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Article: Supplementing the Twins: A Bat for Hire

minnesota twins carlos santana todd frazier jose bautista
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#1 Ted Schwerzler

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Posted 09 November 2017 - 10:30 PM

As free agency is now fully underway for the Minnesota Twins and the rest of Major League Baseball, eligible players will begin signing deals with new teams in the days ahead. For the hometown club, the focus will undoubtedly be on pitching, and we’ve looked at both starting and relief options. If there’s a cherry to be added on top however, a right-handed bat makes some semblance of sense.Robbie Grossman will go down as one of the Twins better acquisitions in recent memory. Cast off by both the Houston Astros and Cleveland Indians, the corner outfielder was picked up off the scrap heap, and proved invaluable to Minnesota during his tenure here. He’s been an on-base machine, a clubhouse presence, and a somewhat steadying presence at DH.

Coming off a season in which they made an unexpected Wild Card berth, the Twins goal will be to take the next step in 2018. While Grossman could be a part of that roster, he’s also the type of player you’d like to see expanded upon for overall roster advancement. Getting either more power or better defense from someone who can hit from the right side and play either first base or outfield is a good path to travel down. With that in mind, what are the Twins options?

Easily the best name on this list, and likely the most sought after, is Carlos Santana. The former Indians first basemen is adept in the field (he should’ve won a Gold Glove this season if it wasn’t going to go to Joe Mauer), and his bat is more than capable. As a switch hitter, he’s hit from both sides well over the course of his career, despite being better from the left side in 2017. An .842 OPS with 57 homers over the past two seasons is something Minnesota would gladly inject into the lineup.

Derek Falvey already has a certain level of rapport with Santana, and while that’s not going to net him much of a discount (if any), it gives them a place to start. After making $12 million in 2017, and playing 2018 at 32, he’ll be looking for a payday. While he’s not an ideal answer in the OF, Santana can spell Mauer at 1B and handle DH duties on an everyday basis. This is a splash that would be a big difference maker.

A step or so down from Santana comes in the likes of a former Twins divisional foe. Todd Frazier doesn’t check off the box of an outfielder, but he’s a right-handed power bat Minnesota could give a look to. Having played the hot corner for the vast majority of his career, Frazier has also ventured over to 1B previously, and could take on a DH role.

Traded to the Yankees for the stretch run, Frazier left the AL Central after just one and a half seasons with the White Sox. He last posted an .800+ OPS in 2015, and that was only the second time doing so over the course of his career. While his average sagged heavily in 2017, the .344 OPS (and .365 across 66 games with the Yankees) were very impressive. For a guy who can routinely lose 25+ balls in the seats, while getting on base, Minnesota could have interest if the money is right. Frazier could play third if Miguel Sano is forced into a permanent DH situation, and that also adds another wrinkle to the Twins intrigue.

On the lowest rung of this totem pole, we find Target Field killer Jose Bautista. Coming off a terrible season and now 37 years old, it’s entirely possible the one-time Blue Jays bat flipper is cooked. What’s also a possibility is that there may be just enough left in the tank for a team-friendly deal to make sense.

Despite a .674 OPS in 2017, Bautista posted an .817 OPS a year prior, and hadn’t dipped below an .800 OPS since 2009. He’s been an MVP candidate, Silver Slugger, and an All-Star while being a bomber who can hold his own in the outfield. Bautista didn’t hit anyone last year, and he’s actually been a reverse splits guy (hitting righties better) for the past few seasons. At this juncture, Baustista’s bargaining chips are fading which could make him appealing if the right situation presents itself.

Summarizing this Supplementing the Twins series as a whole, my ideal offseason includes the acquisition of a starter and two relievers. Beyond that, a second starter and a bench bat would follow suit in order of preference. The reality here is that the Twins are entering a period in which they should be able to make a sustained run at the postseason. The more ground work they do to support the internal developments that have been made, the more they stand to gain. We don’t need to see them break the bank, but we’ve embarked upon the “Go for it” moments of this thing, and there are actions that can be taken to reflect that.

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#2 old nurse

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Posted 10 November 2017 - 06:47 AM

To summarize in one or two badly constructed sentences. Bautista is old and declining. Frazier has seen better days as a Red. Carlos Santana plays the same position as Joe Mauer and this team needs 1/3 of the payroll paid to what are currently middle of the pack 1B.

 

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#3 mikelink45

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Posted 10 November 2017 - 07:58 AM

Interesting names, but nothing here that excites.Age is one thing none of us can ignore - it is the finall equalizer and I feel like Bautista and Frazier are fighting that right now. Santana at 32 has only a few years before he spirals downhill but would be the only one I would expect to get a good return on if the contract does not exceed 3 years.  

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#4 Darius

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Posted 10 November 2017 - 08:08 AM

I don't they need anyone spectacular. A decent bench bat should do it.

If Kepler can take a step forward, Rosario, Polanco, and Buxton maintain a fraction of their second half performances, and Sano gets/stays healthy, this could be one of the top 3 offenses in Major League Baseball.

This all assuming we don't see Rooker at some point.

#5 ThejacKmp

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Posted 10 November 2017 - 08:37 AM

 

I don't they need anyone spectacular. A decent bench bat should do it.

 

Yeah, and I'd almost rather see them give Vargas/Park a shot at that bench bat spot. I know neither guy has been amazing but they also have some upside and they don't cost anything new.

 

I'd like to see a run at a top free agent pitcher and maybe one impact reliever whose name is not Brandon Kintzler. Other than that, let it roll.

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#6 Dantes929

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Posted 10 November 2017 - 08:58 AM

 Obvious answer to all the questions but one is Shohei Otani.  

Top of rotation pitcher.Check

DH most day.Check

Backup outfielder.Check

Bench bat on days he doesn't start.Check

Pinch runner on days he doesn't start.Check (3.9 to 1st base?)

Backup 1st base.Check6'5"

Only box he doesn't check is right handed bat but we can teach him to switch hit.

 

Don't Sweat the Small Stuff ... and it's all small stuff.


#7 Blake

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Posted 10 November 2017 - 09:13 AM

Wouldn't an internal candidate like Mitch Garver be acceptable?

 

It's obvious the days of the "DH only" are pretty much over due to teams wanting to carry more pitchers.

 

I don't get looking at outside candidates when there may be candidates that will give the team the bat and the defensive flexibility needed.

 

I mention this, because, frankly, every dollar not spent on a FA position player is another dollar for a FA pitcher.

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#8 AWOLNATION_11

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Posted 10 November 2017 - 09:19 AM

I've been pondering Frazier lately. With Sano's leg injury I wonder if that fit (or a 3B capable player) makes the most sense. I've commented elsewhere that I'm interested in Howie Kendrick. Checks some boxes. Right-handed, plays corner OF and some IF, brings veteran voice to clubhouse, probably won't be too expensive.

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#9 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 10 November 2017 - 09:21 AM

honestly, I'm not too concerned about another bench bat. I'd be half willing to give Park a shot personally. Grossman might be worth setting sites on to upgrade, but that upgrade is going to be incrementally small. The team has gaping holes at SP and RP, and that is where FA money needs to be spent.

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#10 USAFChief

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Posted 10 November 2017 - 09:22 AM

A good RH bat is a priority for the Twins this off-season, IMO.

Santana would be a fantastic pickup. I could live with betting on Bautista too.

There are no internal candidates likely to help, IMO.
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#11 Thrylos

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Posted 10 November 2017 - 09:25 AM

I'd love to see what a full season of Vargas, a healthy Park, and even Brent Rooker can do before I spend $ that should be dedicated to fixing pitching (2 starters, 3 end of the pen relievers.) I would not mind taking flyers on MiLB contracts and see whether any of them can stick.That's about it.

 

The bat are not the problem here.Grossman is fine as well.  

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#12 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 10 November 2017 - 09:28 AM

yeah, I think a 4A type 3B signing in Rochester will make a ton of sense, but I'd much rather get pitching and lots of it.

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#13 mrmpls

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Posted 10 November 2017 - 09:36 AM

How about austin jackson ? 

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#14 gunnarthor

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Posted 10 November 2017 - 09:48 AM

I think we'll have to use most of our money on pitching. If Sano can't go at third everyday, we'll use Escobar behind him. Maybe we could find another RH 4th OFer over Granite through a minor trade. 


#15 Dantes929

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Posted 10 November 2017 - 09:58 AM

 

Yeah, and I'd almost rather see them give Vargas/Park a shot at that bench bat spot. I know neither guy has been amazing but they also have some upside and they don't cost anything new.

 

I'd like to see a run at a top free agent pitcher and maybe one impact reliever whose name is not Brandon Kintzler. Other than that, let it roll.

Why not Kintzler?I thought he did very well for us and you appear to put him in the impact reliever category. I was prepared not to like him when he came up but all he did was pitch well for us for two years.. 

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Don't Sweat the Small Stuff ... and it's all small stuff.


#16 GM64

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Posted 10 November 2017 - 10:19 AM

With Sano’s injury perhaps forcing him into a sole DH role, at least for a portion of the season, any RH bat must either be a good corner outfielder or an acceptable starting 3b. I think Escobar can be an acceptable 3b, short term, so I prefer an OF.
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#17 Tomj14

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Posted 10 November 2017 - 10:19 AM

 

I'd love to see what a full season of Vargas, a healthy Park, and even Brent Rooker can do before I spend $ that should be dedicated to fixing pitching (2 starters, 3 end of the pen relievers.) I would not mind taking flyers on MiLB contracts and see whether any of them can stick.That's about it.

 

The bat are not the problem here.Grossman is fine as well.  

Vargas and Park have no place on the twins IMO. Park is will be 32 next year and Vargas is what he is (not a good ball player, but does have occasional power)

Rooker seems more like a 19 candidate to me.

Agree with everything else you said.

 

If for some reason they don't think Sano is going to be able to play 3B for 120+ games next year, I wouldn't mind Frazier for the right price. He strikes out too much but I like the walks and he is only a few months older than Park.


#18 strumdatjaguar

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Posted 10 November 2017 - 11:09 AM

It's probably not a good idea to have Bautista and Castro on the same roster, after what happened in Cuba - January 1, 1959.

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#19 Respy

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Posted 10 November 2017 - 11:38 AM

I agree with the overall assessment by the article.I also agree with some commenters that Austin Jackson is one to consider as well.That will depend on how often he expects to play.He had an OPS of 1.014 against lefties last year.


#20 TNTwinsFan

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Posted 10 November 2017 - 12:01 PM

My vote would be Park/Vargas until July when Rooker has smashed about 20 HR for Chattanooga. Then its Rooker hitting the go-ahead 3-Run Shot in game 6 of the World Series for the win. I'm REALLY excited about that kid!



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