elsewhere, who are some of the young candidates to take his place? Is Denard Span a possibility?
Span is almost a lock to be Torii's successor, and Torii knows it. He flew Denard to his home in Texas this winter for workouts and career guidance. Torii is looking for a big contract, and the Twins are trying to figure out how they're going to afford Santana, Mauer, Morneau and Nathan. Span most likely will be the Twins' leadoff hitter and centerfielder next opening day.

Q2. Have the Twins done a good enough job to patch-up the rotation with Francisco Liriano out for the season?
No. They're starting the season with three veterans who have spotty resumes at best. Carlos Silva has looked terrible this spring. Ramon Ortiz has looked OK, but he's had four straight poor seasons. Sidney Ponson actually looks the best of the three, but he's a rather unpredictable chap. He once punched an Aruban judge in a beach fight. Not many big-league pitchers can say that. Boof Bonser is a solid young pitcher who should be fourth or fifth in the rotation. In this rotation, he's second.

Q3. What type of spring training did young pitchers Boof Bonser and Matt Garza have?
Bonser has been fine. Matt Garza looked dynamic but the Twins want to see him develop better command of his off-speed pitches, so he's been sent to the minors. He, Glen Perkins and Kevin Slowey will compete to be the first pitcher called up.

Q4. Does Ron Gardenhire get enough credit for the job he does year-in and year-out?
He's very good at running the clubhouse and instilling a sense of cameraderie and daily competitiveness in his players. Tom Kelly was a better strategist, but then TK was better than almost anyone at in-game strategy. Gardenhire and pitching coach Rick Anderson also have excelled at pasting together rotations that survive and bullpens than excel.

Q5. Will Johan Santana, Joe Mauer, and Justin Morneau be with the Twins for their entire career, or will the move on like so many other good Twins players?
I can't see the Twins ever letting St. Paul Joe (Mauer) leave. Morneau wants to stay, and I think that's probably (going to happen). Santana will want about $20 million a year, and I can't see how the Twins can afford to invest 30 percent of their payroll in a guy who plays 33 times a year. Closer Joe Nathan should be a priority, because with him the bullpen is exceptional, and without him it could collapse.

I want to thank Jim Souhan for taking the time to respond to the questions.....it is nice that he took a few minutes to help out a blogger....

1 comment:

Mini Me said...

Great questions. I think tori Hunter is going to have a big season by the way. It is a contract year!