See more of the story

Baseball's lockout is over. Now the lock-in begins.

"We ordered in food," Derek Falvey said of the Twins' player-acquisition staff, now sequestered in the team's executive offices in Fort Myers, Fla. "We might be here awhile."

That's because, three days from spring camp's formal opening and a mere four weeks before Opening Day, the Twins roster looks like a home improvement project on the contractors' day off: Some parts are missing, and it hits you just how much more work is required. The starting rotation has zero proven veterans, the bullpen has nothing but question marks, and even the Twins admit they don't know who their shortstop will be.

"We don't have a blueprint for this. … It's going to be difficult," Falvey, the Twins president of baseball operations, said in a video call with reporters about a half-hour after Major League Baseball formally ended its 99-day lockout of the players union. "It'll be hard to navigate a little bit of the challenges associated with roster-building in a really short period of time. We're going to navigate through it successfully because we have a good group that can do that."

As soon as the all-clear was given in New York, Twins executives divvied up the rest of the league and began making phone calls, assessing whether attitudes had changed and whether potential trades, discussed before the game went dark on Dec. 2, were still possible. Trades and signings could come fast and frequent for the next week or so, perhaps even on Friday.

Pitching is the top priority, as usual. The Twins have been impressed, during two weeks of minor league camp, by their pitching prospects, some of whom could reach Target Field this year. But with a rotation that currently includes righthanders Bailey Ober and Joe Ryan, who have thrown 118 major league innings combined, plus reclamation project Dylan Bundy and Randy Dobnak each coming off the worst year of their career, it's too risky to count on the kids.

"We need some veteran presence too, so that's going to be a focus of ours here," Falvey said. "We're going to contact as many teams and agents as possible to work that market."

While they do so, the 38 players currently on the Twins' 40-man roster will begin assembling as soon as Friday morning at Hammond Stadium, with everyone expected to arrive by Sunday. They'll meet Rocco Baldelli's remodeled coaching staff, then begin workouts toward an April 7 Opening Day — against the Mariners in Target Field — that will be upon them quickly.

“Our fans in general deserve better than what they got here. I am optimistic, though, that today's agreement, which allows us to play a full 162 games, helps mitigate that for a lot of fans.”
Dave St. Peter

They'll play all 162 scheduled games, with the former season-opening series in Chicago tacked on to the end of the schedule, Oct. 3-5, and the missing games in Cleveland made up with doubleheaders — nine-inning games this year, no longer seven — or off-day additions.

Somehow, they intend to squeeze in 18-20 Grapefruit League games, too, in less than three weeks, beginning March 18, emphasizing game action over more general workouts and drills to ramp up to game speed.

Just two years removed from a short training period and 60-game season, and following last year's rush to the injured list, the Twins are wary of what a condensed camp might mean for pitchers' arms.

"We have to think about how to build guys up, and how they come back. We're hopeful that when guys come in, they've been doing their work away from here," Falvey said. "Some things we talked about even before the lockout. 'Hey, we don't know what's going to happen, but we want to make sure you're following offseason plans and routines.' We're hopeful they've continued those and are coming in in a better spot than they would have otherwise in early February."

One hopeful sign: Taylor Rogers, the All-Star lefthander whose season ended two months early due to an injury to his middle finger, told the Twins once the lockout lifted that he's healed well.

He said it felt great," Falvey said. He's been "throwing bullpens."

One other big question looms: How do the fans feel? The lockout spoiled plenty of spring vacations, turned off ticket holders, and left many feeling forgotten by wealthy owners and well-compensated players. Will the damage be repaired?

"Our fans in general deserve better than what they got here," Twins President Dave St. Peter said. "I am optimistic, though, that today's agreement, which allows us to play a full 162 games, helps mitigate that for a lot of fans. . . . This deal, from a fan perspective, is a good thing — everything from a universal DH to the draft lottery to expanded postseason to the ability for us to implement incremental rule changes in the future that I think will be good for the game."