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Article: Sizing Up The 2017-18 Offseason

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#1 Nick Nelson

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 07:30 PM

Turnarounds like the one we saw from Minnesota this season are rare, but not unprecedented. Derek Falvey knows this as well as anyone.

Fresh off his first year as Twins Chief Baseball Officer, Falvey is working in familiar territory. He understands from experience that the hardest part isn't going from irrelevance to contention, but taking the next step.** Before we get started on this overview of the coming offseason, I'll make a quick pitch for your quintessential Hot Stove guide: The 2018 Twins Daily Offseason Handbook is now available for preorder. Click the link to claim your copy, and you'll get it as soon as it's ready, after the postseason concludes. Same deal as last year: name your price. Recommendation is $5, but you can pay as little or as much as you wish. We appreciate any and all support! Plenty more details are on the way in the coming weeks. You can check out last year's edition for an idea of what to expect. **

Midway through Falvey's tenure in Cleveland's front office, the Indians made a leap similar to the one we just saw from the Twins. After finishing in fourth place with 94 losses in 2012, Cleveland improved by 24 wins, earning a Wild Card berth in 2013 but losing to the Rays.

In that case, the sudden emergence was followed by two years of treading water. The Indians won 85 and 81 games the next two seasons, finishing third both times, before rising to win the AL Central and pennant in 2016. This year, of course, they won 102 games and took the division again, but were ousted by the Yankees in the ALDS.

For Falvey and his general manager Thad Levine, the goal is to unseat the current Central champs by following a similar path, but skipping the stagnation. Given the makeup of this roster as we head into the offseason, that's a reasonable objective.

And in fact, while there's been much talk of a measured approach aligning with the big picture, one can argue that the front office should be making a very emphatic championship push in 2018 specifically.

END OF AN ERA?
Brian Dozier and Joe Mauer are both in line to return next year, and we can only hope they'll be as effective as in 2017.

Sustained performance is no given; Mauer turns 35 next April, Dozier 31 in May. Age can become a factor at any time. There's also the matter of their contracts, which both expire after next year. The Twins certainly could bring them back, but it's hardly assured. This may well be the last chance to make a run with both longtime staples as key contributors.

MARK YOUR CALENDARS
Here are some important dates worth keeping in mind as we survey the offseason landscape.

Three Days After End of World Series: Contract Options Due. The Twins only have one and it's a no-brainer: they'll exercise a $700,000 buyout to decline the $6.5 million team option for Glen Perkins.

Five Days After End of World Series: Deadline to Make Qualifying Offers to Free Agents. For the five days after the postseason concludes, MLB teams get an exclusive negotiating window with their own free agents. During this time, they can make a qualifying offer, which brings the player back on a one-year (~$18M) contract if accepted, and yields draft pick compensation if they decline and sign elsewhere.

None of the Twins' internal free agents – Matt Belisle, Bartolo Colon, Hector Santiago, Dillon Gee – are worthy of a QO, and it's highly unlikely Minnesota will sign any before the market opens up.

Six Days After End of World Series: Free Agency Open for Business. We don't know much about how this front office will operate yet, but if their first major move was any indication, they are going to be aggressive in pursuing their top targets. Last offseason, the Twins made their interest in Jason Castro known very quickly, and had him signed before the end of November.

Once free agency officially gets underway, we should start hearing rumblings pretty quickly about players that Falvey and Thad Levine are keen on. This is the first offseason where they've had a chance to fully set up a plan going in, so they undoubtedly already have some names in mind.

I suspect they'll be shopping for three things in particular: starting pitchers, relief pitchers and right-handed bats. You can get a deep look at what's available in each of those categories with our Free Agency breakdowns in the Offseason Handbook.

November 13th-16th: GM Meetings. Today's general managers communicate through many different channels to negotiate trades (much of the action happens on Tinder, Levine has joked) but there's still something to be said for an old-fashioned face-to-face discussion. All 30 GMs will be in the same place during this week, with the annual GM Meetings taking place in Orlando. It'll be an opportunity to lay the groundwork with other execs as well as agents.

Falvey and Levine haven't been shy about pulling the trigger on deals thus far, and started up extensive talks with the Dodgers over Dozier last winter around this time.

December 10th-14th: Winter Meetings. One month later, the baseball world will converge once again in Orlando for the Winter Meetings – typically the most active period of the entire offseason. What kinds of shakeups might we see from the Twins?

EXTENSIONS, EXTENSIONS, EXTENSIONS
Some of the biggest storylines of this offseason will surround potential long-term contracts for a number of different players. Last week, John wrote about the merits of locking up Miguel Sano, Byron Buxton and Eddie Rosario ahead of their arbitration years. A day later, Seth pondered what an extension for Dozier might look like as he looks ahead to a walk year. This week, he also took a deeper dive on how a Buxton extension could take shape.

Here at Twins Daily, we'll of course have plenty more coverage of Hot Stove season as it gets piping, with all of the speculation, analysis and up-to-the-minute news you expect. But I promise you this: you are going to want a copy of the Offseason Handbook as a handy resource along the way. Please consider preordering yours now to ensure you receive it the moment it becomes available.

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#2 TwinsTakes-RD

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 07:50 PM

Ordered with a 100% tip because you guys RULE!!! It's Happening!!!!

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GO TWINS!

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#3 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 08:14 PM

I have to admit, it's been a while where excitement going into the offseason was merited. This is a team on the rise missing a few good pieces. Smart moves, and this team could be competing for a few years.


#4 beckmt

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 06:34 AM

Question is which smart moves, and how much is Pohlad willing to open the checkbook.Twins need pitching, pitching, and more pitching. 

Could happen through trades, depending on how the new FO values some of the prospects or signing FA pitchers.Should be a busy offseason.

I know I will be disappointed if it is not.


#5 Blackjack

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 07:06 AM

"they'll exercise a $700,000 buyout to decline the $6.5 million team option for Glen Perkins."

 

A nice going away present for Perkins!!! I think I could feed my family on that for awhile!!!

 

Its amazing how the salaries of pro athletes has gotten into the Monopoly money range (see Wiggins, Andrew).Baseball is the same way.


#6 Blackjack

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 07:09 AM

 

 

Question is which smart moves, and how much is Pohlad willing to open the checkbook.Twins need pitching, pitching, and more pitching. 

Could happen through trades, depending on how the new FO values some of the prospects or signing FA pitchers.Should be a busy offseason.

I know I will be disappointed if it is not.

 

The 'how' they improve is going to make for an interesting off-season.Do they do trades, sign free agents, stand pat, or a combo of the above. 


#7 gunnarthor

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 07:31 AM

 

"they'll exercise a $700,000 buyout to decline the $6.5 million team option for Glen Perkins."

 

A nice going away present for Perkins!!! I think I could feed my family on that for awhile!!!

 

Its amazing how the salaries of pro athletes has gotten into the Monopoly money range (see Wiggins, Andrew).Baseball is the same way.

It's a drop in the bucket compared to the owners.

 

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#8 gunnarthor

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 07:33 AM

Payroll is the big question. I think we'll have a payroll around 110m which gives us about 20m to play with in free agency. But someone posted Forbes estimates of revenue for the Twins and if that was correct and if Twins still use 52% of revenue for payroll (as opposed to all monies spent on salaries such as draft and international bonuses) then our payroll could be closer to 140m.

 

 


#9 drjim

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 07:50 AM

Payroll is the big question. I think we'll have a payroll around 110m which gives us about 20m to play with in free agency. But someone posted Forbes estimates of revenue for the Twins and if that was correct and if Twins still use 52% of revenue for payroll (as opposed to all monies spent on salaries such as draft and international bonuses) then our payroll could be closer to 140m.


I see it more in the $120 range, enough to add a starter, a reliever or two, and perhaps a cheap vet bat.

With that they'll have some space to add money in season and it would also set them up with some flexibility going forward to lock up most of the young core.
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#10 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 07:58 AM

 

I see it more in the $120 range, enough to add a starter, a reliever or two, and perhaps a cheap vet bat.

With that they'll have some space to add money in season and it would also set them up with some flexibility going forward to lock up most of the young core.

 

Honestly, they need a starter and a reliever... not sure on the bench bat. I'd argue for a second reliever before another bat personally. I don't care much about the total number, but I do care if they are well under and haven't done much to meet the org's needs.

 

This team was a playoff team with some very glaring issues. It shouldn't take much to go from fringe to favored.


#11 drjim

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 07:59 AM

Twins were at $108 last season. It would be pretty disappointing if they more or less stand firm on payroll considering the unexpected success last season (and additional revenue gained) and the expectation to compete this year.

 

But I also don't expect them to go crazy and lock into multiple big money contracts for several years, they do need some flexibility to lock up the emerging core.

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#12 drjim

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 08:00 AM

 

Honestly, they need a starter and a reliever... not sure on the bench bat. I'd argue for a second reliever before another bat personally. I don't care much about the total number, but I do care if they are well under and haven't done much to meet the org's needs.

 

This team was a playoff team with some very glaring issues. It shouldn't take much to go from fringe to favored.

 

That may be true. I'm thinking a RH DH, but that is also a luxury item compared to bullpen upgrades. Also, solid bats are generally available at the deadline for minimal prospect cost if you take on the salary (another reason to keep some flexibility).

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#13 Mike Sixel

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 08:38 AM

They tried pretty hard to get a veteran DH last year. I expect them to try again. Is there one that can sometimes play 3B, if needed, or RF if needed?

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There's always next year, or the next, or maybe by the time I'm Chief's age, I guess....


#14 Brandon

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 08:46 AM

There is an abundance of 1B on the market, so i think they can find a bat at a reasonable cost. Pitching will be interesting. We will definately have better depth with several starters ready in AAA next season. Once we find one starter the bullpen will be the big concern.

#15 Brandon

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 08:48 AM

I expect the front office to strike fast for a starter. That will set them up to wait out the offseason for a hitter and they would just be on the hunt for relievers.

#16 Dr. Evil

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 10:27 AM

That Darvish dude would look pretty good on our team.

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#17 Vanimal46

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 10:48 AM

 

That Darvish dude would look pretty good on our team.

 

Are you ready to commit to him until he's 38 at $25 million a season?


#18 mikelink45

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 11:01 AM

Based on baseball today - the bullpen should have priority over the starting pitching.KC started this trend and the Yankees have adopted it.

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#19 adjacent

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 11:25 AM

 

Are you ready to commit to him until he's 38 at $25 million a season?

I would say yes. The core of this team is young, so it would be in place for 5-6 years minimum. If not now, then when?

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#20 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 11:25 AM

 

Are you ready to commit to him until he's 38 at $25 million a season?

 

Well, it's not my money :)

 

Personally, I'd rather buy than trade. It's not that I don't mind trading, but I'd rather keep the assets. I know front loading is frowned upon to some extent, but the core is going to be pretty cheap the next few years, so spending big now makes sense

 

A  guy like Darvish should be pretty good for the first few years of the contract. I'd be fine with that knowing/hoping that the farm has ample replacements when he's in the Phil Hughes portion of his contract... that's just me.

 

I think Falvey and Levine would have less of an issue than TR did about giving the quick hook when it was necessary.

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