12/28/2012 2:00 PM ET
Inbox: How will coaching duties be designated?
Twins beat reporter Rhett Bollinger answers questions from fans
By Rhett Bollinger / MLB.com
It was another tough year for the Twins, but now it's almost time to change the calendar to 2013 and look to the future.
That future is starting to look brighter for the club, as it has added some much-needed top pitching prospects to the system by trading Ben Revere and Denard Span.
But there are still a lot of questions to be answered before the club reports to Fort Myers, Fla., for Spring Training in February. So keep those questions coming, and here's the last Twins Inbox of 2012:
I am interested in how the new Twins coaching staff's duties are planned, especially with multiple current and past pitching and batting coaches on the staff.
-- Bob R., Prior Lake, Minn.
General manager Terry Ryan and manager Ron Gardenhire were asked about that at the Winter Meetings, as the current staff has two former hitting coaches (third-base coach Joe Vavra and first-base coach Scott Ullger) and a former pitching coach (new bullpen coach Bobby Cuellar) to go along with new hitting coach Tom Brunansky and pitching coach Rick Anderson.
Gardenhire said every coach on the staff will stick to their role, but all will be available for input. He added that Vavra will also be the club's Spring Training coordinator, so he'll likely be too busy in spring to work with hitters, as it's now Brunansky's job. But Vavra will still be around for advice because several hitters are comfortable working with him, such as Justin Morneau, who credits Vavra for jump-starting his career.
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So it should be an interesting dynamic with three new coaches added to the mix -- Brunansky, Cuellar and bench coach Terry Steinbach -- as it's the first time the club has shook up the coaching staff to this degree in quite some time.
What is the Twins' plan for Ryan Pressly? Is he being viewed as a long reliever with spot-starting duty?
-- Michael M., Canby, Minn.
Pressly, 24, was taken by the Twins as the No. 4 pick in the Rule 5 Draft from the Red Sox and is expected to be used as a reliever.
He worked as a starter until last year, when he moved to the bullpen during the season and impressed with a 2.93 ERA and 21 strikeouts in 27 2/3 innings at Double-A Portland. He carried that over into a strong showing in the Arizona Fall League, and the Twins felt like he was worth taking a gamble on in the Rule 5 Draft.
His stuff has improved since moving to the bullpen, as the 6-foot-3 right-hander possesses a mid-90s fastball and a power curveball.
But as a Rule 5 pick, Pressly has to remain on the 25-man roster all season or be offered back to the Red Sox. So there's a chance he won't stick just like Terry Doyle last year, but the Twins do like his upside and he'll get a shot to make the bullpen in Spring Training.
Will the Twins be adding a big bat at third base?
-- Dennis S., Coon Rapids, Minn.
Ryan said the Twins are on the lookout to add a third baseman to give Trevor Plouffe some competition, but it's not expected to be a pricey signing. They checked in on St. Paul, Minn., native Jack Hannahan during the Winter Meetings but only offered him a Minor League deal, so he ended up signing with the Reds on a two-year deal worth $4 million.
So don't expect the Twins to make a splash at third, as they still want to give Plouffe one more chance there, considering he hit 24 homers last season. But he needs to be more consistent at the plate and improve his defense if he wants to stick at third long term.
What do the Twins plan on doing with the outfield? They have many players who have played in the outfield like Ryan Doumit, Plouffe and Chris Parmelee. Do the Twins plan on getting an outfielder, or do they want to just focus on pitching?
-- Logan S., Marathon, Iowa
The Twins are not in the market for an outfielder despite trading Revere and Span, as they plan on filling the holes in the outfield from within.
Josh Willingham is still pegged to be the club's left fielder, while Darin Mastroianni is the favorite in center field and Parmelee is the favorite in right field.
In that scenario, Ryan Doumit would see occasional time as a corner outfielder but would serve primarily as the designated hitter. Plouffe is expected to get another shot at third base and will only see time in the outfield if he falters at third.
The Twins aren't looking to add to the outfield via free agency because they already have a few top outfield prospects who are nearly ready such as Aaron Hicks and Oswaldo Arcia. Joe Benson is another interesting case, as he's a former top prospect who dealt with injuries last season and saw his stock fall, but he will be given a chance to compete for the center-field job in Spring Training.
Several readers asked about the chances of adding free agent Michael Bourn to take over in center because his market has diminished, but he doesn't appear to be a fit because the Twins are looking to spend their money on pitching instead.