Twins Early Offseason Outline: The Future is Now
Image courtesy of © Jeffrey Becker - USA Today SportsAlex Kirilloff is Here to Stay
Minnesota made it clear how highly they thought of Alex Kirilloff by having him on the postseason roster and starting him in an elimination game. There are a couple different ways to get Kirilloff in the line-up as a regular in 2021.
Eddie Rosario is in his final year of arbitration and he is scheduled to get a raise to around $10 million. He likely isn’t worth that much especially if the Twins are trying to cut costs. If Rosario isn’t offered arbitration, the Twins could start next year with an outfield of Kirilloff along with Byron Buxton and Max Kepler.
Kirilloff also can slide in at first base and the easiest way to make this happen is to not try and resign Nelson Cruz. Sano could move from first to being the team’s full-time designated hitter and Kirilloff could become Minnesota’s first baseman for the better part of the next decade.
Finding Room for Brent Rooker
Before the Twins turned to Kirilloff, Brent Rooker was the player the Twins turned to from the alternate site. Unfortunately, his season ended early after being hit by a pitch from Cleveland’s Zach Plesac. The 25-year old was still able to make a strong impression in his first taste of the big leagues. In 21 plate appearances, he went 6-for-19 with half of his hits being for extra bases.
Much like with Kirilloff, the Twins could find a scenario where Rooker takes over at first base with Sano moving to DH. Minnesota could decide what can be better for the team’s defense which seems like Kirilloff in the outfield and Rooker at first base. Would the Twins want two unproven bats in the line-up from season’s start?
Meet Ryan Jeffers, Everyday Catcher
Ryan Jeffers quickly made his presence known on the Twins roster this season and there is little chance he will be going anywhere in the years ahead. Things get tricky when considering that Mitch Garver struggled in 2020 after one of the best hitting seasons ever for a catcher.
Over the last couple of seasons, the front office has preferred to have one younger catcher, Mitch Garver, and pair him with a more veteran backstop (Jason Castro, Alex Avila). Both Castro and Avila made a good complement to Garver because they bat left-handed. Would the Twins be willing to trade Garver and resign a player like Avila as the back-up to Jeffers?
Others on the Way
Outside of the trio of players mentioned above, there are also other players closing in on Target Field. Trevor Larnach was the team’s 2019 Minor League Player of the Year and he adds some depth in the outfield. If Buxton misses time, an outfield of Kirilloff, Kepler and Larnach could certainly be intriguing. Another option could be to trade Larnach to fill a need at another spot on the roster.
Royce Lewis is going to be talked about a lot this offseason and rightfully so. He is the team’s consensus top prospect, and he is one of baseball’s top prospects. With no minor league season, it’s tough to know how he progressed at the team’s alternate site. He ended 2019 at Double-A and there was a chance he made his big-league debut this season. Would the Twins be willing to trade Jorge Polanco and his team friendly deal?
By midseason next year, the Twins line-up could include:
C: Ryan Jeffers
1B: Brent Rooker
2B: Luis Arraez
3B: Josh Donaldson
SS: Royce Lewis
LF: Alex Kirilloff
CF: Byron Buxton
RF: Max Kepler
DH: Miguel Sano
The Twins farm system has kept them relevant and it continues to be the key to sustainable contention. Do you think the Twins should go with a youth movement in 2021? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
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