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Twins Set Up for a Big Splash

Posted by Ted Schwerzler , 06 December 2019 · 1,487 views

jake odorizzi michael pineda minnesota twins alex avila
So far, the Minnesota Twins have committed something like $30 million in 2020 contracts to three players this offseason. Two pitchers and a backup catch mean the 26-man roster is quickly closing in on finality. At this point, there’s nothing left but the big bang.

Jake Odorizzi returning to the Twins was a great development. A longer-term deal is probably better than the qualifying offer situation, but it’s negligible nonetheless. Michael Pineda is a guy that made sense to QO, and instead Minnesota’s front office gets him on a two-year deal for less than the one-year tag. Alex Avila replaces Jason Castro as the backup catcher, and he provides a logical platoon partner for star starter Mitch Garver.

Although Odorizzi and Pineda are returning talents, their abilities represent some of the best on the market. Disappointment in the lack of a new name doesn’t hold much weight when the accomplishment of high-quality assets is the goal. Avila isn’t flashy, but it’s a pretty lofty expectation for catcher number two being able to accomplish that. In the moves they've made this front office has gotten the job done and nailed each and every acquisition.

Now comes the big wave.

At this point the Twins have something just shy of $100 million committed to 2019. Needing to push the payroll to no less than $135 million, there’s a significant chunk of change yet to be doled out. A reliever and corner infielder seem to still be on the docket, but it’s that key starter still twisting in the wind that has everyone wondering. Maybe it’s Madison Bumgarner or maybe it’s Hyun Jin Ryu, but no matter who it is, a fat check is getting cut.

I still think that the Twins are best served by both paying and trading for starters. The latter isn’t going to jump the bottom line much given the goal should be a level of youth and team control, which generally has a muted price tag. No one has ever gotten more in a free agent deal from Minnesota than Ervin Santana’s 4/$54 million in 2014, but both the total and AAV should be blitzed by in the immediate future.

There has been somewhat of a back to front way about attacking this offseason cycle from Derek Falvey and Thad Levine. They’ve shored up the holes with some of the lesser coveted assets, and now they can focus solely on positioning of the big guns. It seems to be only a matter of time before it happens, but the reality of when and not if has started to sink in.

Expect the Twins to land a player with an AAV of $15-20 million yet, and another $15-20 million split on the final assets to follow. It’s been fun seeing clubs cut checks before Christmas, and just maybe we’ll get back to the days of the Winter Meetings being some sort of exciting frenzy.

We’ll have to wait a bit longer to see how and what all transpires, but the monumental move looks to be on the horizon.

For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow @tlschwerz

  • bighat likes this



I don't think we'll see the MadBum/Ryu and Donaldson signings but I think we may still see one or the other. Pitching is still the main focus at this point, but I'm very interested to see how they fill out the corner infield. Most of the first basement available are platoon guys and I'd really hope we wouldn't move Sano off third base for someone like Todd Frazier. 

 

I think maybe a more realistic idea is that they pass up MadBum and Ryu (which will cause panic) and sign something like Keuchel and Donaldson. They can still explore the trade market at this point as well as still have a few million for the bullpen. I just can't see a scenario where they push $150 million unfortunately, even though if there's ever a time to do it, it's now.

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Ted Schwerzler
Dec 06 2019 01:46 PM

 

Most of the first basement available are platoon guys and I'd really hope we wouldn't move Sano off third base for someone like Todd Frazier. 

 

I think maybe a more realistic idea is that they pass up MadBum and Ryu (which will cause panic) and sign something like Keuchel and Donaldson. They can still explore the trade market at this point as well as still have a few million for the bullpen. I just can't see a scenario where they push $150 million unfortunately, even though if there's ever a time to do it, it's now.

I specifically noted Frazier on Twitter as being a hard no. He's a marginal defender at this point, and isn't a good OPS guy with awful OBP's. There's zero reason to move Sano for a borderline worse option at 3B.

 

Keuchel doesn't make a ton of sense with groundball tendencies and poor infield defense. They still are going to grab another pitcher though. Donaldson does make sense, but that interest may be overstated.

 

Also, $35MM from where they are right now would be roughly $135MM total. That should be the baseline of where they begin 2020.

As much as I'd like to agree with you, I'm expecting barely a ripple. I don't see them cutting a big check for pitching and there seemingly aren't any needle-movers available via trade ... and if they were, would they give up any prospects for them?

 

I'm withholding FO judgment because they seem to know how to find and develop talent, but I their ability to supplement the big league pitching staff hasn't impressed me so far.

A SP is an obvious need, but they also need an infielder and Donaldson would be a great choice. That would help their infield defense, which is below average. Another way to improve the defense is to get a SS. How about Gregorius? He is an awesome defender and can hold his own with the bat. I think an infield of Arraez at 3B, Didi at SS, Polanco at 2B and Sano at 1B would be a better infield than what they had last year. I think 2B would be Polanco's best defensive position and he would have more range than Arraez. Thoughts? I have not heard much about what it might take to sign Didi.

The team has to make a decision on moving Sano to 1B. I wish i knew more about how he would handle poor throws at first, as that seems to be our forte. Sano is headed to first or DH sooner or later. He could maybe have squeezed by at third in the old format of baseball. But the shifts have changed the requirements for the position. They just cannot keep putting this IF out there and succeed. I don't know if it's Didi or not, but anything that moves Polanco away from SS improves the teams defense.
    • adorduan likes this
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Ted Schwerzler
Dec 08 2019 09:10 PM

 

A SP is an obvious need, but they also need an infielder and Donaldson would be a great choice. That would help their infield defense, which is below average. Another way to improve the defense is to get a SS. How about Gregorius? He is an awesome defender and can hold his own with the bat. I think an infield of Arraez at 3B, Didi at SS, Polanco at 2B and Sano at 1B would be a better infield than what they had last year. I think 2B would be Polanco's best defensive position and he would have more range than Arraez. Thoughts? I have not heard much about what it might take to sign Didi.

I think they probably avoid signing a SS with Lewis still trending in that direction. Didi also is being hotly pursued by the Reds it seems. I like the idea of getting Jorge lateral help on that side with a 3B possessing more range though.

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Ted Schwerzler
Dec 08 2019 09:11 PM

 

The team has to make a decision on moving Sano to 1B. I wish i knew more about how he would handle poor throws at first, as that seems to be our forte. Sano is headed to first or DH sooner or later. He could maybe have squeezed by at third in the old format of baseball. But the shifts have changed the requirements for the position. They just cannot keep putting this IF out there and succeed. I don't know if it's Didi or not, but anything that moves Polanco away from SS improves the teams defense.

While Jorge's throws were certainly the most problematic in the infield last year, it is worth noting that Sano contributed plenty and would not be in that spot if playing 1B. Imagine the footwork and scooping would absolutely take time though.