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Front Page: Getting an “Ace” Easier Said Than Done

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 11:07 PM
A combination of geography and a rebounding free agency market seem to be conspiring against Minnesota’s chances of acquiring a top-of-th...
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Front Page: Twins Need to Make a Splash With the Rain Man...

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 11:02 PM
The MLB Winter Meetings have come and gone with Gerrit Cole, Stephen Strasburg and Anthony Rendon inking incredibly lucrative contracts i...
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How high and long would you go for Ryu?

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 10:50 PM
So you want Ryu? Is there a financial point where you say it's just silly and won't be unhappy if the Twins don't sign him? This guy's ag...
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Front Page: The Twins Should be Dealing With the Marlins

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 09:19 PM
Hot stove season is in full swing and that means rumors are swirling around everywhere. Jon Heyman said the Marlins are looking to acquir...
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Front Page: Twins Offseason Trade Target: Kyle Seager

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 09:17 PM
While Minnesota’s top priority continues to be starting pitching, the club could also be looking to add to other parts of the roster. The...
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High Expectations: Are The Twins In Win Now Mode?

Expectations for the Twins this season might be higher than they have been at the beginning of any campaign during the Target Field era. However, there is likely to be quite the roster turnover before the beginning of the 2019 season.

Does that mean the Twins are in win now mode?
Image courtesy of Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports
It seems weird to contemplate the Twins as a win now team. A young core of under-25 players like Byron Buxton, Miguel Sano, Max Kepler, and Jose Berrios should solidify the roster for the next decade. There are plenty of roster pieces that will be shifting by the time the calendar shifts to Opening Day 2019.

Team leaders like Brian Dozier and Joe Mauer are set to be free agents for the first time in their career. Other veteran pieces like Eduardo Escobar can test the free agent waters as well. Heck, even Ervin Santana could end up on the market if the team declines his $14 million option for his age-36 season.

Brian Dozier might provide the team with the most difficult decision. He’s clearly become the vocal leader in the clubhouse but he’s also made it clear that he will be a free agent at season’s end. It’s tough to think of Joe Mauer in any uniform besides the Twins but there are no guarantees about him playing beyond 2018 either.

In fact, there are no guarantees about any of these players returning and Minnesota has given themselves some flexibility when it comes to this year’s free agent additions. Derek Falvey and Thad Levine struck out landing Yu Darvish but this left more money to add multiple other pieces.

Lance Lynn, Logan Morrison, Zach Duke and Fernando Rodney were all added on one year contracts. Lynn was considered one of the top starting pitchers on the market but it was a strange off-season with few free agents signing for large contracts. Morrison would have led the Twins in home runs last season and the club inked him to a team friendly $6.5 million deal.

Rodney and Duke were signed early to help bolster one of the worst bullpens in the American League. Duke might have had an even more important role before the club signed Addison Reed. Reed seemed to fall into the Twins’ lap and he could be a deadly bullpen weapon over the next two years.

So here we are, Twins Territory, on the cusp of a new season with a strangely different feeling. Minnesota should win. Minnesota needs to win. It might be the closest feeling to World Series-or-bust this organization has felt in a long time.

Are the Twins in win now mode? It certainly seems so…

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53 Comments

Long-term win-now mode.

    • glunn, Thrylos, Twins33 and 3 others like this

"Byron Buxton, Miguel Sano, Max Kepler, and Jose Berrios should solidify the roster for the next decade."

 

More like the next 3-5 years? If these players turn out to be worth signing when they reach free agency, the Twins will (as always) struggle to sign them. 

    • glunn, Jerr, Mike Sixel and 8 others like this

 

"Byron Buxton, Miguel Sano, Max Kepler, and Jose Berrios should solidify the roster for the next decade."

 

More like the next 3-5 years? If these players turn out to be worth signing when they reach free agency, the Twins will (as always) struggle to sign them. 

 

That will be the next test of the current management; they have proven adept at addressing roster needs and the draft, in the current sample size. Extending and managing young potential stars will be their next challenge.

    • glunn, HitInAPinch and howieramone2 like this
Isn't it kind of ridiculous that team wouldn't be in "win now mode?" Isn't that the the whole point of the thing?

If only I could show up to my job and choose when I'd like to be in "work now mode."
    • Twins33, SF Twins Fan, Shaitan and 2 others like this

I was ready to call 2018 another musical chairs season between MLB and AAA, but after they got Odoreater and Lynn, this squad looks very competitive as is, and if just a couple prospects arrive and contribute, we could all be pleasantly surprised. 

"Byron Buxton, Miguel Sano, Max Kepler, and Jose Berrios should solidify the roster for the next decade."
 
More like the next 3-5 years? If these players turn out to be worth signing when they reach free agency, the Twins will (as always) struggle to sign them.


Correct. There is no such thing as a team having several players coming up and sticking around for a decade anymore. Terry Ryan operated under that ridiculously outdated pretense. It's a fools errand to think you can project five years down the road, let alone 8, 9 or 10
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less cowbell more neau
Mar 28 2018 02:27 AM

 

If only I could show up to my job and choose when I'd like to be in "work now mode."

"Sorry boss person, I'm starting a rebuilding period right now. I'll be really productive in about 4-5 years with a little luck."

    • Twins33, USNMCPO, woolywoolhouse and 1 other like this

"Byron Buxton, Miguel Sano, Max Kepler, and Jose Berrios should solidify the roster for the next decade."
 
More like the next 3-5 years? If these players turn out to be worth signing when they reach free agency, the Twins will (as always) struggle to sign them.


Setting up the team for the next decade may also consist of trading one or more of these guys away to replenish the system.
    • birdwatcher, Jerr, Twins33 and 2 others like this

Isn't it kind of ridiculous that team wouldn't be in "win now mode?" Isn't that the the whole point of the thing?
If only I could show up to my job and choose when I'd like to be in "work now mode."


But actually that is what businesses do in the real world. They build and hope to make the owners richer down the road while the personnel endure leaner times hoping to see that same growth and benefit down the road from the better times to come. We hope our loyalty through the leaner times will be rewarded when the business thrives and that we won't get cut when it doesn't thrive right away. Joe Mauer has been in work now mode throughout his career despite enduring bad personal times and team struggles...

When a business owner sees an opportunity, they may push their chips in and risk the future of the company on the big pay day. Baseball (and all sports) is a business and should be run like one much to our dismay
    • dbminn likes this
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Tommygun921
Mar 28 2018 05:38 AM
Is Nick Gordon the next middle infielder up if something happens to Escobar or Adrianza? Seems they don't have nearly the middle infield depth without Polanco. (On the 40 man)
    • goulik likes this
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twinstalker
Mar 28 2018 06:31 AM

Win now mode? <rolls his eyes>

 

Um, yes.

 

But you are implying with that phrase that they have to give up the future for the now. Which, btw, is a complete fallacy today. Only the historical preponderance and absolute ignorance of teams truly giving up way too much long-term for short-term help has this as an either or proposition.

 

The exploitable inefficiency is that some teams still probably believe this. Terry Ryan's group would. Ramos for Capps is an example of this.

 

Falvine appears to approach it right. Do everything you can for the "now" that doesn't effect the future in any noticeable way. When they do eventually send out a "real prospect" for shorter-term help (think Nick Gordon), I suspect they will have somewhat soured on the prospect before the league finds out.

 

Eventually, whatever inefficiencies the Twins are exploiting will cease to exist, and so they'll have to be on top of the others that spring up. Thus far they've benefited from the Pohlad's willingness to spend (e.g. the Garcia/Littell deal, Odorizzi, Lynn), so they may be more handcuffed in the future.

 

But for now, "win now mode" doesn't make much sense in its implication.

 

    • goulik likes this
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woolywoolhouse
Mar 28 2018 07:35 AM

 

"Byron Buxton, Miguel Sano, Max Kepler, and Jose Berrios should solidify the roster for the next decade."

 

More like the next 3-5 years? If these players turn out to be worth signing when they reach free agency, the Twins will (as always) struggle to sign them. 

 

If only the Twins could get a newer stadium, so they can get the revenue required to sign homegrown free agent stars when the time comes.

    • PDX Twin and less cowbell more neau like this
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Brock Beauchamp
Mar 28 2018 07:38 AM

It took me six clicks to get from this page to that article on the Strib.

 

#WinningUX

The Twins are in win NOW and win LATER mode. They added vetarans but they also didn't mortgage the future to do it (either trades or long term potential terrible contracts). They are in a very good place imo. 

Don't confuse that with 'this is a great team' now though. There are many issues with the roster but they are making big progress right now.

    • goulik, howieramone2 and rdehring like this
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Brock Beauchamp
Mar 28 2018 07:53 AM

 

The Twins are in win NOW and win LATER mode. They added vetarans but they also didn't mortgage the future to do it (either trades or long term potential terrible contracts). They are in a very good place imo. 

Don't confuse that with 'this is a great team' now though. There are many issues with the roster but they are making big progress right now.

Yeah... this. But the front office has given the team a legitimate shot to actually win through the playoffs, which is about all we could ask for this offseason.

 

It's not a great shot, but it's a shot.

It's impossible to say this team is primed for the future. Most of the players we know will be gone in one to two years. 

 

This is "win now" mode, Twins-style.

    • Vanimal46 likes this
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Brock Beauchamp
Mar 28 2018 08:05 AM

 

It's impossible to say this team is primed for the future. Most of the players we know will be gone in one to two years. 

Only three of them are starting regulars. Only two of them are above average. Only one of them is very good.

 

Every team has players coming off the books every season. The Twins don't have some plethora of remarkable talent on expiring contracts, they have a few good players, most of which are eminently replaceable.

The Twins are in win now territory as far as the orginisation goes. Whether that is enough to compete league wide for the big prize is questionable. The pitching is improved thank goodness. But no one in the league is running around muttering "look at that pitching staff, omg". It's a better team than we have had. The offense should be better if the younger players keep on improving with age. There is little room for improvement from Dozier, Mauer, Castro, and EE. They could easily backslide. This is mostly the make or break roster for the Twins. BIG FA acquisitions are still not in our future, and a lot of the immediate talent is already here. We have waited for this talent to arrive, now it's time to see if the wait, was worth it?

Dozier has been our most dependable vet, but the FO seems to be willing to let him move on without taking a chance with a short extension.The middle of the diamond will eventually have Javier and Lewis - I hope, but in the short term I am not seeing Gordon/Polanco with the same contribution that Dozier makes.Should Sano have health or other issues and Escobar takes the FA route we really do not have a good 3B option either.As solid as the OF seems (I am not a Grossman/LaMarre fan), the infield looks like a real Achilles heel for us.One more infield injury and we are really stretched.I certainly hope we bring up Gordon then, but on a win now team this is a crucial issue.

    • Platoon likes this
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Brock Beauchamp
Mar 28 2018 08:20 AM

 

Dozier has been our most dependable vet, but the FO seems to be willing to let him move on without taking a chance with a short extension.

This is likely Dozier's one and only shot at big money free agency. What makes you think he'll take a short extension? Back when he signed his current contract, he wouldn't allow the Twins to buy out even a single year of free agency.

 

Frankly, Dozier would have to be kinda insane to accept anything less than a four year extension right now.

    • Twins33, Platoon, bighat and 1 other like this

I don't think Win Now accurately describes the Twins this year. More like, the window of contention opened for real last season (a couple of seasons later than had been forecast), and the front office is acting accordingly.

 

For me, Win Now would imply a recognition that the window of contention will be closing very soon, and therefore near-ready prospects should be traded for more-established major league talent, with a full rebuild to follow imminently.

 

So to the extent that the disagreement is merely a matter of definition of terms, I'm fine with whatever we call it. But if there's an implication that, say, Royce Lewis should be traded for an aging ace pitcher, then I'm not on board.

    • goulik and Platoon like this

 

 

Lance Lynn, Logan Morrison, Zach Duke and Fernando Rodney were all added on one year contracts.

 

Logan Morrison's contract is not an one year contract... The Twins have an option for 2019 as well.

 

Other than Lynn, potentially, who would have given a long term contract to the other 2? 

 

    • birdwatcher likes this
The Twins' window isn't closing soon, but it's going to get more crowded. The Division isn't going to stay as relatively easy to win as it is right now. Cleveland should remain strong for a couple more years and the White Sox are probably only 1-2 years behind the Twins in the rebuild cycle. Just makes sense to go for it this season as hard as they can. Make the mid-season moves necessary to make a serious run in Sept-Oct.
    • birdwatcher, TheLeviathan and Vanimal46 like this
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Brock Beauchamp
Mar 28 2018 09:05 AM

 

The Twins' window isn't closing soon, but it's going to get more crowded. The Division isn't going to stay as relatively easy to win as it is right now. Cleveland should remain strong for a couple more years and the White Sox are probably only 1-2 years behind the Twins in the rebuild cycle. Just makes sense to go for it this season as hard as they can. Make the mid-season moves necessary to make a serious run in Sept-Oct.

While I'm not against this idea, I'm not quite ready to jump in with both feet yet, either.

 

It really depends on a few things. How does the rest of the AL look in July? Are the Twins vying for the division (more likely to trade pieces for a run) or the Wild Card (less likely)?

 

The Twins still have a lot of control over their major pieces and they still have some interesting pieces in the upper minors. I'm not ready to start moving some of those pieces until I see what the team looks like mid-season.

    • TheLeviathan likes this

 

It's impossible to say this team is primed for the future. Most of the players we know will be gone in one to two years. 

 

This is "win now" mode, Twins-style.

The Twins have a strong young core with tons of money coming off the books and a FO/ownership that seems willing to spend. This team is primed for the future with the caveat that the young players (and upper level prospects) collectively need to take a step forward. If they go the Andrew Wiggins/Gorgui Dieng route then this won't end well but if we see improvement from the group then they will have a strong team now AND later.


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