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Twins Q&A with Maija Varda of Twinkie Town

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Get ready for the weekend series!

MLB: Chicago White Sox at Minnesota Twins
Joe Mauer (7) interacts with fans
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Today is an off-day, so let’s gear up for the Twins series with a Q&A with our sister site Twinkie Town’s managing editor Maija Varda.

1. With 10% of the season behind us, let me ask this: Are the Twins good this year?

Technically, the Twins have only played 7% of their season (12 games) because there was a lot of snow and cold at Target Field last week that postponed a lot of games.

I can say, however, the yes, the Twins are good, and I think probably better than a lot of people expect. They have a pretty complete team, though the starting rotation still isn’t very impressive on paper. The rotation and bullpen are still much improved over last year, and the team made the wildcard game last year. Also, the younger guys -- Byron Buxton, Miguel Sano, Jose Berrios, Eddie Rosario, Max Kepler, etc. are all still young, but at least a little bit wiser (hopefully).

The Twins have been competitive in every game they’ve played so far this year, and are currently leading the AL Central (though a lot of that is because of the snow-outs, and the fact the AL Central is mostly not very good to begin with).

Houston Astros v Minnesota Twins Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

2. How has Opening Day starter Jake Odorizzi been treating you?

It is true, Jake Odorizzi was the Opening Day starter for the Twins. In our defense, Jose Berrios would have easily been the Opening Day starter, but the Twins asked him if he would rather do that or be lined up to pitch in Puerto Rico, where he is from. He very obviously chose to pitch in his native Puerto Rico.

Odorizzi has actually been doing great so far, but considering how bad the Twins rotation has been in preceding years, maybe my expectations have been lowered? Having a really strong defensive team I suppose has also helped, considering Odorizzi’s current 3.38 ERA and 5.31 FIP. So yes, I say Odorizzi has been treating the Twins well, so far.

3. How has Logan Morrison been treating you?

Terrible. He’s 3-for-44 so far this season with a slash line of .068/.180/.091. A lot of us were hoping his struggles had something to do with the cold, but he didn’t do anything in Puerto Rico either.

It’s still early in the season so it could just be an anomaly, but he is certainly not endearing himself to any of the fans so far. He probably needs to get things going soon or could be in trouble. At least he signed a pretty cheap deal.

MLB: Houston Astros at Minnesota Twins Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

4. Did the Twins commit highway robbery in the Odorizzi trade?

Yeah. At least it feels that way. No offense to Jermaine Palacios, who is a fine prospect, but he was maybe only the fourth or fifth best shortstop in the Twins’s system. Granted, the Twins do have some great shortstops down there, like last year’s first-overall draft pick Royce Lewis and Dee’s younger brother Nick Gordon, but Palacios was very expendable for us to it didn’t feel like giving up a lot.

From what I heard, the Rays were trying to shed payroll too, so I guess that makes sense -- although that $6.3 million this year and arbitration stuff the next couple years doesn’t seem like that big of a deal. Jim Pohlad, the Twins’ billionaire owner, is ready to spend now to build around the team’s young core, and like I said, he’s a billionaire, so who cares about him paying a few million more than using some young replacement player?

5. What’s the story on defense, Eduardo Escobar for instance has -4 DRS?

Eduardo Escobar is usually a utility guy, but he was forced into the starting shortstop role when Jorge Polanco received an 80-game suspension for PEDs just days before the season began. Escobar is serviceable at shortstop, but it’s probably his worst defensive position (except maybe catcher, which he had to do for an inning one time last season).

The Twins really do have a strong defensive team, but the DRS numbers are kind of low to start the season. I’m going to chalk most of that up to the absolutely frigid temperatures the Twins have been playing in. They played the coldest game in Twins history a couple weeks ago -- it was 27 degrees at the 1:10 pm start time. I could barely feel my fingers and I was wearing two pairs of gloves, so I’m assuming it wasn’t to great for the guys on the field either.

Joe Mauer should have won the AL 1B Gold Glove last year.

6. Lance Lynn has 9 innings pitched in two games. Will be better than the struggling Archer on Friday?

I still have no idea what to expect from Lance Lynn yet. He was terrible in his first start -- he gave up five earned runs over 4.0 innings to the Pirates -- but then he pitched 5.0 scoreless innings against the reigning World Champion Houston Astros in his second start at Target Field. It’s especially hard to gauge where he’s at considering the Twins signed him late in spring training and he’s only two years or so removed from Tommy John surgery. He seems like a cool guy, though.

Cleveland Indians  v Minnesota Twins
APRIL 18: Brian Dozier #2 of the Minnesota Twins bats against the Cleveland Indians at Hiram Bithorn Stadium on April 18, 2018 in San Juan, Puerto Rico .
Photo by Ricardo Arduengo/Getty Images

7. Puerto Rico looked like a great time, do you think it was a valuable excursion?

I know it was very special for Eddie Rosario and Jose Berrios, who are from Puerto Rico. I think the rest of the team enjoyed it too, and I think it was a good thing for baseball -- though it felt pretty weird using generators to power a baseball game when the power was out on the entire island during that second game.

It was also pretty perfect timing for the Twins, considering both games counted as home games for them. It snowed between 14 and 22 inches last weekend in the Twin Cities metro area, which caused all three games against the White Sox to be postponed (in case you are wondering, no, that is not normal, and yes, that set an all-time record for a blizzard in the Twin Cities in April — I don’t think that’s what Prince was talking about when he said sometime it snows in April). The team seemed pretty darn happy to go play in Puerto Rico this week instead of Target Field.

***

Thanks Maija! You can follow her @KirbysLeftEye.

While MLB was in Puerto Rico, the island nation lost power, which highlighted the struggles that still exist for those US Citizens. MLB donated $1 million and gear during their trip, but if you’d like to help do more, here are some ways you can help Puerto Rico (from Maija):