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Article: Twins Sign 2B Jonathan Schoop

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The Twins appear to have found their second baseman. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported that the Twins are finalizing a one-year deal...
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LEN3 Throws Cold Water on Hot Stove

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http://m.startribune...ings/502283381/ Don't get your hopes up. The Twins, according to LEN3, aren't going to do much at the winter meeti...
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Article: What's There to Say About Ehire?

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There are some players who are simply around to fill out a roster. The technical baseball term for these kind of players would be replace...
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Article: Rundown: On Trading Kepler, DRC+, LeMahieu and More

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 06:06 PM
Dan Hayes of The Athletic wondered if the Twins might trade Max Kepler to address some other areas of need. It’s a good piece, as Dan has...
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Article: Is Mitch Garver Still a Catcher?

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 04:15 PM
In a dispiriting 2018 season that was direly short on bright spots, Mitch Garver was unequivocally one of the best stories, progressively...
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Departures Don’t Change Twins Future

The 2018 Major League Baseball trade deadline has come and gone, with the Minnesota Twins jettisoning 20% of their active roster. Beloved figureheads Brian Dozier and Eduardo Escobar are both gone, while one-year fill ins Zach Duke and Lance Lynn followed. Of the moves made, only Ryan Pressly’s time with the organization was truly cut short. Having now moved on from the names above, it’s worth exploring why exactly nothing has changed regarding the outlook for the years ahead.
Image courtesy of © Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports
There’s been plenty of hand-wringing over the decisions made by the front office over the past week. The reality is that each one of them were both the right and correct move. Flipping veterans set to become free agents for tangible assets usable down the line is a logical concept. Maximizing the peak value of a relief pitcher, one of the most unstable roles on a team, is also a good bet. There’s no denying that the Twins shed a lot of talent at the end of July, but the reality is that in September that same talent would have left and there’d be nothing to show for it.
Getting past the heartache of Dozier's and Escobar’s smiles being gone from the clubhouse, we can look toward the future. That’s where things come back into focus, and the reality is that for 2019 and beyond, the blueprint remains unchanged for the organization.
Coming into 2018, the Twins were fresh off a postseason berth and had added plenty of talent through free agency. Supplementing a developed core of players, the front office positioned the active roster for a season of competitiveness within a weak AL Central division. Looking ahead to 2019, that same formula remains.
The core for Minnesota will continue to revolve around players like Miguel Sano and Byron Buxton. The breakout of Eddie Rosario has been much welcomed, and the emergence of Jose Berrios continues. Getting more from Max Kepler is a must and picking up steam from a couple of additional guys like Jorge Polanco or Mitch Garver would be a nice boost. This collection of talent that has largely risen through the system together, will continue to be the backbone of any progress going forward.

You can’t recap the 2018 season without noting the frustrations circling around that established core however. Both Buxton and Sano experiencing lost seasons is a significant setback. Kepler failing to really break out is unfortunate, and Polanco missing half of the season due to poor choice is suboptimal. For all their faults and failures however, it’s because of those guys that supplementing and signing free agents even made sense in the first place.

Going into 2019, the same opportunity will be afforded Minnesota’s front office once again. There’s less than $70 million of committed money in the upcoming year, and the organization should be expected to nearly double that amount when the payroll hits it's ceiling. Whether going all in on a premiere name, or spreading the wealth around a bit, reinforcements should help to bolster what will once again be a talented group on paper.

Outside of the organization, the same positive factors will also be in favor of the Twins. While the Indians window of competitiveness should remain open, the rest of the AL Central will continue to be bottom feeders in the foreseeable future. Although the White Sox system is loaded, the talent is not yet ready to emerge. The Tigers remain in the middle of a rebuild, and the Royals have yet to start a very necessary overhaul. For a Twins team that should be well positioned to feast on poor competition, they’ll have plenty of opportunities presented to them over the course of their schedule.

At the end of the day, it all comes down to the talent Minnesota has been banking on for years. Sano and Buxton are two of the highest rates prospects to ever come through the system and doing so at the same time should make them cornerstone pieces on a team that provides years of relevance. It’s probably beginning to get late a little early, but they are also just 25 and 24 years-old respectively. We aren’t at all past the point of no return, but there’s no denying that it will be a direct result of their efforts if this team takes the next step forward.

As Minnesota’s core has arrived together at the big-league level, it’s become time that spending finally makes sense. The front office, and ownership showed a commitment to that belief this offseason. They’ll get an opportunity to hit the reset button prior to 2019, and the trajectory of this team doesn’t need to change at all. From a year in which things fell flat, there’s a very real opportunity to make noise in the immediate future.

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42 Comments

Ted intersting and informative article and this seems to be the party line of the metrics group.  Relying on just Sano and Buxton as the core is not going to be what gets the job done here, neither have proven themselves to be up to the task so far.  We have moved or lost our whole infield now other than Mauer at first base, who as we know is a free agent, and many are calling for him to be gone too, the starting centerfielder is on the DL and the starting DH will not be back next year.  This seems like a rebuild and a massive one at that.  Yes Berrios and Rosario are good but you need more than those two to build on and none of the twelve prospects we received are going to contribute in a meaningful way in the near future.  I would argue that if they move to the top of our organizations prospect list then our farm system is in more trouble than what we have been led to believe.  

    • ashburyjohn, glunn, mikelink45 and 6 others like this

 

Ted intersting and informative article and this seems to be the party line of the metrics group.  Relying on just Sano and Buxton as the core is not going to be what gets the job done here, neither have proven themselves to be up to the task so far.  We have moved or lost our whole infield now other than Mauer at first base, who as we know is a free agent, and many are calling for him to be gone too, the starting centerfielder is on the DL and the starting DH will not be back next year.  This seems like a rebuild and a massive one at that.  Yes Berrios and Rosario are good but you need more than those two to build on and none of the twelve prospects we received are going to contribute in a meaningful way in the near future.  I would argue that if they move to the top of our organizations prospect list then our farm system is in more trouble than what we have been led to believe.  

 

welcome to the site! Good first post.

    • ashburyjohn, glunn and Doctor Wu like this

I think we have no choice right now, but to keep saying Sano and Buxton, but I think that the real future is Romero and Berrios with another group of young pitchers right behind them.Sano and Buxton have teased for years now - I know they are still young - but in baseball pitching will always rule.Remember the Koufax, Drysdale, Osteen or Sutton era - their team was lousy, their pitching did it.

 

We have some real studs in the minors and perhaps a vet in Gibson who has a lot of lessons to share.But we need to move with them.Get Romero back up, get ready to move with Brusdar and Gonsalves and Mejia.We have arms coming in like we have never had.This is what is exciting.  

 

Buxton may flame out - or fall apart - Sano may have a narrow window, but we have Kiriloff and Brooker and Lewis who should be pushing the MLB team. 

 

Yes we have the potential, but it is not in Odorizzi or any other grab to FA world.It is getting these young players into the MLB with a chance to reach their potential.

    • glunn, Danchat, Monkeypaws and 4 others like this
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yarnivek1972
Aug 02 2018 06:26 PM
I think expecting payroll to be in the $140 mil range is delusional. I’d wager $110 mil is more probable.

Attendance is down about 1400 per game. Note, I am not sure if that includes the two games in Puerto Rico. I think MLB and the Twins donated those gate receipts to hurricaine relief anyway. So, that’s two fewer games. Total attendance will likely be under 1.9 mil which will decrease revenue. Meaning next year’s payroll budget will go down.
    • SF Twins Fan and mngopherguy like this
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TwinsWonWithHunter
Aug 02 2018 06:57 PM
Nice article, would just add that we cannot count on building around either Sano or Buxton. No Twins fan wants to admit it, but it could be that those players just don't pan out. Regardless of what else we do in the off-season, if we just give Buxton his job back next spring without a viable Plan B in CF, that will be inexcusable. It does not matter what ceiling we want or hope for with Buxton. It matters only, can he produce, can he hit, can he be counted upon. So far, that answer is No.
    • mikelink45 and IaFan1 like this
This seems like a rebuild and a massive one at that.

 

 

Hmmm, I can't quite agree. The "massive" rebuild should have started in 2011-2012, but they never fully went in. Likewise, this isn't a true rebuild - if it was, we'd see guys like Rosario and Berrios get traded for big packages of prospects. The Twins should be competitive right now, but the core of prospects has mostly failed (Sano, Buxton, Kepler have disappointed, and the pitching of Meyer, May, and later on, Jay and Stewart, have been huge failures). As Ted mentions, the division still mostly stinks and things could go right like they did in 2016, so I could definitely see the Twins in the playoffs in 2019, so no, I don't see a massive rebuild coming.

 

I think expecting payroll to be in the $140 mil range is delusional. I’d wager $110 mil is more probable.

Attendance is down about 1400 per game. Note, I am not sure if that includes the two games in Puerto Rico. I think MLB and the Twins donated those gate receipts to hurricaine relief anyway. So, that’s two fewer games. Total attendance will likely be under 1.9 mil which will decrease revenue. Meaning next year’s payroll budget will go down.

Right now I'd wager they'll land in the $120-130M area. Many here have said that the Twins will have a tough time spending their $60-70M, but I disagree. I think they'll spend most of it and only drop the cap from 2018 a small amount.

    • Dman, DocBauer, wsnydes and 2 others like this

Sano and Buxton are very talented, but honestly it's time to shift the plans away from them. If they turn it around, great. If not you need to steer the ship past them.I believe guys can be very successful at the majors through grit and hard work, and that's what it takes for all of these guys, talented or not. But some guys have it, and some dont. It happens.

    • IaFan1 likes this

 

Nice article, would just add that we cannot count on building around either Sano or Buxton. No Twins fan wants to admit it, but it could be that those players just don't pan out. Regardless of what else we do in the off-season, if we just give Buxton his job back next spring without a viable Plan B in CF, that will be inexcusable. It does not matter what ceiling we want or hope for with Buxton. It matters only, can he produce, can he hit, can he be counted upon. So far, that answer is No.

The last few months here, all the talk has been about Sano and Buxton not panning out - it seems several Twins fans have been admitting it.

 

Question - would Jake Cave and LaMonte Wade be good backup plans for Buxton? I'd rather have Cave in LF or RF, but Kepler can play decent CF. Cave looks like he'll look like a good 4th OF but we haven't seen Wade in the big leagues yet - I'd like to find out if he could be a big factor on this team next year (possibly replacing Grossman?).

    • Mike Sixel, mikelink45, Dman and 3 others like this
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purplesoldier4u
Aug 02 2018 07:43 PM

Did "Smiling" Dave St. Peter pen that article?

    • mngopherguy likes this

I would love for our roster to get shaken up a little bit so we can actually start to take a look at different options. The worst thing about the trade deadline was that we brought back Logan Forsythe. In my opinion he takes up a valuable roster spot that Nick Gordon could surely benefit from. I get the market was clearly trending in a negative way for Dozier to be moved but he is definitely good enough to net a return without having to bring back dead weight (you'd think right?). If we don't get a look at players this year, we are going to be tight with the 40 man and looking at different roster options when players no longer have options left. I'd love to see us part ways with Belisle, Morrison, Forsythe, and others but because of the money owed I don't know if that will happen. Losing those three we automatically create room for a Gordon, Austin, Curtiss/Gonsalves type combination of prospects that deserve a shot with low pressure. I'd be thrilled to see the FO make some ballsy decisions and expand our roster before September rolls around.

    • mikelink45 and BJames like this

The best reason for optimism for the Twins is that their farm system has lots of good looking players in the low and mid levels. Of course, lots of these guys will get hurt, or fade, or somehow not make it to the majors. Even so, a handful will make it, and maybe a few of those guys will turn out to be excellent ballplayers. 

 

You can see odds-on favorites right now in Gonsalves, Gordon, Romero, Busenitz, then in AA you've got Rooker, Thorpe, Wells, maybe Vasquez... You've also got relatively slow developing 1st rounders like Stewart and Jay. We could and should see several of these guys in the final part of this season. 

 

Thing is, the river keeps flowing, so even if Sano and Buxton implode, it's not the end of all hope. Big, strong guys that can run fast and throw hard are all over the farm. Some of them can even hit a thrown baseball! Let us celebrate the continuous renewal that baseball represents. It's a kids game played by adults. Enjoy it!

    • glunn, mikelink45, SF Twins Fan and 1 other like this

I'm thinking along the lines of mikelink above--the team will succeed around an ascendent core of pitchers, led by Berrios, Romero, and Graterol sooner than later hopefully--with Gibson as the veteran.  As those guys go through their pitching arcs of success, the various position guys can sink and swim.  

 

I haven't given up on Sano and Buxton, but I just don't see them as the lynchpins anymore.

    • glunn, mikelink45, SF Twins Fan and 1 other like this

"There’s no denying that the Twins shed a lot of talent at the end of July, but the reality is that in September that same talent would have left and there’d be nothing to show for it."

 

Totally wrong! They leave with nothing to show for it only if you let it happen. Re-signing good players (like Escobar) or extending their contracts before they expire is the way to build and keep a strong team every year. Doing that is NOT the Twins way.

    • OldTimeTwinkie and Rigby like this
Great post Ted! One of your absolute best! And I agree on most every point. OF course, I want to address a few points.

ESCOBAR: Can't believe I'm saying this considering how big of a fan I have been of Dozier, and what he's meant, but I think the loss of Escobar hurts more. He's younger, more consistent, (though not as dynamic), and more versatile. Well loved in the clubhouse and by fans, I would put him at the top of my FA targets. Rumors that the Twins talked extension before the trade tell me he already knows they'd like him back. I hope he feels the same. He could start at 3 spots, or play every day at 3 positions and even DH occasionally. He shouldn't break the bank in the slightest.

SANO and BUXTON: I waffle who concerns me the most. And I am by no means giving up on either. And I offer no excuses for either. But doom and gloom because these 24 and 25 yo's are not Trout or Harper need to stop. Sano has questions/issues, but has a tremendous track history before this year. Like Hunter, and others, Buxton was probably promoted and pushed too soon. And who, knows, is he made of glass, or just snake bit early in his career? We have seen what he is capable of. In a lost season...for future and goodness sake...just do what is best for him! Let's say it takes him 2 more years to really figure stuff out And begin to reach his potential. He'd be a 27yo gold glove potential perennial star? That would be bad?

KEPLER: All the talent you could hope for. NOT your typical American HS draftee. He was behind his own age group when signed and all but skipped AAA. I refuse to give up on him at this point. His eye is good. His swing is textbook. He hits laser shots. He needs time, experience, adjustments that will come with that and adjustments and hopefully, coaching.

With Mauer at 1B, still playing great defense, hitting, getting on base, Polanco and Sano, the infield could be mostly set. We need help in the form of a FA or trade since Gordon isn't ready yet, but should be soon. Cave looks nice, either as a 4th OF or temporary piece. Wade has potential to be the same.

Garver is showing real potential. Maybe as a better Harper. Maybe Castro comes back 100%, but I'd still be looking for some kind of help.

When was the last time the Twins could open a season with the likes of Berrios and Gibson leading the way for your rotation? For all the angst and frustration for not being a stud, wouldn't most of us be pretty happy to have a guy like Odorizzi as our 4th, or hopefully, 5th starter? And he could be that. Does anyone really doubt the talent and potential of Romero? He's still so damn young, especially when you look at his time missed due to injury. But at some point in 2019, he could be anything from our 1-3 best SP. Mejia has the potential to be a 3-5, but needs the next couple of months to show it. He could also be a FINE TO if Gonsalves or Thorpe displace him, and both could. And BTW, Gonsalves needs to be up, and up soon, to get ready for 2019.

What about Santana? A "simple" finger surgery practically turned in to a daytime soap opera on its own. I am NOT downplaying any kind of surgery. But compared to OTC or TJ, or any kind of shoulder, knee, hip surgery, this is pretty minor stuff. I just don't believe his late 2018 arrival will equate to any kind of trade. Considering his career, and his career since joining the Twins, would a healthy 1 year deal be a bad thing? Would you really bet against him?

Oh, and there is Pineda. About to begin his rehab in the lower minors, he could still make an appearance in September in the pen to continue preparation for 2019. He is not a stud, but he has been a proven, solid, quality MLB SP. At worst, he could find a new career path post surgery as a top RP.

Speaking of the pen, I was shocked by the trade of Pressly. I saw him as the closer next season, possibly this season. I get the opportunity and value, but was still surprised. I find myself shocked to say that the bullpen for 2019 might be my biggest concern. I like Rogers more than most, especially if used right. Hildenberger has proven to be a stud if not over used, like any RP. Hopefully, the relatively young Reed will return to form.

We are SO past Belisle and his veteran influence. It's time to audition the arms in Rochester and see what we may have! And it could mean opening the wallet for a guy or two, and we can easily afford that.

The whole point being, there is a tremdous nucleus here, as Ted points out. The potential of the rotation is something we haven't seen in years. Sano and Buxton may be keys, but keys we can be OK with if even one gets it together. We need to to 3 things:

1] Do WHATEVER it takes to get Sano and Buxton ready mentally and physically for 2019.

2] Spend the next two months to experience/audition guys like Cave, Garver, Wade, maybe Gordon, Reed, Curtiss, Busentiz etc, to set up 2019.

3] Make the right FA move or trade, or two or three, to fill in and build this roster.

The nucleus is there. It's what they do with it now that will define this FO going forward.
    • glunn, SF Twins Fan, IaFan1 and 2 others like this
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OldTimeTwinkie
Aug 02 2018 09:44 PM
Am I wrong but other than Mauer who have we kept from being a free agent with this new stadium and the promise of being competitive?
    • Mike Sixel and Battle ur tail off like this

You have to think ahead, if it means promoting guys before their time. Makes them better for spring training and next season.

 

Right now the Twins have Berrios, Gibson and Odorizzi for the rotation. Mejia is showing some life. Romero got some experience and should only be better next season. There is an option of Ervin Santana being back. And Michael Pineda should egt some innings in September. Add in that you have Goncalves and Littell sitting ready in the wings for a chance, looks pretty good, doesn't it? You also have Thorpe, De Jong and Slegers.

 

Castro should be back behind the plate with a much improved Garver.

 

By all account Joe Mauer will return. You will still have Polanco and Sano and Adrianza. The Twins need to let Gordon come up and flounder if he must. You can always make a decision, then, for a short-term bandaid, not like him at all, or whatever. Depending on Sano and his remainder of the year you can start thinking of his place with the Twins. Is he a first baseman? A DH? Should you make a play again for Escobar? And then you also have Austin as the bench bat who can play first or the outfield.

 

The outfield is set with Rosario, Kepler, Buxton and Cave. Twins lucky this year, they got more time or lower longterm salary for Buxton AND Sano. Lamonte Wade is in the background. The Twins could keep Grossman. The fate of Granite is up in the air.

 

Rodney could be back as closer. He has the stuff. He keeps the game interesting. How many saves does a truly rebuilding team need? Can he suffice? Addison Reed could be acak, as he IS signed for $8 million for another season. Youc an assume that Hildenberger, Curtiss, Busenitz and Moya are in the mix. The fate of Duffey and Rogers can be determined. Magill is a possible Keeper. May is there. You have these arms for consideration from the minors: Jake Reed, Nick Anderson, D.J. Baxendale, Luke Bard, Tyler Jay...and Kohl Stewart will be added to the 40-man.

 

Looks like the Twins have a team for 2019. WIll they be good? You don't know...it is up to the players. Your questions are 1B/3B/DH and can Gordon handle 2B (or do you move Polanco there). DO you stay young or keep the presence of Ervin Santana for another season. 

 

And the Field Staff. Do you make changes? 

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diehardtwinsfan
Aug 03 2018 05:32 AM

Honestly, if they can acquire a couple decent 1B/DH types and bring back Escobar, I'd say they have a decent chance to compete. Their offense was the downfall this season... use the rest of the season to figure out what next year's pen will be and then go out and get some bats to compliment Sano.

 

I would love for our roster to get shaken up a little bit so we can actually start to take a look at different options. The worst thing about the trade deadline was that we brought back Logan Forsythe. In my opinion he takes up a valuable roster spot that Nick Gordon could surely benefit from. I get the market was clearly trending in a negative way for Dozier to be moved but he is definitely good enough to net a return without having to bring back dead weight (you'd think right?). If we don't get a look at players this year, we are going to be tight with the 40 man and looking at different roster options when players no longer have options left. I'd love to see us part ways with Belisle, Morrison, Forsythe, and others but because of the money owed I don't know if that will happen. Losing those three we automatically create room for a Gordon, Austin, Curtiss/Gonsalves type combination of prospects that deserve a shot with low pressure. I'd be thrilled to see the FO make some ballsy decisions and expand our roster before September rolls around.

Nick Gordon hasn't earned the right to be called up.Although he may come up in September, I wouldn't be surprised if he doesn't get the call then either.

    • Rigby, SF Twins Fan and Tomj14 like this
Wow, more posts suggesting Gordon get the call and questioning Forsythe blocking him. He has about three weeks to figure out AAA, or he won't even be a top 100 prospect next year. By that time, he should have well over 300 PAs with the Red Wings. If that ends with this sub-50 wRC+ non-sense, there is no way he should be looked at in September. He'll need to be added to the 40, so that will probably get him an ST invite. I wouldn't say he "deserves" that though.
    • Steve Penz, SF Twins Fan and Tomj14 like this

Good article! I'd agree that the foundation of the rebuild, or the young core we have, hasn't changed all that much. But it's been such a frustrating and disappointing season in so many ways. Free agent signings that were a definite mixed bag, and lack of production with some of our "stars. It feels like we've taken a step back when we should have taken a step forwards.

 

The struggles of guys like Kepler and especially Sano and Buxton (yeah, all those nagging injuries, but still), plus the lack of progress with Nick Gordon, have really hurt us. At least we've seen good things from Berrios and Rosario, and even Garver is looking better lately. Of course the real excitement is still down in the lower minor league system (and a few other interesting players in AA and AAA), so I remain optimistic about the team's long-term future. I only wonder if we should just play the kids next year, or try and add a few more "key" free agents?

IS there a worse year to have a ton a money to spend on free agents?

(unless Manny or Bryce are an option)

Plus the spots the Twins are the weakest at going into next year. (3B, SS, 2B) the best players available might be the ones they traded away?

On top they have nobody at those 3 positions ready,

 

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Andrew Thares
Aug 03 2018 08:22 AM

It amazes me how many Twins fans are so eager to give up on Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano. Have they had their difficulties with injuries and their swings? Yes. But its not like we are talking about two guys who have been nothing but busts the whole time.

 

Sano just turned 25, has a career OPS of .823, a wRC+ of 119 and a WAR of 5.4. While Buxton is still just 24, has a bat that has shown flashes of high upside potential, and when healthy he is the best defensive centerfielder in the game. 

 

Personally, I would think Twins fans would be on the other end of the spectrum when it comes to this topic given what happened when the Twins gave up too early on David Ortiz and Aaron Hicks.

    • Carole Keller, Twins33, slash129 and 2 others like this

Apparently, Jim Callis thinks Gordon is playing well, so it's not just the locals who are fooled.Do the Pipeline writers even check in on prospects, or do they just make stuff up?

Every single ranking site has Gordon from 50-75th best prospect overall.....even after updating their ranks in early July. He's certainly not hitting at all right now, but that does not change his tools, or approach, or whatever else.......

    • Carole Keller and wsnydes like this

 

IS there a worse year to have a ton a money to spend on free agents?

(unless Manny or Bryce are an option)

Plus the spots the Twins are the weakest at going into next year. (3B, SS, 2B) the best players available might be the ones they traded away?

On top they have nobody at those 3 positions ready,

Why are so many saying we have nothing at 2B, SS and 3B?Polanco had a tremendous last couple months of 2017 and is doing a good job since returning in early July.Whether he is at 2B or SS the next few years, certainly has earned the right to be at one of them.

    • Twins33, SF Twins Fan and Battle ur tail off like this

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