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Cody’s Top 20 Twins Prospects: 11-15

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Who’s the Top Twins Prospect? Alex Kirilloff vs. Royce Lewis

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Is Cruz a MUST signing? And what if he doesn't fit?

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FA Value Shopping

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Addressing The Twins Greatest Need

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 10:44 AM
For many MN fans, starting pitching is the greatest concern. I agree that you can never get enough of good pitching but last year our sta...
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Recent Blogs

How Many Roster Spots are Locked in for 2021?

The offseason can be complicated sometimes. Why not clear up a bit of confusion by looking at who the Twins AREN'T trying to acquire? It'll be a fun experiment.
Image courtesy of © Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
Every offseason we like to focus on the players who will be moving around either by trade or free agency, but why not switch it up? Let's look at the players on the Twins roster who have about a 95% chance to start the season where they're currently projected. This will also give us an update to where the team still has to improve!

Let's see how many players on the 25 man roster the Twins could still be having conversations about and who is locked into their spot.

Infield/catcher locks (3/5):
  • Mitch Garver, C
  • Miguel Sano, 1B
  • ??, 2B
  • ??, SS
  • Josh Donaldson, 3B
Miguel Sano could be argued as a trade candidate, but the Twins just extended him one offseason ago and he wouldn't have much trade value. Both Garver and Donaldson are about 99% locked into their spots, although Garver may be a backup very quickly.

The positions not listed here, shortstop and second base, will hopefully be cleared soon. If the Twins acquire a player like Trevor Story or Andrelton Simmons, who will play second base? That is yet to be seen, but the rumors are flying high.

Outfield locks (2/3):
  • ??, LF
  • Byron Buxton, CF
  • Max Kepler, RF
Both Buxton and Kepler are looking to bounce back a bit in 2021, and both will definitely have their chance to do that. The left field position that was formerly held by Eddie Rosario is now wide open. Will Alex Kirilloff steal it? Will the Twins bring in a free agent for just one season? That is a question we have no idea about still.

Rotation locks (3/5):
  • Kenta Maeda
  • Jose Berrios
  • Michael Pineda
  • ??
  • ??
It wouldn't be an offseason if the Twins weren't looking for starting pitching help. They seem to want to bring in a big name, or someone comparable to Berrios and Maeda to fill one of those spots. Perhaps a trade for Sonny Gray or Joe Musgrove could be in the Twins future. The other spot will likely be filled internally or on a player like Chris Archer who can be had for very cheap.

Bullpen locks (6/8):
  • Taylor Rogers
  • Tyler Duffey
  • Jorge Alcala
  • Hansel Robles
  • Caleb Thielbar
  • Cody Stashak
  • ??
  • ??
This is what I think a fair list of bullpen locks would be. The remaining two spots can either be filled internally with guys like Derek Law or Glenn Sparkman or via free agency. I would expect one free agent and then one spot filled with internal options.

Bench locks (2/4):
  • Ryan Jeffers, C
  • Jake Cave, OF
  • ??
  • ??
These four bench spots ultimately round out the 25 man roster. I think Cave will stick around and once again be the fourth outfielder. Jeffers showed enough last season to become the other half of a catching duo with Mitch Garver. The other couple spots could be filled with a large variety of players internally and externally.

According to my finished list, the Twins have 16 of their 25 roster spots basically ready to go. The other 9 will be confirmed or adjusted by the time Spring Training comes to a close.

Will the Twins make a big trade or two? What about getting that big name free agent? Only time will tell. A chunk of this will also depend on the Nelson Cruz decision.

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29 Comments

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tony&rodney
Jan 08 2021 09:21 PM

Arraez, Polanco, and one of Rooker/Kirilloff/Larnach are also locks.

Any player on any team can be traded for the right offer. Ok. Except Trout. 

The other spots you have open remain: 2 reserves (1 may be Cruz at DH), 2 starters, and 2 relievers. 

Trades or free agent signings will happen to fill the roster. The Twins are highly unlikely to fill the roster with all rookies or released signings. The weeks before Spring Training should be exciting.

    • TopGunn#22, DocBauer, nclahammer and 2 others like this
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theBOMisthebomb
Jan 09 2021 05:30 AM
What am I missing here? Polanco and Arraez are not infield locks? It does not compute. Sign Kiké Hernandez.
    • Danchat, specialiststeve, mikelink45 and 3 others like this
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Doctor Gast
Jan 09 2021 05:56 AM

FO wants to keep their options open to field the best team possible. Like you said Cooper, it all depends on signing Cruz & I agree on your assessment. I think Kiriloff is the closest of being a lock at LF but I doubt that he'll start there at the start of the season. But if for some reason they decide to wait on Kiriloff I'd go for a FA CF like Jackie Bradley jr. who could play LF & be able to sub Buxton when needed

Polanco and Arraez are much more of a lock than Garver.If Garver picks up where he left off hitting under .200 and striking out every 3 at bats, then there will be a decision that needs to be made on him. I don't think that will happen.....just talking about who is a lock.....

    • rdehring likes this

One of Polanco/Arraez is certainly a lock, and I'd bet on both. I'd like to see them re-sign Clippard for the pen.

    • DocBauer, rdehring and Nine of twelve like this
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Major League Ready
Jan 09 2021 08:35 AM

 

Polanco and Arraez are much more of a lock than Garver.If Garver picks up where he left off hitting under .200 and striking out every 3 at bats, then there will be a decision that needs to be made on him. I don't think that will happen.....just talking about who is a lock.....

 

A lot of elite players were bad in 2020. Garver has established (proven) he can be the best hitting catcher in all of MLB. It's wise to give him a chance knowing you have a 2nd very good catcher that can be utilized more often if Garver struggles. Getting Garver back anywhere near 2019 form could also make him a huge trade asset if Jeffers continues to impress.

    • DocBauer and chinmusic like this

The gap between what Garver did in 2019 vs what he did in 2020 is HUGE.

Which player is he ??

I think 2021 will answer that question, and as it is answered, the Twins will find out what they have in the way of "catching capital."

If Garver is even 75% of what he was in 2019, the Twins have a VERY big trade chip in either Garver or Jeffers.Catching talent is always at a premium and I think Rortvedt is close to making it to the big leagues.Jeffers is going to have a solid career so whoever the Twins would trade, they would still be O.K.

So assuming Garver bounces back.The Trade deadline is approaching.The Reds still have Luis Castillo.

Garver, Larnach and a little something else for Castillo ?Who knows?But I think this might be the year the Twins finally make a big move at the Trade Deadline.Their entire history is to do nothing of significance at the Trade Deadline.When Don Baylor is your claim to fame, that ain't much.  

Cooper is right to leave SS/2B open because it sure looks like SOMETHING is cooking at SS and whatever happens there will affect who ends up at 2B.  

Cooper, you've laid it out pretty well.Now the Twins have to start filling in the blanks.  

The only reason Arraez and Polanco are not locks is all the buzz about trades.I would be shocked to see both go. I like Rooker as DH/1B and I continue to hope that Kiriloff is extended and we quit this two month waiting period before he takes the field.

    • Dave The Dastardly likes this

Arraez should be a lock at 2B. I would not count on Thielbar or Stashak as bullpen locks. Thielbar had his good season and Stashak is a question mark. Polanco is a lock somewhere but it could be at SS or maybe DH. Kirilloff should be a lock but the team won't play him at first to save a year of control. Hopefully Dhuran can help at SP or we can re-sign Odorizzi (and Hill if still available). Pitching is most important. The more I look at Simmons, the more I like the possibility. And am also hoping for Cruz. With hockey starting this week, I'm excited. Let's get going.

    • specialiststeve likes this

If rosters will be set at 26 then signing Cruz makes sense with the players you have listed here. There is no flexibility, no super utility guy. Need to sign somebody like Kiki or Marwin, unless a big trade is made for a SS then Polanco or Arraez becomes utility guy.

 

I would go Wade or Rooker over Cave because both can also play 1B, especially if signing Cruz becomes a priority. I suppose Kirilloff could start in LF and fill in at 1B, but then the 4th OF gets more playing time. 

 

Clippard and Bradley would look really good to fill out the BP. Or are Thorpe and Smeltzer going to relied on?

 

The rotation is a little tougher because nobody knows how Dobnak rebounds, or if he is a starter or reliever. Try to sign Odorizzi and bring some reclamation projects into ST and hope something works out.

 

I've said it before, I am glad this is not my job and I a have a lot of faith in Falvey, Levine and the coaching staff.

    • mikelink45 likes this

Don't know what to think about someone not believing Polanco and Arraez are locks for this roster in 2021. Yes, trades could be made, but that can be said about any player currently under contract.

 

 

    • mikelink45, DocBauer, tarheeltwinsfan and 1 other like this

Polanco is guaranteed. If his ankle surgery doesn't improve his performance then we have a problem. If he has to be utility, his good value contract isn't looking so hot 2 years later. I don't see another team making a trade of any value after his '20 stats.

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yeahyabetcha
Jan 09 2021 01:24 PM
Polanco, Arraez, Dobnak look like locks to me. Need a SP, 2 bench players and Cruz, maybe a bullpen arm. But some of these could be filled from within the organization as well

I'd guess the 2B is currently on the roster...is it Arraez or Polanco remains to be seen.Don't see the FO spending money to bring in a LF with young guys appearing ready to go and there being bigger needs on the pitching staff.Not entirely comfortable with the bullpen quite yet...would love to see on more legit, established option.And, of course, we're ALL hoping for an addition to the rotation.

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purplesoldier4u
Jan 09 2021 03:20 PM

 

Don't know what to think about someone not believing Polanco and Arraez are locks for this roster in 2021. Yes, trades could be made, but that can be said about any player currently under contract.

 

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purplesoldier4u
Jan 09 2021 03:22 PM

I agree and there isn't a player on the entire team that isn't considered a trade asset. No superstars on this roster, for sure.

Twins need a bonafide closer, one middle-of-the-road inning eater starter, and a bench bat who can play infield and/or outfield.

    • rdehring likes this
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SgtSchmidt11
Jan 09 2021 04:52 PM

I really don't want Cave to be a lock.I want the Twins to go sign Kevin Pillar.He'll get plenty of time subbing in Rocco's system, playing as a defensive sub, a better matchup against LHP's, can steal a base if needed.

 

He'd also be perfectly fine to plug in CF if/when Buxton gets injured without a big drop in defensive abilities.He's also got a .784 OPS against LHP, which he has sizeably exceeded the last two years.

 

I like the fit of Pillar so much more than Cave in this roster.

    • Nine of twelve likes this
Great OP idea! But betting on potential trades is a fools errand at this point. Assuming a 26 man roster, which could easily change, 18 spots are currently filled.

Kepler
Buxton
Cave/Wade
Donaldson
Polanco
Arraez
Sano
Garver
Jeffers
Maeda
Berrios
Pineda
Rogers
Duffey
Alcala
Robles
Thielbar
Stashak

Despite angst and holes, that's a hell of a place to start!

Said it in other threads and will re-state it here, the final position roster can't be fixed until the FO makes a determination on Cruz and SS. Trust Polanco, you bring in Hernandez or Profar and then one of many cheap alternatives that should be available for the 11th man spot. And there are some good options available!

Don't trust/want Polanco as the primary SS? Then you sign one of the 3 FA SS available and sign as quality bat as you can to play the field and rotate DH. And then you still need an 11th man who can fill in different spots. Either way, Cabrera anyone as your 11th man?

Do we believe the reports on Odorizzi getting a $13-14M multi year deal? Then unless payroll matches 2020, we have to look at a trade option or lower cost FA. Musgrove in trade? What about Walker, Richardson or Kluber for $8-10M?

Soria for the pen? Reportedly, he's been offered about the same as Robles but slightly more. The Twins banking on their ability to develop a pen and waiting for Alcala and Colina to step forward?

Is there any way to save $2-4M for a 5th SP invite? Doubt it. But hoping. Might be a few invites available to potentially surprise and compete.

Would love to see $1-3M available, which might not be, to sign a veteran catcher for an invite and opt out. Again, might not be possible.

Besides any "fluid" payroll set of anywhere from $125-135M-ish, the biggest determination is SS and Cruz. If and when they make a commitment to either or both spots, everything else starts to fall in to place.
    • rdehring likes this
If cave is a lock I give up.
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tony&rodney
Jan 09 2021 07:09 PM

Has MLB definitively set rosters at 25 or 26? For some reason I'm not sure of this. I favor 25.

Kirilloff/Rooker/Larnach should take a roster spot or two. I'm holding out (still) for Hendriks or Rosenthal. My preference is to then add either Soria or Clippard. Colina or others could slide in as the season progresses and need is apparent. If a suitable trade cannot be accomplished for Sonny Gray or Luis Castillo or Joe Musgrove, then I'm hoping for Kluber or Walker and maybe Hill. They might be bargains.

Finally, while not opposed at all to a major addition in the infield, I am fine with a return of Adrianza.

The Twins roster is set more than most and they are poised to win the division with just two or three decent moves. There are free agents readily available but we are all still just guessing about any potential big trades. 

The main cloud that hovers over the Twins is a beast for many teams - health. For the Yankees it is Judge and Stanton, while other squads have their worries too. The Twins are leaning heavy on a return to health for a host of very fine athletes: Polanco, Arraez, Buxton, Donaldson, Garver, Kepler, and Rooker. Can Sano show up at Ft.Myers at a nimble 250 pounds? So many uncertainties lead many to look for changes when a winter of healing might be all that was needed. 

Lastly, it is entirely possible that we are all vaccinated and ready to move freely by June. The strain of Covid for the players should not be dismissed when evaluating 2020. This summer could be normal.

 

If cave is a lock I give up.

 

Yeah. The Cave lock is where he lost me. He's willing to set a very high bar for "lock" by leaving off Polanco and Arraez because of trades (certainly possible, but not likely). OK Fine. I disagree, but whatever.
However then he still has Cave in there as a lock, ignoring the very real possibility that the Twins sign a 4th OF that's a better fit for this roster (Right-handed, plays good CF), which would likely mean Cave isn't on the roster.

    • Danchat likes this
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JesusisLord7
Jan 10 2021 08:00 PM

I agree with the author that 2nd base and Shortstop are not a lock. I love what Luis Arraez does on the offensive side of the equation. But he is a bit slow on defense. But since he can back up Donaldson at 3rd I see value. I'm happy to give him the starting job but we need to improve the infield defense. That's while I would replace Polanco and make him the utility guy. He is slow at SS as well or better said the range is not there. Marcus Siemen makes a lot of sense to me. Switching gears, one guy I'd get rid of is Jake Cave. I actually like Lamont Wade as the backup and Kepler could move to CF if Buxton needs a break or decides to get injured again and again and again.

 

 

Don't know what to think about someone not believing Polanco and Arraez are locks for this roster in 2021. Yes, trades could be made, but that can be said about any player currently under contract.

But who is playing where? I don't get the sense that he's saying they won't be on the team, but if there was a pool right now to pick who is starting at shortstop opening day, there'd be some favorites but no "locks" at this point.

 

But who is playing where? I don't get the sense that he's saying they won't be on the team, but if there was a pool right now to pick who is starting at shortstop opening day, there'd be some favorites but no "locks" at this point.

 

Except that's not really how it was framed. If he isn't going to list them as starting SS and 2B, then they need to be listed on the bench. They can't just not count against the 16 roster locks he mentions at the end of the article.