A few days ago the Twins designated Byung Ho Park for assignment. While no teams were willing to pick him up and take on his nine million dollar contract, there's still a good chance that this signals the end of the Park era in Minnesota. A thing to remember here is that despite only making his debut last year, Park is already 30 years old, another factor into this decision. The biggest thing here is how much it shows the Falvey-Lavine regime taking charge in deciding what direction to take the team. While their biggest acquisition was rather pedestrian (Jason Castro) this is one of two big choices (the other being releasing Trevor Plouffe) to let guys go and clear up a previously foggy looking future. If there's a bright side to this disaster of a signing, (somehow not even the worst Asian import they've had) it's that we know where we stand on the corner infield in the future: Sano's going to be the full-time third baseman, Mauer's the first baseman. There are only a few more questions going into spring training. Let's take a look at them.
Who's the DH this year?
There aren't a ton of options here. Obviously it won't be Park. Kennys Vargas and Robbie Grossman seem like the only ones with a shot out of spring training. With that said I predict it's Vargas unless he has an abominable spring. Grossman was fine last year, especially for a midseason signing, but he just doesn't fit into the long-term plans. Vargas is out of options, so this will for sure be his last chance to impress. After a disappointing 2015 campaign, he quietly had a decent season last year, posting a respectable .333 on base percentage. If he can cut down on his strikeouts, his ability to hit pitches the other way will become a major asset in the future.
Will Escobar hang on to his shortstop spot?
Possibly. It all depends on how Polanco does in spring training. Escobar is fine for a utility infielder, but after an unprecedented 2014 campaign where he hit .275/.315/.406 with a .330 BABIP. Since then he's been fine, especially as a shortstop for a team that ranges somewhere between mediocre and terrible. That said, now would be a good time to see how Jorge Polanco can do over the course of an entire season. He was solid in his 245 at bats last season, hitting .282 with a .332 on base percentage. The Twins don't seem to be sure about his glove. According to Fangraphs, his fielding cost the Twins eight runs at short last year. That's one of the reasons I was hoping for a Dozier trade this offseason. I'd rather see Polanco at second than shortstop. Anyway, his bat's good enough that he'll at least get a shot at some point. If it's not right out of spring training it'll be within a couple of months.