Twins don't need big bucks to win

Originally Published: February 4, 2005
By Jerry Crasnick | ESPN Insider
Twins general manager Terry Ryan was on his way to a winter caravan stop in Rochester, Minnesota, on Thursday, and the sun was shining and the temperature was approaching 38 degrees. Or as they refer to it in the Gopher State, "swimsuit weather.''

"I wouldn't be surprised if I see people out golfing today,'' Ryan said from his mobile phone.

Brad Radke
APPrecision guided: Brad Radke is always in control on the mound.
With two weeks left until pitchers and catchers report, the forecast for Ryan's team is partly cloudy with a chance of finishing first. After the Twins' third straight 90-win season and American League Central title, Ryan embarked on the standard offseason task of stretching his small-market dollars. The Twins signed Brad Radke to a two-year, $18 million deal – a contract generally regarded as a good investment given the inflated market for starters – and brought back outfielder Jacque Jones for one year and $5 million.

But the offseason also produced some new causes for concern in Minnesota. Elite outfield prospect Jason Kubel blew out his knee while playing in the Arizona Fall League and probably will miss the entire 2005 season. Ryan also had to revamp the left side of his infield when Corey Koskie left for Toronto and Cristian Guzman signed a four-year deal with Washington.

Jerry Crasnick | email

ESPN.com MLB Sr. Writer