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Article: Seth's 2018 Minnesota Twins Offseason Blueprint

byron buxton brian dozier miguel sano jose berrios joe mauer
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#1 Seth Stohs

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Posted 02 November 2017 - 06:01 PM

If you downloaded a copy of the Twins Daily Offseason Handbook, and have had the chance to read through it, you saw Nick’s blueprint for the Twins offseason. It’s full of some interesting ideas for what the Twins should do between now and the start of spring training.

Today, I am sharing my Twins offseason blueprint. I don’t necessarily expect others to agree with everything in it, but maybe it gives you ideas for what you might like to see the Twins do. Secondly, be sure to use the blogs or the forums here at Twins Daily to share your own offseason handbook. Then as the Twins start making their moves, you can compare notes.With that, let’s get to my blueprint. Again, this is just a fun exercise to make us all think about what we might want the Twins to do. In reality, making actual moves is much more difficult than us typing out our thoughts. I mean, we can just type it. The Twins will have to actually outbid other teams for players. But with that mini-disclaimer, let’s get to my blueprint.

40-Man Roster Construction

Not a fun thing, but obviously planning and constructing a 40-man roster, but it does have to be done. Aside from the players who became a free agent at the end of the World Series (Matt Belisle, Bartolo Colon, Dillon Gee, Glen Perkins and Hector Santiago), I would make additional roster spots by designating LHPs Buddy Boshers, Nik Turley and Dietrich Enns, RHP Michael Tonkin and IF/OF Niko Goodrum. I would attempt to bring back Turley, Enns and Goodrum on minor league deals.

Once those roster moves have been made, there will be space to make the necessary additions to the 40-man roster. I would add the following players to the 40-man roster, to protect the Twins from potentially losing them to the Rule 5 draft: Stephen Gonsalves, Zack Littell, Jake Reed, Lewin Diaz, Lewis Thorpe and Nick Burdi. (For more information on these choices, please see my article from earlier this week.)

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Arbitration Decisions

The Twins have seven players who are arbitration-eligible. Here is what I would decide on those players.

Offer Arbitration to: Ryan Pressly, Eduardo Escobar, Kyle Gibson, Trevor May, Ehire Adrianza
Decline Arbitration to: Chris Gimenez, Robbie Grossman

Note that I think that Robbie Grossman’s on-base skills could mean that he could have some value to another team. I’d prefer to trade him, even if it’s “just” for a C-level prospect. I just couldn’t fit him into my Opening Day roster, and since he’s out of options, this felt like an option.

Trade

I mentioned above that I would like the Twins to find a team to trade Robbie Grossman to. I would also like to see the Twins find a trade partner for Kennys Vargas. I don’t think he would have a lot of value, but if you could get a prospect ranked in the 20-30 range from a team, ideally a low-level, but potentially high-ceiling pitching prospect, that would work.

A word of caution, as you see below, I did have the Twins bring in a free agent bat. You will have to consider whether you think that Vargas can be a better option that a bat brought in to be a DH/pinch hitter type.

Extensions

Over the last several weeks, I have written articles regarding potential extensions for a variety of young Twins players. I personally feel that my “offers” are middle-of-the-road, in which both sides take on some risk and both sides should feel like they got a good deal. So, below, I will jot those downs and use them in my overall budget. Obviously if the pre-arbitration guys don’t want to deal at this time, their 2018 contracts will be less (around $0.6 million, rather than the $1 million that I’ve proposed for 2018). Here are the extensions, pointing out 2018 salary).
  • Brian Dozier - 4 years, $65 million extension with option to 5 years, $73 million.
    • 2018 value remains $9.0M, though I’d give him a significant signing bonus.
  • Byron Buxton - 7 years, $76.5 million extension
    • 2018 value at $1.0M
  • Miguel Sano- 6 years, $66 million extension with option for 7 years, $86 million. (obviously with Sano's injury and surgery, this becomes more sketchy, but maybe that makes it a perfect time?)
    • 2018 value at $1.0M
  • Eddie Rosario - 5 years, $28.5 million extension with two option years (6/$40 or 7/$54)
    • 2018 value at $1.0M
  • Max Kepler - 7 years, $48 million extension with option for 7 years, $61 million
    • 2018 value at $1.0M
  • Jose Berrios - 7 years, $46 million extension with option for 8 years, $60 million.
    • 2018 value at $0.75M
In addition, I would work with Eduardo Escobar and his agent on an extension. I believe that Escobar has proven his value time and again as a utility guy, capable of adequately playing three infield positions. He’s also been able to contribute well when he is needed to play on a regular basis. My offer to Eduardo Escobar would be two years, $9.5 million with option.

2018: $4.5 million, 2019: $4.5 million, 2020: option for $4.5 million ($0.5M buyout).

Finally, I would reach out to Joe Mauer and his representatives regarding an extension. His long-term contract extension comes to an end at the end of the 2018 season. But we are talking about one of the all-time greats in this organization’s history. He continues to climb the rankings on all-time Twins charts. And, more important to that discussion, he is coming off of a solid 2017 season in which he hit over .300 again, got on base and provided terrific first base defense. I would offer him a two year, $16 million extension for 2019 and 2020. Brent Rooker may be ready to take over at first base, but he can also play in the corner outfield positions. Mauer can play good first base, can DH, can be a pinch hitter, can continue to be a leader and to counsel younger players. If he’s willing to embrace that role and keep playing rather than retire, it’s an ideal situation for the team. Of course, there is no rush to make such a deal. His side may ask for 2 years and $20 million. I’d have no problem with that either.

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Free Agents

As those who have followed me for a long time know, I’m not big into free agency as a way to develop a winning organization. However, I do believe that if you have a core of talented players, free agency can help complement that core and get you to the next level. With that in mind, I look for the Twins to add a few nice pieces via free agency this offseason. I don’t expect them to go out and spend wildly.

Address the Bullpen:

Yes, signing a Wade Davis to a 5 year, $80 million deal might make some sense to some. It’s great to have a dominant, reliable guy at the back end. For me, I would rather not add one reliever for that amount. Instead, I would recommend signing two reliable guys for almost half of that amount.

With that said, I would sign left-hander Jake McGee to a 3 year, $24 million deal and install him as the closer. Next, I would attempt to sign long-time Cleveland reliever Bryan Shaw by offering him a three year, $20 million deal. There certainly is enough money involved to call it risky. The Twins still have a lot of quality relief pitching prospects, but having depth is important, and having a couple of lock-down guys at the end is a good thing. Moving others down the usage spectrum will allow them to further develop, and if they become more and more reliable, it’s best for the whole team.

And, if Glen Perkins is interested in playing again in 2018, bring him back on a minor league contract with a whole bunch of reachable incentives. It could be structured such that he will retire at the end of spring training if he doesn’t make the team. It could be structured such that he would be willing to continue pitching in Ft. Myers for a month - until the weather in Rochester is good - at which point he could go up there for a month before he can make another decision. The details can be worked out, but if Perkins is interested in coming back, he should be able to do so. And if he gets closer to his old self, imagine a bullpen with Jake McGee, Taylor Rogers and Glen Perkins in it!

Address the Starting Rotation:

I suggest signing a guy like Chris Tillman to a one year, $5.0 million deal. Tillman is coming off of a really non-good 2017 season in Baltimore, but a year earlier, he went 16-6 and was generally pretty solid. He can start the season as the #5 starter, but he has the potential to be a quality, reliable starter. It can be a make-good deal for him that could turn into a bigger deal next offseason. (Note - if you want to replace Tillman with someone like Tyson Ross or Derek Holland or the like, I’m fine with that too.)

In doing do, you can also allow a couple of hopefully cornerstone starters a couple of months in AAA to further develop. First, Stephen Gonsalves has been consistently good throughout his minor league career. Each year at midseason, he gets promoted a level and pitches well. Then he starts the next season at the same level and takes a nice step forward in his development. He moved up to AAA late last season and did all right. Now he can use another half season (at most) in Rochester to put in the final developmental steps before calling him up in June (or earlier as needed).

Secondly, Trevor May is coming back from Tommy John surgery. While it may or may not be clear whether he will be a starter long-term, bringing him back from Tommy John in a controlled environment where it’s more conducive to bringing him back wisely makes sense. Set a comeback plan for him as a starter, and let him determine when he is physically ready to come back up.

Addressing Hitters:

Sign 1B/DH Mark Reynolds to a one year, $4 million deal.

A year ago, the Twins were said to be a contender for veteran right-handed bat Mike Napoli. Well, Napoli will be available for the Twins again this year, and at a much lower price tag. He’s 36, so is Napoli done? He did hit 29 homers despite an awful 2017 season. I personally prefer Reynolds (34), another high-power, high-strikeout, right-handed, veteran bench bat. Earlier I mentioned that you’ll have to determine whether Kennys Vargas can provide as much value. The answer isn’t easy.

I’d also consider signing Melvin Upton to a minor league contract. Twins need outfield depth at AAA, and the big league club could use a right-handed hitting backup outfielder. Upton was on a minor league deal last year and was not good in AAA, but it’d be a nice flyer. Also, Zack Granite has always had reverse splits at every level through his career, so he’s a terrific fourth outfield option against left-handers.

Addressing Catching:

As you saw earlier, I non-tendered Chris Gimenez, but there is a ton of value in having minor league catchers who are good defensively and work well with pitchers. In my opinion, I would sign at least two AAA level minor leagues, guys who are known to work well with pitchers. With Mitch Garver in the big leagues, the Twins do not have much catcher depth in the upper levels. With so many potential big league arms who will pitch in Rochester in 2018, it’s very important to find veteran catchers who can work with them. Take a look at what a potential Red Wings rotation and bullpen could look like. That’s a lot of talent.

Payroll
Here is a look at the payroll with the roster designed above:

Hitters:
C: Jason Castro - $8.0M
1B: Joe Mauer - $23.0M
2B: Brian Dozier - $9.0M
3B: Miguel Sano - $1.0M
SS: Jorge Polanco - $0.55M
LF: Eddie Rosario - $1.0M
CF: Byron Buxton - $1.0M
RF: Max Kepler - $1.0M
DH: Mark Reynolds - $4.0M
C: Mitch Garver - $0.55M
UT: Eduardo Escobar - $4.5M
UT: Ehire Adrianza - $1.0M
OF: Zack Granite - $0.55M

Hitters Total: $55.15M

Pitchers:
SP: Ervin Santana - $13.5M
SP: Jose Berrios - $0.75M
SP: Kyle Gibson - $4.5M
SP: Adalberto Mejia - $0.55M
SP: Chris Tillman - $5.0M

RP: Jake McGee - $8.0M
RP: Bryan Shaw - $6.0M
RP: Trevor Hildenberger - $0.55M
RP: Taylor Rogers - $0.6M
RP: Ryan Pressly - $2.0M
RP: Alan Busenitz - $0.55M
RP: Tyler Duffey - $0.6M

Pitchers Total: $42.6M

Other Contracts:
Phil Hughes - $13.2M (while he should be ready by spring training or early in the season, I think that planning should go on as if he won’t play, and if he is, great.)
Byungho Park - $6.0M
Trevor May - $1.0M

“Other” Total: $20.2M

Total Payroll: $117.95M

SUMMARY

I’m not messing with the core of young players. I’m looking to extend as many of them as possible. I’m assuming the young players will continue to improve, and improve as a group. I’m just supplementing them with one right-handed bat.

Pitching is where the needs are. While there are arms coming, I am picking up one veteran starter who can either be a surprise for the season, or provide depth, and more important at this point, allow them to be more patient with Gonsalves and May. With guys like Slegers and Jorge and eventually Littell and Fernando Romero also coming soon, I would sign a veteran at a low dollar value, but one who has some level of potential.

And, I do think that it is important for the Twins to add at least one, maybe two quality relievers. I don’t believe in paying the top-level guys like Wade Davis. Instead, I would prefer to get two in that second tier, and that’s where McGee and Shaw lie. That would give the Twins bullpen more depth. At the same time, the Twins still have some high-potential bullpen arms that can continue to develop. Ryan Pressly gets another shot. I believe Tyler Duffey can be a terrific late-inning reliever. If that kind of potential is working and improving in the 6th and 7th innings, I’ll feel really good about the Twins bullpen.

Now it’s your turn. What do you think of my blueprint and philosophies? What does your Twins offseason blueprint look like? Comment on my blueprint here, and then create your own blueprint in the forums or by creating your own blog.

And if you haven't yet, download your copy of the Twins Daily Offseason Handbook by clicking below.


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#2 Twins33

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Posted 02 November 2017 - 06:10 PM

Mixing your teams, Seth:

 

"I mentioned above that I would like the Vikings to find a team to trade Robbie Grossman to."


#3 Seth Stohs

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Posted 02 November 2017 - 07:25 PM

 

Mixing your teams, Seth:

 

"I mentioned above that I would like the Vikings to find a team to trade Robbie Grossman to."

 

It is possible that I was writing/typing that on Sunday during the Vikings game. Ha!! Corrected.

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#4 Twins33

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Posted 02 November 2017 - 07:54 PM

It is possible that I was writing/typing that on Sunday during the Vikings game. Ha!! Corrected.

Made me wonder which Viking would have a good OBP.

I like the signings of McGee and Shaw for the BP. I'd go another route on the SP though. I like Chatwood (long term) or a Cahill/Fister (short term).

As far as the bat goes, I'm too stuck in the Santana or Martinez dreamland that I can't think of anyone else right now.

#5 Seth Stohs

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Posted 02 November 2017 - 08:16 PM

 

Made me wonder which Viking would have a good OBP.

I like the signings of McGee and Shaw for the BP. I'd go another route on the SP though. I like Chatwood (long term) or a Cahill/Fister (short term).

As far as the bat goes, I'm too stuck in the Santana or Martinez dreamland that I can't think of anyone else right now.

 

Cahill and Fister certainly fit into the Tillman/Ross/Holland category of Not-Great, but Could-Be-Solid. 

 

Yeah, you may not want to hold your breath on Santana/Martinez. Martinez will get WAY too much. If Santana is in the Twins range for price, well, then Cleveland will certainly want to keep him at that price, and I'd think he'd want to stay there.


#6 DocBauer

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Posted 02 November 2017 - 08:34 PM

Seth, absolutely love your blueprint and agree almost entirely.

I am a bit leery of losing Enns after just acquiring him and could see him as a useful piece. Im torn on protecting Davis and Burdi as I just don't know if they are really at risk of being lost at this time, but would probably not risk losing Burdi.

McGhee and Shaw are actually my top 2 RP targets! I'm not 100% convinced McGee would be my closer, only because recent history is showing he and Shaw, with Rogers and Hilgenberger, could make an outstanding quartet for the 7th and 8th innings with maybe a more consistent Pressly, or even Duffey, as the "start and finish the 9th" closer option. Regardless, that group of 6 with pitcher "X", has the makings of a fine pen with reserves on the way and filling up a potentially deep and impressive Rochester pen.

Where I disagree is the FA SP. I think the club can easily bump up to a higher option in the $12-14M range...payroll now in the $120's...without disrupting the budget or limiting themselves down the road.

You're right about Grossman and Vargas though. Do we yet have a true idea of the vision the team sees for these guys? Vargas could be useful and valuable, but how much so with consistent time? I really liked the way Molitor used Grossman the last month as the 9 hitter, but I keep wondering, no stud to be sure, but if he could be a 500 AB player who could mold 2016 and 2017 together somehow, he and Mauer could make a very interesting 1-2 OB punch at the top of the order.

Somebody stoke the coals! I'm ready for the hot stove!
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"Nice catch Hayes...don't ever f*****g do it again."

 

--Lou Brown


#7 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 02 November 2017 - 09:21 PM

I like the plan for the most part. It's reasonable. I'd do the extensions, with maybe the exception of Mauer. I don't think he's going anywhere to be honest, and as a 1B, I'd let the market determine his value, which I'm guessing would top out at 2/16 but likely be less. It might be more if he played 3B/RF/LF, but as a strict 1B, I'm not in a hurry to do that. I'd like the guy around at a good price (he could fill that Grossman role), but I don't think MLB will be opening up the check book for him either. I'd probably go bigger with SP and might go a bit better on one of the RP side of things... but a few nits to pick.

 

Diaz won't need to be protected. He's a 1B in A ball. His OPS was good, but nothing special. Yes, he was young for his league and is a decent prospect, but with no defensive value, we can keep him off the 40 man for another season as no team will be able to stash him on their 25 unless he's injured.

 

Vargas... so we are trading a young, cost controllable high K bat with SOME, maybe not a lot at this point, upside (slightly above league average OPS at age 26) for a guy turning 35 who had respectable offense (,840 OPS) in one of the most hitter friendly environments in baseball. Not sure I'd do that. I'd add that Reynolds is probably looking for a 2-3 year deal as a starter, not a bench bat.

 

Grossman.. interesting. Not sure what to think there to be honest. Not the best defender, but a high OBP guy has a lot of value used properly, and I'm not sure a C prospect would do it for me (and I don't think teams would give up much more either). I'd probably offer arb here.

 

To be clear, I'd have no problems putting that payroll at 130-140 and getting a good starter. I'd also be quite fine figuring out how to get Otani if that was the preference, but I do think at this point, spending money makes some sense. With a ridiculous amount dropping off the books in the next couple years and a team ready now, let's get the best starter. If that means we have May destroying AAA (and succeeding in MLB during the inevitable injury) because we burned an option, so be it. He can replace Ervin next season. If everyone is firing on all cylinders, we have lots of trade chips over the next few years to acquire that missing piece... and if the plan works out perfectly, we might find ourselves trading a guy like Gibson for lower prospects to make room for Gonsalves.

 

It won't likely work out that way, but too much talent is a lot easier problem to remedy than not enough. The offense is here, go all in.

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#8 pierre75275

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Posted 03 November 2017 - 02:27 AM

I think if the Twins want to go deeper in the playoffs they will need to do better then Tillman as a starting pitcher. I like Chatswood or Lynn. Pipe dream would be Yu Dervish but I don't see that happening.
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#9 mikelink45

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Posted 03 November 2017 - 06:45 AM

Nice job.I find this intriguing, but I would not sign Tillman.I think he burned out and we do not need another mediocre veteran SP.If he is the best we can afford I go with the young guys which almost always my personal position.

​I am fine with all the cuts you make, but not with the Reynold's or Napoli options.Palka can do that well - slug and K.We already have Sano doing that and we do not need two K artists in the middle of the lineup.I like Grossman better than either of them and I am ready to move on with Grossman.In this age slugging is not a big deal. 

 

Mauer extension intrigues me, but I like the idea of letting the market settle for him.I would be interested in having someone look at all the teams and their 1B and tell me where there might be interest in him.  

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#10 Cory Engelhardt

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Posted 03 November 2017 - 06:46 AM

I REALLY loved your blueprint Seth. This would be a really fun offseason if all of this could take place, especially your bullpen additions and the extensions for a lot of the younger core. LOVE IT!

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#11 clutterheart

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Posted 03 November 2017 - 06:57 AM

If Buxton, Sano, Rosario and Kepler signed for that cheap and I would be ecstatic. 

 

Its nice to dream!  

 

 

 

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#12 drjim

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Posted 03 November 2017 - 07:13 AM

If Buxton, Sano, Rosario and Kepler signed for that cheap and I would be ecstatic.

Its nice to dream!


Seth for executive of the year!
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Papers...business papers.

#13 Mike Sixel

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Posted 03 November 2017 - 07:46 AM

Has any team, in history, signed that many large extensions in one year?

Not getting a decent starter.... Good luck.
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I don't know, it is a site to discuss sports, not airline safety.....maybe we should take it less seriously?


#14 gunnarthor

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Posted 03 November 2017 - 08:33 AM

I think, with the exception of the extensions, this is fairly realistic. Tillman and Reynolds are the type of free agents they might be able to afford and that still might let them get a decent bullpen arm as well. I'm not sure they could afford both Shaw and McGee but the idea is about right.

 

I didn't follow Baltimore much last year but their entire pitching staff seemed to have a lost season. I wonder if the FO thinks we could 'fix' whatever went wrong for Tillman because he was absolutely horrible last year. I'd also like to look at potential trades for Gausman.


#15 Seth Stohs

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Posted 03 November 2017 - 08:44 AM

 

Has any team, in history, signed that many large extensions in one year?

Not getting a decent starter.... Good luck.

 

I wouldn't think so... It's just a blueprint, not a prediction of what will happen. 


#16 Shaitan

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Posted 03 November 2017 - 09:20 AM

I like this. Basically sign as much depth as they can, so they don't rush the next wave of prospects and limit how many indie-ball players appear as fourth outfielders or spot starters and long relievers during the year.

 

Given Molitor's tendency to ride the hot hand in the bullpen, I think they should bulk up on veteran bullpen depth, where appearing 2-3 days in a row doesn't hurt their long-term development as players. I don't mind if a guy like Belisle pitches (effectively) 2-3 days in a row. It's too risky with young arms like Hildenberger.


#17 rdehring

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Posted 03 November 2017 - 09:21 AM

Thanks, Seth, this is always interesting.

 

I have a concern over Mejia.I don't like his lack of mobility, nor how he seems to not be able to go past 4+ or 5 innings.Will he end up a long reliever?Or maybe more of a AAAA guy?Anyway, I am not comfortable with him even penciled into the starting rotation, although I expect I am in a minority.

 

Also, assume all the 2017 salary values are meant to be 2018...time does fly, doesn't it?

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#18 Mr. Brooks

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Posted 03 November 2017 - 10:53 AM

Nice job. I find this intriguing, but I would not sign Tillman. I think he burned out and we do not need another mediocre veteran SP. If he is the best we can afford I go with the young guys which almost always my personal position.
​I am fine with all the cuts you make, but not with the Reynold's or Napoli options. Palka can do that well - slug and K. We already have Sano doing that and we do not need two K artists in the middle of the lineup. I like Grossman better than either of them and I am ready to move on with Grossman. In this age slugging is not a big deal.

Mauer extension intrigues me, but I like the idea of letting the market settle for him. I would be interested in having someone look at all the teams and their 1B and tell me where there might be interest in him.


Palka just OPS'd .759 as a 25 year old in AAA. He's not an option for the mlb roster at this time or any time soon.
Maybe he tried to play hurt, who knows, but regardless of why he struggled, he's going to have to reestablish himself.
I'd guess he gets removed from the 40 man this winter.

#19 Brandon

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Posted 03 November 2017 - 11:04 AM

My offseaon blueprint is similar. I dont see the need to release Vargas or Grossman at this point but 1 will need to go so we can get a rh power hitter. there should be some inexpensive options available with the glut out there. I like Seths picks for the pen. I agree with signing 2 relievers. I would also be happy if they resigned Kintzler as one of the relievers or a different one who is almost as good. I also agree we should get a short term contract for the rotation intead of a long term one. I like Vargas as well as Seths pick and Cobb could be a good buy medium low candidate. I also would be fine with a Darvish contract.

#20 Brandon

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Posted 03 November 2017 - 11:07 AM

I do think beyween Vargas and Grossman we keep Grossman because he is cheap high on base percentage and we need rh power to handle lh pitchers better. Vargas is lh so i feel he is the more likely option to go.



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