Waiting Game to Play Out Differently in Minnesota?
Image courtesy of © Jordan Johnson-USA TODAY SportsBoth Lance Lynn and Logan Morrison were coming off strong showings during the 2017 season. Any indications that they’d need to settle for bargain basement deals in the final hours of the free agency cycle were not apparent throughout the winter. The Twins were able to take advantage of both players and the market last season, but the deals went poorly for all involved. There’s an opportunity for things to be different this time around, and it’ll be worth monitoring to see what the reaction is.
After Lynn and Morrison flopped, story lines down the stretch emerged that the Twins would shy away from one-year deals or rogue agent type players. After being non-tendered, Minnesota’s first two acquisitions, Jonathan Schoop and C.J. Cron, were both brought in on one-year pacts. All things are not always created equal however, and this is an instance of that. Cron had a career year in 2018 but was sent packing by the Rays. Grabbed by a system owning familiarity with his background, it had to feel like a nice spot for C.J. And Schoop is on a one-year bounce back opportunity after being an All Star in 2017.
More with something to prove rather than a level of scorn, guys like Schoop, Cron, and even Parker could funnel that energy into a Twins club that has improved over the course of this offseason. Given the decline in talent that the Indians have seen, any level of motivating factors outside the field of play may serve to close the gap.
There’s still just over a month until pitchers and catchers arrive at sunny Fort Myers for spring training. Obviously, the biggest names should have new homes by then, so things will have to start moving sooner or later. Bryce Harper and Manny Machado aren’t taking one-year deals because teams may be waiting them out, but Minnesota could end up striking late again on someone like Dallas Keuchel or Cody Allen.
Should the Twins emerge as a landing spot for a bigger name, I’d imagine it would come in the form of a price drop but still a longer-term pact. Allen or another reliever could be acquired on a one-year deal that wouldn’t come with baggage if the money ends up being right. For the former Cleveland closer, there’s probably a good deal of relationship equity in place with this Twins organization.
When the dust settles, I’d certainly hope that Minnesota has another move in them. If they learned anything from last year however, grabbing the guys who feel the process did them a disservice isn’t a good bet. The clearance rack is a fun place at Target, but we’ve seen how human commodities work out at Target Field. Jumping in on a market for guys who shouldn’t still be angling for a role, and compensating them at a level that suggests you believe they’ll advance their own and your cause, may be the bow this team needs to place on jumping the gun into relevancy.