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Derek Falvey Interview on 1500 ESPN

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 01:08 AM
Falvey discusses Sano, payroll, etc. http://www.1500espn....an-mackey-judd/
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Twins Minor League Coaches/Coordinators

Twins Minor League Talk Today, 01:01 AM
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

Other Baseball Yesterday, 11:33 PM
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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Buxton: "Pissed" at Twins for No Call-Up Decision...

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 11:05 PM
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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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

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birdwatcher
Dec 04 2018 05:24 PM

 

Assuming you're referring to Sickels' rankings?He has 21 Twins prospects as B- or higher (including B-/C+ and C+/B-).So far, Sickels rated 7 orgs, and all 7 have more than 10 of these prospects.MIN leads with 21, KC has 18, ATL 14, CIN 13, LA & BOS 12, SEA 11.Sadly, I don't know if we'll get the other orgs as I'm not sure where Sickels will end up.  

But I think the depth of the Twins prospects might be overstated a little.I don't think a few B- prospects will bring back much MLB talent.IMHO, of course.

 

 

Going from recollection, I'd say these numbers are fairly representative. Usually 2-3 teams with around 20 B- or better prospects, another tier of teams with about 15, most of the rest at about 10, with a couple of dogs down at 5ish. The A- prospects are important though, with maybe a dozen total.

 

Talent pipelines are going to be more variant, just like MLB talent these days. Some big tim "haves" and some woeful "have-nots" Watch out for the orgs with top quartile talent in both MLB and the minors.

 

I don't think the Twin's system's depth is overstated however, for two main reasons. First, compared to other systems, a lot of those prospects are really young and/or new, and there are a handful more high ceiling prospects at the lowest levels than you see in many systems too. I thought the system might have been over-rated in terms of quality last year, but after last year's domestic and international signings, I think it merits its ranking as a top 10 pipeline because of both quality and quantity or depth.

 

These assessments are incredibly fluid. All it takes is two of the likes of Javier, Urbina, Graterol, and Larnach to take off like Lewis and Kirilloff did to catapult an organization in these kind of rankings. KC, for example, probably had fewer than ten B- prospects the prior year, and now look.

    • howieramone2 likes this
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ChrisKnutson
Dec 04 2018 05:34 PM

This isn't surprising, just depressing. It doesn't matter who the GM is, ownership isn't going to open up the payroll. We have literally $0 on the books for 2020 but 30m/yr for Machado isn't even possible to discuss. I'm really not surprised but, gah. I don't know if there will ever be a safer blue chip FA option than him.

We'll go into the year with a payroll around 110-120 and we're going to have to see the young core play better. FA is going to be adding fringe parts but not difference makers. It is what it is. Payroll currently sits at about 71. We could add Cruz on something like 2/32m and still add some relief arms. Cruz would really help the team, both for his bat but also for his mentoring. I'd like him to talk to Sano about being an all around hitter.


Simply put, if Wolfson’s report is correct, then signing both Cruz and Lowrie to 1-2 year deals must become our top priority(s). Now that’s not to say the bullpen isn’t area of need, it’s just that the match is too perfect for the Twins not to take advantage of, especially when the division is as weak as it is right now.
    • howieramone2 likes this

 

Buxton was a 5 WAR player a year ago and Sano was an all-star. I'd put the blame a lot more on Molitor and his staff and assume that the new manager has a few ideas about this. There simply is too much talent in those two guys to assume they'll bust. 

If I ever needed a reason to question WAR - you just gave it to me.Byron has a career 230/285/387.His WAR for 4 years was 6.9.Since I think defensive WAR is as questionable as other defensive stats I have to look at this with some skepticism.I know he is really great in CF, but so was Billy Hamilton.I want Buxton to be a star, but so far he is not. 

 

We have 25+ years of Pohlad ownership. It doesn't matter who the GM is, this is going to be a bottom third payroll team. That's why they hired Falvey and Levine in the first place. 

If Falvey and Levine did not know this they are not as smart as everyone says.They saw this and still thought they could succeed.  

    • Original Whizzinator likes this

I'm intrigued by Johnathon Schoop. I think he could be a steal coming off a bad season and he'd fill the vacated hole at 2nd base at least for a year. He'd be a better risk right now than bringing back a Dozier or a weak hitting Forsythe. Maybe a return to the AL would fix his bat? Going after a LeMahieu or Lowrie would be a second option since Gordon is definitely not ready. If Schoop returns to his former self trade him at the deadline if you aren't in the race and then move Polonco to 2B and bring up Lewis to play SS.

As for the starters I'd be ok with giving the cast of youngsters to continue their auditions for the first month or two unless the intention is to contend for the division in 2019. If the choice is to go for it then start trading some in a package deal with a Kepler or Austin and bring in a front line starter.

I'd really like to see a hard push for acquiring Michael Brantley or McCutchen to play RF. With either of them and Rosario towards the top of the lineup along with Polonco you'd have 3 guys to set the table. I'd look to trade Kepler or use him as a backup to Buxton if he fizzles again. Signing Cron has hurt his value to play some 1B if needed. I'd rather see them use Cave as the 4th OFer than Kepler. Kepler probably has better trade value right now than Cave. 

As for the 5 guys you mention in the bullpen, Moya, Vasquez, Magill and so on... they are expendable. None are difference makers and I've definitely seen enough of Duffey forever. I'd rather see a Romero, Gonsalves, Littell or 1 of the other crop of young starters given the chance to pitch out of the pen.

If it is a series of 1 year deals again, I can't wait for Portland to get a team.

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notoriousgod71
Dec 04 2018 06:20 PM

 

I disagree about this being a 65-win team, I think the energy from a new young manager is going to do a lot for this club. However, if you think this is a 65-win club there's probably not enough possible moves that could be made to make this team a real competitor. Does the team winning 75 games make the season any more enjoyable than winning 65?

 

Heck, 85 wins doesn't do much for me, I've long lost interest in watching this team act like a cute little underdog. Wake me up when we're talking 95 wins and the team actually is in the conversation for winning the title.

 

 

Agreed, but you have to take incremental steps to improve your team. Sign a couple real players each off-season and suddenly you're a good team. Signing no one year after year and hoping for every single internal candidate to take five steps forward is a recipe for disaster.

    • Mike Sixel, markos, DocBauer and 1 other like this

 

I think Machado makes so much sense for this team and the position it is in right now.Aside from the cost, it seems to be an almost no-brainer.As you mentioned it fills a need this year and essentially stabilizes the infield for the foreseeable future.  

 

Imagine in 2020 an infield of:

 

2nd base: Polanco

3rd base: Machado

SS: Lewis

1st base: Sano

 

They have the money to do it and add pitching.

 

Do it Twins!

 

So you want to sign Machado? Ready for that 10 year commitment to a guy who doesn't hustle or seem to care? Not a smart signing with all his baggage and no veteran presence on the roster to keep him in check. Also, you want your young upcoming talent to look up and see Machado not caring or putting 100% into his game. NO.

    • beckmt, SwainZag, Danchat and 2 others like this

The Twins cannot afford to start the season with this rotation and pen and pretend that they are competing...

 

To be competitive they need two starters better than Berrios/Gibson and I do not count Pineda to be one, and also a couple of late inning relievers.

 

They have excess pitching and I would have no problem trading anyone of them other than Romero and Graterol at this point. Gordon quickly will fall behind Arraez in IF depth and with Lewis up and coming, the Twins better trade him while he has value.

 

I'd like them to sign a veteran second baseman to an one-year contact, preferably Murphy or Kinzler, until Arraez is ready. I think that's about it as far as the position players go, but I also believe that Sano and Buxton will have good seasons and will finally be healthy.

    • birdwatcher likes this

 

 

 

Mad Bum has shoulder issues now and would be a big GIANT NO for me. 

Grienke Is just to old and not worth the time or the money.  

 

Why do you think SF is looking to deal Mad Bum? Last year of very team friendly deal and by the way he has a TON of innings on that arm. It seems like SF knows it's now or never to try to cash him in before he gets hurt.

 

I disagree strongly with this assessment. Sano and Adrianza can more than adequately man third base. 

 

They didn't adequately man third base last year.:)

    • KGB likes this

 

They didn't adequately man third base last year.:)

 

Buxton did not adequate man CF last year, does this mean that they need a centerfielder? ;)

    • caninatl04 likes this

 

We have 25+ years of Pohlad ownership. It doesn't matter who the GM is, this is going to be a bottom third payroll team. That's why they hired Falvey and Levine in the first place. 

I don't see how hiring Falvey and Levine has anything to do with the payroll rank... what, were there some potential GMs out there would have forced the Pohlads to spend more money so they didn't hire them? I highly doubt it.

    • Original Whizzinator likes this

 

Buxton did not adequate man CF last year, does this mean that they need a centerfielder? ;)

 

Yes

    • notoriousgod71 likes this
McCutcheon to lead the OF.
    • Original Whizzinator likes this

 

Buxton was a 5 WAR player a year ago and Sano was an all-star. I'd put the blame a lot more on Molitor and his staff and assume that the new manager has a few ideas about this. There simply is too much talent in those two guys to assume they'll bust. 

 

He didn't make an assumption that they'd bust... In my opinion... he was not assuming they won't. 

 

I don't see how hiring Falvey and Levine has anything to do with the payroll rank... what, were there some potential GMs out there would have forced the Pohlads to spend more money so they didn't hire them? I highly doubt it.

No, it means they were willing to take the job knowing that they'd be in this situation.

As for the original question. 

 

Where are we now?

 

I'm in Grand Forks, North Dakota waiting for a move that makes me hopeful. 

 

Derek or Thad... either one... give me a call. 

 

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Kelly Vance
Dec 04 2018 09:51 PM

I think the new FO is waiting for a hard freeze up, so they don't have to spend any more time working on fly casting techniques. But I could be wrong.

 

But seriously, folks, they are obviously waiting for the market to shake out and maybe come to them a little. Like drifting a fly down a ripple and then watching it slow down before a back eddy. 

    • birdwatcher, Riverbrian and howieramone2 like this

I think the new FO is waiting for a hard freeze up, so they don't have to spend any more time working on fly casting techniques. But I could be wrong.

But seriously, folks, they are obviously waiting for the market to shake out and maybe come to them a little. Like drifting a fly down a ripple and then watching it slow down before a back eddy.


Their fishing technique hasn't been working over the last couple of years... I'd try setting a net with a Manny's Porterhouse and $20 million AAV. Maybe they'll catch a trophy fish instead!
    • Kelly Vance likes this

 

I think the new FO is waiting for a hard freeze up, so they don't have to spend any more time working on fly casting techniques. But I could be wrong.

 

But seriously, folks, they are obviously waiting for the market to shake out and maybe come to them a little. Like drifting a fly down a ripple and then watching it slow down before a back eddy. 

 

Had to check the topic...Where is KV now? Obviously watching "A River Runs Through It"

    • birdwatcher, Riverbrian and Kelly Vance like this
Seth or anybody, I will be in Vegas for part of the winter meetings. Where are they located? Where might be the best place to "rub elbows"?
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Winston Smith
Dec 05 2018 12:06 AM

 

Seth or anybody, I will be in Vegas for part of the winter meetings. Where are they located? Where might be the best place to "rub elbows"?

Mandalay Bay.

    • highlander likes this
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AlwaysinModeration
Dec 05 2018 04:55 AM
I am strangely optimistic about this season. There are a number of things that, in my mind, are pointing in the upward direction:

1)They got a new manager with new ideas, energy, and personality, while retaining a bench coach to work with him, who had a legitimate chance of being a manager himself. I’m optimistic about the new manager, but also view it as addition by subtraction of the old manager.
2)New pitching coach who has significantly improved pitchers at every organization he has been with. Out of the box (college) pick that might become a league-wide trend if he has success.
3)Sano went to Ft Myers last year to work on conditioning, committing to the team and the system, and is going to come into this year with something to prove.
4)The team gained another year of Buxton. Like Sano, he’ll come in with something to prove. Getting him back in CF should improve all of the starting pitching. I think he wins his second platinum glove and his bat starts to round into form and he may get an All-Star nod.
5)Last year’s two-year investment in Pineda was all about the second year. We are about to see whether that bet pays off.
6)Other players on the roster pointing up: Garver, Berrios, Gibson, May, Rodgers, Austin. Plus Castro coming back. Full year of Polanco. Kepler isn’t pointing up, per se, but he learned to hit LHP last year, so he might start to put it all together this year.
7)Finally, no commitments (other than arbitration) beyond 2019. The Front Office obviously was making a concerted effort to do this. Beyond the Joe Mauer era, now all of the personnel and players are going to be players they choose and want.

So even if we look at where the Twins are now, I see lots of reasons to be optimistic. And I don’t think they are going to stand pat. I expect several signings (nothing more than 3 years) and maybe a trade. And I see them being competitive in 2019.
    • birdwatcher, gunnarthor, Riverbrian and 6 others like this

 

Simply put, if Wolfson’s report is correct, then signing both Cruz and Lowrie to 1-2 year deals must become our top priority(s). Now that’s not to say the bullpen isn’t area of need, it’s just that the match is too perfect for the Twins not to take advantage of, especially when the division is as weak as it is right now.

Simply put the report says something they have done.. It may reflect all they are going to do, it may not.It all depends on how you choose to see it. They brought in a lot of players last year. Given their ages Cruz and Lowrie may well be 1 year signings with options

    • ChrisKnutson and howieramone2 like this

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