Twins have great winter, quietly

As usual, Cameron's dead right:

    When people talk about teams that have had good offseasons, the usual names that come up are the Seattle Mariners, the Boston Red Sox, and people that hate the New York Mets. For all of them, this has been a productive winter full of good news. But there’s a new contender in the mix for best offseason in baseball: the Minnesota Twins.They were able to retain Carl Pavano on a one year deal, solidifying their starting rotation. They picked up J.J. Hardy on the cheap to solve their shortstop problem. They added Jim Thome as a bat off the bench and to provide depth at DH, and by extension, the corner outfield spots. And they’re reportedly on the verge of signing Joe Mauer to a long term contract that will keep him in Minnesota for the rest of his career, or most of it, anyway.

    They capped their winter yesterday by signing Orlando Hudson to play second base, getting him for the bargain rate of just $5 million.

Forget about Mauer for a moment.

Retaining Pavano, trading for Hardy, and signing Jim Thome and Orlando Hudson ... individually, you're talking about four players who won't come within a mile of a Cy Young or MVP ballot next October. In the aggregate, though? It's hard to imagine how the Twins could have done much better, short of signing Johnny Damon to replace Delmon Young.

Over the years, I've been complimentary about the Twins' drafting and player development but often critical of their personnel decisions at the top level. This time around, though?

It started last summer when they looked past Carl Pavano's 5.37 ERA and ugly injury history, and he pitched exceptionally well in his dozen starts (and then again against the Yankees in the playoffs). Pavano might not pitch as well again, and considering the market this winter, $7 million might be a little much for one season. But I like the thought.

Hardy was obviously undervalued, and so was Hudson. Suddenly the Twins seem to get it, and in their new ballpark might be in a position to rule their division for a few years.