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2019 Off-Season Plan - Free Agency

Posted by butterspud , 24 October 2018 · 1,180 views

2019 Off-Season Plan - Free Agency Hey Everyone,
What a disappointing 2018 season. Besides a couple bright spots like Mauer's send off, Jake Cave, and deadline trades to bolster our prospect lot (minus the Pressly trade), games and news were tough to follow religiously for even the biggest Twins fans. But, the bright spot is it's the off-season now and the Twins are loaded with an arsenal of assets to make a little noise with. As I stated last year in my 2018 edition I've done research on our needs and the free agent and trade candidates (2019 trade edition will be posted desperately) that are real possibilities to fill those needs.

So, here we go.

Needs:
Relief Pitcher
Second Baseman
Designated Hitter
First Baseman
Starting Pitcher?
Catcher?

In house options to fill needs:

RH Relief Pitcher:
1. Trevor May (Dark Horse candidate to turn into something truly special out of the bullpen if he is and can stay healthy)
2. Addison Reed (I am and always will be an Addison Reed apologist, give the guy a break. He struggled with lingering injuries the whole year and of course he wasn't 100% all the time. He doesn't have to be the closer but he's still a valuable piece to have in a bullpen.)
3. Trevor Hildenberger (Struggled in the last few months of the season but I blame some of his struggles on when he was utilized by Molitor so I would give him a spot in the bullpen on opening day)
4. Tyler Duffey/ Alan Busenitz/ Zack Littell/ John Curtiss (A good amount of these guys have had every chance to show they are not AAAA players and can make positive contributions to an MLB team but the clock is running on them and I don't trust them on any contending team. Littell still deserves a shot to figure out if he's going to be a starter or reliever)

LH Relief Pitcher:
This is the first year in a long time I've felt like the Twins don't need to add a LH Reliever
1. Taylor Rogers (This guy has some magic in him and the next step is just finding consistency in his appearances which he really showed flashes of at the end of 2018)
2. Gabriel Moya (Man, isn't he an enigma. The kid has a wacky way of pitching and it works for him most of the time but then you get the 3,4,5 ER innings and you just scratch your head. He's only 23 and if he starts in AAA I'll understand but he's earned more looks from the MLB staff)

Second Baseman:
1. Jorge Polanco ("Wait What?!? He's a shortstop" I've heard that from my friends but no he isn't a natural SS and shouldn't be our starter there and I'll explain later in the wishlist portion.)
2. Nick Gordon (So much promise...how long have we had the feeling that he was gonna crack into the MLB lineup and then 2018 happened. I'm hoping the low numbers were an anomaly but everything about his struggles are concerning and Gordon needs to recognize that this off-season)
3. Ehire Adrianza (He's listed here because he can technically play 2B and pretty well but he's going to be a super utility player and should be. Who knows maybe you get a poor man's Eduardo Escobar performance out of him)

Designated Hitter:
1. Miguel Sano: (Who knows what the Twins will do with Sano. The best plan in my mind is to use him as a 1B/DH but he can't play if he's gonna strike out at the rate he has. I mean really....just make contact please!)
2. Tyler Austin: (Austin has the same issue attached to him as Sano. He's shown flashes in a Twins uniform but if he's going to be a reliable 1B/DH the strikeout numbers will have to take a dip)

First Baseman:
1. Tyler Austin (See above)
2. Miguel Sano (See above)
3. Mitch Garver (We'll see what happens with Castro because Garver has and should be groomed to be a catcher but Garver's bat needs to be in the lineup somewhere)

Catcher?
*This all depends on Castro's health*
1. Jason Castro (Never been a huge fan of him because of his sub-par bat but he was signed to be our starting catcher and should have claim over the position because of his defensive abilities)
2. Mitch Garver (See above)
3. Willians Astudillo (Feel good story, the guy was legit in September but do we really think that's sustainable? I hope he proves me wrong but at best he's a backup catcher in this league)

Starting Pitcher?
*Every year it seems like the Twins could use a starter but maybe not as bad this year. Only need is for a real ace*
1. Jose Berrios
2. Jake Odorizzi
3. Kyle Gibson
4. Michael Pineda (He is going to be interesting to watch this year. I hope that year off gave him enough time to get back to form but the truth is you don't know what you're going to get out of him. Just ask the Yankees)
5. Fernando Romero (In my opinion, he should have locked down that 5 spot for the rest of the year after we knew we weren't going to contend but I understand you wanna see what you have from the farm)
6. Gonsalves, Stewart, Littell, Mejia, Slegers (These guys should have serious chances in the spring to take a rotation spot. There's a lot of talent in this crop now it's just turning talent into results. My prediction would be that Mejia keeps it rolling in the spring and really pushes the front office to make a decision on him.)

Realistic Free Agent Wishlist (In order):

RH Reliever:
1. Kelvin Herrera*** (Okay, he had a down year in Kelvin Herrera terms but you don't pass up on a guy who can hit upper 90's, has closing experience, and has already played in cold weather regularly (Royals). Herrera should be our opening day closer.) Prediction: 2 yr deal/ $20-24 Million
2. Zach Britton (The guy is iffy after TJ surgery but the Yankees/Orioles already ate his recovery and rehabilition year so why wouldn't we take advantage of his back to form years. Could be used as a closer but I like him as a setup guy in front of Herrera. We'll just see if he agrees with me on that logic. Being apart of a super bullpen seems to sell these days) Prediction: 2 yrs/ $18-26 Million
3. Adam Ottavino (Ottavino was a complete stud for Colorado last year and seems to be fine not being the set closer, instead being utilized in high leverage situations. I think the big fish will have to sign before he does which means there will be less cash on the table from competing teams) Prediction: 2 yrs/ $16 Million
4. Jeurys Familia (Familia has character issues in his past but this front office has been willing to work with character issues based on the theory, results on the field will outweigh it) 3 yrs/ $15-19 Million
5. Jesse Chavez (Really made a name for himself in Chicago, could be a guy you sign for 1 year who securely locks down those innings when the starter struggles and has to leave) Prediction: 1 yr/$4 - 5 Million
6. Tyler Clippard (This one might cause a debate but Clippard is one of those guys who shows flashes of his Washington days and has proven there still is something left in the tank at points. Not a bad idea to pick up a lottery ticket on him and make him prove that he still has it) Prediction: 1 yr/ $1-2 Million

LH Reliever:
1. Justin Wilson (I don't believe the Twins need a LH pitcher in the bullpen right now but if there was a guy I'd be okay with signing it would be Wilson. He's got a simple delivery with movement that has proven to get hitters out. Nothing we don't have right now but he would still be a slight upgrade in this category) Prediction: 2 yr/ $10 Million
Update: 2. Tony Sipp (this one might cause some controversy because of his scary track record but if the Twins were to add a lefty in free agency I would support giving Sipp a shot with an invite to spring training) 1 yr/ Minor League Deal (with invite)
3. Possible Rule 5 Pick (worth a shot to pick up a lottery ticket and try him out as the team decides if they are real contenders or still a year or two away)

Second Baseman/Shortstop (In the event of Polanco moving to 2B)
1. Jose Iglesias*** (The Twins should be calling his agent right after they get off the phone with Herrera. He's proven to be an above average shortstop with great defensive play and a bat that can get hot. This would also provide Polanco with an opportunity to finally play 2B where his arm and glove ability fit best. He's nothing crazy special but if you can get him to agree to a deal that holds up until Royce Lewis is ready then it's worth it. But, it won't come extremely cheap) Prediction: 3 yr/ $24 Million
2. Logan Forsythe (For all we know Forsythe enjoyed his time in Minnesota and would welcome an opportunity to come back. He's not Dozier when Dozier could rake but he's still a decent bat to have in the lineup that could hit .270 if he's on) Prediction: 2 yr/ $14-18 Million
3. Jed Lowrie (Lowrie surprised everyone and was a formidable second baseman this year in Oakland. He's getting old and will probably receive a lot of 1 year offers from teams and if the Twins win that bid I wouldn't complain)
Prediction: 1 yr/ $8-10 Million

Designated Hitter:
1. Nelson Cruz*** (He might pick retirement over the Twins but he's got a tremendous bat for someone who's 38. You always know what you're going to get out of him when he's healthy .250-.270 BA with 30-40 HRs. He would also lock down the DH spot for a year so you can decide what you want to do with Sano. He is what I hope Sano's ceiling still is) Prediction: 1 yr/ $12 Million
2. Evan Gattis (It might be worth taking a shot on him in hopes he finds his Atlanta groove again. Plus he hits with no batting gloves and looks like a lumberjack with a great personality. Not the best move we could make but he would be fun to watch) Prediction: 1 yr/ $6 Million

First Baseman:
1. Lucas Duda (The best avenue of upgrading this position would be the trade market but if the front office doesn't believe in Tyler Austin I could see them kicking the tires on Duda. He is Austin just older though so I don't think it would be the best move they could make) Prediction: 1 yr/ $4-6 Million

Catcher?
1. Jonathan Lucroy (If Levine and Falvey are going to open the wallet for a catcher I would be pushing for a decent veteran and that's what Lucroy is. It would raise questions about what to do after Castro's back and would be an automatic DFA for Astudillo but an opening day depth chart with Lucroy and Garver on it at C wouldn't be the worst thing in the world) Prediction: 2 yr/ $4-6 Million
2. Martin Maldonado (Maldonado is a spitting image of Castro with his lack of offense but great defensive play. Could be a good placeholder and eventual competition for Castro when he's back) 1 yr/ $3 million

Starting Pitcher?
1. Patrick Corbin (This is a bit of a dream because the Yankees seem to be all in on Corbin but, if we're going to add to the rotation it would have to come in the form of a guy with at least second starter stuff. Which means serious $$$ will have to be used) Prediction: 3 yr/ $55-60 million
2. Dallas Keuchel (Keuchel has lost a step from his Cy Young year but is still a hot commodity with second starter stuff and that means big market teams will be circling. Berrios and Keuchel at the top of the rotation would be nice for a few years though.) Prediction: 3 yr/ $54 Million
3. Gio Gonzalez (Gio is the only guy with 3rd starter stuff I'd feel okay with going all in on. He's got crazy breaking stuff and was a great pickup for Milwaukee at the waiver deadline. The ERA will probably be in the high 3's or low 4's but he has proven he can get outs and would be a good guy to follow Odorizzi and lead Gibson with in a series) 1 yr/ $12 million

That's my 2019 free agent wish list. If the Twins can get some pieces out of this list I think it will surprise many people how close we could actually be to looking like the 2017 team and dare I say maybe even better.

Thanks for reading and please comment below with your own reactions. I enjoy reading them.

  • MN_ExPat likes this



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ChrisKnutson
Oct 24 2018 09:30 PM
Great analysis of the FA market, but when it comes to the relief pitching market, I’d rather take a chance on Cody Allen having a bounce back year, and Joe Kelly having a breakout year, rather than signing Familia, Britton, or even Herrera (his past elbow issues scare me).
    • butterspud likes this

I was gonna add Cody Allen but I figured the money he'll demand could be allocated among 2 players instead of one. Trying to get the most value and depth for the least amount of money.

Nice analysis of the FA market, but when when it comes to the relief pitching market, I’d rather take a chance on Cody Allen having a bounce back year, and Joe Kelly having a breakout year, rather than signing Familia, Britton, or even Herrera (his past elbow issue scare me).

 

    • ChrisKnutson likes this
Addison Reed throws RIGHT HANDED.
    • tarheeltwinsfan likes this
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LA VIkes Fan
Oct 25 2018 09:12 AM

I think this swhows that getting a Starting Pitcher will be almost impossible for the Twins. There will be too much competition for Corbin, Keuchel is too expensive for declining performance and it's hard to get excited about Gio Gonzalez. I think any SP upgrade is going to have to come from a trade or internal improvement. 

 

By the way, what's the situation in NY with Sonny Gray? He stunk last year but was good before that and may be one of those guys who doesn't do well in high pressure New York but could do well in lower pressure MN like he did in Oakland.He's only got a year of team control left so he shouldn't cost a king's ransom. Just a thought as a bounce back candidate.  

Derrick Holland had a great year for the San Francisco Giants.
    • ChrisKnutson likes this
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ChrisKnutson
Oct 25 2018 01:15 PM

I was gonna add Cody Allen but I figured the money he'll demand could be allocated among 2 players instead of one. Trying to get the most value and depth for the least amount of money.


You’re probably right, but I feel free agency could go either way for Allen, so if the opportunity presents itself we definitely should bring him to MN. Regardless, Joe Kelly should be our top priority when it comes to the relief pitching FA market.
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Kelly Vance
Oct 30 2018 12:13 PM

Glad no mention of Manny Machado.  He showed a lot of short comings in the Series.  

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Kelly Vance
Oct 30 2018 12:17 PM

I like both Allen and Kelly. 

Iglesias, yes please. Lucroy would solve a big problem. 

 

I think if we signed these four, it would look even better on the field than on paper

 

Herrera is risky, but its a high reward. 

    • ChrisKnutson likes this
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ChrisKnutson
Oct 30 2018 12:47 PM
Lowrie had a career year, so I really doubt he’d accept a 1 year contract unless the market forces him to. Regardless of price, I really hope the FO pushes hard for Lowrie because this team could really use his versatility with all the uncertainty surrounding the infield at the moment.
Hey, butterspud !!
Addison Reed throws RIGHT HANDED.
NOT Left Handed as you indicate.

Thank you for the reminder. Sorry must have had a brain slip while writing this as he is my favorite Twins reliever. Stupid of me lol

Addison Reed throws RIGHT HANDED.

 

 

I think this swhows that getting a Starting Pitcher will be almost impossible for the Twins. There will be too much competition for Corbin, Keuchel is too expensive for declining performance and it's hard to get excited about Gio Gonzalez. I think any SP upgrade is going to have to come from a trade or internal improvement. 

 

By the way, what's the situation in NY with Sonny Gray? He stunk last year but was good before that and may be one of those guys who doesn't do well in high pressure New York but could do well in lower pressure MN like he did in Oakland.He's only got a year of team control left so he shouldn't cost a king's ransom. Just a thought as a bounce back candidate.  

I support taking a shot at Sonny Gray the only question is, is he worth having for a year blocking our many prospects that look like they're ready to prove if they can make it or break it. I believe the Gray interest will rise if we acquire players that make us contenders on paper.

 

Hey, butterspud !!
Addison Reed throws RIGHT HANDED.
NOT Left Handed as you indicate.

Thank you. As posted above I edited the post. Sorry for the slip up

 

Lowrie had a career year, so I really doubt he’d accept a 1 year contract unless the market forces him to. Regardless of price, I really hope the FO pushes hard for Lowrie because this team could really use his versatility with all the uncertainty surrounding the infield at the moment.

My reasoning behind predicting a 1 yr deal for Lowrie is based on the past years of free agency. FO's are getting smarter about giving out multi-year deals to older players who are predicted to decline and having giant fish in this years market taking up serious years and $$$ will almost guarantee that trend continues 

 

I like both Allen and Kelly. 

Iglesias, yes please. Lucroy would solve a big problem. 

 

I think if we signed these four, it would look even better on the field than on paper

 

Herrera is risky, but its a high reward. 

I'm fine with Allen and Kelly. Are they my favorites? No but having multiple options is essential in free agency and if that's what we end up with so be it. I agree with you about Lucroy and Iglesias. Herrera is worth every penny of risk. His injury concerns will only push his price south for that risk. Sign me up.

 

Glad no mention of Manny Machado.  He showed a lot of short comings in the Series.  

I'm on team "no Mauer size contracts" and we all know Machado is going to get that plus more. We are not the Yankees or Red Sox. Contracts like that will sink us.

 

Derrick Holland had a great year for the San Francisco Giants.

Sure. I've always been a fan of picking up veterans on minimum deals but if Holland wants something more you could be stuck with a Kevin Correia situation. I was 14 when that signing was made and I even knew it was utterly stupid.

 

You’re probably right, but I feel free agency could go either way for Allen, so if the opportunity presents itself we definitely should bring him to MN. Regardless, Joe Kelly should be our top priority when it comes to the relief pitching FA market.

Allen is worth a one year prove it deal I can agree with that but slow down and think about putting our heads together and signing Herrera and Allen...wow just got chills at the thought of a super bullpen in Minnesota. Watched some video on Joe Kelly as I wasn't very educated on him. I like what I see. Wonder if he'd take a two year deal for somewhere between 1-3 million less than Reed's making because of a weaker track record? What would your prediction be?