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Offseason Blueprint: Making Big Betts

The Minnesota Twins are going to have money to spend and will need to spend to replenish the roster. What feels most Minnesotan is that the Twins will stretch those dollars as far as possible and sign a number of mid level free agents. What if they didn’t do that?

What if the Twins were the team to bring in big salary and big names in a big trade. Here is what an offseason might look like if the Twins are able to bring in current Red Sox outfielder and former MVP Mookie Betts.
Image courtesy of © Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
This blueprint looks at capitalizing on one team's need to cut salary to avoid the luxury tax threshold and enter into the free agent market themselves. Before going too much further, lets lay out the big move and then explain why it may make any sense for the Twins to attempt to put together an offseason centered around such a move.

1. Trade Eddie Rosario, Miguel Sano, Jordan Balazovic and Nick Gordon to the Boston Red Sox for OF Mookie Betts and LHP David Price

Un-Minnesota right? The Twins get a top-10 MLB player in Betts who can hit, field and has an MVP on his resume. The major downside for anyone trading for Betts this offseason is that they will only get him for one season.

Price may not be the dominant David Price we remember, but if he is healthy, he still has the ability to contribute to a major league starting staff. While his ERA was 4.28 in 2019 his FIP was 3.62 and still has a swinging strike rate above 11%. The concern with Price is his contract and a decrease in velocity.

The biggest return the Red Sox get is nearly $60 million in contracts off the books in 2020 and and additional $32 million per season owed to Price the next two seasons.

Boston also gets two major league ready pieces in Rosario, who steps into Betts' role, and Sano, who fills their need at first base. With a vacancy at second, Gordon becomes a candidate there, and Balazovic gives the Red Sox a talented and controllable young arm that they covet. It would be great if the Twins didn’t have to give up both Sano and Rosario, but it sounds like the Red Sox are going to want a good haul for Betts to move him.

Now for the rest of the moves that help fit those big contracts into the Twins payroll. A payroll that will obviously need to increase but will try and do so within reason.

2. Tender all arbitration-eligible players

This becomes necessary to fill roster spots in a relatively affordable way with the extra salary being brought on board.

3. Sign RHP Jake Odorizzi for three years, $36 million

Odorizzi will never be an ace but has proven that he can still be a very valuable part to a playoff rotation. The Twins staff also clearly knows how to get that out of him and to continue to allow them to work with Odorizzi will hopefully help maintain if not improve on those results.

4. Sign RHP Sergio Romo for one year, $3 million

At $3 million Romo comes in relatively affordably when it comes to quality playoff caliber arms. His personality and experience is also always welcome and with the bulk of the Twins payroll going elsewhere, Romo can continue to mentor and lead the bullpen.

5. Sign Kyle Barraclough for one year, $1 million

I personally highlighted Barraclough last week but didn’t expect to actually use him anywhere in a blueprint. Here I am trying to find a bargain bin arm that could bounce back and have an impact for the Twins in the bullpen. The hope here is that Barraclough would be able to reduce his hard hit rate and continue to create swing and misses but with much better results than he had in 2019.

6. Trade OF Akil Baddoo and 2B/3B/OF Travis Blankenhorn to the Rockies for RHP Jon Gray

This trade has the potential to be similar to what the Twins did with Odorizzi. Gray had a better season in 2019 than Odorizzi did before the Twins acquired him which is the reason for two prospects in this deal vs. the one when Odorizzi was acquired.

Gray pitches with good velocity (96.1 mph) and induces ground balls at a high rate. He certainly can be a back end of the rotation starter, but hopefully the Twins could find the front-line starter the Rockies once thought they had in the right-hander. Gray has team control through 2021 and is projected by MLB Trade Rumors to make $5.6 million this coming season.

SUMMARY

The lineup does look to lose a bit in the way of depth in comparison to the 2019 version of the Twins. There is no doubt that Betts makes the top end of the lineup much better. A healthy Cron hopefully contributes more to this lineup than he did down the stretch this past season. If not, there are the likes of Alex Kirilloff and Trevor Larnach that the Twins could figure out how to get in the lineup in his place.

Attached Image: Screen Shot 2019-11-11 at 10.19.42 PM.png

The starting rotation may still be lacking the true ace that is being sought. Berrios, Price, Odorizzi, and Gray each represent pitchers who have the potential to carry a team. Brusdar Graterol is also a possibility to figure in here. Graterol and Berrios likely represent the best chance for an emerging and dominant ace.

Attached Image: Screen Shot 2019-11-11 at 10.34.09 PM.png

The hope here is that the bullpen was much better than what we saw of it in the playoffs, whether it was misuse or just bad execution. The 2020 Twins according to this blueprint will mostly need to see continued growth from many of these arms since it is mostly the same group returning.

Attached Image: Screen Shot 2019-11-11 at 10.34.19 PM.png

Including the $0.5 million buyout for Martin Perez this puts the Twins payroll at $144.8 million. What would make this approach soar is if the front office got permission from ownership to spend even more to make the most of the one year of Betts. Maybe winning baseball for a second season would at least allow for payroll to be added at the trade deadline mid-summer.

This approach would admittedly be a gamble. There is a lot going into 2020 and an added contract in Price’s that has the potential to soak up a large chunk of the payroll for the next three seasons. Betts is the type of player that may just be worth the gamble.

Check out these other Offseason Blueprints:
Building a Bullpenner

What would your blueprint look like for the Twins this winter? Download your copy of the Offseason Handbook and use it to construct a champion. Share your vision for discussion in our Create a Blueprint forum thread. Meanwhile, stay tuned to TD as our writers will be formulating offseason plans from different perspectives all week long.


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32 Comments

It shouldn't cost close to that much to get Betts... and if it does, no thanks... Price is a lot scary too. Twins take on all the risk in that deal. 

 

But, it would cost a ton more than Baddoo and Blankenhorn to get Gray... 

 

I spent a lot of time earlier today thinking about what it might take for the Twins to get Betts for a season. I think they can do it for Rosario and two of their top pitching prospects, maybe even just one of them, plus a solid hitting prospect... 

    • brvama, Danchat, specialiststeve and 6 others like this
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ToriiRules!!
Nov 12 2019 12:26 AM
Um you lost me with the first one!!
    • brvama and Battle ur tail off like this

I think the price is not right for Betts and Price, way to steep for a one year rental..

    • Twins33, brvama, alphanumeric and 3 others like this

3. Sign RHP Jake Odorizzi for three years, $36 million

 

If this is Odorizzi market price, he better grab the qualifying offer.$18m for one year, if he does anything he'll get more than another $18m over the next 2 years.

    • ashbury, dbminn and Strato Guy like this

Sano and Rosario for one year of Betts...no.Add Balazovic and Gordon for Price and his huge contract...h...no.As I said yesterday, Balazovic is one of four prospects who are off the table.The others are Graterol, Lewis and Kirilloff.

 

As for the bullpen, it is 6/8 set with Rogers, May, Duffey, Littell, Stashak and the rotating starters from Rochester on the 7am flight filling the 8th long reliever spot.Will Smith would be a great addition as both the second lefty and another dominant late inning arm.Add another solid vet and the bullpen is AOK!

 

Agree that getting Odorizzi in the fold is a must.Hopefully, we will know by tomorrow that is a done deal reducing the FO job to finding two quality starters, assuming the final spot is a battle between a vet signed to a minor league contract and the four rookies from last year.Agree that once Odorizzi accepts the QO, the FO works out a 3 year extension for probably a bit more than $36million. Or maybe he wants to stay and has another solid offer and we hear tomorrow that he resigned for 3 or 4 years.

 

 

    • brvama, Kelly Vance, Rigby and 4 others like this

Just read through the MLB.com long article about Trade Rumors.Not one mention of the Twins.Not ONE!

 

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Tommygun921
Nov 12 2019 07:39 AM
Way to much to get 1 year of Betts at around $30 million and cry baby, looking to be on the downhill, Price. Almost seems crazy to give up multiple years of Rosario for a 1 year expensive Betts. As good as he is. I wouldnt want Price if all you had to do was take on his contract. Even though it's not money.
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Nate Palmer
Nov 12 2019 07:57 AM

 

It shouldn't cost close to that much to get Betts... and if it does, no thanks... Price is a lot scary too. Twins take on all the risk in that deal. 

 

But, it would cost a ton more than Baddoo and Blankenhorn to get Gray... 

 

I spent a lot of time earlier today thinking about what it might take for the Twins to get Betts for a season. I think they can do it for Rosario and two of their top pitching prospects, maybe even just one of them, plus a solid hitting prospect... 

 

I really hope it could be done for less. I just have my doubts that the Red Sox are truly that serious about cutting payroll without getting a decent return. Like I mention it would be much easier to swallow if it is say Rosario and the two prospects. So as negotiations went if that is where the deal can be made, great! As a fan trying to "make" a trade this one hurts a bit which has been a good barometer for me over the years that it might be closer to what it may actually take. 

 

Thanks, Seth 

Betts is a great addition to any team, but since OF isn't an area of dire need for the Twins, I don't see moving heaven and earth to get him. If any acquiring team doesn't have a good shot at convincing Betts to sign a long term deal foregoing free agency, I can't see the asking price being quite that high. Moreover, taking on David Price at the same time is doing the Red Sox a great favor, in the full scheme of things, so that should bring down the price further. I want to remove both Sano and Balazovic from this package, and substitute lesser prospects. I expect the Red Sox could find a better trade partner, though.

 

If the Twins really had no better use for their considerable payroll headroom in 2020, instead of Price they could offer to take on shorter-term dead money from the Red Sox, such as Pedroia's remaining contract (I'm unsure what Rusney Castillo's remaining obligations are). But I think there are better uses, so I don't really see how to make an attractive offer.

 

Coming from the other direction, if I were doing an Offseason Blueprint for the Red Sox, Betts would be a guy I'd focus on as a cornerstone, unless he has made it clear he wants out of Boston when he's a free agent and would consider almost any other team. Yes, they want to get under the luxury tax threshold, and Betts will be above $30M when it's his turn after this year - but he's the kind of guy you consider it a privilege to pay the money to, and you work your budget around him when you're at the top echelon as the Red Sox are. I really don't get it, when I read the rumors, even though I think those rumors are well placed.

 

All in all, Red Sox needs and Twins needs don't seem like a great fit to me. But I freely confess I don't really get the Red Sox's motivations.

    • diehardtwinsfan, brvama, Strato Guy and 2 others like this
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John Bonnes
Nov 12 2019 09:18 AM

It's very hard to estimate the return necessary in a trade, so by definition you're taking a leap of faith by estimating that. I appreciate that. It's not easy to do as a writer. That said, I agree - that seems like a lot for Boston and not enough for Colorado.

 

A couple of random observations:

 

1) Balazovic seems like the "prospect everyone is willing to trade" this offseason. I wonder why that is. Perhaps he's just in that sweet spot of "highly rated" and "not around long enough for me to be kind of attached to him yet." 

 

2) I'd give up Sano in a trade for someone - but I don't know exactly who right now. I'm just so excited to see what he can be next year. Probably irrationally so.

 

3) Do we now if Jon Gray is on the market? I have to imagine not, given the surgery thing, but maybe that makes him that much more attainable. 

    • birdwatcher, Twins33, brvama and 4 others like this
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Major League Ready
Nov 12 2019 09:24 AM

 

 


 

If the Twins really had no better use for their considerable payroll headroom in 2020, instead of Price they could offer to take on shorter-term dead money from the Red Sox, such as Pedroia's remaining contract (I'm unsure what Rusney Castillo's remaining obligations are). But I think there are better uses, so I don't really see how to make an attractive offer.

 

 

Pedroia has $25M / Castillo $14M

 

Put me on the NO side of this idea for the reasons already been stated.

 

Even if I agreed, this proposal, you’ve created a dilemma at 3B, by taking Gonzales out of his valued position, plus removed a potential replacement in Gordon.

 

Finally, i agree with John on Balazovic. Why on earth would we trade one of our potential “aces” for something like this package? Only for a young controllable Ace-like SP would I considered it.

Twins are not going to make any significant trades. All it is with this orginization is rinse and repeat.

This feels like a very short-term, win-now move. Except I'm not sure it helps them win-now either.

Not really interested in trading that much for one year of Betts and obtaining Price's 32M per year for 3 seasons.Not that I think Price is bad, I think he is overpaid and in decline.That is a lot of money for someone that will be 37 by the end of the deal.There are better options for the rotation.

 

I would put Boston firmly in the win category on that trade.

    • Battle ur tail off likes this
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Cap'n Piranha
Nov 12 2019 11:52 AM

I really like Mookie, and a Buxton/Betts/Kepler outfield is possibly the best defensive outfield in the game, and maybe offensively too.

 

That being said, with Cave and Wade already on the roster as cheap, controllable options with decent production and potential upside (Cave OPS'd .964 in 141 2nd half PA's last year, and was at .805 overall.Wade only OPS'd .723, but showed elite plate discipline ability--1.1 bb/k, only a 14.9% soft contact rate, and an 83.7% contact rate--suggests when his Mendoza-esque babip normalizes, he'll be an above average offensive player).Add in the fact that our 2nd and 3rd best prospects are playing in the outifeld, and our best might end up there too, and giving up assets in order to pay Betts $20M+ and potentially watch him walk seems like a poor allocation of resources.

 

If the Twins are indeed willing to commit the $250M or so it would take to keep Betts here for the next 6-8 years, I'd much rather they just gave that to Cole, Strasburg, or Rendon.If they're not, I don't see how it makes any sense to give up prospects and a still 26 year old 3rd baseman with 40+ HR power just to shell out $20M+ and watch Betts walk for only a comp pick.

    • Steve Lein, by jiminy and railmarshalljon like this
This is not a plan I would endorse. Way too much given up, and not enough added. If Betts had three years left? Maybe. But I'd rather they sign pitching or trade for it. Price is hurt....

No way Odo signs for that tiny amount either.

I think we take Price and his 2 year salary off their handx if they throw in Betts. That's the whole deal.

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Nate Palmer
Nov 12 2019 01:57 PM

 

It's very hard to estimate the return necessary in a trade, so by definition you're taking a leap of faith by estimating that. I appreciate that. It's not easy to do as a writer. That said, I agree - that seems like a lot for Boston and not enough for Colorado.

 

A couple of random observations:

 

1) Balazovic seems like the "prospect everyone is willing to trade" this offseason. I wonder why that is. Perhaps he's just in that sweet spot of "highly rated" and "not around long enough for me to be kind of attached to him yet." 

 

2) I'd give up Sano in a trade for someone - but I don't know exactly who right now. I'm just so excited to see what he can be next year. Probably irrationally so.

 

3) Do we now if Jon Gray is on the market? I have to imagine not, given the surgery thing, but maybe that makes him that much more attainable. 

 

Thanks John! So on 1 can only speak for myself. Balazovic seems to have some perceived value and isn't Graterol. It seems Boston is going to ask for this offseason some manner of young, controllable pitching if they can get it. Every team will probably ask for Graterol so Balazovic seems like the natural pivot from there. I do see how it is strange based on the fact Balazovic's rise is similar to Graterol's in many ways and Graterol has been protected/coveted in a way that Balazovic isn't.  

 

On 3, Gray has simply been speculated on a ton. Not just this offseason but in others as well. Haven't seen anything publicly from the Rockies that he is available so I guess ultimately only they know if he is. 

Well, trading away four pieces that if the Red Sox can put them on the field in their lineup and stay competitive, then why can't the Twins do the same. Betts over Rosario, for one year? Yes, getting Price for only 3 years rather than signing a Price-like free agent for 5-7 years is what the Astros do so well. But Bala has such promise. I would rather roll the dice on Graterol than Balaz being redy in another season, than $90 million on Price at this point. I don't see Price being the one to ensure us a World Series day.

 

Gordon will start at AAA but should be numebr one for a call up if anyone in the infield goes dow. Or maybe he does bump Adrianza out of a job. Or proves to be a more valuable addition to the roster than third catcher Austildo.

 

We lose Sano and stuck with Cron at first. Gonzalez at third? 

 

Yes, the Twins can take on the salary dump of someone else. Yes, that team would want players that they can pencil in. But if the players to pencil in are in demand by a team like the Red Sox, then the Twins better reevaluate their own take on prospects.

 

Off-season 2019 may be the time to move Rosario and Sano. You'd like to think they will increase in value (as well as payroll cost). But what if they don't. Are they worth prime players now?

 

The flip for Gray brings to mind a reent post on mlbtraderumors about the Padres being such a rich farm system that they are in the hunt for trading future talent for major league talent. I would think the Twins are in a very similar position.

 

 

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TwinkieTownKiller
Nov 12 2019 02:50 PM

If that's the cost to trade for Gray then you do that tomorrow. I highly doubt it though, Rockies are going to snag as much young pitching as possible if they're making trades.

I don't know if I'd trade Balazovic for Price straight up. Probably not. As you say he's not an ace and is on the downswing, and is expensive. Balazovic has very high upside and will be cheap for years.  

 

If Price were an ace who could make you a favorite in a playoff series, maybe, but what starting pitcher on a playoff team would he be favored against?

 

One year of Betts at least has appeal, because he could be a difference maker in the playoffs. But then he's gone. Maybe Polanco and Sano? But only because they have question marks. Either or both could make this deal look very one sided, starting in one year and lasting well into the decade. 

 

At least that's a genuine win-now move, though, unlike Price. But it still seems like a lot of downside and only limited upside. 

 

I get the rationale for acquirin both because getting Betts is pointless unless you seriously upgrade the rotation. I just don't think he's an ace.

 

Let's see them land an ace or two, and then I'll start getting interested in win-now moves. But adding Betts to a team whose second best pitcher is ... I don't even know, is more of a sinking feeling than a thrill to me.

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diehardtwinsfan
Nov 12 2019 07:20 PM

absolutely not to number 1... 

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specialiststeve
Nov 12 2019 10:06 PM

 #1... Trade Eddie Rosario, Miguel Sano, Jordan Balazovic and Nick Gordon to the Boston Red Sox for OF Mookie Betts and LHP David Price ...... NO WAY!!!!!!! Redsox do immediately if offered.... 

 

 

#2....

1B C.J. Cron ($4 million, arb 3) Yep
3B Miguel Sano ($2.65 million, arb 2) Yep
INF Ehire Adrianza ($1.3 million, arb 4) Yep
OF Eddie Rosario ($4.19 million, arb 2) Yep
OF Byron Buxton ($1.75 million, arb 2) Yep
SP Jose Berrios ($620,000, arb 1) Yep
RP Taylor Rogers ($1.525 million, arb 2) Yep
RP Trevor May ($900,000, arb 3) Yep
RP Sam Dyson ($5 million, arb 4)  Goner

 

#3 As stated by someone... not going to happen for that number 36 "may" get us 2 years... more likely 50 million for 3 years.... I would still do that.... 

 

#4 Sign RHP Sergio Romo for one year, $3 million... if he would take that we should do it.... 

 

# 5 Sign Kyle Barraclough for one year, $1 million... Nah... have too many young arms to shuttle back and forth... 

 

# 6 Trade OF Akil Baddoo and 2B/3B/OF Travis Blankenhorn to the Rockies for RHP Jon Gray.... As stated by someone.. in a heartbeat if they would do... not likely. They would be wanting pitching coming back.... Would depend on what they would want.... Duran and one of the two? I do... Abritration eligable this and next year and FA in '22... Has Ace stuff... maybe here he puts it together....

 

Mookie Betts and David Price might cost just Buxton and a prospect if the Twins are to take all that $, but should the Twins do it?Price's contract is a bit too rich ($32 per for the next 3 seasons until his age 36 season) and might prohibit extensions that they should make (Sano, Rogers, May etc.)Betts is a very expensive rental.Paying close to $70 million for just these 2 makes no sense for the Twins.They might be able to get both Cole and Strasburg for that money...

    • Mike Sixel, rdehring and Battle ur tail off like this

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