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Let's Make A Deal, Part I: 2020

This is a fun time of the season for all 30 teams. This year, we as fans get to speculate about how the Twins are going to acquire other teams’ best players without giving up the top-of-the-line prospects. Last year, we got to speculate how the Twins were going to acquire other teams’ best prospects by giving up players who were underachieving and had only months left before free agency.

Funny how things work.
Image courtesy of Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
The reality, though, is that we all know things are going to fall somewhere in the middle for both buyers and sellers. We know the Twins need help - definitely in the bullpen and possibly in the rotation - and the next couple of weeks are going to be full of rumors and speculation.

Over the next two weeks, I’m going to present a series to you that hopefully takes a different look at things.

Today’s part - Part 1 - will start by focusing on next year, but we’ll get more into that soon.

Part 2 will be a continuation of today’s article, but will look at the financial side of things. Especially who this regime has invested in. Part 3 will update an article I posted seven weeks ago looking at who might the Twins be most motivated to move? Part 4 (the teams) and Part 5 (the players) will narrow the focus as the deadline approaches. And, finally, Part 6 will be me revisiting something I’ve done in the past, playing GM for a Day.

----

The Twins leadership has banged the same drum repeatedly over time. They aren’t interested in committing future dollars, but they value control. Beyond Jorge Polanco's and Max Kepler's contract extensions, only Marwin Gonzalez is on the books for a guaranteed dollar amount next year. Nelson Cruz and Martin Perez have buyouts on team options.

Which is really just a fancy way of maybe telling us they overvalue prospects and pre-arbitration-eligible player. You could assume they value guys in arbitration too, but as price increases and control decreases, the value decreases quickly.

And then they hit free agency. The Twins will have five guys hitting the ranks of free agency after the season: Jake Odorizzi, Kyle Gibson, Michael Pineda, Jason Castro and Jonathan Schoop.

Knowing how the organization values control, we need to look at next year before we can look at the moves for the next few weeks. (Seems backwards though.)

Assuming the free agent leave and the Twins add no other players, here’s a guess at how things could look on the 25-man and 40-man roster:

C: Mitch Garver
1B: C.J. Cron
2B: Luis Arraez
3B: Miguel Sano
SS: Jorge Polanco
LF: Eddie Rosario
CF: Byron Buxton
RF: Max Kepler
DH: Nelson Cruz
Bench: Marwin Gonzalez (UTIL)
Bench: Jake Cave (OF)
Bench: Willians Astudillo (C/3B)
Bench: Ehire Adrianza (SS)

SP: Jose Berrios
SP: Martin Perez
SP: Devin Smeltzer
SP: Lewis Thorpe
SP: Sean Poppen
RP: Taylor Rogers
RP: Ryne Harper
RP: Trevor May
RP: Blake Parker
RP: Fernando Romero
RP: Matt Magill
RP: Tyler Duffey

On assignment: LaMonte Wade
On assignment: Nick Gordon
On assignment: Kohl Stewart (P)
On assignment: Stephen Gonsalves (P)
On assignment: Zack Littell (P)
On assignment: Trevor Hildenberger (P)
On assignment: Ryan Eades (P)
To be added: Brusdar Graterol (P)
To be added: Jhoan Duran (P)
To be added: Wander Javier (SS)
To be added: Jorge Alcala (P)
To be added: Luis Rijo (P)
To be added: Griffin Jax (P)
To be added: Lewin Diaz (1B)
To be added: Travis Blankenhorn (2B/3B)

Not adding: Luke Raley (OF), Gilberto Celestino (OF), Jovani Moran (P)
No room: Mike Morin (P) (Edit: Morin was DFA'd yesterday before the game.)
Other top prospects: Royce Lewis (SS), Alex Kirilloff (OF), Trevor Larnach (OF), Jordan Balazovic (P), Brent Rooker (OF), Yunier Severino (2B), Blayne Enlow (P), Ben Rortvedt ©, Jose Miranda (3B), Edwar Colina (P), Akil Baddoo (OF), Ryan Jeffers ©

First thing, I’ve not actually adding eight guys to the roster, but for this exercise, I wanted to have a full 40-man just so that we can work backwards.

Let’s take a closer look. Mitch Garver, C.J. Cron, Luis Arraez, Miguel Sano, Jorge Polanco, Eddie Rosario, Byron Buxton, Max Kepler, Nelson Cruz, Marwin Gonzalez seem to fill out the top 10 position players pretty well. Garver has split duties with Castro, but has become the more regular catcher. Schoop departs and Arraez slides in nicely. This leaves spots for a backup catcher (Willians Astudillo), a backup shortstop (Ehire Adrianza) and a fourth outfielder (Jake Cave). Astudillo and Cave both have options left, if needed. Gonzalez could serve as the fourth outfielder and backup infielder too. Adrianza is a smooth fielder. But when your only concern is whether or not to upgrade your bench next year… that seems like a winter question, not the trade deadline.

The rotation - with 60% on expiring deals - is much more interesting. Jose Berrios will be the Opening Day starter in 2020 and beyond. Martin Perez is very likely to slot into one of the other four spots. The Twins will not go into next season slotting three rookies - Devin Smeltzer, Lewis Thorpe and Sean Poppen - in those spots. Could one break the rotation? Maybe. But that’s two starters, minimum, that need to be acquired between now and March.

If the rotation is interesting, the bullpen is downright messy. Taylor Rogers is the Ace. Ryne Harper has been fantastic and, at this point, probably is at least written in dark pencil for next year. Trevor May has the ability but hasn’t been consistent. There’s no doubt that he can be a part of a very good major league bullpen though. And then… questions. Blake Parker and Matt Magill are controllable, but replaceable. Fernando Romero has upside, but has been a disaster and out of options after his year. Tyler Duffey has been OK at times, but is also out of options. Zack Littell and Trevor Hildenberger could be solutions, but both can start the year in the minors. I also had to get rid of Mike Morin, who is out of options.

There are other options, like Kohl Stewart, if the Twins wanted to try him out in the bullpen. But as much depth as there is in the system, there are no great answers for next year to the bullpen question either.

What we have above is the sketchings of the 2020 team. Print it out, make changes, run your own projections. Because there is a 100% chance that it changes before the spring… and a lot of fans that hope it changes before August 1.

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25 Comments

Excellent article, Jeremy.A lot to think about and agree with everything you said.

 

Looking forward to what you have coming.

 

 

    • Jerr and MN_ExPat like this
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ChrisKnutson
Jul 17 2019 10:32 AM
I know keeping Cron may seem obvious at first thought, but I wouldn’t be suprised if the FO at least entertains the idea of trading him for more pitching, especially with Rooker/AK on the way.
    • nicksaviking and jz7233 like this

I actually like the way this team looks!

    • rdehring likes this
Little seems to found a home in the pen. Keep an eye on him as he is likely one of our mid relievers moving forward.
    • nicksaviking, Otwins and jz7233 like this
Also I would be surprised if we didn't resign Gibson to a 3 year 48-51 million contract. If there is a team with enough money available to sign one of our free agent pitchers it's gonna be us. The big question is which one and how much?
    • Dman likes this
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yarnivek1972
Jul 17 2019 11:56 AM
I don’t think Magill survives the next two weeks let alone the offseason.
    • beckmt, notoriousgod71 and Danchat like this
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whosafraidofluigirussolo
Jul 17 2019 12:24 PM

Fernando Romero has upside, but has been a disaster and out of options after his year.

 

If he's out of options and the transition to relief isn't going well at this point, why not start to stretch him out to be a starter? If returning Romero to starting doesn't work, they didn't necessarily mess with a good thing by trying it, and if it does work there's clearly a spot for him.

    • DocBauer, Vanimal46 and Battle ur tail off like this
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yarnivek1972
Jul 17 2019 01:08 PM

Fernando Romero has upside, but has been a disaster and out of options after his year.

If he's out of options and the transition to relief isn't going well at this point, why not start to stretch him out to be a starter? If returning Romero to starting doesn't work, they didn't necessarily mess with a good thing by trying it, and if it does work there's clearly a spot for him.


There’s less than 6 weeks left in the AAA season. By the time he’s stretched out, the season will be over.

Fernando Romero has upside, but has been a disaster and out of options after his year.

If he's out of options and the transition to relief isn't going well at this point, why not start to stretch him out to be a starter? If returning Romero to starting doesn't work, they didn't necessarily mess with a good thing by trying it, and if it does work there's clearly a spot for him.


I hope that's exactly what the plan is this off-season for him. Moving him to the bullpen was ill-advised from the get go. It was a cheap attempt to get a bullpen arm for $550k instead of spending money last winter.
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yarnivek1972
Jul 17 2019 03:45 PM

I hope that's exactly what the plan is this off-season for him. Moving him to the bullpen was ill-advised from the get go. It was a cheap attempt to get a bullpen arm for $550k instead of spending money last winter.


And how are the Twins going to find out if it works? He’s out of options. How long of a leash do you give him as a starter? What do you do if he fails?

Romero has been handled poorly by THIS FO.

IMO, they would be better off trading him for whatever they can get to a non-contender and let that team work out his future.

I think he has a future at the MLB level. In what role I can’t say. But I don’t think he fits on a team that is trying to contend.
    • Dman likes this

And how are the Twins going to find out if it works? He’s out of options. How long of a leash do you give him as a starter? What do you do if he fails?

Romero has been handled poorly by THIS FO.

IMO, they would be better off trading him for whatever they can get to a non-contender and let that team work out his future.

I think he has a future at the MLB level. In what role I can’t say. But I don’t think he fits on a team that is trying to contend.


I don't anticipate all 3 pending free agents returning so he would take one of Gibson, Odorizzi, or Pineda's spot in the rotation.

I guess the leash would last until July since it's impossible to make a trade before the last day... If he fails, the Twins are littered with prospects they need to make decisions on.
Interesting. That pitching lineup is pathetic. This FO has really dropped the ball

Interesting. That pitching lineup is pathetic. This FO has really dropped the ball


So now we're ripping the FO not for decisions they've made, but for meaningless predictions that a writer has made?

This place is quickly becoming Rube Chat.
    • Danchat likes this
Great way to begin the series. Great perspective.

IMHO, 100% 1 of Odorizzi, Gibson or Pineda is back. Better than 50% its 2 of them unless this upcoming trade deadline brings in a rotation piece.
    • Battle ur tail off likes this

 

meaningless predictions that a writer has made?

Jeremy right now:

Attached Image: 1130758.jpg

:)

 

    • Danchat likes this

 

Also I would be surprised if we didn't resign Gibson to a 3 year 48-51 million contract. If there is a team with enough money available to sign one of our free agent pitchers it's gonna be us. The big question is which one and how much?

I think I puked in my mouth a little. I certainly wouldn't be up for giving Gibson $16M+ a year. I understand we don't have many starting options, but no thanks!

 

I hope that's exactly what the plan is this off-season for him. Moving him to the bullpen was ill-advised from the get go. It was a cheap attempt to get a bullpen arm for $550k instead of spending money last winter.

I can't agree with you there. First off, many believed Romero was going to end up in the pen because he didn't have what it took to be a starter, and we've seen plenty of starters turn into relievers successfully before. Yes, they should have added some relievers over the offseason, I absolutely agree with that. But I don't believe moving Romero to the bullpen somehow broke him; he'd probably be pitching just as poorly if he was still a starter.

I can't agree with you there. First off, many believed Romero was going to end up in the pen because he didn't have what it took to be a starter, and we've seen plenty of starters turn into relievers successfully before. Yes, they should have added some relievers over the offseason, I absolutely agree with that. But I don't believe moving Romero to the bullpen somehow broke him; he'd probably be pitching just as poorly if he was still a starter.


Not many on this website, Danchat. He was reviewed having potential to be a workhorse front of the rotation starter in 2017.

http://twinsdaily.co...do-romero-r5376

And still top of the rotation potential in 2018.

http://twinsdaily.co...do-romero-r6422

He showed several flashes of brilliance when he was a starter in 2018. I hope he gets the opportunity again to start.

I think either or both of Oderizzi or Pineda will get a QO from the twins.Do not see this for Gibson (wrong side of 30).

So now we're ripping the FO not for decisions they've made, but for meaningless predictions that a writer has made?

This place is quickly becoming Rube Chat.


No I’m ripping them because our pitching has been our weakness since they have arrived and they have been unsuccessful in improving it

 

Not many on this website, Danchat. He was reviewed having potential to be a workhorse front of the rotation starter in 2017.

http://twinsdaily.co...do-romero-r5376

And still top of the rotation potential in 2018.

http://twinsdaily.co...do-romero-r6422

He showed several flashes of brilliance when he was a starter in 2018. I hope he gets the opportunity again to start.

I'm fully aware of this, but I'm not seeing how moving him to the bullpen is the reason why he's pitching so poorly. Back at the start of the year, I was hoping they would keep him in the rotation. I remember there being some talk here about Romero not pitching enough innings (in his minor league career) to be a starter. 

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Jeremy Nygaard
Jul 18 2019 06:39 AM

So now we're ripping the FO not for decisions they've made, but for meaningless predictions that a writer has made?
This place is quickly becoming Rube Chat.


These aren't predictions as much as they are taking away the free agents and moving everyone else up a rung.

When you have 3/5 of your rotation expire at the same time, you're going to have to do something to fill the gaps. It might be as easy as bringing guys back, but you're paying market price now.

So while the bullpen remains the greatest need between now and 7/31, the rotation is the greatest need between now and next March.
    • DocBauer likes this
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Jeremy Nygaard
Jul 18 2019 06:41 AM

Great way to begin the series. Great perspective.
IMHO, 100% 1 of Odorizzi, Gibson or Pineda is back. Better than 50% its 2 of them unless this upcoming trade deadline brings in a rotation piece.


This is probably true. At this point, it would be an upset if Twins didnt QO Odorizzi.

I'm fully aware of this, but I'm not seeing how moving him to the bullpen is the reason why he's pitching so poorly. Back at the start of the year, I was hoping they would keep him in the rotation. I remember there being some talk here about Romero not pitching enough innings (in his minor league career) to be a starter.


If you're fully aware, why did you reply "many believed Romero was going to end up in the pen because he didn't have what it took to be a starter, and we've seen plenty of starters turn into relievers successfully before."?

If Romero didn't throw enough innings to be considered as a starter, the same thought should be applied to Graterol. He's pitched less innings than Romero in the minors.

No I’m ripping them because our pitching has been our weakness since they have arrived and they have been unsuccessful in improving it


Unless we use actual results and stats, in which case the pitching staff has improved significantly, even if it still needs improvement. They currently have the 5th best team ERA in baseball. How is that not improvement over the bottom 5 pitching staff they inherited?
    • LA VIkes Fan and DocBauer like this

These aren't predictions as much as they are taking away the free agents and moving everyone else up a rung.When you have 3/5 of your rotation expire at the same time, you're going to have to do something to fill the gaps. It might be as easy as bringing guys back, but you're paying market price now.So while the bullpen remains the greatest need between now and 7/31, the rotation is the greatest need between now and next March.


Correct, and I enjoyed the article. Perhaps prediction was the wrong word.
A poster ripping the FO for a pitching staff that literally doesn't exist yet is embarrassing.

Comments like those, as well as posters regularly ripping Baldelli for plays that he has zero control over, to calls for borderline elite players to be DFA'D every time they make a mistake, to dozens of other absurd posts that are starting to happen on a daily basis, it's getting to the point where Rube Chat was when I finally could no longer stomach it.

Sorry to hijack your article. If this post needs to be deleted, so be it.

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