Where Are We Now?
Image courtesy of Seth Stohs, Twins Daily (photo of Thad Levine, Jeremy Zoll, Derek Falvey)Let's look around the diamond and see what the Twins roster may look like if the season was to start today. Check it out and then discuss Rocco Baldelli’s chances in his first year as manager. What would you do yet in the final month before spring training begins?
Catcher (2) - Jason Castro ($8.0 million), Mitch Garver (est $575,000)
The Twins appear to be set behind the plate. Jason Castro should be at 100% when spring training begins. Mitch Garver made huge improvements behind the plate over the course of 2018. And Willians Astudillo is ready when needed.
Infield/DH (6) - Nelson Cruz ($14.0 million), CJ Cron ($4.8 million), Jonathan Schoop ($7.5 million), Jorge Polanco (est $600,000), Miguel Sano ($2.65 million), Ehire Adrianza ($1.3 million).
The Twins added one of the top bats available in free agency this offseason in Nelson Cruz. CJ Cron and Tyler Austin will likely compete for the first base job in spring training. Austin is out of options and Cron’s deal isn’t 100% guaranteed. Presumably they won’t both remain on the team and in the organization. Jonathan Schoop and his upside take over at second base on a one-year deal. The left side of the infield is expected to remain manned by Jorge Polanco and Miguel Sano. Ehire Adrianza, assuming his shoulder is fully recovered, will be the utility infielder. Ronald Torreyes is the next in line for that role, and Nick Gordon could be called up by mid-season if a job opens up in the middle infield.
Outfield (4) - Eddie Rosario ($4.19 million), Byron Buxton ($1.75 million), Max Kepler ($3.125 million), Jake Cave (est. $575,000)
Pending injuries, this is pretty well set as well. Eddie Rosario will be in left with Byron Buxton in center and Max Kepler in right. Jake Cave will the the fourth outfielder. Zack Granite and Michael Reed provide the team with other options in the outfield, along with recent 40-man add LaMonte Wade.
Starting Pitchers (5) - Jose Berrios (est $700,000), Kyle Gibson ($8.125 million), Jake Odorizzi ($9.4 million), Michael Pineda ($8.0 million), Adalberto Mejia (est $565,000)
The first four of the rotation appear to be set. The question really comes with the fifth starter. Who will it be? I included Mejia just because he is out of options. But Fernando Romero, Kohl Stewart, Stephen Gonsalves, Zack Littell, Chase De Jong and Lewis Thorpe fit into that discussion as well. Each of these options would come in at about league minimum. Romero and De Jong will be in their final option seasons. Gonsalves, Littell and Thorpe each have two options remaining. Stewart has three option years available.
The other option, of course, would be signing a free agent such as Dallas Keuchel, Gio Gonzalez, Wade Miley or any number of pitchers on minor league contracts.
The Bullpen (8): Trevor May ($900,000), Addison Reed ($8.5 million), Taylor Rogers ($1.525 million), Blake Parker ($1.8 million), Trevor Hildenberger (est $600,000), Gabriel Moya (est $565,000), Matt Magill (est $565,000), Tyler Duffey (est. $575,000)
Even with the addition of Blake Parker, I would guess that the Twins will still add another arm or two. From the left side, the Twins have Taylor Rogers. If they want a second lefty reliever, Gabriel Moya and Andrew Vasquez are options. Tyler Duffey and Matt Magill are out of options, so if they’re on the 40-man roster, they have to be favorites at this time.
The new bullpen roles and how Rocco Baldelli and Wes Johnson utilize the bullpen will be interesting. Will they go with an Opener/Primary in the fifth spot? Could there be opportunities for piggybacking a couple of starters? In that case, the fifth starter candidates are certainly possibilities for one of these spots. Will the team go with a traditional closer? And, what will the Twins decide (or have they already decided) on the role of Fernando Romero?
Hitters: $49.065 million
Starters: $26.89 million
Relievers: $14.435 million
Phil Hughes: $5.93 million
Total 2019 payroll (as of right now): $96.32 million
What Questions Remain?
- Will the Twins add another bullpen arm, or two?
- Will the Twins add another starting pitcher? Free agent, or a possible trade option?
- What is the role for Fernando Romero?
- CJ Cron or Tyler Austin?
- Long-term contracts? Jose Berrios would be at the top of the list of me, but are there others?
What do you consider the Twins areas of strength, and how would you prioritize their areas of need this offseason?
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