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Twins Mailbag: Extensions, 2020 Line-Up, Darvish, Ohtani

The off-season can be filled with hot stove rumors, prospect lists being released, and free agent signings. Minnesota has seen a fair share of rumors swirling around so far this winter. Could the Twins look to sign any of their current players to extensions? What will the club’s 2020 Opening Day roster look like? What’s the timeline for the organization’s recent top picks? What will it take to land Gerrit Cole or Jake Odorizzi? Could the Twins land both Otani and Darvish?

All of those questions and more in today’s edition of the Twins Daily Mailbag.
Image courtesy of Evan Habeeb-USA Today Sports
Question 1

Here at Twins Daily, some of the writers ran through the gamut of extension options. Young players like Byron Buxton, Miguel Sano or Jose Berrios could be offered deals that buy out some of their free agent years. Veteran players like Joe Mauer and Brian Dozier will see their contracts expire at the end of 2018. This puts the Twins in an interesting spot.

Dozier has clearly become the heart and soul of the team over the last couple of seasons. I think the new front office values his veteran leadership. For the Twins to find success, there needs to be the right combination of young and veteran players. This is similar to the model followed by Houston this year.

If I were the Twins front office, I start with a Dozier deal. Much like Seth discussed, I would shoot for a four-year, $65 million deal with an option that could make it a five-year, $73 million deal. Buxton is the other player with whom I would try and start extension talks. I think his value is going to boom over the next couple of seasons. Getting out in front of that could be a wise decision even with his wall-crashing antics.

Question 2

Nick Gordon seems to be well on his way to making his big league debut. He spent all of 2017 at Double-A and helped the Lookouts claim a share of the Southern League Championship. Gordon has to be added to the 40-man roster before the 2018 Rule 5 Draft. If he plays like he did this season, he will be a September call-up in 2018.

Tyler Jay is a more interesting case. After being drafted with the intention of turning him into a starter, Jay is focusing on being a relief pitcher. He made only eight appearances in 2017 after being evaluated for, but not officially diagnosed with, thoracic outlet syndrome. This is the same type of condition that plagued Phil Hughes in 2017. If Jay is healthy, I would expect to see him at the big league level in 2018.

Alex Kirilloff missed all of 2017 following Tommy John surgery. This put a little damper on his path to the big leagues. In last year’s prospect handbook, we pegged him for a mid-season 2019 debut. Following a missed season, I will push that back and look for an early 2020 debut. Royce Lewis is good and I think he will take the fast track to the big leagues. It wouldn’t surprise me if he beat Kirilloff to Target Field.

With free agency and other factors, it’s hard to project out to 2020. If I’m using internal options, here are my projected 2020 Twins Opening Day starters:
C: Mitch Garver, 1B: Miguel Sano, 2B: Nick Gordon, SS: Royce Lewis, OF: Byron Buxton, Max Kepler, Alex Kirilloff, DH: Brian Dozier

Question 3

If you look at my answer above, I would sign a deal with Dozier to keep him in Minnesota through at least 2022. There would be an option for 2023 when he would be entering his age-36 season. If he stays healthy this entire season and hits free agency, he might be able to get more money on the open market. I think he likes Minnesota and he has quickly become a fan favorite. He will be entering free agency as a 32-year old so he isn’t likely to get more than a four year contract offer.

Minnesota doesn’t have much money committed beyond the 2019 season and a lot of the team’s young core will be due raises in the coming years. I like Dozier to be the veteran presence in a developing line-up. He should start and finish his career in a Minnesota Twins uniform.

Question 4

Now this is a loaded question. Right-handed pitchers Gerrit Cole and Jake Odorizzi both come with two years of team control remaining. Both pitchers are coming off down years which could be good from the Twins perspective. The Pirates might not be openly shopping Cole but there’s nothing to say they wouldn’t listen to a good offer. The Rays might be pushed up against their payroll and they could be looking for some flexibility. This could make Tampa more willing to deal.

I feel like there are few untouchable prospects in the Twins farm system. Royce Lewis might be the lone player I would categorize as untouchable. That being said, I think Nick Gordon would have to be at the center of a package for these pitchers. A top level pitcher would also likely be needed to add to the mix. Some names could be Fernando Romero or Lewis Thorpe. Eddie Rosario is another name I would throw into a potential deal.

It's going to take more prospects than fans will be happy about but the Twins front office has an opportunity in front of them. With last year’s playoff appearance, the team’s timeline was pushed up. Sano, Buxton and Berrios have a small window of team control and it could be time to pounce.

Question 5

Minnesota’s front office has made it clear that they will be aggressive this off-season. Yu Darvish is at the top of their free agent list. It’s no secret that he is going to command quite the contract. The Twins need pitching but I don’t know if Darvish will be worth the total he is going to command. It might be in the Twins best interest to find more cost-effective options with some upside. That being said, I think the front office wants to make a splash and that could mean spending big on Darvish.

Shohei Otani is another intriguing name. The Twins also have more money in their international spending pool after voiding the contract of Jelfrey Marte. However, Otani doesn’t seem to care exclusively about money. He could wait until next off-season and be a free agent which would mean a lot more money in his pocket. My guess is that he ends up on the West Coast or in a bigger market on the East Coast.

I think the Twins will attempt to go after both Darvish and Otani. I think the chances are better of landing Darvish because of his connections to Thad Levine’s time in Texas. Some think a team could find a way to land both players as a package deal. However, I don’t think the likelihood of landing either is very high.

Thanks to all those that submitted questions. Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion on any of the topics mentioned above.


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36 Comments

Your responses to Questions 2 & 4 indicate a bias/preference for Kepler over Rosario.

Question 2


With free agency and other factors, it’s hard to project out to 2020. If I’m using internal options, here are my projected 2020 Twins Opening Day starters:
C: Mitch Garver, 1B: Miguel Sano, 2B: Nick Gordon, SS: Royce Lewis, OF: Byron Buxton, Max Kepler, Alex Kirilloff, DH: Brian Dozier

Question 4

I feel like there are few untouchable prospects in the Twins farm system. Royce Lewis might be the lone player I would categorize as untouchable. That being said, I think Nick Gordon would have to be at the center of a package for these pitchers. A top level pitcher would also likely be needed to add to the mix. Some names could be Fernando Romero or Lewis Thorpe. Eddie Rosario is another name I would throw into a potential deal.

 

I'm a big fan of Kepler, but if you're willing to trade Rosario, why not be willing to trade Kepler? The age difference is about 1.5 years, so if that's the basis for the trade willingness/2020 lineup, OK - Kepler will be younger in 2020. For comparison, here are their career numbers. They are presented year by year, but if you want to compare age by age, you can shift Kepler's stats up one line mentally. I'm just curious as I think Rosario has been and will be better than Kepler (though I have hopes for somewhat of a Kepler breakout in 2018 just as Rosario broke out in 2017).

 

Year Age Level PA BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS

Rosario/Kepler

2010 18 Rookie 213 16 28 .294 .343 .438 .781 / 17 Rookie 153 13 27 .286 .346 .343 .689

2011 19 Rookie 298 27 60 .337 .397 .670 1.068 / 18 Rookie 221 23 54 .262 .347 .366 .714
2012 20 A, Rookie 449 32 71 .299 .347 .499 .846 / 19 Rookie 269 27 33 .297 .387 .539 .925
2013 21 AA, A+ 544 38 96 .302 .350 .460 .810 / 20 A 263 24 43 .237 .312 .424 .736
2014 22 AA, A+ 370 21 73 .243 .286 .387 .674 / 21 A+ 407 34 62 .264 .333 .393 .726
2015 23 AAA 100 5 17 .242 .280 .379 .659 / 22 AA, A+ 508 69 68 .318 .410 .520 .930
2016 24 AAA 169 7 25 .319 .343 .538 .881 / 23 AAA 128 16 14 .282 .367 .455 .822

 

2015 23 MIN 474 15 118 .267 .289 .459 .748 / 22 MIN 7 0 3 .143 .143 .143 .286
2016 24 MIN 354 12 91 .269 .295 .421 .716 / 23 MIN 447 42 93 .235 .309 .424 .734
2017 25 MIN 589 8 35 106 .290 .328 .507 .836 / 24 MIN 568 47 114 .243 .312 .425 .737

    • Oldgoat_MN and Sam Morley like this

With free agency and other factors, it’s hard to project out to 2020. If I’m using internal options, here are my projected 2020 Twins Opening Day starters:

C: Mitch Garver, 1B: Miguel Sano, 2B: Nick Gordon, SS: Royce Lewis, OF: Byron Buxton, Max Kepler, Alex Kirilloff, DH: Brian Dozier

 

Everyone knows Who's on First but I Don't Know your Third Baseman's name?

 

Quote and post your answer

 

(kajillion TwinsDaily points for those with the only correct answer)

    • USAFChief, curt1965 and snap4birds like this

 

Everyone knows Who's on First but I Don't Know your Third Baseman's name?

 

Quote and post your answer

 

(kajillion TwinsDaily points for those with the only correct answer)

Shohei Ohtani (when he's not pitching).

    • USAFChief, Thrylos, GP830 and 2 others like this

Everyone knows Who's on First but I Don't Know your Third Baseman's name?

Quote and post your answer

(kajillion TwinsDaily points for those with the only correct answer)

Cody don't know who's on third.
    • tvagle likes this

 

Your responses to Questions 2 & 4 indicate a bias/preference for Kepler over Rosario.

 

I'm a big fan of Kepler, but if you're willing to trade Rosario, why not be willing to trade Kepler? The age difference is about 1.5 years, so if that's the basis for the trade willingness/2020 lineup, OK - Kepler will be younger in 2020. For comparison, here are their career numbers. They are presented year by year, but if you want to compare age by age, you can shift Kepler's stats up one line mentally. I'm just curious as I think Rosario has been and will be better than Kepler (though I have hopes for somewhat of a Kepler breakout in 2018 just as Rosario broke out in 2017).

 

Year Age Level PA BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS

Rosario/Kepler

2010 18 Rookie 213 16 28 .294 .343 .438 .781 / 17 Rookie 153 13 27 .286 .346 .343 .689

2011 19 Rookie 298 27 60 .337 .397 .670 1.068 / 18 Rookie 221 23 54 .262 .347 .366 .714
2012 20 A, Rookie 449 32 71 .299 .347 .499 .846 / 19 Rookie 269 27 33 .297 .387 .539 .925
2013 21 AA, A+ 544 38 96 .302 .350 .460 .810 / 20 A 263 24 43 .237 .312 .424 .736
2014 22 AA, A+ 370 21 73 .243 .286 .387 .674 / 21 A+ 407 34 62 .264 .333 .393 .726
2015 23 AAA 100 5 17 .242 .280 .379 .659 / 22 AA, A+ 508 69 68 .318 .410 .520 .930
2016 24 AAA 169 7 25 .319 .343 .538 .881 / 23 AAA 128 16 14 .282 .367 .455 .822

 

2015 23 MIN 474 15 118 .267 .289 .459 .748 / 22 MIN 7 0 3 .143 .143 .143 .286
2016 24 MIN 354 12 91 .269 .295 .421 .716 / 23 MIN 447 42 93 .235 .309 .424 .734
2017 25 MIN 589 8 35 106 .290 .328 .507 .836 / 24 MIN 568 47 114 .243 .312 .425 .737

 

Another kajillion Twins Daily poster/mod/owner-operator who comes up with an easy way for people to post statistics.  I appreciate when people use them to support arguments, and I've learned much over the years about statistical analysis from many of you fine folks.  However, and not picking on scottz, just using this as a common example--I can't read those numbers and get any meaning out of it without smoke coming out my ears.  Looks like code to me.

 

Get on that in your spare time, fellas.

    • ThejacKmp, tvagle and snap4birds like this
Photo
Tommygun921
Nov 30 2017 07:31 AM
I don't like the idea of trading Rosario. I see him having the better offensive career than Kepler and Buxton. (In MY opinion) If they can stray him back towards the defensive Rosario of 2016 and away from his path towards delmon young I'll like him better than Kepler overall. He's going to continue to be streaky like Buxton. Buxton having the higher offensive ceiling. But I see the possibility of Rosario reaching or exceeding his said ceiling much more likely than Buxton or Kepler.

I think that if the Twins are series about Darvish and Ohtani.... The only way to sign Darvish will be to over pay. And to have a deal basically worked out with Ohtani. And the only way to start on. Ohtani so if you have a deal worked out with Darvish. I honestly don't see this as to hard to imagine being a legitimate possibility. Assuming Darvish AND Ohtani live up to expectations. You'd be over paying Darvish while simultaneously underpaying Ohtani. Mauer comes of the books after this season and Hughes's mistake of a contract comes off after next year. The twins have also made it clear that they like the fact of signing these Asian players as it brings in a whole countries worth of fans. That being said I think they'd have to waaay over pay to get Darvish. And a place like NYC or LA would be to hard to lure Ohtani away from.
    • Kelly Vance and KGB like this

Everyone knows Who's on First but I Don't Know your Third Baseman's name?

Quote and post your answer

(kajillion TwinsDaily points for those with the only correct answer)


I would say Lewis on 3rd, Polanco on 2nd, and Gordon at Short
    • gagu likes this

All I want for Christmas is Ohtani.

    • ChiTownTwinsFan likes this

Another kajillion Twins Daily poster/mod/owner-operator who comes up with an easy way for people to post statistics. I appreciate when people use them to support arguments, and I've learned much over the years about statistical analysis from many of you fine folks. However, and not picking on scottz, just using this as a common example--I can't read those numbers and get any meaning out of it without smoke coming out my ears. Looks like code to me.

Get on that in your spare time, fellas.


I don't feel picked on. Even I hated it as soon as I posted it. The screen where I was entering info to post didn't wrap the lines so I thought maybe it wouldn't be too cryptic. But once I hit posted, everything wrapped. Blech.

If you want to read it, you could Copy the data into excel, sort text to columns, space delimited. Or not. Who cares. Other than me, as I spent 20 minutes on that post. LIFE IS MEANINGLESS.

OK, I feel better now.
    • ChiTownTwinsFan, ashburyjohn, USAFChief and 9 others like this

 

I don't feel picked on. Even I hated it as soon as I posted it. The screen where I was entering info to post didn't wrap the lines so I thought maybe it wouldn't be too cryptic. But once I hit posted, everything wrapped. Blech.

If you want to read it, you could Copy the data into excel, sort text to columns, space delimited. Or not. Who cares. Other than me, as I spent 20 minutes on that post. LIFE IS MEANINGLESS.

OK, I feel better now.

Not sure this makes that much data any better :)

 

Rosario Kepler

 

    • USAFChief, Han Joelo, wagwan and 7 others like this
Photo
FunnyPenguin
Nov 30 2017 02:35 PM

What is everyone's thoughts on the max contract you think would make sense for Darvish?The less years the better obviously but it's going to take 5-6 years for sure, I think the 6 years $150 million is prolly what it's going to take.I would just be happy because at least it would be a MOVE 

 

Everyone knows Who's on First but I Don't Know your Third Baseman's name?

 

Quote and post your answer

 

(kajillion TwinsDaily points for those with the only correct answer)

 

The correct answer is: Yes

 

https://www.youtube....bed/kTcRRaXV-fg

 

 

    • USAFChief likes this
Photo
Old Twins Cap
Nov 30 2017 07:59 PM

 

All I want for Christmas is Ohtani.

 

Well what's this?Strib article, what you call burying the lede:

 

Twins add trainer

The Twins have hired a new assistant trainer. Masa Abe joins the club after spending seven seasons with Arizona, the past two as the trainer for Class AAA Reno. Abe also was Team Japan’s trainer during the 2017 World Baseball Classic.

 

Good hire, I'd say.

    • ChiTownTwinsFan, USAFChief, diehardtwinsfan and 4 others like this

Thanks for stoking the hot stove since the Twins are doing very little to get it warm.Lots of comments, no action, yet.I may be the only one on this page who does not want the Twins to pursue the two sure-to-be overpaid free agent pitchers.  

 

I look at Seth's top prospects and see two inexpensive, young, potentially long term starters who should be worked in this year and two more that could be ready the year after.Let them work us forward.  

 

Our team moved forward without great pitching so lets teach out pitchers to use their own abilities to the max.We now have an additional pitching consultant to go with a pitching coach who will soon be joined by a minor league pitching coach so evidently we are setting up either a bureaucracy or a system to get the most of our young pitchers so keep the overpaid FA signings to a minimum and spend on our own talent.

 

After posting this I found this report in Bleacher with lots of ideas for dumping salaries. I look at the list and the players and the idea that strikes me is - why not avoid the bad contract to begin with?Yes there can be injuries and other problems that arise, but in the long run, investing in youth has a much better return on investment than any of the FA finds that are already in their thirties. Report http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2746082-salary-dumping-szn-trade-ideas-for-mlbs-worst-contracts?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=newsletter&utm_campaign=mlb

 

The one repeated question for Cody is who is at 3B in 2020.I guess it must be Escobar!But I am guessing it will be Polanco. 

Thanks for stoking the hot stove since the Twins are doing very little to get it warm. Lots of comments, no action, yet. I may be the only one on this page who does not want the Twins to pursue the two sure-to-be overpaid free agent pitchers.

I look at Seth's top prospects and see two inexpensive, young, potentially long term starters who should be worked in this year and two more that could be ready the year after. Let them work us forward.

Our team moved forward without great pitching so lets teach out pitchers to use their own abilities to the max. We now have an additional pitching consultant to go with a pitching coach who will soon be joined by a minor league pitching coach so evidently we are setting up either a bureaucracy or a system to get the most of our young pitchers so keep the overpaid FA signings to a minimum and spend on our own talent.

After posting this I found this report in Bleacher with lots of ideas for dumping salaries. I look at the list and the players and the idea that strikes me is - why not avoid the bad contract to begin with? Yes there can be injuries and other problems that arise, but in the long run, investing in youth has a much better return on investment than any of the FA finds that are already in their thirties. Report http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2746082-salary-dumping-szn-trade-ideas-for-mlbs-worst-contracts?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=newsletter&utm_campaign=mlb

The one repeated question for Cody is who is at 3B in 2020. I guess it must be Escobar! But I am guessing it will be Polanco.


I assume Darvish is one of your two sure to be overpaid FA's, who is the other one?

 

I assume Darvish is one of your two sure to be overpaid FA's, who is the other one?

I think that were will be many - they are so starved for pitchers they will overpay for Arrieta too.He has had a nice peak, but I do not see him finishing well with any multi-year contract.Here are the pitchers who are free agents - http://www.spotrac.c...arting-pitcher/

 

But I also believe Ohtani is also going to get way too much money because the narrative outweighs the actual proof of his talent level.We have seen a lot of "great" Japanese players and Korean Players signed over the years.And finally I will say on the trade market that Cole and Odorizzi will command more than they should despite their off years.  

 

This is crazy money and a feeding frenzy.  

I think that were will be many - they are so starved for pitchers they will overpay for Arrieta too. He has had a nice peak, but I do not see him finishing well with any multi-year contract. Here are the pitchers who are free agents - http://www.spotrac.c...arting-pitcher/

But I also believe Ohtani is also going to get way too much money because the narrative outweighs the actual proof of his talent level. We have seen a lot of "great" Japanese players and Korean Players signed over the years. And finally I will say on the trade market that Cole and Odorizzi will command more than they should despite their off years.

This is crazy money and a feeding frenzy.

Obtain CAN'T get too much money. He'll be playing for the MLB minimum.

I think that were will be many - they are so starved for pitchers they will overpay for Arrieta too. He has had a nice peak, but I do not see him finishing well with any multi-year contract. Here are the pitchers who are free agents - http://www.spotrac.c...arting-pitcher/

But I also believe Ohtani is also going to get way too much money because the narrative outweighs the actual proof of his talent level. We have seen a lot of "great" Japanese players and Korean Players signed over the years. And finally I will say on the trade market that Cole and Odorizzi will command more than they should despite their off years.

This is crazy money and a feeding frenzy.


The most Ohtani can get is $3.5 million.

 

The most Ohtani can get is $3.5 million.

Plus the posting money to the club - a big commitment of resources

 

Plus the posting money to the club - a big commitment of resources


Barely exceeds one year of Mauer.
    • USAFChief and tvagle like this

 

Barely exceeds one year of Mauer.

That is true, but it does not want me to spend it.They will spend it and the $3 million for a year, then there will begin the next contracts and extensions and free agency.Nothing buys a real future except for the minor leagues and development.When we prove that we are real world series contenders then is the time like a Verlander style acquisition.Houston was smart and patient and they created a wonderful model. 

As a hold out against the Free Agent and Ohtani sweepstakes I want to enter one support document.

https://www.cheatshe...html/?a=viewall There was a wise executive in everyone of these signings who thought they were really smart.

 

There is repetition in this, but some new names too and lots of pitchers: https://www.thesport...in-mlb-history/

 

Yes there have been some good signings - like Erv Santana, but for one Erv we have a Nolasco, Hughes, Correia, Milone, and Pelfrey.Develop your talent! And trade when it will make a real difference for a championship. 

Plus the posting money to the club - a big commitment of resources


It's peanuts. We're not talking about $200 million mega deal, or even $60 million mid tier.

I think you are vastly underestimating how good of a pitcher he is. We'll see who's right, I guess.
    • jimmer likes this

 

It's peanuts. We're not talking about $200 million mega deal, or even $60 million mid tier.

I think you are vastly underestimating how good of a pitcher he is. We'll see who's right, I guess.

I am not underestimating how good he is.I do not know how good he is.I hope he is terrific because I like good baseball, but I do not like signing him like this. 

That is true, but it does not want me to spend it. They will spend it and the $3 million for a year, then there will begin the next contracts and extensions and free agency. Nothing buys a real future except for the minor leagues and development. When we prove that we are real world series contenders then is the time like a Verlander style acquisition. Houston was smart and patient and they created a wonderful model.

But that’s part of the attraction of Ohtani.

Ohtani will be treated like any other MLB player who comes up from your system. The same as Berrios, for example. Three years of serfdom, followed by three years of arbitration-eligibility. He could be extended, but doesn’t HAVE to be extended. There is zero salary commitment over and above what ANY rookie gets. He can’t be a FA sooner than when ANY rookie can be. Are you sorry the Twins spent $6m on a signing bonus for Buxton, and now have to worry about paying him? $3m on Sano?



EVERY team in MLB would sign him if he said yes.
    • ChiTownTwinsFan, ashburyjohn, Thrylos and 2 others like this

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