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Foot, Meet Throat: A 2020 Offseason Blueprint

Posted by TwinsO'Holic , 11 November 2019 · 2,219 views

offseason eddie rosario zack wheeler pitching
Foot, Meet Throat: A 2020 Offseason Blueprint In January 2019, Thad Levine answered a question at Twins Fest:

"The best time to acquire players of that magnitude is when your window to win is wide open, not when you got your fingers underneath the window and you're trying to jam the window open. I want to do it when we're projected to win the Central and we're ready to put our foot on someone's throat".


After a fantastic 2019 season ending in a disappointing fashion, Derek Falvey addressed the media and is quoted as saying "We're going to target impact pitching".

Well, time to put up or shut up, Falvine.

I put together what I believe should be a realistic outcome for the 2020 offseason based on the above statements from the front office.

1. Leave the historic 2019 offense alone

Posted Image

In this plan, I didn't change anything with the offense that set a MLB record for home runs. This includes picking up CJ Cron's option.

As long as the team is healthy, they should have no problem scoring runs. Maybe the biggest move was the one not made - trading Eddie Rosario.

I don't think the Twins (nor the fans) are going to like what the return for Rosario would be. Keeping the unofficial captain of this team intact will keep the offense rolling. Hopefully a healthy ankle will help him move around the outfield better improving on his down defensive metrics. I am hopeful Eddie might even take a step forward in 2020.

Screenshot 2019 11 11 At 7.58.36 PM


2. Beef up the bullpen

The one silver lining in the Sam Dyson injury is that the Twins were forced to use other arms in high leverage situations down the stretch. They discovered Tyler Duffey and Zack Littell could be solid pieces in late innings. Adding to an already promising mix with Will Harris (2/$16M contract) and Drew Pomeranz (2/$7mil contract) will give Rocco plenty of options in 2020.

Will Harris quitely had a 2019 season with a 1.50 ERA and 9.30 K/9 in 60 innings. Oh, and he has appeared in 23 postseason games - 12 of which came this year during the Astros World Series run. His age (35 on opening day) could be one cause for concern. A two year deal feels right, here.

Drew Pomeranz is an interesting one. An absolute disaster in 2018 and most of 2019 makes this signing questionable. However, 26 innings of lights out baseball in Milwaukee make it seem like there may be more potential here. He has increased his velocity after a permanent move to the bullpen, has always been lights out vs lefties, and now will be working with Wes Johnon. Sign. Me. Up.

Pair him with Taylor Rogers and we could be looking at a bullpen that is a nightmare for opposing managers playing matchups. Pomeranz would come at a discount, of course.

Bullpen


3. Sign a veteran backup catcher

Martin Maldonado makes some sense here as a backup. Very poor offensively but a solid backstop. I would be open to other options here, such as Jason Castro on a one year deal, but am thinking he would want a chance to start somewhere else. I know Anaheim needs a catcher

Bench


4. Go find an "ace" starter and keep Jake Odorizzi

Posted Image

OK, it's put up time, Falvine. Sign Zack Wheeler.

When you said "impact pitching" - this is what it means.

Not Kevin Correia or Mike Pelfrey which is some people's opinion of impact (*cough* Terry Ryan).

Go get us a guy that is equal to, or, with the potential to be better than Jose Berrios.

This free agent market is flush with solid top of the rotation targets that do not grow on trees, for the Minnesota farm system at least. I think Wheeler makes a lot of sense. A 5/$125M contract would be by far the biggest free agent contract in Twins history but, the time is now.

There is no excuse. Get. It. Done.

Zack Wheeler 2018-2019:

Innings: 377
ERA: 3.65
K/9: 8.9

Yeah, I'd take that in this rotation.

Other acceptable "ace" type pitchers - Gerrit Cole, Madison Bumgarner, Stephen Strasburg, or Hyun-jin Ryu

Also, depending on the outcome of Odorizzi and his qualifying offer, the Twins have to find a way to bring him back. If he rejects, they have the upper hand compared to other teams. A three year deal sounds about right. Plus, Jake likes it here. His kids are Vikings fans now. I pray for them.

5. Bring in a vet presence to stablize rotation


MLB.com reported thatCole Hamels is open to a one-year deal on a win now club.

Hey, Cole! Over here!

Come on out to Minnesota.

Bringing in a veteran like Cole with playoff experience (and a connection to Thad Levine, might I add) will stabalize the rotation and give a solid 4 starters to run train on the AL Central in the regular season, plus be ready for any October opposing matchup.

Hamels put up soild numbers as a Cub. He was lights out in the first half of 2019 but an injury derailed the mid point of his season, and it never really seemed like he recovered.

A 2020 rotation of:

1. Wheeler
2. Berrios
3. Odorizzi
4. Hamels
5. Dobnak/Graterol

Sounds like a winning recipe to me. A recipe that might not add up to 101 regular season wins again, but hey, it can't do worse in the playoffs!

*This was not a dare, @BaseballGods*

Rotation


Total payroll: $141.5 million

A Twins franchise record but very realistic. Anything lower than this, with the free agent pitching market as stacked as it is and a desperate need to fill the rotation, is an absolute insult to the fanbase.

The improbable 2019 Twins magic season captured fan interest in Minnesota again. We got a taste of playoff baseball at Target Field for the first time in 9 years and we want more. The window is wide open. It's time for the Pohlad's and the front office to honor their promises and give us a team to dream on in 2020.

Foot, meet throat.

Time to stomp on the competition in the AL central and get back to the playoffs.


2020 Twins Offseason Blueprint


  • brvama, dbminn and Tom Froemming like this



Would like a little bigger budget with more top end pitching, but seems about what the Twins would do.  

 

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TwinsO'Holic
Nov 12 2019 08:40 AM

I agree. I would love to see more investment in the rotation and bullpen for that matter. However, I really feel this scenario is realistic. As much as I would love to see a $150-$170M payroll, I just don't see it happening. This off season at least. 

One thing I like about a Cole signing is that it would be open in 21, thereby giving a one of our prospects a slot or another FA. This plan doesn’t jam the $$ or the prospects for future growth and gives us a very good team this year. 

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Nick Nelson
Nov 12 2019 10:29 AM

I love this plan. Realistic yet assertive. Great work! 

This plan is totally realistic and has as much chance to win in the playoffs as any other team. I hope this happens. Only way to make it better is to sign Strasburg or Garrit Cole on a contract they could opt out after 3 years.

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TwinsO'Holic
Nov 12 2019 12:49 PM

 

I love this plan. Realistic yet assertive. Great work! 

 

Thanks, Nick! I appreciate it. 

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TwinsO'Holic
Nov 12 2019 12:56 PM

That would be ideal. It would be nice to have that surefire #1 ace that can almost "guarantee" a win in a playoff game. Cole or Stras obviously fit that mold. Another option would be to try to improve the #5 spot in the rotation via trade and hope that guy can maybe have a ceiling as a #2 or #3. Maybe the Twins could target Jon Gray, Robbie Ray, or take a flier on Chris Archer if they believe there is untapped potential. For now, I kind of like the idea of leaving the #5 spot open and hope that Graterol can be an impact arm or who knows, maybe Balazovic is ready by Sep 2020. 

 

Either way, I am happy we are going into the off-season talking about playoff match-ups instead of hoping to even make the wildcard game. A fresh change of pace in Minnesota! 

This plan is totally realistic and has as much chance to win in the playoffs as any other team. I hope this happens. Only way to make it better is to sign Strasburg or Garrit Cole on a contract they could opt out after 3 years.

 

Very realistic and well done. Your numbers for Wheeler might be high, but they likely even out with your low estimates on Odo and Hamels.

 

I could see non-tendering Cron and bringing him back for a lesser amount. He was good until he got hurt. With your way, he is guaranteed to be back for only one year with no hard feelings.

 

If that's all the Pohlads put into the pot, there is no money for extensions.

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tony&rodney
Nov 12 2019 04:41 PM

Fair plan. The higher number for Wheeler would be offset by lower numbers for other starters. Pomeranz will get more but budget is in line. good job.

Add Alex Wood
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TwinsO'Holic
Nov 12 2019 10:02 PM

Yeah, for some reason I just feel that his market is going to be strong since more teams in theory will be in on Wheler than Cole or Stras. Anywhere in the $20-$25M range makes sense even though that might seem like overpaying. If Odorizzi rejects the QO, I think a 3 year deal in the $12-$15M range is in play. I'm with you on Hamels being low. I saw MLB TR projected a 2/$15M deal. But who knows, maybe we can put something together that is incentive loaded on a one year deal. 

 

With extensions, who knows, maybe they can get creative and push money out further. 

 

I think Berrios makes sense as an extension candidate. If we give him what the Phillies gave Aaron Nola (4/$45M) even that only bumps up our payroll to $148.25 - which is getting on the high side, but the Pohlad's can manage :) 

 

Very realistic and well done. Your numbers for Wheeler might be high, but they likely even out with your low estimates on Odo and Hamels.

 

I could see non-tendering Cron and bringing him back for a lesser amount. He was good until he got hurt. With your way, he is guaranteed to be back for only one year with no hard feelings.

 

If that's all the Pohlads put into the pot, there is no money for extensions.

 

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TwinsO'Holic
Nov 12 2019 10:04 PM

Thank you! Pomeranz's market will be interesting. With not as many free agent relievers as last offseason, teams might overpay for his 26 innings of solid pitching. I could definitely see that. 

Fair plan. The higher number for Wheeler would be offset by lower numbers for other starters. Pomeranz will get more but budget is in line. good job.

 

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TwinsO'Holic
Nov 12 2019 10:11 PM

I am very onboard with putting together a deal for Wood. I wonder if he would be open to a 2-3 year deal with low money. Maybe something similar to what Perez got last year ie. $6M per year with a team option for 2021 of $9M. The Twins seem to like those deals. MLB TR has him projected for $8M on a one year deal. I am all in if they can make it work. Can't hurt. I just would like to see that signing be more of a luxury than banking on him being our #3 starter. 

Add Alex Wood

 

Good looking plan. I would just mention my preference would be to bring back Romo and Pineda if possible (over Hamels) but you never know where players end up going /shrug. Really like Will Harris as a relief target. Hopefully the Twins are looking at him in addition to some top flight SP.

 

This is my favorite plan thus far. (Much in keeping with my own thoughts). Not only is this a good plan, it is a very, very realistic one! It is sound and doesn't require a ton of moving parts that various trade scenarios offer up.

As someone else stated, could be a little high on Wheeler, but all the financial parameters are in place.

I think I might prefer a couple more $M and keep Castro at catcher. And I find myself torn on Hammels vs a return of Pineda, even with the suspension.

But I'd be awfully happy and optimistic if this turned out to be reality.
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TwinsO'Holic
Nov 13 2019 07:51 PM

I am all open to Romo, I really do think he will be back. His market last year was non-existent. $3.5M on a one year deal should get it done. I felt that if I had to pick Harris or Romo, I was willing to go with Harris, but why not both! 

 

Pineda over Hamels is also fine with me. If we can get him on an affordable two year deal, that would help more so with 2021 than Hamels on a one-year deal. 

 

Let's hope this is what our roster looks like on Opening Day! 

Good looking plan. I would just mention my preference would be to bring back Romo and Pineda if possible (over Hamels) but you never know where players end up going /shrug. Really like Will Harris as a relief target. Hopefully the Twins are looking at him in addition to some top flight SP.

 

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TwinsO'Holic
Nov 13 2019 07:55 PM

I think there is definitely ways this could be improved ie a trade, getting Wheeler for a lesser deal, and I too would prefer Castro on a one year deal over Maldonado. I just think he's going to want (and get) a two year deal to start somewhere. I hope they can turn this fan wishful thinking in a reality!

This is my favorite plan thus far. (Much in keeping with my own thoughts). Not only is this a good plan, it is a very, very realistic one! It is sound and doesn't require a ton of moving parts that various trade scenarios offer up.

As someone else stated, could be a little high on Wheeler, but all the financial parameters are in place.

I think I might prefer a couple more $M and keep Castro at catcher. And I find myself torn on Hammels vs a return of Pineda, even with the suspension.

But I'd be awfully happy and optimistic if this turned out to be reality.