Q&A: Offseason Plans, Molitor's Status and Much More
“with no immediate heir apparent at 2nd base, first base, catcher, and the need to bolster the 8th inning setup man and if things went well, I’d imagine front of rotation, how do you think the FO will fill those roles? There’s maybe 50/60 mil in payroll to play with, and all those prospects to dangle. It’s a huge roster turn over, can they get it all done in one offseason/up to all star break?”
An Eduardo Escobar reunion makes so much sense. He can fill your opening at second base as well as provide insurance at third. I’m of the mind you can stick pretty much anybody over a first base. There will be plenty of options out there in free agency, but I’m also interested in what Tyler Austin can do. Max Kepler has experience there, though he’s also a borderline Gold Glove right fielder, so it may be a waste to put him at first. I believe LaMonte Wade played there some in college. Either way, I don’t think the Twins should be falling over themselves to bring Joe Mauer back. Still, a reunion would make a lot of sense, so I would project Mauer to be the Opening Day first baseman in 2019.
I personally don’t see a huge need at catcher. I think a lot of teams would love to have a duo of Jason Castro and Mitch Garver, assuming Castro comes back healthy. Yasmani Grandal and Wilson Ramos would be significant upgrades, but I feel like other teams are going to be more desperate to get them.
I believe the front office made a strong effort to land Yu Darvish last year, but your big free agents just aren’t going to be jumping at the chance to come play in Minnesota. No matter how much money there is sitting around, guys aren’t coming here until this club has shown it’s a legit World Series contender. I think the front office can reload and put together a competitive roster over the offseason, but taking it to the next level would probably be delayed until the trade deadline.
“Why Belisle? Rosario for real?”
I’ve been blowing off so much steam about Matt Belisle on Twitter that Seth threatened to unfollow me over it I don’t have an answer to that question. My best guess is that the front office is trying to secure a better draft pick next year and they know Paul Molitor can’t resist using him. Now that Fernando Rodney has been traded, it wouldn’t shock me at all if Belisle becomes the closer once he’s activated off the DL. Yuck. The only thing I'm certain about when it comes to Belisile is he truly must be a really awesome guy.
Eddie Rosario’s free-swinging tendencies are cause for concern, but I still have to say he’s absolutely for real. Since the start of last season, Rosie has hit .294/.333/.503 (.837 OPS) in 1,079 plate appearances. To put that into context, Justin Morneau had an .832 OPS in his time with the Twins. Eddie drives me nuts sometimes, but he’s also probably my favorite Twin now that Escobar is gone.
“Do you really believe that Molitor is the manager who can take us to the WS?
How big of a diffence do you think it will be between what the Twins could/should do and what they will actually do this off-season?
What do you really think went on behind-the-scenes and in the clubhouse regarding the rumors about a toxic clubhouse?”
I think a manager’s impact on wins and losses is generally overstated, but no, I don’t have a lot of confidence that Molitor is a manager who could lead a team to a World Series title. That being said, Ned Yost did it … so anything’s possible. I'll circle back to Molly in just a sec.
Taking a look at the free agents that are expected to be available, I’m not really sure what I think the Twins should do. I’m sure the expectation from the majority of the fan base will be that they go out and fill in the payroll to a level that’s similar to this year, but I don’t think they’re going to be able to attract any of the big names like Bryce Harper or Manny Machado and I don’t expect them to spend just for spending’s sake. I’d bet they have a savvy offseason, but get ripped to shreds for not bumping the payroll up higher.
It’s tough to speculate on anything regarding the clubhouse from the outside in, but I think it has more to do with losing than anything. Losing sucks. The roster turnover couldn’t have helped either, and I’m not just talking about the new guys. Ervin Santana, Jason Castro, Byron Buxton, Miguel Sano and Jorge Polanco were all expected to be regulars. With those guys being out in combination with adding a crop of free agents who were mostly bitter about their lack of a market, it would be no surprise if there was some turbulence.
Now that, however, is something I think a manager should be able to have an impact on. It wouldn't be surprising to hear that some of the players are frustrated by the front office turning the page, but that should be an issue that's addressed internally.
I still don't think Molitor is going anywhere. It's clear ownership loves him, hard for me to see them moving on until maybe this time next season.
“Will Odorizzi be back next year? Will Fernando Romero make the starting rotation out of spring training next year?”
Yes, I would expect Jake Odorizzi to be in the 2019 rotation. He should be expected to perform at about a league-average level. You don’t just let a starting pitcher like that walk unless you’re trying to slash payroll. A lot of what happens with Romero will depend on how the next couple months play out, but I would predict that he’ll start next year in Triple A.
At this point a year ago, it would have been really hard to envision a scenario in which Adalberto Mejia wasn’t going to be in the rotation for this year, but he’s only made four starts with the Twins. I could see something similar happening to Romero. I also wouldn’t be shocked if Romero was pushed into a multi-inning relief role, similar to how Johan Santana and Francisco Liriano got their feet wet in the bigs. But again, that’ll also depend on who they go out and add.
“What should TD be paying you per game recap?”
Well, how much would you pay me per game recap as a reader? Probably nothing. It’s really hard to make money on the Internet. I’ve contributed to a lot of other places online and this is by far the best situation I’ve been in. TD could probably make some more money if the site was bombarded with ads, like some other places, but I like things the way they are.
“What's your favorite Target Field food?”
I will often bring my own food into Target Field, but my go-to concession stand item is the Turkey to Go sandwich. I like how they have the seasonings and sauce at the stand so you can flavor it to your liking. A pretty simple item, but an old standby.
“How many five year olds could you take in a fight before they overpower you?
Oh boy, probably not very many. I don’t think I’ve been in a fight since middle school and all five-year-olds do is fight. So even though I’m older, they’ve definitely got the upper hand in terms of experience. I’ve got the size and the strength, but the five-year-olds would have a considerable advantage in the stamina department.
This was a real brainteaser, so I did what any responsible human would do in 2018 and looked it up on the Internet. It says I could take on 21 five-year-olds, but that sounds like a really high number to me. Since you specifically asked me to be honest, I’d say 11. That’s assuming we’re talking about 11 five-year olds who are really gung-ho about scrappin’.
Alright, that's it from me. Thanks for reading, please add your two cents in the comments and let me know if you'd be interersted in similar Q&As becoming a regular feature here on the site.
- Blake, Sconnie, Platoon and 2 others like this