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Buxton: "Pissed" at Twins for No Call-Up Decision...

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 10:12 PM
According to the Star Tribune, Byron Buxton is displeased with the Twins after not being called up in September of 2018. According to Byr...
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Article: Standing Pat as a Strategy

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 10:06 PM
'As we speak cruel time is fleeing. Seize the day, believing as little as possible in the morrow.' – HoraceBy all appearances, this is go...
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Non-Twins Off-season news, tidbits and transactions

Other Baseball Today, 09:44 PM
We had a thread for items around the baseball world that were worth sharing but not worth a thread of their own. Now that the 2018 season...
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Mauer/Sano: Double Standard on Strength/Conditioning?

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 09:18 PM
According to the Star Tribune, Miguel Sano's workouts this off-season are being viewed by the Twins' front office, in an effort to more c...
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Article: Rundown: Cruz, Cahill, Soria and Ramos

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 10:01 PM
FanCred's Jon Heyman reported Monday that the Twins were in the mix for Nelson Cruz. New Twins beat writer for MLB.com Do-Hyoung Park con...
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Offseason Blueprint: Status Quo

Over the next week or so, Twins Daily writers will be providing several Twins offseason blueprints. These will be a little bit different. They won’t be so much what we would do or the types of decisions that we would personally make. Instead, these blueprints will present to you several options that the Twins front office have likely considered. Over the course of this series of blueprints, you can consider which philosophy you like, you think is realistic, or some combination that just makes sense to you.

The first offseason blueprint came out recently when Tom Froemming envisioned changing course with big trades. Today, I'll look at what an internally-focused rebuild, which conserves future spending flexibility, might look like.

In these blueprints, we will use the Twins Daily Offseason Handbook as the basis for salaries of internal options, free agents or trade candidates. If you have not downloaded your copy, you can do so by clicking here.

And as you read these, start thinking about what your Offseason Blueprint would look. You can create your own Twins Offseason Blueprint here.
Image courtesy of Brad Rempel, USA Today
In today’s installment, I will consider what the 2019 Twins roster might look like by continuing on the path of investing innings and at-bats with their young core and other young players who deserve an opportunity. The theory might be that if the front office still believes in the talent, the tools and the upside of the younger players, and you believe in Rocco Baldelli and the coaching staff and the research and development, maybe you give these young players another year to see if they can reach their perceived ceilings.


Catchers: Jason Castro ($8.0M), Mitch Garver ($0.6M) - (Total - $9.2M)

Castro returns for the final season of his three-year contract in 2019. While he missed most of the 2018 season, he could provide valuable information to the other catchers but also to the young pitchers. Mitch Garver made big strides offensively and defensively and proved that he is a big leaguer who is capable of providing right-handed power. His bat should allow him time at first base and also at DH. To allow for Garver to get more at-bats, I can see a scenario in which the Twins carry three catchers. Like Garver, Castro and Astudillo.

Yes, I would keep Willians Astudillo on the 40-man roster. He is capable of playing third base and can DH or pinch hit as well and can be summoned at any time as needed. The Twins may consider a couple of minor league free agent catchers like Chris Gimenez or Bobby Wilson.

INFIELDERS: Tyler Austin ($0.6M), Matt Adams ($7.0M),Daniel Descalso ($6.0M), Miguel Sano ($3.0M), Jorge Polanco ($0.6M), Ehire Adrianza ($2.0M)

Acquired from the Yankees at the deadline in the Lance Lynn deal, Austin showed the kind of power that made him a prospect in New York. In 2018, he had 17 homers in 268 plate appearances. What can he do with 500 or 600 plate appearances? Could he take a step and become a better all-around hitter, or would it expose his swing-and-miss tendencies even more? I’d be curious to find out. Signing a one year flyer on a left-handed power bat like Adams is intriguing because he shouldn’t take a long-term commitment, and he can fill in at first base and DH.

Since playing in the 2017 All-Star Game, things have gone horribly wrong in the career trajectory of Miguel Sano. Some has been injury-related, and some has been due to some really poor decisions. But Sano has 84 home runs in 384 MLB games, and he’s still just 25 years old. The Twins had him take three (or more) steps backward in an attempt to help him get back on track. Then came another injury. There’s so much talent, and when he’s in decent shape, he’s shown himself to be an adequate defensive third baseman.

Jorge Polanco came on again toward the end of 2018 and will certainly continue to be a key piece. For me, I’d like to see him get another year at shortstop before making any formal move to second base.

I would sign Daniel Descalso for a year or two. He could be Eduardo Escobar Light. He’s mostly played second base and third base in his career .He may be intrigued by knowing he’d have an everyday job. And, if at some point the decision is made to move Sano away from third base or Nick Gordon is deemed ready, Descalso can move to the hot corner. (Note - I would be fine with Josh Harrison on a one or two year deal because of his versatility.)

Ehire Adrianza has done a nice job as a utility infielder the last two seasons for the Twins and can play all four infield positions pretty well.

OUTFIELDERS: Eddie Rosario ($4.0M), Byron Buxton ($2.0M), Max Kepler ($3.0M), Jake Cave ($0.6M), Michael Reed ($0.6M) - (Total - $10.2M)

Eddie Rosario slowed down in the final couple of months of the season, largely due to injury, but he was the easy choice for Twins Daily MVP. He showed in 2018 that his 2017 season wasn’t a fluke. Max Kepler didn’t hit for average, but he improved his walk rate and improved against left-handers. He’s also tremendous defensively. In what many are deeming a disappointing 2018 season (and I can’t completely disagree), he was worth 2.8 fWAR. Jake Cave had a nice, solid rookie season. He is about three months older than Kepler, but he showed himself being a capable big leaguer. He was solid in the outfield and showed good power from the left side. He’s earned himself a spot on the roster. Michael Reed was claimed this week from Atlanta. He hits right-handed and plays good defense.

No surprise. The question mark is Byron Buxton. Injuries derailed his 2018 season before it even got started and clearly affected his play when he did return. Let’s not forget that he was worth 3.5 fWAR in 2017. His defense is elite in centerfield and helps make the pitching staff better. Hopefully he comes back in 2019, healthy and in a good frame of mind to play 150 games, and thrive under Rocco Baldelli.

STARTING PITCHERS: Kyle Gibson ($8.5M), Jose Berrios ($0.6M), Jake Odorizzi ($10.0M), Michael Pineda ($8.5M), Fernando Romero ($0.6M) - Total ($28.2M)

Jose Berrios was an all-star in 2018. He was great in the first half. He struggled some in August but ended strong. He set career highs in innings pitched and ended the year with a career-high 202 strikeouts. Kyle Gibson put together the best season of his career, certainly his most consistent. His career strikeout rate coming into the 2018 season was just 6.2 K/9. In 2018, he struck out 8.2 per nine. Odorizzi is a non-tender candidate after arguably the worst season of his MLB career, but he did end strong and he will be familiar with Rocco Baldelli. (also, I don’t think he’ll get $10M in arbitration). If he’s open to some of the new systems, and doesn’t have to face lineups a third time in a game, he could thrive. Michael Pineda signed with the Twins a year ago. He was paid $2 million in 2018 to rehab and he’ll be paid to (hopefully) pitch in 2019. When healthy he does throw hard and has a chance to be an upper-rotation pitcher. That leaves one spot for a lot of guys that the Twins need to make decisions on in the next year or two. Fernando Romero may have the highest upside, but we also saw Kohl Stewart, Stephen Gonsalves, Zack Littell, Chase De Jong and Adalberto Mejia make starts in 2018. Lewis Thorpe and Brusdar Graterol are guys that could surface in the big leagues in 2019.


RELIEF PITCHERS: Trevor May ($1.5M), Taylor Rogers ($1.5M), Trevor Hildenberger ($0.6M), Gabriel Moya ($0.6M), Addison Reed ($8.5M), Alan Busenitz ($0.6M), Adalberto Mejia ($0.6M) - (Total: $13.9M)

It will be interesting to see how bullpens are comprised as the Opener or Bullpen concepts gain more traction. Could there be more guys capable of going two or even three innings in a bullpen? Will it look the same? In this plan, the biggest “acquisition” would be a healthy Addison Reed. The hope is that he was just hurt and overused early in the 2018 season. I am excited to see what May can do in a full, healthy season. Is he a closer, or would he be used in the game’s crucial moments. Can Taylor Rogers repeat his incredible 2018 season? Hildenberger has shown for extended periods of time that he can be reliable, but he struggled late. Moya is a solid second lefty, and he made a lot of starts (opens?). Could Adalberto Mejia, who is out of options, be a solid opener or long reliever? Alan Busenitz was good for the Twins late in the 2017 season. He was on a frequent shuttle between Minneapolis and Rochester throughout 2018 and he just gave up too many homers for the Twins. But if he can get that breaking ball more consistent (admittedly, a big IF) he deserves this opportunity to show he can be a late inning guy. If not, John Curtiss has the ability to pitch in late innings, and possible 40-man adds like Jake Reed and Nick Anderson can be options too. Andrew Vasquez would be the next lefty reliever up when needed.


ROSTER SALARIES:
Catchers: $8.6 million
Infielders: $19.2 million
Outfielders: $10.2 million
Starting Pitchers: $28.2 million
Relief Pitchers: $13.9 million
Total: $80.1 million


Free Agents Added:
1B/DH Matt Adams,
2B/3B Daniel Descalso

POTENTIAL LINEUP

Daniel Descalso 2B/3B
Jorge Polanco SS/2B
Eddie Rosario LF/RF
Miguel Sano 3B/1B/DH
Matt Adams DH/1B
Max Kepler RF/CF
Tyler Austin 1B/DH
Jason Castro C
Byron Buxton CF

Bench:
Mitch Garver - C/DH/1B
Ehire Adrianza - SS/2B/3B/LF
Jake Cave - LF/CF/RF
Michael Reed - LF/CF/RF

Next in Line:
Willians Astudillo - C/DH/3B
Nick Gordon - SS/2B
LaMonte Wade - OF
Brent Rooker - 1B/LF/DH
Zack Granite - OF

A reminder that this is not an offseason blueprint that we are necessarily advocating. However, a look at a roster like this, with minimal change (a few strategic free agent adds), can give you a starting point. It’s also a reminder that you do need to ask yourself which players you are ready to move on from. Adding another free agent means subtracting a current player, or maybe even DFAing a player. A trade would obviously come at the price of a player or three. That’s not a bad thing if it makes the team better. So, use this blueprint, maybe jot down the players, consider other current Twins players (big leagues or AAA) that might be impacted by any move, and then start mixing and matching.

And in reality, if things were to go well for a large majority of these players - and yes, that may be a big if - and they stay healthy and the make progress, this could be a solid team. If you believe in the talent of that core group of young players, you could hold on to hope that they can win. That includes the likes of Eddie Rosario, Byron Buxton, Max Kepler, Jose Berrios, Jorge Polanco, Miguel Sano and others. If you consider some of the veterans on this roster, there are some guys who have succeeded on winning teams, and they can continue to do that. It does so without signing players to long-term deals, keeping the door open for players like Brent Rooker, Alex Kirilloff and Royce Lewis as soon as they are ready.

In addition, the team would have a ton of money to add at the trade deadline. But also, no one wants to leave the owner’s money on the table. Personally, I may advocate the idea of signing Jose Berrios and others to long-term deals, maybe with large, upfront signing bonuses to be paid in 2019. That’s an option that would continue to build the organization.

So discuss this roster below. Which players have you given up on, and which would you like to see get another year?


Download the 2018 Twins Daily Offseason Handbook here.
Create your own Twins Offseason Handbook and see others here.

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28 Comments

Here's hoping for a little more than the Status Quo this Winter...we deserve it :)

 

Team Blue Print Statua Quo

 

(this includes the DeadPool $$$ for Hughes, Big Erv and LoMo)

I would keep Vasquez over Moya (Moya is more like an AAAA pitcher to me).May not sign the couple of players you selected, Adams is sort of meh.Might prefer Solarte to Descalso just because our lineup was so lefthanded last year.I would give Austin a change to sink or swim to start the year, with either Rooker or Sano ableto play there if he fails.

Granite could well be released if he does not have options left and I feel that Wade is better than him and Kirloff will probably be here sometime in 2020.  

    • tarheeltwinsfan and Original Whizzinator like this

Terry Ryan approves.

    • Mike Sixel, Twins33, nicksaviking and 9 others like this

I like your idea, Seth, of signing several players to long-term (3 or 4 years) contracts with hefty signing bonuses.Personally, would sign Berrios, Rosario and Gibson.

    • tarheeltwinsfan, dbminn, SF Twins Fan and 2 others like this

 

Terry Ryan approves.

 

Sad to say, I think this will be the type of roster to start the season. More likely the FO trades veterans for young players than they sign long-term free agents. I don't see the veterans traded until mid-season, except Gibson. I hope they can agree to a reasonable extension with Gibby in the offseason.

    • Hosken Bombo Disco likes this

I like the idea of adding somebody such as Descalso and Adams. However, the bullpen cannot go unaddressed. Adding a power bat to the infield is a must, but the Twins will have a hard time competing if that bullpen stays status quo. The Brewers almost made the World Series with a mediocre rotation and awesome bullpen. The Twins have a better rotation, but clearly, the bullpen must be better.

    • birdwatcher, beckmt, USNMCPO and 3 others like this
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diehardtwinsfan
Nov 02 2018 08:45 AM

I think they need to do a bit more here. Getting a Grandall and Cruz would be very beneficial. I also think trading some of their AAA pitching for ML help makes sense too. I don't think they were that far away from being a solid team. If Sano and Buxton do anything similar to their 2017 numbers, we're going to be wishing the FO tried a bit harder. 

    • birdwatcher, 70charger, Hosken Bombo Disco and 3 others like this

Sano being the only viable 3B does not bode well for me. His track record has to say something to the Twins. I do not have any names to throw out, but a big hitting third sacker has to be considered.

    • Danchat and Original Whizzinator like this

Worst idea ever. Nothing is accomplished by this plan, short or long term. I will be disappointed if this is the outcome.

    • USAFChief, birdwatcher, Twins33 and 7 others like this
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nicksaviking
Nov 02 2018 09:17 AM

They've given so little leash to most of the younger internal relievers and most have done nothing with the little leash given. I can't see them doing status quo with the bullpen. Maybe with the lineup and the rotation (but I hope not), but I think it more likely the pen is completely overhauled than I do that no one is added.

    • birdwatcher likes this
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birdwatcher
Nov 02 2018 10:49 AM

I have to admit this blueprint makes me kinda bluepuke a little.

 

I want my FO to act like a World Series appearance is within range in 2018.

 

This requires placing big bets on certain existing players, notably and almost exclusively on Buxton and Sano. If those guys stink up the joint again, the season is doomed, no matter what other aggressive but reasonable steps they take. If those guys hit stride, that in and of itself is transformative. And with a couple of additional bold but very doable moves, such as a Corbin and a Familia for example, you have the makings of a remarkable turnabout.

 

Include a couple of hole-fillers like Lowrie and Adams, use Adrianza and Garver as your 5th OF with the likes of Wade, Reed, Granite in reserve at AAA. Keep Turtle as 3rd catcher and backup 3B. Oh, and for amusement. Move Romero to relief and take your chances on Corbin, Berrios, Gibson, Pineda, and Odor Easy. AAA of Mejia, Gonsalves, Stewart, Thorpe, and Littell. Keep guys on the shuttle like Vasquez, Curtiss, Reed, Busenitz and Anderson.

 

Be a seller at the trade deadline regardless of the standings, based on who's ready to replace replacable roster occupants. I'd bet big on Kirilloff and Lewis, believe it or not, as 2018 call-ups, maybe even before September. They're generational talents. I'd temper my enthusiasm about Gordon and Rooker due to quiet tools for Gordon and loud flaws for Rooker. Bet on Graterol to move fast, slow the optimism about Gonsalves. The roster has too many uninspiring players, so if someone like Thorpe or Vasquez can give you more than Odor Easy or Moya, trade the lesser but surplus guys at the deadline since it enhances rather than compromises your roster.

 

Despite the impressive improvement in talent in the minors, I wonder if they've stockpiled enough more elite talent to have the trade route become a needle mover. Assuming Graterol, Lewis and Kirilloff are untouchable, and guys like Wander Javier are likely to under-fetch for you.

 

So again, I'd make two big FA splashes if possible for a front end starter and a high-leverage reliever, keep my prospects for now and go the FA route for your MI and 1B/DH holes, and go break-through or bust with Sano and Buxton for 2018. This leaves Falvey's "sustainable excellence" plan for beyond 2019 intact. They need a couple of prospect to emerge like Kirilloff and Graterol did (Larnach and Enlow maybe), and they need to stay focused on landing an elite international prospect every year like they have been doing. It's an area of strength IMO. Like the Yankees have been doing, stockpile talent throughout the system, and then be smart about using it or moving it.

 

Back to 2018: Status Quo thinking is bad thinking.

    • USAFChief, Mike Sixel, LA VIkes Fan and 2 others like this
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lukeduke1980
Nov 02 2018 11:11 AM

I don't agree with, but expect a minimalist approach.I think the FO will attempt to use their new coaching staff as the primary catalyst for hoping for better results from a number of fringe players, at least in terms of pitchers.  

    • caninatl04 and DannySD like this

Yes, it would be nice to add a bat as the Twins do need a middle infielder and the Sano question of play (is it 1st or 3rd still or DH). SOmeone who could play third base would be a fine addition especially, and a second-base placesetter if Gordon is far from ready (or take a chance on Nick) and decide if Polanco plays second or shot.

 

I would, of course, tie up Gibson, Berrios, Rosario for the longerm. Not that I think Rosario is a Twin forever, but he does deserve a negotiation, a fair negotiation to take the Twins into their free agent seasons.

 

Castro is pretty much a given due to his salary and doubt that anyone would come after him, unless he does show something more with his bay yo begin the season and a team needs a catcher.

 

Odorizzi and Pineda could easily, at this point, be replaced by the half-dozen starting prospects that will have to find minor league rotation spots. So, the Twins could seriously considered NOT going to arbitration with Odorizzi if they really don't see him in the picture. Or, perhaps, a trade to someone else willing to pay the upwards of $10 million to keep him in the rotation.

 

Reed is an expensive commodity in the bullpen. Imagine the Twins will do everything to let him be the closer, although I would rather see them put their eggs in the May basket.

 

Pineda will start because he has a hefty salary, that is assuming that he is healthy again to start. By all accounts he could open the season on the disabled list to get further into shape. I was so excited when I thought he might make a few September appearances to shake off the rust.

 

The Twins do need to heavily evaluate their farm system and decide who can be traded, who they will lose in the near future if they can't find a space for them on the roster or even the 40-man in the next season. Like all those rotation arms, there has to be some promise to another organization for any of the arms.

 

I am actually excited about the Twins for 2019, even if there are a bunch of rookies in the mox. I hope that Buxton and Sano do come back and post better than average seasons, that Kepler grows, that Berrios dominates, that Romero breaks the rotation and that Mejia is the darkhorse and if you feel Odorizzi is a less than three times thru the order starter, I would just as soon give those starts to Stewart. And we haven't even discussed Goncalves.

 

Besides Rogers and a better used Hildenberger, the Twins have some studs in Moya and Vasquez from the left side, Curtis should be better than even, Busenitz might have figured it out. And you can always find another Drake or Magill...but don't bring back Belisle.

 

Again, the Twins need an infielder. They need a bat for DH, unless you are going to move Cave into that position (sadly Grossman is not the answer but will probably hang around thru spring training just in case).

 

 

I know there are a lot of would be GMs on this board but the fact is that the Twins will be at the mid-high .400 winning % in '19 no matter how deep into the weeds you want to go in Nov, '18. What they end up doing will probably be on none of the suggestions or roster predictions. If the Twins allow the game to actually be played on the field instead of the GMs box, they may surprise.

    • DannySD likes this

I think this is very likely the roster they head out with next spring it fits with this front office in that it basically puts another year in for the prospects in A ball to continue to develop and holds spending down for this team. Second it basically means we either win with the talent we got or we sink again giving us another high draft picks to build the farm system. I willing to bet that by end of the season Giby, Ordorizzi, and Pineda are all traded for prospects. Also this will lower our payroll to help offset attendance drop if this team has been loosing and if we should be contending they may add some mid level rental player. This front office is just not going to commit with our present players and first time they do commit it will be with their players. Only addition to this team that could add some cost would be if Joe Mauer decides to play another year or two. On this front I wouldn't hold my breath. I will hate to be business office for the coming year try to market this team to the fans season tickets sales are going to drop. I am going to flat state this Front Office was hired to protect the Twins Brand `in fact they are going to do much more damage to that brand and how its perceived by fans than what ever damage the previous front office did. I am just waiting for media to begin to understand this and so called experts around the cities this front office is just lacks knowledge and experience to be able to run baseball operation. Its one thing to talk the game and second of just doing the job so far my impression they talk a better game than what they are doing.

 

Worst idea ever. Nothing is accomplished by this plan, short or long term. I will be disappointed if this is the outcome.

 

So will I, for what its worth. 

 

That said, I think this could be an 80 win team, so it should be encouraging to Twins fans that any additional moves, free agent or trade, would push that win total up. 

    • Han Joelo, Mike Sixel, gagu and 3 others like this

 

So will I, for what its worth. 

 

That said, I think this could be an 80 win team, so it should be encouraging to Twins fans that any additional moves, free agent or trade, would push that win total up. 

 

There is real talent on the team...agreed. It needs to manifest itself better. And, I figured we agreed on that, btw. 

    • dbminn and MN_ExPat like this

I hate to say it but I might agree with this blueprint.

 

I don't like the idea on the face of it. Seriously, more of the same? Are we really there? 

 

Yet we STILL don't know if the Twins' core group is strong enough to win a championship or get to the playoffs consistently, or weak enough that the team should blow it all up and start over. 

 

The Twins could go all-in on 2019 by signing several bigname free agents in the hopes that 2018 was an anomaly. But what if it wasn't? And what if those free agents suck? Then they not only suck but are stuck with some ugly salaries. Not great.

 

What if they Sell, as some have said, and Buxton returns to his late-2017 form? What a waste! 

 

Might be a bit painful. But the more I think on it, the more a stay-the-course offseason, with just a couple of modest signings and/or trades, is the wisest course of action.

 

No. I don't like it. I hate the whole idea. But I just don't like my other two choices. And if Buxton returns to form and Sano regains his power stroke this team absolutely has what it takes to compete. And if they do then the team can make some trades in the mid season to bolster the roster.

    • Han Joelo, Hosken Bombo Disco, Original Whizzinator and 1 other like this

 

Worst idea ever. Nothing is accomplished by this plan, short or long term. I will be disappointed if this is the outcome.

So... you're saying that you're Mike Sixel and you don't approve of this message?

    • Mike Sixel, Twins33, Riverbrian and 4 others like this

 

So... you're saying that you're Mike Sixel and you don't approve of this message?

 

Nice! I rarely literally laugh out loud....of course, I didn't this time either, but I did make a laugh like sound....

    • Monkeypaws and MN_ExPat like this
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Original Whizzinator
Nov 02 2018 04:21 PM

I think they need to do a bit more here. Getting a Grandall and Cruz would be very beneficial. I also think trading some of their AAA pitching for ML help makes sense too. I don't think they were that far away from being a solid team. If Sano and Buxton do anything similar to their 2017 numbers, we're going to be wishing the FO tried a bit harder.


If we can get anything for our glut of AAA starters I'm all for it. I want to keep Gibson, Berrios, Pineda, Mejia and Romero the rest AAA or above have at it. Of course then add an Odorizzi upgrade or keep him if that doesn't happen.
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Original Whizzinator
Nov 02 2018 04:30 PM

Nice! I rarely literally laugh out loud....of course, I didn't this time either, but I did make a laugh like sound....

Self knowledge is the first step, I applaud.
Hehehe achem
    • Mike Sixel and MN_ExPat like this

If the Falvine do something like this plan, and Sanó and Buxton flail away again this year, torches and pitchforks.

 

You gotta have a plan B, C, etc. This coming from the eternal optimist.

    • Riverbrian and Danchat like this
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ChrisKnutson
Nov 02 2018 06:10 PM
This ain’t it my man, because JUST signing Descalso and Adams may end us up with the same, if not worse, record than last season.

If not Cruz and Lowrie, than the FO needs to atleast improve the bullpen, and signing Joe Kelly to close for us would be an excellent first move.

Imagine IF Buxton and Sano were already who we hoped they could be, and not coming off of broken seasons, and the Twins went out and acquired them for nothing this offseason and added them to last year's team.  That would be exciting.  Would that even be enough, though?  

 

At any rate, I don't advocate that being the plan, but I'd say there is about a 10% 5% .5% chance that B and S both establish themselves as stars this year, so I guess it is one plan for contention.

    • DannySD likes this

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