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WARNE: 2017 Twins Offseason Blueprint

Posted by Brandon Warne , 04 November 2017 · 1,213 views

minnesota twins byron buxton carlos santana lance lynn
This is an excerpt from a Zone Coverage article which appears in full here. Please click the link.

The Minnesota Twins exhibited significant growth in 2017, winning 85 games just one season after crumbling to the depths of 103-loss despair. A lot of it was done with in-house guys, as the only significant additions were a decent reliever (Matt Belisle) and a good catcher (Jason Castro).

The rest of the bump came from within. But if we saw anything in October, it was that, while the Twins were impressive in 2017, they were still a cut below the teams that played deep into the autumn.

That all changes this offseason.

The Twins have the ability to maximize their talent with some payroll flexibility that starts as soon as next winter. Large contracts like Joe Mauer, Brian Dozier and Ervin Santana come off the books then, and Phil Hughes ($13.2 million) is just a year behind that. What it means is basically this: while the youngsters are still in their cheap years, the front office should act quickly to add some veteran glue types to see what this team is capable off in the near-term.

Houston did it with guys like Josh Reddick, Carlos Beltran and Evan Gattis. The Twins can structure deals this offseason with some more money toward the back when they don’t have much payroll committed — for instance, they have just $24.2 million committed to 2019 and just $500k on a buyout to Byungho Park that is fully committed in 2020 — or they can wait out this next year and hit the market hard when guys like Josh Donaldson, Charlie Blackmon, Yasmani Grandal and a host of starting pitchers hit the market.

But going another year down the road without supplementing this core gets the team closer to bigger paydays from some of the great young players on this roster — and that’s risky. So with that in mind, here’s this offseason’s winter blueprint — and it’s what some might call a non-typical Twins offseason:

Free Agents
  • Matt Belisle (attempt to re-sign late in winter if he’s still available)
  • Bartolo Colon (do not attempt to re-sign)
  • Dillon Gee (same as Belisle)
  • Glen Perkins (offer minor-league deal with invite to spring training)
  • Hector Santiago (see Belisle and Gee)

There’s nothing too crazy here. If all else falls apart and the Twins want to bring back Belisle on a one-year deal, that isn’t egregious. It’s not something the Twins should be considering right out of the gates however, as despite the strong finish to his season, Belisle is still heading into the twilight of his career. Gee gave the Twins some solid innings but they should aim higher, and Santiago has good enough career numbers that he might be an interesting fall-back option. Honestly, he has been really bad as a Twin, but who knows? Maybe he could be good out of the bullpen. A lefty who adds a couple ticks when shifting to the pen? Sounds familiar. Speaking of, I’m all for a reunion with Perkins to see where he’s at after a winter of workouts. No harm, no foul.

Remaining outrights
  • Nik Turley (re-sign to minor-league deal)
  • Buddy Boshers (re-sign to minor-league deal)
  • Kennys Vargas (sell rights overseas or explore trade)
  • Ryan O’Rourke (activate from 60-day DL, re-sign to minor-league deal)
  • Michael Tonkin (do not attempt to re-sign)

I don’t think these are all that controversial. In fact, if the Twins need the roster spot, they could probably outright Phil Hughes, too. He won’t be claimed with $26.4 million left on his deal, and will possibly need time to recuperate from a recurrence of thoracic outlet syndrome. Bringing back this trio of lefties for some minor-league depth won’t hurt, either.

Arbitration decisions (figures via MLB Trade Rumors)
  • Chris Gimenez – $1 million (tender)
  • Eduardo Escobar – $4.9 million (tender)
  • Kyle Gibson – $5.3 million (tender)
  • Ehire Adrianza – $1 million (tender)
  • Robbie Grossman – $2.4 million (tender, but trade)
  • Trevor May – $600k (tender)
  • Ryan Pressly – $1.6 million (tender)


  • Cory Engelhardt and howieramone2 like this



Twins need starting and relief pitching.They also need to explore long term extensions with the young core.

Have some disagreements here

1.Do not extend Dozier.Let some other team pay him.

2.Buy Darvish if you can, otherwise Chatwood or Cobb.Do not want Lynn.

3.Nisacio is fine,would rather have another high impact reliever along with him, but can hope the farm can fill these needs.

4.Lock up Sano, if he refuses look for a club with multiple pitchers some very good ones close to major league ready, some lottery tickets with high upsides.

I like everything Brandon said. I think these are all realistic moves as well- nothing too pie in the sky. 

4.Lock up Sano, if he refuses look for a club with multiple pitchers some very good ones close to major league ready, some lottery tickets with high upsides.
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Check in with San Francisco - they're barren at 3B and looking to cut payroll. Would they consider MadBum, IF we also took on Hunter Pence? MadBum would have to agree to an extension, but he loves the outdoors, may have PO'd SF after last years "accident", and may be getting tired of having SF bullpen blow his leads and leave him with no decisions. Will he Walk from SF after 2019??