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Gonsalves Gets the Call

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 09:22 PM
He will be taking Erv's spot in the rotation and starting on Monday. Good luck!
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Article: Week in Review: Hitting a Stride

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The Minnesota Twins haven't been at .500 or above since April 22nd. Will they get back there before the season ends?They are running out...
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Article: MIN 5, DET 4: Late Rosario Homer Lifts Twins to...

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 08:57 PM
Facing Eddie Rosario has to drive pitchers crazy. No location is safe. No count is safe.Rosario hit a go-ahead home run in the bottom of...
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Article: Twins Minor League Report (8/18): Saturday In Th...

Twins Minor League Talk Today, 08:02 PM
It was a very busy Saturday. The Vikings played. The Twins honored Jack Morris pre-game and played the Tigers. All six Twins stateside af...
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Article: Episode 385: Santana Out, Gonsalves In

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 06:56 PM
Aaron and John talk about the end of Ervin Santana's Twins career, the beginning of Stephen Gonsalves' Twins' career, Miguel Sano continu...
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Supplementing the Twins: A Bat for Hire

As free agency is now fully underway for the Minnesota Twins and the rest of Major League Baseball, eligible players will begin signing deals with new teams in the days ahead. For the hometown club, the focus will undoubtedly be on pitching, and we’ve looked at both starting and relief options. If there’s a cherry to be added on top however, a right-handed bat makes some semblance of sense.
Image courtesy of © Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Robbie Grossman will go down as one of the Twins better acquisitions in recent memory. Cast off by both the Houston Astros and Cleveland Indians, the corner outfielder was picked up off the scrap heap, and proved invaluable to Minnesota during his tenure here. He’s been an on-base machine, a clubhouse presence, and a somewhat steadying presence at DH.

Coming off a season in which they made an unexpected Wild Card berth, the Twins goal will be to take the next step in 2018. While Grossman could be a part of that roster, he’s also the type of player you’d like to see expanded upon for overall roster advancement. Getting either more power or better defense from someone who can hit from the right side and play either first base or outfield is a good path to travel down. With that in mind, what are the Twins options?

Easily the best name on this list, and likely the most sought after, is Carlos Santana. The former Indians first basemen is adept in the field (he should’ve won a Gold Glove this season if it wasn’t going to go to Joe Mauer), and his bat is more than capable. As a switch hitter, he’s hit from both sides well over the course of his career, despite being better from the left side in 2017. An .842 OPS with 57 homers over the past two seasons is something Minnesota would gladly inject into the lineup.

Derek Falvey already has a certain level of rapport with Santana, and while that’s not going to net him much of a discount (if any), it gives them a place to start. After making $12 million in 2017, and playing 2018 at 32, he’ll be looking for a payday. While he’s not an ideal answer in the OF, Santana can spell Mauer at 1B and handle DH duties on an everyday basis. This is a splash that would be a big difference maker.

A step or so down from Santana comes in the likes of a former Twins divisional foe. Todd Frazier doesn’t check off the box of an outfielder, but he’s a right-handed power bat Minnesota could give a look to. Having played the hot corner for the vast majority of his career, Frazier has also ventured over to 1B previously, and could take on a DH role.

Traded to the Yankees for the stretch run, Frazier left the AL Central after just one and a half seasons with the White Sox. He last posted an .800+ OPS in 2015, and that was only the second time doing so over the course of his career. While his average sagged heavily in 2017, the .344 OPS (and .365 across 66 games with the Yankees) were very impressive. For a guy who can routinely lose 25+ balls in the seats, while getting on base, Minnesota could have interest if the money is right. Frazier could play third if Miguel Sano is forced into a permanent DH situation, and that also adds another wrinkle to the Twins intrigue.

On the lowest rung of this totem pole, we find Target Field killer Jose Bautista. Coming off a terrible season and now 37 years old, it’s entirely possible the one-time Blue Jays bat flipper is cooked. What’s also a possibility is that there may be just enough left in the tank for a team-friendly deal to make sense.

Despite a .674 OPS in 2017, Bautista posted an .817 OPS a year prior, and hadn’t dipped below an .800 OPS since 2009. He’s been an MVP candidate, Silver Slugger, and an All-Star while being a bomber who can hold his own in the outfield. Bautista didn’t hit anyone last year, and he’s actually been a reverse splits guy (hitting righties better) for the past few seasons. At this juncture, Baustista’s bargaining chips are fading which could make him appealing if the right situation presents itself.

Summarizing this Supplementing the Twins series as a whole, my ideal offseason includes the acquisition of a starter and two relievers. Beyond that, a second starter and a bench bat would follow suit in order of preference. The reality here is that the Twins are entering a period in which they should be able to make a sustained run at the postseason. The more ground work they do to support the internal developments that have been made, the more they stand to gain. We don’t need to see them break the bank, but we’ve embarked upon the “Go for it” moments of this thing, and there are actions that can be taken to reflect that.

  • Cory Engelhardt, Oldgoat_MN, Broker and 1 other like this

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47 Comments

To summarize in one or two badly constructed sentences. Bautista is old and declining. Frazier has seen better days as a Red. Carlos Santana plays the same position as Joe Mauer and this team needs 1/3 of the payroll paid to what are currently middle of the pack 1B.

 

    • Thrylos, Jerr and DelusionalTwinsFan like this

Interesting names, but nothing here that excites.Age is one thing none of us can ignore - it is the finall equalizer and I feel like Bautista and Frazier are fighting that right now. Santana at 32 has only a few years before he spirals downhill but would be the only one I would expect to get a good return on if the contract does not exceed 3 years.  

    • tarheeltwinsfan likes this
I don't they need anyone spectacular. A decent bench bat should do it.

If Kepler can take a step forward, Rosario, Polanco, and Buxton maintain a fraction of their second half performances, and Sano gets/stays healthy, this could be one of the top 3 offenses in Major League Baseball.

This all assuming we don't see Rooker at some point.

 

I don't they need anyone spectacular. A decent bench bat should do it.

 

Yeah, and I'd almost rather see them give Vargas/Park a shot at that bench bat spot. I know neither guy has been amazing but they also have some upside and they don't cost anything new.

 

I'd like to see a run at a top free agent pitcher and maybe one impact reliever whose name is not Brandon Kintzler. Other than that, let it roll.

    • tarheeltwinsfan and Doctor Wu like this

 Obvious answer to all the questions but one is Shohei Otani.  

Top of rotation pitcher.Check

DH most day.Check

Backup outfielder.Check

Bench bat on days he doesn't start.Check

Pinch runner on days he doesn't start.Check (3.9 to 1st base?)

Backup 1st base.Check6'5"

Only box he doesn't check is right handed bat but we can teach him to switch hit.

 

Wouldn't an internal candidate like Mitch Garver be acceptable?

 

It's obvious the days of the "DH only" are pretty much over due to teams wanting to carry more pitchers.

 

I don't get looking at outside candidates when there may be candidates that will give the team the bat and the defensive flexibility needed.

 

I mention this, because, frankly, every dollar not spent on a FA position player is another dollar for a FA pitcher.

    • Jerr, DocBauer, caninatl04 and 2 others like this
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AWOLNATION_11
Nov 10 2017 09:19 AM

I've been pondering Frazier lately. With Sano's leg injury I wonder if that fit (or a 3B capable player) makes the most sense. I've commented elsewhere that I'm interested in Howie Kendrick. Checks some boxes. Right-handed, plays corner OF and some IF, brings veteran voice to clubhouse, probably won't be too expensive.

    • DocBauer and Respy like this
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diehardtwinsfan
Nov 10 2017 09:21 AM

honestly, I'm not too concerned about another bench bat. I'd be half willing to give Park a shot personally. Grossman might be worth setting sites on to upgrade, but that upgrade is going to be incrementally small. The team has gaping holes at SP and RP, and that is where FA money needs to be spent.

    • bobs likes this
A good RH bat is a priority for the Twins this off-season, IMO.

Santana would be a fantastic pickup. I could live with betting on Bautista too.

There are no internal candidates likely to help, IMO.
    • nicksaviking, PseudoSABR and Vanimal46 like this

I'd love to see what a full season of Vargas, a healthy Park, and even Brent Rooker can do before I spend $ that should be dedicated to fixing pitching (2 starters, 3 end of the pen relievers.) I would not mind taking flyers on MiLB contracts and see whether any of them can stick.That's about it.

 

The bat are not the problem here.Grossman is fine as well.  

    • Blake, Jerr, Oldgoat_MN and 4 others like this
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diehardtwinsfan
Nov 10 2017 09:28 AM

yeah, I think a 4A type 3B signing in Rochester will make a ton of sense, but I'd much rather get pitching and lots of it.

    • caninatl04 likes this

How about austin jackson ? 

    • ahart10 likes this

I think we'll have to use most of our money on pitching. If Sano can't go at third everyday, we'll use Escobar behind him. Maybe we could find another RH 4th OFer over Granite through a minor trade. 

 

Yeah, and I'd almost rather see them give Vargas/Park a shot at that bench bat spot. I know neither guy has been amazing but they also have some upside and they don't cost anything new.

 

I'd like to see a run at a top free agent pitcher and maybe one impact reliever whose name is not Brandon Kintzler. Other than that, let it roll.

Why not Kintzler?I thought he did very well for us and you appear to put him in the impact reliever category. I was prepared not to like him when he came up but all he did was pitch well for us for two years.. 

    • Broker likes this
With Sano’s injury perhaps forcing him into a sole DH role, at least for a portion of the season, any RH bat must either be a good corner outfielder or an acceptable starting 3b. I think Escobar can be an acceptable 3b, short term, so I prefer an OF.
    • kab21, DocBauer and Respy like this

 

I'd love to see what a full season of Vargas, a healthy Park, and even Brent Rooker can do before I spend $ that should be dedicated to fixing pitching (2 starters, 3 end of the pen relievers.) I would not mind taking flyers on MiLB contracts and see whether any of them can stick.That's about it.

 

The bat are not the problem here.Grossman is fine as well.  

Vargas and Park have no place on the twins IMO. Park is will be 32 next year and Vargas is what he is (not a good ball player, but does have occasional power)

Rooker seems more like a 19 candidate to me.

Agree with everything else you said.

 

If for some reason they don't think Sano is going to be able to play 3B for 120+ games next year, I wouldn't mind Frazier for the right price. He strikes out too much but I like the walks and he is only a few months older than Park.

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strumdatjaguar
Nov 10 2017 11:09 AM

It's probably not a good idea to have Bautista and Castro on the same roster, after what happened in Cuba - January 1, 1959.

    • ashburyjohn, Thrylos, Riverbrian and 8 others like this

I agree with the overall assessment by the article.I also agree with some commenters that Austin Jackson is one to consider as well.That will depend on how often he expects to play.He had an OPS of 1.014 against lefties last year.

My vote would be Park/Vargas until July when Rooker has smashed about 20 HR for Chattanooga. Then its Rooker hitting the go-ahead 3-Run Shot in game 6 of the World Series for the win. I'm REALLY excited about that kid!

I can't understand this thinking that there is any chance that the Twins might be a realistic option for Carlos Santana.

 

While I think the Twins would be willing to pay Santana, why would Cleveland not be willing to match that offer, and then why would he leave them to join the Twins. 

 

That's not an anti-Twins take, but I do think it's realistic.

 

Unless the Twins are willing to way-overpay for Santana, I think he'd stay "home." And if overpaying is what it takes... that's generally not a good idea.

    • Steve Lein, Blake, Riverbrian and 6 others like this
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diehardtwinsfan
Nov 10 2017 12:24 PM

I'm just more of the opinion that Santana makes zero sense to this club. Minnesota makes zero sense to Santana too. They already have a good offense, not to mention a 1B for next year at the least and possibly longer (and quite possibly a nice one in Rooker as well).

    • Thrylos, Jerr, Major Leauge Ready and 2 others like this

 

I'm just more of the opinion that Santana makes zero sense to this club. Minnesota makes zero sense to Santana too. They already have a good offense, not to mention a 1B for next year at the least and possibly longer (and quite possibly a nice one in Rooker as well).

This

    • Jerr likes this

I'd take Santana on a short-term deal, maybe Bautista fo $1 to PH. Frazier? Zero interest. 

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Timtwinsfan
Nov 10 2017 01:59 PM

I'm speculating many of you, including the author don't watch other teams. Someone mentioned Frazer. So let's score these players, Frazer is a D player, power, terrible at bats. Santana, C-, a player who did what most do in their contract year, respectable. Vargas, for sure D, like one guy said, he's just not a good MLB player. The FA market is filled with "C" players that teams will overpay so people who don't follow baseball will think the team is trying to get good players whereby the GM is just trying to save his job. Why do you think they released Palka, Twins Trivia, how many teams has Adam Brett Walker been with? How about an on base guy, someone if you needed a bat who took walks, good singles hitter, go long in the count. You remember those players? Why pay 8 mill to a .220 hitter with 28.697% strikeouts?

I'm biased.I've always liked Santana.Not sure of the fit.I think he's a better short-term fit than long term, assuming Sano moves to 1B after Mauer's contract runs out in '18.Also likely going to get a 3-yr deal from an AL team. 

This team proved more than adequate offensively, so my first reaction is every dime should be spent on pitching. 

Hate to say it, but Frazier may be the better short term fit b/c he can play 3B if Sano isn't ready.If Sano is ready to hit in April but not field, he can DH.Frazier could also DH and of course adds the RH bat this lineup needs.


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