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Offseason Blueprint: Run It Back

The Twins are entering their most crucial offseason in many years. After winning 101 games and their first division title since 2010, Minnesota is primed to take the next step toward the fall classic. Why not bring the whole band back together? It worked in 2019.
Image courtesy of © Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
When I say bring the band back together, I mean everyone but Sam Dyson. Michael Pineda, Martín Pérez and Kyle Gibson are set to exit the rotation along with position players Jonathan Schoop and Jason Castro. The veteran ball of energy reliever Sergio Romo is also contract free. There are three prominent reasons why the Twins should bring them all back:

1.) These guys not only contributed on the field (some more than others), but there is serious chemistry and comradery among this group. Derek Falvey and Thad Levine carefully constructed the roster with both talent and charisma, and the team really seemed to gel on many fronts.

2.) The stars were limping in October. Mitch Garver was hampered by a hip impingement, Max Kepler was hardly healthy with a shoulder issue, Luis Arraez was hobbling, C.J. Cron battled a faulty thumb and Nelson Cruz played without a tendon in his wrist. Perhaps worst of all, both Byron Buxton and Michael Pineda were unavailable. When healthy and active, the 2019 team can win in October.

3.) There seems to be an assumption that because of the postseason, the Twins rotation was a mess in 2019. This is far from the truth. The starting rotation posted the fourth best fWAR in the American League, and the seventh best in the league. The bullpen was phenomenal, posting the third best fWAR in MLB. There are also ways for the Twins to improve pitching internally.

The Twins are off to a phenomenal start as All-Star Jake Odorizzi accepted his qualifying offer and will return to the rotation in 2020. This was step one, here are the rest:

Sign RHP Michael Pineda for 2-years, $22 million

Pineda was great in the second half with a 5-1 record and 3.04 ERA. Pineda struck out 56 batters and walked just 12 in 53 ⅓ innings after the break. He is unavailable for the first 39 games, but the Twins would prefer an innings limit anyway.


Sign RHP Kyle Gibson for 1-year, $9 million with $12 million club option for 2021

Gibson was a huge part of the Twins’ heartbeat. He leads with a great winning attitude and radiates positivity on and off the field. Jon Heyman reported Monday that Gibson is garnering interest from at least 1/3 of the league at the GM meetings in Scottsdale:



Sign LHP Martín Pérez for 1-year, $5 million

Pérez looked the part of a masterful pickup before the league figured him out and forced him off the playoff roster. There is legitimate reason to believe that Pérez can succeed in a bullpen platoon role. He has held lefties to a .639 OPS in his career.


Sign RHP Sergio Romo for 1-year, $5 million

Romo almost made up for the Dyson debacle by himself. The 36-year-old can still be a vital part of the bullpen because of his elite slider. Romo’s slider generated a 33% whiff rate and .184 batting average in 2019. He also held righties to a .205/.248/.394 line. He is a great clubhouse presence and the team seems to really admire him.

Sign C Jason Castro for 2-years, $12 million

Castro and Garver combined to form a lethal catcher platoon combo last year. Castro hit .254/.354/.497 against righties and Garver hit .321/.434/.736 against lefties. Castro is familiar with the split role and has repore with the pitchers above.

Sign 2B Jonathan Schoop for 2-years, $16 million

Luis Arraez is returning as the primary second baseman, but Schoop had a .917 OPS against lefties compared to a .696 OPS for Arraez in 2019. Schoop can slot into a defensive platoon role and Baldelli praised him as a phenomenal teammate in 2019.

Summary

Many will understandably point to the ALDS landslide when abolishing this plan. The Yankees were better than the Twins last year, but the gap is closing. Buxton was arguably an MVP candidate before shoulder surgery, and there is no reason to believe that he and the others can not continue to develop.

According to MLB Pipeline, the Twins have the 3rd best farm system in the American League. The phenom flamethrower Brusdar Graterol should find himself in the rotation soon enough, and 21-year-old Jordan Balazovic is moving quickly. Additionally, top prospects Royce Lewis and Alex Kiriloff are chomping at the bit to reach the bigs.

This roster won the AL Central by eight games and finished with the second best record in franchise history. This is hardly a failed offseason, and running it back may be the best option. Adversity will happen, but hopefully the Twins can avoid serious injuries down the stretch. Here is the 26-man look:

Screen Shot 2019 11 14 At 10.04.27 PM


Spending $10-20 million more is not worth breaking up team companionship and community.

What do you think?

More blueprints from our writers:
Building a Bullpenner | Nick Nelson
Making Big Betts | Nate Palmer
Hooking a Big Fish | Ted Schwerzler
The Window Just Opened | Jeremy Nygaard
Cheat Off the Champs | Matthew Lenz

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24 Comments

Let's leave off one of Pineda or Gibson, Martin, and School and bring in Wheeler.
    • Danchat and SF Twins Fan like this
I made an account on here after reading this for one reason. To tell you that this idea literally gives me a panic attack. I’m not going into another year of Pérez or Gibson pitching, I want wheeler, bumgarner, Or even Ryu, Keuchel, or more... I also wanted will smith sadly.. but we could use Drew Pomeranz and bring back Sergio Romo.. I REALLY want them to lose Schoop, cron, Pérez, Gibson, and cave (please) and sign Donaldson and mid sano to first or Yaz grandal and platoon grandal and Garver at first and catcher. I know all that won’t happen, but I literally am TERRIFIED of the same roster exactly or worse coming back next year
    • birdwatcher, TopGunn#22, Sconnie and 2 others like this
Another idea I have been wanting is Rosario and some prospect combo for John gray and Trevor story and moving Polanco to Third and Sano to first and playing Marwin in left until Kiriloff is ready
    • tarheeltwinsfan likes this
Bring back Pineda I do like tho
    • SF Twins Fan likes this
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Richard Swerdlick
Nov 16 2019 06:00 AM
As Bob Dylan said, the times they are a changing. Standing pat is almost always a recipe for failure.
    • Hosken Bombo Disco and SF Twins Fan like this

Very nice article, many good points.I think pitching upgrades are a must, I like the Pineda deal, but Perez will not pitch for the Twins again.We need an impact pictcher like Wheeler to push Odo and Berrios, and solitify our rotation.Luis Arraez make the Schoop resigning unnecessary.

    • TopGunn#22 likes this

I say NO to the above. The time to improve the club is NOW. You don't do that by using the same players that struggled, aka Perez and Gibson for sure. With Odorizzi and Berrios this team still needs an ACE. Bring back Pineda. Add another good starting pitcher either thru trade or FAgency. Graterol can spot start if needed and be a long relief guy. I'd keep Romo. Sign another good reliever. Pomeranz would work. Go get a good SS, move Polanco to 2nd, Arraez to 3rd, Sano to 1st. This will improve the infield defense immensely. If Rosario goes via a trade Marwin/Cave can play left. Although I'm not a big fan of Cave. Wade might be a better option until Kirriloff or Larnach get the call. Not sure why eveyone thinks they need to sign a backup catcher. Castro is a liability with the bat, Astudillo is better and can fill in defensively when needed. Garver needs to play as much as possible. 

Please..... no more dumpster diving!

    • TopGunn#22 likes this
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birdwatcher
Nov 16 2019 10:27 AM

By far the most novel plan yet proposed.

    • Danchat, Hosken Bombo Disco, tarheeltwinsfan and 1 other like this

Uh... well, it's a clever concept, but no thanks! This team didn't have the upside to be a world series contender due to the lack of starting pitching, and it looks like this team is going to have the same fate, unless some big mid-season trades happen. 

 

Having a rotation of Berrios/Odorizzi/Gibson (cross your fingers he's healthy)/and two minor leaguers is just asking for trouble. The rotation would fall apart if Berrios or Odorizzi got hurt. 

 

 

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yeahyabetcha
Nov 16 2019 12:03 PM
They may end having to go the Pineda/Gibson route if none of the “better” free agents choose the Twins. No reason to sign Romo, can always find someone like him at trade deadline if they are contenders. Improving the team defense would also be a good goal for this off season.
    • birdwatcher likes this
Some fine points and some thjngs I agree with.

Yes to Pineda, Castro, Cron and Romo. All 4 can be replaced, but all 4 are also good players and come at value. Fine with any and all back.

No to Schoop, no room and he will look for a starting opportunity.

No to Perez. Speculating he could succeed in the pen is way different than any evidence he can. Pomeranz, at least, has SOME proven numbers out of the pen.

Time for Gibson to move on. Roster is seemingly done, and he's still sitting there end of January, fine, offer him a cheap 1yr deal to be the 5th starter.
    • birdwatcher, TopGunn#22, Kelly Vance and 1 other like this
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Hosken Bombo Disco
Nov 16 2019 12:19 PM

Bring back Pineda I do like tho

And that’s the one player I would be happy to part ways with!
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Hosken Bombo Disco
Nov 16 2019 12:22 PM
I could make a case for just about every player fromlast season. But collectively, all of them together, no.
    • Tomj14 likes this
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Nash Walker
Nov 16 2019 01:53 PM

 

Some fine points and some thjngs I agree with.

Yes to Pineda, Castro, Cron and Romo. All 4 can be replaced, but all 4 are also good players and come at value. Fine with any and all back.

No to Schoop, no room and he will look for a starting opportunity.

No to Perez. Speculating he could succeed in the pen is way different than any evidence he can. Pomeranz, at least, has SOME proven numbers out of the pen.

Time for Gibson to move on. Roster is seemingly done, and he's still sitting there end of January, fine, offer him a cheap 1yr deal to be the 5th starter.

 

Doc, Perez pitched seven games out of the pen in 2018 and had a 2.45 ERA. He has bullpen experience. 

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tarheeltwinsfan
Nov 16 2019 02:01 PM

Maybe I missed him the 4 times I looked at this proposed 26 man roster,, but where is the 5 million dollar Perez?

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Nash Walker
Nov 16 2019 02:41 PM

 

Maybe I missed him the 4 times I looked at this proposed 26 man roster,, but where is the 5 million dollar Perez?

 

You are right! My mistake. Perhaps Astudillo or Cave would start at AAA to make room for Perez. Payroll would increase to about $130M. 

    • tarheeltwinsfan likes this

No. Just NO.Goodbye Gibson.Goodbye Perez.Schoop was decent, but Arraez makes him unnecessary.No Castro.etc... etc... etc...This group wasn't good enough to get the job done in 2019 despite a HR record.We need better starting pitchers and a RH'ed complement to Rogers at the back of our pen (Ken Giles).Sign Wheeler.Don't be out-bid.Trade for a Robbie Ray/John Gray type.Larnach and Kiriloff are closer than people think.They will both hit.Use Graterol like the Twins did Johan Santana for the first half of the season (or until we call him up mid-May) and then either leave him in his role and add a SP at the trade deadline or move him in as starter #5.  

Doc, Perez pitched seven games out of the pen in 2018 and had a 2.45 ERA. He has bullpen experience.


Yep. But Pomeranz threw 28 last season. That's all I'm saying. My $5M would go there instead of Perez.
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Thebigalguy
Nov 17 2019 11:06 AM
Persuasive writing. The starting pitching last year was patched together. I see no reason why your lineup can’t be the default one as Falvine negotiates, but I also see no reason to settle for what we have. Gibson was ill but he’s an enigma. Perez fell off, Pineda of course was suspended, and even Berrios became inconsistent. He might still be the ace, but it wouldn’t hurt to have another one. Hitting is less complicated, though a dead ball that limits homers would impact last year’s bombers. So I can go along with you but hope for improvements.
This is the kind of thing that kills good companies, assuming they can stand pat, and still be successful.
    • Tomj14 and MMMordabito like this
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TwinkieTownKiller
Nov 18 2019 07:28 AM

I think fans would be very disappointed if this were the final outcome. Seems like a lot of backtracking in terms of retaining Schoop, Gibson, and Perez, all of whom most Twins fans are sick of.

 

I think it goes beyond people being sick of them too. Schoop seems unnecessary and almost certainly wants a full time 2B job (and probably deserves it). Gibson and Perez legitimately looked like they had no business on a pitchers mound at the end of last season, and a rotation spot has always seemed important to Perez. Both of these guys should really be fall back options given the rest of the options on the market in my opinion.

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MMMordabito
Nov 18 2019 07:52 AM

My reaction to this blueprint is to request that Jeremy Nygaard's blueprint be pinned.

Replace Perez with Alex Wood. Replace Gibby with the best FA SP you can sign better than Gibby. Sign Pomeranz Sign a better back up C than Astudillo I'm good with the rest of it.

Is this a bit?

 

If so, well done.

 

If not, you terrify me.