7 Non-Tendered Players Who Fit Twins' Offseason Needs
Image courtesy of © Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY SportsOn Minnesota’s front, five of their seven eligible players were tendered new contracts. Eddie Rosario was placed on outright waivers and went unclaimed. Matt Wisler was the surprise of the group, and despite a 1.07 ERA in 2020, he was sent packing as a non-tender casualty as well.
The greatest areas of need for the Twins remain at designated hitter, the pitching staff, and some sort of utility infielder. Nelson Cruz is not yet re-signed to a deal, and the uncertainty regarding a National League continuation of the position only throws a further wrench into things. Minnesota has just three of the five rotation spots locked in, and they’ve now lost both Wisler and Trevor May from their 2020 bullpen. Replacing Ehire Adrianza and Marwin Gonzalez with a backup plan for Josh Donaldson is also of concern. So, who among the new names provide a level of intrigue? In no particular order, here are some of my favorites.
Archie Bradley RHP
Probably the cream of this crop for me, Bradley served as the Arizona Diamondbacks closer in 2019. The former first round pick owns a career 3.91 ERA and 9.3 K/9. Since moving to relief in 2017 he owns a 2.95 ERA across 234.2 IP. He threw just 18.1 IP in 16 games last season between Arizona and Cincinnati, but this is an arm that could immediately decrease the impact of losing Trevor May.
Adam Duvall OF/DH
Duvall has never played in the American League, but he could certainly operate as a rotational DH should the Twins not come to terms with Nelson Cruz. He’s also a fine outfielder with some sneaky speed, and there’s plenty of pop in his bat. He’s not a great average or on-base guy, but he does have two separate 30-homer campaigns under his belt. He only played in 98 games with the Braves over the past two seasons, but it resulted in an .852 OPS.
Carlos Rodon LHP
The third overall pick in the 2014 draft, Rodon went one spot ahead of Kyle Schwarber (also non-tendered yesterday) and two ahead of Twins selection Nick Gordon. A standout at NC State, Rodon owned a pedestrian 4.01 ERA in his first four big league seasons. He blew out in 2019 and returned for just 7.2 IP last year. The velocity drop is not good, but a lefty with a consistent slider could appeal to Minnesota. He’s probably ticketed for relief, but he’ll be just 28 in 2021.
David Dahl OF
Maybe the most talented played on this list, Dahl is a case of a guy that just hasn’t stayed healthy. He was a 10th overall pick and routinely racked as a top-100 prospect. In four seasons with the Rockies he has an .828 OPS and that goes all the way up to .867 if you throw out a bad 24 game sample in 2020. The problem is he’s played just 264 career games. There’s good speed, good pop, and good defense here, and he’s a starting caliber outfielder if you need him to be. He’d be another left-handed bat for the Twins, but this is probably an upgrade on Jake Cave. Keeping him on the field is the question.
Jose Urena RHP
It wasn’t long ago that Jose Urena was operating as the Miami Marlins Opening Day starter. In 2017 and 2018 he combined to produce a 3.90 ERA. Unfortunately, it’s been mostly downhill from there. His 2019 ended throwing just 84.2 IP and he owns a 5.25 ERA over the past two seasons. A change of scenery could do him some good and getting away from consistent matchups against Ronald Acuna Jr. isn’t a bad idea either. He’s a pretty heavy sinker/slider guy, and though the strikeouts aren’t really there, that’s a profile Minnesota has gravitated towards.
Ryne Stanek RHP
Another Marlins pitcher, and former Tampa Bay Rays arm, Stanek is a hard thrower with a good slider. His fastball velocity has dropped in recent seasons, but Wes Johnson may be able to unlock the 98-mph cheddar he had with Tampa. A career 10.9 K/9 is nothing to scoff at and Stanek was one of the guys Tampa initially implemented as an opener.
Keynan Middleton RHP
Just 27-years-old, Middleton has been through the ringer of sorts. He posted a 3.23 ERA with the Angels in his first three big-league seasons, and also notched nine saves. He’s thrown just 37.1 IP and appeared in only 40 G since 2018 however and has also undergone Tommy John surgery. The velocity actually rebounded well in 2020, getting back up to 97 mph, and he’s predominantly a fastball/slider pitcher. You’re gambling on health to a certain extent, but this is a guy that previously looked to be a part of a core for the Los Angeles bullpen.
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