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Article: Falvine Ready To Flex Muscles

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 11:57 AM
The Minnesota Twins made a tough, but necessary move following a 103-loss season a year ago. In firing Terry Ryan, the team that calls Ta...
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Outside the box Idea: Trade for Giancarlo Stanton

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 11:42 AM
The Twins "window" is NOW, and by trading for Stanton you are getting his 3 prime years before he inevitably opts out of his contract. Ju...
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Article: Three Bagger: Darvish, Marte & Otani

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 10:44 AM
Even though it is the offseason, the Twins have been making news. Last week, Byron Buxton and Brian Dozier were honored for their outstan...
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Twins heading back to WCCO

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 08:12 AM
According to a Phil Miller article in the Strib, the Twins will be heading back to WCCO in 2018.    http://www.startribu...adio...
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Article: The Lost Ones

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 07:48 AM
Trying to pretend like your word is your bondBut until you do right, all you do will go wrongNow some might mistake this just for simple...
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Deal or No Deal: Considering Contract Extensions

As the Twins put the All-Star Game behind them and gear up for the final 68 games on the schedule, they face much uncertainty. They're only six games below .500 -- a marked improvement from recent years -- and although they trail the Tigers by 10.5 games in the Central, they are within seven games of a wild-card spot.

While it's nice to be in a spot where contention is a feasible scenario, we've got to keep in mind that the Twins are still behind seven other AL clubs in the wild-card race and -- more importantly -- they just aren't a great team. Not right now, anyway.

As such, the focus needs to be on taking steps to build that great team for next year and beyond. This means auditioning young talents here in the final months, and making decisions on which current players are going to be a part of the long-term picture.

Below, we'll take a look at the case for extending the contracts of four different players who deserve consideration for various reasons.

Attached Image: deal-or-no-deal.jpg


KURT SUZUKI

He represented the Twins at Tuesday's All-Star Game, and will almost certainly go down as one of the most successful free agent signings in franchise history. Should the Twins keep him around going forward?

Why they should: Suzuki has been very solid offensively. He leads all AL catchers in batting average (.309) and on-base percentage (.365) and his impressive approach at the plate -- signified by a 25/23 K/BB ratio -- makes it easier to believe that his success is legit despite poor numbers over the past four years.

Why they shouldn't: A 30-year-old who is enjoying a career season on a one-year deal is typically a guy you try to trade. His .760 OPS has been largely dependent on his ability to hit singles, and that skill hasn't always manifested in the past and probably won't going forward if his current .328 BABIP slinks back toward his career mark of .274.

My Take: NO DEAL. I believe that the future of this team at catcher is Josmil Pinto. While Suzuki would be a nice backup to have around, I somehow doubt he'll be interested in being paid like one considering that he made the All-Star team as a starter this season. The Twins did very well to buy low on the backstop during the offseason, but it'd be a mistake to re-up now with his value (perhaps artificially) high.

KENDRYS MORALES

Attached Image: Kendrys-Morales-Twins.jpg Morales' agent, Scott Boras, told ESPN 1500's Darren Wolfson this week that his client is open to a long-term deal with the Twins, which is unsurprising considering that Boras tried fruitlessly to score a multi-year contract for Morales during the offseason and won't have an easier time doing so this winter if his client's bat doesn't wake up.

Why they should: Although Morales has gotten off to a slow start, with an ugly .582 OPS through 33 games, he has a long track record of hitting and would give the Twins a veteran building block in the lineup as they gradually add young talent around him. Plus, given his current situation and his probable aversion to another offseason of frustrating uncertainty, they could perhaps strike a pretty good bargain.

Why they shouldn't: Morales is 31 and not in the greatest of shape. His bat looks slow right now, and it's hard to tell how much that's attributable to rust. Since Joe Mauer will be holding down first base for the foreseeable future, Morales would be essentially limited to designated hitter here, and that's a pretty easy spot to fill.

My Take: DEAL. I'm probably in the minority on this but I trust Morales to return to his solid-hitting ways and I like the idea of having a proven veteran run producer (who happens to be Latin) at the heart of the order while young international players like Oswaldo Arcia, Miguel Sano, Kennys Vargas and Jorge Polanco try to find their way. I'd look into a two-year, $15 million extension, or something along those lines.

JOSH WILLINGHAM


The Twins got an excellent deal on Willingham when they originally signed him before the 2012 season, and his 57 homers since joining the club lead all Minnesota players. He's set to become a free agent after this year; can the Twins afford to lose his slugging skills?

Why they should: Willingham's 2013 campaign was ruined by injury, but he has rebounded this season at age 35. Despite missing some time with a wrist injury and batting only .212, the outfielder is on track to finish with an above-average OPS for the eighth time in his nine big-league seasons. His eight homers rank second on the team even though he's been limited to 49 games.

Why they shouldn't: Willingham was a slow mover when he got here and his foot speed has only declined due to age and knee problems. The Twins need to get faster in the outfield, and they're also pretty well stocked with outfield prospects.

My Take: NO DEAL. Giving a multi-year contract to a guy on the wrong side of 35 is almost always a bad idea, and while he can still crush the ball Willingham has been showing his age in a variety of ways.

BRIAN DOZIER

Dozier enters the contract extension conversation for very different reasons than the three guys above, who are all on the verge of free agency. Dozier is under control through 2018, so a long-term deal is a matter of cost certainty and perhaps buying out a year or two of his free agency.

Why they should: Dozier just keeps getting better, and at a rapid pace. In his breakout 2013 season, he hit 18 homers, stole 14 bases and drew 51 walks; this year, he has already matched or surpassed all of those totals at the All-Star break. He ranks fourth among AL second basemen in OPS (.777) despite a .242 batting average that has been suppressed by a .257 BABIP. The Twins could probably save themselves some money in the long run by getting a deal done very soon.

Why they shouldn't: He's already become a great player, and it's just hard to imagine that he's going to be able to keep improving. At age 27, it seems fair to expect that this season and perhaps his next few will be his best, and the Twins have the luxury of getting those pretty cheaply. It doesn't make a whole lot of sense to unnecessarily commit to paying him a huge salary in five years at this point, and as one of the best infielders in the game right now Dozier would have the right to command it.

My Take: NO DEAL. I just don't see much urgency. I like the idea of Dozier being a lifelong Twin, because he's a hell of a player and also a very likable/marketable guy, but it seems more logical to approach a long-term deal once he has reached his arbitration years. That might cost the Twins a little more, but they won't likely be hurting for cash any time soon.

What do you think? Would you extend any of these four? Are there other names (Trevor Plouffe, Kevin Correia, Casey Fien) that you would add to the conversation? Sound off the comments section.


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