Black Friday Sale: Cheap Players Who Could Make a Difference
Image courtesy of © Benny Sieu-USA TODAY SportsWhen making your Black Friday shopping list, you first need to think about what you need. The Twins have six days to decide whether they want to tender offers to Jose Berrios, Byron Buxton, Tyler Duffey, Mitch Garver, Taylor Rogers, Eddie Rosario, and Matt Wisler. It’s widely believed that all of those players will be tendered an offer with the lone exception being Eddie Rosario.
They could also lose Nelson Cruz, Alex Avila, Marwin Gonzalez, Ehire Adrianza, Rich Hill, Homer Bailey, Jake Odorizzi, Sergio Romo, Trevor May, Tyler Clippard, and Zack Littell to free agency. That’s a long list of players to fill voids for but I’ve summarized a list of the Twins needs based off the players they’re losing:
- Left fielder
- Designated Hitter
- Two starting pitchers
- Multiple relievers
- Utility Infielder/Outfielder
Brad Miller - Utility Infielder
Defense has never been his strong suit which would make him a downgrade over Adrianza and Gonzalez, but he’s a considerable upgrade offensively and is able to play anywhere in the infield. FanGraphs Free Agent Tracker projects him to get a one-year deal worth two million, which would be a steal compared to the value he could provide ... especially if Josh Donaldson were to miss time in 2021.
Kevin Pillar - Utility Outfielder
Pillar contributes on both sides of the ball and would be an upgrade over Jake Cave who is entering his final year of team control before entering the arbitration phase of his career. Cave has been solid defensively in his career but has been streaky at the plate. I’m not clamoring for Pillar to replace Rosario but he would provide some consistency and flexibility if a full-time player needed a break or got hurt.
Michael Wacha - Right-Handed Starting Pitcher
Wacha was a first-round draft pick, who accelerated through the minors, and had a strong five-year start to his career including NLCS MVP in 2013 and All-Star appearance in 2015. In the last three seasons, he’s dealt with injuries that have limited his innings and effectiveness. The Atlanta Braves and Drew Smyly have set an expensive starting pitcher market which might make big name guys like Corey Kluber and Chris Archer too expensive for their inherited risk. FanGraphs has Wacha signing for one-year at three million dollars ... a no-risk, no-brainer deal in my eyes.
Brett Anderson - Left-Handed Starting Pitcher
Doesn’t have the upside of Wacha but also doesn’t come with the recent injury history, and is thought to be similarly priced. As a cheap option, he might be more attractive to the Twins than Wacha for the sole reason that he is a lefty in a rotation that is dominated by righties and is less of a question mark. I would prefer one of these two over anyone else currently on the Twins 40-man roster.
Justin Wilson and/or Jake McGee - Left-Handed Relief Pitchers
Relievers are wild cards. They’re nearly impossible to project and, in my opinion, not worth spending on. I like Trevor May but wouldn’t mind letting him walk assuming that he is going to look for a multi-year deal after a ‘bleh’ season. Wilson and McGee are two guys who have shown flashes, are coming off solid seasons, and could shore up the middle of the bullpen.
The last cheap option that could help fill various voids is by relying on prospects. The Twins have a few prospects in Brent Rooker, Alex Kiriloff, and Trevor Larnach who could help fill the positions that might be left open by the departure of Eddie Rosario and Nelson Cruz. Even if this is the case, which I hope it is, I still think the Twins need to bring in a utility veteran or two who can fill-in if they rookies show they still need some fine tuning.
Again, I do hope that the Twins spend on starting pitching. Kenta Maeda, Michael Pineda, and Jose Berrios make a solid 1-3 but you can never have too much pitching, especially of the power variety. An arm, like Bauer, to slide in front of those three would create one of the best rotations in baseball no matter who the fifth arm is. If the Twins do spend big on a starter, left fielder, or designated hitter then this list serves as some cheaper fill-ins. What do you think of these guys as filling important roles for the Twins? Is there an under-the-radar player that makes your list that didn’t make mine?
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