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2020 draft class

MLB Draft Today, 10:42 AM
Obviously, it's never too early to get excited about the upcoming draft. Pipeline has a top 100 up already. http://m.mlb.com/pro...020/?l...
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Josh Donaldson’s swing.... again

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 10:37 AM
Ok, I know, tired..... but dang that’s pretty! I can’t wait to see that with a TC on the cap. https://m.youtube.co...eature=youtu.be
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Baby Blues Are Back!

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 10:23 AM
I'm so happy!       Here is the press release:     TWINS RETURN TO HISTORY, UNVEIL BABY BLUE ALTERNATE UNIFORM...
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Adrift in a sea of advanced stats

Other Baseball Today, 11:32 AM
Hey all,    I see a lot of advanced stats flashed at Twins Daily.    I was a wondering which among them you all saw a...
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How the internal (back-end) pitching options stack up for...

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 11:32 AM
There seems to be a general consensus that the Twins are in desperate need of at least one additional starting pitcher for their rotation...
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Twins Offseason Status Update: One Month To Go

It's been more than a month since we last took stock of the Minnesota Twins' offseason, and while the big splash still hasn't materialized, there's been plenty of activity. Scroll down for an update on the 2020 roster, payroll, coaching staff, and path forward.

Pitchers and catchers report to Ft. Myers in one month.
Image courtesy of Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
With Sergio Romo, Tyler Clippard, Homer Bailey, and Rich Hill now in the mix, here's a projection of the 2020 roster and payroll as of today. (Arbitration-eligible players now mostly have salaries locked in, but there a couple of assumptions highlighted in blue, which I'll discuss shortly.)

Attached Image: roster112.png


Current payroll commitment checks in around $118 million, putting the Twins almost exactly on par with 2019 ($119.6 million, per Baseball Prospectus).

TWINS AND BERRIOS HEADED FOR HEARING?

Arguably the most important player up for arbitration this year happens to be the only one Minnesota was unable to reach agreement with. Unless they can work something out within the next month or so, the Twins and Jose Berrios will go before an arbitration panel to decide his 2020 salary.

The two sides are currently about a half-million apart, with the Twins submitting an offer of $4.025 million and the pitcher's camp requesting $4.4 million. For what it's worth, Twins Daily's Offseason Handbook projected a $4.5 million salary for Berrios, while MLB Trade Rumors projected considerably higher at $5.4 million. By either of those estimates, the number put forth by Berrios and his agent seems quite fair, although I'm sure the Twins front office arrived at its own figure through a mathematical calculation based on precedent.

Nonetheless, the optics here aren't great, especially when considering historical context. Last offseason, the Twins approached Berrios and his agent about a pre-arb extension, but talks fizzled as the offer wasn't deemed up to snuff. Then, in July when Minnesota traded reliever Mike Morin to the Phillies for cash, Berrios posted (and deleted) a tweet that said, "They just want to get money … I wish you the best my man!"

It's probably a reach to suggest there's a schism between player and team, but the lack of alignment here is a bit disappointing. Going through the arbitration hearing process can be contentious, so it's hard to imagine that scenario having any sort of positive impact on the relationship.

Worth noting: Aaron Nola, whose extension with Philadelphia is often pointed toward as the best precedent for a Berrios contract framework, was at odds with the Phillies on his first arbitration number a year ago; the gap was much wider in that case, as he submitted $6.75 million while the club countered with $4.5 million.

One month later, his long-term deal was announced at four years and $45 million. It's hard to imagine why either side would flinch at similar terms in the case of Berrios. For now, the payroll projection above assumes he wins an arbitration hearing and remains year-to-year.

SANO EXTENDED

While the Twins haven't been able to lock up Berrios, they did get a deal done with another core piece: Miguel Sano signed a three-year, $30 million extension, which includes a $14 million option (and $3 million buyout) for 2023 – his age-30 season.

It's yet another very favorable deal for the Twins, who gain cost-efficient control of an elite slugging talent in his prime. I ranked Sano as the organization's 11th-most valuable asset in last week's series, but this contract – doubling his team control from two to four years at friendly rates – would move him up a couple of slots (I'm thinking to No. 9, after Jordan Balazovic and ahead of Alex Kirilloff).

I still haven't seen detailed specifics on Sano's annual breakdown. FanGraphs has these numbers listed as a guesstimate in their payroll resource:
  • 2020: $10M
  • 2021: $9M
  • 2022: $8M
  • 2023: $14M option ($3M buyout)
That would be a very unusual structure for a deal like this, but it'd certainly make a lot of sense for the Twins given their situation, enabling them to take advantage of their extra spending room this year (while incentivizing Sano by nearly doubling his 2020 salary) and providing extra flexibility in '21 and '22.

I went with the $10 million figure for 2020 in the projection, just to estimate on the high end, but I'm guessing we'll ultimately see a more traditionally progressive build-up (something like 7-9-11).

An encouraging tidbit from Dan Hayes's writeup on the move at The Athletic:

General manager Thad Levine said earlier this week that Sanó has continued with his offseason conditioning and that the slugger’s agent has inundated the front office with videos of Sanó working to improve his fitness.


DONALDSON DRAMA DRAGS ON

Josh Donaldson still hasn't signed anywhere, and that is fairly stunning given what we (think we) know.

For some time, the free agent's market has been portrayed as a three-horse race between Atlanta, Washington, and Minnesota, with a return to the Braves being Donaldon's inherent preference.

Well, the Nationals seem to be out of the running, since they've signed multiple infielders to guaranteed deals in recent weeks. Meanwhile, Phil Miller wrote an article for the Star Tribune indicating the Twins were "pessimistic" and "likely out of the running" for Donaldson.

So the question is: what's the hold-up? Why hasn't the slugger signed in Atlanta yet? The only explanation I can see (barring at least one "mystery team" in the fray, which is very possible) is that he's still not entirely satisfied with their offer, and continues to try leveraging Minnesota and others. This would explain why the Twins have channeled the narrative publicly that they're moving on, and turning to the trade market.

They'll probably need to go that route if they want any kind of legitimate upgrade at the hot corner short of Donaldson. On Sunday, Todd Frazier signed with the Rangers. He's one of the only other free agent infielders I've seen the Twins remotely connected to (not that I'd have considered him much of an impact addition).



For what it's worth, Darren Wolfson of KSTP reports that the Twins continue to have "darn near daily dialogues" with Donaldson's reps.



COACHING STAFF FINALIZED

When we last checked in with an update post, the Twins still had two vacancies remaining on their coaching staff: bench coach and second pitching coach (previous occupants Derek Shelton and Jeremy Hefner moved on). Now, those spots have been filled.

Mike Bell is the new bench coach, coming over from Arizona where he was vice president of player development. He's highly regarded, coming from "one of baseball's first families," and is viewed as a manager in waiting. By all accounts he looks like a great add as Rocco Baldelli's new right-hand man. More recently, the Twins rounded out their staff with the addition of Bob McClure as bullpen coach. Formerly a pitching coach for the Phillies, Red Sox, and Royals, the 67-year-old brings ample experience to a unit that is largely young and unseasoned.

With former assistant hitting coach Rudy Hernandez getting the "assistant" removed from his title, here's how the Twins' 2020 coaching staff figures to shake out:


Manager: Rocco Baldelli

Hitting Coach: Edgar Varela

Hitting Coach: Rudy Hernandez

Pitching Coach: Wes Johnson

Bullpen Coach: Bob McClure

Bench Coach: Mike Bell

MLB Coach: Bill Evers


How are you feeling at this stage of the offseason? What moves do the Twins need to make for you to consider the winter a success? What's your level of confidence for a turnaround on Donaldson or a big trade? Sound off in the comments.

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30 Comments

Photo
KirbyDome89
Jan 13 2020 08:33 PM

 

The FO has shown they are intent to extend what is already on hand. The fact it hasn't been everyone all at once doesn't concern me.

Both the Kepler and Polanco extensions were considered team friendly, even at the time of signing. Buxton and Berrios turned down those type of offers because they're betting on themselves (probably the right decision.) The extensions for Kepler and Polanco don't have any bearing on what will or won't happen with Buxton or Berrios. 

    • D.C Twins and rdehring like this

Nice Post....Could not agree more with the optics of haggling over $375,000 with the player you hope to be the face of the team for years to come. 

 

Even if this is posturing in the greater picture of extension negotiations, it is still crazy.

 

Just @#$%-ing crazy!

Photo
howieramone2
Jan 13 2020 09:06 PM
Nothing could possibly be less important. MLBTR is speculating for the 3rd in a row they will be discussing an extention. There is no need to read anything else into it. The sky is not falling.

Doc, the more I think about it the more I like Thorpe covering the Pineda void. I'll be surprised if we don't trade for a #3. In other words, someone we would trust to start a playoff game.


Howie, I am a big fan and believer in Thorpe. The kid was awesome initially before his surgery and then missed season due to mono. IIRC, he was actually rated top 100 or just outside of it initially. Since ha
E has come back, he's performed very well at the milb level and been promoted rather aggressively. Despite his final numbers, if you watched Thorpe last year...and I mean that in a general sense, not just you...you saw what he can do and what he might become. I think he has a real shot to be a mid rotation SP. I just don't want to trust that right out of the gate. Same could be said for Graterol, out of the gate, but that is a different discussion.

FWIW, off topic somewhat, if the rotation just doesn't work out, I think Thorpe is very Rogers-like as a bullpen piece.

I'm also hoping for a trade for another rotation addition. And I'm not talking about some top of the rotation #1 SP addition. That would have happened weeks ago or at the next trade deadline. But unless the FO, smarter than me by a long shot, just has so much belief in the kids on hand and Bailey, they absolutely have to make a move for another quality arm before the season begins. Ray, Gray, name someone. Who is another Odorizzi addition? Just can't start next season, IMO, with what is on hand while playing the waiting game.
    • rdehring likes this

Come on guys. They are only $400,000 apart. This is not a crisis. They will get it done. But my hope is they get an extension done. Those are the numbers I'm interested in. What is Berrios asking?


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