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Buxton: "Pissed" at Twins for No Call-Up Decision...

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 04:59 AM
According to the Star Tribune, Byron Buxton is displeased with the Twins after not being called up in September of 2018. According to Byr...
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Derek Falvey Interview on 1500 ESPN

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Falvey discusses Sano, payroll, etc. http://www.1500espn....an-mackey-judd/
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The Twins made some changes this offseason already in their minor league system. Pitching coaches Ivan Arteaga and Henry Bonilla were let...
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Harold Baines and Lee Smith are Hall of Famers

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MLB announced tonight that a 16-person committee decided that DH Harold Baines and RP Lee Smith are now Hall of Famers.   Here is th...
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Article: Standing Pat as a Strategy

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 11:24 PM
'As we speak cruel time is fleeing. Seize the day, believing as little as possible in the morrow.' – HoraceBy all appearances, this is go...
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Where Are We Now?

Starting this weekend, baseball will hold its annual Winter Meetings in Las Vegas. The event will get started on Sunday night and wrap up next Thursday with the Rule 5 drafts.

It's been a busy offseason already for the Twins as they have fired a manager, hired a manager and filled his coaching staff. They moved their Double-A affiliate from Chattanooga to Pensacola. Joe Mauer retired. Three players were added to the 40-man roster. The team claimed CJ Cron and then signed him and Ehire Adrianza too. They tended contracts to the rest of their arbitration-eligibles, with the exception of Robbie Grossman. There have been some minor league signings and a whole bunch of rumors.
Image courtesy of Mark J. Rebilas, USA Today
As they head to the Winter Meetings, here is a quick look at where they are today. This will give you a better idea of what their needs are and what types of conversations may be had this coming week

Let's take a look around the diamond and see what the Twins roster might look like if the season were to start today. Hopefully it gives Twins fans a glimpse at the work that Derek Falvey and Thad Levine have ahead of them to fill out Rocco Baldelli's first Opening Day roster:


Catcher - Jason Castro, Mitch Garver

Jason Castro is expected to return to the field in 2019 after missing most of 2018 following knee surgery. Mitch Garver showed improvement at the plate and behind the dish. Willians Astudillo can provide some depth as well.

Infield/DH - CJ Cron, Tyler Austin, Jorge Polanco, Miguel Sano, Ehire Adrianza

Cron and Austin would split the first base and DH duties. Miguel Sano and Jorge Polanco will again man the left side of the infield with Sano getting some DH time too. As of today, Ehire Adrianza would probably be the starting second baseman with Nick Gordon continuing to work in Rochester. Oh, and Willians Astudillo can provide some depth as well.

Outfield - Eddie Rosario, Byron Buxton, Max Kepler, Jake Cave

Rosario had another strong season in 2018, cementing himself in the lineup. Buxton struggled early and then broke his toe and was never really given a chance to recover properly. But when healthy and with his legs (and feet and toes) under him, he's the best outfielder in the game. Can his offense be what it was in the second half of 2017? Max Kepler hasn't taken a step forward, but he's provided strong defense and 20 homer power. Jake Cave had a nice second half with the Twins, showing that he can be a big league contributor. Zack Granite and Michael Reed provide the team with other options in the outfield, along with recent 40-man add LaMonte Wade. And again, maybe Willians Astudillo can provide some depth.

Starting Pitchers - Jose Berrios, Kyle Gibson, Jake Odorizzi, Michael Pineda

These four are written into the Twins starting rotation in at least some variety of ink, even if that is that erasable ink that just kind of makes a mess on the paper. Berrios became an All-Star and took a step forward in 2018. Kyle Gibson put together easily his best season and is now just one year away from free agency. Odorizzi is also one year from free agency. He finished pretty strong, and it will be interesting to see how he performs under Baldelli. Pineda will return after Tommy John surgery (and a late-season knee injury), hoping to get back to his old form, which was all-star caliber.

The question becomes...

Fifth Starter Options - Fernando Romero, Kohl Stewart, Stephen Gonsalves, Chase De Jong, Adalberto Mejia, Zack Littell, Aaron Slegers, Lewis Thorpe

The Twins certainly have options for the fifth starter position, and some are more ready than others, and some certainly have a higher ceiling than others. How comfortable would you be with going into the season with one of these eight options as the team's fifth starter?

The Bullpen: Trevor May, Addison Reed, Taylor Rogers, Trevor Hildenberger

I've written before that I think these four are the givens to be in the Twins 2019 Opening Day bullpen (pending trades, injuries, etc.).

The Rest of the Bullpen: Gabriel Moya, Andrew Vasquez, Matt Magill, John Curtiss, Tyler Duffey

Along with this group, the fifth starter options could also factor into the bullpen equation as well. It will be interesting to see what the Twins do, and how the opener fits into that as well. Moya and Vasquez are the lefties. Magill and Duffey and a guy like Mejia could provide length out of the bullpen. And hey, maybe even Willians Astudillo could provide depth.


So, what do the Twins need to do over the remainder of the offseason?

(Note - I didn't say just by the end of the Winter Meetings because as we see every year, the Winter Meetings have some moves, but they are mostly filled with rumors of teams talking and teams talking to agents, etc. Additional note - The Twins will likely have conversations with almost all of the rest of the teams, and with most of the agents. Also, there are actual meetings during the Winter Meetings that front office staffs need to attend.)

1.) Bullpen - I would be surprised if the Twins don't target one or two quality bullpen arms.

2.) Middle Infield - The Twins could target either a second baseman or a shortstop and move Jorge Polanco accordingly. But they will need one. With Nick Gordon likely ready sometime late in 2019 and Royce Lewis likely ready sometime in 2020, will they want a more short-term option?

3.) Starting Pitcher - Of course this can be higher, but I am of the opinion that if you're not going to sign a real difference-maker, just give the young guys a shot. With Gibson and Odorizzi and Pineda all potential free agents following the 2019 season, it is reasonable to go after starters. Patrick Corbin is the pipe dream. Dallas Keuchel and JA Happ would be solid signs. The trade market could be interesting. Personally, I don't like the idea of trading a bunch for Zack Greinke unless the Diamondbacks take back a huge chunk of his remaining salary. 35+ year old pitchers are scary in the long-term. Cleveland has made some starters available, and they would be intriguing. There are likely other pitchers available who are interesting as well (Marcus Stroman could be one).

4.) First base/DH - Even with the signing of CJ Cron and Tyler Austin being on the roster, the Twins could look to add a left-handed hitting first base type. This is less likely if they really like Austin's potential because of the likely need for a 13-man pitching staff at times.

That's where the Twins roster is right this moment, as well as some areas of need.

What do you consider the Twins areas of strength, and how would you prioritize their areas of need this offseason?

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112 Comments

 

One year contracts:

 

My take on Levine's cautionary comments about the detriment caused last year by one-year contracts, was that they were a veiled criticism of Morrison and Lynn. Something tells me that in addition to being under-productive on the field, they were toxic in the clubhouse. I lack any direct eveidence of this, but reading between the lines a little, that's my suspicion.

 

Wondering if others get that vibe or can point to more solid evidence.

 

It would surprise me if they avoided single year commitments.

 

When things go wrong... it's amazing, the things people come up while they are squirming to explain (what wasn't supposed to happen).  

 

Some free agent signings didn't work out... it was a mistake but they tried and I have no problem with a honest mistake of effort. 

 

When they continued to play the mistakes... that's when they compounded the original mistake and that was entirely preventable and that is an example of not trying. 

 

So now the assumption is that they won't try again? That's like saying, I'm not buying the belt because I kept whipping myself with it over and over again while my pants fell down. 

 

They can talk bout one year contracts being the problem... it's just a tortured grasping at straws.

 

I also heard Lavine say that it was real hard to overcome getting 9% of the production that Dozier, Sano and Buxton were projected to get as consensus Top 50 players going into the season. Now they appear to be poised to go back to Sano and Buxton without safety nets. It obviously was a mistake to project that kind of production from Dozier, Sano and Buxton because they missed by 91%? However, we all make mistakes and they are forgiven but It's a bigger mistake to repeat that mistake and they got the dice in their hand again. I swear, if I hear them say anything like that again, If I hear, well we only got 12% of the projected production from Sano and Buxton this year and it was too hard to over come... I swear if I hear them use that excuse again... I just might type something on Twinsdaily about it. 

    • Mike Sixel, Twins33 and DocBauer like this

 

Apparently this is the group we’re going with this year. We’ll maybe add a few dumpster dives like usual and hope everyone has an above average season. Paul Goldschmidt just went to St. Louis for basically nothing. Luke weaver could be a decent pitcher and Kelly may be a decent catcher. With the depth of our system we could have definitely made this work and maybe we get a shot at resigning him. Either way this guy is a perennial top 10 mvp vote every year. 900 ops guy. This team is being handed to a group of kids that haven’t proven any consistency. I’m not complaining but jeez. We’re either gonna be surprised or this will be another mediocre season. Are we sure Terry Ryan isn’t hiding behind a curtain somewhere running this team still?

 

I'm not saying that the presence of Cron prevented the Twins from taking a serious run at Goldschmidt because the presence of Cron should never prevent anyone from acquiring Goldschmidt. 

 

However... the presence of Cron just might have caused them to lessen the need to find a replacement for Mauer.

 

Why give up that Weaver and Kelly equivalent for a position that already has Cron and Austin. Especially, If Cron can't play anywhere else and Austin wasn't played in the OF in September. 

 

That is a suggestion that I will suggest as plausible.:)

 

 

    • FargoFanMan likes this

 

Agreed! I wasn't 1 year deals per se, it was those particular 1 year deals. Who could have known at the time that each would regress? And it ended up turning into a few more decent prospects.

For a team like the Twins, where there are expected to be some important promotions from the farm in each of 19, 20, 21 and 22, long term contracts might only serve to create traffic jams.

Besides, if memory serves me correctly, they DID sign a RP to a longer term contract. How is THAT working out for them.

 

I love logjams... I've never seen one... but I know 100% that I love them. 

 

If you create honest to god extra talent... you can trade some of it. 

    • Mike Sixel likes this
Thank you
    • Mike Sixel likes this

I'm tired of the excuses being made for Buxton and Kepler.Yeah he broke his toe, yeah he's a great defender, but the guy can't hit above .200 consistently and Kepler wasn't much better.I'd like to see how far Kirilloff progresses this year.Could answer a lot of questions and whether or not the Twins need to go out and grab an outfielder or two.You have to start thinking potential plan B the way Buxton and Kepler have played the last three seasons (they both have over 300 games at the major league level).

    • FargoFanMan and Vanimal46 like this

I'm tired of the excuses being made for Buxton and Kepler. Yeah he broke his toe, yeah he's a great defender, but the guy can't hit above .200 consistently and Kepler wasn't much better. I'd like to see how far Kirilloff progresses this year. Could answer a lot of questions and whether or not the Twins need to go out and grab an outfielder or two. You have to start thinking potential plan B the way Buxton and Kepler have played the last three seasons (they both have over 300 games at the major league level).


I'm with you on Buxton and Kepler. It's put up or shut up time for them. I wish they gave Kirilloff a month in AA last season instead of keeping him for the Fort Myers playoff run. He was absolutely murdering the ball and didn't need additional time down there. If the minors is all about development treat it that way. If Fort Myers fans are upset because their best player isn't around for the playoffs oh well.
    • Mike Sixel likes this

 

I'm tired of the excuses being made for Buxton and Kepler.Yeah he broke his toe, yeah he's a great defender, but the guy can't hit above .200 consistently and Kepler wasn't much better.I'd like to see how far Kirilloff progresses this year.Could answer a lot of questions and whether or not the Twins need to go out and grab an outfielder or two.You have to start thinking potential plan B the way Buxton and Kepler have played the last three seasons (they both have over 300 games at the major league level).

Buxton has always hit above .200 except in 90 at bats last year. 

 

A lot of your comments were made 12 years ago about Morneau. Fans were ready to ride him out of town for Ty Wigginton. He started 2006 so cold - 50 games into the season he was hitting .240/.300/.464 and his career OPS+ was below 100. He hit .357/.408/.601 from there and won the MVP that year. Generally, talent wins out. There are exceptions and injuries can derail careers, too. But with players as talented as Buxton, the talent shows up. He was probably the best player in baseball the second half of 2017 and if he stays healthy, he can be that guy again. Way too much concern over an injury wrecked season.

 

Buxton has always hit above .200 except in 90 at bats last year. 

 

A lot of your comments were made 12 years ago about Morneau. Fans were ready to ride him out of town for Ty Wigginton. He started 2006 so cold - 50 games into the season he was hitting .240/.300/.464 and his career OPS+ was below 100. He hit .357/.408/.601 from there and won the MVP that year. Generally, talent wins out. There are exceptions and injuries can derail careers, too. But with players as talented as Buxton, the talent shows up. He was probably the best player in baseball the second half of 2017 and if he stays healthy, he can be that guy again. Way too much concern over an injury wrecked season.

I think you're exaggerating.

 

I don't remember anyone wanting to run Morneau out of town.

 

And Buxton wasn't even the best player on the Twins in the second half of 2017 (that was Dozier), much less all of MLB.  

    • FargoFanMan and Vanimal46 like this

I think you're exaggerating.

I don't remember anyone wanting to run Morneau out of town.

And Buxton wasn't even the best player on the Twins in the second half of 2017 (that was Dozier), much less all of MLB.


Granted I was just a wee lad at the time but I remember people wanting to run Dougie baseball out of town so Morneau can take over full time.
Photo
FargoFanMan
Dec 06 2018 08:49 PM
Morneau had potential. He showed flashes and took the next step. We also had a Hunter in his prime. The next coming of Ted Williams in Mauer. Many other players who had already established consistency beyond Morneau. Nobody on this team is showing anything of flashes besides Berrios. We’re on the edge of having to go into total rebuild if we see nothing this year. We have no veteran presence on this team at the moment. Nobody we can count on as being consistent. Unless we make some deals and have a few surprise performances this team is looking more like 100 losses than even 80 wins. How long do we have to wait? 5? 10? 15 years? Our farm system is deep but does not have the star power to put together a contender if this season goes awry. There’s a lot riding here and where do we go if this season falls off a cliff?

 

Morneau had potential. He showed flashes and took the next step. We also had a Hunter in his prime. The next coming of Ted Williams in Mauer. Many other players who had already established consistency beyond Morneau. Nobody on this team is showing anything of flashes besides Berrios. We’re on the edge of having to go into total rebuild if we see nothing this year. We have no veteran presence on this team at the moment. Nobody we can count on as being consistent. Unless we make some deals and have a few surprise performances this team is looking more like 100 losses than even 80 wins. How long do we have to wait? 5? 10? 15 years? Our farm system is deep but does not have the star power to put together a contender if this season goes awry. There’s a lot riding here and where do we go if this season falls off a cliff?

 

EXACTLY.We saw Morneau's power potential

 

Buxton has always hit above .200 except in 90 at bats last year. 

 

A lot of your comments were made 12 years ago about Morneau. Fans were ready to ride him out of town for Ty Wigginton. He started 2006 so cold - 50 games into the season he was hitting .240/.300/.464 and his career OPS+ was below 100. He hit .357/.408/.601 from there and won the MVP that year. Generally, talent wins out. There are exceptions and injuries can derail careers, too. But with players as talented as Buxton, the talent shows up. He was probably the best player in baseball the second half of 2017 and if he stays healthy, he can be that guy again. Way too much concern over an injury wrecked season.

 

Yeah BARELY. I never felt that way about Morneau (yes i know your generalizing).I was always a big fan and he's one of my favorite Twins of all time. My mlb.com forum avatar was a pic. of Morneau in all the years i was a part of those forums before it was shut down.

 

That said, we saw glimpses of future Morneau much earlier than Buxton and he became consistently good earlier in his career than Buxton who still hasn't crossed that threshold 300 games in (although injuries haven't helped matters).

 

But to be honest I don't really see the comparison between these two players anyways. Ones a sleek slender outfielder the other a stocky 1st baseman/DH, kinda apples to oranges IMO.

 

I think you're exaggerating.

 

I don't remember anyone wanting to run Morneau out of town.

 

And Buxton wasn't even the best player on the Twins in the second half of 2017 (that was Dozier), much less all of MLB.  

Oh, hell yeah. People were done with Morneau in April 2006. The big stat at the time was OPS+ and Morneau had just one season where he topped that and in 2005 he posted a 93 OPS+ at age 24. 2006 started even worse. Fans had absolutely given up on him. He had over 1000 ml at-bats by then. Gardy benched him for a few games to get his head straight. The ESPN boards were full of Twins fans wanting to trade him for Wiggenton on the Rays, who started red-hot that year. But a lot of fans were ready to trade him for a bag-o-balls.

 

As for Buxton/Dozier, it was Buxton and it wasn't close. Dozier out-hit him slightly (.291/.382/.557 to .309/.358/.538) but Buxton amassed something like 5 WAR in the second half of the year and nearly tripled Dozier in WPA. 


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