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8 Twins Who Could be on the Move for 2020

The 2019 season has come to an abrupt end after 101 wins. This means we may have seen some players in a Twins uniform for the final time. With a lot of question marks about the rotation and a few key position players, I take a look at who should come back and who should be on the move.
Image courtesy of © Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports
The key Twins who could be moving on to a new team for 2020 are listed here.
(* = option or ARB eligible)
  • C Jason Castro
  • 1B C.J. Cron*
  • 2B Jonathan Schoop
  • SP Kyle Gibson
  • SP Michael Pineda
  • SP Martin Perez*
  • SP Jake Odorizzi
  • RP Sergio Romo
Nelson Cruz was originally on this list, but as expected, the Twins have picked up his option for 2020.



C Jason Castro
Castro began the season as the starting catcher, but Mitch Garver took Minnesota by storm with one of the Twins best hitting seasons as a catcher. That mixed with Castro’s struggles in the second half (.196/.333/.299) make it unlikely that he will return. He can probably find a starting job somewhere in free agency as a left- handed hitting defensive catcher. The Twins could also bring him back on a one-year deal if he does decide to stay and that wouldn't hurt.

1B C.J. Cron
Cron will still be under control next year, but it comes down to if the Twins want to pay for his final season or let him go to a new team like the Rays did last season. He suffered a thumb injury this past season that altered his production a lot. He had a .700 OPS in the second half and a .685 OPS vs RHP on the season. He plays a decent first base and crushes left-handers. With Alex Kirilloff on the horizon, I think Cron comes back for 2020 but could end up in a platoon role at some point. This could also depend on the Twins plan for Sano to either stay at 3B or move to 1B in the future.

2B Jonathan Schoop
The emergence of Luis Arraez along with the drop off from Schoop made it fairly clear who the starting second baseman will be next season. The Twins will likely ride with Arraez on Opening Day next season, and Schoop will definitely be able to find a starting job somewhere else in 2020. He was a solid addition and the Twins probably got what was expected from him.

SP Kyle Gibson
Moving on to pitching, Gibson is one of the longest-tenured Twins after seven seasons that started off rough, but ultimately ended well for him to land a nice deal next season. He had a 3.72 ERA from the 2017 trade deadline until now even with some unfortunate health concerns. He will probably get a multi-year deal with someone other than the Minnesota Twins and all of you who hate Kyle will be extremely happy.

SP Michael Pineda
Despite having his 2019 success stained by his suspension for a possible PED masking agent, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to bring Pineda back for next season. His 3.04 second half ERA, as he basically carried the rotation, was extremely impressive so he could be back. The Twins will likely bring two starters from this season back, and Pineda has a good chance to be one of them.

SP Jake Odorizzi
The Twins acquired Odorizzi before the 2018 season for AA infielder Jermaine Palacios who had a .192 AVG this past season. Odorizzi has produced 6.9 fWAR over those two seasons and was a 2019 All-Star. The Twins will likely send a qualifying offer around $18 million and if a team doesn’t want to lose a draft pick for him then I think Odo could be back. He could also come back on the QO because he can't be offered the QO two years in a row so he may come back to build his free agency stock for 2021.

SP Martin Perez
With a $7.5 million team option for next season, I don’t expect to see Perez back for the 2020 season. Maybe I can get behind seeing him as a relief pitcher, but the Twins should definitely be moving on from him in the rotation. From June to October he allowed a 5.93 ERA and a .831 OPS so I would hope the Martin Perez experiment has come to an end.

RP Sergio Romo
I challenge you to find one Twins fan who does not love Sergio Romo. You can’t, so don’t even try. The 36-year-old reliever would be a valuable asset who I believe will be back for 2020. His veteran presence mixed with his playoff/World Series experience and his electric energy on and off the field are all tools that would fit right in on this young team. Plus he is also an effective late inning reliever so that’s a plus.

Alright, now that I have finished going through all the players, here are my predictions:

Returning for 2020: Cron, Pineda, Odorizzi, Romo
Heading to a new team: Castro, Schoop, Gibson, Perez

As the off-season progresses, each one of these players will be monitored closely by everyone here at Twins Daily, so follow us on Twitter and be looking out for more in- depth articles about each player. Leave a comment here saying who you would like to see come back for 2020.

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83 Comments

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bustedstuff88
Oct 10 2019 11:28 AM

I dont care what else happens....If Gibson is on the 2020 roster, this offseason was a failure. 

 

He will be our litmus test. 

    • Captain18s likes this
I would like to see the FO think outside the box. Twins had no true running threat outside of Buxton, and opposing pitchers knew that. A lead off guy like Whit Merrifield would be perfect in this lineup. Someone who gets on base, can steal bases and can play any outfield position, 2b and 1b. I'm probably in the minority here, but 8 out of 9 in the batting order, all swinging for the fences every at bat, won't get it done in the post season.

 

I would like to see the FO think outside the box. Twins had no true running threat outside of Buxton, and opposing pitchers knew that. A lead off guy like Whit Merrifield would be perfect in this lineup. Someone who gets on base, can steal bases and can play any outfield position, 2b and 1b. I'm probably in the minority here, but 8 out of 9 in the batting order, all swinging for the fences every at bat, won't get it done in the post season.

 

I think anyone would love to have Merrifield on this team, but he would more than likely cost a fortune to pry away from Kansas City.If they are going to be using assets like that to acquire anyone, I'd rather they do it for pitching

    • Oldgoat_MN and wabene like this
I agree and was using him as an example. If I'm a FA pitcher, I'm not liking the Twins due to their poor fielding
Castro yes if he will accept a #2 role and short deal. Astudillo should not be our #2 catcher.


Odorizzi is priority number one. He says he wants to come back. He arguably should have started game 1 but when he was held back to game 3 he was a damn good soldier. QO while being open to a 3 year deal.


Cron is yes. I see Sano at third one more year so it would be hard to replace his healthy production. The Twins need to get a third baseman moving forward. Blankenthorn is not ready for his shot and is no sure thing, plus they list him at second. Who do we have? Miranda? If they could snag a good FA 3rd baseman Sano could try first. The problem is who is available? Rendon? Hahaha. Schoop and his arm at 3rd? Is that out of the box or what?


Pineda yes. If the guy worked on his conditioning like Sano did he wouldn't need a masking agent and could lead this rotation. He wants to be here and has much to prove. I give him a chance.


Schoop no. Good guy, good soldier somebody will grab him. Gordon may be ready to challenge for some innings at second behind Arraez.


Perez no.


Gibson no. I have argued in his favor the last 2 years and I am done. A minor league deal? Maybe, we don't know what his market will be. I like Gibby but I really like when guys work fast and just fire away. The game the way it's supposed to be played.


Romo yes. What is not to like here? The price is right too.
    • 70charger likes this

 

 

 

Internally, they'll have a slew of prospects who are further along than Dobnak was to start the year. Besides Dobnak, Smeltzer, and Thorpe, they can consider Graterol, Poppen, maybe Gonsalves, and then drop down to guys who finished a level higher this year than Dobnak started, in Balazovic, Duran, Colina, Ober, Enlow...in other words, they have the luxury of sufficient financial room and a wealth of prospect capital to solve the immediate need for front line guys. 

 

 

 

This is the reason that I don't think that they should re-sign any of their FA SPs or pick up Perez's option. If they get 2 starters better than Berrios (who can be a fine 3)2 of the above can fill at 4 and 5 better than Perez and Gibson (Fact:Dobnak was better than Gibson and Smeltzer was better than Perez in 2019 and they are on the better side of the bell curve than the 2 players who will replace.)  

 

Pineda comes with major baggage and issues and I was probably one of the very few people who did not care about the signing because of those issues back when that happened.

 

Odorizzi averaged 5-1/3 innings per start.This is not a starter or number 2 material.He is pretty much an older version of Berrios and Berrios is cheaper.I'd rather see them invest that $ towards a true #1 and #2, and they might have to get one of the 2 via trade.

 

I dont care what else happens....If Gibson is on the 2020 roster, this offseason was a failure. 

 

He will be our litmus test. 

 

Because he was a replacement-level player this year, while dealing with an e.Coli infection and ulcerative colitis?

 

I think your "litmus test" is a terrible one to judge this franchise on. If the FO is convinced they can get the 2018 version of Kyle Gibson next year, then he's a significant asset on the roster, depending on the price. He put up a 3.8 bWAR and 118 ERA+ while chewing up almost 200 innings and averaging over 6 IP per start. If that guy is your #3 or #4 starter, you're in fantastic shape. And if Gibson can be had at an AAV of say under $12M and your staff thinks he's going to be that pitcher, it's a good move and hardly a failed offseason because he's back on the roster. If he's available a week before spring training and wants to do a 1 year "prove it" deal and the team thinks he's healthy, not bringing him for an arbitrary reason like that is franchise malpractice.

 

It's fair to say, "I don't think Kyle Gibson can replicate 2018." or "I don't think he's going to be worth the money on a long term deal." but isn't it just silly to say (in Oct) "The offseason is a failure if Kyle Gibson is on the roster in 2020"?

 

It's not like this is a pitcher who's never had success in MLB. Or has constantly been injured. or is somehow a major tool/clubhouse cancer. He's had multiple quality seasons.

 

I used to call him The Tease, because it never seemed like he was going to put it together consistently. Then he did it for 2018. Changed his approach, got more Ks, had more success and did have that consistency.

 

There's real risk with him. But there's also success and value to be had there if things break his way. I value Odorizzi higher because he's had a stronger track record overall, is 2 years younger, and looks well positioned to have continued success in his more limited innings. But Gibson, if fully healthy, is probably a decent bet to have a successful season. (keep in mind Gibson's fWAR in 2019 was actually the same as his fWAR in 2018; personally I consider bWAR a better representation of what a pitcher actually did in any given season but fWAR is considered by many a better predictor of future success...)

    • Oldgoat_MN, Wyorev, IndianaTwin and 2 others like this

Jason Castro - I like him, but I would rather spend the money elsewhere. Astudillo should be a serviceable backup. I also don't want to carry 3 catchers. 

 

C.J. Cron - I'd offer him a reasonable one year contract. I would use him as a lefty masher/platoon/bench bat.

 

Jonathan Schoop - Again I like him, but he no longer fits with this team. 

 

Kyle Gibson - This is the guy I'm most torn on. I wish he could figure out how to be consistently good, but I probably let him walk. If he wants a one year make good deal--I would be fine with it.

 

Michael Pineda - I'll take him back, but I wouldn't do more than a two years $20MM deal.

 

Martin Perez - Buy out his option and let him walk.

 

Jake Odorizzi - In my mind this is a no-brainer. Jake is my first priority. I'd go up to four years for $60MM. Doesn't like it? Then he gets the qualifying offer.

 

Sergio Romo - I'd take him back for a small one year deal for $3MM, but I worry about his knee. 

 

Finally I go hard after Cole. I don't think he will come up here, but I give it my best shot. I would offer five years for $200MM. 

retaining Astudillo means you can 'have' 3 catchers, without wasting a roster spot. Turtle can play so many positions he wouldn't have to be a 3rd catcher per se. He gives the team extra utility.

    • Oldgoat_MN likes this

WIth Rogers number to jump that high.......I wouldn't be surprised to see him get an extension before arbitration hits.


Agreed. And it makes a ton of sense for both sides.

It's also why I play the "amateur" game of GM. And why I recognise a $150M mean payroll vs $130ishM payroll to work with to allow flexibility and extensions plus sustainability.
    • JLease likes this
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Richard Swerdlick
Oct 11 2019 04:57 AM
I see the Twins bringing back Odo and Pineda. The FO wants to build the rotation from within. They will try to sign a good starting pitcher or trade for one. Cron will likely not be back and Sano will play more first base. He is being groomed as the DH successor to Nelson Cruz. Sano could still play 3rd base if needed. Twins need a spot for Kiriloff and others who will be ready for the bigs in 20 or 21. Castro and Schoop will be gone. Interesting times.
    • DocBauer likes this

 

retaining Astudillo means you can 'have' 3 catchers, without wasting a roster spot. Turtle can play so many positions he wouldn't have to be a 3rd catcher per se. He gives the team extra utility.

 

I understand that you can carry Astudillo with two other catchers--but why? I would rather have a bench bat than a backup catcher who hits below the Mendoza line. If Garver gets hurt and Astudillo is playing in the field it's not a big deal to move him behind the plate. We already have Gonzalez and Adrianza as utility options with Astudillo and Arraez with positional flexability. 

Time to move Sano to 1B. Sure, a guy that big with that kind of arm at 3B is an amazing sight, but, he doesn't have the range or agility to dive and get back up -- witness the balls hit by him in the Yankees series. And, he won't help anyone once he pulls a hammy from running after foul pops. Sano to 1B, Cron given his papers. Gibson and Perez, would someone figure out their pitching performance against Central Division opponents and the rest of the league? At some point, beating up on patsies in the Central just doesn't equate to being a ML pitcher who can deal with first tier competition. Revamp around Odo and Berrios. At some point, either Buxton or Rosario has to be traded for a front-line starter.

I would like to see the FO think outside the box. Twins had no true running threat outside of Buxton, and opposing pitchers knew that. A lead off guy like Whit Merrifield would be perfect in this lineup. Someone who gets on base, can steal bases and can play any outfield position, 2b and 1b. I'm probably in the minority here, but 8 out of 9 in the batting order, all swinging for the fences every at bat, won't get it done in the post season.

If they deaden the ball like it sounds, the Twins will be in trouble. 7 guys with warning track power equals a lot fewer wins.
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bustedstuff88
Oct 11 2019 10:22 AM

Because he was a replacement-level player this year, while dealing with an e.Coli infection and ulcerative colitis?

I think your "litmus test" is a terrible one to judge this franchise on. If the FO is convinced they can get the 2018 version of Kyle Gibson next year, then he's a significant asset on the roster, depending on the price. He put up a 3.8 bWAR and 118 ERA+ while chewing up almost 200 innings and averaging over 6 IP per start. If that guy is your #3 or #4 starter, you're in fantastic shape. And if Gibson can be had at an AAV of say under $12M and your staff thinks he's going to be that pitcher, it's a good move and hardly a failed offseason because he's back on the roster. If he's available a week before spring training and wants to do a 1 year "prove it" deal and the team thinks he's healthy, not bringing him for an arbitrary reason like that is franchise malpractice.

It's fair to say, "I don't think Kyle Gibson can replicate 2018." or "I don't think he's going to be worth the money on a long term deal." but isn't it just silly to say (in Oct) "The offseason is a failure if Kyle Gibson is on the roster in 2020"?

It's not like this is a pitcher who's never had success in MLB. Or has constantly been injured. or is somehow a major tool/clubhouse cancer. He's had multiple quality seasons.

I used to call him The Tease, because it never seemed like he was going to put it together consistently. Then he did it for 2018. Changed his approach, got more Ks, had more success and did have that consistency.

There's real risk with him. But there's also success and value to be had there if things break his way. I value Odorizzi higher because he's had a stronger track record overall, is 2 years younger, and looks well positioned to have continued success in his more limited innings. But Gibson, if fully healthy, is probably a decent bet to have a successful season. (keep in mind Gibson's fWAR in 2019 was actually the same as his fWAR in 2018; personally I consider bWAR a better representation of what a pitcher actually did in any given season but fWAR is considered by many a better predictor of future success...)


Im done with Kyle. Hes had ample chances.....he hasnt been battling illness since we drafted him, has he?

Hes a perpetual head case, and id never trust him in big regular season games much less in the postseason.
Speaking of Twins on the move, it sounds like bench coach Derek Shelton is going to get a manager gig, possibly in Pittsburgh or for the Mets.

Gibson has never been a favorite of mine because he is nimbler and wants to be perfect which usually leads to big inning against him. The fact though is I have feeling he's going to sign contract who ever gets him will fix him on the above and he will become the pitcher we always thought he could be. Also he pitched this season being sick all of the season all you had to do was look at him. His regression this year I believe will be recovered if he can get himself healthy. If right team signs him with some real veteran pitchers that can teach him how to pitch aggressively he will become solid 3 to 4 starter eating up 180 to 200 innings. the problem is the Twins are screwed no matter which way this goes. But remember this when he having career year on winner some place else. Because somebody going to sign him to moderate contract and get his upside plus he's good to have in club house another positive he does have. Gibson will be one the pitchers looking back at where the twins couldn't get what they wanted but somebody else unlocks that performance becomes one reason they have won.

 

Gibson has never been a favorite of mine because he is nimbler and wants to be perfect which usually leads to big inning against him. The fact though is I have feeling he's going to sign contract who ever gets him will fix him on the above and he will become the pitcher we always thought he could be. Also he pitched this season being sick all of the season all you had to do was look at him. His regression this year I believe will be recovered if he can get himself healthy. If right team signs him with some real veteran pitchers that can teach him how to pitch aggressively he will become solid 3 to 4 starter eating up 180 to 200 innings. the problem is the Twins are screwed no matter which way this goes. But remember this when he having career year on winner some place else. Because somebody going to sign him to moderate contract and get his upside plus he's good to have in club house another positive he does have. Gibson will be one the pitchers looking back at where the twins couldn't get what they wanted but somebody else unlocks that performance becomes one reason they have won.

So, I'm not sure - are you proposing to try to sign him, or let him go?

So, I'm not sure - are you proposing to try to sign him, or let him go?

don't mean to speak for others, but it seems obvious:

Yes.
    • ashbury, birdwatcher, Jham and 1 other like this
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LA VIkes Fan
Oct 15 2019 11:25 AM

 

I think you try to get two starters back. Try for Odo and Pineda but if either of them move on then bring Gibson back.

Completely agree. While I'd love to start next year with Berrios, 3 experienced better starters and a fill-in, that just ain't happening. The pitchers just aren't out there to get and those that are will be the subject of some very fierce competition. I love me some Twins but Minneapolis isn't the most sexy destination and the weather blows in March, April, part of May and September/October.Add in the Twins' well established track record for seeking "value", and it's hard to see the team getting more than one FA starter next year. 

 

Also, Cole and Wheeler are not too likely to be available to the Twins unless we overpay. All reports say that Cole likes Houston and is from SoCal and would like to go back if he doesn't stay in Houston. The Dodgers and especially the Angels have money and need starting pitching. Wheeler is from Atlanta and the word is he wants to go back there.The Braves are another team that has need and cash, so he's most likely to wind up there. 

 

So what makes sense and is actually realistic? Bring back Odorizzi and Pineda, each on a multi-year deal or QO. Pineda gets his QO pro-rated so its about 13.5m. When you look at the available free agent pitchers by 2019 WAR, Odorizzi is #5, Pineda, #9, and Gibson #11. Gibson is the fall back if we can't get a FA starter or one by trade. Target Wheeler, Keuchel and Brett Anderson as FAs, Chris Archer and Mike Minor as trade candidates. Rotation next year is most likely Berrios, Odorizzi, Pineda, Gibson and Dobnak/Meltzer/Thorpe, but hope one of the last 2 is one of the 5 above.  

For reference, per mlbtraderumors. Their arbitration estimates:

Twins (10)
Sam Dyson – $6.4MM
Ehire Adrianza – $1.9MM
C.J. Cron – $7.7MM
Trevor May – $2.1MM
Eddie Rosario – $8.9MM
Miguel Sano – $5.9MM
Byron Buxton – $2.9MM
Taylor Rogers – $3.9MM
Tyler Duffey – $1.1MM
Jose Berrios – $5.4MM


No chance I pay Cron that much. No way. Zero. I'd also probably trade Rosario, but that depends on the return.
    • Twins33 likes this

Just read a BR report on the top 10 FA starting pitchers. The 3 Twins FA’s are all listed in the 5 thru 10 range. For those insistent on a complete overhaul, the question is, “where will you find someone better”? 6 or 7 years at $200M+ for Cole isn’t happening. 5 yrs at $120m for Wheeler or MadBum isn’t likely either. How happy should we all be that we didn’t get Darvish? Gibson and Pineda are the type of arms that can be gotten on decent deals. I think they will have to overpay to get Odorizzi back, but I think they should I hope the bring 2 or 3 of them back and pull off a trade for a younger arm (Rosario as a centerpiece).
Their biggest shortcoming is not pitching, but infield defense followed by the ability to score runs other than via HR.


How happy should we be we didn't get Corbin? Rosario isn't bringing back major league pitching. No chance.

Castro: If they can get him for a year, I'd do it. The question to me is whether we're comfortable with a Garver/Turtle combo at C. I don't think Rortvedt or Jeffers will be ready either, so you're signing a 4A type at C to sit in AAA.

Cron: I keep unless there's another 1B on the market that they want. Really, you have to replace his production and there's no one in the high minors that could feasibly do that at 1st or 3rd if you wanted to move Sano there.

Schoop: Good bye... Arraez can handle the job for now, though I'd make it a competition between him and Gordon.

Romo: Stays.

Gibson/Pineda: I think one of these guys stays. It really depends on Gibson's medicals, though I'd lean Pineda who was pretty good and will come cheap. With Pineda, you can start Graterol in late April/May with the plan of keeping him the majors to build up his innings count as a long reliever/spot starter.

Perez: Good bye... It was a nice run, but once he was figured out, he regressed to his mean.


Cron put up replacement level WAR.....
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diehardtwinsfan
Oct 15 2019 12:46 PM

 

Cron put up replacement level WAR.....

b-ref has him at 1.4... that's not quite replacement level but definitely room for improvement, but I've already checked pending FAs... not a ton of better production out there. Donaldson is probably the big name and could provide some flexibility as he plays 3rd. He's going to cost 20M though and possibly multiple years. I'd rather focus on pitching. 

    • birdwatcher likes this

It seems there is a small community that's rallying behind re-signing Pineada, Odo, AND acquiring two starters better than Berrios. Call me skeptical, I just can't realistically see the FO re-signing Odo and Pineada thinking they just locked up the back end of our rotation.Twins would do well to acquire 1 SP outside the organization that fills the top of the rotation this offseason.Slot Berrios, Odo, Pineada 2-4, and the remaining internal options battle or shuttle back and forth for the 5th spot.That rotation seems to fit well to win the AL Central again.Look to add another impact SP in June or July.I will give the FO credit in coining the phrase "impact pitching."Now acquire it. 

    • birdwatcher and Mike Sixel like this

 

b-ref has him at 1.4... that's not quite replacement level but definitely room for improvement, but I've already checked pending FAs... not a ton of better production out there. Donaldson is probably the big name and could provide some flexibility as he plays 3rd. He's going to cost 20M though and possibly multiple years. I'd rather focus on pitching. 

 

No way I pay 6-7MM next year for mediocre 1B production.......not with needing 3 starting pitchers, a backup catcher that is Castro good or better, a RP or two.....I guess I think they can afford that if they deal Rosario.....


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