Always Think Big: What If the Twins Exceed Our Payroll Expectations?
Image courtesy of © Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY SportsIt’s been an assumption that with losses related to the pandemic in 2020, the Twins would almost certainly reduce their payroll 10 to 15%. That may not be the case. What if they jump the market and make serious splashes outside of the top tier?
Here’s my wish list:
1. Re-sign Nelson Cruz for 1-year, $17 million w/ a 2022 team option, $15M
The Twins’ desire to keep Cruz is well-known. In a scenario where their payroll is around $145 million, slightly more than it was before the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, keeping Cruz at a premium is a much less painful task. With more spending room for next season, the Twins can load Cruz on a one year deal and avoid a multi-year commitment to the 40-year-old heartbeat of the team.
2. Re-sign Jake Odorizzi for 3-years, $39 million
The Twins also have interest in bringing back Odorizzi, per MLB Trade Rumors. This move makes too much sense. Odorizzi can slot right in as the Twins’ fourth (or third) starter, a perfect spot. What makes Odorizzi more desirable is the stunning lack of top-tier options on the free-agent market after Trevor Bauer, whom the Twins aren’t expected to pursue.Odorizzi has produced 6.9 fWAR since 2018, ranking 33rd among starters and one spot behind Kenta Maeda and Lucas Giolito.
3. Sign LHP James Paxton for 2-years, $22 million
Paxton’s injury history is riddled, but from 2016 to 2019, he still averaged 142 innings per season. That’s far from ideal and his 2020 was disastrous, reducing his price and raising questions all over the board. His upside remains dreamable. Among starters who’ve pitched at least 750 innings since Paxton’s debut in 2013, he ranks 12th in FIP (3.31), 13th in strikeout rate (26.5%), 19th in opponent OPS (.676), and 27th in ERA (3.58). He’s a top-of-the-rotation arm at full strength. Then why so cheap? Well, who knows if you’ll ever get him at full strength. That’s a risk the Twins should be willing to take at this point in their contention window.
4. Sign RHPs Joakim Soria and Tyler Clippard for $8 million combined
Clippard and his changeup were a welcomed addition to the 2020 Twins. He struck out 26 in 26 innings with a 2.77 ERA. Of note, Clippard has never been placed on the injured list in his storied 14 season career. Soria is another veteran relief addition who could solidfy the back of the bullpen. With adjustments he made in Oakland, Soria unlocked a new gear. Clippard on a slight raise at $3 million and Soria at $5 million would quickly make up for some of the loss provided by Trevor May, Sergio Romo, and Matt Wisler.
5. Sign SS Marcus Semien for 1-year, $15 million
This would be where the Twins pounce this market. Guys like Semien will likely take pillow contracts as teams are cutting payroll. Pushing Jorge Polanco into the utility role fills another vacancy, and the Twins would add the fourth most valuable shortstop in baseball over the last three seasons.
2021 26-MAN ROSTER AND PAYROLL:
3B Josh Donaldson - $21.75 million
DH Nelson Cruz - $17 million
SS Marcus Semien - $15 million
1B/DH Miguel Sanó - $12.33 million
OF Max Kepler - $6.5 million
OF Byron Buxton - $5.125 million
SS Jorge Polanco - $4.33 million
C Mitch Garver - $1.875 million
C Ryan Jeffers - $575,000
2B Luis Arraez - $575,000
OF Jake Cave - $575,000
UTIL Travis Blankenhorn - $575,000
SP Jake Odorizzi - $13 million
SP James Paxton - $11 million
SP Michael Pineda - $10 million
SP José Berríos - $6.1 million
SP Kenta Maeda - $3.125 million (w/ incentives)
SP Randy Dobnak - $575,000
RP Taylor Rogers - $6 million
RP Joakim Soria - $5 million
RP Tyler Clippard - $3 million
RP Tyler Duffey - $2.2 million
RP Caleb Thielbar - $700,000
RP Jorge Alcalá - $575,000
RP Cody Stashak - $575,000
RP Ian Gibaut - $575,000
*Projected above moves
2021 26-MAN ROSTER PAYROLL - $148.6 MILLION
2020 26-MAN ROSTER PAYROLL - $142 MILLION
What do you think? Comment below!
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