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2018 Twins Blueprint

Posted by Baseball Bat , 06 November 2017 · 1,612 views

Hello all,

It is a great time of the year to be a baseball rumor junkie and (finally) a Twins fan. In last years blueprint forum I advocated a complete teardown in trading both Dozier and Santana. This year I am advocating for just the opposite. I think the Twins are entering year 1 of a 5-year window to truly contend. I say 5 years because that is one year longer than the Twins have team control over key players such as Buxton, Sano, Kepler, Rosario, and Buddy Boshers (Kidding). I extend this by 1 year because I think there are relatively easy ways the Twins can extend this window via extensions and just having a more competent front office and development process. Ideally, Falvey and Levine will be able to build a sustainable pipeline of talent so that the Twins can pick and choose key guys they wish to extend and supplement them with young talent like Royce Lewis, Blayne Enlow, etc.. However, we know the reality of a non-big market team often means rebuilding becomes necessary to generating a potential championship level team. So the Twins need to start operating as if they have a 5 year window that starts now. Admittedly, I am more aggressive in this blueprint compared to what I believe Falvey and Levine actually will be, but I don’t think any of it is too far outside of the box.

Moves that already happened

Sign Paul Molitor to a 3-year extension: I expected this to happen and am glad that he will return. I know there was some controversy over his bunting habits and maybe even his bullpen usage but I thought those are minor discrepancies that don’t rub me in the wrong way. Overall he is very receptive of new information, appears to have the respect of the clubhouse, and has an excellent working relationship with Falvey and Levine. All are very important aspects in a modern baseball manager. Worst comes to worst, the Twins would have no problem eating a couple of million dollars if they want to go another direction before the contract expires.

Not Retain Neil Allen: I would assume that at least part of the holdup on the Molitor announcement was some back and forth on the future of Neil Allen. Sounded like Molitor wanted Neil Allen back, but it is hard to justify him deserving to come back based on the pitching accomplishments over the past 3 seasons. It is impossible to quantify the effect a pitching coach has on a staff but it think it is safe to say it was time for a new voice in this area for the Twins.

Declining LHP Glen Perkins Team Option and Paying his $700,000 Buyout: This was seen as a given and was an obvious move for the Twins. Perk made excellent progress to even pitch this season. I don’t know if this is the end of his baseball career, but based on his emotions after his last game this season, it certainly is a possibility. I hope he has a future in some capacity with the organization as he seems to be very smart and likeable. Maybe they can even bring him back on a minor league deal. Thanks for everything Perk!

Releasing/Outrighting C Anthony Recker: I’m a bit confused on this one. I remember I looked a couple of weeks ago and so him on the 40 man roster and thought “what the hell?”. I now see that he refused assignment to the minors and is a free agent as of October 10th. However, I also see that he was outrighted in late July so not sure if he was even on the 40 man anymore. Either way, he no longer is on the 40 man and that is a good thing.

Hiring Garvin Alston as Pitching Coach: I had never heard his name before the hire. I was someone that was all in on the Maddux or Hickey train. I don’t know if either of them even had interest or if Alston was the guy all along. Either way, I give the benefit of the doubt to Falvey and Levine because I think they have earned it based on the hires of Rowson and Pickler last season. They’ve also brought in John Manuel from Baseball America, Daniel Adler from the NFL, and Jeremy Zoll from the Dodgers. All of these hires are very impressive and show that the rest of the baseball community is buying into the future of the Twins. Honestly, if Terry Ryan had made the hire of Garvin Alston I would not have given him the benefit of the doubt, but Falvine have earned our patience and trust thus far.

Lost Bench Coach Joe Vavra to the Detroit Tigers: Gardy is getting the old band back together in Detroit!! Best of luck to Joe, but I have a feeling the Twins will be fine with out him.

Outrighting Niko Goodrum: I’m not sure he is a big leaguer. One of those guys that didn’t progress through the system as hoped. He was a given to be removed from the 40 man.

Lost Randy Rosario & Daniel Palka on Waivers: Both of these guys were borderline 40 man roster candidates and that in and of itself diminishes any trade value they might have had. It would have been nice to sneak them through waivers, but I didn’t expect that to happen. If it did, both would have been strong candidates to be lost in the Rule 5 draft anyways.

Lost Nik Turley on Waivers: Never has had a long term future with the club

Outrighting Chris Gimenez: In my initial blueprint, I had the Twins tendering him and starting the season with him on the 25 man roster. But I do get the move. Gimenez appears to be a great guy and was an above average backup catcher last season. Wish him nothing but the best and I’m sure most Twins fans feel the same.

Outrighting Ryan O’Rourke: O’Rourke is another player that I initially kept on my 40 man roster, although not the opening day 25 man roster. I thought that he would be kept around and given another chance as a loogie. But again, I get the move and am not all that upset, especially if the Twins feel they can add and better utilize his 40 man spot and maybe keep him on a minor league deal.

Hire Bench Coach Derek Shelton: I don’t know anything about him besides his background, but Falvey and Levine again will get my trust on this.

Future Predictions

(Where the Fun Starts)

40 Man Removals:
The Twins had 45 guys that would fall on the 40 man roster at the end of the season. This includes the guys they have on the 60 DL that will need to either be added to the 40 man, passed through waivers, or removed from the Organization all together.

Glen Perkins & Bartolo Colon Retire: I addressed Perkins already, but I do believe that both him and Bartolo will retire. Bartolo has said he would like to pitch, and if he does that is great, just not with the Twins. I thought it was very fun having Bartolo around and he was deserving of being in the 2017 Twins rotation. 45 year old Bartolo Colon should not sniff the field for the Twins in 2018.

Dillon Gee & Hector Santiago Depart Via Free Agency: Santiago is all but gone at this point. After a great April, he was awful and then was hurt. Seems like a nice enough guy, but him signing with a different teams would be best for both parties. I thought Gee pitched well for the Twins, but the Twins should look to upgrade there bullpen and hopefully fill it out with the young talent we’ve heard about for 3 years that they have coming. If they swing and miss in Free Agency, I could see them circling back on Gee, but that means a couple of things went wrong.

Waive / DFA / Outright the Following Players (I can’t remember what means what):

Buddy Boshers: Been used as a lefty because of a lack of options elsewhere in the organization. That should change with likely one free agent lefty coming in, and Tyler Jay ascending.
Michael Tonkin: It has already happened to him once this year, seems inevitable.
Phil Hughes: He is a sunk cost and I would have no problem cutting bait. No team will claim him and his contract, so why waste a 40 man spot on him? You could always keep him, put him on the DL to start the season, then add him back to the 40 man when ready. This front office is keen on roster manipulation and DFA’ing Phil Hughes would allow for the Twins to protect one extra player from the Rule 5 Draft.

Salaries are from MLB Trade Rumors Projections**

3B/SS/2B Eduardo Escobar – Tender @ $4.9 M. Escobar is the easiest decision in arbitration. He has proven two separate times that he is more than capable of stepping in as an everyday player if needed. Plus, we’ve learned that he is much better defensively at third base than he was at shortstop. Sano is headed towards surgery, and Eduardo Escobar provides excellent insurance at that position and can also play shortstop and second base if needed. He is another great clubhouse guy that gives a team excellent production as a utility infielder.

SP Kyle Gibson – Tender @ $5.3 M. In July it looked like there was 0 chance Gibson would be back in 2018. Now, at the very least the Twins have to tender him as he has become an asset with some value. I’m perfectly fine with the team going in with him as the 5th starter or even trying him out in a bullpen role. However, my number 1 choice would be to shop Kyle Gibson and see if you can sell somewhat high on him. He has two years of arbitration left. In the second half Gibson had an ERA of 3.76, an xFIP of 3.63, and 8.22 K/9. His strong numbers were actually backed up by strong peripherals, which could mean that he has turned a corner and is just a late bloomer. I think it is more likely that he pitched a little over his head in the second half and the Twins would be wise to see what value he has.

SS/2B/LF – Ehire Adrianza – Tender @ $1.0 M. Adrianza was an excellent find by Falvey and Levine. Only 5 years removed from being a top 5 prospect in a strong Giants system, Adrianza is a plus defender with a lot of versatility. He also proved he can hit last season. He is a no brainer for the Twins at $1 Million and they are fortunate to have him under control for the next 3 seasons.

RP Ryan Pressly – Tender @ $1.6 M. Like Gibson, Pressly is another guy that saved his 2018 spot by a strong second half in 2017. Looking at the direction of the bullpen, there likely will only be room for 1 of him and Duffey, and while Duffey was unusable down the stretch, Pressly looked like he was back in peak form. I think you have to bring him back at $1.6 Million and hope his second half carries over into 2018. If it doesn’t, the Twins can always cut bait midseason at that low of a number.

OF/DH Robbie Grossman – Tender @ $2.4 M & Trade. Grossman might not have a spot on the 2018 Twins, but I still think they have to tender him because he is enough of an asset that they shouldn’t just let him walk away. If the Twins can find a trade match, I think that they will definitely do it, or else he should be back as a bench bat.

SP Trevor May – Tender @ $0.6 M. There is a lot of unknown here with May coming off of Tommy John Surgery. But all signs point to him competing for a rotation spot again and I know that Twins fans are very curious to see him get a chance in the rotation again. If he can regain his 2015 form, he should be a solid #3 or #4 starter. May isn’t really all that interesting for a tender vs. non-tender perspective as he is a lock at this low of a number, but he is very interesting from the standpoint of potential role and production come 2018.
Trade Kennys Vargas Rights to Korea: I’ve heard rumors about this and more likely than not Vargas is not back with the Twins next season. I’m not sure exactly how this type of thing works, but Korea could be a logical path for Vargas. If he has any value on the trade market, I’d like to see the Twins explore that path as well.

Trade SS/2B Nick Gordon, RHP Felix Jorge, RHP Kohl Stewart, and OF LaMonte Wade to the Pirates for SP Gerrit Cole: Honestly I have no clue if this would be enough to get Gerrit Cole from Pittsburgh. I guess there is truly no way of knowing because we don’t know what the market will dictate. Sometimes I feel as if this is a lot to give up for two years of Cole, and other times I feel like it wouldn’t be enough. So I go back and forth. What I do know is that the Twins should seriously consider acquiring Gerrit Cole or Chris Archer. I would think that Nick Gordon would be an appropriate headliner for either deal, and there is enough potential in Wade, Jorge, and Stewart that I think that alone is an enticing package. The Twins will not (and should not) be offering 7 years and $150 million for Yu Darvish or Jake Arrieta. So the only ways they are going to truly bolster the rotation is via development and trades. This would still leave Romero and Gonsalves knocking on the doors, and give the Twins a legitimate looking rotation that could contend.
Would this be enough to get Cole? Would you do it or does it shorten the Twins window too much? Interested to hear your thoughts

Trade OF/DH Robbie Grossman & RHP Tyler Duffey to the Rays for LHP Resly Linares: I don’t know how much value Grossman and Duffey have on the market. I would likely tender Grossman, but shop him to see if we could get something for him. When it comes to Duffey, there is no way that both him and Pressly are back for the Twins. They would just be taking up spots that could be better occupied by guys like Reed, Jay, Burdi, etc. I think Pressly played his way into one more shot while Duffey played his way out of one. On the flip side, both Duffey and Grossman have had success as big leaguers for the Twins. Duffey was the Twins best starter during the playoff push of 2015 and Grossman has been a competent player that gets on base at a very high clip. I would guess if either is traded, it would be for young lottery type pitching. Linares is an intriguing lefty prospect in the Rays system who is not super highly regarded, but could be a lottery ticket type of guy. And hey, Robbie hit a homer in Tampa this year so maybe they like him. Yes I am grasping at straws as people rarely report on Robbie Grossman steam. Long story short, I don’t see Duffey and Grossman back, but I wouldn’t just give both of them away.
Free Agency Signings:
Resign RP Matt Belisle to a 1 year, $4 million contract: I would be fine with Matt Belisle coming back as the teams 4th or 5th reliever next season. He was very good down the stretch and apparently had a good impact behind the scenes. That being said, if someone offers him 2 years and $10 million, I tell him thank you for everything he did and good luck. But if the Twins can get him on a 1 year, $3 to 5 million deal, I think he is worth bringing back, but not a top priority.

Sign RP Wade Davis to a 5 year, $77 million contract: I know this would be very Un-Twins like. But I think they at least need to look into make a run at Wade Davis. They could probably get him right at $15 a year if you are willing to throw in a 5th year (Age 36 Season). I do it if it stays under 5 and $80. If the market inflates over that, I back away. Making a large investment in an elite reliever is a much better use of $15 million than continually signing the Ricky Nolasco’s and Phil Hughes of the world. Davis would not block anyone in the bullpen, and he automatically gives the Twins a lockdown anchor that they would need for the foreseeable future. If the last couple of postseasons have taught us anything, it is that a lockdown relief pitcher is a necessity now (See Chapman, Miller, Davis circa 2015, Jansen, etc.) to compete in the postseason. The Twins have a few darts like Jay, Burdi, and Reed that could hit the big leagues soon, but they are all far from a sure thing and why not add one guy who is exactly that for the next 5 years that the Twins plan to compete?

Sign RP Jake McGee to a 3 Year, $18 million contract: This move, or a move like this, will almost certainly happen for the Twins this offseason. They will likely find someone in the Addison Reed, Jake McGee, Bryan Shaw category of 7th to 8th inning guys and give them 3 years at $5 to $8 million a year. I like McGee in part because he is a lefty, and the Twins have been extra thin there. McGee also has had a consistent track record and tends to fly under the national spotlight. This is another spot where the market could dictate who the Twins turn too, but expect a move of this ilk this no matter what else they do.

Sign OF/DH Jose Bautista to a 1 Year, $6 million contract: Let’s finally get Joey Bats to Target Field in a home uniform. While there is evidence that he might in fact be cooked, to me he would be worth a flier to see if he could stick at DH. Bautista solves a couple of problems for the Twins in a potential low risk, high reward deal. The Twins could stand to add a right handed bat and a DH who mashes. The worst that could happen is Bautista hits .190 in April in May and the Twins DFA him and cut their losses. However, if Bautista somehow finds his groove again, the Twins lineup could look extra deadly. Plus, Bautista won’t need to hit cleanup and he’d likely be the 6 or 7 hitter. If Bautista somehow can land a deal for $12 to $15 million, then the Twins can shut down my long-time dream. There are a lot of guys that could come in with a similar role as this like Napoli, Mark Reynolds, Lucas Duda, etc.

40 Man Roster Additions:
1B Lewin Diaz
LHP Stephen Gonsalves
RHP Zack Littell
LHP Lewis Thorpe
RHP Nick Burdi
RHP Jake Reed
RHP Luke Bard
LHP Mason Melotakis

Gonsalves, Diaz, Littell, and Thorpe are all legitimate prospects with a lot of value that are virtual locks to be added. I think Bard, Reed, and Burdi would all get selected in the rule 5 draft. All 3 could contribute to the Twins in 2018. I’m admittedly higher on Burdi than most still are, because I think the ceiling could be ridiculous. But it would be extremely easy for a team to hide him this year as he returns from Tommy John surgery. They could just stash him on the DL, and not have to return him to the Twins. I am not giving up on Burdi until after we see him pitch in a Twins uniform. Unfortunately, that might be late 2018 at the earliest. I am a bit surprised we didn’t see both Reed and Bard in 2017 with all the relievers the Twins went through. Like Burdi, I would like to see them as major league options for 2018. Reed and Bard throw mid 90’s, while Burdi throws in the upper 90’s. All have a strong track record of missing bats (Although Reed doesn’t have the powerful K numbers of the other two). These are the types of guys the Twins will want to keep around and build a future bullpen off of. I would also add Melotakis to round out the 40 man. He should get a shot at some point, and I’m giving him the nod over Buddy Boshers for now.

Opening Day 25 Man Roster
RHP Gerrit Cole - $7.5 M
RHP Jose Berrios - $0.55 M
RHP Ervin Santana - $13.5 M
RHP Kyle Gibson - $5.3M
RHP Trevor May - $0.6 M
Total: $27.45 M

RHP Wade Davis - $15.4 M
LHP Jake McGee - $6.0 M
RHP Trevor Hildenberger - $0.55 M
LHP Taylor Rogers - $0.55 M
RHP Matt Belisle - $4.0 M
RHP Ryan Pressly - $1.6 M
RHP Alan Busenitz - $0.55 M
Total: $28.65 M

1 CF Byron Buxton - $0.56 M
2 1B Joe Mauer - $23.0 M
3 2B Brian Dozier - $9.0 M
4 3B Miguel Sano - $0.6 M
5 LF Eddie Rosario - $0.58 M
6 SS Jorge Polanco - $0.55 M
7 DH Jose Bautista - $6.0 M
8 RF Max Kepler - $0.55 M
9 C Jason Castro - $8.5 M
Total: $49.34 M

C/1B/LF Mitch Garver - $0.55 M
SS/2B/LF Ehire Adrianza - $1.0 M
3B/2B/SS Eduardo Escobar - $4.9 M
OF Zack Granite - $0.55 M
Total: $7.00 M

SP Phil Hughes - $13.2 M
1B Byung Ho Park - $3.0 M
Total: $16.2 M

Total Salary for Opening Day 25 Man Roster: $128.72 M

I really don’t think that $129 M in payroll is some absurd unreachable number for the Twins, especially with potentially $50 M coming off next offseason. $129 M is under the average salary in baseball and would have ranked 17th in major league baseball last season. Not ridiculous or out of the question for a mid market team like the Twins, and they are not committed to big money long-term deals to anyone besides Wade Davis

Remaining 40 Man Roster
LHP Adalberto Mejia
LHP Stephen Gonsalves
LHP Dietrich Enns
RHP Aaron Slegers
LHP Gabriel Moya
LHP Lewis Thorpe
RHP Fernando Romero
RHP John Curtiss
RHP Nick Burdi
RHP Luke Bard
RHP Zack Littell
LHP Mason Melotakis
RHP Jake Reed
RHP J.T. Chargois
1B Lewin Diaz

A lot of pitchers, I know. I don’t see a ton of position players in the system that the Twins need to add to the 40 man and protect. I think at some point there will be another move to add a couple of position players early in the season.

Top Prospects Going into the season / 2018 Starting Level / ETA
1. SS Royce Lewis – A – 2020
2. LHP Stephen Gonsalves – AAA – 2018
3. RHP Fernando Romero – AAA – 2018
4. 1B/OF Brent Rooker – A+ – 2019
5. SS Wander Javier – Rk – 2021
6. OF Alex Kirilloff – Rk – 2020
7. RHP Blayne Enlow – Rk – 2021
8. 1B Lewin Diaz – A+ – 2019
9. LHP Tyler Jay – AAA – 2018
10. RHP Brusdar Graterol – Rk – 2021

2018 Next guys called up Pecking order / ETA

1. LHP Adalberto Mejia: Mejia has almost a full year of MLB experience under his belt now. At times it was clear that he was not ready for it yet, but all and all had a lot of positives in his rookie season. Under my projected roster, they wouldn’t have a roster spot for Mejia, and that is okay. There is nothing wrong with Mejia getting more seasoning in Rochester and then coming back to the big leagues at some point during the season. They second the Twins need a spot start, an injury to a pitcher occurs, or the bullpen gets overused, Mejia will be the first call up.
ETA: April

2. RHP John Curtiss: Saw limited action last season, but if he continues to pitch well as the closer in Rochester, he will inevitably bang on the door of the bullpen at Target Field.
ETA: April

3. RHP J.T. Chargois: He would be higher up if I knew what was going on with this injury he has. I hope for his sake he is able to get healthy because he certainly has the stuff to be part of the future of the Twins bullpen.
ETA: May

4. LHP Stephen Gonsalves: This will depend on two things:
1. How well Gonsalves pitches in AAA to begin the season. He pitched alright there to finish 2017, but one horrendous outing has skewed his end numbers.
2. What ends up happening with the Twins rotation. This will determine when an opportunity is available. There are many unknowns in the rotation, and my guess is that the front office has a process mapped out of when they want Gonsalves to be in the MLB.
I see Gonsalves pitching in the rotation by the midway point of the season.
ETA: June

5. RHP Jake Reed: Reed has had an excellent minor league track record outside of 2015 in Chattanooga where he struggled in his promotion. He doesn’t necessarily have as high of a ceiling as Jay and Burdi, but he might be the safer bet and deserves a chance.
ETA: June

6. RHP Nick Burdi: I feel like this is the third year in a row that I’ve predicted Nick Burdi will be a Twin by July. I should probably stop doing that. Admittedly, I’m not too sure on the timeline of his Tommy John Surgery. Of course he will need to throw well in the minors, and also come back from the surgery well to be in a position to be with the team this season. I could be overly optimistic on Burdi, as I’ve been known to be in the past. I could also be completely wrong about a realistic timeline in the return from Tommy John Surgery. I am very optimistic about his ceiling and potential, and just hope he can stay healthy for a couple of years to continue to develop.
ETA: July

7. LHP Dietrich Enns: Enns had a cup of coffee with the Twins last season in Milwaukee. It was a short start, but didn’t go horribly, just a high pitch count. He’ll be 27 in May, so it would be logical to think that this will be the year that the Twins want to see what they have with him over an extended period, and if he is worth a 40 man spot next season. I don’t have deep knowledge of his stuff, but I would think his ceiling is a #5 starter or a good 6th to 7th inning guy.
ETA: July

8. RHP Luke Bard: I’m very curious about Bard. I know he was a comp round A pick in 2012 and was set back by injuries. What is so impressive about him is his massive jump in strikeouts with 99 in 65.1 innings between AA and AAA this last season. Could this be that he has figured something out? I think it is worth finding out. He certainly was drafted in a high position with potential.
ETA: August

9. LHP Tyler Jay: He was the number 5 pick just two and a half years ago, and his stock has dipped because of his move to the bullpen. But he has a chance to be a very good reliever one day and it would be a lot of fun to see him come on strong again this year and play his way into the Twins bullpen down the stretch. He was promising in the fall league at times, but his numbers are skewed by two very bad outings. Like I have been with Burdi, I might be too optimistic by saying he has a chance to be a part of the bullpen for the stretch run in 2018, but he will be 24 in April and provided he stays healthy, should progress nicely in the minor leagues.
ETA: September

10. RHP Fernando Romero: Romero will be 23 and looks to have conquered AA. It will be interesting to see how he fairs in AAA this season. If he performs well, we could see him by mid summer. Out of all the Twins pitchers in the system, he probably has the most ace type stuff. I think we see him at some point in 2018, but to be safe I am saying he is a September call-up.
ETA: September

We will also likely see the following players at some point in 2018:
LHP Mason Melotakis, RHP Aaron Slegers, LHP Gabriel Moya, RHP Phil Hughes, and DH/1B Byung Ho Park
Moves I didn’t make but would explore:
Trade for Kelvin Herrera: In my very first blueprint, I have the Twins trading for Kelvin Herrera. However, I ended up taking it off because there is so much uncertainty there. How is his forearm? He seemed to struggle down the stretch (especially against the Twins). What would it take to get Herrera? On one hand, I would think he would require a pretty good return based on his track record over the years. But he is also a one year rental due $8 million and an injury concern. Would the Royals take a Brandon Kintzler return type prospect plus a Kennys Vargas for him? Or would they aim higher? Could they want to hold onto him to reestablish some of his value and then shop him at the deadline? It is also tough with the Royals being in the division. Overall, I am just way too uncertain about the return he would command, and it would take away $8 million of spending money for the Twins. But hey, they paid Hector Santiago $8 million last season and nobody seemed to care. Bottom line: I would like to see the Twins explore the reliever trade market this offseason, and Herrera could be a candidate if the demand isn’t too high and the Royals are fully ready to rebuild and cut money.

Extensions, Extensions, Extensions: I also am pretty unsure on what fair value is on these extensions, but I would explore them on many guys. I found it really interesting the extensions that Seth posted in his offseason blueprint. I remember thinking that I would do every one of those. I don’t think it is realistic that they are able to get them all done. But a doing a couple of them would be nice, specifically because they could extend there window beyond the 4 years they have of team control with there most crucial pieces. Buxton, Sano, and Berrios would be at the top of the list for me in this process. I think Buxton being the top priority would be pretty commonly agreed upon by Twins fans. Berrios is unique because he does have 5 years of team control left, so the deal would likely be for 7 or 8 years, which would be a lot of term for a young pitcher. I would still approach his representatives about it. The next tier would be Kepler, Rosario, and Polanco. Polanco also has 5 years, and I think there is a lot of uncertainty still surrounding him. I don’t think after the next 3 years he is the shortstop anymore, and he may end of being a trade chip somewhere down the road. Rosario has proven to be unreliable at times but an MVP caliber player at other times. We still aren’t sure if Kepler will be more than a platoon type player. So there is certainly risk involved, but I would consider all three of those guys because in order for the Twins to be a championship contender someday, the secondary guys will have to be solid contributors as well. In a separate category I put both Brian Dozier and Joe Mauer. The Twins would be smart to explore both trading Dozier and extending him. If the Twins can get him slightly below market value for 4 more years ($60 million or so), they should. But I also feel comfortable going into the season with him, and extending him the qualifying offer next season knowing that Polanco, Javier, Lewis, (and Gordon if my trade doesn’t work out) are all going to factor into the infield equation someday. In terms of Joe Mauer, maybe they offer him a 2 year team friendly extension, but I might be more inclined to wait on that with Brent Rooker waiting in the wings and Sano’s potentially switch to first base at some point.

Trade Questions - Explore the Trade Value on Anyone Not Named Buxton, Sano, or Berrios
- Is there a team that will give up a ton for one year of Brian Dozier?
- Can Nick Gordon be the center of a deal to land an ace? (See above trade)
- Could either Polanco or Rosario be used to upgrade pitching, and then be replaced via free agency?
- Do you sell high on Eduardo Escobar or Kyle Gibson for bullpen help or young pitching?
- Can Robbie Grossman or Kennys Vargas net a lottery ticket pitcher? (See above trade)
- Does Ervin Santana garner a younger, higher ceiling pitcher that is major league ready?
- Are there any prospects that another team values much more than the Twins do?

Thank you to anyone who has gotten this far in reading. I’ve been casually working on this blueprint ever since the Twins season ended and have amended it as the early off-season moves have come in. Overall, I think the Twins have a lot of opportunities this offseason and feel more confident than ever that the front office will be active. That doesn’t necessarily mean that they will make a ton of aggressive moves, but I think they will be in the conversation for some guys that the Twins might not have sniffed around in the Terry Ryan regime. It should be a great future, and has been a heck of a turnaround from 12 months ago when I posted a blueprint essentially telling the Twins to tear the whole damn thing down.

  • Cory Engelhardt, NoCryingInBaseball, howieramone2 and 3 others like this

Actually like most of what you've put down here, though iffy on Bautista. I would so no to Davis, but yes to someone like Reed or Shaw. Still an upgrade, but for not the same money. And I'd see Mejia over May to begin the season. May might need time to regain his feel and that's OK. Experienced now, with solid stuff, I'd see Mejia over May. And no room for Belisle with the other signings and other arms available, and again, some financial savings.
    • d-mac likes this
Nov 07 2017 10:44 AM

This is really well done. TD just took a step forward.

    • d-mac likes this

Uffdah, and I thought my blueprint was detailed... this is impressive!! Thank you for sharing this!

    • Kevin and d-mac like this

A very well thought out blueprint. Enjoyed reading your work. 

I'm iffy on Bautista as well, as I'd think a guy like Mike Napoli via FA or Carlos Santana via trade would make more sense, as both a player and a clubhouse guy to teach the youngsters how to win at this level.


Nov 08 2017 08:52 PM
I love this blueprint! Finally someone else on the Cole train!!! I don’t believe adding to the bottom of the rotation does any good other than strapping us to a 35 year old overpaid has been. We need to trade for someone to put at the top or near the top who’s not in decline 30’s mode. I was going with Gordon, Romero, Thorpe and Wade for Cole. Maybe add another wildcard piece. I keep Stewart. Romero seems like a liriano ready to breakdown after a stellar mlb debut. Love this blueprint though. This is one of 2 offseasons the Twins need to make real strides to keep the ball rolling forward.
Tom Froemming
Nov 09 2017 08:27 AM

This is great.


I know he's on the decline, but I still think Bautista would make a ton of sense, especially on a one-year deal. Even in a down year he had a walk rate of 12.2% and averaged 4.35 pitches/plate appearance, which was the sixth in all of baseball (right behind Mauer).


Toronto gave him 686 PAs last year. If used a bit more sparingly, could he have a Thome-esque renaissance season? Maybe that's too much to ask, but I certainly agree that Bautista represents a low-risk, potentially high-reward option.

Nov 09 2017 10:07 AM

This board was formed during the down cycle. Now that we're in the up cycle the board is starting to attract the best and the brightest.